Here’s To The New

It’s my birthday today.

This year has been one of my most difficult. I have grown and birthed a new little life. I have watched my children smile, laugh, and cry.  I have seen friendships grow, change, drift apart, and come together. I have felt so full and hollow at the same time. I’ve struggled with finding who I am. I have cried more than I ever have.

I’m done.

I’m done feeling like I need to apologize for the things I like, for my hobbies, and sense of humor. Done apologizing for wanting to take time for myself. Done apologizing for getting dressed and putting on makeup in the morning. Done apologizing for being skinny, because when I look in the mirror or my clothes don’t fit it only reminds me how I haven’t taken care of myself. I shouldn’t feel bad about being who I am and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

I’m done wondering if I said or did something wrong, over analyzing. Done wondering why I don’t get invited or included and feeling hurt. Done being someone else’s option. I’m through with wondering if people like me and instead I’ll wonder if I like them and if they are worth my time. I’m tired of putting others first and being put last. I expect more from people because it is what I would do for them. I’m done giving my all and only getting half in return. Maybe I don’t hold the same place in someone’s heart as they do in mine and that’s okay, I just need to let go. Those who want me in their lives will make a spot for me. I am worth knowing and loving. It shouldn’t feel like a struggle and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

I’m done feeling like today is just time that needs to be gotten through. I’m done holding on to what’s gone and not appreciating what remains. I’m done with not looking with glittering eyes for the magic of tomorrow because it isn’t just another day. I’m done wishing the day would end because I’ve missed so much this way and I’ve spent too many tears on this.

“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human, not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to be with people you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend…” And I’ll miss it if I’m focusing my energy into fighting the old instead of being open to the new.

So you see, tears are a currency I’m done using. I’m taking last year off of my shoulders, standing taller on the good things and leaving the bad behind. Now it is time to start paying for my life with laughter and smiles.

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All photos by Blue Dandelion Photography

 

This year will be beautiful.

 

A Vacation In a Loaf Pan

It’s cold and snowing here today. Really more snaining, which is worse than if it was just snowing. The kids have found all the toys that make the most noise and seem to be playing with them simultaneously. I need a vacation to some place warm and by an ocean as of yesterday but it’s not going to happen. This bread is about as good as I can do today. I may or may not be inhaling the bottle of coconut extract and sucking on limes as I type this.

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Disclaimer: This bread is NOT healthy. It has sugar and butter. Lots of it. And eggs. It is not gluten free, it doesn’t even have whole wheat flour. I suppose you could use half whole wheat flour and throw in some flaxseed or something, but for your mental health, please don’t. Enjoy with a drink that is heavy on the rum and pineapple while listening to Jimmy Buffett. Or this right here.

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Coconut Banana Bread

2 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 c white sugar

1/3 c brown sugar

1 stick of butter, softened or melted

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp coconut extract

3 ripe bananas, mashed. About 1 c.

1 c coconut milk

1/2 c (4oz) cream of coconut

1 c sweetened flake coconut

 

Preheat oven to 350°. Spray your loaf pan with cooking spray.

Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together butter and sugars with a wooden spoon. Beat in eggs. Stir in vanilla and coconut extracts and cream of coconut. Mix in mashed banana and coconut milk.

Alternate mixing wet and dry ingredients just until combined. Stir in flaked coconut and pour into pan. Bake until done in the center. Let cool slightly and glaze.

 

Lime Glaze

1/2 c powdered sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp lime juice

zest of lime

 

 

 

 

Casting My Web

A better morning could not be had if I’m looking for perspective. The cold has crept into the air and settled into the once warm ground, bringing a fog that hangs tightly at all corners. The best weather for web spotting. The dew hangs on the delicate strands, adorning the bare twigs and branches with strands of diamonds. It illuminates the meanderings and hard work of the spiders that live all around my home, of which there are many thanks to the river and woods close by.

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The spider creates beauty just by being, just by going along it’s little way. If what it has made falls apart, which it inevitably will, it starts the process over because it is all it knows how to do.

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The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself, like a spider, in all directions, an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.
-Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

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Over It

Most days are better, easier, but then it seems it can all collapse so quickly. Fragile and teetering. Things seemed good today. Then, as the day started to end I could feel myself tipping and I couldn’t get a strong hold and down I went. Panic at the thought of things I need to do, haven’t done. “Why can’t I get this stuff done? Just stop thinking about it and be better. Do better already.” Too late, too deep to talk myself out of this one. And now I’m Alone in my thoughts, my tears.

It has been said to not base your happiness on anything you can lose. Don’t root it in anyone or anything external. You are your happiness.

But what if what’s inside is dark, lonely, and a little frightening? How do you make it light and open? A place where you want to be? Where do you get that foothold?

I’m trying. I’m not sure, but I’m trying. All I can do right now is draw myself  in close, hold on to me. Start over tomorrow.

There’s A Hole In My Bucket

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I’m not that close to very many people. I think this may be part of my problem and I’m working on it. I need to work on me. I’ve let so many other things and people become my center that I seem to have lost my own gravity and sense of worth and purpose.

Evelyn came home from school the other day with a “bucket” made from a paper bag, inside were small scraps of paper. It was an exercise in kindness, respect, and friendship. You would say something nice to someone and put a piece of paper in their bucket. Say something hurtful and a piece was removed. The idea is you are supposed to always try hard to fill up other people’s buckets. If we do that, all our buckets will be full.

The problem is I’ve put a lid on my bucket. I gave everything inside away and I haven’t let others close enough to refill it. They can’t even see that it’s drained, because I won’t let them. On the outside the bucket looks perfect and full.

I was recently reminded of the 16 personality types. I had taken the test a long time ago and never gave it much thought, but I took it again. I got the same type, INFJ. It rings true with everything I am. The counselor and protector. The innate feeling of loneliness. Being able to see through the walls people have put up around their feelings.

I know how those around me are feeling even when they don’t. And I take on and internalize all of this. Your feelings are now my own, good or bad. You tell me about your breakup and I now feel lost and sad. I read a story of a small life lost too soon and I will hold that devastation for days. You are elated with news of getting a new job or planning a vacation and I am as excited as you are. I go over conversations I’ve had or texts and emails I’ve sent again and again afraid I said the wrong thing. I love and need to be a support for others but I constantly take in and never let out my own feelings. All this has exhausted me. Time to refill my bucket.

So I write to recharge. I rarely speak words that melt like butter, smooth and perfect. It takes me too long to form responses and if I don’t take the time to calculate my words, I can get flustered and stumble over them as they clunk out of my mouth in incomplete thoughts. Lately even the words in my head seem jumbled and scattered but I’m going to keep trying. Keep writing. Hopefully clarity will return and I will feel more like me.

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