Ever feel like you're working so hard at something, you're really focused, driven, and determined?
I once felt like that about autism and being an advocate for my now 11 year old son, Caleb.
But somewhere along the way I lost traction.....I lost sight of what I was doing with him. It happened by accident because he had a period of time in his life a few years ago where he was doing so well. He was excelling in so much, and I relaxed and took my eyes off the target.
In these last few months though, Caleb has suddenly become a different young man. I point to pre-puberty as the main cause, but whatever it is, I quickly saw that I had fallen asleep behind the wheel and was about to crash. Caleb was suddenly being difficult, he wasn't doing so great at school, he had hit a plateau. and I had unknowingly let him get there.
When Caleb was young, I had him connected to therapists, social workers, & play groups. We had special toys and books for him, and decided to put him on a gluten-free and dairy-free diet. We fought for him everywhere he went--church, school, the mall, the grocery store! We were autism advocates on a mission! The mission was to create awareness, promote inclusion, and to set up a solid foundation for Caleb that would help him grow into a mature, responsible and contributing member of society.
These days I feel lost.
These days I feel him slipping from my grasp. I see him getting lost inside his head, zoning out, then acting out.
I find myself angry and frustrated with him daily. Daily! I know it sounds terrible to be upset with a special needs child, but gosh-darnit he's stubborn, and struggling, and challenging!
And I wish I could pinpoint the moment I let my focus go, because I would go back there, slap myself upside the head and say, "you CAN"T loose focus! He needs you! You are his advocate, his support, his Mother!"
Last week we had a meeting at his school. It came about because everyone involved in his life there was concerned about the new (and troubling) behaviours he was exhibiting.
Sitting in that meeting though, and hearing all those people who care for Caleb, and genuinely want the best for him, talk about their concerns, as well as their hopes for Caleb's future made me realize something; all is not lost.
Where I was feeling alone in my hopelessness of the direction Caleb was heading in, I realized there were many other people who saw this path he was taking, and wanted to stop him, and set him right. Where I was stuck, and had no clue what to do with him, his amazing team hashed out ideas, and came up with a list of a few new things we could try to help Caleb in this strange new place in his life.
I left feeling so encouraged, but more importantly, more focused than I've been in a long time. Focused on Caleb and what he needs, & what will set him up for success.
Caleb is changing, and that is a little scary! But he's here, he's mine to nurture, to lead and guide. It's hard. I cry a lot. I fret and worry. But Caleb is worth it!
April is autism awareness month.
I want to share this month about my Caleb, about his autism, and about his struggles and successes.
I hope you'll join me, support me, and support the efforts of autism awareness this month. You can show support by changing your Facebook profile picture to an autism badge, ribbon, or even Caleb's face if you want (just save and use any of the photos above!)! You can purchase shirts, pins, hats, all sorts of things. You can donate your time or money to a local autism support branch (even the smallest towns often have them!), or you could show support by asking a family you may know who is dealing with autism if there is something, anything, you can do to help them. And if the family says there isn't anything, it's because they are probably feeling overwhelmed and don't even know where to start asking for help! So, in that case, bring them a gift card for a coffee shop!!!
I want to use this month to really help get my focus back. To "talk" my problems and thoughts out loud, which more often than not lead me to revelation about my circumstance!
Please join me this month! I'll be writing at least every Thursday and would love to hear from you!
I feel like I've been doing a lot of recipe round-ups lately?!
No matter, I like doing round-ups! There are so many amazing bloggers, recipe developers and photographers out in the World Wide Web, and I want to share their work with you!
Today I have a delicious collection of Easter treats, all are no-bake, and most can be, or are already, gluten-free--which can be so helpful now-a-days with so many people trying avoid gluten!
These treats are also beautiful, and super spring-y.....which is nice....especially since it's still snowing here today!!! It was sunny and warm last weekend, and then from that point until this point we've had a snow storm, freezing rain, yesterday the buses were cancelled due to "inclement weather"....happy spring!!! : ( Thumbs down.
So, I mean, making a delightful treat like any of the ones below should make at least your kitchen and tummy feel like spring is here!
I whipped up a double batch of the Layered Peeps Crispy Pops last night (and my husband tried a Peep for the first time!), so Spring may not have been outside, but it was inside!
Erin at Suburban Simplicity created this beautiful Bunny Chow. This is a quick and simple recipe that is a serious crowd pleaser!
A few years ago I posted these Easter treats: Rice Krispie Mini Egg Squares and Mini Egg Macaroon Nests. Simple, yummy. The end!
Rice Krispie squares made from Peeps marshmallows? Genius!!! Kristin at Yellow Bliss Road created these Layered Peeps Crispy Pops by swapping out the usual marshmallows and using Peeps instead!
Just look at that Creme Egg Rocky Road Bark from Sarah at Taming Twins!!! What the heck, right?!? Get in my belly! : )
Jen at Cincy Shopper made these really cute, and oh-so-simple Krispie Treat Easter Carrots. She uses store bought Rice Krispie Treats, but making these yourself would be
Easter Egg Pretzel Chocolate Swirl Bark is a crazy long name for a really easy to make treat from Samantha at Five Heart Home!
We'll be heading down to Brantford and area to visit family for the Easter weekend. My Mom and Dad are away on a trip to Ireland though, so it'll be a very different kind of visit! They've left their house for us to still stay in (as it's usually our "home base" when we're in the area visiting family), but it'll be strange to not have them there!
It'll also be potentially challenging to have Easter egg hunts in the snow! Ok, well, it is a few hours south, so maybe the weather is nice there? I should check.
I loved Easter when I was a kid. My sisters and I (well, us younger girls) would get the cutest (well, cute for the '80's and early '90's!) dresses, often a cute hat to match to wear to church for Easter Sunday. On Easter Sunday morning our Mom would have at our place at the breakfast table new socks and underwear, bubbles, a jump rope, and a chocolate bunny. Sometimes other things too, but I remember those as a sure thing on Easter morning. We would always seem to have a lot of people over, and it was always a lot of fun. One year I vividly recall a basket full (FULL!!!) of solid chocolate bunnies, I remember small, medium and large ones, and I also remember eating my weight in these chocolate bunnies! The basket was right out in the open in the kitchen, and I don't remember anyone saying "please don't eat chocolate all day!"...so then I ate chocolate all day. Eek. My chocolate addiction goes way back......
Anyway, I hope everyone has a safe and wonderful weekend, whatever you're doing!
Happy Thanksgiving American friends!
It is not Thanksgiving here in Canada, we celebrate back in October! Anywhooo, I hope wherever you are reading this, and whenever it is, that you can stop and find something to be thankful for!
So, I have a few recipes I've been fussing with, and I still love creating my own recipes, but the truth is, I'm often just surfing the web, looking for recipes that'll suit something I have in my mind, but spare me the grief of trial and error!
This is one of those recipes! I had nice, fresh blueberries in the summer, and wanted a simple and strait forward recipe that yielded deee-licious muffins! I also wanted a streusel top because I find that muffins that are just so crazy-delicious moist tend to get sticky on top. It's better than them getting dry on top, but still, I don't like sticky top muffins! And because I'm the kind of person who likes to freeze baked goods for later, if the tops are too moist, they get all icicle-y. Ya know?
Well, anyway, when these came out the first time looking like a million bucks, and then having all the teen staff at the summer camp I was cooking at DEVOUR them, I figured they were a good recipe! And the batches I made at home that friends and neighbours gobbled up confirmed that this recipe was a good one.
So, here it is, adapted oh so slightly from Chef Savvy and her Blueberry Streusel Muffin recipe! The muffins in my photos are (stupidly) shy on streusel! I made a double batch of the muffins when I was going to take the pictures, and didn't make enough topping, but when I realized it, I had already packed ingredients up, and done dishes, and I'm a little anal about cleaning and tidying as I go which can backfire in situations like these! Phew, what a run-on sentence!!! Also, the muffins I made at camp were a lot of "bakery style" with the domed top because the oven there isn't a weeny like my oven at home..... (sigh...)
Anyway, with a lot or a little toping, with the tops perfectly domed or not, these muffins are so good. For realz.
Blueberry Streusel Top Muffins
From "Blueberry Streusel Muffins" from Chef Savvy
For the streusel Topping:
For the Muffins
For the Muffins:
The best way to eat these? Still warm, with some butter and honey. Yum!!!
Well, I wanted to have this posted earlier today. I also had a post ready for yesterday that I never got to actually finish and post. Last week the kids missed school on Friday because we drove to Toronto to see Matilda The Musical (which we had so much fun seeing!), then this week Monday was a snow-day, and Thursday was too - but we drove the kids to school (because we're mean) and because we had a meeting to be at, and also because we wanted to go into the school to be involved in the training for Caleb's new iPad. Again, with the run-on sentences! Then today was a P.A. day!!! So, I mean, this week was all wonky, and I didn't really get all the things done that I wanted to, but, oh well! I'm trying this new thing where I don't beat myself up about every failure, whether real or perceived. It's a hard task, but I think it's important to not be my #1 critic 24/7!!!
I will share next Thursday about my Caleb, my amazing Caleb and something that happened this past week that left me weeping like a sappy, happy Mother numerous times!
For now, just have a wonderful weekend, and I'll see ya next week!
I know I used to post a motivational Monday and Health & Fitness post on Monday's, but I'm breaking the rules! I just want to share some recipes I have, and that's all there is to it!
This recipe is so simple, it's basically oatmeal chocolate chips cookies, minus all the scooping it takes to make cookies! :) And, this makes a great dessert to throw together when guests are coming over last-minute. It's got some pretty simple ingredients (ingredients most people have on hand), and comes together quickly! The hardest part is letting them cool before cutting them into squares.
These little gems are also a nice treat to add to kids lunches, fyi. They freeze well, so, cut them into squares, put them into an airtight container, stick 'em in the freezer, and pull them out to add to lunches as needed!
This recipe is from Jamie Cooks it Up. She has photos of the process, so hop on over there to see them if you want to!
Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and prepare a 9x13 pan with parchment paper, and a bit of cooking spray or butter where the parchment isn't covering. Leave a bit of overhang with the parchment to use as "handles" later
2. To a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients, and whisk to combine
5. Pour the melted butter into the dry mixture, and stir well until every is coated
6. Add the eggs and vanilla
7. Mix until the dough is thoroughly combined
8. Add the chocolate chips, and stir to combine
9. Now press your dough into the prepared pan
10. Bake for about 20 minutes. My oven is being a little fussy lately, so anywhere from 15-25 minutes may be the ticket for perfect, moist bars. At 15 minutes, use a toothpick or butter knife to check for doneness by sticking it right into the middle of the bars. If the top is golden, and all you have is melted chocolate (and no wet dough) on your toothpick or knife, then they're done!
11. Allow them to cool completely, and then lift the bars out of the pan using the parchment "handles". Place onto a cutting board, and divide into bars/squares!
12. Then eat them, obviously :)
So, today was a snow day! Busses cancelled! Snow everywhere! It's suddenly winter! And I do mean suddenly! On Friday I was working out in the yard wearing only joggy bottoms and a t-shirt. Today? Winter boots, warm coat, scarf, mittens and hat.
Oh Canada.... :)
I hope you get a chance to make these bars sometime soon! Let me know if you do, alrighty?
So, my sincerest apologies for bailing on this blog.....whomp whomp!
I feel like I've been moving around at a mile a minute, and sitting at the computer has not factored into life right now! In fact, this post has been weeks in the making! WEEKS!!! I manage to sit and write for maybe 15 minutes, then I'm off again! Not to mention sorting through photos and editing/making collages, etc. That takes time ladies and gents, and it's been time I haven't been able to find lately!
So, let me catch you up and take you on a journey.....a journey of the last few months.....(insert dream-sequence music here....)
In July we packed up and moved into a teeny-tiny cottage at Pleasant Bay Camp, located in Consecon, Ontario, about an hour away from our home in Tweed. We were going to be there for 5 weeks while I was the camp cook.
I was SO NERVOUS about doing this job!!!!! I for real couldn't sleep for weeks leading up to going, and once I got there, I spent the first week hardly sleeping and waking up every hour through the night for being so worried about being a complete and utter failure!!!
For as long as I can remember, I've had a pretty serious case of F.O.F. (fear of failure!). So, stepping out and doing this job was a big deal to me. Also, the fact that my preference is to stay home, and not go anywhere was really being challenged!
A song that felt like my "theme song" for the summer was "Sparrows" by Jason Gray. I've included the song here in case anyone wants a little listen and a serious pick-me-up! :)
Well, I not only made it through my cooking weeks at camp, I actually enjoyed it!!! I had many failures, but also many successes, and I had such a fantastic collection of whacko staff working with me. It was awesome. We'd blast music and sing at the top of our lungs during prep time and clean-up. Then we'd act moderately normal and quite during meal service so people trusted us and the food we gave them : )
I had such a wonderful time working hard, getting to know the amazing teens I had as staff, knowing my kids were having the best time ever (they got to participate in camp all the weeks we were there!!) and spending the summer in such a beautiful location.
After we'd left Pleasant Bay Camp, we were home for a few days (and those few days at home included a visit from my husband Mother and step-Dad), then we packed up and headed to South-West Ontario to a camp I spent 10 years of my life working and living at - Circle Square Ranch.
My only original plan for the entire summer was to work at the Ranch for a week while my kids attended day camp. So, even though we were "rushed" finishing up at one camp and getting ready to go another, I wouldn't trade my week at the Ranch for anything! My first campfire on the Sunday night (the first night) of camp I started crying because it felt so much like home. I lived and worked there as a teen, and after getting married and having Caleb I was still there teaching riding lessons, and helping out for weekend retreats.
I was worried about this week too though as I hadn't taught horseback riding for a few years...but when my first class started I knew I would be fine! It took me all week to learn all the horses names though, so that was challenging! : )
Another thing we did this summer was to meet up with some of our relatives from Belgium! We had stayed with them for a week in the summer of 2015 when we were in Europe, and this summer they came to Canada for a visit!
We met with them and my in-laws in Toronto for Caribana (a Caribbean festival in Toronto). It was a loud, fairly nude event (haha!), but we had fun seeing our Belgian family again!
In the week we had "leftover" from working at camps all summer, we managed to get to the Peterborough Zoo, the Emily Trudeau Splash Pad in Tweed, and get our back to school shopping done.
We also attended a cousins wedding this summer, and it was such an amazing time of fun, food, drink and dancing! I love seeing my family, they are a strange, noisy, fun bunch of people!
In early August we had a birthday party for Caleb too. Caleb's parties are usually big events with lots of people, but because we were at camp, organizing a big event at a house we weren't even at all summer seemed like a bigger job than we could handle. So, we decided to call all the kids in Caleb's class and invite them to the Emily Trudeau Splash Pad and Erin Palmateer Swimming Pool where there is a gazebo with picnic tables. We had a super low-key, no decorations party for him that involved swimming, opening presents, and eating snacks and birthday cake (a very UN-fancy, camp style sheet cake! I had baked it the day before the party while at the camp!)
It wasn't the kind of birthday party I'd normally throw, but Caleb was pleased, and that's all that matters!
My kooky kitchen staff had come for the party too, and also spent the night at our place in Tweed before we all headed back to camp the next day! It was a hilarious and fun night!!! (I love my kitchen staff!!!)
The first day back to school went great! We were prepared, and ready for "normal life" to start again!!! My kids grew like weeds this summer, and I couldn't believe they were heading off to grades, 6, 3 and 1!!! (**tear**)
In September my husband surprised me with a birthday party! I was actually really surprised! It was so nice to have some of my friends and family around to celebrate me turning the un-even age of 33! Geepers, that seems so old when I type it out! 3 times this summer people thought I was 18 years old though, so I'm just going to hold onto the feeling I had when people mistook me for a older teenager. : )
Well, I think that's (basically) everything you've missed!
I'm sure I"m missing some other things, but you won't know the difference! Haha, well, it's true!!! : )
I think we should just move on to a recipe that is easy peasy to make!
Um, also, if you're not Paleo, just eat this with cooked gluten-free or regular noodles - it's delicious no matter what because bacon, rosemary and parmesan go together so nicely!
Bacon, Rosemary & Parmesan Sweet Potato Noodles
(makes 2 servings)
And there you have it! A recap of the last few months of my life while I've been absent from Bushel & A Peck, and a new, simple, yummy, healthy recipe to add to your quick weeknight meals list!
Happy November!!! I've missed writing here, and I hope you've missed me a little too!
In this installment of Motivational Monday I bring to you a funny little song from WhatsUpMoms. I'm not sure how I found them, but they have some funny parody videos and some awesome life hacks for Moms.
This parody song "Make It All" is about us Pinterest happy people out there. I'll admit I'm more of a recipe hoarder on Pinterest, and I don't own any glitter at all, but I still found this really funny. : )
My Health & Fitness post today is about some of my favourite healthy foods, so go check that out if you are looking for some ideas!
K, bye now.
I'm still here, fear not!
I missed the boat on Motivational Monday and my Health & Fitness post....but, it is what it is! I'm moving on!
The dish I'm sharing today is one I often make because it's so simple, and everyone in my house loves it! And any random kids that may be over also seem to like it! Seriously, on 3 different occasions, 3 different girls (6 & 7 year olds) have been over when I've served this for dinner, and each one looked at it like, "eewwwwww".....and then I said, "it's just potatoes, chicken, bacon and cheese", and they were like, "....oh...?" and proceeded to eat everything I gave them. Usually with added ketchup (bleh)-but to each his own!
The recipe can be easily doubled and made in a larger pan (accommodating extra mouths to feed), and makes great leftovers eaten cold, strait-up reheated, or re-fried in a pan to serve with eggs, or or or, tossed into a few cups of broth/stock and made into soup!
Potato, Chicken & Bacon Casserole
And there you have it! Simple, tasty, served with a side salad or even just raw, cut up veggies, and you've got a great meal!
So......how was March Break?
We did well over here; kept busy, had friends over to play and visit, did some crafts, made a lot of cookies and treats, slept in, stayed up late--it's been pretty good! The weather was mostly rainy (thumbs down), but kids quite like mud and puddles, so when it would stop raining they would make the most of the squishy yard and huge puddles! My girls have been turning our chicken coop (which has been vacant all winter) into a "clubhouse", which they would play in even while it was raining too, so that was great!
Well, ok. I guess I'm done talking for now! I hope everyone had a great week, a good St. Patrick's Day yesterday, and that you have a good weekend while perhaps going to some St. Patty's Day parties?
So, up until a few years ago I wouldn't have considered butternut squash to be something I would choose to eat on purpose. I would eat it at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter family meals when it would be a side dish, but that was about it for me.
Back in the fall of 2014 I decided to make a roasted butternut squash soup because our neighbour had given me some squash from his garden. I roasted the ingredients, squashed them with a potato masher, and added it all to a chicken broth. It was a good soup, even my husband (a true squash hater!) liked it. But it still wasn't a regular dish around our place.
Then, just a few months ago, I bought a veggie spiralizer (the Inspiralizer, to be exact) and suddenly I wanted to turn every vegetable I possibly could into noodles!!!
I decided to try making noodles out of butternut squash (just the strait "neck" part of it), and they were just about the yummiest noodles I had ever had! But the only problem was it left me with the bulbous bottoms with nothing to do! I would usually cut the bottom open, scrape out the seeds to roast for snacking, and roast the squash. Then when it was cooked, I would scrape the nice cooked squash out into a Ziploc bag and throw it into the fridge for some other use later.
But one day, after scraping out the seeds for roasting, I ran out of time, and just tossed the uncooked seeds into a container, and the uncooked bulbous bottom of the squash into a bag, and put it all in the fridge.
Well, fast-forward a few days, and I still had the squash in my fridge, and I was making chicken and veggie stock in my slow cooker. After I had finished making the stock and pouring it out of the slow cooker to cool, I wondered about making a squash soup in the slow cooker. With a quick Google search I found Pillsbury had a recipe that looked super-duper delish, and could be made by just putting everything into the crock-pot and letting it do it's thing!
Well, this soup was so good, so very, very good! And, it freezes really well, making it a great soup for my husband to take to work!
The Pillsbury recipe has you blending the soup in a blender or food processor, but I simply used my immersion (hand) blender (that I purchased for $4 from a local second hand store!) and that made the job super easy. Another option (though I haven't tried it with this soup), would be to let it cook sufficiently, and then just mash it up a bit in the crock-pot with a potato masher and not use a blender of any sort. In fact (as you can see) I like my soup a little lumpier, so if you're a fan of lumpy soup you can happily use a potato masher to blend this up!
Anywho, this warm, fill-up-your-tummy soup is fantastic, & full of flavour. It may seem a little un-seasonal now, but I think it'll be a perfect soup to help warm ya up on a drizzly spring day!
Curried Butternut Squash Crock-Pot Soup
Adapted From Pillsbury
***Serve topped with diced apple, green onion, or roasted squash seeds!***
Here's a video link to Martha Stewart for a how-to on butternut squash cutting (it's also where I got that image of the squash prep)!
Well, my husband just texted me to remind me that this weekend the clocks "spring forward" an hour for Daylight Savings for some of Canada (for a complete and home-schoolery list of Daylight Savings all over the world, click here!) : )
Alright, well....I can't think of anything else to tell you! Have a good weekend, make some soup, put some of it the freezer, ya know.
Just wanted to share some funny quotes and images from a t.v. show called "The Middle". Sue is my favourite character.....because I am Sue.... :)
"The Middle" is a fantastic show on ABC showing the reality of a quirky blue collar family. Sue is the middle child and known for “failing with gusto”.
She has never made it into anything she’s tried out for.....though, she was on the track team in high school.....because it was a no-cut team. She also invented a team, "The Wrestlerettes"-cheerleaders for the wrestling team. Her parents have forgotten her birthday, and her first and middle names are “Sue”, as it was mistakenly written down twice on her birth certificate.
But really, she is hilariously optimistic, and I just think she's a hoot!
Sue having a conversation with her brother Axl
Sue: All right, Axl, what is going on?
Axl: What? Nothing.
Sue: Oh, please. You didn't shoot any straws at me at the restaurant. You didn't lick my bread and then put it back on my plate. The whole day you have been calling me "Sue"
Sue and her Dad Mike having a conversation at a College Tour:
Mike: It's not like you're Native American.
Sue: Yes, I am.
Mike: No, Sue, you're not.
Sue: Sure I am. I mean, that's what I put on my forms.
Mike: What? Why'd you do that?
Sue: 'cause I'm a Native of America!! I'm a Native American!!!
Sue trying to decide on a college:
"Okay, I finished my list of Pros and Cons. I have 75 Pros and 86 Super-Pros. I don't have any Cons because it just seems so negative, and they all tried so hard!"
Last Sunday while grocery shopping, my husband looked over at me and said, "what's wrong? You look pissed".
3 years has passed since we our daughter Ezra passed away in a late-term miscarriage. 3 years has passed since we didn't hear the heartbeat at my mid-wife appointment. 3 years has passed since we went to the ultrasound clinic and encountered a technician so cruel and heartless, and who treated me and my situation as though it were less important than the lunch break he was late for.
And suddenly, in the produce section of my grocery store, there stood this ultrasound technician. Right near the celery.
And, despite my vow to not swear during lent, I suddenly found myself answering my husbands' question of "what's wrong? You look pissed" with something like, "I am pissed! This is the douche-bag technician who made one of the shittiest days of my life even shittier! I want to punch him in the face!". I wasn't exactly whispering either.
I was surprised that seeing that man's face made me so angry, so quickly. So much time has gone by! 3 years! And still, a face can rip a scab off a wound I've been carefully tending to.
About a month ago I was cleaning out our office, and came across a binder I had gotten from my mid-wife when I went to my first appointment for my pregnancy with Ezra. The pages were mostly blank. They were meant to have notes about the pregnancy, labour and delivery, and the 6 week post-partum check-up on the baby.
Instead, it had 3 notes from the 3 appointments I had gone to at weeks 8, 12, and 16. There was nothing else in it. My mid-wife didn't need it anymore.
3 years later.....I still had it.
I looked in it, I cried in it, I closed it, then I walked it out to our outdoor wood stove and threw it in, and watched it burn.
As I was sitting there looking at this mostly empty binder, I knew that I kept it for this long because I wanted to cherish those few mid-wife appointments I'd had, and I felt like keeping that binder kept Ezra real somehow.
Instead of an empty binder though, I want to keep the little box of things we collected in memory of Ezra and her short life. These things touched her body, have her name on them, have love written out in cards to our family. I want to close my eyes and feel the weight of her, all wrapped up in her hospital blanket that is tucked away in her memory box, and remember how heart breaking it was to sit there crying with my husband over our daughters' death. That is a moment, a real moment. I want to look at the garden we made her, and imagine she would have been just as beautiful as it is when it's in full bloom and greenery.
I want to think about, and surround my thoughts of Ezra with those things, not emptiness, which is what the binder offered.
I want something real, something I can take hold of. Something I can cherish, and give away in equal parts. I want joy, and joy won't be found in a binder, but it can be found in my heart.
In the last 3 years, 3 years of serious ups and downs, I have decided that for joy to be present in my life, I needed to chose to have a spirit of gratitude.
Having gratitude and healing the heart doesn't equal forgetting, "moving on", or "getting over it". Choosing gratitude means believing that good is available if we look for it.
Choosing gratitude does not mean saying "I am grateful I lost my loved one", nor does gratitude mean to live in a state of constant denial of your pain and the situation you are in.
Gratitude is defined as "the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for, and to return, kindness".
If I said to you, "stop being thankful, do not show any appreciation for any kindness shown to you, and do not show kindness to others!" what would you say? You would think I was a terrible human being, most likely.
And yet many of us who are hurting are doing just that. We are not thankful for anything, we do not show appreciation for kindness, and we certainly aren't showing any kindness.
To choose to have a heart, or a spirit, of gratitude means that you are choosing, day by day, to be thankful for whoever it is you have in your life. Whether that is a loving spouse or partner, loving parents, an amazing best friend, the best neighbours, or an awesome pet--whatever! Gratitude, returning kindnesses shown to you, and showing appreciation for kindness shown to you; these are, first and foremost, things of the heart, and we can choose these regardless of our external situations.
Making the choice can be very difficult at first because we feel our hearts have been ripped out. But the thing is, having gratitude heals the heart. It really does.
3 years ago I couldn't have said such a thing.
3 years ago I was a broken person. I was broken physically, emotionally and spiritually. I felt like an empty shell of the person I had been, whoever that was. Who I had been seemed like some far away memory, and maybe the person I thought had been me wasn't me at all? I just felt hurt, angry, lost, lonely, and crushed by life.
Friends, dealing with grief is a long journey, a journey that never actually ends, I believe.
This journey starts out so rough, uphill, the weather too hot and too cold. There is a wind that blows directly into you, making walking even more difficult. No one is with you, you have no food or water, no shelter, you have no comfort.
You will stop and sit down, and cry and scream out that the hill is never ending, that it's too steep, that you're aching in every way. You're sure that you can't recall a time without this pain, without this loneliness, without this deep aching.
And then, one day you realize, without seeing it happen, that the wind had died down, and that the cold isn't so cold, and the hot isn't too hot. Then you see someone is on the hill, and they offer you a drink and something to eat.
You soon see that the sun is coming up to the top of the hill, and you realize you are nearly at the top too.....and that there are more people now, giving you food, drink and comfort.
Before you even realize, and without any one particular moment in time, you see that instead of being on a hill, you are just on a path. It's narrow, and has small hills, a few pot holes & some muddy spots, but it's steady, and you aren't alone on it at all.
You look around, and with you are all sorts of people who have lost someone they love. They smile at you, understand you, weep and laugh with you.
They too went on the same hard journey, but in their hearts they chose gratitude, and so they are here with you now, on a steady trail.
I see myself there....I can see that this path stretches out before me with no end in sight, but, it seems ok. I am looking at a trail that reminds me of what I've come through, and that I will always carry the loss and memory of my babies gone. The endlessness of it has it's comfort in that I know I've not "moved on" or forgotten, but that I've lived, and will continue to. I can look ahead of me on this path and feel peace.
There's an old saying that if you've forgotten the language of gratitude, you'll never be on speaking terms with happiness. And I wanted happiness. In the midst of all the pain, my heart wanted happiness. Wanting some happiness is a universal feeling, and having it requires gratitude.
I still miss Ezra, I still cry when I think of the loss. I still wonder about what life would have been like with her in the house, living with our family. But now, I read my own story and cry because I remember how tormented I felt by grief, but am now filled with gratitude that I made it to the other side.
If you are at the beginning of your uphill climb and you are thinking, "this woman is crazy and heartless, and my pain is killing me!", I am deeply sorry.
It is not my intention to hurt anyone in their grief. My intention is to share my heart, my experience, and to give you hope and let you know you are not alone.
Your grief is real, the journey is long and hard and different for everyone. But I promise, you are not alone in this.
I still feel pangs of jealousy when other women are pregnant. I still haven't gotten too close to a newborn because it still just seems like too much, and apparently I still need to forgive the ultrasound technician from all those years ago......but in all this, in all the things I'm still trying to deal with, I can, and you can (you CAN!) start to let your heart have gratitude in it. Gratitude will be a healing oil that seeps into your life and can fill you with love and hope again. I promise.
To read more about my experiences with the miscarriage of Ezra, you can read the stories at "Ezra Faith", and "Ezra Faith: Two Years Gone".
You can also read about the son we lost, at "Abraham", and also at "Remembering & Forgetting: Abraham".
There is also a story about coping at "Feeling Blue"
Hi, I'm Amy-Lyn!
I am the lady behind this here blog! I live in the sticks with my animals, my super handsome husband, and my
3 amazing kids!
Here you'll find things from recipes (gluten-free, paleo, and strait up junk food!), DIY ideas, thoughts on raising a son with autism, and whatever else pops into my brain! : )
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