Fly Like an Eagle

It’s only been 9 days since my youngest son left for his trip to Thailand, and he won’t be home for another 3 weeks!

There are moments when I am walking down the hall and want to pop my head into his bedroom to talk to him…except he’s not there. Thankfully technology can be a wonderful thing sometimes, and we have the ability to keep in touch as instantaneously as his wi-fi connection will allow. He checks in with me almost daily, even if just to let me know his travel arrangements for the next leg of the trip. It is good to hear that he is enjoying the country and meeting people from around the world, that he was adventurous enough to eat a scorpion but not a fried pig’s head, and that he is beginning to miss food from home even if he’s not quite homesick yet.

As much as I do miss him, I am actually quite matter-of-fact about him being on the other side of the world for such a long time. I know he’ll return home; it’s not like he has moved there. The ability to communicate and see photo/video evidence that he is safe and having fun also helps set me at ease. But it is more than that. I am still a mom, and there will always be hopes and fears and love for my children, no matter where they are or what they do, but I long ago entrusted them to the Lord and I have found peace and joy in every season of their lives. Although I do sometimes miss the chubby cheeks of their infancy or the thrills of first words and first steps, I have always chosen to enjoy the present. Each age and stage has been exciting, sometimes challenging, but I have never wanted to rush through it or return to a previous one. Watching my kids become adults is just another stage in the journey. Letting them spread their wings and fly is a little nerve-wracking but oh so exciting!

That doesn’t mean I won’t be super excited and emotional when he gets home!

Advertisements

Dignity in the Shadows

“Who would ever know the greater graces of comfort and perseverance, mercy and forgiveness, patience and courage, if no shadows ever fell over a life?” ~Ann Voskamp

I think it is safe to say that being injured feels quite like having heavy shadows blanketing one’s life. There is a distinct chill in the air as you lose the warmth of taking part in the normal routines of life, and it doesn’t take long to feel as if darkness is closing in, suffocating and impenetrable and permanent. You stumble about in the darkness, lost and afraid and alone. Or so it can seem.

I had someone tell me today that I am handling my situation…the injury with all of its disruptions to my plans and the limitations to my everyday life…with more dignity than most. If my name had not been used I would have wondered who was being referred to, because I don’t know that I would have come up with “dignity” as pertaining to me in this situation. It’s not like I’m wailing and gnashing my teeth, but I suppose I do generally have a positive and relaxed attitude about it all. Even when I do have an emotional meltdown, I am usually quick to return to my more typical calm and rational self.

Where I struggle the most is with feelings of guilt and obligation. My house is a mess. My husband washes the dishes and works long, hard hours with one of my sons. The other son is on the other side of the world until just before Christmas, and my daughter is in the midst of midterms, assignments, preparing for exams and juggling her work and volunteer schedules. They help around in the house in varying degrees, but there is still so much that has been neglected. And here’s another scenario…today is a day off work, so I am home to make dinner. A new recipe has caught my interest and I intend to make it tonight. It sounds simple enough yet potentially delicious, but there is one little problem. The oven is required. A baking dish is required. Bending to put the baking dish in the oven is required. This is something I am not supposed to do in my current state, even if I feel no pain in the act. Thankfully my daughter is already home and can help me out tonight, but that isn’t always the case. I needed to do some laundry today and had my daughter carry the hamper downstairs for me before she left for class. I might have carried one clean load back up the stairs, but I did leave the last load for someone else to bring up. I popped into a grocery store for just a few items this morning, and the cashier put them all in one bag. Normally that would be perfectly fine. I wasn’t even halfway to my car before I realized that I was feeling some slight discomfort in my back and probably shouldn’t be carrying a bag of groceries as heavy as that. Oh how all this chafes against my sense of self-sufficiency!

And then there is my job. Sweeping, mopping, lifting large trays of dishes down into the sanitizer, bending down to lift those same trays out of the sanitizer, bending forward to take jugs of milk out of bar fridges, lifting boxes from the floor or from far overhead…all that and more a regular part of my job and I am not supposed to do it. Even though I can do some of those things without pain. Even though I think I should be able to. On the one hand, I want this injury to heal and to heal properly, while the other hand doesn’t want to be a burden or handicap to the lovely people I work with. They have all been incredibly supportive and helpful, but I still feel guilty and useless.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, as uncomfortable and miserable as the shadows may be, I am striving to allow my experiences, good and bad, be a source of joy and blessing in my life. As uncomfortable as I am permitting myself to be seen as weak, my weakness allows me the opportunity to feel grace and mercy, to experience love and kindness, to learn humility and patience. If choosing to accept my struggles makes me dignified in the eyes of others, I will just shrug my shoulders and carry on as best I can.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

“Fear is a manipulative emotion that can trick us into living a boring life.”

~Donald Miller

My youngest son is going to Thailand with a friend. They are leaving tomorrow and won’t return until December 20th.

Naturally, my son is excited about his trip and eager to leave. He has been teasing me about my tears ever since he bought his flight tickets, even though I have worked very hard to keep those tears locked up tight. I am excited for and proud of Casey for his ability to step outside of the safety and comfort of home to explore a country on the other side of the world, and yet, I am also fearful, nervous and worried.

I can imagine all of the things that could go wrong during my son’s trip. I can imagine all of the nasty, horrible things that could happen to my son during his stay in Thailand. Despite my fears and worries, I tend to avoid dwelling on them. Instead I trust that my son has a good head on his shoulders. I trust that my God is bigger than my fears. I can only trust and let go, but that doesn’t mean I won’t shed some tears at the airport tomorrow. Or when he returns.

Casey means brave. Sometimes I think Casey means reckless or one who blindly races headfirst into trouble. I wish that Casey felt a bit more fear about his trip, or would at least acknowledge the potential problems he may experience. But he’s stretching his wings out, eager to soar on his own, and who am I to stop him. As a parent, I want my children to succeed in their pursuits, to experience life, and to be their own persons. I do not want them to be paralyzed by fear. But I am still going to cry when he leaves.

All In a Good Day

What makes a day a good one?

The answer to that question would vary drastically depending on the person providing the answer, and perhaps even those responses would vary depending on the day or situation. Personally, I know that my definition of a good day can be extremely broad and diverse. As best as I can call to mind in this moment, here is a partial list of things that can help make my day a good one:

  • sunshine
  • rain
  • a hot air balloon
  • crisp, fallen leaves beneath my feet
  • a productive day around the house
  • meaningful connections with customers
  • a delightfully delicious meal
  • time spent with good friends
  • hanging out with my kids
  • a good training session
  • a good playlist
  • escaping into Star Wars or Wonder Woman or Doctor Who
  • a good cup of coffee
  • a good glass of wine
  • time to myself
  • quiet & solitude
  • worship music
  • freshly painted toenails
  • hot baths
  • holding my husband’s hand
  • freshly cut & coloured hair
  • PRs in the gym or on the platform
  • watching my kids do their things
  • colouring
  • writing
  • journalling
  • making lists and checking things off
  • salted caramel anything
  • chocolate with hazelnut
  • Abby’s artwork
  • board/card games
  • working with amazing people
  • my weird, odd, crazy, random dreams
  • maple trees
  • lions, tigers, jaguars, and cheetahs
  • underdog stories
  • rainbows
  • thunderstorms
  • roses
  • flowers, in general
  • heartfelt cards and notes and gestures
  • Willow Tree figurines
  • books by beloved authors
  • highlighters and coloured pens
  • notebooks, journals, and paper
  • funky socks for a bare food loving girl
  • trips down memory lane
  • daydreams
  • walks (used to be running)
  • finding a perfect gift or card for someone
  • words of unexpected praise
  • a solid night’s sleep
  • flip flops
  • risotto
  • turkey dinner
  • comfort foods like cabbage rolls or scalloped potatoes
  • warm, cozy throw blankets
  • the scents of lavender, lilac, rosemary
  • walking past the treadmills to head to the free weights
  • quotes
  • Winston Churchill
  • silver
  • garnet
  • dangly earrings

Clutter & Margins

After finishing work early this afternoon, I spent a couple of hours attacking the clutter that had been accumulating in and on a cabinet that I use to house most of my scrapbooking supplies. I am always on a mission to eliminate clutter, but it isn’t always easy to stay on top of things. A week or so ago I started a list of rooms and areas in need of decluttering or reorganizing around the house, because I live off of lists and my tolerance of clutter is growing thin. The problem with trying to address clutter is that the clutter has a tendency to overwhelm and terrorize one into submission. You see the entirety of the project and wonder how it can ever be conquered. That’s when procrastination begins to seep in. That’s when you start with gusto only to find your gumption has got up and gone before you’ve barely made a dent in the mountain. I fall into that trap on a regular basis, but too much clutter weighs me down in a multitude of ways.

Today’s decluttering session wasn’t overly taxing physically. I was able to sit on a chair while sorting through papers, stickers, scissors, and embellishments. I was ruthless with my sorting of things to keep, recycle, toss in the trash, or pass along to Value Village. As I reorganized things back in the cabinet, my goal was to keep the space looking clean and neat. The last thing I want is to remove some clutter only to have the space continue to look sloppy! It feels so good to have accomplished this one task this afternoon. Not only did I conquer my little craft corner, but I also tackled some of the clutter on the china cabinet beside it and tackled a bit more clutter on the desk. Small steps of progress have the potential to lead to more steps forward, and actually I have been taking small steps for the past few days, a drawer here or a cupboard there.

My ‘to-do’ list of decluttering is quite lengthy; however, part of the length comes from making each job as small and manageable as possible. It might take only a few minutes to purge through the winter mittens and toques or a closet or cupboard, while some jobs will require more time and determination, such as the storage space under the stairs or one of my kids’ bedrooms. Experience has taught me that a smaller task will frequently blossom into more progress than expected, while a bigger task will often end up unfinished.

One of my children has been “cleaning” his room the past couple of days. Today I discovered that he had tossed a throw blanket and two Snuggies behind the loveseat in the living room. Obviously he doesn’t want them in his bedroom anymore, but why does he think that the living room is the best place to dispose of them?! This is part of my struggle…other people causing clutter more quickly than I can remove it. But it is time for me to get ruthless with clutter. I don’t mind my home looking lived in, but I really enjoy having margins in my life. Margins take many forms and not feeling cluttered by objects and mess is one such form.

The End of Summer

“In the summer, the days were long, stretching into each other. Out of school, everything was on pause and yet happening at the same time, this collection of weeks when anything was possible.”

―Sarah Dessen, Along for the Ride

Time is always a funny thing with its ability to simultaneously fly by at the speed of sound and slowly ooze like the pouring of molasses on a winter’s day. In the early days of this summer, I remember feeling as if the days were streaking past my cockpit as I traveled at hyperspeed, but now that summer is nearly over I find myself feeling quite the opposite. For me, this summer seems to have been a long one.

I am not sure why this summer didn’t fly by for me, as this summer wasn’t a whole lot different from any other summer. I worked. I had a competition. Actually, now that I think about it, I worked more this summer than I did last year, and my work schedule looks quite different from a year ago, too. Unlike previous years, I did have the opportunity to get to the Farmer’s Market a couple of times this summer. My husband and I enjoyed a long weekend away to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and that weekend in itself was an enjoyably languid holiday. My husband was also recovering from surgery for the first part of the summer, which meant that he was not as busy as he typically is, or at least he wasn’t supposed to be! I had a coaching change and a new gym to call home.

This summer has been different, but I cannot say that I would change much of anything. Now that my kids are all adults, summer tends to be just the continuation of normalcy but with more heat, daylight, and smokey haze. We eat, sleep, work, work out, pay bills, do laundry, and try to enjoy days off as we get them. This summer was all of those every day routine things and then some, and yet it was also something more. Intangible, perhaps, but enjoyable and relaxed.

On this final summer long weekend, my family is doing things. My daughter is excited to be back in college in a few days. My youngest son is looking forward to not being in school for a while. My eldest son is taking a hunting course this weekend. My husband will continue catching up on paper work, I think. And me? I’m working all weekend long, and that’s okay. I have had a good summer.

Express Yourself

Admittedly I haven’t been blogging a whole lot lately, at least not much more than posts about my training sessions. It’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog. There have been days when I have felt the need or desire to blog but I didn’t. There are many reasons for the lack of blog posts, ranging from the “I have nothing to say” to the “I don’t know what I can say”. In a way, I feel sort of handcuffed in what I can say on my own blog, because someone has chosen to twist my words into something drastically different than what I have ever said or intended. While I obviously cannot control how people may interpret my words, I know my heart and my intent and I am at peace with both. Despite the peace I feel in this situation, I have been feeling reluctant to blog about much of anything beyond the basics of training. I know this is a season of sorts, and I will get past it to blog more candidly once again.

I have to admit that part of my reluctance to blog flows out of the knowledge that my blog could be read by those who choose to twist my words into something I never intended. Obviously, if you find something on the internet personally offensive to you, you have complete freedom to NOT continue to read it, right?! This is my blog. It is about me and my journey. This is my journey of self-discovery, of growing comfortable in my own skin, and knowing who I am. Sometimes my journey towards becoming Angela involves other people, because we do not go through life without being touched by others and in turn touching others. This is my journey. If you don’t like it…don’t read it. Plain and simple! I don’t blog for personal glory or recognition or followers. I have no expectation that anyone reads my blog and won’t be offended if nobody does.

And still, I hesitate. I open my WordPress site with the intention of blogging and then I hesitate. I think about who might read my blog, about who might take my innocent words and twist them into something ugly. So I pause until I have no more time to blog, or I simply blog about my training, all the while feeling censored.

Despite how I feel in regards to blogging, I am feeling perfectly fine. I am sleeping well. I am happy and at peace with myself. Although I have been hurt and rejected recently, I am doing very well. My husband and I were talking about that situation the other day, and he asked me if I had forgiven the offending party. I was kind of taken by surprise by his question, because I don’t even look at that turn of events as being worth my time or attention. Was I hurt? Yes. Am I holding onto any of that hurt or resentment? Heck no! While I do not agree in any way shape or form with the other point of view in this situation, I also don’t consider this to be worth holding onto. It’s difficult to explain how I feel without going into more detail in the situation, which is something I am not going to do. Suffice it to say that I am completely comfortable with who I am to know that I am not at fault in this situation, and as such my forgiveness is essentially automatic. Would I be comfortable bumping into this person in public unexpectedly? Probably not but that’s just me and my non-confrontational nature potentially pushed into an uncontrollable scenario! Am I losing sleep or stressed out over what has happened? Absolutely not! Like I said, I know who I am. I know my own heart and my intentions. I can put my head on my pillow each night knowing that I was true to myself, to my family, and to my friends. If someone sees that differently, then that is their problem and not mine.

I suppose this post is where I draw a line in the sand and say, “No more!” This is my blog. This blog is about me and my journey and what makes me who I am. If you have a problem with that, then feel free to stop visiting! If, on the other hand, my journey interests you, then please follow along. I cannot promise that my journey will always be cool or exciting, but I will always strive to be real and honest. I am no one of consequence or importance. I am merely Angela, a 45 year old woman, a wife of 25 years and mother of 3. I am a friend, a powerlifter, a barista, someone who is thankful for everything and entitled to nothing. Although my education is limited, I am a lover of words, and writing is how I express myself best. And this is my blog.