Motherhood Musings

Anyone who ever said that motherhood is easy was either a liar or in serious denial. Parenting in general is the hardest job on the planet! You are responsible for another HUMAN BEING! I’m a mother so I can only speak to motherhood. If you’re a father, please forgive me. I’d have to get my husband to write a post on that one.

As a mother of grown children I would like to encourage all young mothers to just do your best. That’s all you can do. It is probably inevitable that once they’re grown you’ll look back with some regrets.

As you’re raising them and doing your best, you’ll think you’re doing right, covering all the bases. You’re giving your family all you’ve got; all your love, your energy, your creativity, your heart and soul. It’s what good moms do. If you’re really good, you even balance that out with taking care of yourself.

Then, your kids grow up and you see that there were things you missed; bases you didn’t cover. Even a few bases you didn’t even know were there much less that they needed covering. This can lead to feelings of regret, failure, and anxiety. You question whether you were as good a mom as you thought you were being at the time. You realize that it’s too late to make any changes or do anything differently. These thoughts can be heartbreaking.

There’s no perfection this side of eternity, however. There are no perfect moms just like there are no perfect kids, no matter how things may appear on the surface. We’re all human. You are human. Human = imperfect! You did your best. You loved them, cared for them, taught them what you knew to teach them, and now it’s between them and God.

You need to forgive yourself and move on. Your job is done. You have come to the other side of the toughest job on the planet. Not that you’ll ever stop being “Mom”; loving them, worrying about them, offering wisdom and advice whenever you’re given the chance. But, it’s all on them now. The decisions, choices, consequences, and responsibilities are all theirs now. You’re passing the torch, so to speak, and you need to truly let it go. You did your best now give God the rest, and rest a little. You’ve earned it!

Blessings!
Brenda. 😊

C.D. Journals – June 21, 2022

Photo by Jess Watters on Pexels.com

The first day of summer. That doesn’t mean a whole lot here in central Texas. Spring felt more like summer this year. We’ve had 90 and 100 degree days for weeks. Maybe that’s the reason for my melancholy of late. I don’t like the heat. It exacerbates my symptoms and it’s just plain uncomfortable!

It’s been four years since my diagnosis and I feel like I should be better adjusted than I am. I try very hard to be happy in spite of my “handicap”, to function as normally as possible, and to not affect those around me any more than I can help. But, I still get sad. I still get discouraged, and I struggle with truly being happy.

I still laugh quite a bit, much thanks to my sweet and funny husband who has been amazing through all of this, and my kids who support me and treat me as if I were still normal. I think they’ve gotten used to me holding my head all the time.

In spite of still being able to laugh, even at myself, I often feel restless and discontent. That light, giddy feeling of happiness is something I’ve only experienced a time or two these past few years when I used to feel it much more often. C.D. makes you feel like a prisoner in your own body and I definitely don’t feel free to be as lighthearted and happy as I’d like. I wonder if I’ll ever really be happy again.

Of course, the state of the world doesn’t help right now. A lot of us are not happy in general. I realize that things could be so much worse and that realization doesn’t go very far in changing how I feel. It helps me to appreciate things more and be thankful, and that’s not the same as what I’m talking about.

I’m not special or alone in this. There are so many others not only suffering with C.D., but suffering from so many different things. I guess, in reality, life on this planet has always been that way. Since the fall of man and the entrance of sin this world has been in chaos.

Everyone has their own cross to bear. The truth is that I am really very spoiled. I may be suffering from a debilitating neurological disorder, but I am very well taken care of and loved. I have SO much to be thankful for. There’s a Veggie Tale line that goes like this: “A thankful heart is a happy heart.” I beg to differ. I think we can be thankful and still be unhappy in our hearts.

My word for this year is “Joy”. I am on the hunt for sustainable joy. I could also add the word “Happy” because I would like to find a way to be truly happy with my life in spite of being disabled. I know a lot of others more disabled than I who have done that and I want to join them. I don’t like whining. I don’t like being discontent or unhappy. Life’s too short to live like that even if you have good reason.

So, once again, today I choose to move beyond the sadness and discouragement and go in search of a happy heart. In honor of those who are dealing with so much more than I am, I choose to decline the pity party invite. 😊

CFN! (Ciao for now)
Brenda

Flying

There is a season of my life that not many know about. I remember it very fondly. I call it “the season of flying”. Not in airplanes, but on a Hobie Cat.

These are catamarans. Hobie was a brand. This isn’t us or my picture. I actually don’t have any pictures, sadly. The only souvenir I have of that time is this shirt.

From the Dana Point Regatta

It was 1984. I was in my mid-twenties and dating Rich Cooley, a co-worker at AMF Tire Equipment Division. He was an engineer and I was the Document Control Clerk. We dated for a couple of years and probably would have ended up married except for the fact that he didn’t want any more children and I did. Anyway, while together we participated in many regattas on his Hobie catamaran.

We both lived in Huntington Beach – not together – but, I was at his place as often as I could be because he lived a block from the beach! We traveled up and down the Southern California coast from Dana Point to Long Beach, participating in these regattas. It was one of the highlights of my life. I adored being on the water, looked pretty good in a wetsuit back then, and flying a catamaran is one of those life experiences you never forget!

This is what we called “flying” (again, not us) and it was a BLAST! You’re basically using your body weight against the wind in your sails to keep the boat from “turtling” (going upside down) while gliding across the water. Turtlng was not a good thing. If that happened it was quite an effort to get the cat upright again. It only happened to us a couple of times and I only remember once where we had to get help from some other people. It looks pretty freaky too – this tall mast and sails upside down under the water. Not your favorite thing to have happen.

I operated the jib (or headsail) while Rich handled the mainsail. A cat can be sailed solo, but it’s much less stressful with two people. And when you’re racing, it’s also a big timesaver to not have to tack all on your own. Especially in choppy water! We mostly raced on the ocean, so chop was a definite thing to deal with.

I remember one regatta in particular and I would have to say it was my favorite. We sailed from Newport Beach to Catalina Island, then camped on the island beach overnight and returned to Newport the next morning. I remember the trip over was very choppy almost all the way. When we got close to the island it calmed down. It was the first time I saw a flying fish and water so clear you could see almost to the bottom. The waters around Catalina Island were gorgeous! I haven’t been there since, so I have no idea what it looks like now. It was the longest race we ever did and the most memorable for me.

Two things I remember most about all of those races were going out for dinner and drinks with our sailing buddies after (White Russians for me most of the time), and the ride home in Rich’s Volkswagen bus. I never liked driving the thing, but it was fun to ride in. Then there was cleaning the sand and salt off of everything once we got home. It was some work, but well worth it. Rich took a picture of me once right after a race and I looked like a wild woman. A very happy wild woman; sun kissed, wind blown, no makeup, hair going everywhere – it was awesome! I really wish I had that picture.

I don’t know what sparked these memories, but they came flooding in this morning so I thought it would be a good time to share them with my kids at least. Michelle might remember Rich and his mom. His mom used to look after Michelle while we were racing. We also took her out on the cat a few times – never flying as she was like 4-years old – just a little sailing.

These days the only flying I do is in an airplane. I live hours from any beach with a husband who only goes to the beach to make me happy. But, I have these memories of this awesome thing that used to be part of my life and I think that’s pretty cool. I am a beach babe at heart and probably always will be. I may never sail a cat again, but I’ll always have my “season of flying”. ⛵️🥰

C.D. Journals – April 6, 2022

It’s been awhile since I shared anything about my journey with Cervical Dystonia, so I thought I’d pop in with a few words because today is one of those days that I think a lot of us experience, some more than others maybe. We talk a lot about the physical aspects of this disorder, with good reason, because they’re dramatic. Dystonia turns us into painful contortionists and the domino effect on connecting muscles is mind-blowing.

The mental game is no joke either though, and it is a head game. There’s the whole grieving process when we’re first diagnosed. Then, for me at least, my emotions ran the gamut from depression to determination. I was diagnosed a little over three years ago and it has been a roller coaster ride. Some days I’m at peace and coping with it, and other days I’m dealing with anxiety and depression. A lot of days I’m angry and frustrated very often throughout the day.

Then there’s the head trips I take myself on. I think that I should be able to do something I’m failing at and feel guilty for it and have to remind myself that I am now “differently abled” and need to cut myself some slack. Or, I need to run an errand and the thought of going out in public makes me feel uneasy and I have to psych myself up just to go to the grocery store. In fact, I don’t usually go grocery shopping by myself anymore. A small example of my uneasiness: my husband and I were in the grocery store recently and he suggested that I go find something we needed in the produce section while he went in search of something in another area of the store. That meant that I had to walk through the store by myself. I hesitated, feeling a moment of anxiety, then agreed.

I have to hold my head when I am walking so that I can see where I’m going (walking with your head twisted to the side makes it difficult to see clearly ahead of you). With the way I hold my head, I look like I have an elbow growing out the side of it. I feel very self-conscious, and I mean VERY. I usually deal with this one of two ways; I completely ignore my feelings and everyone around me and laser-focus on the task at hand, or I cheer myself on the whole way and smile at anyone who stares at me – depending on my mood, I guess.

I don’t consider myself a particularly strong person, emotionally. At the same time I’m a fighter and don’t like adversity to get the best of me. I don’t like limitations and usually do my best to break them, but at the same time when I encounter an unpassable obstacle I won’t beat my head against it until I have a headache. I will either look for a way around or choose a different path. I try to rest when I really need to rest and push through when I think I can do so without making things worse.

It’s a constant battle physically, mentally, and emotionally. Some days I’m just tired of the struggle – so tired. Today is one of those days. I don’t want to leave my comfy bedroom chair where I can sit and situate my head so that it will be straight and mostly still. I can pretend that I’m normal again. I am typing this right now with both hands and my head looking straight at the monitor. I can do this because when my head tries to turn I can push it into the back of the chair and stop the turn. My head is mostly pressed into the back of the chair, but at least I don’t have to hold it with my hands. Small victories, I’ll take them!

You know, life doesn’t stop because we have challenges no matter how debilitating or life-altering. I can let this disorder rob me of my quality of life and my joy, or I can not. Most of the time I choose the latter. Even when I choose to watch life go by for awhile I know that I can jump back in when I feel stronger and ready for more of the rollercoaster. Life doesn’t stop, but we can get off and take breaks now and then, and it’s okay. It’s when we completely give up that we’re in trouble and I personally am not ready to completely throw in the towel. I might be getting close, but not yet. And really, that’s up to God anyway.

As long as I have breath in me and my Jesus keeps strengthening me, I’ll keep fighting the good fight – taking breaks when I need to be refreshed. It’s how it is with us humans. We are not all-powerful and endlessly energetic. Especially those with chronic diseases and disorders. Our tanks run low more quickly than completely healthy, able-bodied people. You know, 12-year olds. Hahaha! I’m kidding. There are 70-year olds who could give those 12-year olds a run for their money. I know a couple.

Ok. I’m feeling a little better now. Sometimes it helps to just talk things out a bit. Thanks for listening. I appreciate you! I think I’m about ready to put my pads on and get back in the game. 🙂

Blessings!
Brenda

Anyone Need to Hear This?

So, I haven’t been writing a whole lot this year so far. I think I’ve been struggling a bit with what to say; feeling a bit like I have nothing of importance to impart. I was reminded recently that we all have something to say. We all have a voice that someone needs to hear. Even if it’s been said before, there’s someone who either hasn’t heard it or needs to be reminded of it. And, there’s someone who needs to hear it the way that you would say it.

I have noticed over the years that speakers will often repeat the same sentiment in different ways. I’ve learned that they do this because different people hear things differently. Have you ever experienced that? I have. I’ve heard something multiple times then someone will say it a little differently and it will suddenly click! Sounds a little weird, I know, but it’s true. I don’t understand the phenomenon or any science behind it, but I find it fascinating.

Having been reminded of all this, I’ve decided to step up my writing, and to diversify somewhat. This blog is, after all, supposed to be about all of my different interests. I could blame my lack of content on the state of the world right now and the fact that I haven’t been pursuing as many interests as in the beginning as a result. I don’t think that’s the whole truth though.

I can’t blame my limited activity completely on the pandemic or supply shortages, or any of that. There are lots of contributing factors; we’ve gone down to one vehicle so I don’t get out as much, Dystonia limits me physically, I’ve been focusing mainly on paper crafting and crochet as far as hobbies go, and we’re getting ready for a wedding in July. Realistically, I could write about all of these things and I think I will going forward. Who knows. I may say something that someone needs to hear. 😊

Adventures in the Dirt – 2022 Edition

So, you may have noticed that there were no gardening posts last year – or you may not have. Either way, this year will be different. Last year a thing called COVID happened to me just as spring and gardening time were upon me. I managed to squeeze in a few herbs by the time I was up and around, but overall I had no garden last year. I’m really hoping to make up for it this year by starting early and strong!

Veggie bed covered in deer netting

This is my cinder block raised bed. I planted Broccoli, Spinach, Kale, and Rutabaga from seed. We have a bit of a squirrel problem, so my husband and I constructed these covers out of PVC pipe and deer netting. They’re easily removed and work really well.

Below is a picture of another raised bed. You can’t see it real well in the picture, but it’s surrounded by a tall version of the cover above. Even this one, I can remove and put back myself because it’s so lightweight. In this bed I have; lettuce, carrots, spinach, and turnips. In a bit, there will be cucumbers at the end climbing up that trellis that you can see a little bit of. This picture was taken in the late afternoon/early evening. It gets full sun the rest of the day.

Veggie bed in the late afternoon.

I’m adding a few fun, decorative touches this year as well. Like this trellis with our initial in it for the jasmine, and Mr. Rabbit standing guard.

“L” for Lenz
Mr. Rabbit

I am not, by any means, an expert gardener. I mostly put things in the ground and see what happens. I do try to make sure that the things I plant together are good companions. I’m not afraid to try doing things a little differently from year-to-year.

For instance, the bed that Mr. Rabbit is in is usually reserved for herbs. I have some perennials in there that are working on coming back right now. This year, however, I got brave. I found the aforementioned jasmine and decided it would look lovely at the head of my herb garden. I researched companion plants for it, but didn’t find a lot of information, so I decided to give it a go.

Pink Jasmine that reminds me of home.

Right next to the Jasmine, or pretty close anyway, I decided to place a Texas Bluebonnet that I found at the nursery. I tried planting these from seed once, but they didn’t take. They’re a wildflower that doesn’t really bloom for very long so I didn’t think it would hurt to put it in there. It seems fairly happy so far.

Texas Bluebonnet – state flower and symbol of our new home . . . for the past 15 years.

In addition to these beds, I also have some tubs that I’ve used for years and had wonderful success with. One of them got a new installation of peppermint and two others have Swiss chard, and shallots and onions. I’m reserving the fourth for tomatoes.

Peppermint tub

I am obsessed with chocolate mint. Yes, my friends, CHOCOLATE mint! And it’s as wonderful as it sounds. I have always had trouble finding it, but this year I found it at Home Depot online. Strange, I know, but my normal seed vendors didn’t have it. So, here it is in all it’s glory and I have three pots of it! I don’t grow mint in the ground because it is incredibly invasive and would take over the yard.

One of three chocolate mint plants.

I haven’t even begun to mention all my potted plants on the deck; chocolate mint coleus (I told you I was obsessed with chocolate mint), holy basil, Jerusalem sage, purple fountain grass, cinnamon basil, columbine, purple basil (I’m a little obsessed with Basil as well), snapdragons, cosmos, and a creeping Jenny. I’ll post pics of those when they’re done recovering from winter, and when the seedlings are a little bigger.

I am really hoping for the best garden yet this year. Texas is really a great place for gardening because the growing season is so long. There are even crops that can be grown through winter and are even better once they’ve gone through a frost. I’m having fun no matter what and just like every other year, it’ll be an adventure and we’ll see what happens!

Happy growing! 👩🏻‍🌾

C.D. Journals – December 29, 2021

This is exhausting! Fighting my own body every waking hour of every day just gets so draining. So many with this affliction spend most of their days in bed and I can certainly understand that. For me, that would be even more devastating than the disorder itself.

I already struggle with melancholy (I don’t want to say “depression” because I don’t think that’s what it is. I just battle chronic sadness.). To completely give up and not even get out of bed would probably lead to depression. I have been there before and it is not even a little bit fun.

So, I get out of bed every day and do SOMETHING. Actually, I do quite a lot really. I take care of my dog. I take care of myself. I take care of my husband as much as possible, but really he takes more care of me. I do laundry and light housecleaning. I go for walks. I engage in as many of my hobbies as possible and in between all of that I rest.

The resting is the tricky part. First off, I am very task oriented and always need to be doing something so stopping to rest is something I have to make myself do. Well, truthfully, when my neck and back are on fire it’s not so hard to stop. But, if I’m not in significant pain, then it’s definitely hard to make myself stop. I also know that if I don’t rest there WILL be significant pain. I say significant because there is always pain in varying degrees.

Another tricky part of resting is ending it. Once I sit down or lie down and take the pressure off my constantly straining muscles, it can be difficult to get up and start the battle again. So, I have to make myself stop and I have to make myself start again. In between those two things I have to fight my body to make it do what I want it to do however I can. Can you see where the exhaustion comes in?

Add to all that the holidays! I am Mom and Grandma. That’s a lot of pressure at holiday time from my perspective. My grandma always made the holidays extra special when I was a kid and I am driven to do the same for my grandkids. I know it needs to change, but my heart just doesn’t want it to. So, I push beyond my limits baking, wrapping, cleaning, decorating – all the things we women do during the holidays. The only difference now is that I start in October. I’m thinking of starting even earlier next year.

In general, I do the best I can with where I am. Some days I do even better than I normally can because I’m stubborn. I’m also SOMETIMES willing to suffer the consequences depending on how important it is to me and how I’m feeling at the moment. Apparently, making sure my grands have several different types of cookies, candy, fudge, and a cake I’ve never made before for Christmas Eve is worth doing very little for the few days after. I think I must be a little crazy! I’m doing much less for New Year’s.

If you’re reading this and you have Dystonia, or any other type of movement disorder, I would love to hear how the holidays went for you; what you were able to accomplish and how you coped.

Many blessings in the new year! 😊💕

New Year Dreams

Another year is coming to a close. I’m feeling a mixture of melancholy and hopeful anticipation. I feel that way every year around this time. I mourn the things that get left behind and eagerly anticipate a new beginning.

Some things SHOULD be left behind; unhealthy habits, negative circumstances, unhealthy relationships and while it can be sad to let go of the unhealthy things that I am comfortable with, I know it will be for my good in the long run.

I absolutely LOVE fresh starts and clean slates. The Bible tells us that God’s mercies are new every morning. I feel like the start of a new year is a HUGE new mercy! I don’t necessarily do “resolutions” – carved in stone, I AM going to do this kind of resolve because that doesn’t last for me. I like to think of it more as setting guidelines or maybe even dream casting. Being the dreamer that I am I like that one better.

I am also a planner junky. I LOVE sitting down around the last week of the year surrounded by; my new planner, colorful pens, stickers, whatever other arts and crafts accessories I’m into at the moment, and writing out my dreams for the coming year. Really thinking about what I want my life to look like. What I want to look like. It fills me with such hope!

As I make my plans for the coming year, I am well aware that they are just that – plans. Plans change, go awry, or simply go away. I can make all the plans I want, but ultimately God has all of my plans already worked out. Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21. It’s fun to plan anyway, and I don’t mind that God is in control because His plans are always better than mine anyway even if I don’t see it at first.

So, I guess you could say that I dream about what the coming year could be all the while yielding to what God has in store for me. In fact, I eagerly anticipate what God has in store. Blessings, challenges, growth, it’s all for good. “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11. Whatever happens in this life, I have the hope of eternity and a future in Christ! The rest is gravy.

What are your dreams for the new year? Write them down. Don’t think about how practical or actually feasible they might be, just dream! Dream big! Let yourself be okay if the dreams don’t come true right away, or if they remain dreams. Having them is the win!

Have a Dreamy New Year! ☺️💕

Perfect Imperfection

I keep thinking about people. Not particular people, but people in general. The way we act, the way we treat each other, the things that seem to come natural to us. The human condition, I guess, is what I’m really thinking about.

I’m dealing with a situation in my family where I have been accused of things I’m not guilty of. In this person’s eyes, however, I am guilty. It’s their perspective. My reaction to these accusations was quite human. I was shocked. I defended myself, I denied them, and I was chastised for that response.

I feel I was chastised for being human and that’s partly what got me thinking. Why do we expect each other to not be human? What makes us think that when we attack someone they shouldn’t feel attacked? And, accusing someone falsely is definitely attacking them. Regardless of how “mature” or “spiritual” someone may be, they are still human. They still react sometimes instead of responding, and they still have feelings.

Just because I’m “Mom” or “Grandma”, or the matriarch of a family, or even a Christian doesn’t mean I’m perfect in any way. It doesn’t make me any less emotional than anyone else, and it definitely does not mean that I’m not going to be hurt when someone I love accuses me of doing something I wouldn’t even think of doing.

The people on this planet are all human; flawed, imperfect, broken in some way humans. The last thing we should expect of each other is perfection. Even the “high-minded” are not perfect. NO ONE IS PERFECT! This is why we need grace and forgiveness.

We need to extend grace to one another. We need to forgive each other. We need to do what we need to do to deal with hurt and offense so that we can move forward in a healthy manner. If something needs to be discussed then discuss it and allow each other our humanness. If we need to be emotional, then we should be allowed to do that, within boundaries of course. Physical violence is never acceptable.

I don’t think anyone should be chastised for being emotional unless those emotions turn into verbal or physical abuse. Hate talk, bullying, downright nasty insults are never productive nor should they be tolerated. A little yelling, crying, even “How could you?” is not abusive in my opinion. In some cultures, yelling and hand-gesturing is a completely natural form of communication, but some people are offended by that. I think they’re called “snowflakes” these days. At least that’s what I hear.

My point is we are not robots. We all react to life and other people in some way – some more calmly than others and that’s part of it. We are all different. We respond and react differently. We process things differently. The world these days is all about differences. How about we learn to accept ALL the differences, not just the ones we think are cool or fashionable, or liberating, or whatever. How about we agree to disagree and still treat each other with respect as long as there was no serious harm inflicted? Forgiving things that happen outside those boundaries is a whole different topic and not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about sane, rational human beings who sometimes lose their temper and yell or who feel hurt and cry in public. Or when someone is falsely accused and they respond with defensiveness, or react with shock and disbelief. Purely human responses. There was only ever one perfect human being who walked this planet – Jesus Christ. How about we allow everyone else to NOT be Him?

Melancholy Morning

Some mornings the melancholy is overwhelming. I try to focus on my gratitude list with tears clouding my vision. So much heartache. So much disappointment. Most of the time I try not to go there. I try not to think about the broken relationships with loved ones that I feel helpless to mend. I try not to dwell on the things I’ve lost. I do my best to overcome health issues that limit me; finding new ways to function and new pain thresholds. Most days I resist the melancholy and succeed in pushing it back.

I have always believed it unhealthy to bottle emotions and at the same time I am an expert at denial and constructing walls. I can put up a brick wall in the blink of an eye! In all honesty, I don’t like to cry and the walls help me with that. Crying is messy and painful. I don’t like messy or painful!

That’s life though, isn’t it? Messy and painful. And we get to choose whether to waddle in it or get up and move on. Eventually, I always move on. I wonder though . . . am I avoiding or am I being more positive minded? Is there a fine line between positivity and avoidance?

I think there needs to be a balance. Deal with the sadness, the disappointment – feel it, then move on. If there’s something that you can change, change it. If not, then release it. At least for the moment. Maybe a solution will come later, but for now, put it on a shelf and walk away. Dwelling in the sadness sounds so dangerous!

What would become of me if I stayed there – under that little black cloud? Would I make life miserable for those closest to me? Would my heart break completely and cause me to go mad? Then I would be the cause of sadness and disappointment for those I love most and I could never do that on purpose! That is usually what brings me back from the brink. Realizing how giving in to my depression would affect those who love me, keeps me from giving in. But some mornings, the battle is harder. Some mornings . . . the melancholy is overwhelming.