…a birthday post

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The clocked ticked over and marked the end of the Sabbath and the beginning of a new year of my life. The hymn playing in the background seemed to convey a sense of smooth transition, as though the markers of time we obsess over are of no real consequence.

One of the best things about a January birthday is that the whole New Year adjustment mindset is still fresh, so I didn’t have to work too hard to take stock of the year that has just ended.

I could make a list of the things that threatened to tear me from my very sanity as I dealt with the worst of my Depression and Anxiety this past year, but I won’t. What matters is that I am still here. Instead, I want to share the things that made my life feel abundant, if you will indulge me.

I’m grateful that my kids and I were able to honor all of the traditions that hold the deepest meaning for us. I love the unity it engenders not just between me and them, but amongst themselves as well. As we wrapped up one such activity on the eve of my birthday, Tristan said to me, ‘Will it be okay if I do this with my kids?’ To which I could only respond, ‘Honey, I wouldn’t have it any other way.’

I’m grateful that my kids and I were able to offer meaningful service on so many occasions. One of the highlights was taking Mothers Day gift hampers to the mothers of children who are terminally ill. This project was made possible by many generous donations of time and goods. (I’ll share more of what inspired this project in another post. I’ve been putting it off for quite some time.)

I love the tender moments with my children that taught me how much they need me. When Zoë was preparing for her big exams and she was struggling because of the pressure she felt on herself, she came to me on many nights and sat on my lap and cried. In spite of all my reassurances that the numbers of those result were the furthest thing from being an indication of who she is and what her worth is, she, like most of her peers, felt the oppression of expectation on so many fronts.

These are just a few of the examples I wanted to share. I’m not going to make this a long post, so I’ll just share a few highlights from my day.

I’ve always gravitated more to the sentimental than the material, so I was delighted to get some really sentimental offerings of gifts from my kids. Zoë listed all the things she loves about me – one for each year of my life. It’s something I do for  them when it’s their birthday so it was nice to be on the receiving end. Larissa made me a beautiful card and a bead bracelet. Tristan, who apparently feels that cards are beneath him, made me a poster with and acrostic of the word ‘mom’.

birthday2016

So at the end of this long and blessed day, I go to bed with tired feet, sleepy eyes, and a grateful heart.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

 

 

 

 

…happy new year 2016!

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It’s that time of the year – no I won’t use the ‘r’ word. I’ve decided to tweak and adjust my course rather than resolve it.

The end of 2015 brought me a lot of opportunities to adjust my frame of mind. As expected, with the paradigm shift came some challenges, which I’m sorry to say I met rather disgracefully. But, in keeping with my newfound perspective, I’ve already shaken them off and I’m raring to go forward.

The greatest blessing in my life has been the love and support of my wonderful children. I don’t think I would have had the motivation to pull myself out of the depths of depression that I found myself in this past year.

I was so out of it that for the better part of the year it felt like all I did was exist, but that’s okay, I survived.

In the midst of the lows there were the highs. Again, my children and their accomplishments were my greatest highs. I’ll share them with you.

My first-born graduated from high school, started her first full-time job, and turned 18 – which, in Australia, means that she is now considered an adult. Wow. Way to make a girl feel old!

ZoeGraduation

My second-born was elected School Captain for 2016, which will be her last year in grade school.

CaptainLola

That smile says it all.

And my little baby boy chose to become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints by getting baptized on his eighth birthday. It was something he had prepared for and looked forward to for as long as I can remember.

Tristan Baptism Evans

With his friend, Elder Evans, who made a special trip to perform the ordinances.

So here’s to the coming year. My hope and prayer is the we, through the grace of Christ, will grow ever closer to becoming our best selves.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

… i found a memory

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I came across something I’d written a few years ago and forgotten about. When I read it I remembered an old proverb I’d heard in high school that I love: ‘the faintest ink on paper is better than the best memory.‘. Unfortunately, I don’t follow this counsel as well as I should.

So the thing I came across was about an observation I made back in February of 2011. This is what it said:

It’s funny how things get turned around so that you end up being the receiver by being the giver.

For the better part of the last few weeks I’ve had the strongest yearning to once again have my head on my mother’s lap with her gently stroking my face and playing with my hair. My mother was incredibly hard-working and did everything by hand, including laundry and other hard physical labor, and yet, she had the most beautiful, soft hands. A few short hours before she slipped into the coma from which she would never regain consciousness, I had accidentally crawled on her foot as I made my way to baby Zoë who was sleeping beside her. I was apologizing profusely when she gently cupped my face and told me it was okay. It was the most comforting feeling in the world. It was also the last time she would touch me in this life.

So, with nostalgia looming over me as I yearned for my mother, I was sitting in Church on Sunday when my little Lola lay her head on my lap. I was absentmindedly playing with her hair and stroking her pretty cheeks when she raised her beautiful, large, brown eyes to me and smilingly said, ‘I love sleeping on your lap.’

I was jolted by her words as I realized that what I needed so desperately was something I was capable of sharing myself. And so it was, that I vicariously got what I yearned for by giving it away. Thanks to my little Lola for making my wish come true.

I’ve never stopped needing my mother, but sometimes, without knowing it, my little ones fulfill that need in a ring-a-round kind of way. A tender mercy, indeed.

I’m so grateful I stumbled across this little moment I had forgotten about.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

For now.

…below

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They were in a particularly giggly mood this evening so it was virtually impossible to get the shot I wanted. I am, however, always grateful that they indulge me when I recruit them as subjects of my photographs.

As they lay on the ground in fits of laughter, taking turns setting off the others whenever a lull dared to threaten their mirth, I thought again of one of my favorite quotes about laughter by Anne Lamott:

Laughter is carbonated holiness.

I just love the image that statement conjures.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

…anything else is just bonus

I went over my last post, thought about it for a long time and I realized something – I survived. As low as I got, as grueling as it all was, as harrowing as it was to get out of bed and face life most days, the fact is that I did. I may not have done it gracefully, or with any aplomb, but gosh-darn-it-all-to-heck I did it!

As far as I’m concerned, anything outside of that was just bonus – like the fact that I shared maybe a million billion kisses and cuddles with my kids, and we laughed, and we were blessed with opportunities to serve many people together.

So I’m beginning this year with a resolute sense of abundance. I’m a little wary of having any expectations, but I will plow ahead with hope.

This has been one of my favorite quotes:

Dum spiro spera: While I breathe, I hope. ~ Cicero

Dum Spiro Spera

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

… the struggle is real

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It’s been a rough year. I keep thinking to myself that sooner rather than later things are going to take a turn for the better, but they don’t.

About ten years ago, I told someone (who used to be a friend) that I didn’t care if it took another ten years for things to get better, I was okay with that and I was willing to wait. I’m at the tail end of those ten years and there’s been no let-up.

Between the separation and divorce, severe depression, weight gain and hair loss, and general everyday struggles, I feel the fight go out of me more and more each day.

I know it’s pretty bad when I spend the second half of Christmas day alone,  bawling my eyes out in utter despair, instead of being with my children, instead of being with friends who were wonderful enough to invite us over for Christmas dinner.

I wish I could say that this was an exception, but in the last year or so this has become my reality. I feel more and more isolated. The things that brought me joy are becoming burdensome to me. I feel like I’m breaking the already fragile pieces of myself that are barely holding together to be there for my loved ones.

I waste my time mindlessly on Pinterest or 7 Little Words. When I read, I have to reread the passages a thousand times before it makes any sense. When my children are playing boisterously, I tell them to quieten down instead of reveling in their joyful laughter.

I had a life coach for a brief period who helped me sort through some of the tougher things from my past, and just as I felt I was gaining strength, I had my hand-bag stolen from my car, the ceiling in my bedroom leaked and ruined so many of my things, a memory card full pictures of the last half of this year has suddenly gone blank, and someone who was falling all over himself to show me that he had feelings for me did a sudden about-face. Losing my wallet and handbag felt like such a violation. Those thieves had taken things that were irreplaceable. When the things in my bedroom were destroyed by all that water, the thing that was most devastating was that my vision board was destroyed. This was really symbolic for me – it echoed what I always seem to say in my head these days: it doesn’t matter because it’ll all be taken away from me. The loss of the photos was devastating for so many reasons. Both my girls’ birthday photos and Lola’s birthday eve interview were on there amongst so many other things. And him. For a really brief, giddy moment, it felt like he was all I’d ever prayed for – even though neither of us had acted on those feelings. Alas, it wasn’t to be.

And so the hollowness just grows and grows.

That’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

… take it easy with the creative license already!

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Warning: Rant-ish post.

I really wish people would just stop bastardizing other people’s work. If you’re going to make a movie based on a book, make the movie based on the book. Forget about creative licence! If you want to take creative licence, then call it something else and say it was inspired by such-and-such source. It’s really not that difficult, people!

I finished reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine the other day. It had been on my to-be-read list for quite some time. I’m glad I finally got to it. I had watched the movie when Zoe was five or six and I really didn’t mind it. I thought it was okay. So when I began to read the book with the same title, I had kinda sorta expected what was going to happen in the story. Boy was I wrong! It was nothing like the movie! Aside from the fact that the main character and some minor characters shared names, and that there was a clever book, nothing at all resembled the book! What is up with that, that’s what I would like to know?! Don’t get me wrong. I loved the book. I think it was a great read and I’m sure I’ll revisit it some day. It’s just… I don’t understand why the movie was called Ella Enchanted when it was clearly not Ella Enchanted!

Ella EnchantedI could carry on and on about movies inspired by books that just border on blasphemy, but I won’t. If I do decide to watch a movie inspired by a book, it’s because I want to add another dimension to my perception of a book, not to have conflicting versions of the same story! Is that too much to ask?

I get that you can’t include every single detail from the book in the movie. I truly get it. I just loathe it when details get changed. The minute you alter how things went in the book, you’ve lost your right to call it after the original name because you have now created something entirely different!

Which brings me to my next gripe. If you know me, then you know how much I adore Christian Bale. I’m super excited for Exodus: Gods and Kings which is due to come out later this year – not just for Christian, but because I love the story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. The story of Moses is a gripping tale – from his infancy and deliverance from certain death at the hands of the soldiers of Pharaoh to his upbringing with Egyptian royalty to his fall from grace to his return to Egypt to delivering his people from slavery. It’s such a compelling tale. And don’t even get me started on what my imagination conjures when I contemplate the plagues.

Exodus-Gods-and-Kings-Poster-Bale

So when I heard of the upcoming epic directed by Ridley Scott, I was elated. I could only imagine the richness of the experience. I admit I did have some reservations, since the recent movie based on Noah was not really based on the story of Noah at all. It was Ella-Enchanteded (it’s a word, trust me). I hoped against hope that it would be based on the story as it is presented in the Bible. I mean, look at Prince of Egypt, they took loads of creative license, but essentially represented the story as it is written, which includes God.

Then I came across an interview with Joel Edgerton, who says that the movie is ‘an important story of racial struggle’ and two men who ‘come to blows over differing opinions on slavery’. And here I thought it was an account of God delivering his people from slavery through his prophet. Weird!

Is it too asking for too much if I expect the story being represented to be whole in the retelling? I just want to be able to enjoy a movie based off of a book that I love without bracing for all the discrepancies. I want to read a book and not have it fight in my head with the conflicting ideas the movie ‘based’ on the book plants in my head. It gets really exhausting trying to keep the integrity of the author’s original work in my mind.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

For now.

 

…chasing rainbows

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On the drive home from church on Sunday, we were treated to a spectacular sight – so of course my camera was at home and my phone battery was almost dead (it wouldn’t have done it any justice anyway).

Picture this:

There had been a stunning downpour during church so everything was drenched as we drove home. And just as we were leaving the car park, the dense, dark clouds began to part and the brilliant afternoon sunlight bathed the rooftops and treetops in the most staggering shade of gold. It seemed like half the sky was night and the other half was bursting like sunrise. That in and of itself was breathtaking, but it doesn’t stop there. I said to the kids, ‘Twenty bucks says there a beautiful rainbow around. There has to be.’ We continued our usual conversation and not five minutes later, we were treated to the most vivid, complete arch of a rainbow! Whenever we see rainbows, we almost always have a partial one, but not this one! It was a perfect arch with each color standing out in clear distinction from the others! It was glorious.

As we continued to drive home, it seemed that we were driving straight at it, and for the best fifteen minutes or so we chased that rainbow. I even pulled over for a few seconds so Larissa and Tristan could see the whole thing since their view was restricted from their boosters in the backseat.

When we finally got out of the car, we saw that there was a faint second rainbow right above it. Tristan came around to my side of the car and raised his hands for me to pick him up. I’m so lucky that not only am I still able to carry him, but that he lets me and more often than not seeks it out himself. I never stop marveling at that. So, I picked him up and we stood cuddling in the lightly drizzling rain. A few moments later, he took off his suit jacket and covered my head with it – such a selfless act since we were both getting wet. Ah, so much love and gratitude flowed through me in that moment. I was so blessed to be surrounded by so much magic.

And that’s all I have to say about that…

For now.

 

… my answers to the questions for my liebster award nominees

 

1.  Favorite memory: The moment I held each of my kids for the very first time. The rush of indescribable joy and love is absolutely priceless.

2. Favorite toy as a child:  I had a little turtle that had a little hat, wheels, a string to pull it along with, and a red and yellow ball in the middle that spun as I pulled it. I think there was something inside the ball that tumbled around as well. I used to love that thing!

3. Pirate or Prince/Princess: Pirate!

4. Favorite quote:  Dum spiro spera (While I breathe, I hope) ~ Cicero

5. Favorite childhood t.v. show: Fox’s Peter Pan and the Pirates

6. Most likely to: Overthink.

7. Favorite book: Too many to name, but I repeatedly return to Jane Eyre, Peter Pan, Magician (Raymond E. Feist), The Liveship Trilogy (Robin Hobb), The Book Thief, and the Harry Potter series.

8. Fictional crush: Edward Rochester, Sirius Black, Brashen Trell, Will Herondale, and possibly a few thousand others 😉

9. Are you afraid of the dark? I wasn’t until very recently.

10. Peanuts or Calvin and Hobbes? Both.

11. Describe your idea of a perfect date: Sitting on a moonlit porch swing talking about favorite books and movies and all the other stuff we’re passionate about.

porchswing

Now imagine that with moonlight and Tom Hiddleston!

An that’s all I have to say about that.

For now…

… he leaves me reading material

My little boy knows how much I love to read. Heck, I think everyone knows how much I love to read! And he loves to do thoughtful little acts of kindness for me. So a few weeks back he started to do a new kind of service for me. It started off with him making my bed, (which I really appreciate because I hate doing it!) then one night as I’m heading off to bed, I find this:

reading material

‘What’s that?’, I hear you ask. Why that’s all his schoolwork from last year that he’s left for me to read! Is that not super precious?!

 

reading material 2

You might also be wondering why a grown woman is sleeping on a Spiderman pillow. Well, that’s another super-cute thing he does. He absolutely loves my smell. He tells me so all the time. And he loves it so very much that every other night he trades pillows with me so he can have the one with my smell to sleep on for the night. And this is how on some nights I’m sleeping on a superhero pillow, or a dinosaur pillow, or whatever else adorns his pillow when he trades it with me.

It’s one of my favorite things right now. Just basking in the love this little boy has for his momma.

I also love that early the next morning, he came into my room and found one of my journals and started thumbing through it.

reading journal

It was like he gave me a glimpse into his mind and then wanted to take a look in mine.

I cherish intimate moments like this.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

For now…