Still With Me

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So~

I was channeling my Grandmother the other day…

 

do you ever do that?

 

Feel your loved ones from the other side with you? Within you? I do all the time. Especially her.

My Beautiful Grandmother, imperfect like us all… but to me the earthly manifestation of loveliness.

My Parents were from completely different worlds growing up.  My mother was raised by a first generation Italian American who grew up in Connecticut in settlement houses , shining shoes , serving in the war , and making his way through college with the hard-earned money of his siblings, to become a social worker.  His wife ( my Grammie)  came from Illinois,  born to her mother as a late in life surprise and adored by her much older siblings. She became a nurse and in addition to raising their 5 children in the 1940’s and 50’s, also fostered babies , oftentimes with special needs or “ colored” babies, which did not go over too well in their time and town.  They were liberal democrats.

My father grew up on the Eastern shore of Maryland for the most part. His father after serving  in the war, returned to the small town of Pokomoke , married my Grandmother , had 3 Children (2 boys and a girl) and lived their lives in a very old-fashioned, proper, southern way. Grandpa worked and Grandma,  along with their loved “help” Hennie, raised the children and maintained a beautiful home. They were southern conservatives.

This is what I know. I am certain there is far more to the story… but this is what I know.

After 8 years together my parent’s  differences could not be worked out… and I’ll leave that there.

My Mother moved us to California where her parents had retired, and I rarely saw my father or his family again until I was an adult, at which time I reconnected with then.

I deeply, deeply love all of my family… on both sides… but the connection with my father’s mother has always been different. She has been accused of “playing favorites” over the years and I understand how hurtful that can feel if not one… But what it was …     I think…  was not favoritism … rather connection.  An innate connection to certain people. Some people we just recognize, relate to easier, understand more .  We just know each other.  Especially with relatives because of  the genetics.   We are literally a part of them.

She and I shared many common interests and traits even though I was not raised with her influence. The love of Gardening, history and reading. Her home was always beautiful decorated in an understated sort of elegance. Her style was simple and lovely. Her go to outfit was always a crisp blouse a pair of blue jeans and white tennies. When she dressed up , a simple pencil skirt and another blouse and pumps.

I think of her when I dress up, when I am in my Garden, when I walk into an antique shop, when I smell boxwood.   I talk to her and ask for her guidance in a lot of things.  And I wear her perfume when I need a little extra love. Because with her… I always fealt accepted and loved.  There are many people who come and go from our lives that challenge and teach us and help us to grow… but everybody needs someone to make them feel accepted and loved just by being themselves, and she was that to me.

Last November, my sweet husband … another one who makes me feel loved always… showed up in the middle of the day … and called to me to come outside.   He had taken her bike, given to me by my Dad and damaged by the hurricane the month before , and had it restored.  And unbeknownst to him…

delivered it to me on her birthday.

It was possibly the nicest gift I’ve ever received because I felt as though it had come  not only from Paul,  but also from her. How else do you explain the timing.

The other day I dressed in my favorite outfit. A crisp white blouse, and blue jeans .  I put on my Grandmothers perfume and went about my day.   It wasn’t until that evening when I found myself on her bike with my cheeks aching from smiling that it occurred to me she had orchestrated that beautiful day for me.  She was channeling through me,

still here, still living,  and as long as I invite her….

still with me.

 

 

The Light of Now

So…

‘it’s a beautiful frosty December Thursday morning. It’s a quarter to eight… and I’m lounging on my couch next to the Christmas tree snuggled up with my pups and just finishing my coffee.  It’s a morning like I’ve longed for over the last 20 years. All is quite, all is calm, most importantly…me.

The exhaustion and the rushing and the often full blown panic to get other humans and nonhuman family members …aka…numerous types of animals living with us…awake, fed, dressed, organized , and to wherever they need to be for the day is no longer a part of my life. It’s now just a fond and humorous memory… which is often what happens after you’ve moved through the challenges  of motherhood.     That time when your toddler is screaming for ju-juice at 5:00 am … or your son won’t get out of the shower… or your daughter is begging through her sobs to not have to go to school…  well now they are just endearing mem….. nahhhhhhh they still stress me out just thinking about it. LOL my ass.

Anyhow… it’s all in the past. And I am lucky enough to be able to relax a bit in the mornings…  To leisurely allow my brain and body to awaken without the jolt of the baby cries or later the torturous alarm clock.

THIS … is one of the benefits of this time of life.    MIDLIFE .  And really…. there are quite a few!

But what do I find myself doing… well I have been sucked into reading another article about how to fight your aging metabolism by eating less and cutting out all things yummy . And another one about how much exercise you need to lose weight in mid age. And another one on how to look 40 after 50. And another one… and another one… and another one.

And I’m thinking … WHYYYY do we do this to ourselves. Why are we FIGHTING it when clearly theses changes are as natural as any other growth stage in life. Like puberty.

FD16D7F5-C6BC-4EE1-84CF-38EB81FEA169And like a spotlight from above… the sun moves in front of my kitchen window and beams right in my eyes and momentarily blinds me, forcing me to abandon these foolish teachings!  A redirection if you will.   A “ look up you idiot!   “quit trying to regain what you were and what you are not meant to be right now!”  instead, focus on where and who you are….. NOW.

So many of us entering into this new stage of life are fighting it rather than ENJOYING IT. WHY does it matter that I am 10-20 lbs heavier as long as I am living a healthy lifestyle. WHY would I give up the sugar in my coffee that I now have time to leisurely finish,  just to stay the same weight I was in the past?  Clearly slowed metabolism and healthy weight gain is meant to happen at this age for multiple reasons. Who am I to FIGHT it?

Honestly… I don’t want to FIGHT anything at this stage of the game. I’ve done enough of that in too many aspects of my past life.

Sooo….

I’m just going to relax a bit into this time.

Instead of pushing myself in some crazy workout class with young, perfect, beautiful bodies all up in my face… I’m going to run around the yard with my pups… and dance a little more on my treadmill, and maybe make it out for a walk on the beach that is 10 miles from me and that I haven’t set foot on in years.

Instead of giving up bread and butter , donuts, and my hard apple ciders… I’m just going to cut back a bit and add in the homegrown veggies I now actually have time to grow.

And instead of a size smallish whatever… I’ll throw on a medium or large and let my belly Rest In Peace after the long hard battles it endured in my younger,  endless days.

Trust me! I am not going softly into this time by giving up on looking or feeling my best… on the contrary… I’m going softly and relaxing into thus time I’ve worked so hard to get to.

And I’m going to remember to look up and see “the light “ again and again every time someone tells me differently. For , I THINK …  it’s our daughters time to be stressed out and thin….

its OUR time to be relaxed and PLUMP (ish)

Silly

 

Ima  let y’all in on a little secret…I’m a little silly.

Only my bestest of family and friends know that,

But part of the exercise I’m calling this so~jane blog… is to allow myself to be truly and completely me… Out Loud.. without worrying what others  (others being ya’ll) might think.

Of course this only applies to the nicest sides of me. Not to worry…  I am in no way suggesting I let loose any rude thoughts or behaviors on the world just because I might say.. think someone to be a dumbass or something … I mean who am I to say they are a dumbass… and maybe , quite possibly they might have a perfectly good reason for their dumbassery that I just might not be privy to.  So I will continue to try and filter my thoughts and words because the LAST thing I would EVER want is to hurt or offend anyone.  This I have learned the hard way in my youth ( insert sincere , public and universal apology to anyone that may apply to).

Back to my point.

I am silly.  Always have been… always hope to be.

So…

Forewarned … I  WILL be sharing some of my silly here from time to time and maybe be encouraging a little silly out of you.

Today… my workout got a little silly…..

on the treadmill…

And as I was dancing and singing at the top of my lungs horribly… missing words and beats and applying my own kind of “harmony “ here and there , I was thinking THIS is why I could never workout at a gym. Because that kind of behavior is always involved.

When I exercise, it’s not just for my body, but for my mind as well. I am releasing as much pent-up physical and mental negative energy as I can and just letting that crap go.

soooo…

during todays shenanigans I thought… “L.O.L. “ …..”If anyone SAW me!”

And  then I thought… “why not”?   “Why NOT see me”?

Worse case scenario they would get a damn good laugh…

BEST case scenario…

It would go viral… gathering gazillion and bazillion views and likes and shares…and finally being brought to the attention of Kenny Chesney and PINK!     (setting the world on fire) and they would LOVE it so much they would take me on tour with them and during that song…( setting the world on fire)…  MAGICALLY … a treadmill would appear and I would be on it! And there in front of Ginormous croud of cheering and laughing and happy people … I…. WE…..would all ….

 

GET OUR SILLY ON!

And  what…I ask… is wrong with THAT fantasy?

 

Sadly…I did not get any of this on video…

at least not TODAY. 

 

 

This ain’t no Joanna Gaines farm

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There is fly poop on our window sills.    And our well water smells.   And damn if that ain’t real mud in our mud room.

Life on a farm is not like what you see on TV.   And  I’m betting even beautiful, amazingly talented, sweet, hardassworkin’ Joanna Gaines would agree.  I’m certain they have fly poop on their windowsills from time to time, but the camera won’t let ya’ll in on that little dirty secret.

I   …   LOVE….   IT ….OUT …..HERE!          It’s my dream.

But it’s a lot of continuous work and it’s dirty work. Mud rooms aren’t all perfect and clean and organized In the #realfarmlife  …they STAY muddy out here.

I got my baby chicks the other day. … They are residing in my guest bathroom for now. Being the rookie farmer that I am I just couldn’t THINK of leaving those fluffy little babies outside. CAN YOU IMAGINE??? …. ALONE????!!!     Also… I’m never going to be able to eat chicken again.  dammit!

Aside from working on the coop that they will eventually be moved to, I’ve also been busy tucking in flower bulbs for the winter, And planting winter lettuces and adding trees here and there …everywhere ….. eee eye eeee eye ohh.

And just plain getting dirty.

I Will say , it’s getting increasingly harder and harder to leave this place. And if I do make it to…. say …a friends house? … perfectly decorated and void of any animal hair or MUD….in a beautifully manicured neighborhood…???     It can also be hard to come back.

But the work in progress out here is me.   It’s so Jane.

It’s who I am.

I am not manicured and not void of mud or animal hair…never have been…never will be.

And  the sigh that breaks free from my lungs EVERY SINGLE TIME  that I pull onto our drive ,

snaps me out of thinking it would be nice to live any other way.

 

 

Well… maybe without the fly poop… I could live without the fly poop.

 

 

Beautiful from time to time

7D57FA49-506A-4948-8EA9-BBEC414A6DBEIn trying to figure out how to set this blog up I searched and searched for a picture of me for my profile photo and discovered there are none. I have a GAZILLION of my kids and dogs and some of Paul but only a very few of myself… and the ones I do have are really bad of me documenting  how goofy or unattractive I can actually be. L.O.L!!!

I love being silly and I do love the part of me that is not afraid of looking bad.  But allowing myself to look good????  Is really difficult. I have a few ideas of where THAT issue comes from, but I’ll Only share one for now…

You see where I come from… and when I come from … meaning my generation… it was considered conceited to try too hard to look good.  And don’t get me started on taking photos of yourself… can you say “ stuck up”???  That was the worst insult… to be called stuck up.

I don’t know how to act or be in front of the camera other than making a silly face . I used to get in trouble for it as a kid… there goes Janie ruining the picture… haha

i DO have a goofy smile. But I can’t understand people who don’t smile for a photo. Think Victoria Beckham … she is SO beautiful ! And stylish! And seems like a genuinely kind and loving person… but frankly she looks miserable to me.  I don’t want to look miserable. I’m not miserable. I’m happy and goofy and silly… but it might be nice to look beautiful from time to time…

so~

 

I’ll work on it. 😊

 

Here.

7656A327-72DE-4D49-B008-9C87F33A519FCountless  times throughout my days here on our farm I realize I am actually living the dream. My dream. The one I’ve had for as long as I can remember. The one I worked for , and the one I’ve been gifted.

When I was a child, The only toys I remember really loving was the Fischer price animal barn…with the “Peoples”… and the animals.  AND… my collection of plastic horses.  I wanted a horse so badly. I wanted to live on a farm and raise animals and have pies in the open window and white sheets blowing on the clothesline…and horses grazing in the front pasture… you know … that romantic version of a beautiful country farm. That was my childhood dream.

The dream home would be filled with a kind and loving family.  A husband and wife who truly loved and more importantly liked each other.  There would be happy children and dogs, tire swings and a pond that the dogs would play in.  Fruit trees, and vegetable gardens,  berry patches….. CHICKENS! … can’t forget the chickens!

My reality …. was quite different.  My reality consisted of a broken family.  We were all broken in our own ways.  Divorce, alcoholism, mental illness,  ANGER,  sadness, loneliness  , fear… meanness, neglect, insecurity,  jealousy ,  ignorance,  fear….. always fear.   In short, everything in complete opposition of Love.  My only saving Grace was the gift of knowing there was the possibility of something different…something much better.

 

So~

As an adult I worked incredibly hard at learning how to be different so that I could create my own better reality.  I read countless books… did 12 steps…remembered God… entered into and removed myself from unhealthy situations , observed healthier people and families I met along the way… and studied my thoughts and feelings endlessly.  Like I said… I did the WORK. 

And NOWWWWW!  Insert happy face…

I am here.

And every part of my being smiles.  Paul and I have this beautiful creation… this masterpiece of a life.  A little white farmhouse created in my fantasies , drawn and designed by my own two hands , built under my direction and paid for buy his incredible work ethic …  A chicken coupe with baby chicks on their way… newly planted berry patches next to our tiny pond that we can’t keep our dogs out of… a tire swing and white sheets blowing in the winds… trees EVERYWHERE… and bright green pastures anxiously awaiting and calling for horses .

All this built by lonely nights, countless tears and many more mistakes.  By book after book after book… by working two or three jobs at a time. By careful choices and promises made and kept. By sleepless nights and giving our hearts and souls to new lives and babies and soul mates.

Here

I am … WE …are here.

at last.

 

 

 

A humble act

I’ve talked to god my whole life.

God, The Universe, A Higher Power, Great Spirit…. whatever the name, I feel it’s all the same.

I share with him my worries and my fears.

I ask for help and guidance, I pray for others, (sometimes someone specific, always for anyone hurting in any way), but mostly I offer my thanks and Gratitude… Even in the most difficult of times.

Lately I’ve been making a small gesture more.

I kneel while I pray.

At some point in my day, I stop what I am doing and get down on my knees , place my forehead on the ground… and I pray.

Clearly this is no new concept … I remember doing it at night as a child.. by my bedside… “now I lay me down to sleep”… on my knees …prayer hands under my chin… head bowed… and even as my small self realizing the power in this simple act.

I started again, some 40 + years later during this summer’s hurricane , huddled with my dogs in a small interior closet while tornadoes touched down around us for most of the night.

It was… for the first time…that I felt in fear for my life, and I was humbled in the most complete and powerful way as I experienced powers so much greater than myself.

I felt both this worldly power and the great power of Gods comfort.

So~

now daily,  I humble myself … while I pray.

To not only give thanks… to pray for others…. ask for guidance….and offer up my worries and fears…

but to gift myself with a reminder of his ever presence … his comfort…

And his great power of Grace.

 

 

 

New Middle Age Normal

Two and a half years ago I had a hysterectomy and bladder repair.   TMI? Maybe a few years ago… but after 50 I don’t worry so much about that kind of stuff. I speak my truth and hopefully it will help someone else.

People are still weary to talk about and or share their experiences with middle age, and so those who are going into it (peri menopause, which can start as early as you late 30’s apparently) or we who are well into it, feel alone , uninformed , and maybe embarrassed of all the symptoms. Yah… there’s A lot of information out there online, but nothing beats talking about real experiences with other women

so here goes…

i used to be unstoppable. I was a career Mom and did it all. Spotless home, volunteered too often, exercised every day, cooked every meal, cleaned my own home, cared for too many pets, gardened, and most importantly cared for my kids to the best of my ability. To say I was a hands-on Mom is not enough. I was not a controlling/hover Mom… but I did spend enormous amounts of time with them.  I still do. Even though they are grown and living out of the house, I still try to do a lot for them just to try and make college and entering into adulthood not quite as shocking as it was for me.

But it has been really , really difficult these past few years.

Full disclosure… 2 months after my surgery, we sold our home, moved into a rental,moved our daughter and son into their own separate rentals, designed and built ( i was the general contractor) our present home, moved into our downsized home, …move both of our KIDS into our downsized home… added 3 puppies to our 2 dogs and cat ( NOT my idea) , cleared ,cleaned and managed our 10 acres, moved our son out and then twice more because of rental issues, moved our daughter away for college, while trying to finish and decorate our new home.

yep… I’m insane.

and all this time I’m dealing with continuous hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and the worst…BRAIN FOG. I can’t remember anything and a lot of times can’t even verbalize what I want to say.

I also stopped exercising completely for the first time in my life, started having a glass of wine or hard apple cider every night ( I never drank before) and indulged daily in my favorite comfort foods ( Oreos and all things sweet).

I’ve gained 20 lbs and feel weak, sluggish and unattractive.

this last weekend was the last straw.  We visited our stunningly beautiful 21 year old daughter at college and made a nearly fatal move… we went shopping together…

Trust me when I say I do not recommend it!

Now…. I know… I know… I can’t compare myself to my beautiful,  21 year old daughter… BUT I do need to start making an effort again.

So… on the way home… while my husband drove home in shock at how much money we just spent on an over night visit to spoil his girl… I found an app to encourage my midlife  makeover.

Its myfitnesspal,  And it will help me watch my diet, water intake and exercise.

I’m on day 3 and already feel better.

i also swear by the an herbal supplement I found by Pure Essence called Transitions.

In fact before the hurricane… when everyone else was stocking up on water and food…. I was stocking up on that shit!  It helps so much with the hot flashes !!!

Bottom line is, I can’t keep going the way I have been. And I can’t expect to get myself back to who I was before. It’s time to develop a new healthy middle aged normal.  With appropriate exercise and a manageable lifestyle with myself as a priority. I’m going to do my best, but old habits are hard to break… I’ll keep you posted.

 

Grateful for the pause

61A93698-6105-4D3C-B063-D70BC6A62868B6CCF4ED-9793-47BD-8EAC-062BB3906C02It’s raining.

no thunder.

All of the windows are fogged because of the AC, so I’m sitting on my front porch with the pups.

exhaling.

and now the rain is gone. It was just a short “storm” that I am grateful for. It was a gift, causing a moment of pause.

and now… a rainbow.

faint, but there.

 

 

 

 

and now… it too is gone. So easily missed had I not looked up.

now … as if in a “glass half empty/half full” moment… the sky is divided straight down the middle…

blue and clear on one side… cloudy and gray on the other.

symbolic messages all around me.

and as I sit here trying to process and enjoy it all, the dogs are pacing,circling, panting, and shaking.  Staring at me with fearful eyes.

Yesterday was the 4th of July and they were pretty traumatized. This rain to them means thunder and scary loud noises.

another lesson…

because of their past experiences they fear the present instead of seeing it for what it really is.  A nice quiet moment.

Years ago, in the midst of a full blown panic attack, I came up with a mantra to say over and over again to help pull myself out of the dark tunnel called fear.  The one where every possible bad thought imaginable is coming at me from all around, and my body is telling me to be ready for it all.

it is simply…

I can not fear, what is not here.

i use it still… to redirect my thoughts to focus on only the moment at hand.  And I’ve learned over the years that the “Moment” …

is always manageable.

 

and now… in an instant… it all has passed.

the storm, the rainbow, the calm and the fear.

the clouds are still lingering… but mostly I see beautiful Carolina blue sky…

it is brilliant,    And I am grateful for the pause.

What if…

What if I actually used this blog… what if I just wrote… without trying to impress?

What if I didn’t care about looking perfect to everyone who sees  this?

Are there others out there? Bloggers that are real?  That don’t spend hours writing and rewriting… hours making themselves look “perfect” … hours getting the perfect photo or video that are planned out and cropped perfectly so you don’t get the real world in the shot.

What if I revisited the idea of sharing myself completely as an exercise in trust in mankind… or of valuing myself just the way I am… to reveal the real side of life…. or best of all … attempting to appreciate every part of this big picture.

The beautiful… the mess…everything .72F8C44D-982A-4723-9A8F-6992B7141C45 The missed shot… the weird face… the wrinkles and age spots ?

What if we all shared the dirt on the floor and the weeds in our manicured lawns?

There, for certain, are times in life ,in order to survive, we have to crop out all the crap. Create ourselves a sort of narrow lense to find the beauty struggling to be seen.

But … when used too often, a whole other world is created… an ultra idealistic

and

fake world.

 

 

I don’t want to be fake.

What about you?