Monday, December 28, 2009

Made it through the Christmas holiday

Here it is December 28th. I have officially made it through Christmas and all is well. I decided not tell Little #3 the truth about Santa. It just didn't feel like the right time. Even though I am not Christian, I enjoyed the Christmas that my family celebrates. This year I did something different. I finally celebrated the Winter Solstice with my family and it was a very magical night. I was very touched by the way the rest of my family joined me in the celebration.

I am often asked by the Littles what my favorite part of Christmas is and I often struggle to come up with something, but this year I knew absolutley what it was. My favorite part of Christmas was having all 6 of my Littles home.

I know that that sounds like an obvious answer. Why wouldn't that always be my favorite thing? But it hasn't always been the case. I have, in the past, very rarely allowed myself to enjoy much at this time of the year. I am usually in the midst of a dark time of the soul. Winter blues for me are more like winter blacks. Sometimes having all the Littles together became overwhelming with all the bickering and selfish behavior. What changed?

I did. I let go of bickering and selfish behavior and I believe that it helped the Littles to do the same. I feel warmer and more loving. I don't know if all the Littles would agree with this, but I have been evolving into what feels like a much more accepting mother. I don't find myself trying to put those that I love into a mold. And that includes myself. I have let myself free. I feel as though I am finally allowing myself to be the person I see in the mirror, instead of resisting that person and trying to make her smarter, prettier, kinder, etc..

I made a new friend this year. That friend is me. I have always agreed that you need to love yourself before you can fully love others. I could just never do it. I had to be ready to love me. It took me till I was 42, but I am finally there. I like who I am becoming. There are a few things that I still need to change. But they are not so big that they have an impact on my new friendship. I will gently help myself to accomplish the personal goals I have set for me. Maybe in 2010 I'll share those personal goals. I'm not sure I can yet.

So Christmas has come and gone and I am surrounded by a blanket of white outside. It is beautiful here in Minnesota. I am not feeling suffocated and dark as I usually do at this time. I may still face the winter blues, but I am ready. I am prepared to let the blues in for a tad, if they come a calling. Today the hardest things I have to deal with are getting my house in order for a New Year's Eve party and saying goodbye to Not-so-Little #1. She will be moving in with her dad for a few months. She will still be in MN, but not as close by.

She is going to get a break from her life. She needs to change some behaviors that have left her feeling like her life is going nowhere. I hope that she can take this break and get to know herself and love herself for the beautiful soul that she is. I have been where she is. I have had my spirit in captivity like she does. It is my wish for her that she is able to set hers free also. I don't know if she will accomplish this in 6 months time. Maybe she has no intention of changing and is just trying to escape for a bit till the smoke clears. Whatever she does or doesn't do really is up to her. I love her no matter who she is.

This coming year is going to be one filled with trials for me. Not-so-Little #1 trying to make a change, Not-so-Little #2 becoming a daddy and enlisting in the Army, and the decision to keep the Littles in school or bring them back home. These will all happen sometime in 2010. Along with the other trials that I have no idea about. I'm ready. I'm confident that no matter what comes my way, I will be ok.

I hope that the holidays have been merry & bright for all of you whether you celebrate or not. I also hope that 2010 comes to you with open arms and wraps you in a warm hug. See you next year.

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Here is what I DO know

There was a time in my life when I needed to know it all. During this time, any little drama or change in routine would put me into a tail spin. I hated not being in control and not knowing what was going to happen next or what other people were thinking. It made me feel small and insecure. Not knowing meant I was stupid and less than. I would often turn to others to protect me. I would look to others to bring me peace of mind.

I had no idea that all I really needed to do was look within and embrace the Divine. I simply needed to let things be. No answers were necessary. No protection was necessary. Peace of mind resided within. Trusting myself was all I really needed.

So what DO I know now. Not a whole lot. There are things happening in my life right now that I have no control over. There will always be things that I am powerless over. I can chose to accept things or I can chose to try to force the outcome that I desire. Forcing leads to fear and pain. Acceptance leads to peace, hope and love.

I don't know if Not-so-Little #1 is really going to go to out-patient treatment for alcohol abuse or whether she'll be able to pull herself out of the whole she's in. I don't know if Not-so-Little #2 is prepared to be a daddy or what will happen if he joins the Army like he says he wants to do. I don't know if I'm ready to be a grandmother. Those are just some of the things I don't know.

Here is what I DO know. I do know that my Not-so-Little #1 has a spirit that is waiting to shine. And when she goes within she'll find it there with open arms. I do know that Not-so-Little #2 has a ton of love in his heart for this wee little one and that he is stepping up where many 17 year olds would run away. I do know that no matter where he ends up he'll be the best dad he can be. I do know that I have enough love in my heart for a gazillion grandbabies and that love will show me how to be the best grandmother I can be.

I am comforted by what little I actually know. I am happy not being a know-it-all. I love just letting my life happen. I am more present and I have peace of mind. My life if full and happy. Crazy happy!! Ok, right now its a bit more on the crazy side, but still happy.

Just my thoughts.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Tis the season to be...stressed?

I believe its supposed to be "Tis the season to be jolly" and I find myself a tad bit less stressed than I usually am at this time of year. I have always considered myself somewhat of a Scrooge and suffer from an over abundance of stress. I do enjoy certain things about this holiday season, but there are a couple that I find extremely annoying. So annoying that they usually over-shadow any joy that the season may bring. Santa and the idea that kids need a bunch of presents are the two biggest thorns in my side during the holidays.

I don't really remember whether I believed in Santa as a child. If I did it was short-lived. My fondest childhood Christmas memories seem to be centered around the decorations, the music, the food and, of course, the gazillion presents that surrounded our tree each year. I come from a family of 5 kids and our parents always over-extended themselves financially each Christmas. It seemed like it took us hours to finish opening all of our packages, and then the next morning our stockings would be over-stuffed with more treasures. It saddens me to think that the one thing that brought so much joy to us kids, more than likely caused strife among our parents. I have a feeling that watching the joy in our faces as we unwrapped each new gift made it seem worth it to our parents. But was it really?

I struggle each year with the urge to over-indulge the Littles. I feel guilty when there are only a few presents under the tree. I would love to be able to give them every item on their wish list. It would be easy to remedy. We could just max out a few credit cards each year and pay them off in time to do the whole thing over again the next year. I really just don't want to give the Littles the message that this time of year is only magical if you receive, receive, receive. I feel like that is the message I received. I can remember the let down when my parents finally had no choice, but to cut back. And I was an adult when that happened. So we don't over-indulge the Littles, but I do feel that we need to have a special holiday tradition to make up for the small amount of gifts they receive.

Please feel free to share whatever the holiday traditions that your family celebrates. I would love to gather ideas.

The other issue is centered around Santa. I think that this is the number one issue that turns me Scroogish. I have not liked how I feel like a liar. I don't like misleading the Littles into believing in this make-believe giver of gifts. I hate answering questions like why do my friends get things like Nintendo DS and Wii from Santa and we don't. Why do some kids get nothing from Santa? I don't even know how I responded to those questions, but I'm sure it was a lame answer. To me anything but the truth feels like a lame answer.

I remember when Not-so-Little #1 found out the truth about Santa. She was not happy with me. Not because I lied to her, but because I told her the truth. She didn't want to know. She wanted to hold on to the magic. Not-so-Little #2 was more like me, he just came to know and was fine with it. That brings me to Little #3. He is 11 years old and refuses to believe that his parents are Santa. I have never told him this and he is wise not to ask. All he ever says is that friends at school tell him that Santa is his parents and he chooses not to believe them. Is this healthy? Should I be concerned? I did overhear him tell his younger brother (who I am sure knows the truth and doesn't care) that he was afraid to ask me for the truth, because that would mean that I had lied to him. I did lie.

I am at a point where I am no longer comfortable with the Santa lie. I know that millions and millions of children are told the same thing and they are all fine, but I associate too much negativity around this fib. Yet when I watch movies like The Polar Express I am filled with the wonder and magic of the season. I get a good feeling when I see adults wearing t-shirts that say I believe in Santa. We have a wall hanging in our house that says "this house believes in Santa", and I really like the idea of holding on to a child-like wonder around the holidays. So I am conflicted as what to do. How can I be honest with the Littles, and still allow them to be filled with wonder and joy? I am really at a loss as to what to do.

Have any of you ever dealt with this conflict? Maybe you could share how you have handled it.

I know that even with these two issues I have with the holidays, this holiday will be wonderful. I know that this year the gratitude I feel for all the blessings I have in my life will be more powerful then the conflicts. I hope that no matter how you celebrate this time of year that you are filled with joy and gratitude. I hope that you are able to enjoy the simple things and not get wrapped up in the hype. Peace be to you all.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tantrums aren't just for kids anymore

Little #6 is 4 years old. Out of all my kids, she is the best tantrum thrower I have been blessed with. We experience no less than 3 tantrums from the baby Little daily. Some are short lived and some are dragged out for what feels like an eternity. She throws tantrums for the usual reasons. Not getting to do what she wants to do, having to do something she doesn't want to do, somebody touched her, somebody looked at her, nobody will play with her, somebody wants to play with her, etc., etc., etc.

Basically it comes down to the fact that just about anything will bring on a tantrum from this precious little flower. These past few days I have grown incredibly irritated by her tantrums. It is obvious to me by the amount of times each day she ends up screaming and throwing herself on the floor, that my baby Little is in a bit of a funk. It reminds me of what I'm like when I'm in a funk. How out of sync I feel and how I tend to be lacking in patience and understanding.

Yesterday I was definitely out of sync right along with baby Little. My tantrums look different from hers, however. I don't take my socks and shoes off and throw them. I don't scream. I don't start crying. Wait a minute. Yes, I do start crying and I am screaming up a storm on the inside. (But I do NOT take my socks and shoes off and throw them.) So maybe my tantrums aren't that different after all.

What led up to my tantrum yesterday? I woke up in a foul mood. I even grumbled through my meditation. Then I remembered that it was Tuesday.

Tuesday and Thursday are the days of the week that I volunteer at the Littles' school in the morning. I have grown to really dislike Tuesday and Thursday. I help out in two classes. Both of them math classes. I have always had an aversion to math. So I found it somewhat humorous that I would be asked to help out in the subject that makes me feel the most inadequate. I am no longer amused.

So I decided yesterday that I didn't want to go to school and nobody could MAKE me. I was tired of helping out in classes that made me feel stupid. The math curriculum they use is stupid and I didn't want anything to do with it. Who does math like that? I want to be a free-spirit and my spirit doesn't want to do math. Blah, blah, blah. So you see, I was really set on NOT helping out. And I didn't. I had myself so worked up that I just went in and said that I would not be available this week. I convinced myself that I just needed a week off. Then I would be ready to go back. Will I be?

I left the school in tears. Why was I crying? I had just done what I wanted to do. I had just freed myself from the clutches of 3rd & 4th grade math. Yes, that is what I said. 3rd & 4th grade math makes me feel inadequate and stupid. (I'm laughing now!!)

I know that math classes can not really make me feel inadequate and stupid. I am the only one who can do that. So what is it about these math classes that make me cringe? I can do 3rd & 4th grade math. I just can't do it the way that their curriculum teaches it. So I end up helping the kids do it the way I know how, which confuses them. So they tell me that that is not the "right" way. Then I get confused and want to raise MY hand for help from the teacher.

I guess I don't know why I allow myself to feel inadequate and stupid. I don't know why I am afraid that my kids' teachers will think less of me if I don't know how to "do" this kind of math. All I know is that it has to stop. I have to be ok with not knowing how to do it the "right" way. (Even though it is so NOT the right way)

I'm not really being completely honest here. I think I have an idea as to why I am having these feelings of inadequacy. Over the last month or so I have allowed my house to become chaotic and unorganized again. I have 2 rooms in my basement that are storing all the stuff I haven't gone through yet. I have been avoiding those rooms and it has finally gotten to the point where I can no longer put it off. My Spirit is feeling suffocated again. I don't wake up feeling Light anymore. The heaviness has returned.

So just like a 4 year old who is feeling like things are out of her control, I am feeling like things are spinning out of control and so tantrums are inevitable. I attach a lot of shame on myself when it comes to my cluttering. That shame builds up and it spreads itself out to enclose my entire Spirit.

It's time to stop throwing tantrums and stop making myself feel bad. Time to make a plan and muster up some motivation to just get started. I've been here before and I know that I can get back the Light that is missing. Time to start climbing that mountain so that I can get to the top and look down at all the majestic beauty that awaits me.

Stay tuned...

Just my thoughts.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saying nothing at all

I seriously am having a hard time getting myself to sit down and blog lately. I have always looked forward to blogging. I have always come away from a post with a good feeling. Like I had just had the an awesome conversation with a good friend. This week, however, I have struggled with initiating this conversation. I haven't taken the time to analyze this and figure out why, because I just don't feel the need to. I'm sure I could come up with all sorts of philisophical reasons why I draw a blank when I sit down, but the truth is, I just don't have anything to say.

I want this blog to be real. I want this blog to be where my truest self can have a voice. I don't want this blog to be a place where I start to create stuff so that I can come off as some uber spiritually evolving wonder woman. I've been guilty of saying what I think people want to hear in the past. When I lost 120 lbs, I would often speak in front of groups of people. The words that came out of my mouth very rarely matched what my spirit was saying inside. I was just concerned with appearances then. I had to come off as the perfect 'skinny' person. I wasn't being made to do this by anyone other than myself.

So, on Wednesday, when I sat down to blog and I struggled with what to say I just walked away. I didn't walk away frustrated. I didn't walk away thinking that I have nothing to say that would interest anyone. I simply let myself have nothing to say. I guess I don't feel obligated to blog. I love the feeling of completeness that I have when I finish a post. Even the times when I am struggling in my life, I still walk away from my posts feeling like I said what needed to be said. I don't ever want to start putting out posts that are full of shiny, happy fluff or emotionally moving gibberish.

I need to keep it real. Even if keeping it real means not saying anything. This blog has been an amazing tool in helping me lift myself up out of the hell I was living in. It has been a safe place for me to get my thoughts out of my head and heart. I cherish the time that I spend here just as I cherish the time I spend with family and friends.

I love sharing my journey towards a shiny, happy life. I love sharing the pain that life throws my way also. I really appreciate all of the bloggers out there in the blogosphere who are also keeping it real. I have learned from all of you that it is ok to share my soul here and that it is also ok to say nothing at all.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Returning to a forgotten practice

I have been thinking a lot about meditation these days. Everytime I read a blog post or an article about meditation my Spirit stirs. It's telling me that its time to begin again. It's letting me know that communing with the Divine everday is, well, divine.

There was a time about 3 years ago when I had a meditation practice every morning. It was something I did because the sponsor I had in a certain 12-step program I belonged to, told me to do it every morning. It looked like me sitting in a chair with my eyes closed and my mind racing here and there and then I would eventually just fall asleep. There was no connection with the Divine. There couldn't be. My heart was cold then and my Spirit was in captivity. I couldn't hear what my Spirit wanted because I couldn't find my Spirit. I gave up that meditation practice a little over a year ago and never tried again.

I have had brief periods of time when I would attempt to meditate to help center myself. Each time would be the same results. Mind racing, no concentration, frustration and eventually I would just give up.

Recently, however, I have been listening to my Spirit. It longs to be quiet and connect with the Divine. I even tried some of those powerful meditations that I have come across. I loved the way that I felt after each meditation, but I still struggled to turn it into a daily practice. I needed to make my own meditation practice. A meditation that I knew was tailored specifically to me. So I have created one based on what I feel the most connected to.

Here's my perfect, just for Jill, meditation practice. I get up at day break and wander outside to sit on a blanket in the woods under the biggest, oldest tree I can find. My back rests at the trunk of this wise old tree and I close my eyes and let Tree Energy connect me to the most Divine. I can feel myself becoming one with the tree, one with nature, one with Light. My Spirit and I hang out there together long enough to be filled with the energy of the Divine. Just enough energy to get me through the day, until the next day when the whole thing starts over. Perfection.

There's only one problem with this perfect meditation. I live in MN and it's freezing at day break, and I don't live in the woods. I live in town with neighbors who would love to talk about the crazy lady sitting under the tree every morning. So it appears that my perfect meditation will remain perfect if only in my mind.

Now here's how my "real" meditation looks like. I rise at 6 am and wander into the living room. Put on my meditation CD of music inspired by nature, Native American tradition and the sound of the Far East. I sit comfortably in my big comfy chair and close my eyes. I guide myself out into the woods at day break, sitting on a blanket under the biggest, oldest tree I can find. I've written about this tree here. My back is resting at the trunk of this wise old tree and I close my eyes and ask the tree to connect me to the most Divine. I can feel myself becoming one with the tree, one with nature, one with Light. My Spirit and I hang out there together long enough to be filled with the energy of the Divine. Just enough energy to get me through the day, until the next day when the whole thing starts over. Perfection.

I love my new meditation made just for me. It is just what I need to start my day off. (I used to think it was coffee that I needed) I connected with Tree Energy today without even leaving my warm home. I connected with Spirit and the Divine and I still feel connected 7 hours later.

Do you have a meditation practice? Please share if you do.

If you would like one, but struggle with knowing what to do, I would suggest you visit Janice Lynne Lundy's blog, Awake is Good. You can find her blog here. She has Meditation Mondays and I have gotten some very good meditation wisdom from her.

Happy meditating!!

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Leaving the darkness

Have you ever wanted to leave a place so bad it hurts? I am having a hard time shaking this sadness that has overcome me. I have to say that since I started feeling this way, today is probably the worst day. I keep hearing my mind saying over and over that I need to get out of this place. The only problem is that I don't know what this "place" is. Is it this home, this town or this darkness that I have wandered into?

So I have to look at all three of the "places" that I may want to leave. My home has always been a sore spot for me. Ever since we moved here I have struggled with making it feel like my home. I have struggled with keepig the clutter down and even though I went through a major decluttering it still feels like I am being suffocated. Phase 2 of my decluttering needs to be started, but I feel as though I don't have the strength to begin right now. There is one thing about living in this house that I would miss and that is my backyard. All the trees and the birds and the other wildlife that occasionally visit make my Spirit shine. I would miss them greatly.

That brings me to the second "place". The town I live in. I have never liked or felt like a part of this community. Honestly, there is one thing that keeps me here, and that is the fact that Mr. Man owns a business here. He takes great pride in this business and I will always fully support his decision to live here. I have been here for a little over 13 years and I still don't feel like I fit in anywhere. I struggle with a lack of spiritual community. I want to share my spiritual journey with others, but I see all the intolerance for people who are "different" and I am unable to be myself because of it. I do have 3 friends here in town who I feel I can be myself with and I am thankful for their friendships. I don't spend a lot of time with them, but I know I could at any time. I feel safe with these three fabulous women and that makes my spirit shine also. Someday I will feel strong enough to show my true self to others too, but right now I don't feel secure in doing that. I guess its time for me to step out of myself and reach out to the people who will let me be me.

So now I must face the third "place" that I may need to leave. This darkness that has surrounded me. Of course I need to leave it. I guess the question that is in my mind is whether I can leave it behind or if it is here because I am in these other two "places". Am I feeling this pain because I am making myself be in physical places that my Spirit longs to leave? Or am I wanting to leave these "places" because the darkness is trying to keep me stuck in sadness? Am I even making any sense?

Depression has come knocking at my door and it is really muddling up my mind, but I am still very aware that my Spirit has a voice and I am listening ever so carefully. It is easy to distinguish my Spirit's voice from this darkness. My Spirit speaks softly and lovingly and this darkness is always yelling at me. Sometimes its hard to hear the soft voice over all the yelling.

I have a choice here. I can continue to allow this dark friend to stick around or I can finally send it packing. I do believe that the choice is mine. However, I may need some help in getting rid of the darkness. For one, I need to start up my Vitamin D again. I can also go pick up some nice herbal tea. I can reach out to my friends and see about having a girls day. I can go back to my on-line communities of Facebook and Twitter. I can get Phase 2 of decluttering underway. I can start exploring my spirituality again. I can stop keeping my Spirit and my True Self hidden from those around me. I have a choice. The choice to be free or the choice to be held in captivity. I've got experience with both.

I'm getting out of this "place". This dark "place" that is sucking the life out of me. I've been here long enough now. I may have needed to be here, but my sentance has been served and now it is time to be freed. Good bye my dark friend. I'm sure you'll be back some day, but for now it is time to part ways. It is time for me to join the living once again.

I am giving my Sprit a warm hug and I am extending a warm hug out to all of you who may struggle with the darkness. It is a sad and scary place to be, but it doesn't have to be a lifetime sentance. Reach out to family and friends in anyway that you can. Don't forget to reach "in" to your Spirit and let it gently guide you out of the darkness. It is there to help. My love is pouring out to all of you who read this. I am grateful to you all.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Knowing when to stay down

A friend of mine whom I haven't seen in a while has reappeared in my life. I have had a rocky relationship with this friend. We have never gotten along and I always ended up feeling like less of person when they were around. I have one memory of this friend coming to visit and leaving me curled up in a ball crying uncontrollably. Have you had a friend like that? Someone you spend a lot of time with, but usually end up wishing they would just go away.

I ended my relationship with this friend a number of years ago. I just decided that I had had enough and that I would be better off if we were apart. Surprisingly, my friend willing ended our relationship. I suppose there were plenty of other people that this friend could torture.

There have been a number of times in the past few years that this friend has attempted to re-enter my life. Never showing their face, but always standing in the background watching me. I was usually able to ignore their presence. There were rare moments when we would actually have contact and I would spend the next 24 hours feeling miserable.

So this friend has come into my life once again and this time they are not just standing in the background. This time we are spending a lot of time together. As a matter of fact, my friend is here with me as I write this post. Holding my hand. Helping me to say what I need to say. My friend has taught me that sometimes when you get knocked down its ok to just stay there. Its ok to wrap myself up in a blanket and stay there for a few days. I have learned from my friend that when Mr. Man asks me what he can do to make me feel better, that its ok to tell him that there is nothing he needs to do to make me feel better. That I just need to be down until its time to get up again. I have learned that when my friend knocks me down, it only makes it worse when I jump up kicking and screaming. The fighting only makes my friend hang on even tighter.

I have no idea how long my friend and I will be together this time. This friend used to stay for months at a time, giving me a few short weeks of a break, before returning. My guess is that this will be a short stay. We are helping each other through a hard time right now. My friend is supporting me through the events in my life which have become too big to cope with, and I am supporting my friend with the realization that I am no longer afraid. I am no longer afraid to spend time with this friend who used to terrify me.

I won't tell you my friends name. I'm pretty sure that a lot of you have spent time with this friend too. Maybe you can relate to what I'm saying. Maybe you feel like I should just kick this friend to the curb and get up and get on with life. I will get up. I will be my bright and shiny self again. I will get back into life. But for today, I am wrapped up in a blanket of sadness. Every once in a while I will peek my head out to see how it feels out there. I know that I can fold the blanket up at any time and put it away, but right now it feels like I just need to stay down for a bit longer. I'll let you know when I'm ready to get up again.

Just my thoughts

Monday, October 26, 2009

Rest in peace, Angel Kitty

This is a picture of our beautiful kitty, Angel. Angel came to us in October of 1999. We didn't go looking for a pet, she found us. Just showed up on my deck and never left. She was so little and helpless. Not-So-Little #1, who was 11 at the time, begged me to keep her. I knew that Mr. Man would never go for it. He grew up on a farm and cats belonged outside in the barn, not in the house. I knew he would never agree to keeping her, but I was falling in love with this angel kitty. He agreed that she could stay in the garage until we could locate her owner. Of course no owner turned up because this kitty came to us so that we could be her owner. Mr. Man was adamant about her staying in the garage, but it was October and it was getting cold outside. Not-So-Little #1 pleaded with Mr. Man to let Angel just stay in her bedroom at night, because no cat should suffer through MN winter evenings in a garage. Mr. Man once again, rather begrudgingly, agreed. Angel worked her magic and eventually made it into the house, and even though he would never admit to this, into the heart of Mr. Man. So we were adopted by this beautiful kitty.

Last evening I had to do something that I hope to never have to do again. I had to have my beautiful Angel Kitty euthanized. Unbeknownst to me, she developed Kidney Disease, and by the time I realized how ill she was it was too far along. My heart broke into a million little pieces last night. Today I sit here with so many thoughts running through my head that it is spinning. Why didn't I know she was that sick? How could I not see how much weight she had lost? Are my two oldest Littles blaming me? Am I blaming me? Did I do the right thing? Should I have tried to prolong her life? Why don't I have more pictures of her? And on, and on, and on.

The Littles are all sad and confused. When I left with the kitty she was just going to the doctor, why is she gone now? They didn't even get to say goodbye. None of the Littles wanted to go to school today, so they are home with me. We all need each others company. I don't think I could make it through this day without my family. I am being blessed with a never ending supply of hugs. I don't know if they are searching for hugs for themselves or giving me the hugs because they think I need them. It really doesn't matter. I just need the closeness of my beloved Littles today. They are all sitting in the living room watching cartoons right now. I am glad that they are able to laugh a little. Their giggles are comforting to me. I am not ready to giggle yet, but I will be. The sun is shining here today, but my heart is surrounded by dark clouds. I just need to sit in my grief and cherish the memories that Angel left imprinted in my soul. And because it will warm her heart, I am going to bake cookies with Little #5. She turned 8 yesterday, and is sad that her kitty died on her birthday.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Is this craziness or freedom? Hmmm....

It's Wednesday and the one day a week that I designate to posting here. I have to say that it has been an awesome week. My level of joy has been off the charts. I love times like this. When everything seems energizing and fresh. There is no hint of the cold weather blahs that usually strike me when the days turn cloudy and rainy. My last post really brought me to a higher level of the freedom that my Spirit longs for.

I'm sitting here typing and re-typing my thoughts. I can't seem to find the words to explain what has happened to me since last Wednesday. It's not that I don't know what happened, it's more of a fear of sounding absolutely bonkers. Let me just say that my Spirit manifested itself to me in a way that I have never experienced before. As I lay in bed last Wednesday I was surrounded by a swirling mist of energy and brief flashes of light. I know, it sounds crazy. You know how I know that its not crazy, because I was also filled with an overwhelming sense of peace and serenity. Crazy doesn't feel peaceful and serene. I've felt crazy before. Crazy feels scary and heavy. This isn't being crazy, it's being free.

Was I sleeping? I have no idea. I don't think so, but I guess it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that I received a message that night. Not just any message. This was a Divine message to me from me. I saw all the happiness and joy that lives in my heart. It wanted to play. It wants me to play. It wants me to let down all those barriers that seem to creep back up every time I knock them down.

Every time I post an entry here, I am energized and renewed. I am filled with hope and happiness. Even when I have dealt with painful, painful life experiences I always feel hopeful after I blog about it. I received a comment on my last post from a fellow blogger that stressed the importance of having people or things to keep us grounded. I had never thought of that before. My blog definitely keeps me grounded. It is my chance to let my Spirit talk. Besides that eye-opening comment, I also had my little blog mentioned by two other bloggers that I admire greatly. Humility once again reached out and touched me this week. I have been greatly inspired by other bloggers. If I can inspire someone with my thoughts like that, well, then I know that I'm doing something good here.

Thank you all for visiting here. Please feel free to leave a comment and introduce yourself to me if you haven't already. I appreciate this whole blogging community that exists. I am so lucky to have found my voice here.

Just my thoughts.

Oh, one more thing. My joy and playfulness has rubbed off on Mr. Man this week also. He has joined me in a more carefree lifestyle. He is being uncharacteristically playful. He is also telling me what his needs are. Also uncharacteristic behavior for him. I think he feels safe now. He knows that his wants and needs are just as important as mine and the kids. He is stepping out of his comfort zone and liking it. He told me today that he may not be completely free today, but that he will be. How awesome is that?

Are you free today? If not, will you be?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Humility is a gift

Tonight the Littles and I are going to have a movie watching marathon. They don't have school for four days and so we are staying up late and just having fun. As I sit here watching them watching some Disney Channel show I am amazed at the smiles on their faces. They are not just mindlessly staring at the tv, like I am warned that they will be if they watch too much tv. They are fully engaged in this particular movie. So I am attempting to watch tv like a child. I am attempting to do things like a child for the next four days. I have a tendency to get too serious and I think I come off gruff to my kids at times.

So I'll be putting myself out there to them and letting my hair down. This is actually going to be hard for me to do. I talk a lot about living joyfully, but it seems like lately I have been thinking joyfully, but not really living that way. In my mind, I'm having a blast. In real life, not so much. I still wonder what other parents will think of me. I wonder what my kids teachers think of me. I wonder what my own friends and family think of me. I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

I'm cheating myself. I'm keeping myself on a short leash. Not letting go completely. Even as I type this, I hear myself saying things like, "But you can't be joyful ALL the time." "You have to show the kids how a responsible adult behaves." "You don't want to embarrass Mr. Man by acting child-like."

Here's my free-spirited answers to these thoughts. Who says I can't be joyful ALL the time? If being a responsible adult means I can't live joyfully, then I guess I don't want to be a responsible adult, nor do I want to teach my children how to be one. I may embarrass Mr. Man sometime, but he'll survive and maybe even decide that a joyful life is worth the embarrassment.

All I know for sure is that lately I have been acting a lot like the kind of people that I tend to complain about. The parent who pushes their child to fit in. The busy body gossip that likes to hear what everyone else is up to. Passing judgement on those who judge others. All of this was brought to my attention a couple of days ago. I don't even know how I came to see this ugly truth about me. I guess it was just Divinely revealed to me. With the revelation came a big dose of humility. If you ever have the opportunity to get your hands on a dose of humility I highly recommend taking it. It was just what I needed.

I needed to see all of these truths about myself. I want to let go of the truths that don't serve me. Humility used to feel like humiliation. I used to feel that being humbled was a sign of weakness. I see now that humility is actually a blessing. Its a gift from the Divine to get me ever closer to being the free-spirited woman that I know that I am meant to be.

So I am looking forward to spending the next 4 days learning how to be the free-spirited person that I want to be from some people who already are. My Littles.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

What I'm grateful for today

I'm feeling a whole bunch of gratitude today. So all this post is going to be is me being grateful. As a matter of fact, I'm going to just make a list. If you don't care to know what I am grateful for, I have one request. Don't just leave, but take a look at the blogs in my list of 'Other people's thoughts I like to read'. The list is getting pretty extensive, but these are all people that I am grateful for. These are all people who are putting themselves out there into the blogosphere and I have benefited in some way from each and everyone of them. So please take a look at one or two and if you leave a comment, tell them I sent you because they all need to know how important their blogs are.

Back to my list. In no particular order, here's where my gratitude sits today.

Mr. Man
All the Littles and the Not-So-Littles
My 2 brothers and 2 sisters
Mother Earth
my spirituality
all of the Sacred Texts and the guidance they have provided for so many
Divine Guidance
learning how to let go
My in-laws (sorry Mr. Man, but this isn't always the case)
My home
That Mr. Man's business has not been affected by this economy
My awesome set of outrageously expensive knives (everyone needs to have a set of outrageously expensive knives, right?)
My kitty, Angel
My comfy chair that I am curled up on right now
the shining sun
the colorful fall leaves that always seem to be singing to me in the wind
cool Fall nights
the rain (just not everyday)
Vitamin D
music of all types
dancing of all types
beautiful photography
beautiful poetry
my blog
all the blogs I follow
the internet
running water
My fabulous friends
clothes on my back
food on my table
toys for the Littles to play with (when I'm not tripping over them)
the love that is ever present in my home
that all the Littles feel safe and loved
that I am not letting resentment and fear separate me from Not-so-little #1
that I am learning what my boundaries are and honoring them
that I am happy being overweight, but willing to make some healthy changes
my beautiful, shiny spirit
your beautiful, shiny spirits
for finding my voice and letting it be heard
for being a Shiny Wanderer on this journey to being a free-spirited woman
that the Twins are playing the Yankees in the playoffs. Go Twins!!!
Wii's and Playstations
that Little #6 is independent and strong-willed
all the art work that Little #5 makes for me and her incredible sunshiny smiles
that Little #4 is so caring and doesn't give up easily
that Little #3 just doesn't care what others think
that Not-so-little #2 is turning into a responsible young man
that Not-so-little #1 is not in jail (sorry, that is what I am truly grateful for)
my quiet time in the morning

So there's the short list. I could have kept going. There was a time when I had a hard time coming up with 3 daily gratitudes. I didn't know how to be grateful. I'm pretty sure that I didn't act grateful either and if I did it was not authentic.

Today my gratitude seems to be carrying me through some frustrations. I'm letting my Spirit remind me that I have so much to be grateful for and that it's time to stop feeling cheated. Now that I have allowed gratitude into my soul I am sure of these three things.

All that was, is over.
All that can be, will.
All that is, is good.

Do you have a gratitude list? What would be at the top?

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Peaceful decisions

"Let it be a peaceful decision." This was some sage advice I received today from my dear friend M. I find myself once again playing with the idea of taking up homeschooling the Littles. I have a tendency to feel compelled to make huge life-changing decisions when I'm in the middle of an emotional upheaval. I have no idea why I do this, but it has always been a vice of mine. I suppose it was that bully that used to reside inside of me. Who always seemed to make sure that I didn't feel good in my own skin. That bully that used to lead me from person to person in order to find the right answer to my constantly changing life questions. I never used to just listen to what my heart wanted. I didn't trust myself to make decisions. I had to have all of my decisions affirmed and reaffirmed by the people in my life. My decisions were never anything like peaceful.

So when I read those words, "Let it be a peaceful decision", in my friends message today I heard a very quiet voice inside of me say "yes, let it be a peaceful decision." What is a peaceful decision? Peaceful decisions come from the heart. They come from the spirit. There is no anxiety attached to a peaceful decision. A peaceful decision just flows. It just happens.

I know why I want to homeschool again. It's not because the Littles hate school. They are actually happy to be in school. It's not that they hate homework. Sure they complain a bit, but there are no tears falling on their faces. I'm the one who hates school. I'm the one who hates homework. I'm the one who wishes that she could be free from the clutches of the Dept. of Education and their ridiculous standards. I'm the one who hates being in the car 80+ minutes a day driving them to school and home again. I'm the one with tears falling on my face.

It all sounds very selfish and childish, but I have every right to feel the way I do. What I don't have a right to do is make a decision that could possibly harm one or more of my precious Littles. Every decision that is made is followed by consequences. Some of the consequences are good and some could be bad. I used to make decisions with no thought of what the consequences could be for others. As long as I was happy then it was a good choice. I can no longer make those kinds of decisions. Those are not peaceful decisions.

So I will not decide today whether or not the Littles will come home. I will also not try to force a balance that may not be possible. I can just let things flow. I can let things just happen. I will continue on with the things that I dislike, not because I don't deserve to be happy, but because I deserve to decide for myself what will work and what absolutely will not. I know that I may have this aversion to all things schooly because I am still smarting from the drama of Not-So-Little #1 and from losing my sister to 18 hours of highway.

For me to make any decisions right now would be anything but peaceful. Thank you, my dear friend M, for offering your comforting words and for the wisdom that I received. I am blessed to have such wise friends.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Embrace this pain, and it will not linger.

I live a blessed life. I believe that all of our lives are blessed if we are open to receiving such blessings. I am open to this type of life, but I still have pains that I have to live with. I still have everyday ups and downs. Today is one of those down days. If I am to be honest, and I am, I would have to say that I have been moving into this down time for several days now.

Accepting the departure of my dear baby sister has been hard. She is leaving tomorrow and I feel like my heart is being ripped from my chest. I am in great physical pain in the form of headache and lower back pain. Not just dull pain, but absolutely debilitating pain. Yet I am up and moving through my day carrying the pain with me. All of it. Physical and emotional. I would love to curl up into a ball and lay in a dark room, but my loving spirit says no. "Live your life. Embrace this pain, and it will not linger." Those are the words I am hearing today. So the tears are falling freely right now. Later today I have to take Little #4 to his baseball game and I will muster up the strength to sit in the stands and cheer him on. So I allow myself to feel all of this pain any chance I can.

One of my favorite bloggers at Quest For Balance talks about winters of the heart today. You can read about it here.

I am most definitely in a winter of the heart right now. It is right where I need to be. I know that I live a joyful, free-spirited life. I have many beautiful people in my life and am very grateful for them. Today, however, I am in a deep winter and feeling very alone. This is where I NEED to be. The sun will come back and soon I will be basking in its light and warmth. Just not today.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Two goodbyes

Wow! I'm am in the midst of yet another emotional upheaval. It feels different this time. Not quite as excruciatingly painful as the mess with Not-so-little #1. Yet when I compare what is going on this week with what happened then, I should be feeling worse. I know that the reason I am holding it all together is because of my newest practice of focused breathing. I am able to embrace my life and all that happens because of the peace I receive from my own breath.

Two monumental things are taking place in my life right now. First, my baby sister is moving from 5 minutes away to 18 hours away. In just a few short days I will have to watch her go off to follow her path. I have a very strong connection to my sister and it is very hard to think that I will not be able to physically see her whenever I need to. I know that the connection we have can not be loosened by miles of highway. I also know that she is going to be very happy where she is moving to and that is why I am not falling to pieces. We still have the telephone and Skype, so I can still "see" her often and now I have an excuse to vacation in New Mexico. Yay!!

The second monumental event that is pulling at my heart strings has to do with Little #6. Monday night marked the end of a very special connection that we have had for the past 4 years, 1 month and 2 days. Monday night my baby said goodbye to breastfeeding. I have been ready for her to be done for quite a few months now, but I have patiently waited till she was ready and allowed her to have 'milkies' at bedtime much longer than I wanted to. I felt in my heart of hearts that this was something that just had to come to an end when SHE was ready. She has been "ready" several times in the last two months, only to change her mind at bedtime once again.

This Monday that all changed. I knew in my heart that she was truly done. She looked at me and said she would have two milkies and that was all. Then she did something she has never done before. She looked at my breasts, touched them gently and said goodbye with what looked like tears in her eyes. And that was it. I let her stay on my lap a little longer than normal. I held her a little closer and gazed at her instead of the tv or a book. I didn't limit her to 5 minutes. I just let her be done when she was ready. That was our last time of sharing that bond that we have shared for so much longer than I ever imagined.

It has been hard to let her grow up. She is the baby. The last baby I'll have and so this meant the true end of an experience that I have cherished with all my littles. She nursed longer than any of the others. She has struggled in her little life more than any of the others also. I suppose that has a lot to do with her need to have this connection with me.

So I have said 1 goodbye this week and have another in a few days. Two very major changes, yet I feel more centered and joyful and alive than I have in years. I feel so much love and light. I am not done crying yet, but that is ok. My tears are a reminder that I am a spiritual being who has feelings and emotions that are to be felt and shared. Not be kept bottled up tight. Not to be dried before they even get to fall. Saying goodbye feels good and hurts at the same time. I am just so grateful that I am willing to allow the good and the bad.

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Now I can just breathe

Breathe. Breathe in. Breathe out. This is where I am today. Just settled back and breathing. Littles 3,4 & 5 are all settled in their school routines. Littlest Little #6 started Preschool 3 mornings a week yesterday and I have Wednesday mornings to myself. All of the fear and sadness I felt around Not-so-little #1's problems has been released and Not-so-little #2, well he's my easy child. I really like the feeling of being settled. I love the peace. This is NOT how I felt this time last year. There was no settled feeling, no peace and the only breathing I was doing was mostly hyperventilating.

My new found love of focused breathing has brought me through some highly emotional times these last few weeks. I call it my Spirit's voice. The sound of my breathe is the song that my spirit sings. It is the soft, motherly voice of encouragement and comfort. It is the life force of my truest self. If I don't breathe, I don't live. And I'm not talking about the physical need for breathing. I'm talking about the spiritual need for breathing.

My search for my truest self has been long and tedious. I searched and searched for years. Today I have the wisdom to know that I can't find myself through a book or through a therapist or a 12-step meeting. I can't find myself through Mr. Man or the Littles. I can't find myself from a community of like-minded people. These are all tools to aid me in keeping spiritually fit, but to truely find myself I need only breathe in and breathe out. I need only allow my breath to embrace me every moment of every day.

So as my time of solitude is drawing to a close and I need to go grocery shopping before I pick up the Littlest Little, I leave with this one thought.

Breathe in, breathe out....OH SNAP!!! I forgot to make a grocery list!!!!...Breathe in, breathe out.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shiny Dancing Queen

Here I am dancing up a storm on what turned out to be the evening of all evenings. I love this photo, because it really captures the energy of the evening. That energy was happy, joyous and free. We were just a group of beautiful, vibrant ladies out on the town without a care in the world. (I was wearing a tiara, but you couldn't see it in most of the photos from the evening. Note to self: Buy a bigger tiara next year. ;) )

We gathered at my home for a fabulous meal and joyful fellowship. (I'm the one with the gorgeous gray hair that looks like she's not wearing a tiara. Again: Much bigger tiara next year.) The meal was wonderful, with the combined efforts of my dear sister and some dear friends, but the best part was just being together in my home with all of these bright and shining ladies. I felt so comfortable and joyful. These two feelings are not how I usually feel in social situations. How could I not feel this way on that night? All of these women have become a part of who I am now, because I hold a special place in my heart for each of them. I am so honored that they wanted to be a part of an evening that I have often dreamed about, but have never had the confidence to do. I have that confidence now and I have already decided that this event will take place every 2nd Saturday in September. It is my hope that it becomes an evening that people look forward to each year. I am very excited about what the evening will look like in the future.

There is one person missing from the group photo above. The photographer, which is my beautiful sister, Kristy. She is the shiny lady on the left. She has inspired me in so many ways. First with her blog, Stark Raving Zen, then with her decision to leave a career that was slowly killing her, followed by a spiritual transformation that most people will never accomplish in one life time. She has been a constant source of encouragement and has really taught me valuable lessons in living your joy and letting your spirit shine. She lives about 5 minutes from me right now, but is moving to New Mexico in a couple of weeks and I will miss her dearly. I am so excited for the direction that she is going in that I can not be sad.

So I really just want to say a great big thank you to all these beautiful women. You all have made me a better person for knowing you. I also thank all of those out in the blogosphere who danced with me if only in spirit. I could feel your joyful energy that evening.

So when are you going to plan your Little Black Dress Night? When are you going to be a Shiny Dancing Queen?

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Little Black Dress Night

So, I'm ready to move on. I am letting not-so-little #1 be who she is right now. I love her, but I need to let go of all the feelings of hopelessness and fear. I am ready to let my hair down and put on my dancing shoes (and my tiara) and just have fun. About a month ago I decided to plan an event. I have never done this in my life. I felt the desire to put on a little black dress and a tiara and just have some good ole fun. So Saturday night my sister and a good friend of mine are preparing dinner for 15-20 other amazing women. My hope for the evening is to just celebrate how beautiful we all are. We will not all have on little black dresses. That was my original plan, but it is more important to me that all of these beautiful women feel beautiful. So I let that requirement slide. However, we will all be sporting tiaras. I know its silly. Sometimes a little silliness is important.

I am so excited for this evening. I will be seeing some women that I have not seen in 20+ years. I will be showing a side of me that I don't usually show. I used to love to dance. Then over the years I became too insecure to dance. I believed that I would just make a fool of myself if I danced. Well, Saturday I will gladly make a fool of myself. I guess I no longer consider dancing as making a fool of myself. I dance at home all the time. I'm ready to take my awesome dancing show on the road. I hope I don't intimidate too many people. ;)

I am also excited that it is Thursday night and I am not panicking because my house is a disaster. Because my house IS NOT A DISASTER. Pick up here, scrub a little there and I am ready to relax and be joyful. Life is good. Even when things seem dark, life is still good. So think about me dancing the night away on Saturday. Maybe you could join me from where ever you are. Happy dancing!!!!

Just my thoughts.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Avoiding consequences

So stepping back from not-so-little #1 and her problems hasn't been as easy as I thought it was going to be. The strength that I felt just a few days ago has all but vanished. All I feel right now is a very real pain. I feel loss. I want so much for all of this to just go away, yet I can't stop feeling this negative energy that surrounds me. I know that I am holding on to it. I won't let it go.

I'm not very good at practicing what I preach. I am saying that my daughter needs to suffer the consequences of her actions, but I am trying to avoid the consequences of mine. Mr. Man and I have made some bad choices where not-so-little #1 is concerned. We have helped her out of some financial messes and now those decisions are biting us. So this pain that I'm feeling is the same pain that she should be feeling. I don't think that she feels it, however. Why should she? I have never allowed her to truly face her consequences.

I want to totally step back from this, but if I do it will mean a pretty big financial hit on Mr. Man and myself. If I don't step back and make some offers to help it will still mean a pretty big financial hit. So this is where my dilemma lies. I feel like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. There is no simple answer here. It may seem simple. Just don't help her. Simple, but not easy.

I guess I haven't learned how to be the kind of mother who can detach from her kids in a healthy way yet. I can detach from little messes, but bigger than life messes still trip me up. I still want so much for my kids to be happy, productive people, and if they are not I feel pain for them. I feel pain for their spirits that just want to be joyful and free, but are being held captive. In this case, I feel so much pain that I want to make it go away. I want to do whatever it takes to get rid of this darkness that seems like it is taking over.

My point in all of this is that I have to suffer the consequences of my actions. I can't make them go away. I can't have someone sweep in and make it all better. Mr. Man and I messed up. We will probably be fine in the end, but for now it feels pretty crappy. I, we, have to let not-so-little #1 do the same. Again, simple but not easy.

Just my thoughts.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stepping back is easy now

Well, this week went off without a hitch...almost. The littles had a good first week of school. We have really fallen into a good routine and I don't feel the anxiety that I remember from last year. Little #4 started his Fall baseball leauge practices on Wednesday and I was able to drop him off and not be filled with fear that he might be nervous. Last year I cried at every game, watching him struggle because his baseball skills were not at the same level as the other players. I was quite an emotional wreck a year ago.

Everything was running smoothly, I was feeling so at ease and peaceful and I was looking forward to what the next few months was going to bring. Of course the Universe has a way of mixing it up a bit. Just when you think that all is well, something happens and your ease and peace are tested. That is what happened to me. Not so little #1 got into some trouble. Actually she is in big trouble.

She has been in trouble before and I have always been filled with the pain of not knowing what to do. Not knowing how to help her. Wishing that she could be spared any pain. Telling her what I think she should do and then getting upset when she ignores my advice. In other words, I have always let her problems become my problems.

When I received her phone call yesterday, I was not filled with pain. I was not worried about what I could do for her. I was not wishing that she could be spared any pain. I know that this may sound odd, but I want her to feel some of the pain. She needs to suffer some consequences. I still love her with all my heart. That will never run out, but I will only be offering her emotional support. I will not make things easy for her. I love her too much to do that. I love me too much to do that.

My relationship with my oldest has been strained. I am just as responsible for that strain as she is. I have at some level allowed her to stay stuck in this downward spiral she is in. I only know one way to keep our relationship from completely disintegrating. I have to remove myself from her problems. I have to let her be the adult that she is. I have never been able to really do this. I have talked about the importance of letting her take care of her problems, but when it came down to stepping back I have never been able to take that step. Today I step back. I know that she has a long road ahead of her. She is on the way to hitting bottom and it is not going to be pretty, but it is absolutely necessary.

I love my 1st born so much. Lately, I do not like the things that she does, but my heart still loves her. I feel empathy for her, but I do not feel responsible for her. I wonder if my letting go of all the clutter that entombed me has helped me in being able to let go of her problems? I wonder if the strength I feel today comes from setting my spirit free from the excess physical clutter? I have so much inner strength right now. I truly feel like I can face any calamity that comes my way and still come out on top. Its a good feeling. I feel so empowered and content with who I am. I want that for my not so little #1, but she has to want it too.

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The second first day of school

Littles 3,4 & 5 started their second year of school today. It has been one of those days where I am a mixture of happy and sad. Sad, because I miss them when they are gone and happy because I am enjoying this one-on-one time with Little #6. I started getting a bit unnerved last week with the thought of sending them off to school again.

I seriously considered going back to homeschooling. As the clutter has been cleared from our home I have felt a definite strengthening of my relationship with my precious family. I want to be around them. I want to share in their everyday adventures. When the clutter was here I had a hard time feeling this closeness. I felt suffocated and unfortunately that feeling often left me feeling like I was being crowded out, which often kept me emotionally detached. I homeschooled for 5 years feeling this way. It was a constant struggle.

When I had finally reached my breaking point and decided to put the kids in school, I felt like a failure. I did not want to put them in school, but I knew that I needed a break. Now I see that my spirit was telling me that it was time to take care of Jill. It was time to focus on Jill's needs. I could not do that with the Littles at home all day, every day.

When the Littles went off to school last year, my life took a turn for the worst. I couldn't even bring them to school on the first day. I didn't want them to see me crying. I didn't want to scare them anymore than they were already scared. When I think back to last fall, I see pain and more pain. Everything fell to pieces. I felt like a complete failure, I jumped back into my food addiction and I let the house fall to pieces even more than it already was.

In January things took another turn. I started to see glimpses of my spirit shine through all of the pain. I finally came to believe that I got to choose what and who I was to be. I dropped the failure and food addict labels. Since then my transformation has been slow and steady. Today I am free from food addiction and I have been freed from the need to hold on to the mountain of clutter. I do not feel like a failure. My days are pain-free and my spirit is shining bright.

So last week when I started to feel the desire for our care-free homeschool lifestyle, I seriously contemplated it. I turned to the Divine and asked for guidance and this is what I heard. I heard a very loud panicky voice say, "Keep them home, they need you!!!" As I listened I also heard a very soft, peaceful voice say two words. "Just wait." I knew that that quiet voice was the Divine Guidance that leads me and that the loud obnoxious voice was my ego trying to trip me up again.

So today I wait. I will homeschool again. I don't know when or who, but my intuition tells me that it will happen. I'll wait till I know the time is right. The Littles like their school. Little #3 is not as convinced as the other two, but he's ok for now.

Everybody is home now, relaxing from their 2nd first day of school. I am at peace and am enjoying this beautiful life we have. I am getting geared up to start Phase 2 of decluttering our home. I am also getting geared up to go back to school myself. Slow and steady is the plan from here on out.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Doing nothing

Guess what I'm doing right now? NOTHING!!! Yup, I'm doing absolutely nothing. Just sitting down and not hurrying to get this post done, so that I can get back to work. I'm sitting in a peaceful, clutter-free living room. My to-do list is complete, the birthday party is behind me, the kitchen is clean, the littles are getting ready to settle down for the evening and I am just going to sit here and do NOTHING. Nothing has never felt so good.

I have a lot of experience with doing nothing. Most of my days this summer have been filled with doing nothing. It felt different then. Doing nothing used to leave me feeling guilty and sad at the end of the day. I hated doing nothing, but I knew no other way. I was not able to accomplish what I needed to do because I was paralyzed. All of the clutter and mess that surrounded me, kept me stuck. I was really good at avoiding responsibility. I hid behind the new found joy that I had begun to experience. I told myself that it was ok to do what ever I wanted to do. I told myself that my spirit had been held captive for so long that it was crucial that I only do what my spirit longed to do. Unfortunately what my spirit longed for and what I was actually doing were not the same thing. So the clutter stayed where it was and my new found joy slowly started to feel like anything, but joy.

When I finally started listening I was able to actually do something. I started with babysteps. Slowly the clutter was starting to disappear. Then something took me over and I was doing things that I have never been able to do in the past. I started something and I actually kept going and didn't quit. That was when my days of doing nothing ended. My spirit took over and I just kept moving forward even when I felt like I was losing a part of myself with every box I closed up. Now I know that I was actually gaining a part of myself with every box.

The to-do list is complete. I am proud of all that I have accomplished these last few weeks. I am thankful that I listened to my spirit and released the mountain of clutter that I had surrounding me. I am shining brighter once again. Mr. Man and the littles are also shining today.

My home is no longer controlled by "stuff". Don't get me wrong. I still have work to do. There are two rooms left in my home that are housing more "stuff". When I look at these two rooms my reaction is very different than it used to be. I am not filled with dread. I don't feel overwhelmed. I don't feel shame. I feel happy. I feel excited. Excited about the prospect of getting to let go of a little more.

But tonight, I do nothing. Tomorrow is the last day of summer break for the littles and I plan on doing nothing with them all day. I wonder what nothing will look like. I am getting my to-do list ready for tomorrow and it will have one task on it....NOTHING.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I do it because I can

The countdown continues. I have two days left. Two days to finish getting my home in order for a party. The last time we had a party in our home was October 2008. I used to hate having to invite people over. It meant that I would be scrambling at the last minute to get everything done on time. I always made things difficult by waiting till the last minute to even begin to clean and organize. I would THINK about starting months in advance. Then a few weeks ahead I would still be thinking about starting. Finally a couple days before the party I would become a crazy woman. Madly dashing about, barking orders at everyone. Pretty much making life miserable for myself and all those in my path. The day before the party I would clean the kitchen, the bathroom and the living room.

Here's what cleaning looked like. I would put all the piles of things in bins and baskets and pile them in the hallway. Then I would dust, vacuum and scrub. The day of the party all of those bins/baskets would go into my bedroom and get piled on the bed. My bedroom door would be shut and the steps to the basement would be blocked off so no one could enter. I would breath a huge sigh of relief and enjoy my nice clean, clutter free home. Then every one would go home and I would have to drag everything back out. So I had a nice clean home for about 3 hours.

What a change this time. Today there are no boxes, bins or baskets to haul into my bedroom. The basement will be accessible for all the nieces and nephews to play in. My bedroom door will not have to be closed. I have only a few tasks to complete over the next 2 days. My to-do list is not overwhelming to me. What a change indeed.

I was thinking last evening about where I got the strength to do all of the decluttering that I have. Why was I able to accomplish so much in just under 2 weeks time? It's not like I've never tried this before. Mr. Man reminded me the other day that the last time I attempted to do this type of decluttering I had a bit of nervous breakdown. He recalled how little #2, who was about 9 at the time, had called him at work to tell him that mommy was crying and wouldn't stop. Of course, Mr. Man rushed right home to find me curled up in a ball huddled in the living room sobbing. That was the last time I seriously tried to clear away the mess.

Here's my thought on why I can do today what I have never been able to do in the past. It's actually quite simple. Because I can. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that I could have done it at anytime, but that is not true. I couldn't do any of this in the past. I wanted to. I dreamed about it. I couldn't do it because I didn't believe in my heart and soul that it could be done. I could say that I wanted to do it, but until I truly believed it, it was an unattainable dream. I couldn't believe it because I was never to allow myself to do anything that my spirit truly wanted to do. I was a prisoner. Anytime I would come close to being able to accomplish this kind of task, that bully that used to reside in my heart would slap me back down. My spirit needed to be free.

Today my spirit is free. I allow myself to do anything that my spirit longs to do. I lovingly embrace my spirit. It is this embrace that has helped me to accomplish things in my life that I have never been able to do. In all areas of my life. My spirit has guided me out of depression and addiction. It has helped me create more loving relationships with my family and friends. My spirit is showing me the way to my truest self. Showing me what I truly want my life to look and feel like. So far I really like what I see. I really like how I feel. Yes, I have days when I am feeling down or cranky. I am human after all. Those days are few in number. Since starting this decluttering I feel almost giddy. My home has a very different energy to it now. My family seems happier also. I have received so much support from my family and friends. Both in real life and here on this blog. I am able to hear and appreciate all of this support today.

Before I go I just wanted to give you an idea of what I have accomplished in the last 11 days. Besides the 54 boxes/bags of items decluttered, I have crossed off 22 out of the 30 tasks on my master to-do list. I have done all of this because I CAN.

Is there anything that you can do today that you have never been able to do before?

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Progress not perfection

I have a progress report. As of today I have decluttered a total of 54 bags/boxes. I have completely cleared my bedroom floor. The hallway which leads to the bedrooms is no longer lined with boxes and crates and bags. Our basement play room is now a play room and not a storage facility.

Yesterday I had a brief moment of overwhelm. I was feeling like things were not going to come together for this party on Sunday. I was looking at my to-do list and instead of feeling confident that it would all be done, I was feeling panic. So much to do, so little time. What if it doesn't all get done? The boy's bedroom walls haven't been washed down yet. The girls room still hasn't been cleaned up. I haven't gotten my dressers decluttered yet. I haven't decluttered the hallway closet!!!!!"

Mr. Man calmly pointed out to me that I was being unrealistic. He was right. As usual. Nobody is going to see my bedroom dressers. And I don't recall any of my in-laws rummaging through my closets in the past. I was being that perfectionist that occasionally comes out and tries to trip me up. I was focusing on having EVERY thing done. So I took my to-do list and I re-evaluated and re-planned these remaining few days. I ended up with a plan that I can live with, that won't make me crazy.

I look around my home and I see nothing but progress. Every room has been improved on in some way or another. I can breath in my home. I don't feel the heavy energy that used to attach to me every evening. My days and nights flow together with no dread of going to bed and no dread of getting up again. All of that is progress.

My work is not finished. It will not be completely finished for a few months, but I can wait. I can let this progress take place at the pace it needs to take place. I can get done the few things that need to be done by Sunday and then I can enjoy the company of family in my peaceful home. Free of shame or guilt. I love progress.

Wait a minute. I just thought of one more thing that needs to be done. I think that we need to steam clean the carpet in the living room and the hallway. Mr. Man says it will be more work than its worth and that nobody cares about the carpet. But, the carpet is REALLY bad. Here we go again....

Just my thoughts.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A sorrowful and joyful day for me

I'm sitting here in the early morning hours trying frantically to get this post done before the Littles start to rise. As I sit here with soft music playing in the background and the windows open, so I can hear all the birds, I am filled with such peace and serenity. I really do feel like my heart is ready to burst and that my spirit is ready to break out in song along with the birds. I can not begin to describe to you in words how different my home feels. A little over a week ago the energy here weighed me down. Today it feels as if it is lifting me up. I literally felt as if I were being lifted out of bed this morning, instead of me dragging myself to get up. It looks lighter and feels lighter here. Ok, so I guess I could begin to describe how different my home feels.

Yesterday was a very emotional day for me. Mr. Man and I were going through more in the bedroom and when he was vacuuming, the magnitude of what I had created in my home hit me. I didn't feel shameful or bad about myself, but I did feel sorry for the person that I used to be. How sad she was. How angry she was. She kept herself all locked up inside and that filled me with sorrow. I also felt this intense sense of empathy for others in the world who live entombed by clutter. I wanted to shout out to all of them that it doesn't have to be that way. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Just then, Little #6 came in our room and started dancing around the bed. Running all over the open space that is there now. I was filled with the joyfulness in her heart. I saw how happy she was to be able to just spin around in open space. So in a 5 minute time I had experienced tears of deep sorrow and tears of immense joy. I don't recall ever experiencing those kinds of emotions at the same time. It was very powerful and it changed me.

So I allowed myself to cry the remainder of the day. I knew that I needed to release the emotional clutter that had built up in my soul. I didn't spend the whole day crying, but if I felt tears welling, I simply let them fall. My room is nearly completed. I am considering posting before and after pics, but I will have to contemplate that for awhile. A small part of me is still too embarrassed to show others how I have lived. Another small part of me wants to show others what a beautiful transformation it is.

I'm off to start my day now. I have my to-do list and I have the inner strength to keep trudging forward. My mountain now feels more like some foot hills. Soon I will have a break from climbing all together. Until I pick my next dream.

Thank you all for all of the support I have received here. You have helped lighten my load and brighten my heart.

Just my thoughts.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dreams are meant to be shared

This past week has been amazing. I have released so much excess clutter and my spirit is shining brighter. I believe that posting here daily about this journey has helped with the progress I have made. When I decided to share my dream of a peaceful home, I was nervous. I didn't want people to know that part of me. I was fearful that I would become ashamed, and shame has always stopped me in my tracks in the past.

Today my dream is reaching another group of people. I submitted my dream to the Dream Weaving blog and you can find it there today. I know that I have been greatly helped by all the encouragement that I have received from those who read here. So spreading my dream can only bring me more encouragement while I'm on the final stretch. In one week there will be a birthday party here for Little #6 and two of her cousins. I will not have to close bedroom doors or block off the steps to the basement, in fear that people will see our clutter. The clutter will be gone. My home will be one big open door and my heart will be more open also.

So please join me here and help spread my dream. If you have a dream maybe you would consider telling people. Dreams are meant to be shared, and Dream Weaving is a great place to do it.

Thank you all for your support. My updates will continue this week and I'm very excited and nervous about what the final outcome will be.

Just my thoughts.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A trip down memory lane...sort of

Had a very productive day today. My baby sister came over and helped me out. She is always so willing to help and I am blessed to have her near by. My house definitely looks like it is under construction, yet the energy feels lighter. I feel so at peace. Rooms are starting to look more open. I feel like I can breathe easier. With the exception of all the sneezing. I guess when you don't move things for 4 years they gather a lot of dust. I know it's been 4 years because I found some mail and magazines from 2005 in my room today.

I also came across my high school senior yearbook. As soon as I opened it I knew that I was opening up an emotional can of worms. I actually began to feel nervous. As I looked through the pages I realized that I barely remembered any of these people. I do know that it may be normal to not remember everyone from 25 years ago. With each turn of the page I became more and more emotional. Tears filled my eyes as it became obvious to me that I not only didn't remember my classmates, but I couldn't even remember what I was like. I didn't recognize that girl in the pictures. She sure didn't smile very much. I figured that I wasn't that popular because I wasn't in the yearbook all that much. Then I started reading what some of the classmates that had signed my book had to say.

Most of the comments where about all the fun we had in class. What a special friend I was and how I was going to be missed when I went away to college. I was sweet and a good listener. I knew how to have fun and I knew how to put people at ease. So many people hoped we wouldn't lose touch with each other. It was also the hope of many that my boyfriend and I would stay together forever. Well, neither of those hopes made it. I lost the boy and the friends, and apparently I lost myself also. I know that I have always struggled with memory. I guess I just don't understand why. Why don't I remember these people who I seemed to have had a lot of fun with? People who were very obviously important to me at the time.

I have reconnected with some of these special people when we all started to find each other on Facebook. It's true. I Facebook and I Twitter, but that's another blog post. I have been tempted many times to ask each of these classmates to tell me what I was like. To tell me some things they remember that we did together for fun. I want to know it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. If I was bitch, I want to know. If I was obnoxious, I want to know. Was I kind and fun or crabby and depressing? I wouldn't even mind if I heard a few, "I'm sorry, but I really just don't remember you." Someday I am going to get up enough nerve to ask. For now, I'll just go by what was written in my yearbook. I can live with that Jill. The fun, easy going, sweet Jill who people felt good around. I'm that person right now.

Do you remember who you were in high school? How different are you now from that person?

Just my thoughts.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Here's a song about me

I think that Mr. Man is feeling neglected, so this will be short and sweet. Fabulous day, fabulous progress. Little #1 came over and helped me get ahead. So here's a song to tell you how I feel today.

You really have to get up and dance along with this one. Enjoy!!

Just my thoughts.