Wandering

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I love the phrase “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”.  Over the course of my adult life, I’ve had the great pleasure of having some amazing teachers enter into my life at the exact point where I’ve required teaching and guidance.

Perhaps it is born out of my desire to slow down the incessant march of time, to maintain this time in my life, to keep my kids from aging further, but regardless of the reason, I’ve found myself resisting organized activities, for me, for them, for our family.

I noticed this first when we were on vacation.  My son was quite desperate to go on a lobster fishing cruise.  I did not want to go.  I had a visceral reaction against having any sort of obligation or commitment, especially one made several days in advance.

And this feeling has continued since we got back.  I’ve resisted signing the kids up for camp this summer – admittedly this is like playing Russian roulette as the longer I leave it, the less likely there will be space in any of the camps my kids would like to attend – hoping that we can spend the summer lazily doing as we please.

I’ve even resisted organized workouts – favouring running outdoors in the early morning hours to set workouts in a gym.

Yesterday, I went to amazon to look for a new novel to read – and the first suggestion for me was The Wander Society by Keri Smith.  On a whim, I downloaded it and started reading it last night.  I’m only partway in, but it absolutely amazing.  I might be a little bit biased as it has given me the permission or the encouragement to follow my current feelings, which got me thinking about the phrase with which I opened this post.

So today, I’ve been wandering in my house.  I’ve done some laundry, some tidying, some baking (there was yet another epic paleo dessert disaster . . . starting to believe the Husband’s theory that paleo baking just shouldn’t be a “thing”), and a whole lot of contemplating.  I didn’t make a to-do list for today, nor did I get many of the things I would have put on a to-do its done.  But I have had an thoroughly enjoyable day.

Do I believe that this is the most practical way to live life?  Absolutely not.  But I do believe there is a place for wandering in all our lives.  While I can’t slow down my kids growing up, I can take the time I have with them now to pay attention, to wonder and wander with them, physically and theoretically.  Will I put them in camps this year . . . ultimately, I will, but only for a little bit.  I still want to take most of this summer to do as we please.  Will I go back to regular workouts in the gym?  Sure I will.  But for now, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and being outside.

And on that note, I’m going to wonder back to my comfy place to do a bit more reading from this fantastical book.

Have a happy day.

xoxo

Remembering Who I Used to Be

Today I missed my babies.  Unexpectedly freed from my training session at the gym, I found myself home alone, on an absolutely gorgeous day, with for a lack of a better phrase, no one to play with.  It’s days like this that I long for the toddlerhoods of my two “little” ones.  When we would go on walks to the fire station at the end of our street to look at the trucks and then walk back, past our house, to the park, where we could play for (what felt like) hours.  When after an early lunch, I could kiss their sleepy little heads and put them down for an afternoon nap.  And then as soon as they were up, do the same things all over again.

Perhaps I’m still sulking from the fact that medically it wasn’t exactly advisable for me to have another child.  Perhaps I’m still sad that my littlest one’s whole first year coincided with my tumour.  And perhaps I’m a little envious of all the new babies and babies-to-come that surround me right now.

That being said, I felt simultaneously grateful to be alive on this absolutely gorgeous day, with nothing but time on my hands.

And so, I decided to try and get aquatinted with myself again . . . the me that existed before kids.  When I had a job and interests that didn’t get interrupted by small people clamouring for my attention.  I started out by doing a little research on some stocks . . . I used to love my job in banking, and I’d forgotten how much I loved researching companies.  Then I went shopping.  Not to buy anything  Just to remember what it’s like to shop without really needing anything, without looking for something for the kids.  That part wasn’t as exciting as I had remembered it.  I was home in time for lunch.

And then . . . after lunch . . . I had a nap.  Something I always wanted to do when the little ones were home, but something that always seemed to elude me.  I only slept for 20 minutes, but it was 20 minutes of pure bliss.

So here I find myself, sitting in the brilliant sun, on my front porch, writing this and counting down the minutes till I can go pick up the kids from school.

Today made me realize that my life is in transition.  The last 5 years have in many ways, been the hardest, but they have also been the best years of my life.  As time moves me further away from my life with babies and small children, away from being needed by someone else all the time, away from the healing from the tumour, I am being gently pushed into new things.  And while I loved the chance I had today to remember who I used to be, next time I find myself with a day like today, I may use it to find out who I am now.

#100DaysOfLookingToTheSky & Some New Super Quick, Super Easy Recipes

 

The universe works in magical ways sometimes . . .

In my last post, I talked about how much happiness I derived from watching the sun rise with my kids each morning while I was on vacation.

Shortly after, I came across the #the100dayproject . . .

And an idea was born . . .

For the next 100 days, I’m going to take a picture of the sky.  It might be a photo of the sun rising . . . it might be of rain clouds . . . it might be of the sun setting.  From now until July 27th, I’ll be collecting these photos under #100daysoflookingtothesky.  I’m excited about this project.  Watching the sky is nothing if not life affirming.  I suppose that’s why so many phrases and sayings about the sun, the sky, the moon (the sun always rises, even the darkest night will end, the sky’s the limit . . .).  But I digress.  Like I said, I’m excited about this project and where it might lead me . . . metaphorically and physically.  And today could not have been a better morning to start the whole thing off . . . As I ran laps around our neighbourhood park early this morning, I captured the gorgeousness of the sun rising, and I have been in a happy frame of mind ever since.

And now to leave the esoteric behind and focus for a minute on the practical.  Spring is that magical time of year when activities like hockey and skating should be wrapping up with sports like soccer and baseball taking their place.  Instead, I’ve found the next few weeks will have us playing hockey, skating, AND playing soccer and baseball . . . which means, dinners in our house need to be able to get on the table quickly AND they have to be consumed quickly by everyone.

While it can be tempting to answer the call of the mac & cheese boxes that seem to scream my name from the pantry, I remain 100% committed to feeding myself, and the Husband and the kids real foods that aren’t processed and that contain minimal amounts of gluten and sugars.  So, what is it that we’re eating???  Well, last week we got home at 5 and I had 45 minutes to get my son fed and out the door . . . so I made salmon cakes with an avocado cream sauce, roasted cauliflower and steamed carrots.  In fairness, I did have 5 spare minutes in the afternoon before I had to pick the kids up from school, so I got the cauliflower chopped then so it would be ready to toss in the oven when we got home . . . but really, that only took an extra 5 minutes . . .

Baked Paleo Salmon Cakes

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

4 tins of organic salmon (I use the Raincoast Trading brand)

3 eggs

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

salt & pepper to taste

2 tbs coconut flour

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, beat the eggs, paprika, salt, pepper and coconut flour.
  3. Drain the excess fluid from the salmon and add it to the bowl.
  4. Mix well so that the egg and salmon is completely combined.
  5. Using a large ice cream scoop, drop about 1/3c of the mixture onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  I make about 7 patties from this recipe.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven, flip the patties over, and bake for another 10 minutes.

While the salmon patties were cooking, I threw a cookie sheet with the chopped cauliflower (which I had tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper) into the oven too.  I also used the cooking time to scoop the flesh out of one avocado.  I put it into a bowl and mashed it well with a fork.  I added a few tablespoons of our kefir and stirred it around till it was well mixed – you could use sour cream, greek yogurt, plain yogurt in place of the kefir).  And I put a pot on the stove to steam some carrots to complete the meal.

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Yes, everyone ate this meal . . . everyone enjoyed eating this meal . . . and I was one happy mom.

Best part . . . I could use one of the leftover patties for my lunch the next day, and the rest of the leftovers were frozen so we could have a SUPER quick meal at a later date . . .

Think of the Happiest Things . . .(What Every Self-Help Book Is Trying to Tell You)

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As I was going through photos from our recent trip, I came across this one.  Those mornings, standing in sand, with the surf lapping out our toes, watching the sun rise with the kids – those were magical moments for me.  I have never felt happier, lighter, or more filled with joy.  And I am forever grateful to the Husband for having the foresight to take a picture of us on one of our morning escapades.  (In case you’re wondering, this is what the kids and I were focused on . . .)

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Now that we’re a few weeks into being back home, I’ve realized how much I missed feeling the way I did every morning (and through the entire day) on that trip, and I started to look for ways to bring that feeling back.  You would think, that after my self-imposed journey through the cannon of self-help books, I would have the answers at my fingertips.  But it look several weeks, and some gentle prodding from the Coach to get me to see the light.

It’s easy to feel happy, light and filled with joy on vacation.  Because you are removed from the endless expectations, comparisons, and fears that swirl around us in our everyday life.  When you’re on vacation, you’re one job is to be happy.  And shockingly, the happier you are, the more wonderful things are that you experience, and you become even happier, and thus the cycle continues.

And then you get home.  And you are back to being bombarded by the endless expectations, comparisons, and fears of everyday life, and we become less happy, and as we become less happy, we are more inclined to see the negative side of life, which in turn makes us less happy, and thus the cycle continues.

Cue the self-help books.  Which I am now starting to realize all basically say the same thing.  Find something that makes you happy.  Anything at all.  And use that to start the cycle of happiness. . . . take “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” – tidy up your house, get rid of anything that might cause you dis-ease in your house . . . you feel better, lighter, happier . . .that translates into you looking for more things that make you feel better, lighter, happier . . . take “Big Magic” – let go of the fear of doing the one thing you really want to do . . .you’ll find happiness . . . which will translate into feeling better, lighter, happier . . . which translate into you looking for more things that make you feel better, lighter happier . . . I could go on . . .and on . . .and on.

It’s such a simple concept really, if we remain rooted in the unpleasantness, the negativity of life, that’s when our lives start to change for the worse.  But if we can find the thing(s) that make us truly happy, focus on that, you will see your life start to change for the better.

I don’t think anyone could sum it all up better than Peter Pan. . . “Think of the happiest things, it’s the same as having wings”.

Wishing you all a happy day.
xoxo

When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your fears good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly!

–Peter Pan

 

My New Vision Board

imageAs part of the on-going One Little Word project I’ve been undertaking this year, we were supposed to create a “vision board” during the month of March.  At first, I got really excited.  I was just given an excuse to buy a stack of magazines.  And I did just that –  I think I probably bought about 20 magazines that day and got straight to work on looking through them, searching for pictures, words, phrases that inspired Joy in me.

While I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of my old favourite publications, and seeing what some new, more novel magazines contained, nothing really got me excited.

So I left the project alone for a while, thinking I’d tackle it when we got back from our vacation.

As March drew to a close, and being one to never let a deadline pass without fishing the expected task, I sat down once again to look for things that sparked joy.  And still . . . nothing.

So instead, I turned my attention to editing all the photos from our vacation.  And then it came to me.

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I printed a photo of one of my favourite memories from our trip, added some signature pink sparkly letters to remind me of my “one little word” and put it all in a big frame that can be hung in my office.

This photo means infinitely more to me than any collage of cut up words and images ever could.  This photo represents true joy . . . and reminds me that true joy is always within reach, within the confines of an ordinary day.  Everything I love most is present in this photo . . . a gorgeous sunrise reminding me that the sun does always rise, that there is glory in the promise of a new day, and that there is always true beauty to be found in nature.  Both kids, 2 of my greatest joys are there too, reminding me of the fun we have in the early hours of the morning (as much as I often wish for just one sleep in, I know that one day they will sleep in and these quiet mornings of ours will come to an end) and just how much love I have in my heart.  While the Husband, the 3rd of my greatest joys, isn’t pictured, he’s there in spirit . . . in fact, it’s his very absence in this photo that reminds me of how much we love each other and what a great team we are (I woke up most mornings on this trip with the kids while he had a bit of a sleep in . . . allowing me to have a bit of a nap in the afternoon while he took care of the kids).

I know, I broke the rules, didn’t follow the instructions, and maybe I’ll regret the choice I made at the end of this One Little Word project.  But for now, I love this project so much, and I know I will love it for years to come, long after I’m done with this year’s One Little Word, that I think this was once choice that was well worth making.

 

On Kids and Choices

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I thought I was done with books of the self-help genre for a while after finding myself so engrossed in several good novels over my vacation.  But late last week, I was pulled back in after a friend generously gave me a copy of a book they were loving.  The book is called “Conversations with God” and it is a fascinating read.  Since starting it last week, I’ve revisited a lot of the themes that I’ve been working with over the past few months, such as the concept of choice (there are no good or bad choices, only the right choice for you at a point in time), that we cannot judge experiences as good or bad as we don’t know where they will lead us (yup, not much I can argue with on that point), and that we really do create our own reality though our choices and the way we choose to react to the events in our lives.

Lately in our house, we’ve had a lot going on.  My son has both lines for his school play and a speech to memorize.  My daughter is just learning to read.  I’ve been working with both kids trying to instil the concept that with practice, everything gets easier.  The more my son practices his lines and his speech, the easier the will get.  And the more my daughter practices her reading, the easier that will get too.

Now, coupled with the aforementioned book I’ve been reading, I’ve also read several articles lately on kids and how they need to develop resilience.  One of the best was on the site Hands Free Mama.  (If you haven’t read this blog yet, or any of the Hands Free Mama books, you should . . . they are amazing!!!).  This line in her most recent post really got me:

“the characteristics we most want to develop in our children—like resiliency, strength, tenacity, determination, independence, and compassion—come from enduring adverse and challenging situations . . .it is not to rescue, minimize, or abandon my child during her time of need, but instead to listen, support, encourage, and believe in her ability to overcome”

All of this had me wondering.  What would happen if I let my kids make choices for themselves.  Not about big or important things.  Just about little things in their lives.  Like whether or not they practice the lines or their speech or their reading.

This morning, I decided to find out.

I, not so subtly, set out all the things they would need to get their work done along with the charts that they use to track their work.  (Have I talked about this before?  I make up little charts with spaces for them to put stickers once they have done one of their daily chores.  If they hit the target I set out for them – like get 3 stickers a day for a week – then they can pick from a short list of little rewards – like picking out a new book at the bookstore, choosing what we have for dinner one night, that sort of thing.  I wish I could say it was a real motivational tool, but sadly, I think it’s just more work for me than anything else).

And neither kid did a stitch of work.  Admittedly, they were engaged in some awesome free play.  But neither kid got any work done.

In the car on the way to school, I talked to them both about what had happened – that I had set out their work, and that they had chosen not to do any of it.  I explained to them that I was a little disappointed in the choices that they had made.  And that as they grew up, it becomes less and less of my responsibility to remind them to do their work, and more and more it becomes their responsibility to remember and get it done.

Over dinner, we had the opportunity to revisit the concept of choices.  We talked about hard work and determination and how we achieve the things that we most want in life by making choices that support our goals – or in simper terms, by choosing to practice lines, speeches, and reading we will be able to deliver our lines, our speeches, and read without worrying.

I’m not sure any of this has really sunk in with either child yet.  I’m not sure it’s sunk in with me yet either (if I’m to be frank . . . I chose to make muffins this afternoon when I should have been finishing up this post and doing some other work I have on the go).

Regardless, I am very much enjoying working through this concept with the kids, and I’m excited to see where we end up with it.

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