Monthly Archives: May 2014

Simplicity.

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When Brenda and I were in Asheville, we did some hiking in the mountains there. Although we both enjoy hiking, we have not done it with any regularity over the last couple of years. Being in Asheville, in the mountains, reawakened that enjoyment in us. We loved walking the trails, taking in the beauty of nature, and sinking into the quiet of it all.

When we returned from Asheville, we decided that we wanted to continue to hike on a regular basis, to enjoy the beauty of our own (current) backyard until we are in Asheville once again, and to remind us of some of what we loved about the place until we go back. So, last weekend and again yesterday we ventured out for some hiking fun. Our destination was Ricketts Glen State Park. We were not disappointed.

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What amazes me the most about being out in nature is the simplicity of it all. I can seek out a nature destination, even if it is my backyard, and what I find there is always waiting for me. The lilacs are in bloom, and the air is warming up gradually. There are creatures that find their way to us, and the green is exploding all around.

No matter where I am at, in my head or in my heart, I need only go into the beauty of nature to get precisely what I need. At first, when we were out in it yesterday, I wanted to think to myself that I find true peace when I go into nature. But, that isn’t exactly accurate for me. I have a true sense of peace within myself most of the time, and when I am feeling conflicted, or disrupted or at a crossroads, peace is never far away. However, the peace that I experience out in the beauty of nature is like nothing else I experience.

Whether it is the green of the green in the forest, or the rocks and branches are right where I need them to be to climb, I am in bliss. Hearing the water running from a dozen waterfalls that we experienced, hearing the hush of the woods that even a breeze isn’t blowing, that is true home to me.

And, it is so simple. I don’t have to buy anything, or download an app, or have any special talent to take in what is always waiting for me. Pure and Simple.

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Feeling Broken.

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I have been going through a deep, difficult life lesson over the last few days. It has come my way before, and I feel certain that I will continue to keep learning it over again. Over the last two days in particular, I have felt like something inside me is broken, and needs to be fixed.

I believe that each of us as human beings, every one of you that reads this blog regularly, and ones that may be reading it for the first time, all of us have a place within ourselves that, as one of my favorite bands, Switchfoot sings, needs “adhesive for a place that feels broken”. It is enough to bring me to tears; not tears of sadness or hurt, mind you. Today, the tears are in frustration, because I no longer want to feel like there is something in me that needs to be fixed in some way.

We each have our own, unique triggers for sure, that take us to that feeling of brokenness within ourselves. For me, it is almost always related to my body, and around sex and sexuality. My body is either not slim enough, fit enough, or the right size or shape. Or, I see myself as not sexy, or have negative thoughts about the sexual part of my identity. The results are feelings of shame, self loathing, and saying really awful things in my head about myself.

Whenever this happens, I can pretend that it is because the outside world is providing some type of evidence to me, that the thoughts in my head are true. I go to the store, and I have to buy a bigger size of clothing. Or someone thinks Brenda is my daughter. Or, I read or hear something about how wanting to be sexual, or being sexual as a woman is a shameful thing. The real story, however, is that these thoughts, this perception of being broken in some way, has nothing to do with the outside world, or any of the people in it. It has only to do with the thoughts in my head, and how I view myself.

The truth is, each one of us is whole, just as we are. We are each a beautiful, unique entity that has our own gifts and treasures that we bring into this world. And, at the same time, we are part of a beautiful whole, the whole of humanity and all living things and beings. At least that is how I view it. So, in reality, there is not one piece of who I am that needs to be changed or fixed in ANY way. I am perfectly imperfect, just as I am. I am individual, and part of something bigger than myself.

To be able to see my own beauty, and to be be WILLING to love myself more, is what I strive for in my life today. To make choices that I feel at peace about in my life, to live in the moment, and to stand in love, rather than fear, as I go forward.

Today, I get to celebrate being a bright piece of a brilliantly created tapestry that is this world.

And, I am WHOLE.

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The Honor of being a Mother.

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I had a fabulous Mother’s day. It felt perfect, to have time with my daughter, and for her to also have time with her other mom and their family. It was easy, and soft and relaxed. And, part of that is because I felt differently inside about it this year, more than I have in the past.

For many years now, since Hannah was very small, Mother’s day was a big deal for her to plan. She would get up early, and make us breakfast. She would hide her treasures that she had created for us, and as she got older, she would enjoy picking out just the right card to give to us. Last year, she even got a card for Brenda. She has made it her own, made it special in a way that was important to her.

This year, I told her before it came around, that it didn’t matter to me if she got me a gift, or a card. I told her that for me, it felt special just to be with her, and that is enough. She smiled, a knowing smile, and seemed to understand how much we both had grown, especially in the last couple of years with one another. I found a note on Mother’s Day, taped to the bathroom mirror, telling me about how special I am to her, and how much she appreciates our closeness. There was a note waiting for Brenda, too.

I have always known how fortunate I am, to have given birth to, and raised such an amazing human being. Yet, this year, it felt even more intense than ever before. And, I realized that although the cards, and gifts, and special breakfast treats are all beautiful, and appreciated, this year I wasn’t looking to be honored as a mother. To me, the greater honor is in being a mother myself.

I hardly have a day go by that I don’t think about how challenging, and rewarding, it is for me to be a parent. It is hard work. It is expensive. It takes time, and patience, and understanding, and revisiting the same life lesson many times. It is ballet lessons, driving lessons, and proms. It is fights, and kisses, and snuggling on the couch to watch home movies. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined it would be as great as it is.

So, this year, I want to honor the children of mothers all over the world. Because although the appreciation feels wonderful, the honor really is all mine to be a mom.

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Where is Home?

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Brenda and I just returned from a few days in the North Carolina mountains, specifically, Asheville, North Carolina and the surrounding area. I had never been to that part of the state before. I have spent many summer vacations at the beach there, and a couple of visits to the Outer Banks. My parents even lived in the eastern part for a few years. We fell in love with the place.

Our trip there was a journey of sorts, an adventure and a fact finding mission. We have heard for quite some time from people that we know that Asheville is a great place to live. Lots of local art, natural surroundings, and eclectic and fun. We found it to be that, and so much more. We found it to be a place that in two years, we could easily call home.

In two years, my daughter will be off into the world, having graduated from high school, and preparing for the next phase of her life. We feel ready, albeit scary to think about, to move to a warmer location. We have been on the lookout for places that seem to best fit who we are and where we want to be in the world. A place that feels like home to both of us.

I am a wanderer by nature, having little difficulty in moving to a new area and starting again. As children, we did it a few times, and although there were challenges at first to getting to know new people, it always was a great change. As an adult, I have moved many times, including out of state twice, and then returning to where I live now. I have called many places home over my lifetime so far.

So, where is Home to any one of us? I have considered my home to be West Brookfield, Massachusetts, where I spent a few years of my young childhood, and where I spent many a summer vacation with my grandparents, and later on, weekends with my aunt. Then, I considered Keene, New Hampshire to be my home, where I attended school for seven years, and had many friends. It is the area that I left to go away to college, and came back to visit for years.

Then, I came to college, here in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and built a beautiful life here after I graduated. I came out, I made many friends, had relationships, and had my beautiful daughter. Scranton, most recently, has been my home, and actually, has been my home for the longest period of my life. I have been here for 34 years. Even though Brenda was born and raised here, it ends up we have been here for the same amount of time, calling this place home.

I firmly believe that home is wherever we land, and make our own. My parents have definitely modeled this for me in my lifetime, each time we moved or started somewhere new, and in their later life, every time they did the same. There have been times when a place has called to me, and where I feel at peace, understood, and comfortable. Asheville is one of those places. It is country, and city, and I felt like I could make a home there easily.

Leaving here, wherever we go next, will be filled with mixed emotions. Yet, to know that we will be embarking on our new phase of life, together, and building something beautiful, makes it all worthwhile.

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