Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gratitude

I am not a Christmas person and in general autumn is my least favorite season. One of the things I do like about it, though is that it feels like a good time to reflect on the year and focus on being grateful. (I do like all of the yummy food, as well - pecan pie! sweet potatoes! pumpkin everything!) There was a great article in the New York Times on the science of the benefits of gratitude.

One study has people keep a gratitude journal and found this:
"The gratitude journal was brief — just one sentence for each of the five things — and done only once a week, but after two months there were significant effects. Compared with a control group, the people keeping the gratitude journal were more optimistic and felt happier. They reported fewer physical problems and spent more time working out.
Further benefits were observed in a study of polio survivors and other people with neuromuscular problems. The ones who kept a gratitude journal reported feeling happier and more optimistic than those in a control group, and these reports were corroborated by observations from their spouses. These grateful people also fell asleep more quickly at night, slept longer and woke up feeling more refreshed. "

If there was one major lesson I learned in 2011, it is to be grateful, to put real energy into reflecting on the things I am so lucky to have. Top of that list is always you, Lorelai. I think I would be just a kite floating in the wind if I didn't have you to keep me linked to the rest of the world. Every day I am amazed by you.

I have learned this year to be grateful, not just for the love, abundance, amazing people and the beautiful world around us, but also for the pain and sadness. Sadly, I know that the lessons I have learned about having compassion for other people and for myself were only learned through suffering. I hate that it has to be that way, but I know more than ever that I am strong and I have much, much more to learn. I just hope I am able to be a person worthy of being your mommy, and a good friend, daughter, sister and partner.

Love,
Mama



Monday, December 5, 2011

Thinking

Lorelai, you are so smart. How did you come up with that idea? "I just thunk about it." Hm. Are you sure that's how you say that? "Oh! I mean I thinked about it!"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Love can mend your life

But love can break your heart.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Way to bring it back to sugar

Background: My Mom (Lorelai's Oma) has freckles (kind of everywhere).
Lorelai to Oma: You are like a cupcake!

Oma: Why?

Lorelai: Because you have sprinkles on you!

...I love that girl.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sneaky genius

Lorelai has been learning how to play a lot of games on my phone and often asks me if she can play while I am driving. She had figured out all kids of different games, which I think is quite amazing considering she can't read any of the words.
A few weeks ago she and I went to California to visit Susan, Eric and Addy-poo and both girls were in the backseat of the car and Lorelai had my phone. A couple days later I found these pictures:


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our Song

When I first brought you home from the hospital I realized I didn't know any lullabys. I guess I thought I would just remember them once I was rocking you to sleep, but the only songs I could think of seemed too sad or just not right for a baby. Then, all of a sudden I realized I knew all of the words to "The Circle Game" by Joni Mitchell. That became the song I sang to you every night for four years and you still ask for it sometimes. You call it "yesterday when I was a baby." The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell Yesterday a child came out to wonder Caught a dragonfly inside a jar Fearful when the sky was full of thunder And tearful at the falling of a star Then the child moved ten times round the seasons Skated over ten clear frozen streams Words like when you're older must appease him And promises of someday make his dreams And the seasons they go round and round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time We can't return we can only look Behind from where we came And go round and round and round In the circle game Sixteen springs and sixteen summers gone now Cartwheels turn to car wheels thru the town And they tell him take your time it won't be long now Till you drag your feet to slow the circles down And the seasons they go round and round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time We can't return we can only look Behind from where we came And go round and round and round In the circle game So the years spin by and now the boy is twenty Though his dreams have lost some grandeur coming true There'll be new dreams maybe better dreams and plenty Before the last revolving year is through And the seasons they go round and round And the painted ponies go up and down We're captive on the carousel of time We can't return we can only look Behind from where we came And go round and round and round In the circle game © Siquomb Publishing Company

Monday, November 7, 2011

Trusting yourself

Today I want to share something that I heard in church yesterday. By the way, you reall like going to church and they call you the glitter girl and always have the arts and crafts ready for you - it is so nice.

Anyhow, Joel, the pastor, was talking about what he says when people ask him what they should do. He tells them that they already have the heart and the mind to find the answer. It can be so difficult to learn how to trust yourself to do the right thing and I do sometimes wish I had a crystal ball to know which path to choose.

I do know that as I make more of an effort to take deep breaths and meditate to clear my mind it is often much easier to know which way your heart is leading you.

You can always ask your Mama for advice, as well.

Love,
Mama

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Just Be

"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." Guillaume Appollnaire

It is Sunday night and you are home from your papi's house. I always feel so relieved when you come home and I can see your beautiful smile and we can do a "project" together. Tonight we made a bracelet out of beads and spelled your name on it. We also made a fire and roasted three marshmallows for you to eat.
It finally feels like summer is over and you have begun your Christmas list for Santa. An adult in the house added Curvoisier to the list, so we'll see if Santa makes that in the North Pole...

I chose this quote tonight because it can be so difficult to take a step back and remember how lucky we are. I feel like the luckiest woman in the world to have you as my daughter and to have a job and a car and a fireplace and marshmallows. You are in the bathtub right now splashing and singing and so content. Having you around reminds me that we should be enjoying life in the midst of all of this working to make it better all the time.

Seeing your little sassy self laughing makes me happy.

I love you,
Mama


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Movies

This is a quick post. It is Saturday night and I have just returned from a walk to the Liberty Market in "downtown" Gilbert. Very beautiful, crisp evening, but five miles is a lot for this old lady.

Anyhow, on the way we were discussing movies we would take with us on a desert island, so I thought that would be a fascinating topic for a blog post.

Mine are:
- The Princess Bride
- Hope Floats
- Moulin Rouge
- The Bridges of Madison County
- The Graduate

Of these, you are already a fan of Moulin Rouge :o)

Love,
Mama

Friday, November 4, 2011

Joyce Carol Oates

One of my favorite authors is Joyce Carol Oates. The first book I ever read of hers was Because It Is Bitter and Because It Is My Heart and then We Were the Mulvaneys. It is strange, but what I really liked about both of these books was that they dealt with subjects I have always hated to explore or even think about, and they also in some ways made me sympathetic with the antagonist. In a way, it almost takes courage to read about deep pain and loss, but in a novel it is an easier way to broach the subjects. Luckily, she publishes new books nearly every year, so there is plenty to read when you fininsh one. I have to say, some of the short stories are more difficult for me, as they tend to get right to the sad or scary parts and then end. So I have stuck with the novels, which can be very long and engrossing, my favorite kind. My favorite book by Oates so far is The Gravedigger's Daughter, which was quite painful at times, but worth it.

One of the reasons I think it is valuable to face our fears and think about subjects that make us uncomfortable is that we cannot be available to people we love who are in pain if we are afraid to see it.

A quote from Pem Chodron:
"Compassion practice is daring. It involves learning to relax and allow ourselves to move gently toward what scares us. The trick to doing this is to stay with emotional distress without tightening into aversion, to let fear soften us rather than harden into resistance."

I feel as though I have just started to learn to do this, but I am getting braver, I promise.