Memorial Day

Memorial Day is set up to remember the sacrifice of those died serving our country.  We honor veterans and have parades in their honor.

It also unofficially kicks off the summer.  We get an extra day off and enjoy extra family time.

I remember those who went before me.  My relatives all came back from their military service. But, I remember those lost to me.  Those who have passed and those who are no longer part of my life.

I remember the sweet times, the hard times, and the love shared with the relationships I’ve had.  I remember my foster children and hope they are successfully finishing a school year.  It was always a busy but magical time as the start of summer held so many possibilities.  A buzzing energy was in the air and calendars were busy with planned activities.

This year, I am planning a move and several weekend trips.

What are your summer plans?

Who are you remembering this Memorial Day weekend?

 

-Elle

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Morning

I’m up early this morning for breakfast out with my mom.

I’m up before anyone but the birds.  Before the sun even.   It is in these dark, small, quiet minutes that I feel a sense of peace.  As an introvert, I enjoy a slow and gentle start to my day.

This weekend, I’m heading to the woods for a walk and then breakfast.  I’m meeting up with my run group from church- all who train before the heat of the day raises.

It’s a great start to a Saturday.

How are you spending your weekend?

 

-Elle

Women

As we approach Mother’s Day, I am reflective . . . and awkward.  I mourn the loss of my children and my heart is tender.

I am reading, “We Must Be Brave,” and in it the main character has a child with her in a similar foster-like situation until the girl returns to her biological father several years later.  She enjoys baking; in one scene, loaves of bread are rising.  The loaves are sitting too close together and end up sticking to each other.    When pulled apart, you can tell their sides have been damaged.  The dough is still useful and still whole, but marked by the time it was together with the other loaf.   Shaped indelibly by the time together.   She likens losing Pamela to those two loaves of bread stuck together.  Forever changed and the soft parts are damaged.  I relate to this comparison and I think anyone who has experienced loss is changed.

I won’t attend church and I will lay low.  I bought my mom dinner midweek and will take my mother-in-law out on Saturday.

May you take some self care time out this weekend.  Whether you are celebrating mother’s day or it is a pain point for you, may you know that you are loved.    Do something kind for yourself.

How will you spend Sunday?

 

-Elle

Busy

We can get caught in the mundane.  I find myself in a busy season at work and find time for little else personally.  It has been a season of logging in remotely after a 10+ hour day in the office just to squeeze a little more into the evening.

It is in this season of professional demands that I am grateful to be childfree.  I would feel squeezed on all sides.  Right now, I just pause housework and my husband eats leftovers.   I guess I have hit pause more than I should.

I recently took a long weekend to deep clean the house.  Donate. Clean.  Purge.  I found cans in the back of the cabinet that had long since expired.  I found gift certificates in purses I haven’t used in a long time. It was a like a treasure hunt.  I was physically exhausted but felt lighter of spirit at the end of the weekend.  And everything looked great for having company over Sunday.

Do you spring clean?  What is an area you pause when you get busy?

-Elle

Easter

My heart feels heavy at Easter.  A loneliness comes and goes like sheers on an open window.  Stores are filled with candy and trinkets for young children’s Easter baskets.  Church is a sea of tulle and shiny shoes as kids dress up in new clothes.  Store sale emails send reminders about picking up supplies for your family.

Maybe because I lost children at 6 and 7, I was in the middle of that stage.  If I had teenagers, they would have grown out of some of the magic of young children at holidays.   Ads for baby products never bother me, . . . but I never had infants.

As I deal with my heavy heart, I remember the anguish of God giving His only son.  What a sacrifice that was. I focus on Easter and the message of hope.  I volunteered behind the scenes to keep busy.

And, like the closed tomb, push through the darkness into the light.  Roll the heavy stone away.  It’s harder at certain times of year.

 

-Elle

Lunch

If you can be anything, be kind.

I saw a news story on schools wrapping up leftover cafeteria food into to go packages for students who might not eat dinner.  A worker said that the food was being thrown away and they came up with a way to use what they had on hand to meet a need.  What a great idea.

I am inspired by people to take a loaf and fishes and feed the masses.  With their time.  With their resources.  With whatever they have.

We only have this one glorious, messy, beautiful life.  And what are we doing with it?  How much time is spent on building each other up?

For me, I keep extra umbrellas in my car to give out to people unexpectedly stuck in downpours.  I keep homeless bags- a gallon ziplock with essentials (including a fresh pair of socks) to give out to those asking at stop lights.  And I send out cards to friends going through rough times.

You are unique and were put in your community for such a time as this.  How are you serving those around you?  What one kindness can you bestow this week?

 

-Elle

Accounting

I received a task journal where you account for all your time.  Whether you are working, exercising, meeting with a friend, etc.  Even your screen time is planned.   It’s hard for me to go from only highly planning my work day to accounting for all my minutes 24×7.

At church, I am taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.  It has every dollar accounted for.  Whether it is the electric bill, mortgage, dinner with a friend, a trip, etc.  You plan a budget around accounting for every dollar.  It’s felt great to feel organized financially.  It’s a good check and will allow me to be a better steward of what I have been given.

It seems like this chapter of my life is accounting for all my resources.  Every minute.  Every dollar.  It’s challenging and refreshing all at the same time.  When I close an account that has a small balance and move that money to my main savings account, I consolidate and feel more stream lined.

I value time more than money.  You can earn more money, get a part time job,  etc.  But, you can’t get extra time.  Once ‘spent’, that time is gone.  Forever.    I’m making strides to put priorities on what will make a difference in the long run.

How are you spending your time?  What is most important to you?

 

-Elle

Partnering Together

“Something in your eyes say you’re falling in,
You’re a part of me, you’re under my skin,
Every piece of me has felt so incomplete ’til you came into my life,

You and I are so entwined,
I always knew that I was made for you.”  Entwined- Tim Myers

 

As you get to know your partner, you learn their quirks, strengths, and funny back stories.  What their nicknames were growing up.  Who their friends were and what they did for fun.

My husband was mischevious and I love this.  Because he is so kind and easy going as an adult that I have a hard time seeing this side.  But, I hear stories from his mom and I’m amazed.

We are complimentary personalities.  I am an introvert and organized.  He is an extrovert and creative.  It makes the team stronger.  Having differences can be challenging.  But, working together, we fill the puzzle pieces to complement each other.

The lyrics of the song “Entwined” stuck out to me because it says, “You’re a part of me, you’re under my skin.”  Usually I think of getting under my skin as bothering someone.  But this song describes it as incomplete until the two came together.  Entwined like a strong rope.  A single strand not as strong as two entwined together.

It’s a work in process  But, I feel entwined.

 

-Elle

Funny

I gave up watching the nightly news.  There was a constant stream of ‘bad’ news.  It ranged from shootings to crime to local media stories of companies mistreating people.  I couldn’t have that be the last thing I heard before bed.

I started watching 5-10 minute clips on YouTube and have settled into a new routine.  I go to Dry Bar Comedy on YouTube and look for 5-10 minute comedy sets.  I listen to funny, clean comedy routines for a few minutes before getting ready for bed.

It helps to end on a positive note and quiets my mind.  I no longer fall asleep with a list of ‘to do’ on my mind.  Instead, I think of what I have just heard.

What is one thing you do for your daily routine to bring about positivity?

 

-Elle

Peace and Love

“What you looking for? What you headed towards?
What’s your name worth when they mention yours?
When you leave here, are you stepping forward?
Can you remember your intention when they question yours?
They’re gonna question yours, they’re gonna question yours
I’ve been at rock bottom and I’m headed North
If you don’t love yourself, what’s the respect for?
If you don’t love life, the check won’t correct yours
Excavate

Fill my lungs up, pour my heart out, peel my bones away
Grab my window, shed my shadow, excavate my pain
And I found peace, and I found peace
And I found peace”  Excavate- Macklemore

 

Everyone has a purpose, a calling, and talents to use and develop throughout life.  What are you doing with yours?

Whether we have found a partner, have children, or own a home,  . . . the world’s measures of success . . . we know our inner worth.  I got married at 30 and spent my twenties with family asking, “When are you going to get married?”  I had a college friend who used to tell her mom, “I don’t play the harmonica but you don’t ask me when I’m going to start playing.”

I have found a peace in being childfree.  I always wanted children and still grieve for the loss of my foster children.  I always will- they are woven into the fabric of my heart.  But, I live a full life.  A life I love.  A life that is my own choices and is filled with experiences, friends, and family.

The lyrics above state that if you don’t love your life, your income can’t correct the emptiness.  Rise above the expectations people put on you and make choices to love yourself.  To build a life that you love.  My life doesn’t have to be big and glamorous.  I love walking the woods with a running group from my church.  I love watching the sunrise in gorgeous sherbet pinks and oranges.  The little things bouy my spirit and get me through the rough patches and bumps in the road.

Fill up your lungs in a few deep breaths.  If you don’t love your life, make a conscious choice to make one decision toward a new chapter.  Shed your shadow, find peace.

 

-Elle