Not gonna lie. 2021 really challenged my @fiveminutejournal attentiveness.
For the first time in three years I was not very good at doing my daily gratitude. I found myself trapped in a depression I couldn’t “Gratitude” Practice my way out of and everything I was in the pattern of doing for over 2 years came to a screeching halt.
I know what it’s like to feel stuck in a dark, unrelenting place. I was so burnt out from work, world noise, and the everyday negativity that seemed to permeate everyone and everything around me that I couldn’t see a way out…not even a way through. I got stuck in the “quicksand” of my hopeless thinking and all my positive practices slipped away.
First to go: yoga.
Months later by my Daily Gratitude Practice.
Last was my daily water consumption (I always hit 64-80oz).
I finally admitted in October that I had hit bottom.
Here I have to say my therapist kept me from totally drowning. Weekly sessions, working on tiny “No’s” was truly my first step.
I had lost all sense of boundaries. I was an empty shell trying to still get through increasing stress at work, failing to be there as the mother, wife, and friend that I so love being. All because I had stopped “filling my cup.”
Peeps, I cannot stress enough the importance of caring for yourself FIRST.
I continue to learn this lesson the “Hard Way.”
Please, if you take away anything from my experience, let it be this:
Acts of SELF-CARE
Keep these ALWAYS.
Then GROWTH is possible. And growth is necessary to our human experience. Growth keeps us moving forward. Keeps our minds elasticity and our body strong.
I pray that I never give up my desire and joy in learning new thing: skills, lessons, practices.
May 2022 bring you back to yourself, if you were lost; bring you positive energy, if you are feeling stuck; love, if you are feeling alone.
Not sure where everyone is with the holidays this year, but I’ve been struggling.
Two Fun Day were: December 3, The Annual Lamplight Stroll in Milford, CT with a great friend. This same friend brought the Holiday Spirit to my house today (December19).
God Bless good friends. They invite you to fun things and their excitement is so infectious, it rubs off and you get out of your way despite yourself!
I was so not in the mood to socialize… but I made myself go. The Lamplight Stroll night was so fun!
Shops were open late, the Town Green was lit up like a magical wonderland, with vendors hocking homemade wares. There were Carolers and sleigh rides (we did not partake). We were FREEZING! And we were LAUGHING!
We stopped in at a local restaurant for appetizers and dessert. We talked for hours. I stayed out WAAAY past my usual bedtime 😉. It was the most fun I’ve had with a friend in over a year.
Today’s fun: Gingerbread cookies, tea, a fire, painting rocks (painting!), Christmas music and hot cocoa.
My friend has been painting rocks for several years. Her rocks (pictures below) are spectacular! She is so talented with the tiny details!
So this is probably only the second time I’ve tried painting rocks. I decided to let go of expectations and just have fun with it.. no comparing myself to my friend and her superior skills. Just FUN!
My results are below. I’m pretty proud of my efforts.
Most important, we were RELAXED. We had FUN, we LAUGHED. We SANG along to Christmas songs. We sipped Hot Cocoa by the fire and gushed compliments on 16 for her cocoa-making skills.
I feel happy and relaxed. That’s not something I’ve felt often of late. I want to wallow in it. Roll around and cover myself with this happy, content feeling and ride it straight through the New Year!
The TRUTH is… at 3-years-old (2008), little Miss was Hell On Wheels. She tested EVERYTHING. The day this picture was taken, we had a 4-hour Showdown over cleaning up a mess.
There have been many moments I thought “I can’t do this, be the Mom she needs.” At 16-years-old (2021),I still sometimes feel the same way.
Still, it’s been an beautiful journey. I’m so proud to be THIS GIRL’S mom.
We guarded her childhood like we were on a MISSION. That Mission: for her to be a child for as long as possible.
2020 kinda blew that out of the water. Being bombarded with so much stuff and all of us “hanging on” for dear life. It seems like this almost 2 years have gone in Fast-Slow-Motion.
All of the sudden she’s 16, a Junior in High School, and one foot out the door to “Real Life.”
We’re now talking College and careers and all sorts of grownup things. She’ll be 17 soon, then I’ll BLINK and she’ll be 18 and heading off into The World.
GAHHH! Some days I really do want to go back to 3. It’s sounds crazy even as I say it… because 3 was HAIR-RAISING! But the challenges were smaller.
Today I worry:
Did I teach her enough?
Is she going to be ready for the things life throws her way?
Am I going to be ready to give her up to… LIFE?
As much as “people” like to wax poetic about “Enjoy Every Moment” parenthood is a non-stop Rollercoaster Ride: sometimes exhilarating, often terrifying, full of laughter and tears, a ride that ends at 18.
Of course, you NEVER stop being a parent, but the job is very different. You’re on the sidelines not in the event.
As someone who’s childhood was not protected, who “grew up” WAY too young, I am glad that my daughter has had the childhood I couldn’t have: carefree, play dates and imagination run amok.
I love the young woman she’s becoming and the evolution of our relationship. I also love reminiscing about play-do and dress up, glitter everywhere and slime, the excitement of “Firsts.”
I’m in Athens, Georgia for 2 weeks to help family. I love them and I’m happy to have a job that allows me to work from anywhere so I can be here to help when they need it.
Those who are in the Healthcare profession or are caregivers for loved ones know what this means. It’s an act of love, done gratefully and (hopefully) gracefully. It is also emotionally, mentally, and physically draining.
This is a reminder that it’s time to take a BREAK, or as I call it a “Time Out.”
I’ve been here a week and today I needed that “time out.” Luckily, the weather has started to turn for Autumn and the temperature/humidity has let up and cooled. So today, my time is being spent outside.
The Georgia Botanical Gardens has always been a favorite place for me, when I lived here and now when I visit.
As I sit by this beautiful water feature at the entrance to The Visitor Center, I feel my stress, sadness, anxiety and exhaustion melt away…
I hope you take a “Time Out” if you need it. Remember: you’re no good to anyone if you’re not good to yourself ❤️
A few things that bring me joy and gratitude this morning: Christmas Tree at Sunrise.Vanilla Carmel coffee.Morning breathing exercise. Three new ornaments for my tree, made with love by my sister @judnickhalley, and the Russian Tea Cake Cookies sent by mom (all arrived in a box of thoughtful gifts last night).
I won’t lie. I’ve been on the “Struggle Bus” since mid-October. I’m not discounting moments of joy and peace. I hold them close to my heart to keep me moving forward.
This has been a very tough year.
My husband’s work is in shutdown (unemployment) for the second time this year. 15 is struggling to keep up with school, participate in clubs, and (sigh) learning to drive. All with social distancing that means only video chats with friends.
My job in Home Health Care has been extremely stressful due to COVID regulations and trying to get 60+ Caregivers on-board with weekly testing (semi-successful) and wearing PPE (slightly more successful). Then add in those who get sick (COVID or just the common cold, stomach bug), those that have small children and are struggling with childcare, school-age children stuck in home learning (because God-forbid ALL towns run on the same plan or schedule), and just everyday catastrophe: car accidents, a slip & fall, a health concern that takes a bad turn… you get the picture.
Then there are our vulnerable clients, constantly worried whether having the help they need is going to cause their demise! It’s not a small concern, for most of our clients, their contact with the outside world comes in the form of our non-medical home caregivers, nurses,and physical therapists. Any number of persons or companies they rely on for their quality of life.
This is STRESSFUL.
I want to do better at LETTING GO of things I can’t control. I am having a hard time with this concept, which feels like it’s in direct conflict with the seriousness of my job.
If you have a stressful job and have been successful at doing your daily best and letting the rest go,I desperately need to HEAR from YOU!!!
I know this year has been a challenge and a trial for all of us. COVID-19, Politics, Protests, communities (friends and family) being torn apart by differences in opinion and beliefs… 2020 has been a rough road all the way.
Wherever you are, in the USA or abroad, I pray for you. I send healing and love to sooth our tired souls and weary hearts. I send thoughts of healing and peace, gratitude and love. May these “vibes,” “thought,” and “prayers” find you in your struggle and give you strength to keep up the good fight: loving yourself and others, supporting your community in healing, sharing the grief of loss and hope for better times ahead.
That said, I turn my thoughts to Thankfulness, for it is in gratitude that I find my strengths keep going ❤️.
Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving 2020:
A warm home
My little family of 3
All the Thanksgiving Greetings received from friends and family
Cooking Thanksgiving Dinner with my daughter & enjoying being part of some of her “Firsts” First Pie (pumpkin) made by herself. First Apple Crisp (made w/no help from me). First time making her Great-Grandmother’s Mac & Cheese. First time prepping and seasoning a Turkey.
Quiet homemade Thanksgiving dinner at home, just us ❤️
A fun day staying home and enjoying each other’s company
Zoom call with my family: brothers, sisters, mom, nieces & nephews… all living far away from us, and still joining together to share the holiday.
Watching Christmas Chronicles: Part 2 (we loved #1)
Feeling creative again and relaxed enough on doodle.
Feeling some peace for the first time since March.
Wow! The world may be CRAZY in 2020, but there are still pockets of JOY to be found!
You should ALWAYS exercise your civil right and civil duty to Vote!
We, in the USA, are BLESSED, to have the honor and the right to vote for the officials that run our communities, our States, and our Country!
Last year I chose NOT to vote in the Presidential Election. I DID VOTE, Though! I VOTED for my Community and State officials.
This year, I chose to vote in the Presidential Election AND my Local and State Elections.
Whatever your political views, exercise your right to VOTE. It is a gift and a privilege that many around the world do not have.
Use your personal power and responsibility wisely.
Always remember: your voice (vote) has the BIGGEST IMPACT close to HOME. Even if you don’t like politics (I don’t), Voting is a person power you have to determine how your community is run: how your city or town is maintained, the amount of taxes you pay, the quality of your schools, whether new business come to your town or old ones close up shop. These are all affected by HOW YOU VOTE.