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Finding My Balance

1 Feb
Me in side Crow Pose

Me in side Crow Pose

I cannot say that I am an authority on balance. I look back over my life and find that balancing my lifestyle differed according to where I was in life. In my 20’s, with no husband and children, I balanced work, college, post graduate studies, and a social life. Once I married my life shifted and, I had to find a new balance. In my 30’s I birthed one child, then two and three came soon after!! NOW I REALLY HAD TO BALANCE! To be honest here, often I was unbalanced. What I have always had was a desire to be:

-active

-engaged in life and

– always at peace.

In each decade of my adulthood I really would strive for balance in my life. The 20’s found me in college where I was active as a cheerleader and dancer. After college, I taught dance classes (as well as a teacher in the public schools). I took ballet classes and joined a gym. In my 30’s I resurfaced from the new motherhood trenches and exercised more, taught more fitness classes and, found sanity when I spent time doing something for myself. That something was exercising. It helped me release which, in turn, helped me handle the ins and outs of life.

Today (in my 40’s here), I found this definition of balance in my ZEN cards by Daniel Levin

Balance

The Center is not always the point of balance. When you find that place where BALANCE is achieved, Peace will result in all situations. There is no conflict, for everything RESTS without strain.

That sums up balance for me now. That place where I have peace and I find that all is well with myself; spirit, soul and body. My sense of peace and stability change with life. It ebbs and flows and, there are days as well as seasons that I am well out of balance. Ultimately, I always come back to the center, my center. And, for me that always includes time to Sweat Everyday!
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Emancipated Past and My Sons Future

5 Jan

photo credit Ki Taylor
http://www.twitter.com/akitaylor

One Hundred and fifty years ago, on January 1, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. I knew that bit of history and didn’t really think much of it (the 1st  is also my middle sons birthday so I was consumed with celebrating him), until I went to the post office. I needed to mail packages and found that I needed a stamp. When I saw the offerings of stamps I came across the commemorative stamp and had to purchase a page of them. They look really cool, don’t you agree?

stamps

I had to purchase them, because no matter how I feel about the politics of it all, the bottom line is, it changed the course for my people, forever. I had to purchase them because I need to show this to my three boys and, then begin the hard, emotional task of teaching them a vital part of their history.

Although it breaks my heart to have to teach them that only 150 years ago their ancestors were considered not to be people, but only property. Slaves. It’s a hard reality and one that breaks my heart. Why? Why, do they need to know? Because you learn from the past to prevent the same thing from happening in the  future. When someone calls them a “nigger” they need to know the ignorance and history behind why someone would think less of them. I cannot hide it from them. I have been called a nigger by mere strangers, with pure hatred towards me even though I had never met them in my life. They need to know.

I hate to have them know that only because of their skin color people will judge them, but it is a reality.

My husband, a professional, law abiding man, was just stopped the other day, before getting into his car at our hotel, because he “fit the description” of a unidentified robber in the vicinity. Two cops surrounded his car, startling him and I wonder what their intentions truly were. The hurt in my heart and the outrage in my spirit that is there because of that experience cannot be quenched and I have to protect my sons by teaching them history.

So, as many celebrate the emancipation  I acknowledge it and recognize the historical significance of it. I also use it to begin an educational process with my family, one I wish didn’t exist. One I hope time will heal and our society will change, however the reality is that is hasn’t yet. So, with a sorrowful heart I teach the boys that they are not the past, they are the future and they are AMAZING, STRONG, EDUCATED and INCREDIBLE.  As is their father, the man who supports his family, loves his family and contributes a lot to society. He is not a robber! He doesn’t deserve the treatment he received from police he received and our boys won’t either. I have to have them know this because they are the future.

Unsettling

31 Dec

That picture above is of a Nerf gun. It is called the Nerf Stampede gun. My 12-year-old really wanted it for Christmas. He has been very into Nerf guns for a couple of years now and it has been unsettling to me and my hubby. He gets the toy Nerf guns and then runs down to the basement to “mod” them out.

Very unsettling…

When the boys came along I was so sure I would be “that Mom”, no guns around Mom. My boys would be non-violent, respect women, and be a better man than most. Oh, and I wouldn’t be a yeller, spanker and never be  “like my mom”. (You already know I am SO THAT MOM now.) SO, when they started running around and making guns with absolutely any and every straight thing they could find I figured water guns would be fine. Then that  evolved into them getting a gun as gift or two and us allowing them to keep them. OK, no biggie. the rule then became don’t point guns at people ESPECIALLY your Mom, Dad or brothers (probably the main folks they wanted to “pretend” shoot). THEN the Nerf toys showed up, it’s OK, they are like water guns right?

ME – ” Mod them out for what son??

Son – “MOM, I like thaking things apart and, I watch YouTube videos on it and, it’s cool”

Me and Dad – “Videos on Nerf guns???”

Son – “Duh, yes!”

Mom and Dad – “OK (eyeballs rolling), whatever” (we watched and they really have lots of videos on this stuff!)

Time goes on and at least he doesn’t want those Airsoft guns, right?

Well he wants the Stampede, so, I order it and, Amazon  (LOVED Amazon this Christmas) delivers. I open it and WOW!!! The Damn thing has clips in it for automatic dispersal of the bullets. The Damn thing is a machine gun. It was as BIG as a real machine gun (I think as I have never seen one in person).  OH HELL NO!!! I couldn’t, my hubby couldn’t, we just couldn’t! ESPECIALLY in light of the fact that within one month 26 lives were brutally destroyed in Newton (with guns),  a 14-year-old boy was killed in Grayson, GA (with a gun) AND a man who was a vital part of his community was shot and killed by stray bullets ( gun again). The last two I had friends who were connected to. These were in three different parts of the country Conn., Georgia and California, yet all three were had guns involved.

We couldn’t.

How Unsettling.

This post isn’t a political commentary, opinion piece, or push for any agenda. I just wanted to share and put it out there that if there is one little thing I can do to help reduce violence I will. I hope taking a stand and not giving him the gun will plant a better seed than the opposite. Of course there is WAY more my hubby and I need to do to help foster a healthy lifestyle for our boys and, we will try to do our best. Be engaged in their lives so we can help them grow into understanding there honest and natural aggressiveness.

I have no judgement for those who carry guns, use them, etc. For me , I am just too uncomfortable with that type of violence. And a good guy with a gun scares me just as much as a bad guy with a gun. I wish they weren’t so prevalent in our society and I wish there was no need for them in our society and no need for so much anger, extreme violence and total disregard for life.

I just pray that we can all help boys and girls have more respect for life and be not so insensitive to violence and death.

Hey, I’m all about Peace, Love and Soul!

 

 

In Honor of those I know of who lost their lives to guns this month.  (I know none of theme personally but have shed tears for them all)

Paul Stampleton, Jr., 14 years old

Victor McClinton, 49 years old

– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female

Reflections During The Unpacking

3 Dec

20121203-134946.jpg

I’m having quite a time unpacking the many, many and many more, boxes we have from moving. The moving company kindly (sarcasm because they really went overboard on the packing BUT I didn’t have to do it!) packed every single item in its own wrapping and placed them, sparingly, in boxes; lots of boxes.

Now we have so many boxes I could open a box store for the holidays. We have every size and shape box you can think of. We also have paper to wrap your items and pad the box with. Our garage is literally floor to ceiling full of boxes. The house has had it’s share of boxes too. Not to mention, we have unpacked dozen of boxes already (no exaggeration on the dozens part).

Unpacking boxes has given me a big dose of reality. We have too much S#%*!!

I am all in the Christmas spirit HOWEVER as I unpack I recognize that my family has more than enough. We are blessed and, as I make my fourth trip to Goodwill to donate items, I think we should do something more than just exchange gifts this year.

For a few years, on Thanksgiving morning, we delivered Meals on Wheels. We have taken all the boys do so many times. This year we didn’t and I really think we need to for Christmas. We need to do something on a consistent basis. Material items are not fulfilling or necessary and, as I witness this tough economy and natural anomalies as Sandy I unpack and reflect that others are in need, right now and we can do something about it. That is my reason for the season.

What will you do to help a neighbor this season? Oh, and if you need boxes I have a garage full!

A bathroom sharing dilemma

11 Nov

My sweet (notice the sarcasm) family of five, three boys, the hubby and myself (the only female) have been in a hotel for five days. I am not complaining, especially in the aftermath of Sandy.

We are blessed to have stayed here for four weeks (sarcasm on the four weeks part of it). We are simply waiting to move into our new home here in Pittsburgh, PA.

We have enough space, a cute kitchen, and daily housekeeping, HOWEVER, we share a bathroom. One woman, 4 dudes.

This is a picture of my favorite shower gel, on the floor of the bathtub, after my oldest son (12yo) took a shower.

20121111-135619.jpg

Me: “Why is my shower gel in the bathtub floor?”

Son: “What shower gel?”

Me: (pointing it out) “That one”

Son: “Oh that, I didn’t know that was what that was. I have been using that as my shampoo.”

Me: 😡

Sharing a bathroom, with my boys, is bad, very bad.

Relishing Motherhood on Election Day

6 Nov

Last night when hubby came home (well home to our hotel, which is home for now) after work, I got to watch he and our two older boys engage in an interesting conversation. They were discussing politics! The boys have been discussing this with us, throughout the week, at their own urging, not ours! I was so intrigued with their conversation. I also swelled up with pride. What I felt, is hard to describe. I am not proud because I feel like “OOOO, I am super Mom and these are my creations who think the way they do because of me”.  I realized that as I listened to them converse with their Dad, I actually like  them because they are who they are in spite of me. I am intrigued with their thoughts and decisions and beliefs. They had real, definite positions and were clear  on why they believe what they do. They had clear understandings about the voting process, the electoral process and they had clear ideas about what can be done to help our country. My two older sons are 10 and 12 years old!

When they were younger I loved them and, loved motherhood, but was always waiting to get out of whatever stage they were in. They are 16 months apart and it was hard, fun but hard. When they were 4 and 6 another son came and life was really busy then. Now, though, I am really enjoying them. My 12-year-old is so insightful and engaging. He brings up really interesting and thoughtful topics and ideas. He is developing into a really neat person (in my opinion).

I thought that as my boys got older, I would dread them. I assumed they  would dread me too, however, I am liking all of my boys even more. This stage of motherhood definitely has its challenges and twists and turns but I find myself relishing it and not wanting it to rush by.

SO, today in Nov. 6th, election day in the USA.  America is voting and we will all watch it together as a family. We’ll have debates, discussions and friendly banter back and forth but as a family we will engage in the political process of our country with no vitriol, anger or malice.

My prayer is that this will continue with boys for their lifetime. In the future, near and far, they will further engage in acts of discourse with others. They will go into the world and help others, be fair and do what is right. I hope others will see in them what I do, strong, engaging, caring, insightful individuals who want to make a difference in our country and our world.

That makes me proud and confident that America will be okay because we have a future and a hope in our next generation. Happy voting day!

Falls Embrace

5 Nov

Fall has found me in transition. Just like the leaves turning, we too are turning. Our life in Georgia has ended. This is a very big deal for my hubby because he was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia.

He returned and lived in Georgia for the past twelve years. He left Georgia as a single young man and returned with a wife (me) and, together we increased by three. His father was the last living male of nine. His father was the only one to have a son to carry the family name. We, in turn have the only boys in the family that now carry the family name. My in-laws got to experience the births of their only grandsons. My hubby, their only son, gave his parents such joy.

Our twelve years in Georgia encompassed so much, but it’s time to go. In our time here, my husband’s parents are have both gone on. It was time for him to go on too.

We arrived here in Pittsburgh at a beautiful time of year. The land gave us her best. The vibrant. warm colors surrounded us as we arrived, as though it was embracing us. I realized then that although this is a transition that isn’t always easy, it is beautiful and it is meant to be.

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