Monday, September 30, 2013

Sitting


Self-reflection:
I'm in Florida. It was a planned trip that almost didn't happen (for me). Husband was called down on business. I was to tag along as spouses were invited to attend. Circumstances made it nearly impossible for me to go. Said circumstances took a turn for the better. My head took a little longer to catch up and feel safe about leaving. My heart longer yet as there is still a piece, a very large piece of my heart resting safely at home caring for the kids (along with their caregiver). Aside from leaving a part of my heart at home, this morning I feel amazingly content. Contentment is not a feeling I am accustomed to. It's not necessarily that I don't allow myself the luxury of contentment... 
...interesting. 

"The luxury of contentment." 

As soon as those words fell to the page, the flow of words stopped cold. An epiphany followed. A treasure has been unearthed. Contentment should not be considered a luxury. It should be a normal part of life. Not that life would ever be one contented path free of obstacles and issues, but surely times of contentment should be a part of everyones life.

This foreign feeling is toying with me as my mind fights like a mini ninja to keep it from settling in too deep. 'I'm in my pajamas on the patio. Is that acceptable at a resort full of people?  

Thought process: No one is around. It's what I want to do at this moment. It's what I am accustomed to in my midwestern existence. It is what feels right for me. I will continue to sit here in my pajamas. ' I choose "yes". It is perfectly acceptable. I will continue to contemplate contentment and allow the water in front of me to be a metaphor for this moment.

Calm, content reflection. So that's what it feels like. Mmmm...



Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Tattered




pulled so thin
life's been scattered
emotional overload
feeling tattered

stare at the sky
sun on my face
meditate in nature
my saving grace

finding time
challenge proven
feeling stress
becoming unwoven

open mind for insight
open heart for love
ask for help
receive love from above

wrapped in light
stitching begins
unwoven threads
held together again

Monday, September 23, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kissing Him Made Me Cry

Time standing still tends to be a misnomer most of the time. Time flying is usually more accurate in this busy rush of a world. Caught up in the hustle and bustle, lost to the drama unfolding around my life, sometimes the only way to capture a really good moment is to steal it away.

Standing in the shower the other day, easing the bubbles out of my hair, my husband stepped into the room to ask me about a work related dilemma. Had we been in our honeymoon phase, wife plus shower would never equal work. Settled into monotony, my steamy abyss was reduced to another local to find the person of the house who deals with the problems.

The moment presented itself and I took it as my own. Answering the question with a solution, I proceeded to solve a dilemma of my own. I invited my man to join me in my steamy chamber. Stealing away moments have taught us how to act fast, fulfill need and desire promptly, before capture by phone, child or other such demanding responsibility. After our quick and steamy encounter, the moment hung around. No knock at the door disturbed us. No ring of the phone, nor demanding deadline on the brain. Nothing but... nothing. The gift to linger longer presented itself. I grabbed my lover's face and locked on deep and hard. 

A feeling rose from my belly. Passion and pain mixed in a swirling sea of deep love and longing. Holding him close, his body warm, wet, strong and safe, I missed him dearly. Almost desperately. Realization overwhelmed me. How long had it been since we truly connected? Daily discussions are a given as are gentle touches as we pass each other by. His career allows him to work from home presenting the opportunity to be together every second of every day. But how long has it been since we were truly together? Heart and soul?

Holding our lip embrace I allowed the tears to flow followed by laughter at the insanity of it all. How dreadfully much I missed the man who is with me almost every moment of every day. One overwhelming  lip-lock moment of love and longing, passionate lust and pain, striking deep down to my core. Emotion welled up and the water instantly washed it away. It was as if I struck emotional climax.

I stepped out of the shower, wrapped a warm soft towel around myself and smiled, as contentment settled in for a spell.

Love is good.




Thursday, September 5, 2013

Seeking Solace

he said
she said
the noise hurts my ears
sapping the life force
feeding the fears

the sounding board
unloading ground
constantly screaming at me
unable to breathe
desperate to be set free

energy affects
ugly effects
thoughts spin
feeling ill
seeking peace within


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lean Into


                     Drip. 

                         Drop. 

                              Drip. 

                                 




Hugs and kisses were the first order of the day as my children headed out the door for their first day back to school. No one in our household looks forward to back-to-school season. It is an enormous blessing to live in a household full of love, comfort, and safety where enjoyment of the family unit is top priority. It makes back-to-school time bitter sweet. There is much excitement about the new. New teachers, making new friends, a new year of opportunity for learning and growth. Not so much excitement is felt for waking early, boredom in the classroom, parting with the security and comfort of home. BTST is hard on mom too. Watching my loved ones head out the door into the big wide world.

Today I am choosing the words lean into.

I am choosing to lean into this new school year with trust that none of us will not fall. Faith the kids will have the best year ever. Lean in with imagination for all that I will achieve during the day. Lean in and surrender to the flow of life. As I lean in I will whisper my intentions of success to the cloth of the Universe knowing it holds the magic necessary to weave my creative dreams into reality. This new year, new season, new cup of free time will be filled to overflowing with goodness. I vow to fill my cup daily with happiness, health, creativity, peace and love allowing my children to step off the bus directly into the overflow.

             Ah yes.

                     Drip.

                         Drop.

                              Drip.

                                  Drop.

My cup will overflow.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

As The Fog Lifted





Gingerly placing toe on patio, shiver speeding up my spine, I pulled the blanket tighter. Tucking into chair for morning moments of precious, silent journal time. The morning was anything but silent.

A chill in the air compounded by fog lay heavy like a blanket not quite kicked off by sleepy Mother Earth. Cricket crescendos swelling in pulses, birds singing and stretching, traffic swooshing in the distance, and the thumping sound of highway workers displacing dirt in order to bypass the designated piece of earth.

The sun fought hard against the dark as it always does and won just the same. Bright hot light burning through the fog, lifting it now well above the trees. Everything becoming clearer, warmer, sweeter somehow. Flowers stretching and dropping their dew, bees buzzing, bringing to life their low humming tone.

I meant to journal for an hour. I really did. How is one supposed to concentrate with all this life going on around? Beautiful, masterful life.

Morning time. Magic time. My time.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Positive







I created the above image for my mother who struggles with chronic negativity. It prints perfectly on 4x6 index cards. I am gifting my mother with a small stack of printed cards to place around her house as reminders with the hope that she is willing to embrace the challenge of working to change her thoughts, thus allowing her life to follow suit. I printed out a few for myself as well. I am hoping I succeeded in posting the image above in a format you (dear reader) will be able to save and print in the event you would like a reminder as well. (I chose the colors according to the intended recipient's decor.)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Saturday, August 17, 2013

I am



I am...
rethinking
regenerating
regrouping
realizing
recognizing
readying myself.

I am a butterfly with angel dust on my wings. I am praying and protected. I am learning to look through the smoke. Directly at the fire. I spread and flap and hold my breath as I beat my wings and get stronger and stronger until I rise over that fire leaving all the dust and filth and ash behind. Until all I see ahead of me are blue skies and fields of wildflowers. As I uncurl my legs I release all that I hold dear and watch it frolicking free. Carried to safety. By me. My strength. Strength. Gained from God. From all that is good.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Friday, August 2, 2013

Anew


anew - adv 
1: over again 
2 : in a new form



August
anew month
anew chance
anew attitude
anew experience
anew outlook on life


Welcome to August!

A new opportunity to leave behind any negativity and start anew.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Little Things








Summer schmumer, what a bummer. This summer's been kind of a drag. Actually, it's been a real drag. We started with a flooded basement followed by a mess created from waterproofing said basement, followed by the discovery of mold/mildew as a result of said flood followed by forceful throwing of personal belongings, furniture and tearing out of drywall and carpet to remove hazard from asthmatic son's bedroom, followed by a broken garage door, followed by freak health condition causing unbearable pain resolving itself after a week of drugs, dentists, doctors and chiropractic care all trying to figure out where all the pain was coming from and why my left cheek was swollen and paralyzed. And we desperately need a new roof before winter! Whew! What a mouthful!

Thank God for the little things that keep me going and poke happiness into the crazed cloud of calamity. Little things like children's laughter, impressive skies, bumble bees, drippy peaches, singing birds, reading books, snuggling, funny movies and snapdragons that volunteer to grow each year unexpectedly planted by chipmunks traveling through the neighborhood. 

Sometimes when you are hang dogging, when things are looking down, it's up to you to find the little things, to look up and get your head back off the ground.

Care to share your list of little things creating smiles this summer?




Friday, July 19, 2013

Wisdom



The years teach much which the days never knew. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

© Lynn Retzlaff


Never does nature say one thing and wisdom another. ~Juvenal, Satires

© Lynn Retzlaff



My husband and I took the kids to the zoo this past Monday. A much needed and deserved day of enjoyment and family time.

As we wandered the zoo looking at animal after beautiful animal, absorbing all the educational facts our minds could hold on a hot humid day, I fell in love over and over again. So many beautiful and fascinating creatures live on this planet. My inner child surfaced and wished the age old wish to be able to talk to the animals. I would love to be able to connect with them and understand what they are thinking and feeling, especially the elephants.

To see the world through the eyes of an elephant. Wouldn't that be fascinating? The history they must hold! I wonder if they tell stories to their young, passing knowledge from generation to generation.

Perhaps my love for the elephant is in direct relation to my love for grand old trees. Think of the similarities. Their color, texture, massive size, longevity, noble stature. Both are seen as wise old sages. I wonder if the wrinkles on elephants read like the lines in the trunks of trees, giving glimpses into their history. (Wonder. Another component to wisdom, as one feeds the other)

Wisdom is not something that can be rushed. One must slow down and learn with intent in order to gain wisdom. One must take the time to care about the knowledge that presents itself. Perhaps that is why the elephant and the tree are both representatives of wisdom. They are both noble slow/still beings that seem to absorb the stories of that which surround them. Wisdom through observation and osmosis.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Possibility

I adore old keys. Growing up in ancient houses probably helped spark my adoration of keys as I remember the skeleton keys that went to our locks. Holding one in my hand today is a flashback to the past. A piece of key shaped childhood. Of freedom and fun, play and carefree days.

Antique keys hold so much mystery. They unlock the imagination. Who did they belong to? What secrets did they lock safely away? They represent security.

I was gifted a handful of keys (pic taken via iPad) recently from a lovely friend. I have great hope for their use as the possibilities are endless. I imagine using them in photographs, encaustic art, making a mobile or windchime, something loving and artsy. Instead, they end up hidden away in a drawer. Treasures of their own, ironically locked away for safe keeping, their potential lying stagnant as I cannot bare to part with them. Perhaps it was growing up poor that causes me to hang onto treasure as when I open the drawer that holds my collection, I feel like the richest girl on the block. That alone makes them worth their weight.

Still, it saddens me, this inability to use them. I fear not doing them justice. Not having an art piece turn out good enough. Not having the pictures successfully represent their beauty. It is the "not good enough" part that causes me to keep them locked away. "Not good enough" is not good enough for me anymore.

What a cathartic post! I wasn't expecting it to end this way! What an epiphany! I think I'll take my key collection and proudly display them in a bowl where I will pass them regularly and they can whisper to me and spark my creativity. They will say, "You are good enough! Come play!"







Monday, June 24, 2013

Sky Poem



When feeling sad or feeling down
I gaze to the sky to turn it around.

With kids in the yard we flop to the ground
watching skyward as the cloud circus passes our town.

Storms roll in, sun shines down
depositing a beautiful rainbow without a sound.

Endless sky should make me feel small
instead it leaves me feeling part of it all.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Adelia

Story inspired by writing prompt at Stampington.com
Appologies ahead as I do not know how to link up to the exact web page as I am working on my iPad (my computer is in the shop).

Photography by Andrea C. Jenkins featured in Life Images 2008

"Well good morning Sunshine!"
"Hi Mommy"
"Where are you off to so bright and early?"
"I'm going to the bay. There's a ship waiting for me. It's going to take me to a far away land where the magic lives."
"Oh my! A magical land. Sounds perfect. I see you wore your favorite sweater."
"Sometimes it gets cold in Adelia."
"Adelia, huh? Did you remember your toothbrush?"
"You don't need toothbrushes in Adelia, Mommy! The toothfairy lives there and she has all her helpers clean the kids' teeth."
"Well isn't that convenient! So, if you're wearing your favorite sweater, and you don't need to pack your toothbrush, what's in the bag?"
"Books."
"Books?"
"Yup. Books. And my paint. And paper. And a paintbrush. That's all you need in Adelia. Books and paints."
"Hmmm... that doesn't sound like much. What will you eat? Where will you sleep? What will you wear if your sweater gets too hot?"
"That's easy. It's all in the books. Books are magical in Adelia. They come to life. You just read them and they come true."
"So if you get hungry, you can just read 'Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs'?"
"Yup"
"And if you get hot, you can read a book on winter to bring back the cold?"
"Or a book on princess clothes so I can wear a fancy gown!"
"Oh listen to you giggle! I think you're on to something good!"
"Yeah, Adelia is good. It's all good. I only brought good books too."
"So why the paints?"
"Just in case."
"In case of what?"
"In case I don't have the book I need... or if I miss you while I'm there."
"What happens if you don't have the right book, or if you miss me?
"If I get scared, I can paint a blanket to keep me safe. And if I miss you, I will paint you and then you will be there with me."
"So everything you read and everything you paint becomes real in Adelia?"
"Yup."
"Wow. That does sound like a magical place. I sure would like to visit a place like that some day."
"You wanna go with me?"
"I would love to go with you Honey, but Mommy has work to do around here."
"Silly Mommy! Time stands still in Adelia. You can come with me and when we get back, all your work will still be right here waiting for you!"
"In that case, I would love to go with you."
Taking her mother's hand, "Mommy? Why are you wiping your eyes?"
"Because my love for you is overflowing, my wise little princess. You opened my eyes so wide, the love leaked right out."
"I love you Mommy."
"I love you too Sweet Girl."






Thursday, June 6, 2013

Childlike Wonder



     I purchased some clay marbles at a flea market last month. I couldn't help myself. It was wonderment at first sight. Years of play (they are from the Civil War era) has left them with such a beautiful patina. The earthen colors drew me in. 
     Holding them in my hands transported my imagination through time at the possibilities of ownership. Black and white images of children crowding around the ground, bent at the waist, some squatting to get a better view, watching, waiting for the shooter to act. Crack! The marbles slam into one another and the children stand and jump, arms in the air, hooting and hollaring. Their neighborhood marble champ has done it again!
     Perhaps they have seen harder times as well. A soldier filling his pockets with the cold, orbital love notes. A gift from his sweetheart as he heads off to war. She knew they were a favorite game of his and she wanted him to have something with him that would make him smile, a good luck trinket he could rub if he were scared or lonely. Perhaps pull out for a game or two if given a chance.
     A grandpa passing his beloved marbles down to his great-grandson proclaiming "I only had a few toys when I was your age. Money was scarce. We made do with our imaginations. But these." He looked longingly into the past, his smile growing youthful with the memory, "These were my treasure. Out of the few toys I had, my marbles were my favorite. I won quite a bit of money playing marbles! I was the town champ!"
     Clay pulled from the earth, formed, glazed, fired. Through the years filled with memory. Worn away from hands of play. Kept in pockets, bags, drawers. Traveling around from owner to owner. Where did they come from? What stories do they have to tell? If you tracked them back to the ground from which they came, what would the earth say? Would it sigh a story of their birth?
     There is something magical about old toys. Made with earthen elements. Wood, clay, metal. Holding amazing energy. All you have to do is hold them, close your eyes, and listen. They are little story tellers.







Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bitten



       I was just bitten by a bug. Here I am, sitting on my couch, minding my business, listening to an online class, when.... "Youch!" 
       I reach to the back of my thigh and feel a tiny little beetle like bug. It instantly squashed. No bigger than the head of a pin and completely foreign to me. Now my leg itches and my mind itches right along with it. "What kind of freakin' bug is THAT? Gross! I've never seen one of those."
       Gross. I don't like being bitten by a foreign bug I know nothing about. I would rather be bit by a mosquito. At least I am familiar with them. It's like the difference between taking a lick of your kid's ice cream cone and that of a complete stranger kid's cone. Don't know who they are, don't want a lick!
       Yeah. My mind works like that. Strange? Perhaps. But don't judge unless you're willing to dump some of the crazy that runs through your mind! ha ha ha ha



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Laugh A Little


Does this cat make my butt look big? 



Avoiding. I have been avoiding lately. Avoiding a very important writing project that requires time, patience, heart, soul and me. I know it is going to consume me and challenge me and change me. I   know I need to write it for me. 

I tend to put myself last. It's easy to focus on other people when your house is full of them. When they all head out the door for the day I am left with a house that needs attention so I put the house first. 

When the house sits silent and undemanding, I can hear the paper calling. I saddle up with pen in hand. The ink hits the page and the truth spills out. Sometimes it feels overwhelming. Scary. So I humor myself.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lately



I haven't been writing in this space lately. For a long time I couldn't figure out the reason why. A million lot of different thoughts came to mind. I'm too busy. I'm not feeling inspired. I don't have anything to say. I have too much to say. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say. My studio flooded, my camera broke and my computer died. That leaves me with no artwork, no pictures, and no computer to work from, as well as a head full of cluttered words

Today, I am feeling inspired. I'm busy, but making time. I have a lot to say and if you want to read it you can, if not, that's okay too. My studio is still in shambles, and my computer needs fixing but I have this little iPad and it does have a lot of capabilities including a camera (albeit not the greatest).

Today I dive back into my page. Into my purge. I have stifled myself for long enough. It's time to dump the load that sits in my brain. Unclog the mess that's been blocking my flow. I miss this space!

Blogging from a mobile device is new to me. I'm not sure how it works. I might make mistakes. Look like a fool. No matter. No more excuses. No more waiting around for perfection. I will live my life as it is and be thankful for what I have.

The flowers pictured here (which I cannot figure out how to center on the page... I digress...) are very special to me. My husband and I were entering the parking-lot of Farm & Fleet (a farm store with so much more!) when I spotted this little daisy plant growing between the curb and the blacktop lot. I knew it was destined for instant death from traffic or weed killer. The nature lover that I am, I  had to save it! 

"Honey! Look at that beautiful flower! It's going to DIE THERE!!!"

For those of you that don't know me in person, yes, I am THAT dramatic.

"We have to do something! We have to save it! It is a survivor! Living out of that tiny crack in that barren parking-lot. How did it get there? How did it make it this far without proper care and a healthy, safe, nurturing environment?"

Oh Mother Nature, you are Good!!!!! You teach me about myself all the time with your wild and beautiful ways. (As I type this I am relating to the flower. Never realized that before.)

At any rate, my husband knows my passion for the natural world, knows my heart is ten times too big for my own good, knows I cannot help my desperation to save as helping to save others helps save me.

He parked the car, pulled the plant and handed it to me with a smile. 

I took it home, planted it next to my front door and watched. She was a tiny little thing, about six inches high with a few little flowers. She struggled to accept her sudden change. She appeared to wither but hung on, small, still, willing. I watered her, talked to her, loved her. She overwintered without a trace. This spring? She showed up huge, beautiful and full of grace! Just look at her now!










Monday, April 29, 2013

The Little Things


So very often the little things are really the big things.

During our recent trip to Florida I came down with bronchitis and was quite sick. I plugged along like a trooper as to not wreck the fun of the rest of the family. At one of our gas stops my kids left the van to stretch. They found little flowers and greens peeking out of the cracks of the concrete. They picked the little bits and presented me with a tiny bouquet. They had noticed my suffering and wanted me to feel better. Such a small gesture that filled my heart and stretched a smile across my face. Love is the best medicine.

May your day be filled with little blessings.




Monday, April 22, 2013

Trying




I have been trying to post for some time. I miss this space. It has proven quite hard to find the quiet time and peace of mind to delve into writing lately. Here is a short list of reasons why
1. a week of bronchitis followed by a week of a wicked virus
2. root canal turned jaw infection cured by second antibiotic
3. threw out my lower back making daily chores feel like daily nightmares and setting me further behind
4. a week of bad news around the country bombarding me while I fought flood waters in my basement
5. three kids home sick today (praying I am spared this go-round)

I have quite a few posts in the draft stage. The 'writing zone' has eluded me lately. When a quiet moment presents itself, I have been inclined to grab a mug of something warm and dive into a book, if only for a moment. Temporary escape at its finest.


Friday, April 5, 2013

In Love


Morning beat me up today.
Tossed me like an ocean wave.
I swam, I fought, I found shore.
Safe and sound, I struggle no more.

~ ~ ~

Speaking of ocean wave, here's a picture of 3 of my 4
standing at the ocean shore
absorbing the magic of the full moon.

~ ~ ~

I'm in love.
And it is good.



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Exhausted


My husband was called away on business last week. His company was shipping him down to Florida for a few days so he could train some of their guys down there. It was spring break for the kids so we tagged along. The kids and I have never been to the east coast so it was pretty special.

I was sick the whole time and am still trying to recoup so I'm not feeling real chatty, but I will say that the trip was good for me in many ways. This morning I was driving my daughter to school and a word settled into my lap. It made itself at home and snuggled up to me nudging and purring like a new kitten.  It felt so good that I decided I would take it home and spend some time with it. Perhaps it will stick around for a while. Perhaps it is here to stay.

The little word that came to play?

Possibility.

This is Ruby Falls. It is a waterfall found deep in a mountain in Chattanooga, TN. The day before we left for our trip we took the van in for an oil change and brake job. The guy working the counter asked where we were going. When we said "Florida", he said, "If you get a chance, stop at Ruby Falls. It's one of the greatest memories I have as a child." We went home, I looked it up. Amazingly, it was located just a few miles from where I reserved our hotel for the drive down. I had never been to Chattanooga before and picked it on a whim. We spent the night at the hotel and went to Ruby Falls first thing in the morning before heading out. I am going to bring donuts to the shop this week in thanks for the great travel tip as it was a very special part of our trip. The waterfall was lit up with many lights and there was dramatic music playing. Quite the scene! The entire half mile trek through the mountain (streams, stalagmites, stalactites) was amazing.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Perception



My last post was on the heavy side. Since I like to mix things up, I thought I would post another funny to counter the heavy. Today is March 19th. The windchill outside is below zero. Spring, WHERE ARE YOU!!! In the spirit of positive thinking, I am holding faith that spring is mere days away. In honor of spring, I have been researching planting and gardening ideas. 

I have a son who loves cactus and succulents. He actually collects them, or at least tries. Believe it or not, we have a cactus eating cat! You heard that right. My cat eats all plants, including cactus. This has caused my plant loving household to become plant barren as he has gotten deathly sick off of several of the plants he ingested. Being plant lovers without the ability to grow houseplants is depressing. Being plant lovers not able to have houseplants in a state that has an outside growing season of what feels like two months is even more depressing! Still, we do what we can and that means grow as much as we can while we can!

I was researching plants for my garden, flowers for Darling Daughter's Fairy Flower Garden, and hardy plants for my cactus/succulent loving son. I came upon a site that had these awesome spherical succulent collections. I became intrigued, engulfed, obsessed in figuring out how to grow some for our patio this year. I was so fully engaged in the process of learning how to make them, I didn't notice the name they were given. Actually, I had read the name many times, it just never struck my funny bone until I stepped away from the page to get some coffee and sat back down. At that moment my perception of the name changed and I had a laugh-out-loud-alone-with-self moment. I had spent the last twenty minutes with my face inches away from Succulent Balls! Ha ha ha! (click link for awesome garden idea)

Get it? 

No?

Did you click the link?

Now do you get it?

Never mind. 
(sporting sheepish grin as I slink away)



Thursday, March 14, 2013

Look Up



I rarely put myself first and am realizing how unhealthy that can be. My conditioning taught me to be a people pleasing caretaker. I have always put everyone else first and it has hurt me severely. It's not that I wanted to be last, I just couldn't figure out how to put myself first without hurting someone else. Someone wins, someone loses. Me? Or them? Conditioning taught me to self-sacrifice.

What a terrible dilemma! Either I put myself first and feel selfish for hurting others, or I put everyone else first and I suffer. That is a no win situation. 

I'm learning. 

Being able to put yourself first is important in life. You are the most important person in your life. Without you, you have no life. Putting yourself first can be empowering and liberating. It is also how you get ahead. Putting yourself first is good, unless done at the cost of others. Then you are acting out of ego. You are saying "I am better than, more important than." You are creating hurt.

If done correctly, everyone benefits.
So...
what is the correct way?

I think I may have figured it out!

Each one of us must put ourselves first in order to thrive and survive.

Putting yourself first means you must cast off others. Use them as stepping stones. Use them to build a wall so you can find your rightful place at the top. Right?

Wrong.

Try looking at it as a race. Place yoursef first. 
Then...
grab the hands of those around you. Walk shoulder to shoulder, together, in the lead. If you get to a point where you feel the energy or need to surge ahead? Don't drop hands, pull them along! Set an example. Lead the way. Share the empowered feeling of being first. It will pay off if you stumble or tire. By that time, the bond between hands will be strong and it will be you who will be carried along until you have regained strength.

We all must work together in order to win the race.
The Human Race.

Look up. What do you see? Vastness. Eternity.
Does it make you feel small?
I'm sure it does if you stand alone.




Stand together.
Walk together.
Run if you have to.
Just don't let go.
If you feel yourself slipping?
I got you babe.


I am taking this moment in time to recognize that I have never put myself first. I am also realizing that I need to start. In doing so, I vow to hang on to the hands of all those I love, leaving no one behind and adding the hands that reach out to me. In putting myself first I will grow in self-esteem, in empowerment and in self. I will set an example and pass the feeling on through all the hands I hold.



Monday, March 11, 2013

I Miss You!


Blogland!
I miss you!!!
I can't seem to find the time or frame of mind to post lately.
Taking care of taxes and no fun stuff.
Waiting for time to play.

I'm keeping my eye on all of you.
Will be back to play again real soon.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Prideful Share


Weeks worth of emotions, thoughts and words are ruminating in my brain, their current consistency too thick to plate (upon the page). With a bit more time to marinatee they will become tender and more favorable a dish to pass.

For the time being, I am sharing a poem written by my eleven year old son. Bloody brilliant if you ask me! This mom is so impressed!


Element Poetry
by Carter Retzlaff

Gold
Shiny, rarity
Melting, freezing, bending
Jewelry, electricity, dentistry, bedrock
Dissolving, reflecting, shaping
Valued, attractive
Au

 Poetry © Carter Retzlaff

(I had to ask what "Au" meant. It's the elemental abbreviation for gold on the periodic table. He is already learning chemistry, a subject never presented in my education.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Funny I Promised Yesterday

 

     I believe it is possible my daughter has a literal heart of gold. Her disposition is so sweet, I swear she could cause cavities. I have never heard a negative or mean thing come from her mouth. Ever! That's why, when on Valentine's Day she presented this card to her three older brothers, I was so surprised!


Image © Madelynn Retzlaff


     I don't care for the word "hate" and try to disuade my children from using it unless they really, really, really thought it through and still mean it (usually reserved for non-human subjects like "I hate violence").
     I looked at her sweet face smiling up at her big brothers and saw the chuckles they released. When they passed the card to me, I was surprised into silence followed by roaring laughter. For some reason, I found it to be the funniest card evah!
     Perhaps it is her innocent age and nature lacking the full understanding of what she wrote. Perhaps it was her genuine loving delivery of the card. Perhaps it was her unguarded honesty! Whatever the reason, the card ended in love so it's all good!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Quiet

   
Sorry I have been quiet again lately. Life has taught me a lot of lessons this past year (my whole life really) and I have been experiencing more periods of introspect which causes me to avoid my blog. I tend to keep things light here. Not too heavy, not too personal. Even now I am fidgeting in my seat and contemplating getting up to do something else (anything) rather than share this story.

     The reason for the title of my blog (Cranial Purge) was to dump some of the overflow of thought that runs through my brain. I cannot dump it all or I would never get off the page as my mind produces enough thought to fill a gazillion pages. That being said, I tend to be very selective about what I do share attempting not to get too personal (for fear of judgment), not wanting to write about anything that might be even a tad controversial (as I fear confrontation), not wanting to work too hard at succeeding (for fear of failure) and on and on.

     My whole life has been spent in fear. It is depressing, scary, stifling and paralyzing. Last year I chose to work with the word "faith" all year. The Universe must have taken that as a challenge as it was one of the hardest years I have ever been dealt (and I have been through hell in the past my friends). It was also perhaps the most growth inducing. It is also the reason for my year (plus) on-again-off-again relationship with my blog.

     Faith and trust seem to be the opposite of fear and I was challenged to embrace both through some very difficult times. Almost a year ago I was faced with some information that nearly ended my marriage. A month later I faced a diagnosis with the potential to be life threatening. Two very large pills to swallow back to back with little time and no water. Talk about fear. First I had to face raising four children alone. Then I had to face the fact that I might not be around to raise my four children at all.

     I cried my way through much of last year. I chose to stay in my marriage and we have been working tirelessly to fix what was broken. I have worked with medical professionals as well as dietary and holistic work to heal my body. I have been reading and researching and practicing affirmations, mindfulness, yoga, meditation and anything else I can get a hold of to heal my mind. I stuck with the word Faith to connect with soul.

Body, Mind, Soul

     I have been diligently doing the work to keep all three healthy and whole. I will continue to do so praying for it all to stick.

     Most recently, I have been helping to clean and caretake for a friend's (more like a sister) father who is dying of cancer. He is losing his battle quickly. Much faster than anyone imagined. He is ready. He wants to move on. He misses his wife whom he lost unexpectedly a mere eight months ago. He hopes to be reunited. The pain of hanging on has been hardest for him.

     I cannot help but wonder if the humbling gift of caring for Barry during this time may have been given to me as a precursor for what is to come. My own Stepfather (really a father) has stage four terminal lung cancer. He has been fighting like a champ, but his news recently was not good. It is a much more personal battle as the loss will be extremely painful.

     Life is precious. Life is fragile. Life is fleeting.

     I look at life differently than I did a year ago. Life used to be spent in survival mode. Now I am learning to live. My ridiculous sense of humor and my crazy will to survive has gotten me this far (without becoming a raging alcoholic, drug addict, or angry suicidal maniac)but it has not been a very good existence. 

     Now, my eyes are open, my heart is open and I am trusting and embracing my precious life for all it has to offer. This year I chose the word "love" and I am starting with myself. Self-love starts with self-acceptance, at least for those of us that lack it. 

Imagine if every child were taught self-love. Imagine how much better the world would be. When you truly value yourself (I'm not talking in a narcissistic, egotistical way), you see how important your life is and you can project that out to others. You can see that each person, regardless of their wounds, quirks, attitudes, are perfectly imperfect just like you.

     I'm not saying to spend time with people who are hurtful, mean, abusive, manipulative or in any other way damaging to you. That would not be practicing self-love. In those cases, simply wish them well, send them love and move on. I am really starting to see that love truly IS the answer.

     Do me a favor, would you please? Take a moment to send some love out into the world. List your gratitudes. Feel your heart swell when you think of those you love. Look in the mirror and smile and be thankful for the gift of your life and fall in love with yourself. Imagine those in the world who are suffering, hurting, lonely. Send them love. Imagine your love frequency moving out into the universe, combining with all the other love being sent out. Let's wrap this planet in love, shall we? 

     Yup. I'm sappy and strange like that. A year ago I might not have posted this post. Now? I lose the fear of judgment, have faith that my words will land with those who need them, and love everyone. Yup. Even the haters. After all, they are the most in need of love.

We are so small yet so powerful. Use your power for good.



This was a heavy post. If you read through to the end, I thank you for staying as I feel my message is an important one. Tomorrow, I have a funny for you to lighten the mood! I am seriously considering a second blog for heavy. This poor blog never did have much direction. Perhaps I can have my fun here and keep the heavy on another page. We'll see. For now, I send you off with love.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Guinea Pigs



     My daughter's teacher is on maternity leave. The class has a long-term substitute. The class recently completed a poetry unit in which the teacher told the students that she adored bacon and promised if they produced enough bacon poems, she would throw them a bacon party. The children came through. The teacher claimed they had run out of time. No party.
     This week my daughter was Star Student. Star Student is allowed to bring a treat. We decided to surprise the kids with bacon cupcakes. A mini-bacon party! I have never tasted a bacon cupcake but have read about them several times (internet of course). 

Fact #1 - Everyone loves bacon
Fact #2 - Sweet and salt are the best combination evah
Assumed Fact #3 - bacon cupcakes will be a hit with a group of children deprived of a promised bacon party.
     
     The cupcakes were painstakingly lovingly made from scratch with the finest ingredients (organic butter, grade A maple syrup, preservative free bacon, etc...). A full evening later, the cupcakes were done. I sampled. They were... interesting.
     Not being a cake eater myself, I served a cupcake to each family member to ask what they thought. Here are the results...
They're good!  X3
Interesting  X1
Don't care for  X1

     That's when it occurred to me. Yes, at 9pm the night before treat day, it occurred to me that a group of 24 third graders might not appreciate being guinea pigs for a new recipe. I asked Darling Daughter if I should run out and buy some pre-made cookies (just in case) and she insisted on the bacon cupcakes (which she adored). I left the decision up to her, suggesting she not take offense if no one took them or liked them!
     Thursday, Darling Daughter arrives to school with more than two dozen Bacon Cupcakes. They were a hit! Only one child declined the offer. Everyone who tried them liked them. One boy asked if he could have the extras (which were delivered around the school to teachers & staff).
     I will share the link to the recipe website but I would suggest adding some applesauce or honey to the batter as they turned out a bit dry. They are officially kid approved!

I am NOT nor do I claim to be a food/product photographer. Please excuse the distasteful picture!  ;)

Darling Daughter's Bacon Poem #1

Makin' some bacon
Sizzling, jumping bacon
Bacon up high
Bacon down low
Bacon everywhere
That's how to go
~Madelynn Retzlaff


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Today


I have been sitting at my desk all day today.
Taxes, bills, phone calls.
Busy work.
Boring.

Reflecting on my computer screen from the great outdoors behind me is a beautiful, peaceful snowfall. 

Watching the silent snow make its way to the ground covering the world in a blanket of purity, a stirring takes place inside me and the peaceful feeling spreads.

Thank you Mother Nature!
You knew just what I needed today.





Winter came down to our home one night quietly pirouetting in on silvery-toed slippers of snow, and we were children once again. ~Bill Morgan, Jr.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Look!






     Look at this adorable post office! What a lovely little piece of history. It is currently open for business but is at risk of closure.
     You, my friends, can help save this post office with the simple and affordable act of sending a postcard. How easy is that? Rather than tell you all the details here on my blog, let me guide you to the owner's page.
     Jane Davies is a fellow blogger and wonderful artist. Check out her post HERE. You can read about the post office, how you can help, and how being one of the first 200 to join in would make you the proud recipient of an art postcard. Oh, and make sure to check the bottom of her post for an adorable video of chickens chillin' at the office. Perhaps they should rename Rupert "Quaint City".  
     Love


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Write to Survive


I want to write.
There.
I said it.
I really, really want to write.

I want to write something brilliant.
Something moving.
Something important and inspiring and...

The same advice is given over and over.
Write what you know.

What if people don't want to know what I know?
What if I don't want people to know what I know?
What if I don't even want to know what I know?
What if what I know doesn't matter?
What if I know too much? too little?

I want my words to matter.
I don't want them to be judged.
Good luck with that, right?



This piece of wood represents how I feel lately.
Weathered and worn yet beautiful to the right eye.
So much lost yet so much left.
Fragile yet strong.
Lying silently still, full of untold stories.

I often feel lost.
Perhaps more hidden.
Like the decomposing log in the woods.
Quietly blending in, trying to survive,
yet in spite of all efforts, slowly weathering away.
Waiting to be found, to be seen, to have its beauty and story noticed, captured, appreciated.

Weathered and worn after many a storm.
My eyes bore deeper into the decomposing layers.
The answer emerges gently.
Life. Inside.

Much of my story is that of survival.
I still have so much life inside.
Screw survival.
It's time to live!


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