The Time is Always Right to Do What is Right

We have the right to feel the way we do. We have the right to feel happy, sad, angry, hurt, frustrated, dislike, hate, love, kind, respect and any other feelings we feel.

We had this right prior to George Floyd’s death. We have that right now.

There is an abundance of feelings floating through the air, feelings being thrown at people and feelings being turned into actions.

It is time to listen to one another. It is time to stop, look into each other’s eyes and truly listen to one another. We all have stories. We all have a past. Our parents have stories. Our grandparents have stories. These stories have the capability to shape our feelings. These feelings are valid.

What would the world look like if we listened to one another? What would it look like if we talked about our feelings and differing perspectives? I believe there would be more understanding, more acceptance, and more respect. There will still be disagreements. We are made to be different. Our differences make us beautifully unique. However, I have to believe that people would realize we have a lot more in common.

There are good people in the world. There are good people in every race. There are good people in every profession. Unfortunately, there are bad people too. The bad people need to be held accountable for their actions. The good people need to be treated fairly.

Listen. Respect. Accept. Be kind. Be fair.

Quarantine Day 26

How are all of you doing? Stay at Home orders have been in place for far too long and we are all going a bit crazy. Please don’t take that the wrong way. I 100% agree with the order and understand why it’s in place. What will the world look like when we go back to “normal”? It will be a new normal that is for sure. Will we look people in the eye and shake their hand? Will we lean in for a hug! I picture it will look like the opening scene of Love Actually and I pray that I am envisioning this correctly.

Pray. This is one of those times you either lean stronger into your faith or you doubt God for the large amount of sadness that is happening. I choose to believe. I choose to pray. I choose, most of the time, to look at the good that is coming out of this. There are enough emotions flowing in and out of me so quickly that I can not focus on the bad and the sad. It is not that I am in denial of the lives we are losing. The numbers overwhelm me. My chest tightens and it makes me wonder what if…I chose to not go there for my mental health. My family needs me on top of my game. I am all ready struggling so I chose to turn to God.

There is good happening all around us. I am thankful that at the end of the day, or in the middle when I just need a break, that my Facebook and Instagram feed is full of Goodness. Kindness. Love. Live music. If your feed is not like that and social media is causing you angst I suggest you get off of it. Or take this time to unfollow some people. A warning though, emotions are running high, even the good things may make you cry.

Some have this new found time. Me? I feel more wiped at 7:00 PM than I did pre Covid-19! I think it is the multitasking between work, teacher and being mom all at once all day long. I am blessed to be at home and working. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I would not change it. I practically see the lightbulbs turn on above the girls’ heads as they work through schoolwork. It warms my heart and soul- I may have teared up some too. When schoolwork is complete it’s time to keep them busy, happy and fed while I tend to my paying job. It’s no wonder I have no energy once the day is over. I am not complaining that I am not re-organizing our closets or deep cleaning the refrigerator. This is what I am supposed to be doing at this moment. If my closets are not tidy it is ok. If my clean laundry is not put away it is ok. If there are Barbie toys are literally all over the living room, kitchen, porch, hallway and the deck…it is ok. IT IS ALL OK.

Sanity? What is keeping me sane at this moment? Seeing the positive ways that people are coming together. WE are ALL in this TOGETHER. How cool is that? Why does it take something so awful to bring us together. WE NEED to keep this up after this settles down, NOT SHOULD, it is a NEED (The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna). What are you doing to do to remember what we are learning from this? I am still figuring this out. It probably will incorporate a list *smile*

What is working for you to keep smiling during this time? Here are things helping me feel whole:

Cooking meals in our kitchen

Communication with family and friends FaceTime, snail mail (sending and receiving), reading Bible devotions through the YouBible app

Listening to music- May I recommend Alicia Keys’ Underdog as a super motivational song. Or search Covid-19 in iTunes or Spotify for some great playlists.

Walking through fresh air (and mud)

Escaping into a book

A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler was my latest read from Book of the Month. Well written however not quite the ending I was hoping for.

Minnesota has not hits its peak yet. They say maybe mid-June this will happen. That sounds so far away. Yet the last 26 days have gone by “quickly”. I pray for our health. I pray we have all learned and are learning positive things from this and I pray we don’t lose site of those things. I am going to end there as I can feel the tears forming once again. I have not cried like this since prior to having kids. Life has been a whirlwind since then. I felt plenty of emotions in the past (almost) 8 years, but its been difficult to really feel them and take time for them.

Love to all who reads this.

From Scratch: A Book Review

From Scratch, a love story and a memoir. Tembi, the author, shares her story of her very own three marriages. Three marriages to the same person. What a way to reflect on their journey. It was the marriage they had as a newly married couple, the marriage they had as he fought cancer and the marriage after he sadly passed away. Of course I fell for their love story. Beautiful American girl meets hot Italian boy, they fall in love with one another and he moves to the states to be with her. Let the gut wrenching string of events begin. His family won’t accept her and won’t attend the wedding since she is not Italian. The story carries on and they have a beautiful wedding. His cancer diagnosis comes along. She can’t get pregnant. There is hope. His cancer treatment works. They adopt a little girl. And Then, horrible reality strikes again as the cancer returns. This is where her memoir takes shape. Her story is not only about her life with Saro but, how with time and patience, his family accepts her into theirs. They come together in love during his final days. Tembi and her mother in law grow stronger and stronger together as they cope with losing their loved one. Nonna fully accepts Tembi and her granddaughter. A love story in its own. Love wins. It always wins. What a theme.

Still in the Game: Book Review

Once in awhile I have to travel for work. Two weeks ago I was listening to an interview with Devon Still on Rachel Hollis’ Rise podcast. “We” watch a lot of football on TV but usually there is a book in my hand and the game is just background noise to me. I could hardly tell you who the main players are on our very own MN Vikings, so I can say I had no idea who Devon Still was.

As Rachel interviewed Devon I quickly wished the main topic discussed was football rather than the topic of choice. His daughter had been diagnosed with cancer at the young age of 4. Can you imagine? I sure can not. It makes me sick to my stomach, my head wants to spin and I literally feel like my breath is taken away.

Why did this interview pull me towards listening to his whole story in his book Still in the Game? That I can not tell you. I downloaded the book for my drive home and then could not stop listening to his voice share the miraculous recovery little Leah had. Their faith in God and drive to fight brought tears to my eyes and softened my soul as their journey carried on. I started the story with a shortness of breath as I thought of the dreadful news shared to their family and when the cancer disappeared I saw hope again. Hope that if this ever happened to me and one of my girls, I would fight strongly as they did. I would fight Leah Strong.

There are times I feel like I need stories like this to show me how blessed I am and to show me how great God is.

Educated: A Book Review

Educated. What an intense book written by Tara Westover. To know that this incredible human being went from limited school education and a shocking up bringing to this intelligent and powerful woman gives one hope. Hope that they can do anything with the right self determination, resources and people’s support.

Mormon is a word I am familiar with. The way a Mormon lives I am not. Besides the concept that a man may marry more than one wife and that they believe in Jesus, I have not learned much about this way of living. Heck, my own Christian beliefs is something I struggle with daily and am continuously learning about. I have heard brief stories similar to Tara’s upbringing, but that is key. They were brief stories mentioned on the news. I realize that not all Mormon’s are like Tara’s family. With a quick Google search, I learned that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint’s stems off from Mormonism.

Much like Tara starts her book in her Author’s Note, this post is not about Mormonism. Or my lack of knowing what the religion is about. This post about the reaction the book brought to my heart and my mind.

Tara’s relationship with her family is millions of miles from the relationship I have with my family.

Wait. I want to delete that line. But I can’t. That was my first thought. Within seconds I realize that is not the case. In the beginning she loves her family. She deeply loves her parents and siblings. She loves them in the end too, but the relationships change. She loves them as I love my family. The main difference is that I still respect my family being an adult where I question her respect for some of them. Her parents guided her the way they knew how just as mine did. They were hard working individuals like mine. They taught her to be respectful as mine did. What they did not do was keep her safe like mine did. They did not trust her words like mine did and do.

The relationship Tara had with her mom was the most difficult for me. I imagine it was the hardest for her too. It was as if Tara’s mom was trying to make everyone happy. I think as a mom this is a natural tendency. She would agree with all parties to keep the peace. As Tara got older this caused confusion for her. It caused her to question the support she had from her mom when her mom said one thing to her and then differed her opinion on the subject when she commented another way in front of her husband. As a daughter one looks up to guidance from her mom. She had a strong pull to do so, but as Tara got older she had realizations that caused her to doubt her mom. Her mom was dedicated to her husband, as many Christians are, and did not stray from backing up her husband on all accounts. All accounts meaning the ones that did not keep Tara’s well being and safety in check. Maybe, some would read this and disagree. Tara’s father, and mother maybe, believed that they were following God’s plan.

The education Tara received is from one extreme to the other. The schooling she received is not taken for granted. That is clear in her memoir. It is well deserved. The elbow grease it took for her to pass the ACT and to pass her initial college classes is unfathomable. The education she received on life gave her perspective that most others would never be able to see. They may try to study it, they may try to understand it, they may try to dissect it, but she lived it. The challenges she went through taught her love, hard work, empathy, perspective, fear, intuition, self survival and the list could go on.

How does one trust in relationships after living a life like Tara’s? God teaches us to forgive. Her parents want her to forgive her brother Shawn. I am uncertain I could do it with the games and torture he put her through. Disease or not, he did not get the help he needed. My heart hurts for Tara. She continuously went home in search of her family’s support. At times she would get doses of it, but in the end she risked her life to come home. That is unfair and not the way God intends for us to live. I like to think that if Shawn received the help he needed that there could have been a possibility of her having the life she wanted and deserved as well as the love from her family. A situation full of manipulation.

For some reason this book makes me want to research this culture, but I am most certain it would make me angry. I can put myself in many people’s shoes and can understand a lot. This? Not so much. I understand 100% why this book has made multiple Best of Lists.

March 2019 Goals

Where did March go? Things felt so well managed the first part of the month and then wham, it was over! The girls are outside running around in the rain and snow (rain from the sky, snow all over the yard yet). Oh, how I long for warmer temperatures. Hello, we live in Minnesota, so one should not be expecting warm temperatures and flowers blooming yet. So Minnesotan of me to discuss the weather *sigh*

How about those goals?

Reading

Big Magic took me (mostly) by surprise. There was one or two small sections where I wanted to throw the book out of boredom, but the rest of it spoke to my heart 100%. It made me laugh, smile and cry.

Big Magic and Encouragement

Big Magic and Enchantment

Big Magic and Permission

Big Magic and Persistence

Big Magic and Trust

The goal was to read one additional book. Rachel Hollis’ 2nd book, Girl, Stop Apologizing came out and showed up in my mailbox. I wanted to pick it up and start reading right away, but the fact that I had not finished reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown was hanging over my head. *guilt, go away* I gently put Mrs. Hollis back, and picked up Mrs. Brown. One of the best personal development books I have yet to read. It was heavier compared to some, but in a heartwarming way. A way that wanted me to take it slow. The reflection process is a gentle one too. Her words are causing me to evaluate myself as a leader at work and in a personal sense with my family.

I tell you though, this girl needs a fictional book, like ASAP, like stat.

Art

Page 4 of 4 this month was forced and unpleasantly weak. The beginning of the month presented 3 drawings that were fun and relaxed. My Daemon of Creativity (read Big Magic) was fun to sketch out and dream about. I continue to see her floating around my brain when I need a pick me up.

Move

Well, I did it! I moved 5 days out of each week. The documentation provides me with warm fuzzies. Like a completed checklist, seeing the fact that I moved my body 5 days each week beyond running around my home or work like a chicken with it’s head cut off is a healthy accomplishment. A work trip to NYC provided me with opportunities to workout in the hotel gym. There is something about working out in a gym that brings on a sense of competitiveness. Not against the others in the gym, which was pretty scarce, but against the machine. The days were jam packed with work related business so it was the machine and me for 30 minutes. HIIT running and ramped up speeds that I can not push myself to do on the open dirt roads in Minnesota.

7 Challenge

No comparing here. Jen Hatmaker disposed of A LOT of things during her month titled Possessions. Me, not so much, a box (largish, kind of, maybe?) sits on my floor with items to be donated. Could I find more? Probably. Listen, during the month February we disposed many garbage bags filled with clothes and toys. If I took any more of my kids’ toys they would still have plenty, but, I would be called out on the fact that I “cleaned house”. We have stuff, do not get me wrong, we could get rid of things that hold little value to our hearts and souls, but we do not have an extreme abundance of things. I think Marie Kondo will have to visit my house during a less chaotic month. One of the biggest take always I read in 7 was a quote Jen Hatmaker included on page 86 “Obedience isn’t a lack of fear. It’s just doing it scared”.

I pray that April Showers bring us some Flowers. Happy April everyone!

Big Magic and Courage

Creative was recently listed as one of my top 5 values. It was the first word that tugged at my heart and I didn’t have to think twice about putting it on my list.

Being creative takes courage. Prior to starting the Big Magic book this month I added “being courageously creative” under the title Coffee Pines & Designs. A tag line if you will. It seems to be a theme of my life lately. Being creative brings happiness. It brings fulfillment. It is not easy though. Writing words for people to read. Releasing thoughts and opinions into the world for people to view. Sketching and drawing after years of being removed from any art medium (minus Crayola crayons and children’s coloring books) takes time and practice.

My kiddos are at an age where they look at their mom and do as she does. Being creative forces me to leap into the clouds. Being creative makes me follow my dreams. They see me struggling with the oil pastels. They see me struggle with finding the perfect words. They learn that I can work through the struggles to find the missing stroke of color or the meshing of words to paint the picture in my head. They get to see the successful outcomes of time dedicated to one’s passions.

Luke Perry

Luke Perry passed away today. It seems odd to not write a post about him. Besides Zach from Saved by the Bell and Joey from NKOTB, Dylan and Brandon were my introduction to 90’s heart throbs. I remember visiting my cousins house while they were watching 90210 on their TV. Due to age I probably missed the first season or two, but it quickly became a show that I set the VCR recorder for if I wasn’t home. Brandon Walsh was the one that made me blush, he was, after all the good boy. I was the good girl so why wouldn’t I be drawn to the good boy? Little did I know, the good girl could desire the bad boy. This scenario became fairly standard in many of the romance novels read over the years. Dylan McKay, you ended up being the favorite.

Last week I heard they were planning on a reboot of sorts for 90210. This time to include the original lineup of characters. Luke Perry was tied up due to other obligations is what the radio said so he wouldn’t be joining the project . Today I received the text from my sister saying he died. Maybe it’s because Dylan and 90210 was the beginning of an era for me. Maybe it was because Luke was 52 years old- too young to have a heart attack, too young to die, and how the heck is he 52 when I am still 23? Oh! What? I am not? Ok. I guess time is not standing still. I am not certain the reasons of this post. Maybe it brings back memories of a really good tv show. Maybe it brings back memories of being a teenager and feeling “free”. Maybe it is a realization that things can happen just like that. Rest In Peace Luke Perry. You made an impact on many.

Friendly Deceit: Book Review

If 50 Shades of Grey and Love Jones were to have a baby, Friendly Deceit would be their love child. This novel by L.V. Hope would not be a normal pick for me, however, the author is married to my husband’s cousin, I felt the desire to support her and read it. Friendly Deceit combines the rough sexiness of the 50 Shades trilogy with the poetic romance of Love Jones.

What L.V. Hope excels in is describing things in heightened detail. She brings Journey, Seth and Cheyenne to life, as if you were sitting across Atticus watching their interaction over a glass of wine. The setting of Minneapolis, Minnesota is described in such a detail that it draws my heart to want to experience it more, and, in a way I have never done so before. This Romantic Thriller will draw you in and make you wonder what will happen next. This is book one of her series and I look forward to the next layer of Friendly Deceit.

The 50 Shades Trilogy and Love Jones both provide excellent soundtracks to their books/movies. Perhaps, the soundtracks for 50 Shades are better than the acting in the movies, sorry Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan. As I was reading Friendly Deceit I was taking screen shots of the songs and artists L.V. Hope brought into the novel to help set the mood. Little did I know she provided a complete playlist at the end of the book. If I could go back, I would download the playlist and have it playing in the background as I dove into the character’s story. L.V. Hope, well done on the song selections!

*Please note, if 50 Shades of Grey was “too sexy” for you this may not be the book for you.

Work Out Music To My Ears

Coming home tonight I found myself easily agitated. Maybe it was having missed Monday at work (putting me behind), or having been at work since 6:30 AM (trying to play catch up), or coming up on a full moon or maybe, just maybe, it was our 6 year old going on a complete emotional rollercoaster the minute I walked in the door (again, I question the full moon). Dinner made it better, bed was calling my name, yet a workout loomed in the back of my brain.

Kids to bed. Check.

Workout pants on. Check.

Head phones plugged in. Check.

Spotify on shuffle. Check.

Music makes it all better.

Dancing makes it all better.

Of course I bypassed some songs that floated through the playlist, but some made me smile, move and sweat.

Have you heard Judah & The Lion’s Folk-Hop Sound? It is the perfect blend of my past love of hip hop and my current love of folk. If you see me leave the school parking lot this week bumping some base you can be guaranteed it is this song! Who knew the banjo could be paired with such sweet base?

The randomness of MC Lyte made me laugh. Bradley Cooper rips on the guitar in Out of Time. This simply made me smile, the movie left me feeling like I had been at a concert, this song brings me back to the theater.

Damien Rice is a definite softer tune, but a more recent love thanks to So You Think You Can Dance. Darius danced to it with Sieve Taylor this last season. I could watch this dance on repeat all day long. The choreography is simply beautiful, sad and powerful. It just may leave you feeling a bit angry. Dance is such a strong art. This song can’t simply be passed by if it comes on.

Leon Bridges is sugar to my ears and my soul. My Shot, oh my goodness, can I see Hamilton yet? Really, my NYC trip is soon approaching and may have to fork over the bucks to see it. Regrets may be bad if I don’t.