Wednesday, September 28, 2011

May You be Inscribed in The Book of Life 5772

Sometimes, even the cat feels like he can just stick his tongue out at me.  I mean, just like everyone else, he loves and adores me but hey, I am Momma and if he's having a bad day, I guess I should be, too.

When done correctly, I have found that the moniker "Mother" is synonymous with the words safety, security and comfort.  My husband wants to be able to fix things when a problem arises.  He is definitely the strong and silent type in a lot of ways so with five women surrounding him(and sometimes all at once!), he has to take in a lot of excess chit-chat which probably often hurts his brain.  I can sympathize with that because sometimes it even hurts my brain.  But women, not all but many, like to talk things through.  We like to discuss different angles.  We like to explore various solutions.  We enjoy the interaction and oftentimes, that is what it takes for us to arrive at a resolution. Men, not so much.  So here I stand.  Unlike my husband, I know that I cannot really just fix anything and move on.  Long after he is off the topic with one or more of our Angel Daughters, I am still trying to maneuver them into a positive direction that will both make them feel better and produce superlative results.  Neither way is absolutely right or wrong, it just is.  I am not, however, a magician.  A goddess, maybe, but...Well that is not what I am writing about right now so I will just move along.  Just take my word for it, it will make me feel special.  The goddess part, anyway.

I have spent a good portion of today dousing fires and wiping tears from my daughters cheeks.  And a few minutes ago at exactly 6:39 PM, the sun, which never really shone itself down here on the edge of the Pacific ocean today, went down for the last time on the Jewish year of 5771.  For Jews all over the world, another year has just passed and ten days of awe will now be observed.  Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year which begins as a celebration and then culminates after ten days with the observance of Yom Kippur.  Yom Kippur is a somber, serious day because it is a time of self-reflection and atonement.  It is a day when we ask God to forgive our transgressions and to guide us into being better people next year.(simply put)  The time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is known as "the days of awe".  These days are used for self-evaluation, reflection and prayer.  On Rosh Hashanah, we ask that God inscribe us into the Book of Life for another year.  On Yom Kippur, it is sealed.  I suppose that the cloudy day today was appropriate for the misty moods which I encountered but during these next ten days, I am going to focus on growth and redemption and healing for all of us and when I say "all of us" I mean myself, my family and all of my wonderful friends, both Jewish and otherwise.  The new year is a time for transition and transformation, much like the season of autumn, so what better time to contemplate the things that we can do better, for others, for ourselves and for the world.  The September mist which blanketed much of the Southern California coast today reminded me that my daughters pains and concerns and fears are very, very real and that it is their father's job to protect them and to try to fix what ails them.  But it is my job, as their momma, to walk them gently but firmly back into the light, allowing them the time and consideration that they might need to get there.  A perfect combination.  A band-aide and a time to allow for healing.

I will write more about these "days of awe" throughout the next ten days and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.  I know this might all seem a bit mystic and confusing to someone who is not Jewish, but trust me, it's really not.  Tomorrow, Mark, myself and our four Angel Daughters will spend part of our day in synagogue celebrating the New Year.  We will pray, we will sing, and we will hear the blast of the shofar as we welcome in the New Year of 5772.  I look forward to this outward expression of gratitude to God before turning inward to evaluate myself.  L'shana tova(which means "for a good year" in Hebrew) to all of my Jewish readers and friends.  To everyone else, I wish you good health, happiness and so much love because we can never receive enough in the way of blessings from those who care about us.

With so much love,

Monday, September 26, 2011

What the Falcon Told me

While watching this very majestic Falcon land on our patio chair this afternoon, its visit brought with it a moment of complete clarity.  As we sat, eye to eye, beast to beast, this winged creature relayed a message so pure that it almost startled me into believing that this bird had spoken out loud.   "No matter what else is going on in our lives at any given moment, it is still our complete responsibility to soar in spite of it all."  In spite of it all.

Soar, my friends, my children, and even myself.  If you think you cannot do it; soar.  If someone has hurt you and you just do not feel like you will ever be able to do it again; soar.  And if someone has done something that has made you feel puny, sad, lonely, small, insignificant, blue, crushed, incapable, unable, less than, ugly, fat, unheard, stupid, fill-in-your own blanks here; then soar anyway.  Never give anyone the power to clip your glorious wings.  You were placed here to soar in spite of what life might bring on.  Fly high, dear hearts, fly high...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Is it Safe to Come Out Yet?

It has been one week and one day since my Angel Daughter was forced to face the heart-clenching reality of finding out what it feels like to have loved and then lost.  This was not something that she was at all prepared for and it caused her world to come crashing down around her swiftly and intensely.  Most of us know what this feels like and it is not something that we would wish on anyone else.  Sadly, it is something that most of us must go through at least one time or another and oftentimes, even more than once.  It is especially difficult when it happens after an almost three year relationship in which almost everyday was spent together,  college classes were attended congruently, promises were made, futures were discussed, and family became family.  For the past week, I have observed as my daughter slid into the easy company of her number one defender and protector...Me.  She has always been the tentative one.  A bit different than our other three, she does not allow people in easily.  She is content with just a few close friends, and she does not like change.  She has surprisingly handled all of this a bit better than I thought she would which is good.  Very, very good.
Yet I know that she is #1-Leaning on hope.

And #2-Going through the normal stages of grief.  Which can change from one emotion to the next over the course of a single moment.

And #3-Leaning on hope.
She is tentatively popping her head out from underneath my protective wing in order to bathe, eat, go to work, go to school and to hang out with her younger sister.  I am watching her very, very closely.  I am very glad that she is talking to me about how she is feeling.  I am trying my best to help her to process through all of the emotions.  I am losing a lot of sleep over all of this because #1-I am worried about her.
And #2-She wants to be close to me when she is not doing one of the things that I listed above.
And even though I know that she will get through this in time(We all somehow, do), I wish that it could be easier on her.  I wish that she could know, really know, that most of the time first loves do not become forever loves.  I wish that she could understand that there really is more than one person in this world that she could be happy with.  I wish that, like when she was little, I could put a pretty band-aide on it and make it feel all better.
She is in the process of talking to him right now and I just know that the result will not be what she is hoping for, but it might just end up being exactly what she needs in the long run.  And at least he has been a gentleman about this.  There was no cheating involved.  He is communicating with her when she asks him to.  He thanked both Mark and I for being so supportive of him over the past three years.  And he is admitting that, yes, he does still care about and love her, but that he doesn't believe that they have common goals and that it would be much, much harder to break things off at a later time.

How do you mend a broken heart?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And Sometimes the Waves Will Block the Sun

It has been a rough couple of weeks and sometimes it feels as though coming up for a deep breath is something that might just never, ever happen.  Amongst a rise in blood pressure(at a regular monthly check with my pain doctor) which was precipitated by a seemingly never-ending conversation with my mother and her husband that stressed me out in a way that is not at all healthy and finding out that my best friend's father whom I have known for thirty-seven years passed away that morning, I became even more focused on the numbers flickering frantically at me from the monitor.  That caused the numbers to increase even higher which prompted my doctor to inform me earnestly that if she made me sit there for another ten minutes so that she could take it for a third time, it would more than likely rise even higher at which point she would be forced to send me to the ER just to be on the safe side.  Considering how much I dislike the ER, coupled with the fact that I have not had a problem with high blood pressure in the past, I hightailed it out of there.  When I reached the safety of my car, I promptly called my general doctor to schedule a long overdue physical for next week and then, I called my husband and cried.  I am not a crier by nature, but the toll that all of this had taken on my body caused a flood of tears to rush to the surface and before I even knew it, I was sobbing uncontrollably.  I am a very strong woman living inside of a body that I feel has failed me over the past ten or so years.  Each day, I wake up in pain following night after night of terribly disruptive sleep which is another reason that my blood pressure might have been high.  Pain causes elevations in blood pressure, but chronic pain can cause a constant elevation in blood pressure.  This scares the hell out of me.  My brother had high blood pressure for most of his adult life and although he was being treated for it, his heart eventually failed.  His heart failed.  Rationally speaking, I know that my brother and I have/had very different bodies and since both of our parents are still alive, there is a very good chance that I will be here for a very long time, as well.  But still.  I get scared sometimes.  And when things are extra hard, I absorb too much emotion from other people which really causes my heart to physically ache.  My mother is a master of bringing me to the edge of my own sanity with her constant guilt-tripping and it just breaks my heart.  First I become devilishly angry with her, and then my heart just throbs because it should not be this way.  She thinks that she and her husband should be my responsibility.  I have watched them behave in ridiculously financially irresponsible ways for over thirty years and now, they have reached near-bottom, yet it is not their fault.  Never their fault.  And even though Mark and I have given them $1500.00 in the past couple of months, it is never enough.  It can never be enough.  So the waves in my soul rise up with pain and anger and it can take days for them to calm down enough to show the sun again.  But I know that the sun is there and I will always bring myself back to a place in which I can calm the waves.  It just takes time and the older that I get, the harder it is to bring my body back into a state of balance after one of these incidents.  I see the lessons that I am meant to be learning in all of this, but how can I totally ever walk away from my own mother?  Especially when I am all that she has left at this point in her life.  After all of the tests that we must experience during this lifetime, why can't there be an answer key that we can refer to, just to make sure that we are coming up with the correct answers after each test is complete?  I want, so badly, to do this right.

More importantly, one of my Angel Daughters is going through some very difficult heartache of her own right now and since my heart is spiritually connected to each one of my children's hearts, my soul has been so heavy with her sadness, only this is a sadness that I would gladly carry for any one of my children at any point in time.  We have been taking it one day at a time and I know that she will make it through to the other side of all of this, but to watch her going through this has been heart-wrenching.  To observe one of my typically happy daughters experiencing this depth of anguish is almost beyond any other pain that I have ever had to endure.  The other night, I watched her rock back and forth on my bathroom floor as she expressed to me the amount of pain that she was feeling.  And although I could completely relate to the level of loss that she was coping with, there was so little that I could do to comfort her except to allow her to sink down into the treacherous waves of her own deeply wounded soul while acting as a lifeline if she needed it.  She is such a sensitive spirit and her pain has been so palpable.  But I have put everything else on hold for the moment in order to focus upon being her mother and in doing so, she has expressed to me that I am the only one who has been able to make her feel better.  Thank you, dear God, for endowing me with enough maternal instinct to be able to soothe my child's tender soul.
Of course there have been sunny moments in the midst of all of this.  There always are.  They are what sustain me.  There are just times when we must allow ourselves to exist in the middle of it all in order to prove to ourselves that we indeed, can.  None of this will kill my mother, or me, or my daughter.  It will just prove to those of us who are capable of understanding that there are lessons in all of it.  It will teach us to learn from the difficulty and the anguish and then to move forward on to the next lesson.  If there was not difficulty or pain in life, then how would we really know what it means to feel unbridled joy?

Time to get back to my sweet girl.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Why I Love My iPhone

After uploading 672 seemingly innocuous photos from my iPhone onto my computer yesterday, and weeding through a lot of recent memories, it occurred to me that modern technology really does provide an amazing way to capture and share moments that definitely otherwise would have been lost.  You see, I like to amuse my family by transmitting pictures in real time to them over the phone.  It could be something bizarre, funny, touching, or even just a photo of a tee-shirt that I am thinking about purchasing for one of the girls.  But all of it is saved courtesy of my iPhone for a time when I am looking for something mindless to do and I decide to load it all onto my computer.  That is when I realize that I am very thankful that I did not take the time to delete anything from my phone while sitting there waiting umpteen minutes for the doctor to see me, and I read that super fantastic article about the importance of tooth flossing in a two month old magazine instead.  And while I will spare you the informative details of all that I have learned from a picked-over magazine in the doctor's office waiting room, here are some moments collected over the past couple of months courtesy of my iPhone.

Above is a picture of Angel Daughter Number Four and our wonderful dog Micah.  Regardless of what color this little angel colors her hair at any given moment, her classic beauty shines right through.  Micah is our 110 pound rescue pup who was definitely "bred" for size and strength, but by the grace of God, turned out to be nothing more than 110 pounds of slobbering love.  We are so grateful to the individuals who rescued Micah, his momma, and his two brothers and three sisters from inside of a shed where they were abandoned, emaciated, and alone.  Momma dog was nursing her babies even though she had absolutely no access to food or water for who knows how long.  The "owners" moved to Hawaii and decided to call animal control several days after they arrived there to let them know that they had abandoned some dogs on their property when they took off.  Minor afterthought.  Micah, his momma, and his brothers and sisters were almost missed because they were locked inside of a shed.  Thank God that the officers heard some whimpering from the shed before they left with two other dogs that were found on the property.  We got Micah when he was a few months old and rather small.(except for his enormous paws)  He was so pathetic at the time that we allowed him to snuggle up in bed with us for the first few weeks so that he would feel more secure.  Now he believes that he is a lap dog.  Truly.  Our vet somewhat jokingly called him a "Drug Lord's Dream" when we had him tested for breed.  He is one half Rottweiler, one quarter Doberman and one quarter Pit Bull, but really, he is all pussy-cat.  It is amazing what love can do.
Here is my buddy, Becca.  I have mentioned before how important this old girl is to me.  She is strength, guts and loyalty.  Next month, on my oldest Angel Niece's birthday, she will turn 13.  So will my niece, and God knows how much I would love to see her.  We fought hard but lost our battle for visitation in court.  One of the saddest stories of my life but in my heart, not the way that the story will end.  On October 21st, Becca and I will share some goodies in celebration of the birthdays of two very special 13 year old girls, one whose gift I will be able to give on that day and another that I will pack away for someday...

Only in Southern California can you walk out of the grocery store and find a stark white Bentley with blush pink ornaments on both hood, trunk and hub caps.(Although there must be a fancier word than"hub cap" when it comes to a Bentley.)  These cars cost anywhere from $225,000 and up!  That is a quarter of a million dollars for a car.  A CAR!

Personally, I was more impressed with the pink emblems than the car itself.  This was one of those, "send a photo to my girls in real time" moments which I am now sharing with you.  You're welcome.

*Ghost kitty!
Sorry if I scared you...Halloween is coming and I LOVE Halloween!

Kissy face with Angel Daughter Number Two.  How I love this girl...How I love them all.

This one was taken specifically for Angel Daughter Number Three.  She loves it when I send her pictures of Rex and often texts me requesting them from work.  He sometimes likes to snuggle his way underneath the pillows on Mark's side of the bed.  He thinks we can't see him.  *Refer back to photo above.


For those of you with small children(Mark) who you might or might not have trouble bringing into fancy stores like Target, I am here to tell you that it only gets worse.

Oy Vey.
But then it gets better once they hit the age of about 24 or so.  You see.  I am here to bring you hope.

Another photo moment is when I find things like this.  First, they take my breath away, and then, I take them as signs of what they so obviously are to me; hellos from my beloved, deceased brother.  I have been constantly reminded over the course of the past three years that my brother is still very much here with us.  Unbelievably supernatural signs that line up in a way that cannot be explained in any other way.  As a teenager, my brother was a huge KISS fan.  His room was decked out in posters that I happened to find somewhat creepy but KISS was a guy's band and my brother was pure guy.  This record album was one of my brother's all time favorites.  I mean, if I close my eyes, I can hear it blaring loudly from his twelve year old room his voice belting out, "I wanna rock n role all night and party everyday!",  his fist rhythmically pounding out the beat.  Around his birthday, we were in a thrift store that sold a little bit of everything.  Up against the wall in a small corner, I spotted this album sitting by itself.  I reminded myself to capture the moments as they come because sometimes, they become an ethereal mixture of reality and dream in my mind and then I begin to wonder.  Doubt.  But with something concrete to look at, I cannot doubt.  And so, a picture...

One of my favorites is this last one.  My two guys, Micah and Mark, standing out on the edge of the bluff together, our strength and our protectors.  As far as I am concerned there are not five luckier women on the earth than my four Angels and I because we have this man to call our own.  Husband and father.  Chief of our tribe, love of my life with his trusty dog by his side.

And this is why I believe that the iPhone is really a fancy camera that happens to make phone calls, as well.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Bottle in the Sea

When even the seasoned surfers stand on the shoreline observing in awe, you know that Southern California is being inundated with some phenomenal waves.  The sets have been coming in fast and furious for the past several days and the Surf Advisory is supposed to go on until at least Sunday evening.  Seems that a major storm in New Zealand which is 6508 miles or 5655 nautical miles off of the coast of California is wreaking havoc on the Pacific by my home.

It has been absolutely stunning to behold in a hypnotic sort of way as it is very difficult to take your eyes off of the huge cresting waves, which come one after the other after the other.  There were a good number of surfers out there yesterday around sunset, but today, the water was mostly empty and the warnings have been stern, serious and obviously off-putting for even the strongest of swimmers.

I will post more pictures soon.  The idea of a storm taking place 6508 miles away and then finding its way to our coast is a very interesting concept to grasp.  I have been thinking a lot about putting a note with my address information into a bottle tomorrow, and then casting it off from the end of the pier and out into the waters.  I am fascinated thinking about where it might go, how far it might go and if the person who finds it would be kind enough to write back to me.  I suppose that is truly one way to find out.  I will put the letter together tomorrow, empty out or drink:) the contents of a wine bottle, cork it back up and throw it off of our pier which I am sure is not legal, but since Mark and I clean up the beaches when we are walking during our days, I think I will be forgiven.(Besides, I am very short and Mark can cover me as I make my quick throw;)  What an interesting way to send something out into the Universe to see what ultimately comes together in the end.  Just wondering about where my bottle might end up makes me smile a little bit.

So tomorrow, I will venture down to the beach with my bottle and I will wish it a Bon Voyage.  I will say a small prayer that my bottle ends up in the hands of someone, someplace who needs a lift from the Universe and then send out a little prayer that I receive a note telling me where my traveling bottle landed!   I am excited about this.  It should be fun regardless of what happens.

Have a lovely Labor Day weekend doing whatever makes you feel good.  You really do deserve some time to just be.  There is a great sense of renewal in giving ourselves permission to just enjoy who we are, who we love and what makes us an authentic, unique human being with so many fantastic qualities. You all lift me up in a way that is very hard to describe.  I cherish all of you.  Sometimes, our little notes back and forth are like messages in a bottle which we are both lucky enough to find, and sometimes, lucky enough to receive a comment to one of our own.  I picture my words going out to you like words tucked inside of a bottle which need to be opened in order for them to matter, really, really matter.  We are an interesting breed, we human beings...Very interesting indeed.

What are your thoughts on the bottle idea?


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