Sunday, July 06, 2014

The only "Me"

I was particularly inspired by my friend (and published author) Jayne's blog entry entitled, “How Will They Remember You?” This is seriously a question I ask myself at least once a week lately. I get very worried that I haven't worked hard enough or accomplished enough in the time that I've been given.

I think Jayne makes a great point though. It's the little things we want to know about those that have gone before us. How did they celebrate birthdays? What was their favorite subject in school? Hobbies? My paternal grandmother died before I was born. There's nothing I wouldn't give to sit and read her journal. I'm told I'm so much like her – yet I really know nothing about her. I wish there had been some record of her life raising ten children on a farm. I've seen her beautiful quilt work, but I will never know what her handwriting looked like or what she thought about her world.

Leaving a legacy (even though it's not star studded or particularly glamorous) is slowly taking on new meaning for me. It's not so important that I've not accomplished BIG things, but that I write down the little things that make me tick, share the little joyful moments that keep me going.

There will never be another me on this earth. Ever. I'm not a superstar, or a hero, or a world class athlete - but I'm the only ME that will ever exist on this earth. That alone warrants a written record.

“You are so busy being YOU that you have no idea how utterly unprecedented you are.” ― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

Saturday, July 05, 2014

To Make Them Proud

I have a very close family. I was raised by parents who loved me, and still love me, with all their hearts and souls. Truth be known, I adore them as well. They celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary this week. So, yes, they love each other too. Totally.

As I was musing over some childhood memories recently, it occurred to me that everything I attempted while growing up, and endeavors I tackle as an adult, I always have one question for myself, “Would it make them proud.”

There is nothing I've ever wanted more than to make my precious parents proud of me. Many decisions I made, especially in college, would have been totally different had I not had that singular question lodged in my brain.

I may have headed out to Nashville to try a singing career – but I knew my mom would worry to pieces. I may have taken my rickety Dodge Omni on a long road trip, but I knew my father would be worried that it would leave me stranded. And it probably would have. I may have majored in music, despite my hearing loss, but then I may not have a job and that would worry my parents.

I feel like I gave up some things because I didn't want them to worry and I wanted them to be proud. But in the end, I've gained so much that the sacrifices were worth it. I may never be on a stage, or may never see California, but I can see the light in my mom and dad's eyes when I walk in with my children.

And I know I've made them proud....

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jane Seymour

Let me take a moment to be a complete FAN. I've been a fan of Jane Seymour for a long time. If I remember correctly her character on Dr. Quinn got married in May 1995. I got married, for the first time, in May 1995, so the wedding date stuck with me. I loved Dr. Quinn and East of Eden, Somewhere in Time, and yes, I'm a total fan of the actress. However, it wasn't until about 6 months ago that I became a fan of Jane Seymour, the person. Jane the philanthropist.

I'm always surfing around on YouTube at night when my husband is watching some dreadful television show that I wont watch. One evening I stumbled upon this video.

When I started reading more about Jane's life I found myself saying over and over, “Me too,” and “that exact same thing happened to me,” and “ my mom says the same thing” and “I believe what you are saying,” and “I've been saying the same thing.” Well, you get the idea. I believe in her Open Hearts philosophy (or her mother's philosophy). I believe in working hard and getting up each morning and doing the best you can. I believe in working through adversity and hard times by doing something good for someone else. I even believe in being friends with my ex. I swear, I'm her sister from another mother. Ha!

I you haven’t ever heard Jane speak on “Open Hearts” you really need to put some ears on and listen. At a time when so many celebrities are behaving badly, she is a light in the midst of the darkness. As a celebrity, she has the unique position to speak to people and they listen! She chooses to use her influence to be uplifting and inspiring – a rarity. She has the presence to influence thousands, and she is doing just that.

I also admire Jane's love for her family. She glows as a mother and grandmother and I believe her heart resides wherever her family is. And yes, I bought an open hearts necklace – actually I made my husband buy it. I hope she earns millions with her jewelry line too, because of the message that comes along with it. I know, if I were her mother, I would be so very proud that my child had used her position in life for the good of others.

If you need a little "uplifting," I highly recommend Jane's book, "Remarkable Changes." Lots of inspiring stories and insight!

Getting Healthy!

I was a large woman. At 4'11” and 187 pounds, I was not happy. My knees ached constantly. I had high cholesterol. I just wasn't healthy. I've spent the last few years learning how and what to eat. I got off the “tomorrow diet” in favor of a healthier rest of my life! While I still have minor ups and downs, I am now armed with the knowledge of what I need to do to be healthy. This knowledge is powerful. I shudder when I look in old posts on this blog. I was so unhealthy. The scale said 129 this morning. That's 58 pounds gone. I want to lose about 15 more – if possible, and then I'm planing a celebratory photo shoot. So thankful for a healthier, happier me!!


Something very strange happened last week. My husband was out-of-state on business, three of my children went out-of-town with grandparents, and one was with a friend at the beach. Where was I? Home. Alone. For. Three. Days. First time this has happened in 15 years.

I've been struggling a lot lately with my quickly changing role of “mother.” I've devoted the last 15 years to my children. I've worked from home doing photography and sewing custom boutique children's clothing. Now, my children, ages almost 8 – 18 are all in school all day. There are no diapers to change. I don't have to dress anyone, nurse anyone, brush anyone's teeth. They are very independent. I'm glad! But I'm lost....

I think it's time for me to try new things, to get out there in society. Honestly, the idea of sewing all day long alone in studio for another year just makes me cringe. I've been writing more, which I love, but it's still a very solitary activity. I still have to be a mother first and foremost. I still will pick my kids up from school and cook dinner, etc. But what I need now is a new opportunity, a new adventure. I suppose I can't just sit here and wait for an opportunity to knock on my door, but I haven’t looked for one in so long, I'm not sure where to start. This is where my frustration begins.

Where do I look? What do I do? Pre-motherhood I competed for seats in orchestras, I did public speaking contests and recited dramatic monologues just for the fun on it. But opportunities were EVERYWHWERE 15 years ago. Now, they are hiding and I'm not a talented “seeker.”

I like to be busy. I like to work. I can guarantee that whatever new endeavor I attempt, I will probably be the one trying too hard. I'm hard on myself, but I want stellar results, so I don't know any other way to be.

Last week, while I was alone, I shopped. I tended my potted plants and my garden. But mostly I did a lot of thinking. I'm nearly 40. My life is different and I want to find a way to embrace and enjoy it. I'm at a crossroads. It's an unnerving spot to sit, in my opinion. I need to find my opportunity – while still fulfilling all roles of wife and mother.

I'm ready. My heart is open.

Monday, June 16, 2014

It's Okay to Fall Apart

I somehow have the ability to pick myself up and carry on in the midst of adversity. It doesn't mean I don't fall apart, occasionally, I just don't do the falling publicly.

At 16 I was set on becoming a professional flutist. I was strongly considering leaving my current high school and attending the Governor's School for the Arts. I practiced hour upon hour. It was all I wanted to do. I always believed if I worked hard enough, I could do anything. Work. Work. Work.

I knew I had lots of trouble hearing people in quiet conversations. I could never hear my friends talk to me in class. I asked people to repeat themselves all the time. Upon a hearing evaluation, we learned that my hearing was very bad and it's was the specialists opinion that it would continue to worsen. A deaf flautist?? I was crushed. I remember climbing to the top of a large oak tree in our backyard and bawling. Somehow though, I still believed that if I worked hard and kept going, everything would be alright. Thankfully, I am 39 and I'm not deaf yet. I have severe hearing loss and depend on hearing aids, but I can hear!

Though I kept playing and practicing, and still do, I knew I could not risk a career in music when there was such a possibility of deafness. I went to college and majored in English, my second love. Throwing myself into literature helped me move past my disappointment and move on. I'm the only person in my family that has ever graduated from college.

Fast forward a few years. I was married – 10 years, two children. My boys were ages 4 and 2. Though I knew there were problems in my marriage, I really felt like I had a good life. That this was the way it was supposed to be?? I made myself believe that my marriage was healthy. Then he left. He left me for another woman. Not only that but a whole huge slew of things were out on the table and I was clueless. Blindsided. How could someone I trusted SO TOTALLY do this to me? I felt like a complete idiot. I felt like a naive fool. I had nothing, not a cent to my name. My husband and everything I thought I had was gone.

I would be strong all day long. I didn't want my boys to see me upset. Bedtime would come and the boys would sleep and I would lose it. I cried it out, every night for a very long time. I even remember waking from a dead sleep and I would still be bawling.

It's funny how now I can look back and see how those moments made me stronger. I knew more, I understood more, and most importantly, I knew I could handle pain. I now had some armor in my arsenal.

My point is this. We all fall apart. We are human. However, it's how we handle heartache and hard times that makes us who we are. So go ahead, allow yourself time to grieve. Check into the hotel and cry on their fancy pillows. BUT – don't unpack. You don't live there. Your stay in the Heartbreak Hotel should not be a long one. Take some time to pick up the pieces and MOVE ON. Re-focus and re-invent yourself. I promise, on the other side there is a new, more wonderful you waiting in the wings ready to begin anew.

Dylan and Caleb (13 and 15 years)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I'm learning, please bear with me...

I've changed the name of this blog “umpteen” times. I finally figured out the nature of my dilemma. My blog titles were much too specific. Those of you who know me well, know that I “re-invent” myself on a regular basis. I LOVE to try new creative outlets, and when I find something I love to do, I put 100% into it. I'm an all or nothing kinda girl. The title of my blogs have often reflected what I was “into” at the moment because that's what I felt like writing about. When I am being creative, I am happy, and when I am happy, I want to write about it! My heart is full and I want to get it out in print so I can see the manifestation of my overflowing heart on the screen. So, that's it; a nice broad title that can encompass all of my schemes and endeavors from here on out. Full Hearts. I'm also a huge fan of Jane Seymour, who is always inspiring people to keep an open heart. If you haven't heard her message, check it out! Is your heart full of love? Is your heart open to receiving love and happiness? I sure hope so.

I confess. I am not a homesteader.

You will see many photos on this site with my former blog title on them: “Our Homestead Haven.” Once upon a time I feel in love with the idea of homesteading. I love to garden, I love having fresh organic eggs from my chickens – that makes me a homesteader, right? Wrong! After reading blogs of real homesteaders, I realized I didn't fit in. This is actually a case where “everything in moderation” really works to my advantage. You see, though I love gardening, I also love being a few miles from a grocery store so I can buy a frozen pizza. Though I love having my own fresh eggs to go in cakes, I also love buying a cake already made so I don't have to bake it. And while sitting down together to dinner I cooked is wonderful, I also love eating out in a nice restaurant with my husband and wearing some nice heels and pretty jewelry. REAL homesteaders (or those whose blogs I have read), do without modern convenience a lot of the time. They milk goats every morning, clean and catch fish, bake everything from scratch, etc... I am not a homesteader. My hats off to them. I have the sincerest admiration and respect. But, alas, there is a little too much glamor in the girl to make the cut!
I Do still grow things - and photograph them. The natural world is a beautiful place - but so is my nice air-conditioned home.

An Heirloom to Treasure

A while back, my kids and I were digging around my mom and dad’s storage building. My kids LOVE to explore the building and find new treasures to claim and bring home. Grandma and Grandpa have no problems with this arrangement. I am usually the one who has to “deal” with their latest exciting acquisitions! However, on this warm fall day, it was little old me that spotted a treasure. I remember seeing this beautiful cabinet most of my life. Jars and other sundries were always neatly stored on it’s shelves. My mom wanted it in the house, but there simply wasn’t a place for it. I’m ashamed to admit that it wasn’t until recently that I knew it’s story. This shelf was built for my grandmother by my grandfather. She needed a sturdy shelf for all her home canned goods. I never met my grandmother, she died before I was born. My father was the youngest of 10 children, and his father (my grandfather) died when he was only two years old – he has no memory of his father. He does, however, have lots of memories of this cabinet. He told me of how he would sit and watch television as child and would be frightened by the sounds of the jar lids popping and sealing. He has also recalled to me many times watching his mother make fig preserves and store the jars in this cabinet. The cabinet was built from rough cut wood ,whatever was available, milled at a family mill that used to be right down the street from their home. Each piece was cut, by my grandfather, with a handsaw. None of the nails match, none of the boards are same size, but it’s SOLID and in my opinion, it’s absolutely perfect. We estimate it’s age at between 80-90 years old. I can picture the man who made this cabinet. I can picture the woman who stocked it with food for the family. I can picture a little boy sitting near it waiting for the sound of the “pops.” I can picture my family enjoying and appreciating it for years to come. Here’s to the next 90, and may my children love it as much as I do. So grateful to have this treasure in my home.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekend In Review

The weather was heavenly this weekend - only about 85 degrees and we had a constant breeze. It's amazing how much you can accomplish when not suffering from the oppressive humidity of the south! Here's how the weekend shaped up!

- I decided it was time to harvest some of this delicious looking Romaine. Not actually harvesting till tomorrow before dinner. Spaghetti, meatballs, salad (that I don't have to go to the store to buy,) and homemade bread - also, no grocery store required! Yipee!

And doesn't it look like a Cabbage Patch baby just wants to pop out of my cabbage!!

- Even more exciting is that our coop is finally looking like a coop! Since my hubby can only work on it on Saturdays, it's been a slow process, but I love it. Can't wait to help our "girls" set up house!

And last but not least, my mom bought us this beautiful handmade basket for egg gathering. It's beautifully made and I adore it. For now, I grabbed a photo of it with some apples. Eggs to come!!

Basically, it was an awesome, prepping filled, homesteady kinda weekend!!