I Found the Real Thing

It’s finally January, 2019.  I haven’t written for quite a few weeks now.  That’s what happens when the holidays roll around.  Speaking of the holidays; I was dreading every part of them and much to my surprise things turned out differently than I had expected.

We couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because we have a 9 month old Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy who can easily take down a beautiful pine in the forest let alone a small artificial tree. We also have a no gift exchange policy with our adult children because we don’t need anything and they can’t afford to buy us presents so what’s the point.  But we do buy gifts for the grandchildren and that is where things got interesting.

I have 3 teenage granddaughters, 1 teenage grandson and 2 baby grandsons aging 3 and 4.  My teenage grandson and his 3 year old baby brother live in another state so I had so send them their gifts.  I asked each one of the older kids what they would like for Christmas and they told me that they didn’t want anything.  That kind of warms my heart that they didn’t feel the need to ask me for anything.  They are so sweet and kind.

I live an hour and a half away from my family which includes my siblings, my mom, my son and daughter-in-law and the 4 grandchildren.  Christmas Eve happens to be my mother’s birthday and Christmas day is my son’s birthday.  As you can see, the holidays are just a little bit more than your average celebration, what with birthdays thrown into the  mix.

I made the drive and went to see my grandkids first.  For the three girls, I gave them each a gift bag with a pack of socks from the dollar store and also a gift card.  Each one of them was so excited about the socks that they immediately put them on.  They were thankful for the gift cards but the excitement was really about the socks.  My 4 year old grandson opened his present which was a farm truck that he had to build.  It came with a drill and screws and screwdriver and it could be made into four different types of vehicles.  After playing with it for well over an hour, he came up to me and said, “Gramom, I really love this.”  My heart immediately melted.  The three girls are your typical teenage girls who love dancing and singing to the radio.  They decided to put songs on and they each had a microphone bluetooth device so we all sat there singing our favorite songs.  Then came the dancing.  They put the television on and went to youtube and pulled up some kind of dance video and it began.  All four of us were dancing to the video and laughing and singing every step of the way.  Of course, my daughter-in-law has a video to blackmail me with if I decide to get on her nerves.  HAHA.  After all the fun, we loaded up in the car and went to a farm to see a magnificent light show.  We tuned into the proper radio chanel and listened to Christmas music as we drove through the illuminating extravaganza.

I didn’t need a tree, or presents or anything else.  I felt joy that has been illusive to me for quite some time.  Joy that will last for the rest of my lifetime.  A Christmas miracle you could say.  In all its simplicity, the finest joy a person could feel.  The true meaning of Christmas.

That night I slept at my mom’s house because the following day was her birthday.  She was so excited to celebrate her 87th birthday.  The evening before, while I was with my grandkids, she decided to bake herself a birthday cake.  She hasn’t baked in years and it was surprising to me that she wanted to, but her exuberance about this birthday was notable.  When I returned to her house that night, I asked her how the cake came out and she said it was a disaster but she managed to “glue” it back together with icing.  I will never forget the laughter that we shared about that cake.

Everything about those two days gave me the extreme joy that a person should feel at Christmastime.  The greatest gift ,as always has been, is the gift of Love.  We don’t need all the fancy wrappings and expensive items to show our love for each other.  An evening of dancing and singing and laughing with a couple of teenagers and a little boy; A day with an elderly woman excited to celebrate another year alive; These are the most passionate and thoughtful gifts a person can recieve.

Where has Christ-mas Gone?

Christmas time.  I dread it every year.  I feel like a mouse trying to escape a trap.  When I go to the store I hear Christmas music, but I know it’s not for my enjoyment.  It’s to put me in a certain frame of mind.  I feel pressured into consumerism.  I feel like I can’t breathe.  I’ve got to get out of the store.  I need peace and quiet.  I want to run from all of this craziness.  Don’t they see what’s happening?  Don’t they know we are being shepherded into a pen?   I know the true meaning and I will not stand for this.  I will not renounce my belief for anyone.  It is Christ- mas time.  It is time to celebrate the birth of Jesus.  Why aren’t we allowed to use his name if it’s his birthday?  If we can’t use it and rejoice in it, what are we celebrating.    Why are we all so blinded by the sparkling lights and the ringing bells.  Get me out of this trap, this rat race.  Take me to the peaceful place within my soul that knows what is real.  We say Christmas is for the children.  We are the children of God.  Let’s rejoice and celebrate accordingly.

Love is a year round action.  I don’t need ringing bells or holly or Santa to feel true love.  Jesus came to show us the way of true love.  That love lives in each and every one of us.  Let’s change things up and celebrate love. We can celebrate by sharing our time with others, laughing, singing, caring and loving.  These are the gifts that matter most.  I have to step back from allowing the commercialism to consume my heart.  I have to return to my source, my God. I open my heart now to receive love and to give love freely.  Now, I can feel the joy of Christmas.  Thank you Jesus!  Amen.

Barrage of Goodness

Here we are, the Monday after Thanksgiving.  Many have mixed emotions today.  Some wake in dread of another Monday of the work week.  Some are just plain exhausted and want a few days to rest before returning to work and some are happy to get back to a normal routine after four days of out of the ordinary stuff.

This year, my boyfriend and I drove to Virginia to share Thanksgiving with my children and grandchildren.  There are a lot of changes just in the fact that we went.  #1:  We never travel on Thanksgiving. #2:  We never leave our state on Thanksgiving.  #3:  We have never actually gone on a road trip together.  #4:  We have never been in one house with 14 people for three straight days.  #5:  We have never spent Thanksgiving with all my kids and grandkids and their spouses and my ex-husband.

That’s a lot of new things to experience in a three day period, especially for my boyfriend who is a homebody.  It was completely out of his comfort zone.  Let’s break this whole thing down step by step.  #1:  I have always heard that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the most heavily traveled day of the year.  For the most part, the travel was fine because it was 95% interstate travel but we came upon an accident within the last 50 miles of our 7 hour journey.  The whole dynamic changed at that point due to being tired, cranky, hungry and the disappointment of being almost there but you have to wait a little longer.  The trip back home was awful in a whole new way.  Driving rain followed us from Virginia all the way back to New Jersey along with temperatures hovering around 32 degrees in the mountainous regions.  Visibility was almost non-existent.  On top of that, My boyfriend was having stomach issues and was unable to eat for the two days after Thanksgiving.  So, he was tired, weak, and hungry.  He hates to drive so he’s not the best road trip partner to have.  There was no singing in the rain.  I believe that I have just covered points 1 through 3.

Point number 4:  The house we stayed in was an open floor concept with three bedrooms.  There wasn’t any extra beds so we all brought air mattresses.  Bedroom number one was extra big so we fit two queen air mattresses in there to inhabit my daughter and her husband and my son and his wife.  Sounds all fine and good until you get one person who snores enough to activate the richter scale.  Much laughter came from those stories in that room.  There was even video evidence of my daughter-in-law sleeping so deep that she didn’t realize my son was sticking his finger up her nose.  We move on to Bedroom number two where my boyfriend and I slept. That was a master bedroom with a beautiful garden tub in the master bath.  When other people can’t sleep during the night, what’s a person to do but get a bath in that glorious tub.  So, people would come in and out throughout the night as we tried to sleep.  But sleeping on our air mattress was a struggle in itself.  There must have been a slow leak because during the night, I would roll over into this deep dark hole in the middle.  It was like a bad water bed.  But we survived.  Moving on, the living room was sleep central for my son, daughter-in-law and 5 grandchildren with three air mattresses and a couch.  Usually well after I went to bed there were shenanigans in the living room.  The third bedroom is where my ex-husband slept.

As I stated before, the living room, kitchen and dining room are all open concept so there was movement of one form or another throughout the night.

During the day and evenings all kinds of crazy took place and that is where the magic happened.  Silly games, kids shouting, adults laughing and mudslides going down nice and easy.  One night was craft night, so we took over all the tables as we each made our own Christmas wreaths.

Thanksgiving day was amazing.  There were no rules, not just one person cooking.  We each decided to make a specific dish.  Much to my surprise, we each were able to share the kitchen and we worked like a well oiled machine in bringing the meal together.  My two sons were outside frying the turkey in a turkey fryer while the rest of us were working on the ham and side dishes.  We placed the food out on the island in the kitchen and gathered around in a circle to share our individual gratitudes which was followed by such a heartfelt, sincere prayer by my son.  There was one person missing this year and that was my former mother-in-law who passed away in September.  We were in her kitchen, in her home and as we gathered, we knew her spirit was right there with us celebrating a very momentous occasion that she would have loved.

The things that made this gathering extraordinary were the gathering of all the sects of this family.  Being able to have 5 of my grandchildren together.  We came together from all different states.  We all traveled to be together because we wanted to.  Everyone got to meet my daughter’s new husband and my daughter got to spend this time with her father.  After Christmas my daughter will be deployed overseas.  This gathering was a very necessary one, full of love, laughter and joy.  We came together despite differences in circumstances, living proximity and time restraints.  We were one family unit, the support system for my daughter and I believe, the best send off team anyone could ask for.

As we said our goodbyes, we shared our love and prayers with each other.  We shared our blessings with my daughter on her journey.  We bonded as a family to a level that we haven’t reached before.  The word grateful cannot begin to describe the experiences of this holiday.

My heart is so full that I believe it can explode.  The explosion will consist of joy, peace, tranquility and love and my intention for this outburst is to let it all fall on everyone I come in contact with.  I share my explosion with all of you.  Please pass it on.

As far as the mixed emotions regarding this Monday after Thanksgiving; My boyfriend was filled with dread to start another Monday work week.  I am thrilled to be back home and welcome my daily routine.  I also have a sadness in my heart with having to say goodbye to my daughter for an extended period of time as she serves our country away from home.  For the most part, I think everyone was thankful to be back to their own homes and beds.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say that we came away from this Thanksgiving with new love, respect and a stronger bond with each other.

I don’t want to lose this feeling of family joy so I will choose to keep it close in my heart and reignite it each and every day.

 

The Eagle Soars

Yesterday morning I had to make a trip to my hometown which is about an hour and a half away.  Before I left the house, I had my morning coffee while scrolling through facebook.  My memory feed came up first and it contained a memory and pictures from 3 years ago of my sister’s funeral.  I looked at those pictures and the feelings from that day rushed through me.  I remembered every thought, feeling and emotion from that day.  There was so much sadness but in between there was our family joined together with love and laughter, sadness and tears.  I remembered the way everything was laid out at the service and felt my sister’s presence in each item of rememberance. I could see her hands touching each one of those items as she left her imprint to be passed along.

I finshed my coffee and proceeded to get ready for the trip without any more thought to the symbolism of the day.  As I ventured out on the road, something happened.  A bald eagle flew over my car, circled back around and flew alongside my car as I drove the highway.  He was flying very low so I didn’t have to look up in the sky as it were to see him.  He was traveling with me.

My sister had grown spiritually  in the environment of the Native American Community.  Her beliefs were grounded in the Great spirit and Creator of us all.  Although being raised Catholic, she found her home in the Native American Way.  She welcomed me and our family to share in her spiritual journey on this path.  I accepted with open heart and mind and have found much growth, love and peace along the way.

On that morning, my sister’s spirit visited me as that eagle came in my path for a quick hello.  I knew immediately that it was her.  I didn’t hesitate to say hi to her as she let me know once again that she is flying with the Great Spirit and she is very near to me always.  An incredible comfort and peace,  along with excitement came to me at that moment.

When I got to my destination, I visited with my mom and brother and sister-in-law and shared the happenings of the morning.  Every one of them knew it was our beloved making a quick, unmistakable appearance and it lifted us all in joy.  At this time of year, it seems that out of the blue, friends and family are all having their own eagle sightings.  It is clear to us that our spirit guides, our friends and family from our heavenly home are with us always.

I find peace in knowing that our dearly departed haven’t left us at all.  I believe they walk with us and give us signs that they are near.  I am grateful today for this visit from my sister.  It seems that just last week, she visited her daughter and our dear friend in Michigan.  She once again comforts us and tells us that we are never alone.

Shine Brighter

The other day I was out and about running errands and I had this experience where I felt like I was standing outside myself, observing my surroundings and the people moving about.  It was kind of weird and pretty cool at the same time.  Throughout my self-awareness journey, I have heard countless teachers mention that you have to be the observer of your own life.  When in that state, you are not operating in the egoic mind.  Does that mean that I have achieved something on that day?

Although it was an interesting experience, it only lasted for a short moment and I continued on with my day.  But, the experience itself stayed with me and I stayed conscious of the fact that it did happen.  I ask myself, ” What could the meaning of that moment be?”  I am finding that more and more people are becoming awakened to the spirit of the universe.  In my mind, I consider that to be the Holy Spirit.  As I have mentioned before, I’ve read so many books, taken classes and watched videos about self awareness.  Ever since I started Blogging, I’ve noticed that  I am encountering more and more like-minded souls out there.  This demonstrates the fact that the world is awakening from an abysmal slumber where people operated on a level of puppetry.  We have been wandering around aimlessly and willingly accepting interpretations of what life’s purpose should be from generations upon generations of pain and suffering.  The sins of the father seem to pass down and through lifetimes of willing recipients.  There are cycles of conditioning that move through us and so we share that dysfunction with our children and grandchildren and so on.

On this day, in the year 2018, things are changing.  Cycles are being broken and new thought patterns are being wired into the physical brain because somewhere along the line of generations, someone had a form of insight that maybe things were not what they were being conveyed as.  Someone decided to question certain attributes of their religion or their culture or their family.  All it takes is one person to change the dynamics of any situation imaginable.  Just one different thought pattern, just one simple question at a time, just one tiny difference can jolt us out of our dormancy and bring us into a light that we’ve never experienced before.

I believe that I may have experienced that light.   My awareness in that moment expanded to a different level.  I had a glimpse of clarity and it changed the dynamic of my thought process.  I can only imagine what would happen if this experience I had,  moved from one moment to several and so forth.

Imagine the result of  my tiny, little moment of consciousness being magnified by millions of people.  It only takes a spark to get a fire going.  We are on a path of awakening and I can feel the acceleration of awareness around me.

I am on this journey along with so many others.  We are all at different levels of consciousness.  As we journey together, the light is beginning to shine brighter and brighter and I believe that it is becoming impossible to ignore such a bright light.

 

 

Never Say Never

I believe that in life if you don’t get the lesson the first time, you get to do it over and over again until you get it right.  I never realized how true that was until it really hit me in the face.

I have evolved ,over the years, into a completely different person.  I am but a shadow of my former self and that is very good news.  Not that I was a bad person, but I was a very hurt and broken person.  My daily decisions were all based in fear, anger and low self-esteem.  I was broken by the sudden loss of my father when I was 17.  It was sudden, completely unexpected, especially for a man of 48 years old.  He had been out of work for a solid year and finally got a new job.  He was a truck driver.  On his very first day of work, he was excited to be able to get financially stable once again.  On that very day, he never came home again.  He died of a heart attack while unloading that truck.

My world changed and I went into a tailspin of deep depression.  My life choices were made out of fear of being alone; out of fear of losing another; out of fear of not having someone to take care of me.  I got married at the age of 18.  I was so naive, just a child actually.  I was scratching my way through the muck of life with no direction.  I had two sons from that marriage that ended in divorce after nine years.  I was low-spirited for that period of my life.  My children didn’t know that.  They just needed me to be a Mom and I gave it my best with what I had to work with.  At that point in time, I had not evolved into anything but a sorrowful, depressed young woman and unfortunately that is what I gave to my boys.  I remarried and had a daughter with my second husband.  I felt that  was my chance to start over and use previous experiences to grow and to raise my children.  It was all so fresh and new.  But, I still carried the sadness and fear and depression with me.  Since that was what I had, that is what I once again given to my children.  Don’t get me wrong, I was the best mother that I could be.  My children were well cared for and loved but I wasn’t able to give them the best version of me because I hadn’t met her yet.

I raised my kids and felt that I was mothering them pretty well.  The struggles of raising kids never ends.  You’re always trying to teach them lessons and show them the way.  I made so many mistakes along the way.  I was rigid and expected them to grow with the rules that I grew up with.  I was unrelenting in my high expectations of children that were so young.  I look back now and wonder to myself, “What was I thinking?”.   I was so involved in the “rules” that I couldn’t see that I wasn’t allowing for the fact that they were children and so they should be able to act like children.

I have always been a searcher, meaning that I was a soul-searcher.  As I grew, I learned more and more to allow my spirituality to help me raise my children.  But, that took a long time and my kids were getting older and turning into teenagers and young adults.  I have to say that my children are 5 years apart.  I was one person when I had my first child at the age of 20 and a completely different person when I had my second child at the age of 25 and then again changed when I had my third child at the age of 30.  I was evolving at a slow rate.  I was finding that problems were getting bigger with my kids and I was not equipped to handle them.  I was still allowing fear, sadness and anger to guide my life.  Looking back now and seeing the mistakes I made just makes me cringe with sadness.

Now at the age of 57, it all seems so clear as does most things when looking in the rearview mirror.

My second marriage ended in divorce after 15 years.  I moved on to a new relationship and at that point, my daughter was 14.  The boys were adults then and I had grandchildren.  Still, at that point, I was not seeing the true needs of my daughter.  Again, she was well cared for but I was overlooking the most important things.  I was missing what her feelings were and what she was going through.  I was on a new journey and she was along for the ride.

While all this was going on, I eventually had a nervous breakdown and was forced into therapy.  I thought it was the worst day of my life but it turned out to be the best day.  I gave in and sought therapy and healed through hard work, blood, sweat and tears.  I finally healed from the loss of my father.  His death was 33 years before this.  So much healing took place with that year of therapy.  I learned how to communicate with my daughter and I learned how to stand up for myself and look at the world with more loving eyes as the sadness began to roll away. I allowed myself to be accountable for all the mistakes I made while raising my children.  I spoke with each one individually and acknowledge my mistakes and asked them to share with me the things that I had done that hurt them so much.  I apologized to each of them.  I learned so much about myself at that point in my life.

My evolution at that point was monumental but I had another surprise in store for me that I didn’t see coming.  My boyfriend has a daughter that is 8 years younger than my daughter.  All this time she lived with her mother until her mother’s circumstances changed and his daughter came to live with us at the young age of 14.  Wow, I thought I could handle taking care of a 14 year old.  I had done it 3 times and now had grandchildren; a lot of experience under my belt.  Once again, my eyes were opened.  This child was different, I was different.  The “rules” that I had raised my children with weren’t working.  I suddenly became that same old rigid mother type again.  What was I thinking?

I guess I didn’t get the full lesson after raising three children and grandchildren so, I got to do it again.  My step-daughter and I went on a journey together.  We learned together what worked and what didn’t work.  I learned to not be so rigid and to acknowledge when I was being unreasonable and apologize.  She began to respond positively and we grew a bond with each other.  Today, as she is now 19 years old, we live in a very peaceful environment.  We work together to achieve peace in the house.  We have compromised with each other about our daily habits and life is good.

I remember saying very adamantly, “I’m never going to raise anyone else’s kids.”  I so forcefully put that out into the universe and the universe heard me and responded with another chance to get the lesson.

Never say never!

 

B.M.

I spent three days with my adult children.  I have two sons and a daughter.  We all live in different states so it was a very special experience to be all together again.  It sounds all fluffy and nice doesn’t it?  It was nice and special, but not so fluffy.

My children can have conversations about most anything.  I’m all for that because I am usually the subject of their laughter.  This particular weekend, for some reason, focused on the need to share the habits of our bowels.  I told you it wasn’t so fluffy.

One son has shared that his bm habits have graduated to becoming events that no longer require toilet paper, they now have been upgraded to a new level that requires wipes.  While he used the lavatory, we heard sounds that have never been uttered in this world and when the realization came that he did not have enough wipes, we heard him loudly call his wife to handle this emergency situation.  The rest of us couldn’t stop laughing as he finally emerged with a smile on his face and sweat pouring from his brow.

As we all ate breakfast around the center island of the kitchen, we were laughing and having a good old time.  At that point my other son stood in the middle of the hallway.  There is a bathroom at each end of the house.  As he looked , he noticed that the one bathroom door was shut.  I saw him rubbing his stomach as he asked if anyone was in the other bathroom.  He announced that time was running out and he needed to get to a bathroom.  I quickly checked  the other bathroom and ushered one of my granddaughters out.  I stood in the hallway and shouted his name, waving him along like I was waving traffic at an intersection.  Whew, he made it just in time.

The next morning, my daughter, three granddaughters and I wanted to watch the sun rise over the mountains.  We got up early and made our way in the dark to the mountain.  We arrived at our destination, a calm, peaceful area on the side of the mountain and stood outside my daughter’s car awaiting the arrival of our maginificent friend.  As we stood there, my stomach started making sounds.  I turned to my daughter and said, “oh no, it’s happening.”  She knew exactly what I meant.  I have had this issue for a very long time and she has been with me while shopping in stores so she knows what I mean.  I said that I needed to sit down and maybe that would settle things.  Well, it didn’t.  As I pondered what to do next, I came up with a plan.  We noticed that back behind the trees there were two tractors parked, the kind used for cutting the grass.  They were well hidden.  My daughter suggested that I walk over there and take care of business but I told her that if I walked, it would make things happen before I got to my destination.  She decided to back her car up to get me there.  Now, I had more decisions to make and I had to make them quickly.  Toilet paper was not handy so I had to improvise using other sanitary items that were in my purse.  I grabbed them along with a pocket knife that my daughter gave me.  I looked at her like a deer in the headlights because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with this knife.  She told me three different times but I didn’t understand and she got frustrated with me.  I just grabbed the knife and my other tools for this emergency debacle I was in.  I headed in.  I had a mission to complete.  Getting there just in time, I completed the first part of my task quite easily as it had a mind of its own.  The second part of the plan came together as I had hoped, using the formentioned tools.  There was one problem, I didn’t have enough items to complete the project.  I had to think fast.  I had to think on my feet, literally.  I looked down at my feet and made the decision to sacrifice a sock.  Oh yes I did.  Now, I still had this pocket knife with me and I didn’t dare tell my daughter that I didn’t need it because she said it was a survival tool and I should use it as such.  Proudly, I dug up the ground with that knife so that I could cover any evidence that I had been there.  I emerged victoriously as my daughter and granddaughters laughed until they cried.  I joined them and we peacefully watched the sun rise over the mountain.  Mission accomplished.

As much as these three days were so special for us to gather as a family, the stories and carrying on  will live forever in us.  And we will amuse ourselves at the memories and the subject of the memories for a lifetime.  Of course, with my family, no subject is off limits as you can see.  Sometimes we are not so prim and proper and we share things that can fall under the category of “too much information”.  But it’s all in fun.  It’s all part of the game of life.  It’s okay to laugh at the things nobody ever talks about, out loud that is.

P.S.  My daughter later told me that the knife was to cut off my undergarments if necessary.