Tuesday, June 10, 2014


Life has been full of transitions in my 43+ years; all of the normal progressions, with some wild rides thrown in for fun.  We are now facing a challenging one; helping our parents make care decisions for their next phase of life. Knowing that this will eventually be a reality of life was always on our radar, but we never thought it would come so soon, so suddenly, seemingly without warning.  The fragility of existence is something of which you become fully aware. The realization is unsettling to say the least.

Trying to decide the best way to care for a confused, almost child-like parent is surreal.  Some of the same questions that must have been in their own heads when we were the one being cared for by them are now ours.  How do we make her life as good as possible?  How do we shelter her from the pain and hurt ?  How do we make her feel love when she may not understand our words? The answers are simple, yet complex at the same time. 

Being several states away and trying to help from afar, and traveling to be present as often as possible will create new patterns for all of us.  We must be even more understanding, even more loving and helpful to one another.  We must envelope everything; the decisions, the tasks, the words and deeds in so much love, as we pray for peace and humility to do so. 

Transitions are rearrangements.  Our roles and duties change.  The love must remain present at the forefront.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Yogi Bear? Yogurt? OH! Yoga!

With the invitation from a friend to give a month of yoga a try , I found myself on a borrowed mat in a gentle class. A room full of thin, limber, stretchable, serene people isn't really a place I've ever thought was a good fit for a small, roundish lady who has a scorching case of undiagnosed ADHD. Stillness, quiet and focus are not my strengths, and I believe that recognizing and respecting your limitations is an important quality in life. Flexibility is surprisingly mine, but I look like a blobular glob when I stretch my limbs into unnatural poses. I've been to one or two classes before, but my attendance was more socially driven than truly inspired.

The good news is that I am already the owner of an impressive yoga-pant collection.  When the sundresses are stored for the season, yoga pants become my uniform for the bleary months that you don't exactly want the breeze blowing up your skirt.  How could I resist the urge to actually put them to use? Who knows?  Maybe after a month of it, I might appear to actually belong in them. 

So, there I was, focusing. Focusing on the fact that my mat was not my favorite color of pink, on what ZK might actually stand for,  whether the class would last an hour or was it longer and that I was the only person in class that actually wore yoga pants.  Maybe the teacher had some on, but my classmates were so cool they just wore sweats, shorts or (my personal favorite) polka-dot leggings. So....maybe true yogis don't need the pants.

Focus, Crys. Focus.  ON YOGA!

Breath in, breath out, breath in, breath out.  Breath in, hold it, breath out.  My breaths didn't match the instruction.  Trying to do it for as many seconds as suggested really confused me.  For a while, I was doing a breathing cycle opposite of the one instructed.  Trying to get my breaths in sync resulted in a little hyperventilation and a little dizziness.

Next came poses and some cool hand exercises with a ball.  That was fun, and I was enjoying myself.  I made some mental notes to incorporate some of the best ball-hand massages into my doula techniques and then came my favorite part of yoga:  Laying down on the mat!  Stretches, relaxing and that cool thing they do to the back of your neck.  Finally, a nap.  Just like in Bradley birth class, yoga ends with a totally relaxed nappy-nap.  Sweet mother of sleep, did I enjoy just laying there!  Instructed to do so, I felt zero guilt and was surprised to find my mind relaxed and unfocused.  Yes, unfocused must be the key.  I had been trying too hard to focus on peace, on zen, on relaxing, when the key was to just relax

I think I'll go back on Tuesday and relax.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

He got it.

Our VBS theme this week was 'Groovin' with Jesus: Peace, Love and Joy'. Right up my glitter-hippy alley, yes?  Yes.  I'm enjoying it.

Today, we learned the 'Love your neighbor as yourself' verse during bible story time.  I'm not much of a memorizer, but I do remember key teachings and this has always been one of my favorites. Yesterday, we'd made tie-dyed pillow cases during craft time.  As a group leader, I went ahead and made myself one. Resisting tye-dyed anything is futile, so I just grabbed a bottle of pink and dove into the fun with the kids.  Today, we received them to take home and wash, in preparation for a good night's sleep and happy hippy dreams.

A little girl showed up in my group today who'd not been there the previous day. As I passed out my the multi-colored cloth, still banded and in Zip-locks for their parents to deal with  later, her little face fell when she realized she wasn't getting one.  It took a lot of selflessness for me to turn mine over, but in my almost 43 years, I've managed to improve in that area.  She went home with mine.

Meeting up with Caden a few minutes later, he asked where my pillow case was, as he was planning for us to both sleep on them tonight.  After explaining, his response was 'WHY did you do THAT?!'  He was a little upset.  Maybe he was hoping I'd give it to him so he could have a matched set?  Maybe he just didn't understand the relinquishing of a tie-dyed item.  That never happens.

Reminding him of our bible story, I told him that if my little boy was at a vacation bible school, and was sad about not doing a craft the day before, I'd sure want some mommy to love him as they love themselves, and give him theirs. Even though I really liked the craft, I did unto that little girl's mommy as I'd want someone to do for me. So, she went home with my pillow case.

A few seconds later...he handed me his pillow case, saying he wanted me to have it.

Next Day Update:  After craft time today, the little girl gave me her paper-plate tambourine and a huge hug.  Apparently, she gets it, too. Being in the presence of a child is a gift (most of the time ;)  )

Monday, April 29, 2013

A sick boy, but just for a while.

"Mommy!  My belly feels....."  and so it begins.  An endless day of cleaning messes that don't quite make it to the proper receptacles.  Laundry and carpet cleaning and floor scrubbing, then more of the same have swallowed the majority of my day.  Now, as I write, he's resting and I'm praying that an ounce of ginger ale stays down.

I'm tempted to wallow in the misery that is mine on this day gone so not the way I'd planned.  But I've trained my brain to find the joy, and it's a groovy habit to make.  My son's body,mind and soul function at optimum levels most of the time.  I don't have to worry about losing him, and I won't be cleaning his messes forever.  Some parents aren't as lucky; I'm prompted to pray for them.  They suffer as much if not more than their children. As he begs for food that I know I can't give him because I don't want to rock the gastrointestinal boat, I am at the same time sad that I have to deny him, but thankful that I have food available.  Some parents watch their children die begging for food they cannot provide, and wrap their starving bodies in rags that they don't have the luxury of washing.

As my washing machine hums, my carpet cleaner rests, my mop airs itself outside and my son watches movies and snuggles on a clean couch in a warm, comfortable house, my joy explodes.  In the midst of the nasty belly bug, I am more thankful than most other days.

Do you know how to find your joy?  It's a choice.  I suggest you choose it.  Happiness can be fleeting, and dependent upon circumstance.  Joy?  it's always yours, always there.  You just have to train yourself to find it.  Think this post is a bit Pollyanna-ish?  I encourage you to read through my other posts.  You'll find that my life is far from perfect, and has survived and thrived through some pretty dark places.

Find your joy!!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Loving Me

When I was 20, I thought I weighed too much (I didn't hit triple digit weight until my pregnancy with Alex), my nose was too 'button-shaped', my hair was too red and my breasts were too small.  I didn't enjoy looking in the mirror.  Now, as I run screaming headlong into my 40s, I love my sweet curves, my adorable nose, my amazing hair that I'm accused of dying all the time (it's just me..just mine!) and love my breasts that fed my babies and still excite my husband.  The mirror is my friend, and if you catch me looking into a storefront that has some reflective value, you'll know I'm just being thankful for the gifts that are mine.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Baby Squirrel

Following Caden as he pedaled his Transformers bike along the path in Muskingum Park created the perfect 'moment' for hand holding with Jon and enjoying the early and very blossomy spring. Watching this 7 year old boy cautiously maneuver his bicycle around pedestrians, fellow bikers and even few roller derby queens gave me one of those 'everything's right with the world' feelings. Birds were singing, children were laughing and lovers were sitting on a bench by the river. It couldn't have been more picturesque.

Then, we saw the baby squirrel.

Tiny, naked, eyes, fused shut and all alone on the ground. My first impulse was to scoop it up and warm it against my chest, but was afraid of hurting it. The little guy must have fallen from so far up, yet there was no blood, and it was wriggling and moving all about, looking for the comfort of fellow nest-mate siblings and mama squirrel. Animal person I am not, and squirrels in particular make me think of a tree-dwelling rat; however, baby person I am. My baby-care instincts were slowly overcoming my tree rat aversions.

After some intense conversation with Jon, I left the baby on the ground to be scooped up by the mama squirrel and carried back up to the nest. Did I believe that was really going to happen? Probably not, but I did eventually leave it at his insistence to avoid a scene. I could not figure out why he was so adamant about not bringing this little squiggler home and letting me at least try to care for it. If you know Jon, you know it isn't like him at all to be cruel...or to tell me no.

Today, I understand.

He would rather have me angry with him than devastated from caring for a tiny, living creature who (in his mind, anyway) was probably injured beyond saving and would die in my hands. He is usually protecting me from hurt when he is able, and he saw right through my 'poor baby squirrel' words. He knew I saw a baby boy that was born cold and still and too soon..whose eyes were still fused shut, who never moved or breathed, whose lifeless body in my hands caused us more pain than we had ever imagined possible...and he wasn't going back there. I understand. I love you.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tiny Dancer

Kensley has been dancing since she was 2; tap, ballet and jazz, adding lyrical, and hip-hop in later years. This year, as I helped her with hair and makeup, it hit me that she really is growing up. How many more recitals will I be blessed with? I can remember her first one like it was yesterday; apple juice dribbled onto the leotard, bobby-pins struggling to hold the hairpiece into her wispy strands, excitement bubbling up as she realizes she gets a dab of mama's lipstick before the performance. As the tiniest dancer, she gets to perform with her teacher in the closing act.....tears of joy just flowed from my eyes!

The tears haven't stopped. Every time I see my graceful, beautiful little girl on stage, I'm overwhelmed with thankfulness, gratefulness for the blessing of being her mother. Her adorable exterior pales in comparison to the shining soul she has inside. tonight, as we applied makeup, pulled hair into buns and searched for costume pieces, I realized I wouldn't trade what I have in life for anyone else's in the world. Tomorrow is the performance; I'll be taking a dishtowel, because mere Kleenex won't contain the flow of happiness from my eyes.

Thank you, Kensley, for the gifts you give me every day. I love you.