Grief, Grandmas, and Love-Lessons…

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The Philosopher and his Great-Grandma…

The day before yesterday would have been my grandma’s 83rd birthday.

I’ve been missing her a lot lately. Probably partly because I knew her birthday was coming, but it’s also because of the time of year — the holidays are such a family-oriented time. I’ve actually begun this post multiple times over the past couple of days… I just don’t seem to have the words I need…

Grief is such a huge part of the human experience and it’s so unpredictable. I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately — I’m not sure if it’s coincidental that I’ve been spending so much time in the kitchen, or if it’s related to missing my grandma (Grandma was a great cook when I was a young girl)… but being in any kitchen makes me think of her, while also making me feel a little closer to her… So many of my memories with the women in my family center around time in the kitchen, even when I was too little to help much I would sit in there and listen to them talk and laugh as meals were prepared. I’ve never had a lot of interest in food — but sitting around a table, laughing and sharing food in the warmth of the family — that I love…

Mama came over this afternoon and helped me make bone broth for the first time in my instant pot. It’s not exactly rocket science, but it’s always easier to have someone experienced around when you’re trying something new… :) And it was a good excuse to get to spend time with Mama in my kitchen. We talked and vented about life’s challenges while I learned how to work the instant pot without being so nervous around it (I have no idea why the thing makes me so anxious!), and I shared recipes from my new cookbook with her as we talked about a good way to modify one so I could use it at dinner without having to run to the store.  It was homey and just so nice to be in the kitchen together — even if my kitchen sink was already piled high with dishes and my useable counter-space was at a minimum. When does a good meal ever come without dirty dishes? Sometimes you have to make a mess to create something beautiful.

Isn’t that true about so much of life?

I’ve found that the older I get, the more I appreciate the women in my family — the heritage they’ve left me, and all I’ve learned from them. Since my grandma’s passing, as I edge ever closer to 40, I’ve learned that what matters the most to me is family… and I no longer feel like that’s somehow not okay, or not “good enough” — these lives I’ve been blessed to be surrounded with are more than enough. I love spending time with them — I love laughing together and making memories. I love the simple day in and day out of walking the journey of life together. I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life feeling like this was somehow “wrong”… I’ve become so much more comfortable in my own skin — so much more sure of who I am — now that I have spent so much time spinning this sun. I wish there was some way to have all this internal knowledge of myself sooner — it would have saved me a lot of pointless heartache.

Tonight, now that my kitchen is clean and the house is quiet as everyone is spending their last hours before bed relaxing before another Monday, I’m feeling especially thankful — thankful and a little bit teary-eyed. It’s so hard to miss those we love. Grief is just the continuation of loving the ones we can no longer touch… it’s that missing-ache… like homesickness, but for a loved one instead of a loved place… so it’s much harder to handle. And we never know when waves of this “missing-ache” will hit us…

I am so blessed to have so many of those I love around me… and I am trying to never take my time with them for granted — it’s just so short…

“God sets the lonely in families…” (Psalm 68:6)

I am grateful…

  1. chicken dinners with all the trimmings…
  2. leftovers hand pie pastries (gluten and dairy free of course!)
  3. cooking with Mama…
  4. Arnica…
  5. my boys visiting with grandparents today…
  6. laughing with Papa Jeff…
  7. listening to Little Boy tell the names of his Hot Wheels…
  8. The Philosopher and Brother-in-law talking video game design…
  9. The Professor playing with Little Boy…
  10. fighting with the hubby’s new computer setup…

It’s all Grace…

 

 

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Of Changed Plans and Curveball “Calls”…

 

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Changing Leaves… 

Some days catch you completely by surprise.

 

Yesterday evening the only plans I had for today were taking The Professor to the neurologist for a quick follow up visit, writing a few pieces that need to be done soon, and getting some housework done. The plan was for it to be a full day, but a fairly “normal” one. A phone call I received late in the evening changed the day’s plans from “ordinary” to “extra-ordinary”.

Don’t worry – it wasn’t bad news. :)

My Healing Touch instructor was in a bit of a panic because her helper for the last day of a Level 1 course she was teaching had needed to bail out at the last minute, and she was desperately searching for someone to fill her shoes.  You absolutely need to have an aid when you’re teaching this method because you need to be able to show the students what to do — it’s not really something that can be learned just from the textbook. You can learn the science, you can learn the concepts, but the actual hands on work requires the “show and tell” approach. I knew immediately the seriousness of the situation since her students had paid good money for the course…

I didn’t immediately tell her that I could do it, since The Professor had that appointment, but a few minutes later I called her back after my hubby was able to rearrange his schedule. It took a bit of juggling, but I was able to be there for her the entire day (shout out to my hubby for his help, and my mama and second-sister for keeping The Philosopher company!).

So today, instead of all the things I had been planning to do, I found myself at a small workshop with a diverse group of people — though almost every one of them were nurses — in fact one other young woman, the instructor, and myself were the only ones who were not RNs. (Healing Touch is a popular type of energy medicine among nurses because of its scientific research and background.) Even the Buddhist monk with his great big laugh and flowing robes was an RN… :) I was actually really thankful that at least one of the other attendees came from a more “artsy” background like me… ;) Nurses have such giving, servant hearts though — it’s easy to understand why they’re drawn to Healing Touch, and they all did a wonderful job.

It had been quite awhile since I took the Level 1 class and I forgot how many great techniques were taught in it. There are a few that I really love, and I haven’t really had the opportunity to do them since I first took the course, so it was a good chance for me to practice. Plus, by helping out I was able to reap the physical benefits too — my pain levels are lower tonight than they’ve been in ages… (I know it isn’t magic – but it feels a bit like it is.) :)

It’s funny how we can think that we’re planning our lives out so carefully, but it only takes a phone call for those carefully made plans to be changed. I’m very thankful that my phone call last night meant I was able to be there for my teacher, and in the process I met some gentle souls with hearts for service — always a blessing. But sometimes those “calls” — in whatever form they come in — can feel like they throw your life such a curve-ball that your plans aren’t just being changed for a day… sometimes the “plan” of our life can be utterly destroyed. When we can’t see our way forward anymore through the life we no longer recognize, when our path is a maze with only a candle to light the way, when change leads to a devastation we never saw coming… We have to learn to trust that somehow there’s a phoenix already preparing to rise from the ashes… The reality is we never know when something “good” or something “bad” is going to appear on our life’s journey… and circumstances that are shaping us can lead to entirely new blessings we didn’t even know we could be given. I can trust that it is possible to have peace in the storms when I let go of what I really don’t know anyway — and rest in Who I do know…

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you…” (John 14:27)

Tonight, I am curled up in my bed, already planning my “to-do list” for tomorrow… But I am also remembering that I don’t really know what tomorrow will bring — and that’s okay…

I am grateful…

  1.  new friends…
  2.  Healing Touch…
  3.  servant hearts…
  4.  my hubby’s help with The Professor…
  5.  mama and second-sister visiting with The Philosopher…
  6.  changed plans…
  7.  laughing with people who were complete strangers moments before…
  8.  a Dr. Thom appointment for me tomorrow…
  9.  muffins to make tomorrow…
  10.  learning to adapt to life’s curveballs…

It’s all Grace…

 

Of Little Boys and Life Balance…

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Today was one of those days where one moment flows into the next and all of a sudden you find yourself looking up to discover that it’s already 9:00 in the evening…

In between the pieces I needed to get written today, the boys and I watched my little nephews for a couple hours. I spent most of the time with Little One while the boys played with Little Boy, and The Professor actually managed to get some good video of all the fun we had. It was a wonderful way to spend the late afternoon, even if we were all a little tired afterwards — it’s hard work being entertaining for that long, but it was a lot of fun too. Thankfully, we didn’t run out of things to do and the house was ringing with laughter most of the time. Little Boy thinks his big cousins are hilarious, and I had Little One laughing his head off playing the “no, no, no” game and shaking our heads. :) I’m glad my sister and her hubby were able to get away for a little while, and now that we know Little One is okay with staying at our house for a bit I’m hoping we can do it again sometime. :)

After they had gone home (where Little One promptly fell asleep — he had played hard!), my hubby and I went out for a salad and bookstore date. Barnes and Noble isn’t very far away, and it’s a great place to go and feed the need to be surrounded by books — especially when you are looking for something specific. I brought home a lovely new anti-inflammatory cookbook absolutely bursting with delicious sounding recipes and beautifully put together. (The title caught my eye since it contains my name!) :) The pictures themselves were worth its price, and I absolutely can’t wait to try out some of the recipes. I also brought home a little book on reducing stress — just ten minutes at a time… I figure I can squeeze out ten minutes of self-care at least once a day — right?

I know that I keep talking about letting go and learning to trust… but that’s hard to do if you can’t even remember to stop and breathe throughout the day.  I’m just so unbelievably busy — and that isn’t going to change any time soon. I need to learn to live my inner life while still living the busyness of life as well. There has to be a way to balance it all…

In the mornings, I open my eyes and immediately begin dealing with the day’s pain. It’s hard to get my body moving at first, but once I have some coffee in my system, my eyes opening properly, and my body upright — then I spend some quiet time reading and trying to center myself. Prayer keeps my mornings sane. It’s how I move myself from the realm of the night to the world of the day… but once the day gets moving it’s hard to keep my balance. It doesn’t take much to make me lose my focus, and my soul is sensitive… just imagine what major tragedies or obstacles can do! I’m hoping that I can learn to take purposeful pauses throughout my day to help me regain my footing no matter what is happening around me.

Tonight, as I lay in bed with this cozy heating pad, listening to my fingers typing on the keys and my boys laughing together in the living room… I can’t help but smile. They remind me that life is beautiful… Despite all the darkness in this fallen world, laughter still sings the song of joy to brighten our hearts, pain does not have the final say, and I am reminded…

…Love wins.

“Many waters cannot quench love, Neither can floods drown it…” (Song of Solomon 8:7)

I am grateful…

  1. little boy laughter ringing through the house…
  2. surprise phone calls…
  3. opportunities…
  4. new recipes to try…
  5. kitty love…
  6. vacuum cleaners…
  7. hand warmers…
  8. walking hand in hand with my hubby…
  9. phone calls to make…
  10. my boys laughing their heads off together… :)

It’s all Grace…