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Thursday, August 30, 2018

i just...

This is where I am lately. I just...

I...I just...

I got nothing.

I've been playing the piano just now. I am kind of a hack. I pick out tunes. The girls and baby are delighted. I pick and peck and sing and it sounds very nice and all. But I am a hack. I can't read music, not fluently anyway. I can't play Chopin or Bach.

I can fake it.  That's it.

I feel like that is me in a lot of areas. Painting. I can do a decent little oil painting. It looks nice and all but, you know, nothing special.

Writing. I have had some nice ideas. Maybe one of them will sell one day. For now its a collection of words that make me laugh and smile and, yes, cry.

This blog is kinda the same space. Lately anyway. Some nice pictures. Some clever words. I think of something nice to point out. Or I say something sad, but relateable, or stressful, but something we all know.

But that isn't where I am right now.

Right now my world is falling apart. And I cant see the sky or the earth or anything solid except for four little beings who love me and need me to keep it together. And the days are very ordinary for a falling apart world. I lose my keys. I spill my coffee. I make mac and cheese and do laundry and pull dirty socks out of the toy bin and settle squabbles and answer phone calls and drive to the dentist and work and read Goodnight Moon three times in a row and say prayers and smooth tired brows and plaster on bandaids and "use your inside voice" and "can you please be kind to your sister" and "I said no more i-Pad today!"

And all of it. But yes. Right now I am in the sorting phase. Sorting out all the broken pieces. What goes where. What doesn't fit anymore. What needs sanded down and refinished. And yet still the mac and cheese and squabbles and lawn mowing and spilled coffee all still happens. Funny, that.

 Such a perplexing place to be in, at 41, with four kids. And yet. There you have it. It is what it is.

I just...

But the more I share, the more I let myself be vulnerable, the more I hear from others, in quiet messages and emails and texts. You too? Yes. Me too. And. Dammit it's hard.

Like Brene Brown has said though, it isn't some cliched midlife crisis we are all feeling, rather, it's an unraveling, a great pull toward authenticity. To live the life you were meant to live. To live in truth. To live without fear. To live in authenticity to the life you were called to live.

So. I look at my unraveled pieces of my past life. And I sit in the Midwestern late summer sunshine and pick tomatoes and try to figure it all out. And then, sometimes, I just put the pieces down, take the kids to the park, and think, maybe all the pieces are right here. And they are perfectly imperfect. And holy because of it. And someday I will rise again. Not new and shiny. Not like that. Ravaged. Survivor of the storm. In anticipation of the next one, for they will also come because, guys. THIS IS LIFE. Storms. Heart ache. Heart break. Over and over. There is no end of the rainbow perfection. That's a myth. And it sets us up for so much disappointment and resentment and anger at the world. But BUT BUT BUT there are moments of pure beauty in it all. Peace too. And all of it? Its all so damn worth it.

And we come out of that refining fire. And I will. Stronger. Wiser. More me.








Saturday, July 21, 2018

new things

I was cutting up lemons a few months ago. The scent even still bittersweet. A few seeds were left on the counter. It was planting season, pots and planting soil abound on our farm around that time. I poked a few seeds in a pot, just as an afterthought, after seeing them lie there.

They sat. And sat. I put the pot up on top of the refrigerator and forgot about it.

A month later, rearranging a bit, I pulled it down.

This is what I found.

New life, new hope, poking up. Out of seemingly nowhere.

And I smiled. And watered it.

And I will keep waiting.


Monday, May 21, 2018

catching up in photos

I still can't write about all that went down that prompted our move from our island coffee life back to the Midwest. Perhaps someday. But not yet.

In any case. the kids and I have landed in the Midwest, at grandma and grandpa's farm. A place of wonder all its own, though perhaps more subtle than the big bold beautiful colors of Hawaii. Its planting season. The farmers are out on their tractors. Baby man watches from the big front porch, the lanai as little green keeps calling it. We plant little green peas in the earth, patting them into place, and wait.

And I miss blogging but I still dont know how to put words to my heart. Its all a jumbled mess. Even so, the girls and I turned an old metal watering trough into a fairy garden the other day and when we did, well, I had to share.

So, for now, photos. I can do that.

Enjoy.


















Sunday, February 11, 2018

snippets of remembering

I don't know if I am feeling sentimental these days, with baby turning two soon and my little man close to eye level with me, retreating to his room as moody preteen life kicks in. Or maybe its just I am overwhelmed enough that my mind is trying to escape? In any case, but I have been having so many moments of flashbacks lately. All of a sudden, vivid images of things I have done, places I have gone, years ago, all forgotten until a sudden flash brings them to the surface.

Isn't memory a funny thing?

And as a mom, a precious thing too.

One, I have felt and lived and seen and done and experienced so much more before this #momlife I now live. It's almost fascinating to remember snapshots of that world. I was that? Really?? 

Two, these babies of mine are slipping into childhood, preteen, teen, adulthood years so quickly, like beads spilling off a snapped necklace. To catch a bead or two as it falls, to find it under a rug, forgotten, hidden, is like a gift.

Sitting in the living room, watching Wall-E for the first time in awhile with the kids. Remembering little man, when he was actually little, waking from his nap, cuddling up to me as we watch the robot show, his round little head heavy against my chest, his little voice asking questions, chirruping a constant stream at me.

The sunshine at the end of the long day, hiking up the hill, my girlfriends behind me, finally catching our breath as we get to the top of the hill, the tall trees, raking their branches against the evening sky, and then coming up onto the plaza, the tiles and statues and the glowing golden dome taking center stage as the city of Florence comes into full view.

Ice cold water, splashed against my face, my new husband and I huddling against the blowing wind at the campground, tucking my hands back into my orange LL Bean windbreaker, the woods of Maine crisp and sparkling with the new day behind us. Feeling so ALIVE.

New baby, my first daughter, pulled onto my chest, the fire burning in the fireplace, letting off a glow behind her head, my husband's breath on my shoulder as he peers with me at our new girl. Her full lips, her squinted eyes, slits opening to take in the world. The ache of my womb, missing her, yet my arms so fulfilled.

The hazy sky of Baghdad, a browning golden gray as the sun sets, the tall prickly date palm above me, as the bats begin to swoop in their nightly hunt, the smell of burning in the air, dust settling with every footstep as I walk to my room, the sky fading to black behind me.

Pulling over in my minivan on a rural gravel road in the middle of Wisconsin. Baby screaming hysterically in the background, carsick and overheated. A toddler and a five year old perplexed as mommy breaks down into tears. Thinking how can I do this I am not this strong what is my life now.

Each bead glistening. Its own scent and feelings attached.

Reading Lord of the RIngs to not-so-little-man last night, him cuddled up to me, the chapter where Frodo is in Rivendell, recovering from the wringwraith's attack. He and Sam sit in the Room of Fire as the elves sing and tell stories and the images wash over them with the words connected with the feelings of the songs and stories, colors dancing and pictures of the elvish history from long ago and I think is that what happens as we grow old, and stay open to our memories and let them fill our hearts and we smile a little knowing smile as a song from our highschool years comes on the radio, washing dishes in our little kitchens and we turn it up and sing loud and even, to the astonishment of our babies/embarrassment of our preteens, dance a little, remembering another self, sixteen years old, daddy's big red car, the dry California air blowing long blond hair, scent of eucalyptus sharply in the evening wind, stripped down to a halter top after a class of tennis at the local community college, driving up and down and around the huge Central Coast landscape, the same song comes on, we turn it up, and smile, and drive, the whole world in front of us, ours for the taking, all is so very possible, and back in our kitchen, dish rag in hand, we smile at that girl, all is so possible, so good, girl, you dont even know.








 










Friday, January 26, 2018

juggle juggle juggle

Juggle. Juggle juggle juggle.

Juggle. Juggle juggle juggle.
Drop ball. Slip on dropped ball. Swear. Chastise toddler for swearing. Chastise 11 yr old for swearing.

Bend over.

Pick up dropped ball.

Readjust ponytail. Swig down lukewarm coffee.

Throw that ball up in the air.

At it.

Again.

Juggle. Juggle juggle juggle. Juggle juggle juggle juggle juggle.

Sound familiar anyone??? I know it is. This is my life these days, so so intensely so.

I've got coffee trees to stump. Fruit to pick. Jelly to make. Kids to pick up at school. Toddler to chase. Meetings to attend. Curriculum to write. Biscuits to make. Trips to think about, pray about. Workshops to plan. Books to write. Someone gave me a massage gift certificate for Christmas. I am thinking of scheduling it sometime next fall. Oh, and did I mention little-not-so-little man is going for soccer? Which meets twice a week? Plus games?? And the girls have been begging for hula lessons. And toddler is almost able to open the front door on his own. And I think he is growing out of his naptime. God help us all.

It is good. So busy. So much. And somehow the parenting needs have increased exponentially this year. The conversations I am having these days....just...oh my. So MUCH.
 
Can I confess my week? Victories and failures. Dropped balls and homeruns.

I made honest to God biscuits following the honest to God recipe. And they turned out SO WELL. And the kids LOVED THEM.

The day before I came home to a garbage can overflowing with crawling maggots and proceeded to curse and freak out for two hours cleaning and mopping. (Hashtag paradise problems)

I made some great contacts in the community in the past month and am working with the anti-trafficking coalition, speaking on a panel about social justice and advocacy tomorrow.

Meanwhile I left my kids school performance 15 minutes early (so as to miss the parking lot rush) and she came home crying about it hours later.

Dada and I went on a date and got dinner.

I hired nanny.

The chickens keep on eating my passionfruit vine seeds and I can't seem to get my gardenia bush to bloom.

Dada and I had an exhausted in front of the kids fight over who does the dishes more often. Ridiculous. Regretted.

Juggle. Juggle.

The laundry build up at one point this week was fantastic. I mean. MOUNDS AND MOUNDS of it.

My toddler knows how to get to his favorite (super annoying) show on Netflix, Tayo the little bus. And I let him do this, multiple times a day. My friend with teens told me about how in Japan there are programs for kids addicted to iphones. I smiled and nodded.

The chickens are laying eggs consistently in the same spot. Up to four the other day. All those scraps we feed them to woo them toward the house seem to be paying off.

I still haven't started writing again regularly.

Little not-so-little man has been begging and begging for purple hair. I finally relented. There was some left. Mom. he says, why dont you do it too. We can be PURPLE HAIR TWINS! (purple hair twins you guys!!! oh my heart) I said yes.

He has also been wrestling with some big issues in school. Wanting to fit in. And yet begging daily to be homeschooled. Oh my heart.

Little miss ran up the hill shrieking her hatred of me, her family and the world. A few days later we had a "big talk" (not THAT one, but close) and she was so attentive and grown up my heart nearly burst with pride for the little lady she is becoming.

Dropped balls.

Homeruns.

Juggle juggle juggle.




our little awareness event, organized by my dear friend, to protest human trafficking

i took the kids out for cocoa and coffee. they were a dream. and then the owner chased us out in
the prking lot thinking i had let baby bring home the toy truck he was obsessd with. little green
had already put it back but it made me LIVID

i mean. look at those biscuits.

can you find the farming baby??



my purple hair twin streak :)





i made banana avocado chocolate pudding one day. he liked it.


spot the six yr old!
Saturday, January 13, 2018

farm life, a post of photos

I have started a blog post too many times over the last week and then axed it.

Too whiny.

Too boring.

Too same old same old.

I am loving gardening lately. Farming really. I am out there with a chainsaw and pruning shears a couple of mornings a week, trying to negotiate some kind of order to our hillside of coffee, macadamia nut trees, wild tomato vines, and 15 foot high weeds.

Baby comes with me. He picks up the nuts with me from the hillside for approximately 12 minutes, then he digs in the dirt for approximately 22 minutes, then he watches "Tall Tales with Mater and Lightning McQueen" on Netflix for approximately 64 minutes, laying in his little wagon.

Ah. Farm mom life.

So before he wakes from his nap and I have to drag the kids off of their weekend iPad doses, er, turns, here are some photos.

I bought a baby pomegranate tree! 

a newly discovered lemon tree down the hillsdie

those spiky guys are pineapple!


my papaya tree i planted from seeds 5 months ago

our sad hillside after cutting down coffee

coffee trimmed three months ago, already sending up new shoots

gorgeous old coffee trees. now to prune back the new growth



our wi apple tree dropping its leaves and fruit

while the mango tree sends out new growth





seriously the tastiest oranges ever



















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