The Simple Things ARE the Things

A toasty bagel oozing cream cheese

A crinkly wrapper compressed solidly in your fist

Sun light streaming

Fears, panic, stress receding

From a simple soul baring followed by an authentic affirmation

Jennifer Butler Basile

Jennifer Butler Basile

The joy and light of crisp fall leaves all around me

Radiance enters my soul and sings

Grace

The bounce in the step
the joy bubbling up and over
through words, demeanor, joie de vivre

The hearty laugh
blossoming at the core, rolling out in waves
infectious, contagious, sanctifying – us

The conscious breath
undulating and growing with each notice
the physical embodiment of our existence

It fills us –
if we watch for it
if we train our eyes with a gentle gaze
if we open our heart to the gifts around us

It imbues us with a calming peace
and a loving embrace

We can all glide through life with a little grace

A Few of My Favorite Things

When a knit stitch pulls through smoothly, with satisfaction

The strength of a bond pulled taut, in spite of the miles

Connection

Certainty

Sun on your face

A wind rushing through the trees,
upturned eyes searching for a brief blot of the sun,
finding an osprey soaring high above

An upsurge of soul,
a welling of emotion

Fleeting, yet profound

We must seek these moments for all they are worth.

Give Thanks for 3 Things a Day – Guideposts

Give Thanks for 3 Things a Day – Guideposts.

 

Varied pieces contributing to the cohesive, fulfilled whole.  This article provides some good things about which to think.

It’s the Depression Talking

 

After writing yesterday about how so much of my writing makes it sound as if I hate my role as mother, I got to thinking.

 

I don’t hate being a mother.

I don’t hate my children.

I don’t hate my life.

 

It’s the depression talking.

 

Aside from shoving cotton into the mouth of the Debbie Downer who has taken up residence somewhere in my grey matter, I wouldn’t change anything about my life. I wouldn’t make different decisions. I wouldn’t rearrange the pieces.

Though far from perfect, this is pretty much the life I always wanted to live.

And I’ve known that. For quite some time. I know I have multitudes of blessings for which to be thankful, highest on the list those three little beauties. Only now have I figured out why I couldn’t make the leap to gratitude, to joy.

Goddamn depression.

I’m well acquainted with the irrational/illogical movements of anxiety vs. the rational/logical progressions of what​? Someone in her right mind? I can access that part of my mind. It’s functioning quite well, in fact. It just never wins. That raw part of me, that most primal adrenaline-sucking beast always wins. It rules me with an iron fist to the already queasy gut.

The sun is always shining in my part of the world. I’m just below that low-hanging, suffocating layer of clouds beneath it. I haven’t figured out how to fly up and out of it.

cloud-3

from howstuffworks.com

 

The Secret to Happiness

I ordered a gift subscription to an inspirational magazine for my great aunt last year.  I signed myself up for their email newsletter as well.  Free spiritual advice and inspiration? Why not?

Over the year, I’ve amassed quite a collection of unread inspirational emails.  Their subject lines lure me enough to prevent deleting them, but not to click and read.  Usually, I save them to read at another time when I can devote my undivided attention to them.  We know how that usually goes.  It would be better to do a cursory review, pausing on a point that piqued my interest, rather than not at all.  Plus, most times, the title is the most appealing part of the missive, much like a short story that does not live up to the promises its title made to its readers, which I would find out if I took two seconds to glance at it.

Still, I let the siren song of one entitled “The Secret to Happiness” captivate me and I clicked – not right away, but the other day I finally did.  There’s a simple secret to happiness?  Do tell.  I must apply this magic solution as a salve to my weary soul.  My cynical side did cry out, saying it’s a spiritual newsletter, you dolt.  Of course, they mean to pray and worship and turn everything over to God – like you’ve been avoiding doing, but know you should.  You already know the secret to happiness, but refuse to do anything about it.  But, like most weak humans, I would much rather find a simple solution outside myself than do any real work inside myself.  I viewed the video expectantly.

 

Surprisingly, there was no explicit reference to spirituality except for one man’s personal testament in which he cited Jesus Christ as his Savior.  However, there were allusions to spirituality all over it; transcendent precepts such as gratitude, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, treating others as you’d like to be treated.  By not directly referring to it, the filmmakers even more strongly prove that spirituality must be woven into the fabric of everything we do, every interaction.  It must be innate, unconscious.  It will lead us to things like gratitude, which apparently is the secret to happiness.

The day that I watched the video, I had tried three times to get a snarky post out of my system.  While not full-strength, there was still some venom bubbling in my veins from residual stress and I wanted to purge it.  But the fits and starts of writing and watching of this video gave me pause.  Maybe what I needed to get it out of my system was to shift my mindset and get grateful!  Being so gosh-darn cranky, I wasn’t feeling it and I sure as hell didn’t feel like writing a letter to the person I was most grateful for, let alone calling them to read it.  But maybe just the shift in the current, the river rock blocking the stream, can divert enough to at least create the space for a change.

However, if in the meantime you should come across any quick-fix secrets to happiness, let me know 😉

We Are Family

I got all my bloggers with me!  Sing it with me!

Sherri Matthews, writer renown of A View from My Summerhouse, has invited me to be part of her WordPress family.  Well, she did a few months ago, but as anyone in my flesh and bone family can attest to, Sherri, it often takes me awhile to get around to things.  So this makes it official, I suppose!

the-wordpress-family-award

Sherri included a description of the award from its creator, Shaun:

‘This is an award for everyone who is part of the “WordPress Family” I started this award on the basis that the WordPress family has taken me in, and showed me love and a caring side only WordPress can. The way people take a second to be nice, to answer a question and not make things a competition amazes me here. I know I have been given many awards, but I wanted to leave my own legacy on here by creating my own award, as many have done before. This represents “Family” we never meet, but are there for us as family. It is my honour to start this award.’

From Shaun @ http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/

The rules of the award (maybe people actually follow rules in this family 😉 ):

1. Display the award logo on your blog.
2. Link back to the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 others who have positively impacted your WordPress experience.
4. Don’t forget to let your WordPress family members know of your nomination.
5. That’s it!  Just pick 10 people that have accepted you as a friend, and spread the love!

And the nominees are . . .

  • Right back at ya, Sherri.  Always a warm word, a thoughtful observation, encouragement.  I feel that I’ve gotten to know her through her posts and discussion of mine.  Beautiful writing just this side of the raw edge of life.  Thank you.
  • Patty Mitchell – a lovely woman and talented writer I met at an intensive institute in June.  She  wrote her mother’s memoir, which just reinforces my feeling that she’s all about a life well-lived, tradition, legacy, a good story, and good food.
  • Free Little Words – Kelly Hibbert has taken a hiatus from blogging – so she can write.  And, no, that’s not antithetical.  I miss the love she brings to the page and world through the computer screen, but totally get that she needs to focus that on her own little corner of the world for now.  Still, her blog archive is more than worth a read.
  • Infinite Sadness . . . or Hope? – Cate is fabulous.  A great wit despite – or perhaps because of – chronic pain and mental health struggles.  Totally thought-provoking commentary on life, important issues, spirituality, struggles . . . and thoughtful discussion with me.  Thank you!
  • Sorrygnat – Always a positive, life-affirming voice in the hard face of life.  I think we’re traveling the same path at different points in time (though Esther is so much more positive than I!)
  • Tiny Steps, Big Journey – A gorgeous, raw look at single motherhood.  The struggles and simply profound pleasures.
  • A Canvas of the Mind – Ruby Tuesday – what a gift to the blogging world.  She reaches out to all seeking help, info, or support in dealing with mental illness through her posts and guest bloggers, but reach out to her, and she responds in kind.
  • Sid Dunnebacke – A blogging friend of a friend (of a friend?).  I’m not sure what the degrees of separation are, but Sid found his way to Chopping Potatoes and I’m glad.  I love his photos and honest appraisal of life through the scope of depression.  And I totally appreciate his thoughtful comments on my posts – like his humorous take on my conversational run-in with my 84 year-old grandmother 😉
  • Ericka Clay – We have a lot in common: mothers of girls, writers, anxiety-ridden people . . . Ericka is a star on the rise.  You will not be disappointed with her writing.
  • My Thoughts on a Page – Tric gives me a modern insight on my Irish ancestors – the traits and quirks and humor that have survived the jump across the pond.  Her blog offers beautiful insights into the human condition and our journey through it.
Thank you to all of you for your amazing writing, your perceptive outlooks on life, and your personal and thoughtful conversation in a generally impersonal medium.  Bravo.
Now get on your good foot and get down to the staple of all family functions:

Three Liebs to the Sun

When you write about depressing stuff most of the time it’s hard to fathom anyone accusing you of doing a service to humankind.  But two fellow bloggers have not only done that, but awarded me for it!

Shannon from Mommy Has Issues has gifted me with a Liebster Award.  Count ’em – 1, 2, 3!  Thank you so much.

Cate at Infinite Sadness . . . or Hope? nominated me for another Sunshine Award.  I know at times I’m one hot mess like the sun, but didn’t know I had that much light to spread!  Thank you kindly.

Both of these writers obliterate the idea of perfection before it can even get its feet under it.  Bravo!  Shannon does so for motherhood.  Cate does so for mental health.  And both do it smashingly for surviving this wild ride known as life.

As I’m a repeat offender with these awards, I will complete only the ‘interview’ portion of the process.

Inquiries from Mommy Has Issues: 2818120_orig

  1. If I could haunt someone who would it be and why?  I can think of someone I’d love to torment, but I really don’t like this person and don’t think I’d want to spend so much of my afterlife with her!
  2. If I could go back in time, what era would I visit?  The 50s for sure.  I would follow Jack Kerouac around like a little lost puppy dog.
  3. What 3 things would you take on a deserted island (excluding husband and children)?  A stack of books (yes, that counts as ONE of the things and yes, I’m cheating), a Swiss Army knife, and I know I should say a honking bottle of water, but probably some sort of chocolate/peanut butter combination.  (By the way, I’m glad husband and children were excluded so it doesn’t look bad when I leave them out)
  4. What is my favorite color?  Purple.  And it warms my cockles that my kindergartner has chosen this for hers as well.
  5. Wine or beer?  I have to choose?  That really is unfair.  Depends on what I’m eating.  Salty = beer.  Robust = red wine.  Cheese/seafood = white.  Just call me the Michelangelo of imbibing.
  6. If I were to write a memoir, what title would I give it?  In the spirit of a second-grader, I can’t tell you for fear you’ll steal it.  It’s in the works.
  7. If I were a Superhero, what power would I have?  Definitely flying.
  8. If I could ask my future self one question, what would it be?  Tempting.  But you know what?  In surprise to myself and probably all of you reading, nothing.  I’m gonna see where it takes me.  Wow.  Did I just have a moment?
  9. Do I want to go where everyone knows my name?  Is this a trick question?  I grew up about 60 miles from where Cheers took place.  We still all yell if we meet someone named Norm.  But me – no, I prefer anonymity – unless of course you know a solicitous editor.
  10. Do I like birds?  Heck, yes.  Want to be one.  Any one – EXCEPT mockingbirds.  Me and mockingbirds, we don’t play well together.
  11.  Who is my guilty pleasure music artist?  I can hear my friend, Chris, laughing at me right now.  The Black Eyed Peas.  So out of my realm.  But it’s got a funky beat and I can dance to it 😉 (And Shannon, NIN and Nirvana are not guilty pleasures!)

Many thanks, Mommy, for your nomination!  I am honored.  I love reading your posts of truth and triumph – and often, hilarity!

 

Questions from Cate:  The Sunshine Award

  1. Favorite color: purple
  2. Favorite animal: Red-breasted robin
  3. Favorite number: Three.  I know, ironic, right?
  4. Favorite non-alcoholic drink: green tea with pomegranate juice and seltzer.  Makes me feel fancy.
  5. Favorite alcoholic drink: Again, with the choosing.  Right now, some sort of ale.
  6. Facebook or Twitter: Facebook.
  7. My passions: obsessing – ha.  Writing.  Reading.  Enjoying nature.  Searching.  Photography.  Creative endeavors (vague, I know.  Think where home decor, collage, scrapbooking . . . intersect).
  8. Giving or Receiving Gifts: Giving.  Though free stuff is always good.

Cate, I have so enjoyed reading your thoughtful and thought-provoking writing on your blog.  Thank you for doing it and thank you for sharing.  And thanks for thinking of me . . . 🙂

 

The blogosphere is often a lot more hospitable than the actual one in which we live.  Thanks to Shannon and Cate for making it so!

 

Fresh (fresh), Exciting

Just call me Kool and the Gang!

WordPress editors deemed my latest post ‘press-worthy’; that is, good enough to be featured on the ‘Freshly Pressed’ page.  Woo Hoo!

Insert video of Wayne and Garth bowing in unworthiness here.

I am so pleased and honored and grateful to the folks at WordPress for sharing my work. And to all of you who came to read it and hang on for the ride!  A thousand thank yous!

freshly-pressed-circle

Gratidão

There are many things for which to be thankful:

The kickass song by a local ska group* for which this blog entry is titled.

Education – without which I wouldn’t be annoyed that I have to shift around the above two sentences so they don’t end in a preposition.

A Facebook meme that focuses on something positive and productive for once – albeit every single day of this month.

The light of a skylight encircling me and my laptop as I write.

The tenuous hold we have on this earth.

The tenacious grip of a frail relative determined to hold on.

(Oops, broke that rule about prepositions)

Humor and its ability to help us carry on.

(Despite conventions 😉 )

A full-on arms-and-legs-wrapped around hug from a toddler.

A gentle hug from my first whose head now nestles into my midsection she’s so tall.

The shy smile of my middle daughter whose quiet strength is not to be taken for granted.

Love – strong, old and new, ever changing, enduring.

The wistful look of an elderly woman – reminding me of the immense gifts right under my nose.

Remembrance, reminders, traditions that connect the present and the past and put us in better mind for the future.

* The Agents

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