7 things I learned from raising 7 children

1. Love multiplies

2.Mistakes will be made

3. Spanking doesn’t work

4. Everyone is unique from birth

5. It’s better to minimize toys and “stuff”

6. Pick your battles

7. You have to let them go.

 

Here’s 7 more:

1. Some children bite, and won’t stop til they grow out of it no matter what you do.

2. Some children will do anything to conquer all obstacles

3. Some children are dreamers

4. Some children ask questions about everything

5. Some children are born comedians.

6. Some children are born with heartache.

7. All children are gifted.

image (16)My oldest is 36, my youngest just turned 20. And there are really 5 in between. While they were small, and my life was busy with their needs, I was often overwhelmed. Now that they are all grown, I look back on the years and they flew by. I am very grateful for each one, and for what I learned from having them in my life.

What have you learned from your children?

Plans, time, and intentions

wp-1454259597628.jpegI have been writing in my Penzu journal quite a bit, and have let the blogging go. The last couple of evenings I wrote longhand, reflecting on my day and planning for the next. Usually the planning is way too much. I have so much I want to do. Blogging is one of those things, so here I am!

I am often struck by profound thoughts and I think, wow, I could write about that! Then something else demands my attention and that thought drifts away. So I decided, this beautiful Sunday morning, to sit here and write about whatever comes to mind.

January has flown. After all the traveling and days off in December, I put my nose back to the grindstone and haven’t taken any time off from my “day job”. I have had plenty of opportunities to show compassion, to listen, and at times even to empathize with the people at the hospital who are in crisis. I am grateful for those opportunities.

I made a decision to deepen my Ayurvedic studies by joining the live online class instead of the independent study. I love the topic and the coursework, and had come to a point where it was time to participate in the first Clinical Intensive. I realized that I felt too scattered, and fitting it in around my work schedule, social activities, and visiting with my granddaughter wasn’t the best plan for me. So I talked with my teacher/mentor, and am now dedicated to the weekly class, and will be traveling to Portland, Maine the first week in April. I am very excited!

Another thing that has affected me, this past week, is that my father is in the hospital. He is almost 88, and his health has been failing, so this isn’t surprising. He’s in the hospital I work at, so the blessing is that I got to go see him. I haven’t seen him in over a year, due to the deep rift that his wife of five years has caused, keeping my siblings and I from being involved in his life. I wrote a long letter to him last year, and if you want to know the details it is published in two parts, here and here.

My next to youngest child turned 22 a couple of days ago. He lives in Massachussetts, is happy in his life with his partner and his cats, living out in the country. My hope as a parent is that all my children find love and happiness, as well as independence. Better that than wealth with loneliness and sorrow.

I like to think that I have some control over my perception of time, like not getting in a hurry and that sort of thing. But when I look back at my life, and raising my children, all grown now, much of it is like a vapor. Thinking about three years ago, just finally having freed myself from a very difficult marriage, and all that has happened since then, I am amazed. Looking back 20 years, to the birth of my youngest child and what has happened in her relatively short life – it is hard to believe.

Speaking of amazing — I’m going to be a grandmother, again! My second oldest son and his wife announced this month that they are going to be parents – of TWINS! Talk about uncertainty there! Embrace the unexpected, right? They will be wonderful parents.

Do you set intentions? I do all the time!

Lake morningToday, I have the intentions of finishing and publishing this post, walking outside in the sunshine, cooking a nutritious lunch, putting paint on a canvas, and spending the evening with some friends celebrating a birthday.

This week, I intend to show compassion to everyone I meet,  do some yoga at least 3 times, take a couple of long walks, study and practice ayurveda, spend time with people I love either on the phone or in person, and eat fresh nutritious food. I intend to write and paint, too!

What are your intentions? What are you grateful for?

May your day be merry and bright

Peace on earth, good will towards all. Joy to the world! I am happy and grateful for the peace and joy that I have in my own small world. I pray for the peace and happiness of all beings.  I hope for an end to strife and prejudice everywhere.

Christmas treeI have started my 60th year of life on this earth, and plan for 60 more! I remember the wonderful Christmases of my childhood, always plentiful, without much thought of the rest of the world. Then  I think on the Christmases of my 20’s and 30’s, with many children, trying to teach them about giving, not just receiving. The Christmases of my 40’s and 50’s were more difficult, having to deal with divorce and teenagers, but still we lacked nothing. The last few years have seen another shift as my second marriage came to an end, my spiritual beliefs continue to evolve, the rest of my children left home, and I found myself in a new and wonderful relationship.

I treasure each of my children and my grandchild, and have hopes that we can all spend a Christmas together again. Over the years we have drifted away from that, finding other days of the year for reunions. I have even purposefully worked at my job on Christmas to avoid family reunions, partly due to my own sense of inadequacy. But that is behind me, as I have embraced forgiveness of both myself and others. I am hoping that the pendulum will swing back, and that we will again enjoy the magic of Christmas as a family.

In the meantime, I am happy for the near-to-Christmas celebration earlier this month, the travel to North Carolina and time with old friends on my birthday weekend, and a quiet Christmas Eve with my partner.

May the spirit of the Christmas season stay with us throughout the year.

 

September!

This is one of my favorite months! I live in the south so it is still hot, but the promise of cooler weather is there – although not for at least another month!

wpid-wp-1441467245884.jpegLife shifts and changes, and I haven’t been here so much lately. After my two  out of state trips in May and June , I felt a bit unsettled for a while. Taking a weekend road trip to Austin in late June capped off the summer travel, and left me wanting to move there! My son has lived there for five years so I’ve visited quite a bit since then, and every time I go I want to stay!

July was very hot, and my spare hours were filled with finishing Term 1 of my ayurvedic studies. The term concluded with a Nutrition Intensive, so I spent extra time in the kitchen. A major change that has happened since I began these studies is that I have become much more particular about what and how I eat. I prefer fresh food, and have learned that it’s not hard to prepare simple meals of grains and vegetables. I haven’t eaten meat since April, and over all feel much more balanced. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain prana, or life force, and it just feels better inside.  So one of the things I hope to do is develop ayurvedic cooking classes to the end of better health for more people.

Carol Nacogdoches Aug 2015August was hotter than ever, getting up around 100 degrees in the early part. I took a day trip to Nacogdoches for a visit with my youngest daughter, and found that it has a great oldtown shopping center. Carol and I had a great time shopping and cooking and getting her more ready for the next school term at Stephen F Austin University where she will continue her vocal performance studies.

David and RoniLast week my oldest son, David, got married. I have to say that when he announced his engagement earlier this year, I was surprised, but not surprised. He and Roni have known each other for 13 years, and it was on again, off again, and they finally decided to take the leap. They got married on a Carnival Cruise Ship before taking off on the cruise ( I didn’t go!) and it was very nice, lots of fun, and a wonderful opportunity to spend time with people not often seen.

Now I am looking forward with great anticipation to Sept 28, when Robert and I will leave the heat and humidity and fly north to spend three weeks road-tripping from western New York through Massachusetts and Maine to Nova Scotia and then back down to the Boston area before flying home. I have been wanting to do this for years, and am very excited! We don’t have a real fall here, so the timing of it is to experience peak fall foliage.

In the midst of all these experiences, I go to work, I watch a movie, I take a walk. I meditate, I do yoga. I visit my granddaughter, I try to stay connected with all my seven children. I meet new people, mostly only in that moment, then we each go on with our lives.  I occasionally write and paint. I ponder the meaning of life, but less frequently than when I was younger. I look for ways to practice kindness and compassion every day. I embrace uncertainty.

 

Happy Father’s Day?

I’m seeing a lot of great tributes to fathers on social media. I am happy for everyone who has had that kind of relationship with their father. Every time I see one of those posts, I feel a twinge of sadness. My father, although a good man, was never that kind of father. We had a good life with money and great vacations, but no emotional closeness. Now, although he is 87 and failing in health, I rarely speak to him because of his choice of wife, the woman he married 5 months after my mother died 5 years ago. I’m not going to go into all the details, but if you are interested, you can read the letter I wrote to him (but didn’t send) here and here. His wife is a toxic person but my father has chosen to spend his life with her, rather than have close relationship with his offspring. C’est la vie.

Baby girl smelling giant roseIf you didn’t have a close relationship with your father, or had an abusive or not present father, today isn’t an easy day. I encourage you to write it out, if you haven’t already, and spend time with family or friends who are affirming and that you can share joy with. As for me, I will call my father and hope for the best. And I’m going to visit my sweet baby granddaughter, and smell flowers and play in puddles.