Mercury is in retrograde for the last time this year. Thank God.

Many posts on this site have been written during Mercury in Retrograde, or MiR, as they call it. It’s some non-scientific fluff that I like to follow and assign meaning to, because somehow it makes sense to me.

This MiR cycle lasts until November 20th. There is a great deal of inner turmoil (more than the usual amount) and resistance to change brewing in me at the moment. There is overwhelm about tasks and financial worries. There is feeling the need to plan ahead for next school year and possible sending Anna back to school.

MiR is not a good time to make commitments, but rather, a good time to explore options to be solidified later (or not). During MiR we lack the clarity and intuition that we might normally have to make good decisions or appreciate the life we have.

Nervous anxiety is pumping through my body at the moment, which is what brought me here. Seeking to escape the discomfort of the anxiety, I’ve been running around aimlessly tonight, jumping from one thing to the next, mostly online.

My new job has been stressful and overwhelming so far. I’ve loved the therapy aspect of it, but disliked strongly everything else–the management (very Big Brother-like), dealing with rules and regulations, the billing and paperwork, and the insurance hassles. I’m still doing a portion of my old job on top of the new one, so at least there’s some sense of normalcy. It’s overwhelming to even explain why the job has been overwhelming.

I cannot wait until I am fully licensed (hopefully one year from now) and am seriously thinking about doing a cash-only practice as soon as possible. Because I can’t stand billing, crappy computer networks and software, insurance, and rules in general. I want to do my own thing. I want to get paid for it a reasonable hourly rate that I choose. I want to live by my own rules and be my own boss. I just have absolutely no idea how to do that.

In the meantime, let’s talk about the good stuff. Mia and Anna have been happy with homeschooling, even though there has been some lack of direction and structure. They are happy and healthy, laughing a lot and getting along quite well these days. Mia had a paid music gig which was a joy to be a part of. In addition, she continues work on recording an album. Anna quit ballet for reasons too exhausting to write about. Let’s just say we’re all happier now, but she still wants to dance ballet…and we just don’t know where. There has been lots of music in the house lately, which has been lovely. Halloween came and went, too, and that was fun as always. Alan is good. He was Bob Ross for Halloween but unfortunately his photo will not upload.

Here are a few photos of everything else.

Thanks for reading! Until next time…

Growing pains

October is here, and so are the usual fall-things, like Halloween paraphernalia, colder weather, pumpkins, rust-colored leaves. It’s been one of my favourite times of year since I was a kid, and I think it still is. We had a bonfire last night, complete with the girls playing eukelele and singing. Meanwhile, our dog, Penny, chased little creatures of the night and dug holes to chase them until her paws were covered in mud.

There have been hard things going on over the last month or so. There have been transitions, and these together have brought what I am calling “growing pains.” Growth is hard, and it hurts. We don’t always know when the growing will stop, or if it will have mercy on us and give us a rest. The hardest thing for me, I’ve learned, is when others grow. When those closest to us grow and don’t need us as much, or need us in different ways, or turn toward other people instead of toward us. Different from how it’s always been, disrupting the normal flow of things, disrupting the lovely predictability and safety that’s always been there.

Many new things about my honey have surfaced over the last few months; he’s gone through an inner transformation, or mid-life crisis, as he calls it. I’ve learned that he likes Facebook and joined it without telling me. This is the same Facebook he teased me for using so much when I first started using it…and the second, third and fourth times I went back to it. He’s connected with many old friends he’s lost touch with over the years, and this has been so good for him. I’ve learned that he will share things with others that he has not shared with me, over Facebook, even. And I’ve learned this makes me feel a little jealous and left out. I’ve learned that when asked of the life experiences he’d most like to re-live, he will spontaneously narrate a long and lovely list of wonderful moments, some of which I didn’t know about. Mostly, I’ve learned that this list will leave out much about me. And again, I’ve learned that this not only makes me feel jealous, but super jealous and super left out. At the same time, I want to honor the process and allow things to be what they are.

Therapy would be great at a time like this. However, it’s currently not in the budget, so this blog will have to suffice. This blog is no stranger to that.

There have been many good times, hard times, and just as many ups and downs. Right now I’d say is a hard time. The feeling of joy has been a rare and short visitor. Other than a glimpse here and there, joy has not been here. Yesterday joy paid a short visit when I was eating lunch at the co-op with my sweet girls on a beautiful sunny day, laughing and talking, without being in a rush to be anywhere but right there in that moment. Today joy was in the purple sky at sunset and coming home to the smiling, loving faces of my children. And maybe that’s all we need–a glimpse of joy, here and there. A glimpse to remind us of what’s waiting for us when the growing pains are over.

“The sky is not falling.”

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.

Best wishes to everyone for a happy weekend.

Lisa

Valentine’s Day and other things

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.

I am not an all-bad person: An epiphany from chocolate cake

Today, my mom and dad came over for a few hours to spend time with my girls.  I had a couple of hours off in the middle of the day, so I dropped by home to spend time with all of them.  My mom had baked a cake with Anna, the recipe shown below, and it was so good that I ate three pieces in a row!

My mom showed me the recipe they used for the cake and explained that I’d made this same cake back in August of 1994 as a surprise for the family.  What? That 15-year-old insecure girl who couldn’t seem to do much right with her life made a CAKE?  I remember those days painfully clearly, but no matter how hard I try, I cannot remember this cake-making that evidently occurred. As you can see by the recipe below, my mom takes very good notes! That makes them extra fun to read 25 years later.

Learning about my teenage cake-making episode transpired just at the right time–as these things often do.  Recently I’ve been processing my long-held belief that “I am a bad person.”  Memories of my mistakes and all of the bad things I have done are plentiful and easily accessible in my busy, ruminating mind.  Not so accessible, however, are the things I did that were NOT bad.  Like baking.

Back in August 1994, I was the age that Mia is now.  Through Mia and with the help of this new cake-making information, there is a surge of compassion and love for my younger self.  It’s like water is flowing into an empty cavern, filling it with life.  The cavern has been dry for a long time.

Mia is wise beyond her years, a kind and genuine soul–which perhaps I was not.  But, like Mia, I was trying to figure things out and doing the best I could.  Figuring things out when you’re 15 years old is not an easy feat.  I gossiped about people.  I talked behind people’s backs.  I went along with teasing a girl for being fat. I cheated on tests. I complained and was ungrateful, and the list goes on.  But, was I really as bad as I’ve been telling myself?  Look, I made this cake.  For my family, as a surprise that made them happy. That is pretty sweet.  That sweetness came from me.

Today, this was an epiphany: I am not an all-bad person.

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Another year

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.

Love, peace, and happy new year to all.

xo

November

November is almost done and here are some things I’d like to remember:

Both girls are playing guitar and enjoying their lessons with their teacher, Will King, who has been teaching Mia since she was eight years old and is truly the best teacher we we could ask for.  Mia has been playing piano and writing songs with piano accompaniment.  She fills the house with her beautiful music.

Mia finished her fall term of Acting I at the Children’s Theatre Company (she loved it!) and Anna took (and loved!) ballet and modern dance at her new ballet company.  Saturday mornings during Mia’s acting class, Alan and I had special date time with Anna.  We usually ended up going to the Wedge for groceries or the Wedge table to hang out with a chai and a treat.  Anna dances ballet beautifully and with ease.  It is a joy to watch her.

Alan went hunting two weekends this month with his brother at their family cabin.  Luckily he did not kill anything but he did have a nice time out in the woods. On one of those weekends, my two sisters came over for a night of karaoke and other fun things (adult-sized sleeper pajamas included).  Over another weekend, I attended a silent retreat–the same that I attended last year.  It was restorative and gave me some space to process some inner turmoil I’ve been carrying around for a while.

I added more clients to my caseload to increase my income and this has me working 3 solid days per week.  Though I was skeptical about how this would work, Mia and Anna have been very happy with their lack of supervision.

Both sets of grandparents are enjoying visiting Mia and Anna when Alan and I are at work, and this has become a special bonding time for all of them.  It’s incredibly wonderful to witness the relationships between all of them. We are so grateful.

We’re working on finding a recording studio for Mia to record an album of her songs and hope to start this in the new year.  We’re super excited about this.

We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family this year in my hometown. It was extra special because of my dad’s journey this past year.  We are thankful for each day we have my special dad in this world–and of course, thankful for all of our family and friends, too.