Sunday, June 29, 2008

Life in Pictures-Part Two, Learning to Fly

And so the day arrived when another one of my angels took a leap out of the nest.
Tentatively, at first but with a look of pride and amusement all wrapped into one.  "How did I get here, Momma?"
And then came the recognition.  "There you are, Mom and Dad!  Thank goodness I understand that no matter where I go, I can always look up and know that you are there."
And then, out of the hundreds of people who were graduating that day, our little angel smiled.  Not a shy or hesitant smile, but the smile that can break our hearts and I was struck with the realization that she has grown confident enough to use her wings.
And once again, her enthusiasm for life exploded into pure joy.  
All the while looking up into the stands to make sure that she could still see her dad and I.  "Can you guys believe that I have made it this far?"
Yes, honey, we can.  And we always knew, even during the tryingest of times, that you would make it to this day and well beyond.  Now be sure to keep those sunglasses because, as the saying goes, Your future's so bright that you've got to wear shades!

Fly, baby, fly...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Life in Pictures-Part One

Angel Daughter Number Four graduated from middle school and attended her first "formal dance".  She will be a freshman in high school in the fall.  My littlest angel is growing up right before my eyes.  Sometimes I have to remind myself not to blink.
She chose the dress and the shoes which looked beautiful on her.  It was so much fun finally taking pictures of her as she floated off to her first dance.  
The next day, we drove the two and a half hours out to visit my Dad and his wife in Palm Springs.  He had just returned home from the hospital and we needed to see him.  I needed to see him to make sure that he looked well enough to be at home.  We had a nice visit and met their new puppy, "Rambo".
AD4 and AD2 hammed it up for the camera.  I think Rambo was smiling, too!

I promise more pictures very soon.  Graduation was wonderful!  Thank you so much for all of your lovely comments and prayers for my Dad.  He is doing better, but unfortunately, will have to make some life-style changes in the coming months.

I miss all of my dear blogging friends and will spend some time catching up with everyone in the next few days.

Wishing you sun-filled, lemonade sipping, happy summer days ahead!  Oh yes, and remember not to blink...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Stepping Away From the Chaos

There are times in our lives when it becomes necessary to voluntarily withdraw for a while.  It could be for just a moment in order to catch our breath, or it might take a week of retreat and self-care.  The crucial thing is that we recognize our need to take that time, and that we then honor ourselves by doing something about it.
I am getting better at this.  When I feel like life is pulling me in a direction which I know will drain the very Life-Force out of me, I try to allow myself some extra time to do the things which will recharge and re-nourish my spirit.  I give myself permission to step back from all of the chaos which sometimes surrounds me and I spend some time reconnecting with myself, with quiet and especially, with God.  I find that the older I get, the more that this becomes not an indulgence, but a necessity.

What are some of the things that you do in order to re-connect with your spirit?  Do you find it difficult to allow yourself to step away from things for a while, or is this something which has become a part of your daily routine?  I would love it if you would share your thoughts about this in the "comments" section.  If you haven't commented here before, I would really enjoy hearing from you, as well!  You never know when what you have to add might enhance someone else's life.

On another note:

AD2 is graduating from High School tomorrow!  It definitely has not sunk in yet, but I am sure that it will when I see her in her cap and gown.  It will be bittersweet, as my dad, who is very close to AD2, will not be able to attend.  My father was very ill and was hospitalized last week.   He started out with food poisoning(possibly tomatoes!), and he became so dehydrated that they hospitalized him.  Thank God they did, because he was on the verge of having a stroke.  They found some serious heart problems, which we are addressing right now.  He is home, but the doctors are still trying to stabilize him with some very heavy-duty medications.  He must go in each day for blood-work so that the doctors can check his enzyme levels.  Very, very scary especially right on the heels of my younger brother's death from Heart Failure.  I am very anxious about this, which is why I am in need of some extra downtime right now.  Just trying very hard to keep some of my sanity in check.  Any good thoughts or prayers which you can send my fathers way would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Well-Spent Day Brings Happy Sleep-Leonardo da Vinci

How good are the days which allow us to dwell upon nothing but how rich life truly is.  The two little boys in the background of this picture remind me of how quickly the time passes.  Every stage of life should be savored and cherished.
Angel Daughter Number Two attended her senior prom this past weekend.  A milestone which in many ways, demarcates the life of a high school student into one of a young adult.  Another feather molts from the wings of a child and a more vibrant one grows in its place.  Flight becomes easier.
This is AD2's long-time boyfriend, Joshua.  They met freshman year, and have remained together(mostly) ever since.  In some ways, Mark and I feel like we have participated in raising this young man.  We love him, but he has definitely added to those grey hairs that I referred to in my last post.  I adore the way that he is carrying AD2's shoes in this photo.  If there is one thing that I have taught my angels to do, it's to make sure that any man that they are with, treats them like the beautiful, worthy princesses that they are.  Obviously Joshua understands this and obeys.
Gorgeous corsage.(Notice Joshua is still holding her shoes in the background.  Good boy, Joshua.)
I must admit that I don't really like to be photographed with my daughters when they are all dressed up and I am not.  I would never, however, want to deny them of the memory of what their mom looked like at times when she was prouder than proud of them.  Therefore, I never allow my pride to get in the way of a great moment.(Besides, all of my formal-wear was at the cleaners:)
Ad2 found the fabric and designed this dress herself.  I love that she figured out that this was a possibility and then took the steps in order to make it a reality.  Why not?  If there is something that you have dreamed of, do what is takes to bring that dream into reality.  Focus on why something is possible and not on all the reasons that it's not.  Dwell on what you can do for yourself and others.  Nobody ever figured out how to do something, while living in the negative.

This picture makes me smile.  I love Joshua's comfy, California version of a tuxedo.  Like AD2, he is a free-spirit.(and as he just said to me, "Gosh, I look good.")
AD1 stopped by to see her little sister off to the prom.  We have always encouraged them to support one another in whatever they do.
Our other angels were already out and about, so AD1 made a special point of being there.  Sisterly love, when done properly, runs very, very deep.  There isn't a day that goes by when I am not grateful that my girls have each other.  Having had only one sibling, my brother who recently died, I must admit that I am in awe of people who come from large, loving families.  That is part of the reason that Mark and I have created one for ourselves.
My wonderful husband has always retained the job of pinning the boutonniere on our daughters' dance dates.  Joshua has been his victim many, many times, and he knows how sharp those pins can be.  We have quite a few photos of Mark pinning the boutonniere onto Joshua's jacket.(note AD1's purse hanging off of Joshua's arm.  Good boy, Joshua, good boy.)
And so, as the kids flew off to the prom, Mark and I went home, alone, but together, to share a quiet dinner.  Ultimately, and not too many moons from now, we will need to shake out our own wings so that we can rediscover the things that allow each of us to soar.  And things that allow us to place our heads on our pillows at night and guide us into a happy, restful sleep.  Somehow, I think we will manage, God willing.

May you always be able to find something, even the smallest thing, which will help you to fall into a deep, happy sleep at the end of your day.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

OH, The Places You'll Go!

This is my second born angel.  One of my two middle children.  She entered the world full of spirit and enthusiasm.  She was like a squiggly little puppy who always wanted to be down on the ground, leading the action.  By four months old, she was up on her hands and knees trying to crawl.  Waiting was not something that she enjoyed doing.  She has lived by the motto, "Ask forgiveness, not permission.", which has definitely added a few grey hairs to her father's and my heads!  

But she is lovely.  She is caring and compassionate, and although she is our wild-child in so many ways, she has a great love of home and family.
In less than two weeks, AD2 will be graduating from high school.  For some children, school comes naturally and with ease.  Not AD2.  She has always been the type of child who needed to be doing something.  Being fed information was not her learning style and so, she struggled at times.  She had to work harder because the basic concept of school as, sit in your seat and listen, seemed to go against her very nature.  But she did it!  And not only that, she got accepted to more than one college, one of which she will be attending in the fall.  

Last night was her Senior Prom.  She looked like a princess.  Going to a store and buying a prom dress off of the rack was not original enough for her, so she went up to Los Angeles, chose a beautiful fabric, designed the dress and then found a tailor who could make the dress that she wanted.  Amazingly enough, the cost of her prom dress ended up being less than a ready-made one would have been.  When AD2 wants something done, she finds a way.  One of the many benefits of having a spirit which knows no boundaries.  She knows that she can do anything that she puts her mind to, and she encourages others to do the same.

You should have seen how proud AD2 was when she found out that she had been voted, "Most Diseased With Senioritis" by her graduating class.  We all laughed and laughed about it because we understand that not everyone is cut from the same mold.  AD2 stayed true to her own spirit while doing what she needed to do to keep within the boundaries of what was acceptable.  She did it, but she did it her own way.  She honored what was unique and original about herself.  Maybe we should take a moment to recognize the wild-child who lives within our own spirits and do something to honor our own unique abilities.

May you find a way, this week, to say, "To heck with what anyone else thinks of me.  What do I think of myself?", and then do something to celebrate!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

My Angel on the Edge

In twenty three days, my firstborn angel will be twenty-one years old.  As she counts the days until, I feel a vivid bittersweet tugging sensation which causes me to want to go back instead of forward, if only for a little while.
When she closes her eyes like this, I can flash back to a time when I held this precious child in my arms while watching her sleep.  I can feel her soft, little ringlets of baby hair wrapped gently around my fingers.  I can feel her head nuzzled perfectly against my breast, her breath as silken as an angel's wings.
Her smile and her laughter are the same as they were when she was small, only deeper and filled with more richness.  Her eyes still sparkle with the same brightness that only a wise and loving soul could radiate.
So much about her is just as she has always been, yet so much about her is also a mystery still yet to be fulfilled.  She is my firstborn angel standing confidently and excitedly on the edge of twenty-one.  And I am her Mother, letting go slowly yet deliberately, so that she may now use what I have taught her to soar on her own.  Hoping, praying, that she will always find a soft place to land. 

My wish for you is the same.  May you always find a soft place to land, when you need to rest your wings.  May you always be surrounded by loved ones who can help to lift you back up when you are, once again, ready to soar.

P.S.-Kitties are angels who have furry wings.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spiritual Rhythm

The seashore beckons me on as the waves pull back and forth.  The rhythm of the ocean seems to allow my heart to beat more steadily.  More naturally.  More in sync with what is the present moment.  My breathing takes on a healthier pace.  Slower, more in tune with the rolling of the waves...In and then out, in and then out.  

My family has gone home and I will be spending an extra night alone, with my loyal, loving companion, Becca, our wonderful nine year old dog.  I love my husband and our four angels with all of my heart, but I sometimes need to be alone, with myself.  I need to pay attention to the circadian rhythms of my own soul and that is difficult to do when I am so in tune with those who I am innately connected with.

Sometimes, we need to take some time to reconnect with ourselves.

My wish for you, is that you take the time which you need to readjust your own rhythms.  Make some time to reconnect with your soul's own voice, so that you can hear the sound of your breathing reach sync with whatever beckons your spirit.
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