Tuesday, January 29, 2013

DEAR BABY

Reef,

You are 18 months old. And it’s hard to comprehend how much you’ve grown and changed since your first birthday, just six months ago. You listened to the melody, trying to make sense of the song and the glowing candle and the cupcake we placed in front of you.

We took you to the zoo for your very first time. I mostly walked behind our lovely brood, watching…observing you have a first experience. You walked alongside your big brother and big sister, you their partner in crime. I gazed upon your discoveries, from lazy old orangutans to the cobblestone paths that just perfectly suited your obsession with textures.

You have discovered how to find pleasure in the ordinary and in those moments, you are teaching me to do the same. We have such adventure in the simplest of places. Thank you for these lessons!

“Sugar” forever!

XOXO,
Mama

Monday, January 28, 2013

GETTING IN SHAPE

At the turning of a year, you hear the term “resolution” mentioned one hundred and one times, or more. The most common of them is the intention of “getting in shape.”

As January closes and February approaches, fewer people are crowding the gyms while the lines at the local Starbucks lengthen.

Maybe we’re missing the point of “getting in shape?” Maybe it’s not all about our physical silhouette. And more about the silhouette of our life. And what’s flowing from our hearts. And the words pouring from our mouths.

The silhouette of my life begins with my family, the five of us living in our home together in Texas. We enjoy time together and time apart. We choose love when we remember and forgiveness when we forget. We stumble and then we help each other up. But we forget more than we remember. And we stumble more than we help.

Our lives need shaping.

I am still going to roll my eyes at telemarketers and mutter when I stub my toe. My first response is still human when annoying things interrupt me along the way. But I am deeply curious about the mystery of Christ and what he has in store for me and my family. I want to learn to be a better listener. To accept the challenges that God lies before me, and overcome the shared condition of humanity that is fear. I want to be fully alive as the person, mother, and wife I uniquely am, not the one who others think I ought to be. And I want my endeavors to lead to something meaningful.

As a couple, my husband and I have learned to become more open to change and transformation in ways we have perhaps never been before. There is splendor in the awakening. And now that we’re awake, it’s time to “get in shape.”

One is learning to save breath. There is time for sharing and speaking out. There is reward in learning your own rhythm of listening, and it just so happens that waiting comes first.
What are the challenges and blessings for you as you “get in shape?”
I will close with a quote:
“But I want first of all — in fact, as an end to these other desires — to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact — to borrow from the language of the saints — to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

Sunday, January 27, 2013

THIS MAKES ME HAPPY


this photo by photographer steve schapiro makes me supremely happy. i came across a story on him in a magazine, vogue. you might've heard of it? I hope this little guy went on to live the most fantastical life with all that lovely personality!


Friday, January 25, 2013

FREEDOM


It's a beautiful freedom to have. 

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 "As far as sunrise is from sunset, 

He has separated us from our sins." 

-Psalm 103:12


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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

MOTHERLESS DAUGHTERS

Losing your mother leaves an irreparable wound.

I can remember overhearing the therapist tell my dad in the hallway, “losing a mother between the age of 7 and 11 is the hardest time, research shows. That particular age range predicts the worst outcome.”

If you’ve seen the movie, you might remember this saying from Fight Club, “The first rule of fight club is that you never talk about fight club.” I’ve always thought that the same rules apply when you’re the child of a deceased mom: The first rule of dead moms’ club is that you do not talk about being the child of a dead mom.

In my adult years, I’ve learned to talk more about my mother. Even though she is absent, talking about her makes her present. I share the characteristics and stories I know of her, with my own children, and it gives them a sense of knowing her. And it’s become rather therapeutic for me.

I’m so incredibly drawn to people that knew her. They talk to me about who my mother was as a woman and wife and mother and always follow with, “you are the spitting image of your mother,” which makes me want to spread my wings and soar. Why? Because that woman was adored and admired – like a moth to a flame, people wanted to be around her. So, if I emanate any ounce of her, I’m honored.

Growing up, you don’t know why you have a void in your heart, but it exists. There is a piece of you that always feels unusual. It’s like you’re always in mourning. Always longing.

When you get your period, kiss a boy for the first time, learn how to be a woman, learn how to put on lipstick, graduate high school, get married, have babies, breastfeed…the most thrilling and exciting of times, and you’re left wondering why you feel like something is missing. All the while, deep inside, you expected your mother to be by your side and you didn’t even know you had the expectation. Does that makes any sense?

That’s not to say I didn’t have the utmost magnificent surrogate mothers…my grandmother, sister, aunts, friends’ mothers, boyfriends’ mothers even – they all took me under their wing and poured their love over me. But, for lack of better words,   it’s   just   not   quite   the   same.

The biggest obstacle, which I continually strive to overcome each day, is breaking down the barrier I built up around me all those years. Preventing people from getting too close was something I did best. I kept relationships rather superficial, so as to not experience another profound loss as I did with first my mother and then my grandmother. Nevermore would I have the rug pulled out from under me, or so I thought. The idea of loss – even in friendship – was just one more person gone.

When you’re the child of a deceased mother (especially at a young age), you’re told continuously how strong you are. To the outside world, you have conquered the most intense thing there is to overcome. But on the inside, you lack all the things really needed for survival: self-esteem, confidence and a place to really belong.

So instead of breaking, I became the therapist to everyone who needed it. From my teenage years to present, I get calls or emails at random, from friends who need help. Knowing that someone could so effortlessly rely on me gave me a purpose, something to feel good about. I grew up so fast and am an old soul but deep down I'm still fourteen, still looking for someone to take care of me. I think that’s another thing none of us lost kids ever want to admit. That we need someone else’s help because if we do, if we lean on someone too much, they’ll leave us. We can admit we’re in a bad mood, but we never want to say: I just miss my mom.

Questions that arise in me at times is how much of my life can I blame on my mother dying and how much do I take responsibility for? Truth be told, I’ve always held myself accountable. It wasn’t until recent years that I have really identified that that incident truly affected me and my choices and my feelings and my responses. (And I hate that I just used ‘incident’ like it’s something that can be healed. Sure, time allows pain to fade, but it never diminishes.) I was so incredibly adamant about proving that therapist wrong – I wasn’t going to let “that little girl who lost her mother” define me. I was social and fearless and could talk to anyone I wanted, and be anything I wanted.

Several years ago, I was advised to read a book called Motherless Daughters. I read a few pages and stopped. I got busy maybe. Or perhaps I convinced myself that I didn’t need it -- I was perfectly okay -- I’ve had a rather successful and happy and fulfilling life. But I eventually finished the book, and I’m so glad I did. For the first time, I felt as though I was in a room with every child who has lost a mother (no matter what the age) and had people to understand like no one else ever could.

I’m not sure this blog post really has a point, except that it would be nice to broadcast out a message, hire a skywriter, wave a flag on a plane passing over a beach that simply states: Dead Moms’ Club: We all feel like dirt sometimes, and you’re not alone. I learned that this week when talking with one of my besties -- no matter how old you were then, no matter how old you are now, the bad days come, the good days remain and who we are because of this isn’t something to shy away from, but something to embrace, to talk about, to grow from it. Losing my mother might always be a stigma attached to my name and my personality...

...and I’ll always miss her on a random Tuesday or Wednesday or July.




Song: If I Rise   Artist: Dido & A.R. Rahman

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Friday, January 18, 2013

LIFE IN PICTURES

Leaning over the sink this morningwaiting for the water to thaw warm up, I watched as Reef waddled into the bathroom wearing his usual morning getup -- long-sleeve top, wild patterned pj bottoms, and mix-match socks ensemble.  He carried his blue car in one hand and wore a look of determination. 

"Whatcha doin'?" I asked. He pointed in the direction of the living room, and once it registered that I was on his heels and ready to follow, he triumphantly led me to a bag consisting of race tracks. With morning breath and uncombed hair, I gladly squated on the rug and connected the tracks together. Reef helped, handing me tracks out of the bag, one by one.













Thursday, January 17, 2013

TUNE IN TUESDAY

01. | Good Life – One Republic
02. | The Girl – City and Colour
03. | What I Wouldn’t Do – A Fine Frenzy
04. | Perfect Now – Sarah Blasko
05. | Kids (MGMT cover) – The Kooks
06. | First Day of My Life – Bright Eyes
07. | Tired – Adele
08. | One Day – Matisyahu
09. | The Mail & Misery – Broken Bells
10. | Happiness – Jonsi + Alex
11. | I Summon You – Spoon
12. | Sunday – Moby
13. | Ooh La La – Faces
14. | Iko Iko – The Dixie Cups
15. | New Slang – The Shins
16. | If I Ever Feel Better – Phoenix
17. | Skinny Love – Bon Iver
18. | Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap
19. | Blackout – Muse
20. | Funeral – Band of Horses
21. | The Bird and the Worm – Owl City
22. | Just Say Yes – Snow Patrol
23. | Littlest Things – Lily Allen
24. | Only You – Joshua Radin
25. | Sleep – Azure Ray
26. | Breathe Me – Sia
27. | And So It Goes – Billy Joel
28. | Dream – Priscilla Ahn
29. | Naked as We Came – Iron & Wine
30. | Let Go – Frou Frou
31. | This Years Love- David Gray
32. | Summer Days – Phoenix
33. | Heartbreaker – MSTRKRFT

Monday, January 14, 2013

BELIEVE IN SOMETHING

A product manufacturer recently contacted me about promoting their merchandise on my blog. Though flattered by their appeal of my blog, that’s just not necessarily the direction I want to go. You see, they want my endorsement regardless of my sentiment towards the product itself. They want to dictate my opinions on the product, ironically not my real-life opinions at all.

And I just can’t. That’s not to say I won’t endorse the right product. I simply can’t adhere my name to something I’m not passionate about.

I think people often believe all artists are hoping for the same things: notoriety, money, awards. While all those things are great in some facet, how you get them is the utmost important part.

So why do I blog? Click HERE.

It is important to continue to uncover why you write and who you are writing for. My reasons may not fit with the latest marketing trends and they may not produce impressive numbers. I’m continually drawn to writing content that is geared towards a smaller audience. People similarly yoked. Because that’s what I know and understand.

Sometimes that’s hard for me to accept. But it would be harder for me to write differently just so more people would read.

My advice to fellow bloggers, most often, would be, “have fun. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You’re not discovering the cure for cancer.”

But sometimes, it’s nice for me to remember that even though every page doesn’t have to change the world, there will be some pages that do. And that right there is worth celebrating. I've been so very encouraged by the sweet, wise, mature, resilient, beautiful souls I've encountered through blogging. There are many for whom I’ve been online friends with for a while though we’ve never actually met. I’m convinced if they weren’t states, even oceans away, we’d remedy that in a heartbeat.

Because of them I see the fog of discouragement and self-doubt lifted from me, and I reciprocate the words given to me by recycling encouragement over to each of you. Thank you for letting me write here, and I appreciate your continued support.


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Rewind to 01/11/12, "Why I Blog"


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