Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Galveston Bay - West End at Sunset
Nesting - Beyond the Sea

Rachel Hollis
Girl Wash your Face!
Know this one great truth: you are in control of your own life. You get one and only one chance to live, and life is passing you by. Stop beating yourself up, and dang it, stop letting others do it too.

I got to spend some time on the sea recently. The gray clouds touching the sea, drawing me in, pulling me forward into the tumbling tide, towards the moon and back again, to the shore and life, life past, life present and finally life future, sunrise leading the way before me. I stood there in awe of the wave’s majesty and how the moon can push and pull us. How the sun breaks through the sky, like the birth of a new babe. Calling us, showing us to step in, to stand tall and to begin again and again. Over and over and over again… the grays, the sea, the sun, the sand the salt. I stood there just beyond the sea and reflected the light of all that surrounds me and all that is in me.

It is no coincidence that it was my turn to write for Modern Widows Club this month. I’m nesting for sure! In a strange new way. I’m moving out of my home of 30 years just before this trip to the beach. Packing and touching every single part of me. We bought this house when our twin daughters, Claire and Nicole were 4. It is the only house our son, Chris, has ever known. I dreamed of this house when we bought it and now, I’m letting it go, to be loved again by another man, joining another family beginning a new chapter in another story.

Beyond the Sea - 
Thomas Love Peacock

Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
My heart is gone, far, far from me;
And ever on its track will flee
My thoughts, my dreams, beyond the sea.

Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
The swallow wanders fast and free:
Oh, happy bird! were I like thee,
I, too, would fly beyond the sea.

Beyond the sea, beyond the sea,
Are kindly hearts and social glee:
But here for me they may not be;
My heart is gone beyond the sea.

I’m moving into a new house! Amidst all my boxes, I'm letting go of the past and moving boldly into the future. I find I want less. I need less. I want more experiences than books, more moonlight strolls than paper goods. More spending time with loved ones than the clutter that kept me captive for at least three paralyzed for years. I want to live the new life I have created.

I’m reminded daily by how our choices define us. We are the result of our decisions, our commitments, our lessons teach us new realities. Many of us became alone not by choice, but by fate. The loss of a loved one, a lover or husband that walks away, our children as they grow and move away - and here we are.

We are called to do our own “nesting” and to touch and feel all those items that used to bring us Joy--as Marie Kondo teaches in the "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up". We have nothing in our homes, nor our souls, we didn’t collect along the sandy beach called life, and we have taken these material things into our hearts and our minds to keep, to hold onto and to remember forever all the memories they held- both the good and the bittersweet.

Carolyn Moor, fervent, resilient leader of MWC came to stay with me a few days a couple of years ago. We were out and about all day, on television, lunch at the fancy, beautiful Petroleum Club, Happy Hour with some of our MWC members, then finally she passed out roses and shared her story at our meeting. We came home exhausted and tumbled into bed. I had been “preparing” for her visit for months - spending time organizing, cleaning and decluttering, as you would for a royal visit. 

The next morning, I made Carolyn breakfast, and she quietly took it all in. My home. And she responded. "This is not YOUR home, this is the home our raised your children in, it is your FAMILY HOME, but it doesn’t reflect who you are when you are out. You need to make this Home YOUR home. Now. It’s time." Those words wounded me straight to the core, but only to realize she was right, ohhhh so very right. 

I realized that I had become a captured prisoner in my home, all the memories and all the clutter; a list of what Kevin had eaten for the day which I kept only because I believed that by keeping it, somehow, I could continue to hold on to him. It was a Lie. And as Rachel Hollis says in her book “Girl Wash Your FACE!” it was one of the many lies we tell ourselves that keeps us stuck in a cold, dark space.

Nesting is about making your space YOUR space. Let go and get rid of what you don’t want, don’t need. Make some room for comfort, for healing, for hope. It is time to make your house the new you home. I bought a couple of chairs from Pier One, a bright new tablecloth that made me happy, Let go of some of the books and moved some of my favorites to my bedside, coffee table for easy access.

Many of you know I lived on my green couch for 3 years. I’m letting it go. My friend is taking it so I can come visit her and reminisce. But honestly, I don't’ want to “sit” there anymore. I want to be beyond the sea, on a new shore, in a new home, waiting for new experiences in my brand-new life.

I challenge you to take a chance and make the choice to make some changes. It is easy to get overwhelmed. 

Here are my tips:
  • Stay calm
  • Choose a room
  • Set a time for 15 minutes - if you want to do more, you add another 15
  • Start in a corner, or a drawer or a tiny space you want to change
  • Sort = Keep, Donate or just Throw away
  • I threw away my Jr. High autograph book because I realized I only look at it when I clean
  • I never come home from work and say “Gee I feel like looking at my Jr. high autographed book k tonight”
  • Think of all those you can bless by getting the bags of stuff you don’t need to someone who does
  • §Find a charity you want to support --there are so many. Many services will come right to your front door.
  • Pick a date, make an appointment and set your goal on freedom from clutter.
  • It won't happen overnight, so take your time. And make sure it’s YOUR timeline not someone else’s
  • No one’s schedule or reason is yours but your very own
  • I promise the uncluttered space is so refreshing, renewing, and rewarding. It will give you calm and peace

Galveston Bay - Sunrise

Beyond the Sea
Somewhere beyond the sea 
Somewhere beyond the sea 
It's far beyond a star
We'll meet beyond the shore
I know beyond a doubt
Somewhere waiting for me
My lover stands on golden sands 
And watches the ships that go sailing
She's there watching for me
If I could fly like birds on high 
Then straight to her arms I'd go sailing
It's near beyond the moon
I know beyond a doubt 
My heart will lead me there soon
We'll kiss just like before
Happy we'll be beyond the sea
And never again I'll go sailing
My heart will lead me there soon
And we'll meet, I know we'll meet beyond the shore
We'll meet just as before

Just Do it - Not because I say so, but because you want the freedom it brings. Stick with it. Plan to work on certain spaces and mark it on your calendar.  You can’t do your whole house in a weekend, but if you mix hard work with something fun, you truly can get it done. I will work in the morning and treat myself to a walk in the park with Sadie after lunchKeep it simple, be consistent, but DO IT.

Just beyond the sea, the sky is calling you
Stand firm in the sand. Let the moon guide you home…
Beyond the sea; just beyond the sea.
Just beyond your clutter, a new life is calling
Reach for it, baby! I beg you! Reach for your new life.
It is there waiting for you!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens - A Living Museum,
Sarasota, Florida

The Road Less Traveled... a Year of Possibilities

You Say, Lauren Daigle
I keep fighting voices in my mind that says I’m not enough
Every single lie that tells me I will never measure up
Am I more than just the sum of every high and every low?
Remind me once again just who I am, because I need to know 
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh 
You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe 
What You say of me 
I believe
The only thing that matters now is everything 
You think of me
In You, I find my worth, 
In You I find my identity, 
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
And You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe What You say of me
Oh, I believe
Taking all I have and now I'm laying it at Your feet
You have every failure God, and You'll have every victory,
You say I am loved when I can’t feel a thing
You say I am strong when I think I am weak
You say I am held when I am falling short
When I don’t belong, oh You say that I am Yours
And I believe, oh I believe
What You say of me
I believe
Oh I believe, yes I believe
What You say of me
Oh I believe 

Songwriters: Paul Mabury / La
uren Ashley Daigle / Jason Ingram

It's time to ACT... Authentic, Committed, Tenacious - My "Word" for 2019!

New Year's Eve always comes on me like a sleeting, snowy mixture of to beautiful snowflake filled days and bitterly cold nights - it's a time to reflect and course correct. 2018 has been a year of great growth and change for me. But like the cocoon unsnarled in his nest, to emerge and to move forward, is like a rebirth both beautiful and painful at the exact same moment.
I think as widows, because we loved, we have learned, and because we have learned, so we grow. As with any new birth, we are excited, hopeful and so in love with the future, and at the same instant a small tug from the past tries to hold on and pull us back to the warm lull of our womb, our past, and for me the comfort of an old green couch...
As most of you know, this has been my year of YES! 2018 marked the 7th year of Kevin's passing, three years after a long hard battle with cancer. I needed to do something different. After watching my beautiful daughter give birth to her amazing daughter Charlotte, while struggling with her own health and life on the morning after they lost there beloved home with a sweet little nursery for this babe, moving into my home for refuge, as I moved to my Maman's home, worked part-time at a circus, a church and a  choosing my daily wear out of the back of my car, while helping to take care of my dying father in law in Austin, and my mother in law who had a stroke the day after we finally got my daughter out of the hospital... I cashed in all my chips and flew to Fiji in January of 2018. And so began my amazing year of possibilities...

Boat on the Beach, Taveuni, Fiji
My life has changed so much since then it is truly unbelievable.
I began dating a "platonic Photography friend" I met John thru my dear friend Nyla, our Modern Widows Club Houston Chapters Leader, in a French Cooking Class she invited me to. We started dating and traveling and sharing our lives together. I got a job. I really starting living as a brand new me. It's different and not everyone likes it. It is hard on many. I have less "free" time to share with family and friends. Between my new love relationship, a new job, and taking care of myself for the first time in forever, I have had to make some shifts and shimmies to make life work. But it is working. It has been a breaking out of the past into the new... that moment of truth when the new child emerges all covered in new birth, to be caught, and cradled, and clothed to be all clean, and loved in new life. Again. 
2018 was truly a wonderful year of wonder, of wisdom, of growing and learning. The road less traveled for sure. I could never imagine the places I've been, the wonderful beautiful family and friends I have met because of John, and the new "we" we are creating. Since he is a widower too, after many many years of marriage he gets "it" and most of all, he gets me. He actually loves the brand "new me." Wow!

"To be in Love Again with a Man that Loves Me for the "New" Me! 
I wrote the card shared above during Jodie Rodenbaugh's retreat. I found it in my nightstand while decluttering the other day... My heartfelt prayer was "To Be In Love Again with a Man that Loves ME for the 'New' me.

Wow. I had totally forgotten the note until I found it. Then I realized it was real. It was happening. I am living it. I cried when I reread it. Now. Changed. Loved. Transformed. The Vision is Real. We are standing in the middle of it in faith.  And I believed. 

Now, its a new year of possibilities...

It's time to ACT... Authentic, Committed, Tenacious - My "Word" for 2019!

When I counseled with Carolyn Moor, one of the things she tells us is to choose a word that describes how we want to feel at the end of the year...instead of setting goals first, you choose your perfect word to describe how you want to feel. 

gave up my FEAR in 2016,
I wanted HOPE in 2017
In 2018 I wanted to be LOVED again!

My Word for 2019 is ACT; Authentic, Committed and Tenacious. I'm Holding on with all my power! 
As widows united together through MWC, we are moving forward, arm in arm.  We are finding our wings. We are beginning to take flight. We will hope again. We will love again. We will live again. I promise.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said so eloquently, 

 “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” 

We never lose love. We may miss love, but it lasts forever. It never really leaves us. We can only add love. Take a chance. Make a choice to take a chance to make a change and don't' look back. In other words, ACT! We shall overcome and live, and laugh and love again. It's true. Don't be afraid to see where the road leads you. You may want to consider a road less traveled. No matter where your journey takes you, I wish you all the best. 
Remember Love Lasts Forever. Always.