May 2016 Blog Archives

May 31, 2016

I don’t know about everyone else…..

But a Michigan 3 day weekend in May means you have a whole lot of outside work to do.  Here in the 8 month frozen tundra, when the ice melts it is ON!  I guess mother nature is all too aware that she has limited time to shine, so she goes at a fierce pace to grow.  Overnight, weeds are everywhere, the trees pop and every single thing outside your door needs attention.

 

I know why Lowe’s is in no danger of closing….we went 4 times in 3 days and please, it’s at least $50 a visit.  The lawn mower blade dulled over winter, the ants took over the back yard, the filter for the A/C apparently sucked all the dirt for miles around, and some of the too expensive perennials decided it was just not worth it to come back.  Can’t blame them!

 

It’s a whole lot of work and a short time to do it.  It is a pain in the back and yet, it feels really good to have the breeze on your face and hear the birds welcoming you to the great outdoors.  I love to buy and plant flowers, it literally restores my hope in the world.  This year I am experimenting with begonias in my sun/shade spot.  We shall see how well that works out.  Either way, they are pretty at least for now.  Best of all, the sage is in full bloom and smells incredible, second only to the lavender. 

 

It’s going to be a fast spring, but we plan to make the most of it!

 

May 30, 2016

It’s easy to honor them……

I never knew much about the military before I met my husband.  We moved in together just outside a military base and it was on from there.  I learned fast and was often scared.  Protocol, rules, jargon, and a way of life that was foreign at best kept me on my toes constantly.  We married in January and by the following January, he was heading to the Gulf War.  I signed paperwork including his will, not really knowing what it all meant and praying it would never need to mean anything.  I helped him put his name on his sleeping bag, just in case they had to be used for body bags.  I will never forget that.  Saying goodbye to him at the bus still chokes me up when I think about it.  I didn’t know if I would ever see him again…..

 

I was a key wife, which means I volunteered to help the families of the men stationed with my husband at war.  I was trained in grief every day, from the classes that warned us they might not come back, to the strength it took to turn CNN off and go to bed.  I sat beside the hospital bed of a wife who was just too young to cope with the enormity of it all.  I talked to all their families when I had even a scrap of information about them.  I learned what foreign soil meant.  I had a blown up map of Iraq, Iran, and Saudi Arabia on my kitchen wall, next to an enlarged poster of my husband in his desert camouflage.  I didn’t know how to be the wife of a deployed soldier, there is no blueprint for that.  I put one foot in front of the other in hopes it would somehow make the difference that would keep him safe.  I only knew I wanted him to come home alive, even though I was never sure it would happen. 

 

Sadly, everyone did not come home alive.  The funerals were grief upon grief and there just were no words.  I was so glad I wasn’t burying my own husband, and yet I was overwhelmed at the loss of others.  I didn’t fully understand war, I still don’t.  That made it even more difficult.  

 

I was forever changed by my support role to my husband.  I will never be that carefree girl again who didn’t know about war and the fallout, although I do understand that my freedom is the direct result of their sacrifices.  I cannot begin to measure the respect and admiration I have for our military.  I am constantly humbled by their sacrifices and incredible courage. 

 

I appreciate that we have a national day to honor those who have died in service to our country, but I do it every day.  A flag draped coffin brings me to my knees.  And I know behind it are loved ones who don’t understand much more than I did, but they love this great country. 

 

It isn’t enough to just honor them on a 3 day weekend, but it’s a start.  May God hold them all in the palm of his hands.

May 26, 2016

WoooHoooo!  3 day weekend…..

Oh the possibilities!  What to do and how many times can we go get ice cream?  These are the burning questions as the sun finally shows it’s face in Michigan and summer makes its debut.

 

As the resident cruise director, I have thrown out everything from going to the Chicago Symphony to trying out a new restaurant I saw in Grand Rapids.  So far, I’ve gotten the responses, “Why don’t we just catch up on our sleep?”  And, “Maybe we should go see a movie.”  Not exactly what I was contemplating.

 

But I am confident that I will get my guys out of the house.  After all I have 3 whole days with no alarm clocks, no carpooling, no rushing to work, and no plans!!!  Anything can happen…..

 

Happy weekend.  Go out there and make some memories that will last a lifetime.  And catch up on your sleep cause summer is here!

 

May 25, 2016

My mother is 80 today!

And it is not all about me, but she is 20 years older than I am.  So inevitably, I do the math and well, as she ages, so do I! 

 

There is no denying that 80 is old.  She’s still really healthy and works full time, so maybe 80 is the new 70, but still, it’s definitely not 40.  And remember, when she was 40, I was 20…..

 

We’ve done this birthday thing for years, where we call each other and alternately are thankful and stressed about getting older.  I am glad she is a happy 80 and enjoying her life.  I am glad I am a happy 59-rapidly-heading-to-60 and enjoying my life.  But I have to make a rule here for us both……

 

NO MORE DOING THE MATH!!!  It might be easy, but it’s hard on us both….

 

Happy Birthday Mom!  Hope we do the 100/80 thing and we both are still going strong.

 

May 24, 2016

Wednesday Comic Relief….

One drunk and disorderly chipmunk fell into our pool and then couldn’t swim his way out.  He made it to the stairs, in about an inch of water, and then was wearily screaming for help.  So I got the net and deposited him on the pool deck to dry out.  At first, he just lay on his side and moaned a good bit.  A sign at least that he was still alive.

 

After about 20 minutes, he went to a sitting position and with wary eyes, finally began to calm down the dramatic crying.  I contemplated scooping him up in a warm towel and helping him out, but he didn’t look happy and I didn’t want to go to the emergency room with chipmunk bites.  The cat was watching him from the deck, but figured he probably had enough to deal with without being chased, so just let him slide….

 

Eventually, he got on his feet and wobbled off toward the nearest rock wall in search of a hole to disappear in.  Half falling into it, I imagine his compadres were only too happy to help him in the big escape.  We imagined him telling them all about how he swam the blue ocean and barely escaped from the vicious jaws of the monster cat……

When in fact, we were just shaking our heads and laughing at the crossed-eyed running chipmunk who cut the corner too close and fell in the pool.  And we all know, it will happen again…

 

May 23, 2016

Meddling parents……

Can really screw up the relationships their kids are in.  When you raise your child, you give them the values you believe are correct.  But once they become adults, you just have to trust that they will use them.  You cannot successfully dictate what they do, without using a whole lot of guilt.  And guilt is a nasty tool that has many sharp edges for everyone involved.

 

I talked with a mother (not a client, but she should be lol) who was bragging about how she told her college student to give her boyfriend of 5 years an ‘either you marry me or it’s over’ ultimatum.  He left her.  She was devastated.  The daughter explained to me that the man in question had clearly, and from the beginning, put a timeline in place about their relationship.  He said marriage was on the agenda, but not until he graduated and put in at least the first year in a job.  He told her from the very beginning that was his plan and she agreed to it, even understood it.  But Mom, not so much.  She wanted a commitment, she wanted grandchildren, she wanted…..  And yet, it was not her marriage or her future.  I believe the definition of meddling is just that.

 

I remained silent (that was huge for me!), but I couldn’t help thinking….  Whatever happened to trust?  And please, let’s not forget that life lessons are all around us.  So one year later, the girl is still grieving the loss of the ‘love of her life’ and mom is complaining about how unhappy the daughter is.  And the guy?  He’s moved on.  Probably just so happy he doesn’t have this woman for a mother-in-law! 

 

As difficult as it may be, try to remember that everyone doesn’t live under the same circumstances, think, or even traverse the world the same way you do.  And just as a reminder:  Let your children get their life lessons while they are around you and you can love them through it.  It’s a better alternative than when they are not close by and struggle on their own.  And please know:  Those lessons will come one way or the other.

 

May 20, 2016

What are your limits?

If you are in a relationship with someone, what would make you leave?  Infidelity, money, falling out of love?  Where do you come down on the stopping point?

 

In most relationships, infidelity is a deal breaker, but not for everyone.  If you fall totally out of love, you’d think that would be the end of it, but sometimes it’s so gradual it becomes the new familiar.  Money can do it and so can children.  There are obviously a whole lot of ways something can come to a close, but do you know your own boundaries?  More importantly, does your significant other?

 

Even if you are enjoying a great relationship, you both need to know where the lines are drawn.  Too often, things go wrong and one of the parties has no idea why or when.  If you establish the rules up front, you both have a better chance of making it work.  Get about it.  Don’t put it off.

And just for the record?  Infidelity is a very deep hole to come out of…..

May 19, 2016

Embracing your inner catalyst…..

 

On this earth, you are either a catalyst or you are not. We need both for this great teaching center and so either is important, but you don’t get to be either or, you are one or the other. I am a catalyst. Some days I embrace that and understand it and some days, I really just want to hide somewhere and pretend it never existed. This particular week, catalyst is apparently strongly on the menu. I know it is important and necessary, but I grow weary of the process.

 

What is a catalyst? Someone who cannot remain silent and be okay with it. Someone who has to initiate change no matter how large or small. Someone who stirs the pot, climbs the mountain, and ushers in a different point of view. We are born that way and we cannot change it. Short of living on some deserted island, we are propelled to create and embrace change. In fact, I’m pretty sure that messages in a bottle came from some poor catalyst stuck on an island…..

 

Non-catalysts have an equally difficult journey. They are charged with holding the status quo and for the most part suffering in silence. They don’t speak up. They may observe, but they will sit and watch things unfold without their input. They hold the energy of change in a different way, because they refuse to make it. They have to be brought around to a new idea and are often slow to implement something even when they do agree with it. Both are essential to this earthly teaching center. If we were all catalysts no one would learn anything and the same goes for non-catalyst.

 

When you figure out what you are and who is who, it helps tremendously. When you understand why it is necessary for both to exist, the suffering of each is lowered. It’s all part of making this world work and evolve. But it is not easy.

 

May 18, 2016

Where does your energy belong?

 

I met a client who just came to ask me if it was possible that your energy was not a fit in certain places. The answer is emphatically, “YES!” She explained to me that she had lived in Michigan for about 30 years, but just never felt like it was home. She thought maybe something was wrong with her….. But then she took a trip to Paris and she said even the storefronts looked familiar and were appealing to her. Was it just because she was on vacation or was it a true awakening?

 

It really is possible that your energy just doesn’t fit or feel right in certain places. And so that means there are places where it breathes a huge sigh of relief and calls it home. We presume there is more than one. I remember the first time I got off the plane in California and it was like someone had relieved me of an enormous burden. I said, “This is where I was supposed to be all along!” Everyone laughed, but I really felt those words and emotions.

 

I can be most anywhere in Texas and it feels wonderful. Like I belong. Like I’m home. But we were driving through a little place called Buffalo Gap and I knew where I was. I could take us right to home. I really could have gone out and laid down in the field. I belonged. It still gives me a warm feeling just to think about it.

 

If you are somewhere and it just never seems to fit, maybe it’s time to find a place where it does. Maybe it is time to find home.

 

May 17, 2016

Did you know there are 6 senses?

 

Come on, you can do this: Taste, Touch, Smell, Sight, Hearing, and Intuition! For those of you who cannot handle the word intuition, think: gut reaction. All these things combine together to create and catalog our experiences. Ever find yourself smelling something that is unusual, but familiar? Well, that’s your sense of smell catalog, reminding you. Your sympathetic nervous system is a really nice storehouse for all the difficult things your body catalogs. So if you have had a traumatic experience, one, some, or all of those influences will be a part of the memory. And that memory can be triggered again by any one of the senses.

 

I can smell honeysuckle and I am right back to being a girl again in south Georgia. It literally brings me back to a time that was full of love and grace. I can be spoken to in a harsh voice and be taken back to abuse, too. It serves as a warning signal to me from my body that I could be in danger and need to get out of there. And there are all kinds of memories in between…..

 

If you don’t pay particular attention to your senses, you might consider giving it some thought. We have this incredible body with all its intricacies for a reason. And just like having a cell phone that you can’t figure out how to take pictures on, you probably aren’t using it to full capacity or to your advantage.

 

That sun shining on your face? It’s a warm, wonderful memory!

 

May 16, 2016

It’s that time of year……

 

Passages.  May and June are all about passages.  Graduating and heading out to bigger things.  Marrying and moving out of one life into another.  Going from one school to another.  Stepping out for that big job you have been working for……

 

It’s daunting.  Not just for the people who do it, but for the people who lose you.  Grief is part of the process.  Tears are shared and swallowed.  Milestones are celebrated and dreaded.  But all in all, it’s the essence of this big teaching center called Earth.

 

I remember leaving home for college, I graduated a year early from high school eager to step out into the world.  I loved it, but it was harder that I imagined.  Marriage was truly daunting.  I knew it was what I wanted to do, but I remember a conversation at the back of the church with my Dad.  He said, “You don’t have to do this.”  I said, “I know.”  But I didn’t really….  I thought it was wonderful that he gave me an out just when I was contemplating one and oddly, it propelled me forward….

 

These new starts are a measure of who we really are.  They teach us that change is not only possible, but necessary.  They show us who we are and tap all our strength.  But they also empower us to embrace this extraordinary life.

 

May 13, 2016

Superstitious much?

 

It’s Friday the 13th!  I just talked to a lady who said she took the day off from work just in case…..  Just in case what?  She wasn’t sure.  Superstition is a powerful thing.  I grew up around superstition and it is a seductive way to think as long as you don’t employ logic.

 

Last weekend, my son met a new tubist.  He insisted they sing, ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ together.  His much loved baseball team was winning after many long, dry years.  He was pretty convinced it was because he got someone to sing that song with him every time they had a game.  It was fun and who doesn’t like the song?  But is he really helping them win the game?

 

A neighbor once had a black cat and he said he had to be really careful where he took the cat or who he allowed to pet the cat because they could bring bad stuff to the cat.  I laughed so much about that!  He totally got the whole thing backwards! 

 

My father would never go the same way twice.  So if we had to leave home and for whatever reason come back then go again, he would do all these twisty turns to change the way he went again.  Some of my relatives throw salt.  I was helping to clean out a closet of one relative and she had a broken mirror in pieces in a box all taped up.  I went to open it and she was just crazy upset.  It seems she decided that as long as the pieces were in a box taped up the 7 years of bad luck could not start.  So I suggested perhaps we should send it all taped up to the dump then……  But apparently part of the rules was that the person who broke it had to keep it…….forever…….in the box!  Oh my what a tangled theory!

 

If you are brave enough to venture out in the world today, embrace it!  Step on the cracks, spill the salt, and nod to the black cats.  Laugh and celebrate that we can be so delightfully unique in our thoughts.  Or failing that, start your own superstition.  May I suggest:  Chocolate on all days marked 13, Friday or not, extra on Friday.  Dinner with friends at your favorite restaurant if you see a black cat.  Or maybe forget something on the way to work and go back after it, then back to bed.  Take the day off in style!  Why chance it?

 

May 12, 2016

Moving blues…..

 

We have moved 13 times in 27 years.  Not just across town or down the block, but to another state or town.  We have schlepped some of the same things everywhere we’ve moved and never really gave it much thought.  But we probably should have….

 

Every time you move to a new house, you need to start all over again.  Some things you own work out, others don’t.  We have a shed on our property, so those things that we didn’t need went into the shed 5 years ago.  We were going to get right to taking care of that, but we did not.  When we finally got around to cleaning it out, the dumpster was the best choice for most of it.  The rest of the items went up for sale on Craigslist.  I couldn’t believe I had to say some of the items had been stored for 25 years!  Now that’s just ridiculous…..

 

In any event, they have gone on the chopping block and been sold.  And I can’t help but wonder if I have more 25 year stuff in the basement storage closet.  So to the question:  If you haven’t used it in 25 years is it okay to get rid of it?  I emphatically say, “YES!”  And if you are smart and learn from it, maybe you won’t spend the money on something else you have to put into storage…..

 

May 11, 2016

It’s the curve balls life throws you……

 

We left home and all was well.  We came back and I pushed the button on the garage door.  Things went quickly awry and it became all crooked, but it did not open.  That was a problem, because we didn’t have a key to the house, so no way in….

 

My son and I studied the situation and decided possibly we could lift up enough of one side for him to crawl under and let us in.  It was a dirty, brutal job, but we managed it.  No locksmith today!

 

We called Overhead Door and they pronounced the door dead upon their arrival.  $2,000 for a new one and 5 weeks to get it in.  Did I mention how busy May is? 

 

Life is just chocked full of curve balls.  How we handle them says a lot about us, but without a credit card?  They would seem a lot more impossible.

 

 

May 10, 2016

My sweet nephew Sam is all grown up…..

 

And going to college!  I can hardly believe it, but I am so very happy for him.  I remember well how happy I was when he arrived and what a remarkable baby he was.  The first grandson to the family, he was all smiles, giggles, and sunlight.  He had a little prankster side, loved to snuggle, and went at life with a sure cadence.

 

As even a small child, he would drag around huge books that he could easily become immersed in.  Everything in the encyclopedias interested him and he loved to talk about what he was currently reading.  Fossils seemed to capture his attention and before long, he became a rock prodigy.  Okay, a rock star!  I learned a lot from that enthusiastic brain. 

 

Sam was born an old soul.  He just seemed to always know more about any situation and his patience for things other people didn’t readily understand was impressive.  He loves animals, science, nature, and embraces this planet as though he’s been here since its inception.  It is truly a remarkable way to walk through this life and the perfect way to help the rest of us embrace it, too.

 

I have loved Sam as my own right from the moment he agreed to come share this life with us.  I would have preferred to live next door and not miss a moment, but it just didn’t work out that way.  Nevertheless, when he was about 7 years old, we made a pact that I would always be there for him, always be one of his most fierce cheerleaders, and would always love him no matter where we both happened to be.  He agreed to provide me with back stage passes to whatever amazing thing he accomplished.  I agreed to be there.  We both still know that strong, abiding love is there.

 

So my Sam, know I am beyond proud of you.  I know you’ve worked hard to take this step to college and I know it is just one of many to come.  More importantly, I know you will be always incredible.  They are lucky to have you changing this world at the University of Florida, and I am, too.

 

Bring it on Sam, the world awaits you with great anticipation!

 

Love you forever, Aunt Lynn

 

May 9, 2016

Was it all you wanted it to be?

 

How did your weekend go?  If you were a mother did you get a sloppy breakfast in bed or a unique gift that only you could love and treasure?  I sure hope so.  I hope you celebrated some woman somehow.  We shouldn’t need a reason to celebrate the women in our lives, but it’s okay to do it anyway.

 

I always want my friends to take pictures of their gifts and post them.  From the rock in the yard to the beautiful roses, as long as they come from the heart, it matters.  It’s built into us all to love every single thing and place it among our treasures.  And really?  We don’t need amazing gifts, hugs are what we enjoy the most.

 

I remember the first time my son called me mom, and I remember the first time someone else referred to me as a mom.  I soaked it in and smiled …… well I’m still smiling about it. 

 

Before my son went to bed, I told him how honored I was to be his mother.  I thanked him for being my son and I hugged him so tight, he squirmed a little.  (Teenagers do that sometimes.)  What an amazing gift.  When I held that baby, I got that God must love me.  Look what he gave me to love!  It’s nothing short of a miracle.

 

And the gift just keeps on giving…..

 

May 6, 2016

I’m not in this alone……

 

My uterus was broken.  So for me to be a mother, another mother had to make a huge sacrifice.  Riding in the car when he was about 3, my son said, “You know Mom, I knew your tummy was broken, so I went to Kate in a dream and asked her if she would have me for you.  She said, “Yes!”. 

 

In our house, Kate is a sacred person afforded all the love and honor we can give her.  I don’t know how she gave this incredible boy to me, but I know it could not have been easy.  And yet, I know this boy was supposed to be with me and she agreed to help.  We both have learned so very many lessons it would be difficult to compute.  But the lesson that keeps coming back to me is one of phenomenal love.

 

Love has so many levels.  Kate and my son taught me that.  Her grief is my grief and her joy my joy.  Kate, wherever you are and no matter how the world is treating you, know you are a gift straight from God and I am thankful every second of every day for you.  How could I do anything but love him fiercely when you gave him such an amazing beginning?  I love him fiercely for us both.  I hold you in my heart and I always will.

 

It is a remarkable gift that keeps on giving.  Thank you so much!  We love you forever.

 

May 5, 2016

Who is a mother?

 

When I wanted desperately to become a mother, I needed to know what made someone a mother.  A friend gave me a poem and among other things it said, “… if you’ve ever helped just one child, you are a mother.”  At the time, I was volunteering at an elementary school in Texas.    When I moved to the area, I inquired about the poorest public school and went there to help out.  Hugs, comfort, and love was part of every hour I spent there.  It was a labor of love.  Based on that, I took heart that perhaps I was already a mother.

 

I was born a nurturer.  Whether or not I actually managed to have a child of my own, I was destined to find a child somewhere that I could help.  Mother Teresa said, “If you want a love message to be heard, it has got to be sent out.  To keep a lamp burning, we have to keep putting oil in it.”  I believe in that concept and have only truly been happy when I was putting the message out there.

 

There are many, many kinds of mothers, even the ones who do not have a child of their own.  And yet, we are all so important to the concept of spreading a love message to be heard.  Mother Teresa also said, “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise.”  And that concept makes it all the more important to follow our hearts. 

 

Who is a mother?  Every single one of us if we choose to be.

 

 

May 4, 2016

There are all kinds of mothers……

 

Those that are in your life day to day.  Those that have already gone back to God and just watch over you.  Those that serve as your mother in the absence of yours.  Those that mother you when you need it no matter how old you are.

 

We are all part of a much larger picture.  We collectively bring nurturing whenever it is needed, one child at a time.  It’s a God thing and it is intricately woven into this teaching center called earth.  Imagine what the world would look like if you took the nurturers out of it.  They are integral to our success and wellbeing. 

 

Some are more natural at nurturing than others, but we all have some part of it in us.  It is what makes us diverse and capable of molding ourselves to any situation.  There is a fierceness about being a nurturer.  We instinctively know when something needs to work out despite the odds and we have the ability to make it so, because we know it matters. 

 

Mother’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, but it is an important one.  This world is a difficult place and there are many lessons to be learned.  Mother’s bridge the gap between life and possibilities.  They bring hope, comfort, and reason.  They are essential and reminding us to honor them fosters more nurturing.  It’s brilliant really and a true source of love.

 

We hold them sacred, because they earn it.

 

 

May 3, 2016

When you have a child in school……

 

It is difficult to determine what the busiest month of the year is.  The first few months are difficult because it’s all new again, November is crazy because it’s short and they are cramming in for December and please, that’s a busy month!  But I would put my money on May. 

 

May has the promise of summer so everything seems to take forever to be over.  Graduations, concerts, Mother’s Day, final exams, college preparations, and weddings begin to cram the calendar and there are simply not enough hours in the day.  If not for the promise of summer vacation, we would all succumb to exhaustion!

 

How many more days of May are left?  How long until school ends?  Do we have to go to that?  The key is to put one foot in front of the other and plan your vacation in your head.

I hear the beach calling me……

May 2, 2016

It’s finally here……

I literally live for May.  The months of winter in Michigan are long and the sun does not make many appearances.  May is a sure sign that it is over and the possibilities of sun, flowers and green grass become a reality.  I can’t overlook the fact that I have survived yet another winter.

 

I remember watching the movie, ‘Doctor Zhivago’, as a teenager and thinking, “How do they live like that?”  It was horribly cold and ice was everywhere, they always wore heavy coats.  And often now in Michigan winters, I know how they did it, but I still don’t like it.

It’s tougher for some that others though.  I have a neighbor who says if she goes any further south than  Cincinnati, she just can’t tolerate the heat.  I’ve lived in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Texas, but I’ve never been as hot as I get in Michigan in summer.  My husband says it is all about what you get used to, but five years into Michigan, I still love a shorter winter.

The last frost is supposed to be done by Mother’s Day.  Proof that mothers don’t appreciate cold weather, at least in Michigan.  The flowers will start to bloom and the dogwoods in the woods will call out to me that change is on the way.  But there is no need to worry about me now, May is here.

 

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