Scribbles

“I thought a little vacation would solve my problems. It seemed to coat the surface, but could not quell the volcano within.”

I scribbled this down yesterday when going through a tidal wave of anger, frustration, and sadness. I had gone on a mini birthday vacation this past weekend, and felt like it took away the negative emotions in my life. But of course real issues run deeper than a weekend getaway. Something went wrong when we got back, and I became a bull in a china shop…again. I finally accept the volcano within, and I’m going to channel the energy where it needs to go and stop it from ruining the things that I love. This is my challenge!

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Toxic Kiddie Pools

It’s becoming harder and harder to be safe these days. So many things are made with toxic materials, ESPECIALLY things made for children. Here’s a great blog about the dangers of those little kiddie pools everyone buys when it gets hot. I admit, I almost bought one yesterday. I need to find one that is PVC and BPA free! Let me know if you guys know where I can get one for inexpensive!

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“From BPA to phthalates, there’s no end to the unsettling headlines featuring toxic plastics these days. So it’s no surprise that as temperatures rise and summer dawns, parents have questions about the safety of the plastics used to make kiddie pools.” Read more at healthychild.org

The Importance of Beauty

I’ve forgotten about how truly important beauty is and what it means for my life. Of course, there are more urgent matters throughout the day, everyday. As a mom, making sure my kids are fed, that they are taken care of, that they are safe-these things are more important than the kinds of beauty I’ve put on the back burner for a while.

Having found myself around vain and superficial people at times, I’ve completely turned my back on anything related to it. I thought by doing so, I was doing the right thing and teaching my kids to not be those things. While I’ve been successful at making sure they are not vain, shallow, and spoiled humans, I may have taken it a bit too far. I’ve completely counted out the importance of beauty. What is life if you forget to add as much beauty to it as you can? There are many different kinds of beauty, that are more than skin deep, even the seemingly skin deep kind.

Working hard to create a food garden, there’s a big difference when it looks unkept and when it looks cleaned up. It looks much more whimsical back there when it’s cleaned up-it looks like something Tinkerbell would be proud of! I don’t do it to impress anyone, that’s missing the point. I’m sitting in my backyard garden, under my avocado tree and feeling the zen of BEAUTY. I created it, I spent time and energy laboring over it, not to just be functional, but to be beautiful.

Working from home can truly make personal beauty take a turn for the worst. One an average day, I don’t see any of my clients. I often don’t leave the house. I’m working from my computer and from my phone. No need to get out of my pajamas because I don’t get out of the car to drop off my older son to school. I’m barefoot 95% of my day. And makeup? On an average day, I don’t wear any. This may sound great, and for the most part, it can be. But on the flip side, to truly start not caring about personal beauty, or style, or anything but getting work done…that’s not what I meant to do. Beauty and personal style are still a part of who I am, and I have been neglecting it.

Instead of natural and relaxed, I’ve become sloppy and unkept. Along with this comes low self image issues and depression. It’s a vicious cycle if not caught early on. After that, diet and exercise become secondary. It’s a dangerous and miserable place to be. All this because I forgot the importance of beauty.

My home environment is my work environment and vice versa. This can be maddening. While I admit, I’m a naturally messy person, I realize that as I get older, I NEED a certain level of order and cleanliness in my environment to focus and do my best. I had not seen the beauty of my home as important as it needs to be. Other things are always so urgent. But when the environment is negatively affecting my work, my mental state, my sense of well being, and my family, something needs to change.

I steam cleaned most of the carpets the other day and stayed up late to clean the kitchen. You know what? It felt so nice to wake up the next morning in a clean, beautiful environment. I felt renewed!

So, from now on, among all the urgent and important things to be mindful of, I must also remember, the true importance of BEAUTY.

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Happiness – A Journey

Going through a very transitional period in my life. I can feel the pull to either make it or break it. Vernon Courtland Johnson once read me, in passing while reading the rest of my family in more depth. I was busy vending at an art show, so I only had time to say hello. He asked me, “What makes you happy?” I froze a little, because the question came out of nowhere, and I hadn’t really thought about that in a long time. I pointed to my family and said “They do.” He told me that I was on my last life ( speaking of past lives, and I’ve lived more than most) my challenge in this life is to just be happy. It struck a chord with me, I didn’t know this man, I didn’t tell him anything about myself or my life, and most people see me smiling all the time in public, and assume I’m a quiet and happy person. How did this person totally hit it on the head? Whether you believe in past lives or not, my reality is that I struggle to be happy. I have a good life and I love my family. I’m very fortunate, and I’m grateful for my kids and a wonderful husband who is nearly perfect in my eyes. But, I struggle to be happy. Most days I am sad or angry or feel guilty or like a failure. Even on days where I feel happy, there’s an underlying sadness. Lately it’s been worse. I keep thinking about what VCJ told me.

I took a little time after talking to Carlos about how I was feeling, cried it out a bit, then after getting some work done, took my little one outside. I finally opened up this bubble machine that Rocky got from his Aunt and Uncle for Christmas over a year ago. He loved it. I left it on for him, the wind was making those bubbles dance around, and I wrote about happiness. No real focus or structure, I just wrote. Here’s what came out:

Self realization, letting go of guilt, doubt and fear. Soul searching, finding out who I really am so I can love myself again.

Happiness is not the same as success. It’s not measured in accomplishments. Due dates, schedules and time limits do not help find happiness. Sometimes the brain completely blocks the pathway to happiness.

When one has learned to harden and guard the heart, it’s often frozen over, or it feels as though a layer of concrete is around it, like what was done to some adobe structures, only for the concrete to cause issues unseen, deep within. It’s necessary to be vulnerable in order to be truly happy. Too many disappointments in oneself or others cause true instincts to be seen as a weakness.

While at times, it is necessary for your heart and emotions to go into survival mode, this way of thinking, of practicality, of self preservation, this tactic can get in the way during times of life when you can put down your defenses. It can get in the way of being able to feel happy and to find true happiness. You’ll miss opportunities of joy, because you’ll be too logical to see them. While there is such a thing as wastefulness, you must learn the differences between that and the fun you allow yourself to have.

What makes a two year old truly happy? Not the most expensive toy, or travel, or fancy clothes. It’s so simple. A hug or a kiss from Mommy, bubbles floating in the air, sand between their fingers, their favorite worn down toy, a juicy piece of fruit, dancing wildly, hearing a lullaby being sung, splashing of water, the sound of rain, wind upon their face, running wild while screaming and laughing. Simple things make a child so happy. Somewhere between this age and just before puberty, we lose a chunk of this, especially in our modern society. How do we get some of it back? For someone who analyzes everything to death, it’s extremely difficult. But it’s not impossible. Turning a new leaf and meeting my life’s challenge head on.

Rocky running through bubbles in the wind.

Throwback Thursday

Spending this #throwbackthursday #tbt looking at a photo album from my past that, seriously, seems like it was only a year or two ago, but it’s been over a decade! I stopped on one photo of myself and my now husband, Carlos, before we were married and before having my two boys. Alyssa was always in the picture. 🙂  It’s not the typical romantic couple “kissy” picture. He managed to plant a cartoon style SMOOCH on me before I had a chance to realize this was going to happen. I am a mixture of being thoroughly amused and being grossed out. But it’s very obvious that the couple in the picture is very much in love, happy and super silly (and maybe slightly obnoxious). As I look at this picture, I’m reminded of who I used to be. Don’t get me wrong, I have made some strides and grown in a lot of ways as I’ve grown up, but I’ve lost some of THIS along the way. It can really suck a lot of fun out of life when you grow up and start having a laundry list of responsibilities. It’s stressful when you have other people to worry about other than yourself and the person you’re in love with. I love my kids so much, but my anxious personality takes that love and turns it into worry and paranoia half the time. That’s something else I need to work on-a blog post for another time, perhaps. But, whatever happens in life, no matter how stressful, I cannot allow myself to change so much that I lose THIS. The words from Johnny to Ponyboy come to mind when I see my past self. “Stay Gold.” I’m going to try to.

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Carlos and I circa 2002

Priorities, priorities, priorities!

Being a work at home mom, I tend to overwork myself, even when I know it’s unhealthy for myself. Many moms I know tend to put themselves at the bottom of the family totem pole, and I am guilty of that. VERY GUILTY. It’s only when mom gets sick or has a nervous breakdown does she truly realize that she is the nucleus of the family. Without her, things just don’t run as they should. But when she’s overworked, stressed, and has a terrible sense of self, how well can she run that family even when she’s getting by? Not very well. This is the lesson I learned this month.

My son got a cough, then my husband, then me. It was bad-it was more than a cough or a cold. This one led to some respiratory issues and it lasted about 3 weeks before showing any signs of going away. Previous to me getting the bug, I’d been overworking myself with my job, my freelance jobs, guilting myself over housework, guilting myself for not doing my best as a mom, feeling depressed and then feeling guilty about that, trying to fit in laundry and dishes, guilting myself for being unhealthy, dealing with the stress of a difficult teenage girl, a very difficult two year old going through the terrible twos, and an otherwise easy middle son who was feeling ignored and slipping at school. My job and getting more freelance work was something I felt was for myself, and necessary, as working from home hasn’t matched up my old income from working for a corporation yet. But, it was starting to become an escape, and not a healthy one. Finally my mind and body had had enough of my crap, and my immune system shut down. I got that virus and ended up having to go to Urgent Care. I couldn’t breathe or sleep for 3 nights. Truth be told though, I hadn’t been able to sleep right in a long time, and not just because of a nursing child. My mind was riddled with stress of all kinds. The pain in my chest started more mental and emotional than physical, but it was manifesting itself into the physical and grown into pain in my digestive area and then acid reflux. So when I got sick, I realized what I had done to myself.

So shifting my priorities now. Taking care of my health and making sure I eat right again. Being active again-starting a little slow because of the weight gain that all the cortisol from the stress had caused. Reconnecting with the kids-and they in turn have reciprocated my efforts and have been helping me with the housework more, without me having to nag half as much. I even reconnected with my daughter after having been disconnected for about 6 years now (that was a BIG one). Rocky even sleeps through the night! He even had his first 2 night sleepover at the grandparents’ house which was a miracle! I’m not going to say all my problems are solved but they never will all be solved will they? It’s all in how I handle it-and I know if I want to avoid another WORSE physical breakdown, I need to keep my chin up and remind myself why I’m staying at home in the first place. I could get more work done easier in an office, but the reason I decided to stay home and work from here is to be here for my family. And I have to remember that to be truly HERE for my family, I need to take care of myself, too.

Growing Wheatgrass

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At the Farmer’s Market, we tried a shot of wheatgrass from one of the vendors. She kept telling us how great the stuff is for teeth and gums, which of course made us look right at her mouth. Her teeth and gums looked really healthy! Her skin also looked very clear. You could tell she wasn’t wearing much makeup at all if any. I’ve been reading about growing wheatgrass for a while now, so we ended up buying some seeds from her that were already sprouted. Only $4.50 for a giant bag! I planted quite a bit, but still have a lot left! I need to make more growing trays. Anyway, this is my first time growing this, and I created a makeshift tray out of some leftover tomato plastic containers from Fresh N Easy:

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I cut them in half and then poked holes for drainage:

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My second tray ended up better.

ImageFilled it with rich soil and compost that i had mixed together earlier. I added water to make sure it was a nice moist mixture, kind of like brownie batter!

ImageOriginally I placed too many seeds…

ImageThe tray on top of the other half to allow for drainage…

ImagePretty wheatgrass trays all in a row…

ImageWatered it, and the drainage system looks like it’s working well…

ImageCovered them up for the night…

I’ll post progress pics of success or failure. 🙂