Love and Death

Love And Death

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Everybody loves a good love story.

Right?!

Well, my parent’s love story got its official start (according to the court) on this day 41 years ago. I always had my mom tell me their love story when I was younger. I thought it so romantic. I was the type of girl who dreamed of lifelong love…of some deep soul connection. I did find a connection that spoke at my soul level and have been married to that man for almost 19 years. I’m so happy that my parents have loved each other for so long. They’ve taught me about the hard work that goes into a marriage. They’ve shown me about commitment through their own life together.

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I wrote about my parent’s love story last year. You can find that post here.

What I didn’t share in that post is that it also the day that my Grandma Reva died in 2013.

That was because I have this mixed emotion on this day. There is this joy for love…love that created me. There is also sadness for loss…loss that shaped me.

 

Rock Castle Gorge Trail

If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you already know that she was a major source of love and wisdom for me. She was type of person that everyone was drawn to. Her enthusiasm for people and for life was contagious. She taught me life lessons in the way she interacted with what life threw her way. She forgave people freely. I still can recall a specific conversation where I would have harbored resentment and her response was “their choices are between them and God.” I was in my early teens and that conversation still replays in my mind when I want to stay angry when I feel slighted or wronged. She was also one of my biggest cheerleaders.

I’ve shared before that I struggled as she was dying. Death had not been a big part of my experience in life before 2013. My father-in-law had lost his battle with cancer that February. That day is also associated with another memory, which I shared in this post. That, along with some other things, became the catalyst for our move to Virginia. A move that, although I knew in my heart was right, I had a deep struggle with. I would FaceTime with my grandma and did a video tour of the house we were living in at the time. She was so happy for me. She was more concerned for my contentment than the fact that she was dying.

I dreamed of her last night. A strange dream. But most of my dreams are. In the dream, I was going through photos that I had not seen. I don’t know if I had been the photographer or if I was just organizing them. I was putting them in a series and editing words on them to create a story. The photos were a series of attempts in which she was trying to do a handstand. I remembered thinking it so strange because she was in a wheelchair for many years before her death. The hip replacements had long needed replaced again, but her heart was not strong enough for surgery. What I focused on in the dream was her outfit because it was dissimilar to those of her children, who were also in the photos. She had on white pants and a multi-colored shirt. I can remember it had blues in it.

As I tried to process the dream after I awoke, the thought struck me that the outfit was similar to what she wore to my wedding.

In the photo from my wedding, she is pictured with my grandfather (whose ancestry led to our trip to Scotland) and their four children. From left to right: my uncle, my aunt, my grandparents, my mother, and my aunt, the one who traveled to Scotland with my mom and me (she was also my matron of honor).

It felt like an acknowledgement to love.

Remembering my special day, my parent’s special day, and a special person who was present at both.

The Gulf of Mexico in Naples, Florida from the pier

Grief is a strange thing. Sometimes it comes upon you, unexpected. Other times, like today, you know it’s going to be there. There are still moments when I want to call her up and tell her what’s going on or get her advice on a struggle that I’m having. Moments where I want to show her the photographs I’ve taken or the words that I’ve written. Moments where I just want to hear her voice or kiss her cheek.

Even though the sadness creeps into the edges of my day, I feel infinitely blessed to have had her for as long as I did.

Amy Lyon Smith with her grandma and mother

36 years of her pouring out her grace, her strength, and her peace over my life.

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. -Soren Kierkegaard

 

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

Love letter to my daughter

Today, Miss Sunshine turns 14. Instead of the fun day she had planned, she is home sick. I am in full nurturing mode.

That’s what I do.

Because I am her mother.

I wrote this post on her birthday last year.

Its truth remains.

Bedlam & Daisies

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1,000 wishes I’ve wished for you.

1,000 more will I wish.

In my youth, I dreamed of someday having a daughter.

As your dad and I fell in love, I sat on his back porch telling him of my dreams.

He told me that he hoped that my daughter was his daughter too.

A story you’ve heard a million times, and a million more you’ll be told.

On October 21, 2003, we said hello.

Face to face for the first time.

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Your precious hand around my finger.

Your head upon my chest.

The last baby that I would have.

I wanted to breathe in each moment and slow down time.

But time continues on, as it always does.

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Each year the pages seeming to turn faster.

Moments savored.

But gone too quick.

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Each setting sun marking time.

And now you are 13.

A teenager.

Charting your course in history.

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Choosing who…

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Going Back to My Roots.... Airdrie Scotland

Going Back to My Roots…Airdrie Scotland

Today is my mama’s birthday!!

The one who nurtured me in her womb. The one who labored to bring me into this world. The one who cradled me in her arms. The one who whispered words of strength into my ears at every moment that I doubted myself.

Last year, I wrote more of a poetic style post in honor of her special day. You can read that hereThis year, I’ve decided to honor her by writing a little about our Scottish roots. As you know, in May, my mother and I (along with my aunt) traveled to Scotland. This was my mother’s first time stepping onto foreign soil.

There are studies out there that say certain memories are written on our DNA. My gut instinct (though I’m no scientist) is that a pull to your ancestral homeland is one of these memories.  You may recall that my ethnicity according to Ancestry.com is 79% British and 10% Irish. My mother is 85% British and 9% Irish. While your parents do each contribute 50% of their DNA, the makeup of that contribution varies. Which is why siblings can have differing percentages of a certain ethnicity. If my dad were to take the test, I suspect he’d have more Irish than my mother since I have a wee bit more than her.

Scotland has always been intricately linked to our knowledge of our heritage. However, that Scottish heritage was through my maternal grandfather, Andrew McLachlan Scott (1922-2011) and he was somewhat of an enigma. He stood over 6 foot tall, had piercing blue eyes, and a tattoo of a cross and flowers that said “mother” along with the initial R.S. (for my grandmother) on his arm. He raced motorcycles in “Hound and Hare” races across the California desert. My mother would interview him before he passed away and we have a great collection of tales,but he only knew little bits and pieces of his family history.

We knew that he had been born in Sydney Mines, Nova Scotia, Canada and that he had arrived in Los Angeles (his family sponsored by an uncle already living there) when he was about 18 months old.  His mother had been born in Wigan, England and emigrated to Nova Scotia as child. She died at the age of 37. One month after my grandfather turned 10. His memory of her was little fragments here and there. His father was born in Holytown, Scotland and emigrated to Nova Scotia with his family as a teen.  His paternal grandmother, Agnes McLachlan Scott, would come to live with them at some point along the way. Her heavy Scottish accent would have the neighborhood children asking my Grandfather if she was speaking English.

She would be the one that would help lead us down the course of discovering some of our history. This was because, even though she died in 1944, she left records that we were able to use. I always felt a kinship to her because in her “Declaration of Intention” for U.S. Citizenship, which was signed in 1925 (affirming amongst other things that she was not an anarchist nor a polygamist), she was 64 years old and stood at 5’6″.  I read this as a teen, during a time when I struggled over the fact that I towered over most of my peers. (While 5’8″ is not that tall in today’s world, I attended a high school where I could literally see over most people’s heads as I walked the halls). I always wanted to be shorter. Until I read that declaration. I always liked to imagine that was a pretty regal height for that time. That perhaps my height came from those enigmatic Scottish roots.

The document that we possessed that many years later would send us to a little town in Scotland was this one:

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The Certificate of Proclamation.

In Scotland, banns were proclaimed in church for three successive Sundays prior to a marriage in case there was any impediment to the marriage.

My mother also has the Certificate of Proclamation that was proclaimed in Airdrie, but this certificate gave a physical address for where my great-great grandmother was living.

We knew that the landscape of Airdrie had changed since the days of coal mining, but we still wanted to walk the streets and perhaps see the church in which they’d been married (if we could discover which that was).

If you’ll recall from this post, our initial plan to travel there while in Glasgow was not possible due to a train disruption.

Instead, we traveled from Edinburgh on the day prior to flying home. The trains run from Glasgow to Edinburgh every 7 minutes. However, Airdrie is not a stop along each line. We also thought we’d be visiting Caldercruix due to it being listed on the certificate. This meant a very specific train. The staff at the train ticket offices were amazing during our entire usage of the rail system while in Scotland. They knew how to get you to all the stops that you wanted to make and the cheapest way to accomplish that. Since there were three of us, quite often it was cheaper to buy a roundtrip Groupsaver ticket.

 

I did love how all of the stops also had the Gaelic name.

Since Gaelic was originally spoken, not written, there are varying interpretations of what Airdrie originally meant. Most interpretations involve it being a high area. In fact, Airdrie is built across seven hills : Airdriehill, Cairnhill, Gartleahill, Flowerhill, Holehill, Golfhill, and Scarhill.

After alighting from the train (my mother loved that at each stop the train would announce “mind the gap when alighting from the train”), our first stop would be the Discovery Room at the Airdrie Library. The first thing we discovered was that we needed to have a very specific search. You pay for the help of the librarian in that room.

So we headed back down to the main part of the library to narrow down our notes to specifics. The day happened to be June 6th. The time just before 11 am. We were able to join in with all those around us, as well as all of Britain, in the minute of silence held for the victims of the London Bridge attack. It was very emotional to be this foreigner participating in this moment… on their lands. Almost like a sacred space to which, as an outsider, I’d been invited into to come alongside and share in their grief and horror.

Once we had our questions together, we returned upstairs. 1881 census records told us that Agnes McLachlan Scott lived on Flowerhill Street, along with her mother Agnes Baird McLachlan and some siblings. Through the microfilm records in the Discovery Room of the library, we were able to get an actual address.

We were interested in walking up Flowerhill street, because we knew from the 1841 census records that Agnes Baird McLachlan also lived on this street when she was a five year-old, and that her father, James Baird was a Hand Loom Weaver, which we would see as the same occupation for Agnes Baird McLachlan at the age of 15 on the 1851 census.

Airdrie was known for its weaving community during that time. Nearly every weaver had his own home and garden. My mother purchased a copy of a photo of what the homes would have looked at that time. Those homes mostly having been replaced by apartment buildings.

The librarian helped us learn how to maneuver the Scotland’s People website and even found the marriage certificate for Agnes McLachlan and James Scott. We learned that they were Baptist and that they had been married at 38 Shanks Street, her home, not at a church as we’d previously thought. We think this was due to the fact that the Baptist Church located in Airdrie hadn’t been completed at the time of their marriage. However, the name of the pastor doesn’t align with that Church and we haven’t been able to discover where he may have ministered.

We looked at some old maps of Airdrie to see what it may have looked like at the time.

I’ve highlighted the areas that we planned to walk around.  Our starting location was in the lower left of this map, out of view.

 

Given that we had not eaten lunch, we popped into Chunky Monkeys Coffee on Anderson Street.

I kept seeing advertisements for Appletiser, so I decided that I must try one before leaving the U.K. It was tasty. It was a very cold and rainy day, so my aunt opted for hot chocolate covered in marshmallows and a warm soup. My mom and I split a sandwich because we may or may not (definitely may) have been saving room for one of the decadent treats in the display case. After fueling up, we went to brave the rain. This was the rainiest day of our entire time in Scotland.

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So rainy that this is the only photo that I pulled out my camera to take. And you know how I love some good architecture! This is a Category B building dated 1920 and erected from Red Ashlar Sandstone. We passed this building located at 56 Stirling Street more than once and this was taken at the end of our time there, after I crossed the street to return to the train station.

The walk to Flowerhill is uphill… like are we going to get to the top uphill. I had already visited Stirling Castle with my aunt and mother so I had no doubt that their legs would accomplish this feat….but that rain! Our raincoats kept us dry, but our legs and feet were at the mercy of the sideways rains. My iPhone was loaded with Google or Apple maps directing our footsteps. Once I attempted to switch to the camera, but realized that some water had found an entrance into the case and that the touchscreen had been rendered useless. I was horrified that I may have ruined my phone, and even more concerned that we might indeed get lost if the phone quit working. My mother had a mini umbrella that was supposed to withstand wind. It almost lost the battle, but it did hold up while I removed my case, dried my phone and put it back together.

We admired the land surrounding Flowerhill Street and then continued on, a school crossing guard helping us make it across the busy roundabout at the top. We passed Central Park and then discovered there would be some more uphill climbing before reaching our final destination.

Shanks Street.

Though the homes are not the same, it was an amazing feeling that after having traveled so far and having spent the afternoon slogging through the rain, we had arrived.

Arrived at this little intersection of the world that had called our name for so many years.

Walked across land that had once held vows spoken upon its air.

Vows of a life together…vows that would begin a family. Vows that would take that family across the ocean to a place where a son would meet the woman that he loved. In that love, they would have a family. A family that they would take across the border into a new land to the place where a son would meet a Los Angeles beauty who used to kiss the sailors coming into port. Their love would ultimately give birth to four children. Number three would would fall in love with a long-haired Floridian boy in 1976. This love would produce two children. Of which, I am the first.

And it all began on Shanks Street.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Hurricane Irma Upate

Hurricane Irma Update

Hurricane Irma is still on the march.

But she has passed by Naples.

And she has left her ugly mark.

I know that some of you may stop by my blog today to see how my family fared. My heart has been moved by the words of concern I have received… here, on Facebook, on Instagram… so before I go any further along… I will share… they are safe.

Writing is one of the ways that I process my feelings. It’s the reason I started this blog. And so process, I will. If you’d like to come along with me as I record my thoughts from my side of the storm…keep reading.

 

Hurricane Irma.

From the beginning, I’ve been worried. This storm was big and angry. But I have a tendency to worry, so I tried to keep it at bay. That’s not to say I didn’t let my opinions be known. I just knew when to push and went to stop. It’s a delicate dance. I knew who to plead with and how hard to plead. I knew the reasons that went into the hard decisions. Reasons that, unless someone has made you privy to theirs, you have no right as an outsider to question and spew hatred about. Something I see done over and over and in such a disgusting manner and in such a public space.

On Sunday, I opted not to go to Miss Sunshine’s soccer game in Blacksburg. The continued westward shift made it appear that after it crossed the Keys, it would head right towards Naples. I couldn’t take a chance on missing a call. My mother and I exchanged calls off and on throughout the day. The winds were picking up, but it still wasn’t too bad. In a later call, the winds were stronger. The palm trees were shaking. The ground too saturated. Dad had parked his truck near the house. He might need to move it. The tree wasn’t going to stay upright. I felt helpless. I was going crazy in my skin. I am a stress eater. I am prone to anxiety. I imagine worst-case scenarios. I needed to find something else to do. I decided to run to the library and pick up some movies. Anything to feel like I was doing something.

I get there and find some movies. I am perusing through a few more. I come across a movie called Rules Don’t Apply. I am wondering if this is synchronicity.

The night before I had just finished reading the memoir the rules don’t apply by Ariel Levy. A book that I chanced upon in the new book section. Its inside cover had sounded intriguing. I finished the memoir in two days. I do not review books. I cannot tell you if this would be your cup of tea. I can only tell you that she takes you right along the journey with her. I feel like I am standing there seeing what she sees, feeling what she feels.  Perhaps this is my INFP personality… this ability to become immersed into a storyline.  Nothing like anything I have lived. But hers is a real storyline. A tragic one.

So I turn the movie case over to read the description. To see if perhaps there is this glimmer of reason that I have stumbled across this particular movie…and my phone rings. I know some people talk on the phone in the library.  The rules seemed to have changed within my lifetime, but I do not take calls in the library (in fact, my phone is typically on vibrate) or in lines to pay a cashier. I cannot miss this call. I race towards the coffee shop area of the library where talking is acceptable. I don’t know if I can take unchecked items through, so I dip down by the doorway separating the two and answer in a hushed voice. My mother asks if I am okay. I see the irony. My mom…asking if I’m okay…as she’s going through the outer bands of a hurricane. I tell her that I am and she asks if I’ve seen the text she just sent. I haven’t. She says to look at it and call her back. I go to the checkout desk and while the librarian is retrieving the movies, I look at the text.

My dad was able to secure the palm so that as it uprooted, it wouldn’t take out the power line. I am hopeful that this is as bad as it will become.

I call her on my way back to the house. I am worried about the roof. It is gabled. She says that the gables are boarded. This eases my panic… some.

She sends me a text that says the news says they are going to get the worst of the storm. PRAY. Seeing that word in caps makes the tears that I have been holding back spill over. I am frightened. I know that my mom is afraid. I cannot crawl into that space into my mind. That space of raw fear. I know raw fear. I know driving across the State of Florida late at night after your firstborn child has been medflighted to a trauma hospital fear.

But that turned out okay. This has to turn out okay. The part of the memoir that most resonated with me was her thought that nothing bad could ever actually happen to her in “her movie” because she was the protagonist. I am wondering if I will reach the moment in “my movie” where my role as protagonist no longer means that everything turns out okay. I cannot dwell in that space. I am sending out updates to friends and family. I am calling my mom to tell her what is being said on The Weather Channel. I am wishing they’d talk about Naples instead of Miami. Marco Island…Naples..that’s getting this current impact.

They are in Naples. I am watching the weatherman brace against the storm. 95 mph sustained winds. 142 mph recorded gust. I know the plaza he is standing in. I know those tree lined medians. They are saying it’s much worse to the East of him. My family is to the East of him.

The calm comes in.

I call my mom again.

She says that it is getting bad. That the house is beginning to buck. She means that the bands are strong. The house is heaving and groaning as wind comes whipping around it.

Compress…compress…

I am thinking they must be close to through it. My dad is trying to tell me the bearings of the radar map.

I am willing the TV channel to zoom in so I can see more roads.

And then The Weather Channel zooms in on the radar and I see it…

They are not almost through it. They are East of Orangtree. Orangetree, the subdivision that was nothing more than a pasture filled with cows when I was young. They are in the red. I tell my dad that the Northeast band of the eye wall is over them right now. He is not surprised. The wind is howling. The house is crying. I am panicked. How long? How long will it last? They want to know. I have no answers. The TV isn’t saying anything. They’ve mentally moved on to Jim Cantore in Estero. I tell my parents that it lasted about 45 minutes in the city, but that the eye is eroding. I tell them that there will likely be no calm, only a slightly lessening wind. They need to relay the information to my brother. We hang up.

Over and over in my mind, the scenes from Twister are racing through my mind. This isn’t a tornado, but it is fierce circular wind. I know hurricanes. I know how they sound howling through the trees. I am praying fiercely that the old wooden house doesn’t decide that it is tired and has given all it can. Protect my family. I know that they will ride  out this eye wall in the hallway. I know that hallway. That hallway that my feet have walked along since I was seven. A long, narrow corridor, just wide enough for a child to reach out and run a hand alongside each wall. Something my brother and I were taught not to do. I know which doorway leads to which room…what photos hang along the way. I imagine them there…safe. Protect my family.

I think the eye has surely reached them. But I cannot get through. A cell tower is down.

I feel in the pit of my being that they are safe. There may be damage, but I know they are alive. Surely I would know if they were not. The fact that life doesn’t always have a happy ending threatens to undo me, but I suppress it.

I worry about whether or not I said all I wanted to say. I think about my Grandma. About how she was dying when I moved to Virginia. About how I thought about going back one last time to visit. But I knew she’d want me to settle my family. Yet, sometimes I wish I’d just gotten on the damn plane and returned home once more. I don’t want this to be like that. I don’t want to think about the what-if’s. But they creep in.

I ask my husband what will I do if I haven’t heard from them by my birthday (I turn 40 tomorrow…the 12th). Every year, my mother calls me first thing in the morning and sings me “Happy Birthday”. It doesn’t seem right that on this milestone it won’t happen. He has no answer for me. I like answers. I am a person who is always seeking answers.  As a child, during movies, I would ask my mother over and over…. “that didn’t really happen, right?” “that’s just pretend”. I still find myself biting my tongue (and sometimes failing) wanting to know the answer to a question in a movie. Usually when I fail, I’m met with “you know as much as me, Amy.” But do I? Maybe you caught something I missed. Some integral piece that gives me the answer that I want to know. I don’t like this waiting. This helplessness. I need to know they have survived.

Eventually we go to bed. Monday is another day in this world I now live in. This world away from destruction. After an entire lifetime in Florida, being gone for four years has lessened the surreal feelings I have when my home, my Florida, is under threat.. but it hasn’t completely removed them.

My phone rings. I am startled awake. My adrenaline starts racing. My phone would only ring if somebody has checked on my family. I lift my phone. It reads 12:12 a.m. The number is my dad.  In the middle of the night, the air out there picks up signals from much farther away. When I was a child, on a clear night, we could listen to radio stations many cities away. I am certain that if he has managed to get through despite the downed cell tower, that the moments will be precious. He is surprised that the call has made it.  They have been trying for about three hours. My mother has stood on chairs trying to hold her phone to places where she might receive a glimmer of a signal.

He says they are all safe. He tells me that it was bad. In that moment, thoughts are racing through my head. I am hanging on this thread between reality and dream-state, having just been awakened. I am thinking that maybe the house did fall down around them. He says that the houses are fine. He tells me that it was like nothing he’s ever been through in his life. That it was way worse than Wilma.  They are telling me about the floorboards rumbling. Somebody, I think it was my brother, said it felt like the plucking of guitar strings below his feet as the bands of wind went by. That it never let up. 45 minutes…an hour…unrelenting.

I think about how it must feel to be in a petrified state of fear for an hour straight. Counting down the time. Praying for the wind to cease. Willing your house to stay together. To protect you. It makes my stomach hurt.

He tells me part of one shop is gone. It’s hard to hear. Is it just the wall? The roof? I know this shop. I ran a 4-wheeler into the side of it when I was 15. I came up the driveway with the throttle wide open, my favorite way to ride. But then it wasn’t stopping. The shop approaching way too fast. I claimed the brakes didn’t work. I still maintain that.

He says a truss from the other shop has been ripped away and thrown some ways into the yard. I’m pretty sure that he says that attached to the truss is a car frame that had been placed in the rafters of the shop. Miss Sunshine and I just watched Sweet Home Alabama the night before and I am envisioning the grandfather shooting anvils from a cannon. I am wondering if this is what their yard looks like. This yard that I trod upon as a barefoot child and teen. This yard that I laid upon as I watched the clouds race by. The one in which I counted stars and imagined faces in the Harvest moon. They are telling me about uprooted trees. I think my mom is telling me about losing one that she likes so much. The call is breaking up. She repeats it. I still cannot tell what she is saying because it is breaking up. They tell me that they can hear me fine, so I tell them about the hotspots that they should be able to get to the next day.

We hang up. I am relieved that all are safe.

After telling everyone through Facebook that they are all okay, I collapse into bed and have a fitful night of strange dreams and long periods of being awake.

My mom gets a short call through to me today. The hotspots don’t work. Orangetree had 130-135 mph sustained winds. There were 142 mph gusts. The area is a mess. The call fails before I can hear more.

Now begins the process of cleaning up.  My family is resilient. Florida is resilient.

They will emerge even stronger.

Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell. -Louisa May Alcott

Let your light shine!

Amy

What I learned from 30 days of no alcohol

What I Learned From 30 Days Of No Alcohol

30 days of no alcohol.

[blankly stares off into space. nope. not me.]

That’s what I thought when I first read something about it being the perfect time to try a month of no alcohol as we were heading into Virgo season.

Obviously, it was on some astrology site. I can’t even remember which one now.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t believe in astrology. I’ll be honest. I’m not even sure what I believe when it comes to it. If my faith were to be placed into the box that it’s supposed to neatly fit into, then it would say I’m not allowed to believe it. However, I don’t believe in legalism when it comes to religion…and that’s about as far as I’ll delve into religious beliefs.

I have always believed that I am characteristically a Virgo. Plus, I am an extremely curious person who wants to know everything about every thing. So in that curious process I looked at my natal chart and discovered that the Virgo personality does claim to be strong. My Sun, Moon, and Mercury are all in Virgo, which is my 9th house. I don’t really know what that means…but if that’s you’re thing and you wanna share some insight, feel free to leave it in the comments.

Anyways…

That was how I stumbled upon the idea of no alcohol.

I really wasn’t sure if I would succeed.

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Which is why I didn’t bring it up in Friday Faves until later.

I don’t drink heavily or even drink every day, but there’s enough times that I knew that 30 days would take effort on my part.

Especially because the hubby was not joining me on this particular experiment of mine. And yes, I call it an experiment. That’s because I often do these mental or physical experiments or research projects in which I am the subject.

That's what I do. I drink and I know things coffee mug

I’m not gonna lie, the hardest day of each week was Sunday night when the hubby and I would sit down to watch Game of Thrones. It is the only show that I stop what I’m doing to sit down and watch with him. We usually have our wine or our beer and decompress while watching this epic storyline before heading into the work/school week.

My detox did end prior to that season finale though!

Since I know some of ya’ll are still catching up..no spoilers from me.

But…oh…my…goodness!

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So what did I learn?

I thought that I would have some epiphany or mental clarity once the supposed brain fog lifted.

Nope.

But what I learned is that I have the mental fortitude to push through to the end of a goal that I set for myself…. even when no one is watching.

It would have been easy to say “I don’t feel any different”, “my skin isn’t clearer”, “I haven’t lost any weight”…”why am I doing this again.”

And there were moments when I wanted to do just that.

But I didn’t.

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I do want to keep pushing my comfort zones. In recent conversations, I’ve discovered that I have a strong fear of failure and so quite often I just don’t try.

In keeping with the “30 days” concept, I’ve decided that each month of my 40th year I will do a “30 days of…” challenge. I haven’t figured out what each challenge will be, but they will likely focus on mental health, fitness, nutrition, hobbies, or the environment.

To keep things more streamlined, I will start them at the beginning of the month. I plan to let you all know what each challenge is a few days prior to the new month, just in case you are interested in joining me. It’s very likely that I will have failures during some of the challenges and this will be hard for me, but I feel like it’s the next step in my growth.

Check back tomorrow where I’ll announce my September challenge!

p.s.- The first one shouldn’t be too hard. My 40th birthday isn’t until the 12th, so technically, I’m starting 2 weeks before my 40th year. Plus, you gotta succeed for your birthday month. Right?!

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Back to School

Back to School

Today was back to school day for my teenagers.

It’s always such a bittersweet day for me.

On one hand, I’m happy to get back into routine…and have some silence.

On the other, it marks a moment in time of being one step closer to having my little birds fly from my nest.

I have taken “first day of school” photos from the moment their tiny fingers left my grasp to enter into the preschool building.

Miss Sunshine wasn’t sure if she was riding to school with a friend. When she discovered that she was, there was a mad dash to collect her backpack and race out the door.

I grabbed my camera to snap a photo before she raced away. I forgot that I had been playing with the camera the day before and the settings were completely incorrect for this shot.

I quickly tried to switch to auto mode for one last chance…

I didn’t make it.

I’ve already told her, that after school she will have to pose so that I can to collect my memory shot.

However, for me, this photo sums up this phase of my motherhood.

This passage of time.

Like a river flowing.

Movement.

Fighting the distractions as I try to breathe these moments into my soul.

My children are becoming more and more independent.

As they should.

I am keenly aware of the marking of days until Big Mr. will leave the confines of high school. I have heard that his his Senior year will fly by.

And as it does, those days will sweep my other two children along as well.

Suddenly, we will be at the precipice,  looking out at the horizon, and my first bird will be flying. Mr. D will see his moment. He will be there in eager anticipation knowing that he is only a year behind. And on that precipice, even Miss Sunshine will see the changes. A brother leaving, the other one planning his flight, and her entering into high school.

Too soon they will no longer be my little birds.

This fleeting phase of motherhood coming to an end.

I think about that future…

Who will they become?

Who will I become?

But for today, I will breathe and sit with the present.

I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will. -Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

WPC:Ooh, Shiny