Thursday, October 1, 2015

and so it begins

October is my favorite month of the year. I feel more alive this month than any other. I love the crispness of October. The intense turquoise of the sky, the crackling of the jewel-colored leaves, the sigh of the wind; it has just the right balance of color and energy. October just speaks to my soul.

While others may see this month as the "beginning of the end" of the year, I see it as a time of verification and renewal. October is a time to see the beauty in what has been (and certainly what is still!). It begs me to appreciate what it has to offer as colder, less glorious days are on the horizon. I feel compelled to stock up on these wonderful days so that I may later savor them in the depths of the winter.

In October, I can feel Mother Nature sloughing off her skin, preparing for her rebirth in the spring. All the old leaves fall to the ground, waiting to shelter the new saplings and baby flowers that will begin to sprout at the end of winter.

October reminds me what life is all about. Appreciation for the good and beautiful things, knowledge that there are cold and barren days ahead, and faith that one day the winter will end.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Culture Shock on the Return?

We walked down the sidewalks of a busy American city. There were other people around, chattering away in English with absolutely no concern for how loud they were being. Nice, after 7 years of shushing the boys when they got too "loud" in European cities*. People were using the horns on their cars with (what felt to us like) abandon. Nice, after 7 years of living in a country where you only use your horn when you absolutely have to and can be fined for any use considered unnecessary. We could read every road sign, billboard, business name...all without having to mentally translate. Nice, after 7 years of, well...having to translate pretty much everything.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Question I Need to Answer

A wonderful friend of mine said something to me once that really caught my attention.  I was having a hard time and she said, "Mandi, I know you are a private person, but you can always share with me."  And I probably didn't respond to it the way a person should at the time because I was caught up in these five words:  you are a private person.  Really?  How could that be even remotely right?  I have a blog, for cryin' out loud!  I'm on Facebook.  I'm a private person?  Ha!  How could that possibly be so?

You know what, though?  She was right.  It's taken me about three years to come to that conclusion, but she was.  It's not exactly that I don't share with people, though.  It's that I don't share deeply.  There is a part of myself that I keep locked up in a little box and shoved into a remote corner of the cleaning closet in my brain.  Most of what's in there isn't really pleasant.  My shames, my fears, my insecurities, my angers...all the things that make me feel vulnerable.  The idea of being vulnerable to someone is just unbearable.  Yes, there are many reasons for that; no, I'm not going to detail them out right now.

Why won't I share?  Because the idea that some of you reading this would roll your eyes at those reasons and think, "Wow.  Holy white-girl-first-world-problems, lady.  Get a damn grip." makes me want to curl up into a ball and fall in a hole.  That's why.  (I think it's safe to say that my defensiveness is in that box too.  Mostly.  Apparently it can escape.  Ha!)

It's not just the negatives, though.  I'm like this with the things that make me happy, as well.  The moments I cherish most very rarely see the light of day.  It's not that I don't appreciate them.  It's that I feel protective of them.  I don't want my shiny moments seen through the tarnished lenses of others.  You know that Eleanor Roosevelt quote about nobody being able to make you feel inferior without your permission?  I've never been able to get behind that one.  It doesn't matter how happy I am about something; if someone poo-poos all over it, it affects me.  I don't think I will ever understand the need that some people have to cut down the happiness of those around them.  I find joy is some really small things, I know; that doesn't make me ridiculous or silly.  I'm just simple-hearted.

I love to write.  I mean, I love it with a blind effin' passion.  It's hard to do that, though, when you are suppressing the uglies and protecting the lovelies.  Do you know what I mean?  Great writing requires depth, and I'm only allowing myself the expression of what is in the middle.  There's a beauty to that too, but it's not the type to which people truly respond.  And if I'm not expressing things here that people can really connect with, then what's the point?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Always learning

Good idea:  Toy boxes with lids.  Containing kid-clutter is always a good thing.

Great idea:  Litter boxes with lids.  Not having to look at cat poo is awesome.

Horrible idea: Having those two items in the same room.  Ask me how I know.

Sigh.  Good thing she's cute.

Newest family member!  Meet Miss Sylvie!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Who needs fingernails, anyway?

After dropping the two middle kids off at school this morning, I decided to take the  bookend kids on a walk with the dog.  We have some great walking paths around our village and the weather was beautiful this morning!  So we threw on some jackets and shoes and headed down the road.  Isn't it pretty?  I love living here.

This was Izzy's first time 'walking' Fiona and he absolutely loved it. Is there anything more wonderful than a boy and his dog?

I wish I could say that we finished our walk and came home to do something artsy. Wouldn't that be nice?  If I had a fun little tutorial on how to sew bean bags or paint rocks or something?  Yeah, that's not how things go around here.  Y'all remember that about us, right?

About three minutes after I snapped this pretty little scene, Izzy stepped off the side of the path and fell.  (Fiona did not knock him down or drag him--'twas momma's genes that got him on this.)  It wasn't that bad of a spill, in all honesty; unfortunately, he was holding the leash when it happened.  His finger got trapped underneath and he ended up ripping off half his fingernail.  I, of course, had no bandages, wipes, or tissues on me.  Nothing, nada, zilch.

To further muck things up, we were at almost exactly the half-way point in our walk.  Isn't that always how it goes?  It can't happen right at the beginning or right at the end, when you are at the closest points to your house (where all your first aid supplies are).  No, it's always got to be at that moment when you round the outermost corner.  (Why is that?!)  So we 'caught' Fiona (I say 'caught' because she was sitting just a few feet away from us with a, "Hey guys?  Someone dropped my leash" look on her face.) and headed back to the house.

When we were just a block from the house I sent Sam ahead so that he could gather up the first aid kit and have it waiting.  Halfway there, Fiona ducked out of her leash--and came running straight back to me.  Her thoughts were written quite plainly across her face:  Someone in my herd is hurt!  How dare that woman send me away when they so clearly need my presence?!  Forget about all these cars on the street--I need to get to my boy!  

We finally arrived back at the house and tended to Izzy's finger.  He was highly upset about the blood but lots of love, a couple band-aids, and an entire season of Ninjago later, all was right in his world again.  Ahhh, to be young again!  (See? He's okay!)

How's the week treating the rest of you?

Friday, July 13, 2012

101/1001 Finale

How about a 101 in 1,001 update?

(Why, hello!  Fancy seeing you here!)

Tuesday (10 July 2012) marked the end of my 1,001 days.  I have to went fast.  I didn't finish near the amount I thought I would (only 39%--ouch!).  I would like to point out, however, that we had an unexpected move from California to Germany which took place roughly 12 months after we moved from Germany to California.  The planning for those two moves (one of which required us to leave the military) took a huge chunk out of my 1,001 days!

Some of the things I did accomplish:

#7: Money to charity for foreign children.  I now regularly donate money to Reece's Rainbow.  (I've mentioned this charity a few times on this blog--and I try to advocate for them once a month on my personal FB page.  I also keep a link to their site here on my blog.  Do I make a huge difference?  No.  But I do what I can.)

#11:  Family Recipe Book.  "Accomplished" is a strong word; we are in the midst of doing this now.  We are trying new recipes, tinkering with old ones, and finalizing everything just exactly how we like them.  The whole family is really enjoying the process.

#36: Paris!  (Um...apparently I never did a Paris post?  That links to the one and only photo I posted onto the blog from that trip.  Yikes!)

#96: Grow hair past shoulders again.  I grew it all the way to the small of my back--and then I chopped 20 inches off and donated it to Locks of Love.  I didn't realize I had enough to make TWO donations--yes, that made me ridiculously happy!

Some things I did NOT accomplish:

#1: Gift $20 to 5 random people.  I don't know why I never did this.  I think it's because it was one that was so 'easy' that I just kept putting it off.  I still want to do this one!

#25: Update will.  *hangs head in shame*

#43: Family photo.  Oh, I don't even know what to say here.  It's awful.  Our last (aka, "only") family photo was done in 2002.  We've had two kids since then.  Yikes!

#63: Stop cussing for a week.  I'm sorry, y'all.  This just isn't ever going to happen.  I've made my peace with it.

#99: Enter and "win" NaNoWriMo.  I did attempt this and, while I did not technically "win", I learned so much about myself in the process that I didn't feel like it was necessary to attempt again.  It was a great experience for me and I highly recommend it to others with an interest in writing.

So there you have it.  The end of my 101 in 1,001 project.  (See here if you really want to look at my whole list.)  I could have done better; I could have done worse!  I don't plan to do it again but I am working on a 'Bucket List'.  I kind of like having a for-real written list of big goals and dreams!

Do you have your goals and dreams written down?  How do you stay focused on the things you want to do?  What is on your 'Bucket List'?


Related Posts with Thumbnails