The Gift Of The Ordinary

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A couple weeks ago, when loss was fresh in my mind (not that it isn’t now…), Brayden and I had 30 minutes to kill.

We found the library used book store (which always proves to be a economically dangerous adventure!) and low and behold, they were having a half off EVERYTHING sale!  Whoop Whoop!

After scooping up as many of the Harry Potter hardback books I could find ( for $2 each!), a bright blue book caught my eye.   On the title alone, I grabbed it.

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Photo courtesy of Amazon.com

So appropriate for the gratitude that I have been feeling lately. ( click here to link to the book on Amazon.com)

I am only through the first 50 pages, but I feel like author Katrina Kenison is writing my story in the introduction!

Have you ever read a book like that?

The book is written by a mother who is enduring the transitions of her children moving into their teenaged years.  She spent many of the years prior,  when her children were younger, soul searching, trying to find her purpose and joy, and working to follow her heart.

I feel like I am reading about my life- fast forward ten years…

As much as I am loving this book, what I was really inspired by was the concept that the title conveys.

An ordinary day is in fact a gift.

I think about how many times I have taken the daily challenges and joys in my life for granted.

On the days that present unusual hardships, or for those families coping with the unthinkable- what we would give to just have an “ordinary day”.

What does “ordinary” look like after all?

I suppose as we evolve and are presented with new circumstances in our lives, “ordinary” also evolves and looks different.

We move from one “ordinary” to a new “ordinary” as we move forward.

The challenge is to greet each new “ordinary” with open arms, embracing it as if we had chosen it.  Appreciate it; realizing that the next evolution could very well be upon us before we know it.

Today, so far, it has been a delightfully ordinary day.  I have had the opportunity to see my amazing children off to school, was kissed good morning by my equally amazing husband, and visited with a good friend. What the rest of this day holds in store, I don’t know, but I hope it is the usual.

What does your “Ordinary Day” look like? 

signature Debbie

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A Mom {un}Inspired

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Hello my sweet readers and loved ones.

It has been ages since I have had the courage to write a post.  Although I have been composing posts in my head for months, I suppose the fear of “opening the flood gates” have gotten the best of me.

So today is the day.  Today is the day that I will share with you from the depth of my fear and once again open myself up to vulnerability.

It might be a long one… brace yourself.

So what happens when “A Mom Inspired” loses her inspiration?

How could I write when my inspiration feels deflated, and defeated?  Yet in the midst of my defeat, there is hope.  There has to be hope, and there is.

via pinterest.com

via pinterest.com

I have spent the last couple of years attempting to find my purpose and live my passion.  My passion was living a lifestyle that I could be proud of.  Eating nutritious food, nourishing my body and the bodies of my beloved family, studying the art of gardening, both at my son’s school and at home, and seeking to find true joy.

In many of these areas I have succeeded.  I have been living in a way that is teaching my children to cherish their bodies.  I have centered my life around learning about holistic nutrition and gardening and incorporated those things into our family life.  I have aligned myself with cherished friends that feed my soul.

Those, my friends, are truly wonderful things.  I am grateful everyday.

I have poured my heart and soul into my loves, and as the saying goes, ” sometimes love isn’t enough”…

My love of nutrition and passion for holistic treatments wasn’t enough to kick my husband’s Ulcerative Colitis into remission. Now onto the pharmaceuticals which we so adamantly sought to avoid.

My beautiful friend Janice’s passion for knowledge and search for the connection between ALS, nutrition, and environment wasn’t enough to keep her disease from claiming her life way too soon.

We are watching some of our friends that we love; our vibrant, healthy, young friends suffer through Cancer.

It constantly leaves me asking the question about what is happening in our world today that we are losing our young friends?  We are suffering; and despite our efforts, we are not getting healthier.

It keeps me awake at night.  Really.

Needless to say, I feel lost.

My inspiration hinged on the hope that all our efforts would lead to miracles.  Naive?  Yes. But sometimes isn’t that what fuels the fire?

I believed that our complete overhaul would lead my husband to recovery, without drugs.   If there was one person that would beat ALS, it would have been Janice, and I held onto the hope that she would be the first.  If we fight like hell, shouldn’t our friends survive Cancer?  Maddox’s migraines?  Still there.

So now what?

My first instinct.  Brutal honesty?

I want to eat ice cream and chocolate.  I want to drink coffee with lots of cream and sugar.  I want to throw caution to the wind.

But I cannot and I will not.

Here is where the Hope comes in…

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These things are an opportunity.

An opportunity for acceptance and an invitation to keep fighting.

That is what Janice would say to me now if she were here.  This is my new inspiration. 

This is my invitation to you all;  to see loss, defeat and deflation as an opportunity to find new inspiration and to keep fighting.

Janice was was my friend who I absolutely loved and adored.  She is the one who I spent countless hours “geeking out” as we liked to call it, about nutrition, new books we had read, what we were learning.   We would eat beautiful food together.  Talk about the garden.   She was the person I would run things past to make sure I was making the “sound” decision.  We would talk about our hopes and dreams for the future and the peace she was finding in her life everyday as her body continued to betray her.

She was beautiful.  She was strong.  She was genuine.

Hope lived in her, even in the face of ALS.

And now her hope and mine combined must live in me; and hopefully in you as well.

So through my defeat, I have found ways to triumph everyday.  I wake up every morning to the pitter patter of the little (or not so little anymore!) feet of my sons and thank my lucky stars to have another day with them.  Isn’t that what it is all about anyway?

I will love with reckless abandon for although it hurts like hell to lose those we love, there is no other feeling like that of true and genuine connection.

So my heart is out there once again.  It feels good to write, to share with you all, and to once again feel inspired.

What are you inspired in this chapter of your life? 

signature Debbie

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Dear Mr. President…

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As we get older, so do our parents (no duh right?).  As an only child, I have recently begun to get a small view into the future of caring for my dad who is needing more from me as his only daughter.

I have always voted.  I have always exercised my right as a citizen of this country and felt proud to live here in the United States.  In saying all of that, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a die hard patriot.  I know that I could do more to be involved in my part of this democracy, the legislature, and this country, yet I haven’t.

Yesterday, I received a call from my dad needing me to take him to the Emergency Room at the Veterans Administration Hospital ( he is ok, bad back problems…) and my eyes were opened.  Big Time.

Veterans Flag

Veterans Flag (Photo credit: Daniel mty)

I was so upset with what I saw ALL DAY, that the moment I got home, I sat down and wrote a letter to the President that I then sent via the white house website…

*As a disclaimer to the statements that I make below, I am coming from an honest place of not really knowing and being aware of the issues that make this system what it is.  I am assuming there are not enough doctors, nurses, and resources.

Simply from my heart, here is what I wrote:

” Dear Mr. President,

I am the 36 year old daughter of a Vietnam Veteran.  Today, for the first time, I witnessed the VA hospital.  Today, for the first time, I was ashamed of my country. 

  I had to take my dad to the VA Emergency Room today.  I hope to god that he never has to go there with a life threatening emergency, I fear he would die.  We were at the hospital all day from 9am to 3pm and the majority of the time was spent in the waiting room waiting to be called upon. 

  I was overwhelmed by how sad it was to see the condition of our “honored veterans” and the level of care was horrifying.  Is this how we honor those who risk their lives for our country and our freedom?  Wow. 

  All day, all I could feel was like these amazing people were not being honored, not at all, they weren’t even being respected as human beings.  The systems, the level of care, the way they were treated and spoken to, it was so sad.

  Although my dad appears to be a functioning member of this society, I guarantee to you that the trauma he suffered serving his country has had a lasting negative impact on him, and our family.  At the very least, I would expect that our country that so often pats itself on the back for the benefits and services that it provides to our veterans, could treat him like a human being. 

  My heart broke today.  There are so many veterans that are suffering, in need of care, and most likely just would like to be treated as if they matter.

  There has got to be a way to take care of all of the men and women that have sacrificed their entire lives, not just the time they served, for our country. 

  I am not sure if the staff is overworked, the system is overused, or what the reasons are for what I witnessed and experienced today, but I couldn’t help but speak up.

  Sincerely,

   Deborah Nichols” 

What is truly happening with our veterans and our system?  Can you help me understand what I experienced yesterday?

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In the face of doubt…

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Happy 2014!  Here we are in a new year yet again!  Hard to believe that this month will mark the second anniversary of my “leap of faith”; the day that I decided I might have something to share in cyberspace.

As I come upon this anniversary, I wish I could say that I have found what I was looking for; my purpose, my path.  But what if that isn’t even what it is all about?

My word for this year?  Quiet.

I have been practicing this on the blog for the last month or so!!  Nothing from me lately, but here I am!

My hope?  To find the strength to be Quiet through the noise of life.

In my attempt to quiet my mind ( a VERY difficult task, I assure you!), I wanted to share something that has been heavy on my mind.

Drumroll……..

The moment we become mothers, whether it be the day that our baby is born from our body, or the day that our child is placed in our arms after waiting for what seems like a lifetime for an adoption to go through, we are forever changed.

Almost instantly, like the flip of a switch, something magical happens.

You may think I am talking about unconditional, undying love, or that feeling that you never knew how you lived before this moment… but that isn’t it (or at least that isn’t what I’m talking about!).

It is the undeniable sense, intuitively, that you absolutely know your child and to take it further, you know when something isn’t right with your kid.

Some call this mothers intuition, others may say that their pathway to Gods voice has been opened up.  Whatever it is, it is completely undeniable.

via pinterest.com

via pinterest.com

From the moment my children entered this world, I have been their advocate.

In the face of doubt , my sole reasoning?  The fact that I just know.  Because I am their mother.

It may not be scientific, it may not be “proven”, but I am here to tell you all that it is SO real.

This is a lesson that I have had to learn and re-learn over the course of being a mother, and despite the fact that there have been times when I have let doubt creep in, in the end, my feelings about my children are always validated.  Always.

In the last few weeks, I have been validated once again and it hurts me to think of how my children would have potentially suffered had I not pushed forward despite the doubt.

There is hope and there are wonderful people out there.  Sometimes doctors, educators, and others who are in the position to listen to you when you have a concern for your child have clouded vision.  So many of these professionals are asked to work under the most challenging conditions and it makes it even that much more important for you to trust yourself and that amazing gift we are given when we become mothers.

It may take a while, but you will find an amazing person that not only listens to you, but hears you.

When that happens, your child’s life will forever be changed for the better.

Never doubt yourself and always be the advocate that your child cannot be for themselves.  I can guarantee with utter certainty, that you will not regret it for one moment!

In fact, being your child’s advocate may just turn out to be your purpose (it might be mine!) on the long, winding, messy path of life :)

Wishing you love and joy as this new year begins,

signature Debbie

Left ya hanging…

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I totally left you hanging last week!

In my daze, upset state, I recorded my video.  Then Nothing.

I am coming out of a very LOOONG week and I would say that this quote sums it up…

via pinterest.com

via pinterest.com

I was reminded not only that everything happens for a reason, but about how good and kind people can be.

I think sometimes in our world of convenience and “drive through” everything (including medical care), I sometimes forget that despite how busy doctors can get, that they are people who came to the “table” because they care.

When Brayden became ill on the very day of his appointment (that we had waited 4 months for!), I was told the next opening was April.  Which was true.

What I didn’t account for was that the Doctor and her scheduler were also invested in this appointment happening for my kid.

They rearranged their entire schedule for this morning (including the doctor coming in an hour earlier than her schedule began) to make sure that Brayden was able to complete the educational testing.

Brayden at his "reward" lunch after completing 6 hours of testing!

Brayden at his “reward” lunch after completing 6 hours of testing! ( Yes, that is a piece of Spinach in his mouth…)

It was so refreshing to see such kindness and in the end, by the skin of our nose, we got it done.

Not to mention this is the worst illness Brayden has had in YEARS!  Figures…

She was completely taken with him, telling me not only how smart he is, but what a hard worker and in fact the most amazing combination of persistence, intelligence, and willingness to work she has seen in a child in 10 years!  What a compliment.

It all worked out.  I guess it is hard to remember that tid bit in the moment.

I suppose I will have to stick to hindsight for now.

What kindness have you been the recipient of lately?

signature Debbie

Surrender. But How?

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Video post today!

My mind is a little jumbled, so forgive the little whoops in there!  When I said our appointment was today and Tuesday… I meant today and Thursday!

Is it Monday??

signature Debbie

Trick and Treat!

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Happy Halloween my friends!

I am totally going to be one of those annoying people who posts about healthy stuff on Halloween, because we all know that our kiddos are going to have their fair share of crap today.

Even though they are going to eat crap, I like to think that up until that point (of no return!), I can fill their cute little bodies up with goodness.

Sometimes that involves a little tricking… and what I like to call a “treat”.

Thanks to my amazing and awesome neighbor, I scored a great juicer from the Goodwill a couple weeks ago ( thanks Caroline!).  There is something about juicing that makes me just feel good…  I have been doing a lot of experimenting and as much as I love beets roasted, I love them juiced too!

So today, for the kiddos, “blood” juice!

(makes about 2 quarts)

3 large red beets

1 bunch celery

1 apple

1 Meyer lemon

2 cucumbers

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IMG_3181Maddox totally drinks all of my juicing concoctions ( the adorable little ninja turtle up top), and my sweet Brayden is great at giving it a try ( as seen above!).

My thing about juicing has always been the fact that once you juice your veggies and/or fruit, you are left will all the pulp ( fiber ), which is a super valuable component.

Enter the juicer pulp muffins!!!

The first time I tried to make muffins from the pulp, it was a mini disaster because I didn’t use any recipe and just started throwing things together…  The second time I found this great recipe that I adapted a tad to fit what I had in my pantry.

I used almond meal instead of rolled oats, omitted the walnuts (didn’t have any!) and subbed Bobs Red Mill Gluten Free flour for the regular flour and the boys cannot get enough!  There is honey and maple syrup in the recipe, so not sugar free, but all in all a great way to get fiber into the kids (even picky veggie eaters like mine!) and packed with great almonds etc…

What I really liked about this recipe that I didn’t find in others was that it uses 2 cups of pulp, about 4 times the amount of pulp of other recipes!  It actually makes 2 dozen muffins!

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 Thank you Plan to Eat! ( recipe here)

I hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!  Detox begins tomorrow!

signature Debbie

My compulsion

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Thought I would do a Vlog this morning!!!  ( for you, Cindy!  xoxo)

com·pul·sion

n.

 An irresistible impulse to act, regardless of the rationality of the motivation
 

Do you have the same compulsion that I do? 

signature Debbie

Revolution

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In one of my post’s last week, I talked about my desire to “simplify” our lives.  How I long to go “off the grid” and live “Little house on the prairie” style.

My friend, who I respect and adore, wrote this comment :

Oh, Debbie….. again, you are singing my song! I too yearn for the simpler times, and have been trying to build it back into our daily lives…Playing at the park every day after school, baking, knitting, reading together…. let’s make it a revolution!!

Two fantastic books that I LOVE, and are completely with us as we rally our revolt….. “Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne and “The Simple Living Guide” by Janet Luhrs.

I am ready to join the revolution.

Cover of "Simplicity Parenting: Using the...

Cover via Amazon

I am just a couple short chapters into ” Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kids” by Kim John Payne, and it makes SO much sense!

I have heard about this book and concept for a while now, and just haven’t picked up the book until I couldn’t stand being overwhelmed and overbooked any longer.

Although this book is aimed at parenting, I feel like it is speaking to me, not as much about how to parent, but how to live, and most importantly a key to sanity and therefore happiness.

This is the excerpt from the book that totally hooked me…

In every aspect of our lives, no matter how trivial, we are confronted with a  dizzying array of things (stuff) and choices.  The weighing of dozens of brands, features, claims, sizes, and prices, together with the memory scan we do for any warnings or concerns we may have heard; all of this enters into scores of daily decisions.  Too much stuff and too many choices.  If we’re overwhelmed as adults, imagine how our children feel! Whichever came first-too many choices or too much stuff- the end result of both is not happiness.

Yes.

I am joining the revolution.  It starts at home.

I will keep you posted (as I read further) on how I intend to simplify so that I don’t feel the need to run away to the country (besides, my husband says being a farmer might be more work than I am willing to do, and there’s that whole Nordstrom issue too!)!

Thank you so much Jodi,  for the inspiration!

Do you feel the need to simplify and find more quiet spaces? 

signature Debbie

These Are The Moments

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"Motherhood": Sculpture at the Catac...

“Motherhood”: Sculpture at the Catacumba Park, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last night, as I sat watching my younger son sleep, I studied all his little features; the slope of his adorable little nose, the fine little hairs the make up his eyebrows, the way his mouth moves with every breath.

In that moment, I wasn’t thinking about how he can drive me insane sometimes with his tantrums, how his “spirited” ways can just about send me over the edge, or how I sometimes just want to run away.

In that moment, I was right where I wanted to be.

I was with my courageous little boy, who once again, was suffering from a migraine that had taken his day away and was now claiming what should have been a peaceful night’s sleep, for both of us.

And as I sat there memorizing every little nuance of his beautiful little face as he slept, what I really wanted was to trade places with him.  To take away his pain.

These are the moments that Motherhood is made of.

My laundry was undone, my house was unkept, and I was wrecked.  In that moment, none of that mattered.

In the stillness of that time, it was all so clear.

Motherhood is not about being perfect.  It is not about how clean our houses are, or how good we look on the outside.

Motherhood is about the moments, be they few and far between, when our children need us to just lay still with them as they sleep.

Those moments when we can put aside the toys on the floor, the times they didn’t listen, the tantrums, and the challenges and just be there with them to ease any little ounce of pain we can.

What have your moments of motherhood looked like?

signature Debbie

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