Friday, January 12, 2018

All Because Two People Fell in Love......

                                                      

January 12, 1985.....I was 20 years old and the dad was 26. We got married at my older Sister’s house and all of our friends put together a potluck reception for us. I bought my dress off a clearance rack in a bridal shop for 50.00. A recently married client loaned me her fancy wedding hat that was quite the fashion statement during the 80’s. Lol Some long ago friends, Bruce and Cheryl, played the guitar and sang The Wedding Song by Noel Paul Stookey. We went away to Monterey for our honeymoon...and part way through I wondered if I had left the iron on at our little rental house. That was the beginning of the Dad’s anxiety and me saying, “it will be fine!” About everything. We had no idea what we were getting into! Lol We have grown up together, figuring out who we wanted to be, how we would handle whatever life threw at us. 

I was a hairdresser and the dad was a journeyman insulator and I was so proud of him. He has always been such a hard worker, taking pride in providing for his family. Always looking for ways to free all of us up so that we can live to our potential, do the things that were most important to us. 

We have made lots of mistakes together...oh my gosh. Either one of us had a strong background of support to come along side and teach us about parenting, or investing for later, or being partners, or house repairs...but somehow we figured it out together. By God’s grace because its nothing short of a miracle! We are total opposites....I am emotional and all about feelings and people, and the Dad is analytical, a problem solver, logical...a perfect Mars and Venus union. 

Oh this man....when he could have chosen to harden his heart and become angry and resentful, I have watched him soften as he has lived through things he never planned on. He has always been for us. All of us. Everyone thinks that I am the tolerant, kind, gracious one......but really, its the Dad. Well, sometimes. LOL When I am done, fed up, on a tear, he reminds me of who we are, what we are doing, he grounds me and I know that if he can keep going, so can I. 

 Even when things were hard, when we weren’t connecting and things felt like they were crumbling all around us, when we would say things we didn’t mean to each other, we always knew we couldn’t do life without the other. We are a team. I always felt like we have this core to our marriage that is pretty sturdy, its withstood a lot. God knew I needed someone solid, someone I could trust implicitly...and even though nothing is ever perfect, even though we do things completely different from one another, and even though I tell the Dad he is like being married to a giant 12 year old...I can’t imagine doing this life with anyone else. 

We truly are growing old together. Lol We are watching our kids get married and have babies and that is such a cool affirmation of our lives together. We are moving on to the second generation of our union. My mom used to be so proud of us because we stayed married lol....we both come from families where no one stayed married. Every anniversary my mom would say, “you two sure broke the cycle!”  She loved to watch us both working outside together....that symbolized real unity to her. It usually just meant that I hadn’t won the argument to hire a yard guy to come and rake and trim and burn and blow off the pine needles. Lol I will never forget toward the end of her life, she was in Hospice care, unconscious, and I had to run to the pharmacy. When I came back there was my big husband sitting on a kitchen chair next to her bed holding her hand. “She was getting upset.” 

Or the time Little One and her friend wanted to have a lemonade stand...but he wouldn’t let them sit at the top of our road alone, so he packed up his guitar, and drove them to the top, helped them get set up, and then sat there for hours playing his guitar while they did their thing. 

Or the time I was away for work, Little One was away visiting big brother, and My Girl thought the house would be empty. She came home, ready to hunker down and detox on her own. The dad came home that night and realized what was happening and took the week off “just to be near by.” He asked me what he could do to help her. He bought Gatorade, he cup up melon and fed it to her, he gave her Tylenol, he quietly loved her where she was at. This good, kind, old soul...I think of those times and my heart melts. He’s always there, he’s never given up, even when the going has been so so very tough. 

God knew exactly what He was doing when He let us find each other 33 years ago. Happy Anniversary Big Guy. I love who we are, who we have become and I am so thankful for us. 

Love,

Me

                                                           

            

                                                                                             

                                                     


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Some blogger craziness

Sorry about the flood of Molly posts....she blogged about her dyslexia and I wanted her to see the 3 part series I wrote about her 9 years ago!! But I had taken a huge part of my blog and turned them all into drafts after I had them printed into a book. To share the link with her I had to republish these posts......so feel free to read if you would like.....scroll down to part 1, then work your way up. Some of you have been reading with me THIS long and have probably already read them!! If so....bless your sweet hearts.

Much love,
Annette

Part 3...Liberation!



Let me begin this last installment by saying that I believe that Molly's greatest gift is her sense of humor and her ability to laugh at herself. Making verbal slips is almost a daily part of her life. Saying things like "Heimlich Remover" "oveolas" for areolas, "Gale University" for Yale University, "carnival" for carnivore...is part of who she is. We love her for it. She makes us smile.

So Molly had decided to go to school. She wanted to play on the basketball team, instant message friends, go to dances. This was a complete shift for me. I had to let go of how I thought it would go, jump off of the track we were on, and head off in a new direction. It took me a minute to get my bearings, but once I did I called the school to begin to lay the ground work for Molly to make the transition. I put together a folder of Molly's test scores, samples of her art work, her creative writing which showed her very phonetic spelling methods, math work, anything that gave a glimpse into the *whole* person of who Molly was/is. I wanted them to see all of her, not just a kid who couldn't read.

The principal was very positive, and promised us that Molly would be placed with a wonderful teacher with experience in these sorts of things, that the teacher would know ahead of time about her issues so Molly would not end up in an awkward position on her first day of school. Molly and I walked around the campus during the summer several times, finding the bathrooms, where the 6th grade classes were, where she would have lunch... anything so she had a little bit of familiarity with her surroundings.

The first day of school she waited in front of her assigned class and no one ever came. A woman walking past said, "Oh there was a last minute change there. All kids in room __ are now in room __ with Mr. H. Mr. H was a new teacher and had never heard of Molly and had no idea about anything. He tried his best, and Molly knew a lot of kids at school from all of her years playing team sports so a lot of them rallied around her and even jumped to her defense if she was asked to do something in the class that they knew she couldn't manage.

Molly was devastated. She is not a crier, but she cried and cried... in class, in the bathroom at school, on the way home from school, nothing had worked out the way that she had been told it would. When I called the principal, she hemmed and hawed and made up excuses why everything had fallen apart. Molly, my brave little 11 year old walked into the office one morning and asked for an appointment with the principal to talk over how "this isn't working for me." The principal called me afterward to discuss what had been talked about. Molly cried through the whole meeting but she explained why it was so important to her that she know what to expect ahead of time. How frustrating it was to be told it would be one way and then without notice have it all changed. She articulately blazed onward, with respect and her own dignity in tact, she politely laid out what her needs were. No special treatment, just respect of her differences and a little time to figure out how to manage this new academic life. I had never been prouder.

Eventually Molly was placed in the "resource room." That lasted a day. It was a rough year in that class. A rough group of kids with lots of behavior problems. Throwing things, yelling, hitting one another...Molly refused to go back saying, "I know I have my issues, but I know how to behave myself." She felt if they would only let her be in her regular class and see how things work and figure out her own ways to meet their requirements she was sure she could make it all come together. Eventually Molly was moved into a different room with a teacher who ended up becoming our hero. Mrs H has a gentle and quiet spirit and she is also dyslexic and 2 of her 4 children are dyslexic, and she had tutored dyslexic kids for the past 13 years. Not to mention a record holding athlete. A match that was meant to be.

At our IEP meetings which Molly always attended, we discussed the failed attempt at the resource room, how could her needs best be met? The options offered were not acceptable to us...like placing her, my tall, mature looking girl, in with the 4th grade readers. One of the resource teacher's commented that it looked like Molly was calling all of the shots. I explained that we make decisions together. This is *her* education. She knows intrinsically what feels right and what doesn't. She will be our greatest teacher as to how to meet her needs if we can listen and use what she tells us. I had to reinforce that I did not bring her there so that they could "fix her" and as her mom I am responsible for her whole little person being nurtured and developed. We were inviting the school to be a part of our team in nurturing Molly's mind and her education...but I was not handing her over to them to call all of the shots. Either we would work together to find what worked for her or we could leave and find somewhere else that would.

In the meantime, Mrs. H had Molly stay in one day at lunch and they talked and brainstormed about how they could make this work. Mrs. H asked Molly what she felt she needed to be able to be successful. Molly was able to list off exactly what would help her to be a functioning student in this new system. This woman, this saint who I am indebted to forever and ever, listened and wrote down the ideas that they came up with. Then they narrowed down the list to what were the most important and what could be let go of. Together they came up with a plan that worked for the both of them. A plan that didn't fit the norm, that wasn't state standards based, that just worked and it gently gave my girl the time and space to find her way within the structured walls of school.

And Molly was off.....

She asked to drop computer science since it wasn't a required class and instead be allowed to sit through language arts 2X each day. "It helps me to hear it more than once." Mrs. H allowed me to read aloud anything Molly couldn't manage in class, she allowed other students to work with Molly and to help, to bring tests home to be read aloud, anything not understood in class was brought home for us to help with....whether it was class work or not. It was labor intensive for all of us. But it was working and Molly was willing to put in the effort. Mrs H gave Molly a safe haven to test out her new wings. Molly knew walking away was always an option, but she chose to hang in there. She wanted this to work.

As time went on with her accommodations and some modifications in place, Molly made the honor roll every quarter that she was in school. She played volleyball, basketball and rec league soccer. Eventually, she began to read. Slowly, haltingly, but I believe that all of that tutoring and instruction was inside her brain, locked away waiting to be set free at the right time. Developmentally, emotionally, physically. It is very common for things to begin to come together for kids with learning issues at puberty and that proved true for Molly. I think that watching how all of the other kids used their knowledge, and put the pieces together was a valuable tool, a missing piece for her. Molly read her first chapter book at 12 years old. "Because of Winn-Dixie." We have her tattered and torn copy and will probably keep it forever. It took her weeks but she did it and that was a huge victory for her.

She is now finishing up her sophomore year in high school. She has won lots of athletic awards, lettered as a freshman in track, has good grades, has lots of friends, is responsible and kind to everyone. She is her own best advocate now. I send a letter for each teacher on the first day of school each year explaining her issues and include a copy of her accommodations page from her IEP. Some teachers look at it and some don't. She has her own copy in her binder and if an issue comes up she is able to work out solutions without my help. If a teacher is non-responsive she will ask for my intervention, but that rarely happens anymore. She has been blessed to have several wonderful teachers and coaches who have become friends, advocates, people who are a gift to her. Who love her and accept her as she is. We feel privileged to have them in our lives. For a parent there is nothing so comforting as knowing that in this big world there are people who love your child and want good for them just as much as you do.

Molly will tell you that watching her sister struggle with addiction has been one of the most painful things in her life...but that, along with her journey as a dyslexic person, has helped to make her who she is today. There was a day when Molly was so angry. Everything came easily to her sister and she didn't appreciate it or make use of her strengths. She let them all go. Molly had to work for everything. She has made some of her own mistakes and they have humbled her. They have helped her to understand how easy it is to fall. The difference is whether you get up or stay down.

This girl of mine. This friend. Wise soul...

I love you honey.
Mom

The Middle Years....part 2


By this time I am pregnant with baby number 4. We make the 150 mile round trip 3 times a week for her "tutoring" sessions. I pack snacks, good books, we listen to music, play car games, I pull over to throw up occasionally.

As we continue making this trek, I realize that they are doing silly things like having her balance on a balance beam or a balance ball. Its all about getting her to cross the mid-line in her brain. Mesh both sides so they work together evenly. Not one side being more dominant than the other. She shows many signs of this brain confusion. If you give her a peg board and pegs, it is most people's natural inclination to begin in the upper left corner and work their way across row by row. Just like when we read a page. Molly begins anywhere and works randomly with no pattern.

For some kids these tasks would be beneficial, but Molly is an athlete. She had no motor issues at all. She could do a back handspring on a balance beam 4 feet in the air at 6 years old. When I mentioned this to the "teacher" she was of the mindset that this is what they do to remedy issues like Molly's. "The book says....." I pointed out that each human being is different though. Don't her natural strengths account for anything? Can't we tailor her program to what her actual needs are? I mean for crying out loud...lets cut to the chase here. At 75.00 an hour three times a week, lets get this party started. That was when this very sweet young woman told me that Molly would need to come to see them through out high school to be able to make it through school.

I knew then that something would have to change. We couldn't afford to do this forever, we hated the drive and I couldn't imagine that being a part of our lives for the next 11 years! It was a ridiculous idea. First, she was a child...not a project to be worked on and fixed. She had to have time to play, to just be.

At that point Molly was being homeschooled. It gave us the opportunity to work at her pace, to not have to be subjected to peer pressure for not being where everyone else was, and most of all it gave us the opportunity to focus on what she was good at. She worked with a local potter for more than 3 years learning her craft. She was able to take various art classes from local artists, and she could play lots and lots of sports. In addition we could focus on her need to learn to read. We found a Linda Mood Bell tutor who took Molly into her heart and saw her 3X a week just 8 miles from us. This woman had been the director of the LMB clinic and had come home to have a baby. She spent 2 years studying with Molly. We used our tax refunds, asked grand parents to help and when we couldn't afford it anymore, this woman said to keep coming and pay what we can when we can. She didn't want to give up.

Despite all of our best efforts, nothing seemed to be clicking for Molly. She was 10 and still couldn't read. Still had trouble remembering things in order. I remember sending her up to the counter of a fast food restraunt to order some food to bring home for her brother and watching her lips move as she repeated the order over and over again so she wouldn't forget it by the time she got to the counter.

Over the years there were lots more tests, lots of specialists with various opinions....she would never go to college, "just isn't college material," there are only 10% of dyslexics who fall into the severity level that she does, she will probably never learn to read. I refused to let her hear any of this or to believe it. She was so smart, quick witted, had above average intelligence....their own tests said so!

I decided that if this was going to be her life then she needed to learn how to manage herself in a very literate society. I taught her to be proactive. Be honest about your stuff, ask for help, don't try to hide or bluff your way through something. Being forthcoming keeps you in charge, being found out leaves you feeling caught off guard and ashamed. **And most of all this is nothing to be ashamed of.** She got very good at explaining her situation when the need arose. In classes, at the library, in stores, to other kids. She was so relieved when she realized that what made her different had a name.

I told her about all of the famous dyslexic people in the world and all that they had accomplished. Being dyslexic gives you some little brain tweak that makes you a great thinker, an out of the box thinker. It is a gift in many ways. One that is hard to bear as a child when being like everyone else is so important. But she was proud of "her" people...Einstein, Edison, Tom Cruise, Henry Winkler, Churchill...

During these years she had a core group of friends who had all been babies together. They were all boys and they all played baseball and soccer together until Molly was too old to continue to play on the boys teams. Her last year playing baseball with the boys she made the All Star team and had an article written about her in the local newspaper for being the first girl to ever be an All Star in our area.

I credit these kids with helping Molly know that she was just fine as she was. They loved her and accepted her and paved the way for her to feel safe to lay it all out there. If we got Chinese food, they naturally just reached over and took her fortune from her cookie and read it to her. If they were all reading the Harry Potter books and discussing them, they would include her by talking about the part in the movie that correlated to the part in the book. I watched these relationships and was continually blessed beyond words at the natural kindness and acceptance they showed her, their buddy, their pal.

Finally, after years of tutors, extra help, IEP meetings to have everything documented in case she ever decided to head off to school, accommodations, and modifications... Molly said she was done. "This is just how I am, how I operate." We hadn't been able to find what would be the key for her, and she wanted to stop all efforts to *fix* it and get on with her life...

Stay tuned for the final installment, part 3.

My Moll Doll... part 1


Molly is my 16 year old daughter. I asked her permission if I could use her name and post her picture with her story. I have been wanting to write down her story because she has had her own unique struggles and obstacles to face and she has done so with humor, grace, and diligence. So this is a tribute to my Molly girl.

She was born in the dead of summer, 2 weeks late from her due date and she came out screaming. Our little 8lb 4 oz. towhead baby girl. She had a little smirk on her face almost from day one. A friend who came to meet her in her first few days said she was going to be a card...and they were right. She can get me laughing to the point of embarrassment in a heartbeat... we have many secret stories about that, that she loves to share.

She did grow into quite the funny girl. Compassionate, kind, full of adventure. We had these giant redwood trees in our yard and at 2 years old she would climb up 20-30 feet in the air, using the limbs like a ladder and hang on to the trunk and let the wind blow her back and forth. She felt like she was flying. We cut off the bottom limbs, so she pulled her little toy car over to stand on top of and climb up to her spot. We cut more limbs off.

She was a wanderer and would take her little lifelong buddy from up the hill along with her on her treks through the back field. One time we couldn't find them, our babies...all of a sudden they both came walking back down the hill talking back and forth...he, only in a diaper and barefoot, she in her diaper and ladybug bathing suit with the strap hanging off one arm, barefoot. When we asked them where they went, they explained in their toddler talk, that they went to see the neighbor's gog (dog...for those of you unfamiliar with toddler speak.)

I was constantly feeling guilty because I couldn't keep track of her. If I changed the sheets, I made her come into the room with me. If I got distracted by what I was doing, she was gone, out the door. Usually barefoot and naked. If one of the older kids left the sliding door open she was outside playing in a flash. We built a big fence all around our property to keep her in. Within 20 minutes of the contractor finishing and driving away, she had climbed it. We had to teach her not to go past the boundary of the fence without a grown up.

The funny thing was that all was done with complete innocence. No tantrums, no bratiness...just a look like, "Oh was I not supposed to do that? Well I'm sorry. I will come right back then."

She sat in the back seat eating a doughnut one morning and announced, "These are sure damn good." She breastfed forever...and would ask for "boobymilk" with no shame. Once in the public library she made her very loud request which I shushed her and refused. Another mom ambled up beside me and asked in a hushed voice if I was still nursing her. I didn't know if I should confess or not. Molly was 2, almost 3. I nodded my head and she let out a huge sigh of relief and said, "So am I!" Ahhh! La Leche League mom's unite!

As Molly grew and should have been remembering things like her ABC's or her phone number and address...she couldn't do it. By 5 I was thinking something was up. Anything that needed to be remembered in order was a puzzle to her. When we tried to teach her what to do in an emergency...call 911...she would focus, and say, "Ok its 119?" "991?" My son was was maybe 10 at the time said, "Let's hope someone else is conscious if there is ever an emergency."

I figured all kids are on different timetables and I would leave her be. I wanted to wait and see if it came together eventually for her. I read a lot of Raymond and Dorothy Moore's work on "better late than early" and letting kids learn naturally and play and be kids. I didn't want to begin labeling her at the ripe old age of 5.

So we spent our time gardening, cooking, making letters out of clay, writing them in sand, with her dictating stories to me and I being her scribe. She hated to be read too so I had to get creative and tell her stories as we worked or created together.

Finally at 6, almost 7, we had her tested...she was really behind her age mates, not able to keep the ABC's in order still, which little did I know wouldn't happen until almost 10 years old. She couldn't keep left and right straight, up and down, directions confused her.

We took her to a highly recommended learning center who diagnosed all kinds of "stuff." Severe auditory and visual processing disorders, spatial confusion, short term memory issues...severe dyslexia. She would need intensive therapy to ever to learn to read. Of course we enrolled her immediately.....

Stay tuned for part 2.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 transitioning to 2018

I’m not usually a big holiday blogger. Anything everyone else blogs about makes me not want to blog about it....I think I dont like the competition! Lol I feel like its all been said already. What could I possibly add? 


Yet, here I go.....

2017 was filled with some really good stuff, like the birth of my sweet little grand-baby boy Landon, (other wise known as Jesus Christ Superstar....there is a story to that lol) who came to us and brought with him such all encompassing joy and then the engagement of his sweet and loving parents who are together, committed to “peaceful parenting.”



The usual challenges continue on in my daily life and the dad and I are committed to navigating them together, with as much love, patience, and grace as we can. We trust God to provide whatever parts we aren’t able to muster up on our own which means, most of it.

My girl continues to live her life in fits and starts...3 steps forward, 2 steps back. I feel like we have a good team of medical professionals helping us through right now....I just pray no one retires in the next few years. Please let us stay on this trajectory with this support and let her (and us) find more peace and stability during this next year of 2018. Here’s to more progress....greedy soul that I am!

My big boy and his beauty are hoping for a new baby this year. I told them that after Beauty’s mom goes home, I will fly out and spend as much time as they want me to be there, cooking and helping them get adjusted and settled. I pray this can happen for them. Both have dreamed of being parents for a very long time. When I had Little One, Big Brother was 15 and he took care of her and did many of her firsts with her, just because he wanted to.....her first trick or treating, her first movie in the big theatre, drove off in my mini-van and took her to her first “mommy and me” swim lessons...which his high school art teacher happened to be in with her first baby too. He was the absolute best big brother.

Little one will finish her second semester of her junior year in high school....gently forging her own path into this enormous world. She has been volunteering 2 mornings a week with a dear friend of mine who is a special education teacher, she will take Econ, continue with her Japanese, English, Geometry, Sociology, and Photography. This child of mine has taught me, in further and far more gentle methods, that what I want, the way I think things should go for her, aren’t always what she is the most comfortable with. Once again, I work at mastering the fine art of when to push and when to let go.

She and My Girl are both INFJ’s which is the rarest personality type, if you put much stock in the Meyer’s Briggs personality tests. Both are blue eyed red heads, the rarest color combination on earth, and My Girl is left handed. There has to be something to this that explains their uniqueness and their struggles in this world finding their spot, their comfort zone. Little One would say, “I am perfectly comfortable. Its the world that needs to calm down.” She could be on to something....



We will have a wedding this year, in June. All the people who love Molly and Ryan and Landon are working together, a co-operative effort to create a comfortable, lovely day to celebrate this little family. Special but simple...with a little bit of the grandma’s hippie vibes thrown in.

 

I am looking forward to 2018 being filled with more joy, more solitude to breathe and think, more learning how to embrace each day as it comes to me, more personal growth as I rely more on God and less on my own understanding...my own understanding has proven to be so limited, and more loving as God loves. Without limits, without conditions, its just there, always present. I can love without condoning, I can love without enabling, I can love and still have boundaries...the loving isn’t the problem. It’s what we do in the name of love that can sometimes trip us up and postpone growth. For us, for them.

Happy New Year my friends!

Much much love and God’s greatest blessings of peace and understanding to you....

Annette

PS!!!!! I almost forgot! I wanted to link you to Molly’s new blog. Like momma, like daughter. She is much funnier than I am though, as she shares the real nitty gritty of her journey into motherhood.....please give it a look and lets let her see that some of the greatest joy’s of blogging are the connections we make!

https://theeverydaymamasite.wordpress.com/

     

Thursday, December 28, 2017

How do we continue to manage......

How do we continue on when the challenges that our children struggle with never seem to go away? I’ve been finding my way through all of this for a very long time. We still encounter significant setbacks, though they are happening less and less. Some of the things that have helped me to be able to manage my own life with some amount of joy are as follows: 

1. God, my Higher Power, whatever you want to call Him....but believing that He loves me, that He has a plan, that someone bigger than me has all of this under His control and that I am accepted in Him whether I do all of this perfectly or not....that His Power is stronger than mine. That His endurance is more far-reaching than mine, that He never gives up on us, and that as long as there is breath there is hope for healing, sustain me. I resort to the knowledge of this, daily. 

2. I reach out to other people....I talk about what is going on in my life and how it is affecting me. I have a sponsor, I have trusted dear friends who indulge me by listening, who meet me for coffee and don’t become embarrassed (at least that they let me know lol) when I cry, I lay it all out there, because carrying secrets is too much effort. So I take the risk and I be honest about the broken spots within my family. Shining light on the dark spots in my life releases me from their grasp. 

3. I help other’s. Me volunteering at the shelter, or the work that I do, is not because I am some noble giant....it is saving my life most of the time. My motives are selfish. I serve because it saves me. 

4. Letting go and acceptance. I let go of my ideas of how things “should” be, of how I wanted them to be, of how I thought they would be....and I live in the moment with what I have been given. I can’t fix anyone, but I can love them where they are at. 

5. Self-care is not about bubble baths and pedicures in this world of mine....self care is about survival, its about nurturing myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Taking vitamins to keep my physical body healthy, times of solitude to meditate and think and just breath for a few minutes, times with people who accept ME where I am at, getting enough sleep, keeping my environment organized and filled with things that make me happy. These are simple concepts, I know, but maybe slowing down and doing what works for us, what feels good to us, is more important than the complicated solutions that can feel overwhelming just to get going. 

6. I choose to not hold onto anger. I choose to forgive, to let things go and to accept that though it may not always look like it, most people are doing the absolute best that they are capable of at any given moment. I don’t get caught up in what I deserve, or worse....what “they” deserve. That hasn’t always been the case. I used to be able to list off all of the reasons why my anger was justified...but in time I began to see that that was mostly only hurting myself. The weight of anger is a very heavy burden to carry. 

7. I see beauty in the brokenness. I don’t think this is a choice that I consciously make....I think its been an evolution of my spirit through these years. Within brokenness is also a huge amount of authenticity, humility, raw vulnerability, fear, pain, courage....the beauty that I get to occasionally witness within someone’s brokenness, my own, my girl’s, sometimes takes my breath away. It can be stunning if you know what you are looking at. 

8. I absolutely soak in the good stuff, with total abandon and no shame. Like my grand baby, my children who are functioning and healthy and building their lives, the positive connections in my life, I soak them in. I refuse to miss out on even one second of the joy that IS in my life. No matter if it looks like I am bragging (I probably am) or that I am a lunatic (again, I probably am) or if everyone gets sick of hearing about the good parts... I share them for my own self. Its keeping a record that there are so many wonderful and beautiful parts to this life of mine. 

9. I savor nature.....the sounds, the smells, the light through the trees. I keep my bird feeders filled and as crazy as that sounds, filling those bird feeders brings me so much joy. They are in a tree outside my kitchen window and I watch the birds, and the squirrels who come and hang upside down and eat all of the seed....I don’t care. I love having them around. I love that I live in a place where natural beauty is all around me. 

10. I let some things in life be “good enough” and I keep walking forward. I have learned to let situations play out, to not immediately jump into “fix-it” or “changethisasfastasIcan” mode and even if a situation is scary, uncertain, volatile...but not unsafe of course, I can be still and see how things go without needing to jump into action. It has opened the door for some amazing solutions to manifest themselves that had nothing to do with tired old me. Pretty miraculous! Lol

Much love my friends...

Annette