I am burnt. It was two weeks of Jorge being gone for work, a string of speaking, projects blowing up all around, and a hernia repair surgery for my man to top it all off at the end. In the middle of life, my girls have been kicking my ass…long, long days of whining, complaining, drama. I am patient, patient, patient and then I am just D.O.N.E. … an attempt to try to spend some time with them on Saturday night looking at the SuperMoon ended in an epic tantrum from Lyra and then all of us in bed crying.

And I know there is some parenting trick to pull us all out of this funk but for the life of me I have absolutely no energy to sort it out. It’s probably something about how much we all are all holding right now and honoring each other but I don’t even care about all that.

I just need them to get their shoes on and get in the car for Christ’s sake  AND to stop acting like jerks for 2 seconds so we can be in this crisis together…but then kids aren’t supposed to do that but maybe I was just hoping they would grease the wheels with understanding a tiny bit. I obviously have forgotten that kids are not adults, and shouldn’t be.  (but wouldn’t that be nice in a crisis every now and then?)

I finally crawled into my own bed like an hour later only to be woken up by a wailing Lyra two hours after that, so back I went, into the their bed. I had surrendered to their needs, finally, given up on any expectation I was holding.  It wasn’t like I could get my shit quite together but I could lay in it. Quietly.

And then, when she thought I was asleep, Lucy leaned over and kissed my forehead, rolled over and went to bed. It was a tiny bit of grace right in the middle of hard all around. It was tender and sweet…and this is who we all are. We are jerks that are kind and have needs and sometimes push each other to the edge…and we find grace in each other, in ourselves.

…and nothing is worked out, I am still burnt but there is a little something to hold onto, seeing it all mixed up together that will bring me a moment of goodness….and eventually we find our way to saying what we need, or forgiveness or frustration that fuels the way to find the path we need to travel, or life will allow it to just sort of pass on.

So today :

someone will complain they didn’t get to play with the red umbrella yet

someone else will have her first taste of honeysuckle

someone will be devastated we are having peas for dinner

someone else will ask me how I am and I’ll really tell them

someone will be pissed they have to take a bath

that same someone will kiss me on my forehead when we go to bed…

…and I will take it all in, but hold tight to the tiny bits of grace.

*feel free to tell me your tiny bits of grace in the comments

Today, I woke up wishing I was on the island…a couple years ago I had the opportunity to photograph a birthday weekend on a private island.  The island belongs to a kind family who have owned it since the 1700’s. My photography life is not nearly this glamorous usually, I promise  you…but the island was special, it held something I can’t quite explain and I will always remember. …and the friendships and love that weekend felt about as old as the land, it was lovely.

Some of my favorite residents were the animals on the farm, most were free to roam and I befriended the little guy above, and a few others.

Are you wishing to be somewhere else today? or fine right where you are?

in case you forgot…

November 29, 2011

how awesome it is to wear sparkly things and the first time your mom let you try make up on…

this week…

November 6, 2011

well, last week, but you know…

spoken words of truth, dancing, kind notes, long days waiting for a very loved papa, saying goodbye…

Can you do something for me this week? If you are doing or have done some kind of kindness as a result of something on KindnessGirl, can you tell me what city you are in (in the comment section)? You don’t even have to tell me what, just the city is fine (but we love a good story if you have the time! :)) I’m trying to figure out how far and wide we are spreading this work…and kindness. Have a wonderful week!

jackie boy, (because that’s what we called him back then, he thought it was his actual name for forever), age 6, 2009

With another kid just turned 6, and the realization that our time with little kids is dwindling…I went hunting for memories over at the ole’ PBS Supersisters blog. I came across this little story…and I remembered that night like it was yesterday and reminded myself the truth about trouble (I kinda need it.)…whether we are 6 or 60, we can probably all stand a little more love when we are screwing up.

March 17, 2009

It was late and they were fighting again. Jack knows just how to push Lucy’s buttons to get that shriek out of her. I try to ignore it most of the time because that little girl can sure hold her own. This time however, she cried, it was the hurt feeling cry. It seemed the usual little sister and big brother bother had a little mean thrown into the mix. It was a sign something needed to be said.
“Jack, buddy, I think you’ve reached your limit my friend. I gotta take some Wii time away tomorrow.” I said.

There was a look of instant panic. It’s kind of rare at our house to have an actual punishment, lots of logical consequences but this, the Wii, it was a biggie. He started crying and it soon escalated into a full out tantrum. A tantrum at the age of six. I was kind of stunned. I started questioning my decision a little since the response was so strong and so rare for this kid. I guess maybe it had been building for awhile and a release was in order. There were so many big feelings and that can be tricky sometimes. I wasn’t sure what to do but then instinct took over.

“Jack, do you know what can happen sometimes when you are getting into trouble a lot?” I said.
“No, what?” He said while trying to catch his breath in between the sobs.
“You can forget that you are loved. And the truth is, when lots of trouble is around it’s a time when you need love the most. Do you think that could be happening to you right now?” I said.
His little face kind of changed. His eyes crinkled and his own hurt feeling cry started.

“Yeah! I need more love mom, I need more love.” He threw his arms around me and buried his head in my chest and sobbed big, heavy sobs.
“I know Jackie, I can tell. And I know you are a kind boy with a good heart, I know this about you, it’s okay. And papa is away and he is the one who snuggles you so much, I think you are missing that too.” He nodded and we sat together in the moment.

We climbed in bed, all four kids. My arms too full with babies to even hold him but he snuggled up against me. He fell asleep with a red and puffy face and a quiet sigh, the drama behind us. I closed my own eyes knowing we would all wake up to less Wii, but maybe a little more love.

The staycation kinda bombed, the bliss and the we-can-do-it togetherness is sort of waning due to even greater uncertainty- it’s like there is always one more step beyond the edge…and I am tired, passive aggressive and oh so grouchy…and what do you do with that the one step beyond? because THAT is the killer step…and then I wondered, how would I tell you that or what do I even DO about it? I have no idea. While in the shower, I thought to myself, “Awww screw it, just say THAT!

Almost every time I hit that point, things become a little bit clearer- not always better but maybe it is some way out. So this is what I am planning to do today, in all my grouchiness, feel free to join me if you are feeling grouchy too.

1. Yell, Growl, Do a marge simpson groan, Send a text. Any physical sound or form of frustration will do. The kind that lets the inside get outside with out hurting anyone else. You may have to go outside, nature can hear you and absorb, she’s super old. Send an SOS text to a friend, especially if you don’t feel like really talking.

2.Take an Emergen-C, Chug a glass of water, Eat something green. I know this is the very LAST thing you feel like doing but chances are even if you don’t feel totally connected to your body, it is in need of some care if you are grouchy. It can’t hurt.

3. Make your bed or shower,Take a nap. I promise you, clean sheets are the way to a new mind and heart. If your bed is already made religiously, a nap is probably in order. If you can’t turn your brain off or if you have small children- just lay there and close your eyes- rest, that’s right, rest. Showering is also helpful, who knew? Running water is a thing.

4. Just finish one thing. If there is total chaos around you or if you are overwhelmed, just do one thing, nothing else, just one. It doesn’t even have to be big. Mine is this blog post, I already feel better and dishes and a meeting are still waiting for me.

5. Say no to one thing. You don’t have to explain or apologize, just go to your e-mail right now and say you aren’t available and thank them, tell them you look forward to seeing so-and-so at the next meeting or event, or next opportunity- trust me, there is almost always another opportunity.

6. Make a sign. If you suck at telling people what you need, make a sign. I always get defensive and try to explain why I need all that, which is very little to begin with, just forget all that.
I need…
I need you to hug me…
I need 30 minutes by myself…
I need to know I’m not alone…
I need time with you…
I need to go see a movie…

If your people feel annoyed or angry, they probably need something too. Tell them to make a sign and then maybe you can help each other.

7. Kindness will melt you, Remind yourself you are loveable. – what would you do for a grouchy person that you really love? Do whatever that is for yourself.

In grouchy solidarity, text me “grouchy” to (407) 900-KIND and I will send you an encouraging, yet loving grouchy message back today. I know it will make me feel better too.

Texting closes at 10pm EST today!

you have a right…

July 19, 2011

You have a right to be yourself. -Jim Hammond (my dad)

Being yourself for some of the members in this family this week has meant…

Being completely fanatical about Google+, geeking out to all the newness…

Singing really, really loudly without care while listening to Lucy in the Sky on your new Ipod Shuffle…

Being totally moody…

Listening to Harry Potter for hours on end so we can go see the last movie…

Procrastinating like nobody’s business…

Being kinda shocked, yet really proud of a big accomplishment unfolding soon… (sorry to be so cryptic, news to come, I promise!)

Talking way too much in social gatherings…

Being hilariously too honest, and heart-on-your-sleeve kind of open in the corporate world…


What has being yourself looked like this week?