Today’s Monday Musings is brought to you, courtesy of, my birthday.
Yep, another spin around the sun and the opportunity for another year of doing this thing called life. At the risk of sounding cliche, I’m beyond grateful and thankful for it.
The good, the bad, the messy and joyful. The mundane and extraordinary. I try to live in those daily moments and simply appreciate them for what they are.
Some days, honestly, that can be hard.
Other days it’s blissfully easy.
All of it rolled together are moments that have built and shaped me into who I am. My strengths and weaknesses forging a stronger, wiser and more determined woman.
Every year I allow time to look back and reflect where I am, and who I am. How I’ve grown and what I’ve learned. Goals I’ve set and accomplished. In it there is always that mix of success and struggles.
And you know what? That’s really ok. Struggles lead to success and success always makes me want to strive for more.
On a business level, I’ve achieved new things this year I hadn’t even calculated last year. There are risks and payoffs. They go hand in hand. I’m pretty happy with the forward movement of it all.
Do I want more? To build and accomplish more? You bet I do. I’m grateful for skills and talents I’ve been given that I work daily cultivating. I’ve learned to just let my creativity out and when I do there’s total satisfaction in what comes from it.
On a personal level, I had a total knee replacement last year. 😬
Yep, a super sonic titanium knee.
And you know what? It’s awesome and I do not regret having it done. ( you can check out an entire post on it here on my blog)
I love when people have said “oh you’re so young to have that done!” 😂 yeah well, I don’t dig pain, so a new knee it is.
One of the cool things about getting older….stuff breaks. I’m really joking. I’m super appreciative of being strong and rather sturdy….my knee just had other ideas.
And honestly, I am grateful for my health. Eating well and attempting some exercise most days of the week has been my goal to maintain a healthy body… and mind. Never underestimate how exercise can help your mental well being.
Being comfortable in my skin
I guess for the most part, I always have been. I think age helps nail it down more, ya know, the ability to just embrace who I am. I am authentic and my heart is genuine. I can be sassy, sarcastic and have a quick wit. I also know how to stand up for myself and can speak my mind when needed…..not rude….I just know how to use my voice.
I feel people, their joy and pain and can read them more than the words they speak, or don’t speak. Being empathetic can sometimes feel painful. My mom would refer to it as wearing my heart on my sleeve.
Somehow, that has deepened with age.
Another part of growing is knowing you might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it’s also knowing you’re the most refreshing drink for others. And those…. those are the ones I focus on. They make me laugh, bring me joy, and challenge and support me.
I also think in a world full of more chaos that allowing love, grace and mercy to be something that I freely bestow on not just those I know, but the people I don’t know, people like myself just trying to get through this thing called life. The world seems to be in desperate need of love and grace and I want to be someone who gives that out.
My family celebrated me last night with a wonderful meal hosted at my sons house. My daughter in law prepared a feast and made my favorite cake. My mom used to make me a homemade German chocolate ones…they were amazing. She passed away in 2014 and my family in the years after have made cakes for me…my husband, daughter or daughter in law.
My daughter in law has taken it on herself to make sure I get a homemade german chocolate cake the past few years and it is something that touches me deeply. Birthdays are still hard…I miss my mom. But I am so blessed to have people who love me so well.
I know people often get caught up in the past or focused on things that don’t serve them anymore. Every year brings a new season. I look forward to new growth, staying open to fresh ideas and simply appreciating where I am…..at this stage of life. There is still much to learn, new goals to set and achieve and so many opportunities in front of me.
Today’s post boys and girls is brought to you from 35 thousand feet in the air.I’m pretty sure it may be quite a long time before I’d write a post again while I’m flying.What adventures have I been up to?Hubby’s daughter, my step daughter, got married this weekend in New York.Our entire family group went which made for a noticable tribe moving through check points at the airports.There were like…24 of us.Other than both flights going up there being delayed and dragging into our hotel at almost 4 in the morning ( have mercy that was a lonnggg day) the travel went well.My husband is from beautiful parts of New York….Albany area…although he grew up in Roundlake.We all made a field trip there on Saturday and my kids got to see his childhood home and hear stories from “back in the day”.I’m always amazed at the beauty of tall forest trees, old colonial styled homes and a calmer and peaceful atmosphere there.Small towns are “villages” and I found a sign that stated as such..Don’t ask why but I thought it was cool.It was fun to visit the places of his life from his earlier years. He still has family there and some made themselves available for us while we were there to visit and catch up on our lives.The weddingAh yes. Let’s get to the good stuff :)Weddings are always sweet, beautiful and full of hopes, promises, and new dreams.I always admire the new couple and think of them starting this journey of marriage.I think about the roads I’ve traveled on mine in 35 years.I wonder if they will have all it takes to withstand lifes ups and downs once the honeymoon is over.For a writer and a people watcher like me, weddings are perfect fodder for my reflective, wandering mind and thoughts.This was the first marriage for my husband’s daughter. She is strong, beautiful, hard working, clever, and fun.She is 42 and found the man of her dreams ( we all like him alot too 🙂 )I’d say she has had plenty of time to consider all she would want her wedding to be….and it was beautiful. She was a glowing, stunning bride and as best as I could tell everything went perfect.Of course the reception is the time when everyone can relax and have fun.And have fun, we did.With a DJ that was a ball of energy, there wasn’t a dull moment.Ok dear readers, I need to admit it here, but yours truly loves to dance.And I did and by the end of the night the heels were off, my feet were tired, my makeup had faded and my flowers had wilted, but gosh, it was a fun night.But it was one song that took me to that deeper introspection.He had all the couples on the floor dancing and they dropped out as he called out years you were married.It felt good to be one of the half dozen left standing when the years topped over thirty, then 35…that’s when we stepped off floor with only a few left.The grooms parents took it with 50 years.I thought about all the years of life lived with a person and all that goes with it.The good, the bad, the ugly and beautiful.And by damn….awards should be given!It takes a whole lotta work to get to that point in your life.Work. Sacrifice. Giving. Taking. Laughing. Crying. Inside jokes and getting each other in ways no one else on planet earth does. Years of being poor. Years of having plenty. Kids. Dogs. House payments. Sickness and health. Hogging the covers and taking over the bed. Learning to embrace and accept each other’s weirdness and idiosyncrasies.All of these thoughts rolled through my head as I danced with my husband, my partner in crime.I thought about his daughter and how she would learn these things too.You think you know your partner on your wedding day and you do.But you know them so much better year after year than you did that day.And it’s just the day in and out of life that you learn these things.They will learn too. They will travel down the road of life together and realize a few years from now they know each other better than they did on this amazing day and there is such a beautiful sweetness in that.Now back to regularly scheduled lifeWe’ve all experienced it right? The fun comes to an end and its back to doing life again that got left behind while you’re off having fun.And here I sit, high above the earth as darkness creeps into the cabin, the passengers quiet as the plane speeds us closer home, waiting to resume life again at home.The wedding was sweet. The time seeing the bride and her new husband was precious.Seeing a few family members let us catch up on life.The time away and having all our family there on a big trip was a first.The ages ranged from my new born granddaughter to us old people Haha and everything in between.Life is precious. But it’s the people in it that make it that way. As I come home tired and ready for my own bed, I’m reminded again of how truly blessed I am in my life.And I’m already plotting and planning when we can go on another adventure again.Have you been on any recent adventures?
Happy Monday boys and girls! For me it’s Sunday evening as I write this and my body is in that happy, tired kind of place. Tired from a good bike session this morning, 20.50 miles to be exact.
I love the feeling that comes from a solid, strong workout. The way my body kinda wants food all day, the ache of muscles well used, the satisfaction of doing hard work. I love it.
I’m used to working hard in general, but there is something about my athletic “labor” that makes me feel fierce, even if it might leave me tired by the end of the day.
I should say that when I got up I had thought I’d ride “a few miles” to shake out my body from the fun of deadlifts the day before.
You know how people complain of just general aches and pains? I’d rather have tight muscles or wake up wondering what I did to myself the day before then having aches and pains from doing nothing.
Anyway, my sleepy mind quickly remembered all those deadlifts which explained some muscles reminding me they were there 😛
Once I got warmed up with a few miles under me my mind started deciding exactly what I wanted to accomplish on the ride. I thought about these crazy hills that are a part of the duathlon course and how I had only ridden them last year.
Why? I’m not sure. I love riding down the biggest one frequently (hello fast speeds) but I felt intimidated about riding them back up.
Now this in theory sounds kinda crazy right? I just told you I rode them in the race. I should add, for the first time in the race. I thought the course ended before that so I hadn’t ever practiced riding them … till that day I had to… and I nailed them.
So it shouldn’t be a deal to be doing it but I haven’t been. There is another set of hills, equally as mean and tough that I do more often.
I decided today I was just going to do it. I had to silence those voices in my head that were trying to convince me that I wouldn’t be able to do it.
I engaged my mental muscle reminding myself of all I’ve done, all I can do, and how strong I am. And really? what was the worst that could happen? Have to push it up?
For the record I’ve never had to do that on any big hill….
So off I went.
As I sailed around the corner leading up to it I just focused on letting my body do it’s thing and work with the bike… I was shocked when I found myself easily on top of it. But once you crest that hill, it drops off immediately down the other side ( it should be mentioned this is really a paved over mountain) it’s about a half mile down to the cul de sac, make the turn, then pedal back up where I just came flying down.
Again, I got to the top a bit shocked at how easy it had been. Perhaps a nod to my other cross training should be mentioned here…
Let me tell you after that, I kinda glided home those last 6ish miles in a happy place.
Hubby calls me a machine… or a beast.. both terms I weirdly love. But I do tend to forget that I am strong. I am capable of doing some pretty strong things… like taking on big monsterous hills.
I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one who can at times, get hindered by voices that try and convince us we aren’t enough, or lack, or can’t do something. I’m usually good at stomping them down and I had decided I had let these stick around for to long.
What was I afraid of? That was the root of it….
I want to do things and I want to do them well. If I do something I like to be good at it. But when I stop and take things apart, sometimes it’s not as big of a deal as I thought it was. Those voices fade as I take control and exert that mental muscle I rely on so frequently.
I guess that has helped me a lot get to where I am today as an athlete. If I stopped and examined to closely things I thought about doing, I’d probably run the other way!
So the take away here is… if you want to do something (sometimes) you may have to stomp down those voices or reasons in your head that make you doubt yourself. Pursuing big goals and big dreams requires ( I’ve learned) a healthy dose of fearlessness and not looking it to closely in the eye.
You square up, hit it head on, and do it.
And I’m gonna say, when I’ve accomplished big things that I never saw myself doing? Well I’ve learned more and more about getting out of my own way.. cool things happen when I do.
All that work makes me sweat…..
Seriously, even in the earlier morning hours, with the work of my body and the warm air it’s a sweat fest.
Of course that means proper hydration and good nutrition.
I may have mentioned in a previous post I’m all about light foods during warm weather and namely I love experimenting with salads. I can add so many various ingredients to them depending on my mood or items I have on hand.
Maybe I should do a salad business too haha. My kids give me a hard time for adding fruit into my salad but I love the contrast of flavors and really, the more variety, the less I think a salad needs much dressing on it.
This one is loaded with colorful veggies and some fruit and a healthy amount of grilled chicken for protein for those muscles and to keep me from getting hungry later on.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different textures and foods for an interesting lunch plate!
Other life stuff…..
Have I blabbed much about my furniture adventures lately? Ok well, here’s my newest….
This is actually a base to a vintage china cabinet. I’m gonna repurpose it into a buffet/sideboard type thing. I’m plotting a “new” top for it along with some sanding and some minor repair work it definitely needs.
Did I mention that I’m keeping this one 😉 Actually there are a few pieces I’ve wanted to keep but I’ve really had to develop a catch and release policy haha
Ok I’m not like, a carpenter, ya know? I mean I’ve learned to do a lot with hands on in this stuff by just doing it. However, I’m fairly sure the huge nail in pic above is a bit…overkill….
Yes, the door is off cabinet and I knew I would have to find suitable screws and get the poor thing installed again. But first….surgery to remove that nail… seriously…..
I’ll keep you posted on it’s progress 🙂
I actually have a few things in various stages of being worked on and I’ve sold some this week so that’s always a win too.
Some days… ah.. I just need more hours!
Before I leave you….
Hubby and I were on a date last weekend, finally, finally got to see Deadpool 2.
I love his dark, snarky, sarcastic nature and funny ongoing comments through movie. I giggled over some things long after they had passed.
Was I the only one focused on him wearing crocs in the opening scene and how totally goofy it was? and that it was meant to be that way?
Hubby however, didn’t have the same appreciation for much of his humor.
No matter what though, it’s always fun when we get time away from the hustle and activity of the household, to just be us for awhile.
Even if he does think my choice of movie sucked haha 😉
Tell me… have you seen the movie? Did you like it? have you seen any good movies this summer? Considering my opening comments, have you ever struggled to push down thoughts you couldn’t do something or you didn’t think you had what it took to accomplish it? Anything new up your sleeve this week ?
It didn’t take long to find what I was looking for. I had to laugh as it was something I saw years ago and actually forgotten about.
In the East Texas town of Canton they boast the biggest, most long running flea market in the country. With well over 6.000 vendors and acres of ground to cover there is something there for everyone.
I messaged him that I had a potential destination in mind and he was agreeable so I set the wheels in motion to make it happen.
One thing about this event is that hotels book up and sell out months in advance in Canton which will bump many people to neighboring nearby towns, as if did us. ( Now I know. I know if we go again I need to book our room a long way out)
This wasn’t really bad though as we got to explore another small town we otherwise might not have ever seen. Our hotel was strangely big, modern and well kept in this otherwise sleepy town called Mineola.
Soon the date approached for our trip. I’ll tell you this. As the one who runs the home and organizes everything, gets things ready for the trip and leaves things ready to leave etc
It requires the skill and organization of a military commander.
By the time everything was loaded, last minute notes left for kids, dogs fed, bags packed, I was ready to just settle in and start unwinding … ready to enjoy our time away.
I guess hubby thought I was gonna find a lot of cool stuff to drag home ’cause he thought renting a truck might be a good idea.
He was right. And it was a good idea 😉
He always has good ideas.
Adventures into Canton..
Have you ever been to Disneyworld? You know how you’re never quite sure where to start, what to see or where to go first? How it’s complete sensory overload?
Seriously, this is what it was like.
The sounds. The smells. The sights.
Given I was out looking for good deals on old furniture or other items I could creatively flip and give new life to I knew there were certain areas I wanted to hit hard and fast first.
It had rained on us all the way there Friday and when we arrived many of the vendors were closed, but we found quite a few still open. It definitely gave us a chance to explore the grounds and plot our strategy for the next day which would be a full day out there.
I was like a kid in a candy store with some booths. Other stuff, I didn’t really care about so it was easy to by pass certain areas… when you know you only have a certain amount of time you get really focused on what you want to see.
As mentioned earlier, the grounds are vast, with many huge warehouses full of vendors as well as hundreds of outside vendors.
Scooters are available to rent.
I’m just not sure what to say about that. Like… if you need a scooter, by all means.
But the totally able bodied people on them munching foot long corndogs as they sped by? … well.. ha I’m thinking… just walk it’s good for you! In some places it was like a scooter parade, you had to dodge them and people pulling wagons and dragging things behind them.
Some areas were crazy and required a level of skill to not get highly annoyed.
Hubby and I? Were tough old birds, I guess. We’d get enough stuff till we couldn’t carry anymore and make a run back to unload at truck. Which finding it in the beginning was like a rat being in a maze.
I’m telling you. If there was ever a time I was glad of my physical fitness, this event made me more so. On one trip I was carrying this solid wood side table, my purse, drink and a few other items as we attempted to navigate our way back through all the many buildings, finally out to the parking area, and then all the way out to where we parked.
Seriously, I logged about 17,000 steps that day.
I wouldn’t have gotten that on a scooter 😉
Not only were there items that ranged from pets, to plants, to antiques, to old collectibles and everything in between that, the food was plentiful and abundant.
Just think carnival food. Grease. Sweets. You name it.
I didn’t see a whole lot of anything for the health conscious out there. In fact, we decided we had to try these potato things after the zillionth person roamed by with them. One huge potato turned into something like a French fry/ potato chip… just look at it’s lovely greasy, crispiness 🙂
What goodies did I find?
Well, I didn’t find as much furniture as I was hoping, Most were offering pieces at retail prices and more than I wanted to spend on pieces I flip. Lots of furniture had been “re-done” …. turquoise… why??
I did however find a lot of cute things that fit my budget and will transform pretty well I think…
I found lots of cool things that will keep me busy for quite awhile. I think it’s definitely a place I’d enjoy doing again and much like Disney, once you go you then learn a few tips and tricks for the next time to make it easier and you know where you want to go first.
Now about the town we stayed in….
Mineola is a small quiet town about 30 minutes from Canton. After dinner on Saturday evening we walked around and just looked at some of its old history…
But dinner first… we ate at the local hamburger place and they served a variety of home style food. It’s the kind of place you’re fairly sure the carpet and fixtures are original from …forever ago… when they opened. Old. We ate there both nights we liked it so much…and they had fried pies… huge fried pies…
I should say here… my husband deserves an award at times. When I’m whipping open my camera to snap a pic of something apparently random, I get the blank look to which I reply…
“I’m a blogger remember? Photos go hand in hand with what I do” to which he patiently waits while I take pics of weird things or pose with plastic looking men in front of our restaurant haha or make him take pictures with huge metal chickens ( which to humor him I won’t post) I just constantly see things around me to use so you all don’t get bored with nothing but words and more words 😉
My mind is always looking to capture cool things to add to my writing…like this….
Oh speaking of magnolias… I’ve never seen a tree as massive as the one by this church.
In ways of things that make me laugh…..
this sign was on the door of a store. I guess given it’s an area where people are on the prowl for antique stuff, they must’ve had enough of people trampling in on the hunt for some and decided a nice sign on the door would ward off potential antique hunters haha
A little known thing about me….
Of all jewelry, I have a thing for bracelets. Big, strong, bold ones usually. We stopped in a little coffee shop Saturday night and they had a display with all kinds of cool ones, this one though, I immediately loved. The girl was unsure of prices and started off saying the lady who “hand made them only used antique fabrics…” made me feel like it was going to be more than I wanted to pay… she made a call and then informed me it was 10.00.
Guess what I have now ? 😉
Time flies when you’re having fun….
All to soon our adventures were over and it was time to make our way home with all the treasures. Not only was it fun finding things and knowing they have new potential. the time with the one I love can’t be measured. Stepping away from “real” life allows us to just hang out, without agendas, without anyone needing us for something, without dealing with all the things that tend to go on when you’re on your home turf.
We made a commitment to plan more frequent weekend road trips, for no special occasion other than escaping and really getting to hang out together.
I can hardly wait to plan our next one.
Tell me… have you been on any new or fun adventures recently? Do you like road trips or exploring off the beaten path places?
This is gonna just be one of those “life” posts. Because my life is made up of a wee bit more than my athletic adventures, debunking current health nonsense, and offering up sane and practical ways to be fit and healthy. Sometimes I just want to write about those “other” things.
As in… my first born son will be married in less than 2 weeks! That my faithful readers, is a big life event for this momma.
Now this isn’t my first rodeo marrying off a child. My middle son will celebrate 2 years married in just a few days. THAT is hard to believe. In those 2 years of marriage I’ve also received a beautiful granddaughter who turns one in a few weeks.
Will time just slow down already???
But yeah… I have a wedding coming full steam at me and as I write this today I will admit it’s my first round of actual, all out nervousness and that “OMG are we really ready for this?!” feelings.
By nature I’m not prone to that. I’m usually the more focused and in control of my feelings and emotions person. I don’t get all crazy from my nerves ( shhhh don’t ask hubby about that when I’m hours away from a race 😉 )
But today my mind is filled with all the little details and things still being done. My “to be” daughter in law has been very good with getting stuff done so that’s helped a lot. I’ve tried to work and help her to the best of my abilities.
Team work, right?
Planning a wedding is…well.. a big deal. There are so many details.. but you know…women…. we are into details.
Just ask us to tell a story 😉
So there are flowers… how many and where do they all go. In the church on the tables, off the rafters haha. What will the tables look like ? tablecloths, plates, decorations etc.
What goes in the church? Just the right touches to add to the beautiful old, antique look of it.
Food. Guests want to eat. We got to sample the goods recently and make decisions on that.
Cakes. Oh. We’ve got cake. We might have cake for days afterwards. They will be gorgeous though and oh so tasty. I hope I have time to enjoy some of it that day.
Brides dress… all done. Portraits done.
Bridesmaids dresses and tuxes picked out and ordered.
Mother of groom dress. Ordered and hanging in my closet.
It is stunning.
Unlike many who might try to knock some weight off before the big event, I’m over here hoping to maintain my weight so my “custom made fits like a glove” dress still fits like that on the big day.
How many mothers of the groom are heavy into training for a duathlon with a wedding also on the menu?
All of that aside… I know… it will happen. My nerves will settle, it will be beautiful, and I gain a new lovely daughter in law in the process.
Marriage. I’ve learned a little about it in the 33 years I’ve been married.
Weddings always take me back, make me think, how I’d do it all over again with the same wonderful man.
I don’t mean for that to sound cliché or corny. It’s just true.
You grow and learn so much about each other in a married relationship. You have good times and bad times. I’m thankful our years have been filled with more good than not.
I’m thankful that no matter what, we’ve always respected each other and I think that’s a huge key to a successful marriage. Even if times aren’t great, love and respect are (I believe) huge factors to longevity.
You learn to pitch in together with common goals. work for things you want together, support each other in their own individual passions (I’m serious when I say my husbands support of my athletic and health shenanigans are huge to me) you go through kids ( and some of the literal hell they roll you through) you deal with aging parents and illness and death, finances, job changes, health issues… life stuff people. Sometimes it isn’t pretty and you want it to just be over already.
Then there are quiet moments of waking up together and talking about the day or savoring that first cup of coffee together. Special dates and doing those things that matter to the two of you… things that have been born from years of being together… things that are about you, as a couple. There are the inside jokes and weird quirky things that are between the two of you that you could exchange in a room full of people and no one would get but the two of you.
You learn about the whole “better or worse” thing that you recite in your vows. In all our years together I can honestly say that nothing has ever caused us to use the separation or divorce words.
And don’t you either.
Those are harmful words and should never be thrown around in your anger with each other.
When you make a commitment to love the other, it may mean you love, but you might not always like each other.
If you’re married and deny that, well, I’d call you out on it …’cause well.. it’s true. You’re two individual people, who different ideas, likes, interests, opinions, thoughts etc.
You will never mesh on everything, and you shouldn’t.
There is such a beauty in the differences of individuals who learn to mold and blend those differences together.
I am definitely the fiery, outspoken one of our relationship. He is calm, sees things in different ways and keeps me tethered when I’d go flying off on a tangent on something. ( Ah he tries… sometimes.. I do go untethered haha)
It’s a beautiful balance of give and take. Learning and growing. Accepting and changing.
It’s the beauty of years of lives being blended together in something sacred called marriage.
So as I work, prepare and get ready to watch my first born son become a wedded man my heart desire is for him ( his brother too) to learn these things. To allow large measures of grace to always permeate their marriage, to allow it to be in their relationship as they grow together. To be patient when they might not feel patient. To be loving even if they don’t feel like it. To be understanding of the others weaknesses and flaws. To be a helper and not a taker. To support, encourage, and build each other up. That they will cling to each other in rough times, and learn to appreciate the goodness of simple, daily life and life events. To not sweat the small things and let them go. To not waste time on being mad or arguing because they are wasting time they could love and enjoy each other. To think of the needs of the other before themselves. To live sacrificially.
Marriage is a commitment. A lifelong one. Is it always easy, no. But the beauty of having another soul who knows you inside and out. Good and bad. Knows your sense of humor and what makes you laugh. Who knows those little things that make you smile and who loves to hear about your goals and dreams, someone who is willing to go the distance with you, works with you and desires to be with you, that my friends, is nothing short of priceless.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m getting back to my to-do list and settling my nerves down.
My mom passed away last year in the early morning hours of April 24, 2014. I won’t ever forget the day she quietly stepped out of this world as it was also my daughters 16th birthday.
I miss her.
I miss her sometimes in ways that crush my chest and leave me feeling breathless. There are moments I still can’t believe she isn’t with me. Grief is a weird animal and yet, another blog I have yet to write on. I think perhaps, in a way, I’m still kind of afraid to sit down and write about it. I don’t like pain but I also understand there is healing in pain too.
Ah well dear reader in another moment I will feel up to tackling that topic because I know there isn’t a person on this big planet who won’t walk through the avenue of grief at some point in time.
But for now… for this post… I’m reflecting on things my Mom taught me. Maybe in a way, some type of tribute to her for what she invested into me and my life.
Her first born and only daughter ( my brother would come along 15 months later) we shared a close bond and enjoyed many similar things. She was always proud of me and supported me in everything I did. I can’t tell you the times I’d show up at the hospital and some member of the hospital staff (whom I’d never met) would see me and say… “you’re that marathon runner, aren’t you?” My mom had pics of me running hanging in her room and she took every opportunity to tell a new victim person about my activities.
Marathon running ( and training) of course requires a tremendous amount of strength, physically and mentally. I learned a lot about being strong from my mom. I am grateful in the last few months of her life I was able to recognize that strength in her in a new way and see how I had been blessed to have that as a part of my makeup. I don’t mean strong physically, although I am, I mean the deep strength of a woman who goes through difficulties and can stand under them. One who learns to move through the storm and grow in the process. A woman who chooses to keep seeing good and joy even in the face of hardship and difficulties.
A woman who makes a choice to fight back and not curl up and die. Strength. My mom embodied that and I’m grateful to be molded in a similar way.
Moving into fall and the approaching holidays makes me miss her more acutely ( I encountered this last year) the changing of seasons and upcoming festivities reminds me how much she loved and embraced all activities from now through New Years.
I’ve missed her enthusiasm and planning of dinners and activities. The plotting of menus. The brainstorming over gift ideas. She approached the “holiday season” with a childlike enthusiasm.
So I’ll start with this… she put a love in me for all things holiday. With the first crisp of fall air pumpkins, scarecrows and her homemade pumpkin bread showed up. Thanksgiving was always accompanied with some new recipe she wanted to try and her “gifting” was to deliver pies to suit every tastes for each person who would be there. When I say they dragged like, 12 homemade pies over to my home, I’m not exaggerating. Last year her gifting was sorely missed. I bake but don’t put the spread of pies out like she loved to do.
Christmas? Oh my goodness. It was a time to bless not only her family, but anyone in need she could find. Christmas was (is) about giving, sharing and family. She baked goodies to share with everyone she had connections with. Our home was always decked out ( no wonder I’ve grown up and my home is always all dressed up. Imagine my shock when I learned not everyone went through such effort to celebrate)
Special cookies. Stockings gently used from years of being hung with care. The anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Putting cookies out. Late night Christmas eve service. The picking of just the “perfect” tree. ( to this day… I want a big one. I have 12ft ceilings so why not ??) The lights. Evergreen. The Nativity set carefully arranged honoring Christ’s birth. The old cardboard village with the ( lead!) Barclay Santa and skaters nestled around it (this is my FAVORITE Christmas display which I’ll share in another post) Every area with something tucked into it.
My kids have grown up loving it and their friends have viewed it as going to a Christmas shop at times 😉 It makes the work all worth while. There’s something magical…. and that is the thing I guess my mom ( and grandmother) gave to me and I’m glad to give it to others.
I do so many similar things… traditions. Traditions that now my grown children want to do… there is something satisfying in that. Traditions involve family and a sharing of events that have been passed along from each generation.
She taught me how to invest into my family, my husband, to cook, bake, sew, keep a home, artfully arrange flowers, and make beautiful things. To be a cheerleader and encourager. I learned a Mom keeps things spinning.
Random things were meant to be celebrated. A good report card? It was Friday? Nailed a new job ? Successful on a test or something challenging? Whatever… there were simple moments that were worth something celebratory.
She modeled loving sacrificially in marriage. She went through many difficult things with my dad, one of the biggest was his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s a few years ago. She would share some things with me about dealing with him but as a mom, I know, sheltered me. Since I’ve had the responsibility of caring for him in this last year I see some of what she dealt with and feel bad I didn’t really understand to offer her more support in the difficulty of what she dealt with.
She taught me as a mom, that a mothers love is bottomless and that no matter what she was always there. Even in her last days she was concerned about some difficulties I was currently going through and insisted I talk about it. I miss being able to share those things with her.
She taught me how to love and be loving. How to give freely and from whatever I have. To be generous and selfless. To be kind to others. I learned to be content with what I have because if you aren’t content, then you are ungrateful for all you do have. I learned about working hard for what you want and not having an attitude of expecting to have things handed to you.
She told me about God and faithfully took me to church. She put me in a place that in the years to come would allow me to move into my own relationship with Him. She taught me how to love and trust Him.
She taught me to embrace life and that every single day we are given is a pure, sweet gift. She encouraged me to see the beauty of the world around me and always pointed me to the fact we had a Creator who had fashioned all we see.
On being a woman… she taught me things that I value so much now….
How to be a lady. To act classy. To stand up straight ( in my …younger years… I hadn’t embraced or become confident in my 6’0 frame and sometimes tended to…slouch) I’m grateful I learned how to carry myself with confidence thanks to her “encouragement” 😉
She taught me to be proud of myself and my accomplishments and to always keep trying no matter what.
I was raised to be polite, courteous, and respectful. On the flip side, I was also taught to stand up for myself and take nothing off of anyone.
I learned how to use makeup so I enhanced my looks without ( in her words) “looking like a clown”. I was schooled in the wearing of high heels so I didn’t “clop along like a girl who fell off a tractor” haha (My mom always had some lovely visual illustration to use)
let me tell you… today….I can rock a pair of high heels like no ones business… thanks mom…..
She often reminded me that being a woman, wife, and mother required some time to step away for myself and that was an ok thing to do.
My mom was an amazing,strong, passionate, loving, generous and giving woman. I’m so blessed to have had her and her influence for almost 50 years of my life.
I do miss her tremendously. However, if somehow, I can carry on and share the things she taught me, her life will continue to live on as well.
And hey… if you still have your mom.. right now… call and tell her you love her and thank her for what she’s taught you.