Spring came and went, and summer vacation is here.
Here in Minnesota, the temps reached 91 degrees Fahrenheit today, which certainly made it feel like summer.
Earlier this week the girls and I visited the scultpure garden (photo below). That day also happened to be my 41st birthday.
A short while back, Alan surprised us with a picnic to Carver Park on an idyllic spring day, and that’s the next photo. Sometime in May, Anna had her spring ballet showcase. Other memorable events from this spring are visiting my parents a couple of times, babysitting a dog, and spending a day at the landscape arboretum. Alan and I went to a lecture on sustainable lawns and are inspired to convert our lawn into a low-mow, bee friendly lawn. We considered this a date, and I realize now how nerdy that sounds.
Anna and Mia celebrated their last day of 4th and 9th grades today. In her homeschool journal entry today, Mia wrote:
“This year I learned that happiness is one lifestyle change away.”
Meaning, switching to homeschool from public school was the change that made the difference. She is happy. Anna is happy.
Pisces birthday month is in full swing! Anna turned ten on the 14th and Alan turns 41 today. Happy birthday to Allison and Ocean and all the other March birthdays out there, too.
We’re in the middle of a Mercury retrograde period in Pisces, which has made for some emotionally draining events for some of us. But in the midst of that, there has been loveliness, too.
We revealed to Anna her birthday surprise: a ballet studio in the downstairs spare bedroom. Alan worked very hard on making it happen, and it looks so great. We received help from our families to pull it together, and we are grateful for that. Alan had a challenging month at work on top of being sick and rushing to get the room finished in time for Anna’s birthday. He did it all with the easygoing attitude and loving nature that he always has.
Anna has been exploring spirituality and healing. She is interested in learning “space clearing”, so for her birthday, we gave her an old cigar box filled with space cleaning items like essential oils, incense, lemon grass, and smudge sticks. She was very happy about it and we fully expect to have our home cleared of negative energies on a regular basis 😉
My recent subscription to Medium has been arriving in my inbox every day. It’s a breath of fresh air. Here is my favorite Medium article from this morning’s delivery. Written by author Ayodeji Awosika, the words are uplifting and thought provoking. They reset my thinking today, reminding me to tune in to the present moment and recognize that “the sky is not falling.” This describes just how I’d like to live my life. It is so easy to forget without a reminder once in a while.
Tonight I arrived home to a special dinner, flowers, cards, and dessert made my sweet family. I did not take pictures, but I think I just might remember it forever, anyway. This is the recipe that Anna used to make the super yummy chocolate mousse we had for dessert. We also watched a cheesy, romantic movie tonight (I loved it and I think the rest of them did, too) and went to bed really late. Clearly, I am still awake but the rest of my loves are asleep, including the dog and cat.
Mia recorded two songs at a recording studio that will be included on her first album that we hope to complete this year. We are working on making a website for her so she can promote herself. It’s slow going for us on that front; none of us are particularly gifted in the area of website design and self-promotion. I’ll share it here once it’s up and running.
A work opportunity presented itself in recent weeks that required a lot of thought and decision making. Ultimately, I decided not to join a private practice that would involve working with children and families in the areas of trauma and attachment. For various reasons, I decided to turn down the opportunity and keep the stability, legal protection, flexibility, and independence that my current job provides. It was not easy saying no, explaining why, and dealing with the disappointment of the team who wanted me on board. The experience provided a refreshed appreciation and commitment to my current job– which has had me a bit bored and uninspired lately. While this was a somewhat distressing experience, the practice in setting boundaries and following my intuition seem to be another trial on my journey. It seems this same situation has repeated so many times in my life now that it’s almost ridiculous. I should be well versed in it by now. This time, I was less impulsive and more cordial than usual. So, that is probably a good thing.
Instead of making a photo book for 2018 (I’ve been trying to catch up on the 10+ years of not making any albums), this mom figured out how to use iMovie and make a little film about our family life in 2018.
With just two days left of this year, my heart is contemplative and nostalgic. 2018 was a year of change and challenge for me and probably many others in the world.
I wonder what 2019 will bring for the world, for our country, for my family, for myself. We can never know, and this terrifies me a bit. And then I remember that the best we can do is to surrender to the unknown–to God’s will.
This year the realization of my mortality and the mortality of those I love weighed heavily on my heart. I take with me into 2019 my fear of dying young and of leaving my children motherless–and perhaps will find peace with this fear in the coming year. I also take with me the dreadful knowing that if I do not die young, I will lose my parents someday, and that day looms closer and closer.
The real work of my life seems to be this inner work that I constantly feel driven by. In recent years, this inner work has been more rewarding than burdensome and I’ve begun to embrace it more. Themes from this year’s inner work that will lead me into the new year: unconditional love, forgiveness of self and others, loyalty, generosity, the courage to be myself.
I am indebted to so many. I have taken more than I have given in my life so far, or maybe just broken even. I want to pay it back, pay it forward. I want to give more than I take.
That said, I am grateful. Grateful for the hardships and the lessons as well as the many joys. It is all a part of life, of our common, shared, brief existence on this earth.
We had our first family trip on an airplane and spent a week in Texas. The first three days we were in Dallas for Alan’s educators conference and the last three days we stayed in Fort Worth.
The highlight of our trip was a visit to the Forth Worth Stockyards. The Stockyards is a historic part of town with cobblestone streets, horses, daily cattle drives, and more steakhouses, cowboy boots, and saloons than you’ve ever seen in a two-block radius.
Our favorite part of the day was watching the cattle drive. Texas longhorns are an amazing sight! We thought they were so sweet and cute, with their big brown eyes and their super long horns. Each animal has horns that are a different shape and length. Some of the horns are so big that it’s hard to believe the animal can hold up its head! Sometimes the horns are asymmetrical, which was especially cute. They are gentle giants that move slowly and have a peacefulness about them.
We had rain the last two days of our trip, including our day at the Stockyards. Luckily there was plenty of opportunity for shelter and we still managed to have a great time.