Shock

We’ve all had shocks in our lives.  Good ones, bad ones.  It’s part of the life journey, sometimes.  My favorite shock was when I found out I was pregnant at the age of 39, after being told by two specialists that I couldn’t get pregnant without medical intervention.  But that was with my EX-husband.  Four days before our first anniversary, my second husband and I confirmed that I was “with child.” WHAT???  At that age??  And I’d just started back to school to get my masters degree in education??  And we lived in an old 580 square foot house, along with two dogs (one large and one medium sized), a cat and a 55 gallon fish tank??  This was way before tiny houses were a “thing.”  There wasn’t a garage, or even a driveway for that matter.  We did have a driveway on each side of the house; literally right NEXT to the house, for the neighbors on each side.  We had to park on the street right in front of the house, unless a neighbor’s guest decided to park there.  There was no room for a crib or bassinet, a changing table, nor the gizmos, gadgets, and toys that one gets for babies.  Or baby clothes!  Punkin/car seat!  Stroller! No dishwasher, but we did have a washer and dryer in the scary old basement.  This wasn’t even remotely feasible in my mind.

I arrived home on St. Patrick’s Day, from visiting my oldest friend, Jo, in San Fransisco, during the week of spring break. Before I left on break I was exhausted all the time, and figured it was just because I worked 30 hours per week, was taking 14 credit hours at the university, and was very focused on receiving high grades, because, well, that’s how I roll.  My dear friend, who knows me so well, kept telling me I was pregnant, even though she knew I supposedly couldn’t conceive without “help.”  While visiting her, I took at least one very long nap every single day.  I almost got carsick riding the curvy roads on the Pacific Coast Highway.  I love that road and I never almost get carsick. Never.  Until then.  She kept telling me, with a chuckle, that I was pregnant.  My response — No way! And smells got to me. We were at her favorite Indian restaurant, and I couldn’t stay because the smells in there were getting to me.  Especially the chicken in my dish. (Turned out that the smell of chicken and bleach were the only things that would make me lose my last meal during my pregnancy! And it took well over a year before I could eat chicken again.)

When we were saying goodbye at the airport, dearest Jo said I needed to take a pregnancy test as soon as I got home.  Ya ya, whatever.  I still didn’t think there was any chance I was in the family way.  I mean, two very well known specialists told me it couldn’t happen.  And then we had turbulence on the flight.  oy.  I didn’t hurl, but wished I could as I was so incredibly nauseated.  But I didn’t want to subject my fellow passengers because I’m not very quiet about it.  Nor quick.  Right before we landed, my stewardess told me I’d been an ugly shade of green ever since the first sign of turbulance, and she lost a bet about when I would lose my cookies!!  She’d been plying me with gingerale and saltines, bless her heart, and asked if I was expecting.  I told her my story, and I remember her smiling at me, with that look that said, “Well, you are!”

I got home before my husband, and picked up a pregnancy test from the pharmacy on the way.  Took it and bam–an instant “yes, preggers.”  I drove back to the pharmacy and purchased a double pack pregnancy test.  I asked the pharmacist which was the best brand, the most accurate.  I honestly don’t even remember driving there the second time. I did both tests.  Instant yes both times.  And then I nervously waited for my unknowing husband to get home from work.  I’d pace, sit for a moment, get up and pace some more. It was horrible. Waiting. Wondering. Worrying.

At first, I was actually almost devestated that this was happening, while simultaneously excited out of my mind.  And scared.  My initial thought was that I’d FINALLY gone back to get my master’s and teaching certificate.  Thought about it and talked about it for years before finally biting the bullet and stepping away from my department manager position, pay and hours at the gourmet grocery store to become a checker again.  I immensely enjoyed being back full time in the academia scene, juggling that with work and still being a newlywed. What a shock!  I couldn’t wrap my brain around this turn of events.

I had the last pregnancy test sitting on top of a paper towel on top of the mail where we always put it on the kitchen table.  FINALLY, he got home, with a wonderful welcome home.  I remember feeling kind of weird and distant.  When he went through the kitchen, he glanced at the pile of mail on the table, and walked past it.  I said, “Well????” “Well what?”  “Aren’t you going to say something?” “About what?”  “THAT!!!” I pointed to the test, and he didn’t even know what it was!!!  When I told him, in tears, that I was going to have a baby, he was ecstatic!   Beyond ecstatic!  I literally told him, with a wail, “I can’t be pregnant NOW!!!!!  I finally have my life planned out! For the first time ever!!” He hugged me and said, “You can always get your master’s. But, honey, you can’t always have a baby.” 100% Logic.  Can’t fight that.  I was still stressing out, but we cautiously celebrated.  I was so scared.  And still didn’t believe it was really true.

I’d gone through a horribly intense mourning process while with my ex, because I didn’t believe I should have a baby with anyone else involved, besides my husband and I.  It was part of the reason that the marriage didn’t last.  He’d wanted six kids.  I’d always wanted three or four, maybe six.  That was part of my life plan.  He refused to adopt, and I wasn’t keen on having a surrogate. We couldn’t get past it.  That and other things. I think my body wouldn’t let me have a baby with the first guy because of how wrong that marriage was.  But now I was with the right guy.  And he knew that I believed I couldn’t have children from early in our relationship.  We planned on adopting, because we wanted a family with children.  But AFTER I was done with school, had a secure job somewhere, and we moved into a larger house.  Yeah, we had our plans all figured out.

I was aware of the health risks for a new mom at my age, which really is nothing compared to back in the day when you were a grandma by 39, not a new mom.  I was aware of the chance that there might be health issues with our baby, because, you know, my eggs weren’t so fresh anymore.   And how on earth was I going to go to school, work, and be a mommy?

When I went to my “new” obstetrics doctor the following day, she did an ultrasound and we saw and heard the teeny tiny blipping heartbeat.  I was already six weeks along!  All I could say was Ohmygoodness.  Ohmygoodness.  Ohmygoodness.  She assured me I was extremely healthy.  When I lamented the fact that I’d taken ibuprofen for headaches and cramps at the beginning of the pregnancy, cold medicine about two weeks into the pregnancy, and drank a lot of wine while in California, because we spent a few days in wine country, she said what was done was done, and I just needed to be a good pregnant mom from that point on.  ohmygoodness.  o h m y g o o d n e s s. ohmyGOODness!!!

My favorite “shock” is now 17 years old.  A gloriously healthy, incredibly smart, very handsome, hilariously funny, wonderful, loving young man with so much ahead of him. I am so incredibly lucky.  And my journey continues, with more shocks, I’m sure…

Warm wishes on Your journey!
Nance

via Daily Prompt: Shock

Shock

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100 Things For Which I’m Grateful

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I read the post at http://mostlytruestoriesofkrenaep.com/ ages ago.  I’ve tried doing something like this before, without success, because it had to be done daily.  Then I thought, why not just let my mind think of them one at a time, as I open my heart?

100 Things I’m grateful for (not in any particular order):

  1. the snow flurries falling outside my window, glinting in the morning sun as they flitter about
  2. my warm house
  3. my husband
  4. our son
  5. our nephews, who’ve survived the military
  6. family
  7. friends who make this crazy world seem ok
  8. our two dogs, who greet me with such intense love first thing in the morning and whenever I return home
  9. food, to fill my stomach and make my nose and eyes happy
  10. my future that, although really and truly unknown, is there waiting for me, when I get there
  11. the memory of how my newborn babe smelled
  12. laughter
  13. hugs, warm and filled with love
  14. love!
  15. taking pictures to remember special moments and people and things
  16. the camera that I use to take those pictures
  17. clean drinking and bathing water
  18. newly married and newly engaged friends and family–their joy brings me joy
  19. my ability to search for the good in situations
  20. books that make me think, laugh, relax
  21. cookbooks!
  22. the master bath (feels like a spa and took 1 yr., 10 1/2 months, but yay!)
  23. my oh-so-comfortable bed
  24. the herbs drying in my kitchen
  25. music — classical, classic rock, new age, (?? should it be called old age?), some rap, (rap that is poetry, not put-downs) pop, alternative rock, golden oldies, big band, instrumental, …
  26. essential oils, as they’ve reintroduced lovely scents for my nose since I cannot tolerate most synthetic scents
  27. a perfect cuppa joe
  28. a lovely glass of wine
  29. a beer that’s so good it makes me smile after the first sip
  30. flowers in the springtime and their scent in the air
  31. leaves changing in the fall, catching the sunshine and exploding with color
  32. snowball fights with my son and dogs
  33. watching my son sleep
  34. my hair
  35. my mama and daddy’s love
  36. the trip we took to Ireland
  37. the many different birds hanging out, chirping, eating the seeds from the feeder and off the ground under it, and taking baths in the tiny fish pond
  38. the new living room furniture that took forever to find because of my severe allergy to formaldehyde and other chemicals used in furniture construction
  39. looking through the gazillions of photos I’ve taken, going down memory lane
  40. realizing I can go back to sleep after using the loo in the middle of the night.  Better yet–waking up semi-rested in the morning after thinking I couldn’t get back to sleep
  41. taking a pie out of the oven that smells heavenly and looks even better than imagined
  42. eating that pie, with people who are so happy to also be eating that pie
  43. slowly cooking onions in butter and olive oil until fabulously golden brown
  44. hearing two owls hooting at each other late at night, while I’m in my study
  45. seeing a V-formation of Canadian geese fly over my house, through one of the skylights
  46. seeing the full moon through that skylight
  47. watching birds of prey, like red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, Cooper hawks, glide calmly through the air, just scoping things out
  48. when my car’s wipers automatically (!) swipe because there are finally enough drops on the windshield
  49. new plants coming up in the spring
  50. the first apple and pear buds opening in the morning light
  51. the smell of the woods when hiking
  52. helping a stranger smile just by being nice
  53. the feeling after doing something unexpected for someone, as in random acts of kindness
  54. being joyfully recognized by former students
  55. getting cards in the mail from family and friends
  56. sharing my gratitude with someone who has done their job, but it was for me
  57. cleaning something that got surprisingly grungy, and it looks like new
  58. looking at certain shades of red, blue, green and purple
  59. laughing until my stomach hurts
  60. finishing a reeeeeally good book, and liking the ending
  61. going on vacation and learning new things
  62. learning new things while at home too!
  63. wrapping presents for loved ones, hoping it’s something they’ll enjoy as much as I think they will
  64. tasting something that reminds me of my mom or dad
  65. hearing a song that reminds me of my mom and/or dad
  66. reconnecting with someone I haven’t see in a while, and still being connected
  67. having my son sometimes recognize that I’m really not that stupid or boring
  68. when my dog, Gracie Jane, talks to me
  69.  when my other dog, Spencer, softly snores while laying on my foot
  70. driving my pretty “Universe Blue” car
  71. being welcomed into our favorite restaurants and the local produce market
  72. watching videos of puppies, kittens, and other animals
  73. seeing the inside of a gladiola bloom, or a rose or a peony
  74. being able to smell the white allysum and raspberry scented red roses through the front screen door
  75. holding my honey’s hand while we walk through a store or park or anywhere
  76. freshly washed bedding
  77. the sound of a gentle, steady rain without blustery winds, thunder or lightening
  78. the smell of that rain (petrichor)
  79. looking at the river rocks in our yard, marveling at the differences and their history
  80. my butter yellow laundry room with photos I’ve taken on the walls
  81. the crystals that you can look down into in our granite kitchen counter-tops
  82. my collection of old oil cans (based on Wizard of Oz and my dad using that kind of oil can)
  83. my mom’s collection of 4 leaf clovers inside the cover of her first cookbook
  84. the sound of hummingbird wings as they hover nearby
  85. hearing children laugh, especially babies
  86. the feeling of a little baby tightly wrapping its fingers around your finger
  87. taking someone to a place they haven’t gone to before, and sharing their delight
  88. making adventure plans
  89. making vacation plans
  90. going on a docent tour at the fabulous St. Louis Art Museum
  91. decorating for different holidays, like Valentines Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and especially Christmas
  92. hearing “Susie Snowflake” play on the stereo as the very first Christmas song while decorating (family tradition)
  93. tasting the first bite of something that stops the world for a moment because it’s so delicious
  94. learning a new skill or improving on one I already knew
  95. realizing I’m gently smiling because I’m content and at peace (for the moment!)
  96. giving unexpected genuine compliments
  97. the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil
  98. enjoying a meal or dish that someone made for me
  99. hearing my husband or son call my name (when not urgent or panicked!)
  100. the occasional realization (ah-ha moments) of how incredibly fortunate I truly am

This was really amazingly fun, rewarding, and enlightening for me!  I’ve been working on improving my attitude of gratitude, and this was honestly an powerful step.  I don’t recognize how wonderful my world is as often as I probably should, but it’s something I’m striving for.  As the old year leaves us and the new one approaches, my gratitude, things I love, things that bring joy list will be added to in order to develop my positive thinking.

You might want to give it a try sometime, just to see!

Sending warm wishes for your journey,

Nance

Simplify. Seems simple. It isn’t really…

What’s the big deal about simplifying your life and home?  Why is there an increasing interest in this?  Why is it so doggone hard?  Well, it’s not thaaaat bad.  Unless you live with other folks that aren’t on the same page as you, the same thought process, the same goals.

I’m at that stage in life where I want to start downsizing.  Have you seen all the shows and articles and web sites related to tiny housing?  When my hubby and I (we just had our 16th anniversary, by the way–woohoo!!!) first got married, I moved into his 680 square foot house.  Tiny.  We were there before tiny was cool!  I wasn’t sure how to combine our two households effectively and beautifully, but persevered.  By the time we hit our first anniversary, I loved our little house.  It was cozy. It was complete.  It was welcoming.  It was adorable.  But then we found out a wee one was on his way!  No place to put a crib, another dresser/changing table, toys, etc.  So we thought.  We moved into a house nearly twice the size–1200 square feet.  Whew.  Room to breathe.  We were no longer always together no matter what room we were in, including when one was in the bathroom.  (We had plenty of conversations through the door.)  But I found that it wasn’t as convenient when I had a question or needed something.  And there was always something that needed cleaning.  And we bought a lot more stuff, which required maintenance.  Or additional stuff.  But then we wanted to move to a better school district.

Next house–1,964 square feet, plus footage that’s not included.  We’re always hollering from one end of the house to the other, for stoopid things, like where is…, do you want…, when is…, are you ready?  Bothers me.  I don’t like that we yell, but what’s worse is not understanding what the other person said.  Then you have to get clarification, either by moving to where they are, or yelling, “WHAT DID YOU SAY?”  “I DIDN’T HEAR YOU–WHAT??”  “SAY AGAIN??”  We usually don’t hang out in the same room either, which saddens me immensely.  This is something we’re working on as we slowly simplify and get back to what is important. We’ve got a finished basement, which isn’t part of that square footage because there isn’t an egress window (a window big enough to get out through if there’s an emergency.)  Enormous family room (which is hubby’s favorite room,) a guest bedroom, and a half bath with sink and toilet.  There are also two BIG spaces that are storage space.  You know what that means?  We’ve gotten more STUFF; it all needs weeding out.  Last week I went through a container looking for our wedding books and pictures.  Found a bunch of newspapers in there that had no purpose that I could see. Recycle!!  Felt so good!  Made me want to discard more.  But I didn’t as I had other things to clean, maintain, buy, plan for, plan around…

When I talk with hubby and son about moving, there’s always a disconnect.  They sure don’t want smaller.  But they don’t get frustrated when looking for something.  They just ask me.  I’ll find it if I don’t already know where the item is.  And they don’t clean, much.  Or do the little maintenance, much.  Staying home with my synthetic fragrance sensitivity, I have become the cleaning lady.  And fixer.  In fact, just this morning, my dearest hubby asked why the living room touch up paint was on the counter with spackle and a brush.  Well, hmmm.  There are touch-ups to do.  Ah.

Yes.  I want to down size.  I love cozy.  Hubby loves space.  Lots and lots of space.  My favorite room in the house is the smallest at 10′ by 10′.  He gets claustrophobic in there.  It’s wonderfully cozy with a comfy couch (guest bed,) open bookshelf, small desk, small printer cabinet, a skinny wire and basket chest, and a tiny wrought iron garden table by the couch to set your beverage on. Very cozy, but not crowded.

Here’s a funny–hubby wants a smaller yard, as he dislikes yard work.  And I want more garden space to grow our own food.  I’d love to have chickens and goats too.  (Not possible in our current neighborhood.  We can’t even put up a clothesline or basketball hoop!)  We’ve currently got two pear trees, two apple trees, and a concord grape arbor that the previous owners put in.  We’ve added two blueberry bushes and a good sized raised bed for vegetables.  All of this on 1/3 of an acre!  I see room for more raised beds, but my guys want to be able to throw the football or baseball around a few times a year. We have a HUGE park a few miles from here. Their very valid point is when the urge strikes, they don’t want to have to drive.  Ok.

My biggest challenge with simplification is the part about getting rid of the stuff.  It amazes me how things become valuable when I’m purging.  We’re gathering garage sale goodies together, and have a good amount.  But there could be more!!!  And the whole recycling thing is hard–do we REALLY need this?  Can’t I just take a picture?  Can’t we make a copy and put it in our cloud?  One friend tells me I should just do it.  But that’s a violation of their opinion, isn’t it?  Guilt prevails.  But so shall I.  I WILL prevail at simplifying our lives and home.  I do want to say that all three of us are getting better at making do with what we’ve got.  Reduce, reuse, recycle.   And upcycling by reusing something in a different way than what it was originally intended for.  Yep–getting there.  It certainly is a process, and we Know that happiness is the journey, not the destination.  So, as I go down memory lane with the items that have accumulated over the years, I send you

Warm wishes on Your journey!
Nance

The Latest Moments as Time Flies By

Goodness, I’ve let the trials and tribulations of life get in my way.  It’s been ages since I’ve written about anything.  It’s cold, still some snow on the ground, we had carpeting issues in the house, and there are changes at my church that are weakening my connection and therefore the support I’ve relied upon while I go through my life change due to my severe sensitivity to synthetic fragrance chemicals.  Oh, and I tried going dairy free, and cut back on gluten as well, thinking it might help with my fragrance sensitivity, but this just made me feel deprived.   But hey–only two more weeks till spring! Even though this seems like it’s been a long winter, it also feels like “wow! it’s almost over already!!”  I recently read an explanation of why time flies by as you get older.  Wish I could give credit for this, but I read so many things (love that internet!) that I can’t remember what site I saw it on.  If you know, would you let me know?

The article, that I’m soooo ad libbing, talked about being a little kid, and how when you’re 5 or 10 years old, a month is a long time.  Remember how summer break seemed to last forever and you were actually glad to be going back to school because you were so bored?  If not, you had a lot of planned events in your life!  I didn’t.  My summers consisted of pretty much just gardening and housework, riding my bike and playing with the neighbor kids, running through the sprinklers and reading books.  Oh, and the 2 week vacation that I could hardly wait to get home from because we drove everywhere for a gazillion hours, and I couldn’t read or I’d get carsick.  No portable DVD players back then.  And very little TV time either, when we were home, because there wasn’t much to watch.  No world wide web either.  Ok,  I’m talking about back in the dark ages.

So here’s the thought process:  Around age 35, time starts getting away from you.  When you’re 55, that month zooms by quickly.  When you’re 75, I hear it zooms past seemingly in the blink of an eye.  Here’s the rationale–it’s all in regards to ratios.  When you’re 5, a month is 1/60 of your entire existence outside your mother’s womb.  When you’re 35, that month is 1/420 of your life, 55 = 1/660 of you being here, and so on.  As you get older, that month is just a drop in a really big measuring cup, if you’re lucky enough to live a long time.  We’re also busier living our lives, as we get older.  Have you noticed?  There are more and more things that you need to do, want to do, get asked to do, asked to participate in, expected to participate in…  When I read this article (source?????) it all seemed so logical.  Clarity hit.  And that helped me not stress as much about how time flies by.  Suddenly, that flitting time thing is just part of life, something to keep in mind and work around, but not worry about.  I’ve been semi-housebound for over a year, and was beating myself up about how I haven’t “accomplished” much of anything.  Other than reconnecting with my creative side as well as nature, making a stronger home base, finding out who my true friends are, discovering healthier alternatives in our synthetic (fake) world, working on getting healthier and fit, and getting caught up on my sleep.  Well, that’s a lot when you break it down!

I’ve officially begun disability retirement.  That’s what they call it when you can’t teach anymore due to health issue.  So odd, to have only taught for 10 years, but be retired.  For over a year, I was without my income in our two income household.  Thank goodness we had decent savings and retirement accounts to draw from.  It was scary for a while, watching new withdrawals occurring from those accounts for every day living.  We cut back where we were willing, always thinking this was going to miraculously improve and I could go back to work.  It really rearranged my thought process about what we really needed to buy.  I discovered how wasteful I/we had been living, even though I thought we were frugal.  I’m thinking maybe I was supposed to learn that lesson, that my comfort isn’t so dependent upon the newest, best, tastiest.  I’m discovering less costly ways to do stuff–mercy, we frittered away a lot over the years!!  And now that I’m “retired,” we can breathe a bit easier, be a bit less stressed about money, yet utilize the skills of living more simply.

My liaison at the school system retirement program said the supervisor didn’t hesitate signing my request, as I had many doctors confirming my status and my “story” was so sad.  Wow–my story is sad according to a supervisor with authority who’s seen it all.  This actually helped me a lot, because I recognized that the sadness of this saga wasn’t just in my head, like a pity party.  It’s for real.   You know, it’s still hard to wrap my head around the fact that the sophomore girls who intentionally sprayed my classroom to make me have a allergic reactions so they wouldn’t have to do homework (!) or take tests (!) or take finals (!) were never brought to the light, and will always know that they caused a life altering health issue in my life.  Do you think they’ll remember with the glee that I saw other students boast about “breaking” a teacher??  Bet they will.  Maybe not all of them, but most of them.  Here’s something–there’s another plan for me that I don’t know about yet.  Still opening up to find out what that is…

All those moments really do matter as they’re pieces of the whole.  And Happiness IS the Journey, not the Destination, after all.  (One of my mantras that I keep forgetting about, ironically!!  So my framed version is now sitting next to my desk, eye level.)  Remember this as you wonder where your time goes.  And remember to do the important stuff in life, not just the time wasters.

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With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

Fall, From My Viewpoint

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Fall.  What a glorious season.  Friends tell me this season makes them melancholy because it’s the “death” season.  ohmygoodness–what a beautiful way to go!  Stunning colors everywhere.  I sincerely think this was one of the most gorgeous falls I’ve witnessed.  I mean STUNNING.

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This lone leaf caught my eye and touched my soul.  It’s not very large, compared to most of the leaves, but my eye was caught by the intensity of the vivid coloring as it hid amongst the other leaves that hadn’t found their final burst of color before falling to carpet the ground.

Not only did they carpet the ground, but there was also a warm orange glow coming through the windows in the room next to this Sugar Maple.  Yes, a glorious fall…

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This angel is wonderfully precious, as it strokes a tiny bird with love and kindness, and is also incredibly special.  It was my mother’s day present from my preschool son, who recently turned 14.  He and I wandered through garden centers, looking for just the right little statue.  And here it is, ten years later, surrounded by the splendor of fall, still emanating the gentle spirit I see in my son.

Rather than feeling melancholy, I’m inspired to enjoy the season.  Time for sweaters, and stews and soups and snuggles in front of the fireplace… And don’t forget the baking!  Even though many of the trees are now bare, some trees are continuing to be colorful, and some, like my pear tree, still have green leaves.  This reminds me that things happen when they’re supposed to, not when we expect it.  I’ve still got the hyper-sensitivity to fragrance, still learning how to cope in this artificially scented world, and still don’t know what my “purpose” is now that I can’t teach high school.  Someday I’ll be privy to this information.  In the meantime, my job is to be open to the journey, enjoying the stunning beauty in this world.  And to remember that the moments matter.

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With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

 

The Swooping of a Red Tailed Hawk

Ohmyword. Sitting at my desk, which is next to a floor to ceiling window, I was privy to a red tailed hawk swooshing down from our roof, gliding across my yard and the street, where it swoop-landed on the roof of the house across the way. It took a short flight to go up further onto the peak, where it then spread it’s tail feathers broadly, precisely as I wondered what kind of hawk it was. No question–a gorgeous red tail was flashed for my eyes. Then it turned it’s head and looked back toward me. “Yes,” I mentally communicated. “I saw you, and I thank you for your visit. And you have a beautiful red tail.” ohmygoodness, I still haven’t caught my breath. The primal instinct to be afraid as a large bird of prey plunges in front of you, followed by the exultation of the glory of such a beautiful creature give quite a rush.

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red tailed face

I’m drawn to red tailed hawks, and have been my whole life. According to the Legends of America site, http://www.legendsofamerica.com/na-totems2.html that I use to understand the Native American meanings of wild life sightings, hawks represent a messenger, intuition, victory, healing, nobility, recollection, cleansing, visionary power, and guardianship. Wowza–no wonder I love them so much.

Much of the representation connects. I’m not sure about the messenger part, although it could relate to this blog. I consider myself quite intuitive as I’ll sense something, and then have it confirmed far too often to be coincidental. The victory would be if I’m finally experiencing healing from my hyper sensitivity to synthetic fragrances. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve started NAET treatment, “a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine,” according to the site at http://www.naet.com . That would also totally relate to cleansing. Nobility, recollection, visionary power? Not sure. Nor with guardianship. There is another connection with that one, though.

Due to this window in the study, my dogs have a wonderful view of the cul de sac we live on. Gracie Jane and Spencer sometimes go ballistic as runners go by, or if people are out walking their dogs. The latest thrill for them is a marmalade cat, whom I’ve named Marmie and have decided is a female. She likes to sit under the shrubs outside the window, paws tucked under her body, just chillin’. Marmie looks very content out there, until they spot her. Then she scowls at the fiercely barking dogs as they try to protect their home from this awful intruder, pulling her feet out from under so she can take off quickly if need be. I’ll usually close the lower blinds so the dogs can’t see her and she can hang out, undisturbed. I like having Marmie around. She’ll dart away if I try to get close to her, and she doesn’t live with any of my immediate neighbors. I’m not thinking she’s feral, as Marmie doesn’t have that skinny, wild-eyed look I think of with feral cats. Here’s the connection I was talking about before. Cats represent guardianship, detachment, sensuality, mystery, magic, and independence, according to Legends of America. hmmm. She was my animal connection the last three days. Now today, I have a hawk. The overlapping representation is guardianship. hmmm. Wonder what the universe is going to show me next??

Isn’t life grand?? All these moments–they matter. Focus on them, be present in the present.

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

Hand-Me-Downs

Hand-me-downs vary in families. The best hand-me-downs I personally have are two of my mom’s recipe books.  I also have some old family photos which are very wonderful representations of the early 1900’s and family. But, honestly, the recipe books are more special. In one of the books are some yellowed handwritten recipe cards. I’d recognize her handwriting anywhere. She’d always swirl her hand above the paper to get into the “rhythm” of writing before the pen touched the paper. She said that’s how they were all taught to write. Mercy–cursive isn’t even taught in most schools anymore. It’s becoming a lost skill, with most things done on electronics with a keyboard. (whoa–that makes me sound old!!!) There are also newspaper clippings, golden with age, taped in that book. The tape is an even more vivid yellow-orange and curls a bit, the stickiness of it having dried out a long time ago.

The other cookbook I have was her favorite: The American Woman Cook Book, published in 1942.  I can’t remember who she said gave it to her, but it was a big deal, getting it around her second anniversary with my dad. The binding has come apart a bit, the edges of the cover are frayed. There are little spatters on the pages of the favored recipes. The very best part isn’t a recipe, though.  It’s her collection of four-leaf clovers.  She could spot one quick as a wink.  She’d make this tiny squeal and would swoop down to pluck it off the plant, with a beautiful smile filled with delight. And she’d say something about “the luck of the Irish.” It always astounded me. My mom, who wasn’t exactly proud of being half Irish, would find something that unequivocally represented her heritage. Four leaf clover represent a Celtic charm, (spell,) and were thought to provide magical protection, warding off bad luck. As a young girl, I bought her a special magnet with a four leaf clover hermetically sealed in resin. That magnet now has a special spot on my refrigerator door. In my early teens, she bought me a clover charm for my charm bracelet; a tiny four-leaf clover in a sphere. Sadly, it cracked and we had to discard it. I never thought until just now how clover, my mom, and I have a special connection. Funny thing is that I never can find one with four leaves in a patch of clover. Wonder how she did it…

There are nine four-leaf clovers on that first page of the table of contents. I wish I knew when she started collecting them in there. I never thought to ask. I remember them being there when I was little, so it’s been a while. They’re all a bit faded, but still definitely green.  I feel her love the second I open the book to look at them, which I do whenever I miss my mama. Pretty wonderful hand-me-down, eh? Remember to make your moments matter. They can become a hand-me-down without us even realizing it…

2014-09-11 Mom's 4 leaf clover 001

With warm wishes on your journey,
Nance

Simplifying My Mind, Home and Life

I was with my dear friend, Mary, and she asked me why I haven’t posted lately.  Guess I need to cross that bridge, get back into the habit, come out of my healing shell, and proceed.

Seen while on an adventure with Mary

Seen while on an adventure with Mary

I partially blame lack of posts due to the distraction of having my 13 year old home with me during his summer break.  He needs me to entertain him more now than when he was a baby or toddler or preschooler.  Or even a grade-schooler!!   Just opposite of what I had imagined when he was little!  Having not worked since mid-January put a screeching halt on cash flow.  And most fun summer camps cost money.  Oh, and then there’s the matter of my injured foot, which still isn’t completely healed, but doing much better, as I posted yesterday.  That, too, limited the fun adventures we’d planned for the summer break, using up a teen’s extra energy, allowing me some uninterrupted writing time.  But, it’s truly not his fault that I’m easily distracted!

I also haven’t been writing because I needed to do some major introspection.  What direction am I headed, what plan does the universe hold for me, how can I be whole again?  I still don’t have the “big” answers, but I’m a bit clearer with my path.  I’m still having issues with my fragrance sensitivity, and have expanded my reactions to include anxiety attacks.  I’m understandably anxious when I go ANYWHERE.  I mean, jeepers, I still have to carry an Epi-pen, so I’m not completely safe from anaphylactic shock.  Some scents still make my face and eyes burn, albeit no hives are showing.  This is new and disappointing–I had about three weeks where I wasn’t even getting the burn.  Oh mercy, I was hopeful.  SO hopeful.  The return of the burn means the meds aren’t protecting me 100%.  Question is what might trigger a severe reaction, how much might trigger, and how long will these meds actually work?  I feel anxious when I see someone who may not be safe for me to be around because they SMELL NICE.  When I’m in public and I smell fragrance, I mentally stop to explore if there’s a reaction happening due to that scent.  Or if there’s a burning sensation, I have to scope out where the source is.  That kinda hampers socializing.  Tough for a social butterfly.

I had a melt down a few Sundays ago because my dearest hubby mowed the yard, then sprayed his legs and arms with window cleaner he had stored in his car trunk.  This is to prevent poison ivy rash, just in case he’d been exposed.  My eyes burned pretty badly when he walked past, and I thought it was just grass “stuff” bothering me. (I can’t mow or my eyes swell.) (Yes, I’m allergic to grasses too.)  Then I smelled it.  Window cleaner.  ohmygoodness.  I wasn’t even safe in my own home.  Freak-out!!  He went and washed it off, and the reaction didn’t get any worse than badly burning eyes.  But still, that was really scary.  I’ve been working on cognitive behavior therapy, trying to retrain my brain to not go bonkers when I’m feeling threatened.  Think about this–if I’m possibly going into an allergic reaction and I stress out, the stress then exacerbates my reaction.  Not good.  Allergist suggested I go on anti-anxiety meds.  No!!  Not more medicine!  So, I’m trying to simplify my brain, unlearn my panic reactions, stay calmer, and create a more peaceful and healing environment in my head.  It’s a slow process.

I’ve started treatment using NAET.  An explanation from the NAET.com website:  “Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques, also known as NAET, are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.”  When I looked this up to share on here, I also saw that there’s success with treating Autism disorders.  Wowza!  I have so many friends whose children are somewhere on the spectrum.  Could this be a real live solution??

I’m also working toward simplifying our home, collecting stuff for our garage sale we’re having toward the end of September.  There are still several places in the house that need purging, boxes that need emptying, stuff that needs sorting.   Sometimes I chastise myself for how little I’ve accomplished over the summer break, disappointed in myself for not getting more done.  Then I step back, realize that there are many projects I’m closer to completing, things I have finished, goals that are within reach, and growth that I’ve accomplished.  And then I recognize that I’m chugging along, like the Little Engine That Could.  (One of my favorite childhood stories.)  Maybe not as fast as others, but I’m not them.  And I’m trying to make the moments matter, because, remember, they really do.

With warm regards on your journey,

Nance  

Natural pedi

I saw this article a while back and just happened upon it today, thinking “my, how apropos!”

http://www.organicgardening.com/living/naturally-great-pedicure

This TOTALLY goes with both of my life issues right now–my injured foot and the need to avoid chemicals due to hyper sensitivity.  Both of these health issues have altered my life greatly this year.  GREATLY altered.  I’m not the same person I was.  But, that’s supposed to be ok, as I’m “working on it.”  Back in May, I stumbled on some spiky seed pods from Sweet Gum trees, breaking a tiny spur off the side of my foot, and consequently disengaging the tendon that attaches there.  Dr. said the tendon has reattached (Ohmygoodness YAY!!) but the bone chips and end of bone haven’t healed properly, causing continuing pain and swelling.  oh crudbuckets.  So, we ordered a metal insert for my shoe, preventing it from flexing at all.  I’ve got an odd gait, and it throws off my hips a bit, (hello chiropractor,) but if this prevents me from having surgery that is more likely to not fix things, I can tolerate it.  After all, it’s been 18 1/2 weeks of a clunky boot, an awkward brace, a metal insert for my shoe, pain and discomfort.  That was May 9th, by the way.  Today is September 9th.  No wonder I feel like I lost my summer!!!  (And if you want to look back at the post where I shared the picture of the original boot and a seed pod example, it was on May 17th.)  (Mercy that was along time ago.)

I’m going to the podiatrist in a couple of hours to find out the status of my left foot.  So, in honor of and hoping for good news, I’m going to give myself a lovely pedi.  You know, pamper myself a bit.  You should too–having well-groomed feet is such a nice thing to happen upon when you take your socks off or look down at something on the floor next to your naked foot.  Even my dear hubby has recently discovered this truth, after 15+ years of watching me get and give myself pedi’s.

Remember, the moments matter!  All the little things that make life incredible, important, exciting, beautiful.  I’ve fallen off that way of thinking all summer.  Time to get back on that train and enjoy my journey through life.  With pretty feet.

And here are the pedi'd feet.

And here are the pedi’d feet.

Warm wishes on your journey,

Nance

Toxic “Beauty” Products

I received this incredible post from mindbodygreen.com with a video from EWG, (Environmental Working Group,) that’s right up my alley concerning chemicals in products we use on our bodies.

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14369/why-beauty-products-are-toxic-what-you-can-do-about-it-heather-white.html

I hope this helps improve the awareness of how insane the situation is that we’re in the middle of.  Watch, get informed and pass the word.

With warm wishes on your journey,

Nance