40

Aging. It is the inevitable for all of us. As I type this I am getting older. I’ve accepted that. I’m ok with it.

With each passing decade of my life I reflect on the previous one and check the places where I have grown and where I need to continue to focus on and work on. Approaching forty was no different. My conclusions are this:

I want to live my best and most authentic life. I want to be open and honest about who I am. I read once, in one of my favorite books that “the world will only see our beauty once we reveal our scars.” I loved that and it resonated with me but the way it sat on my heart was probably not the intention of the author.

I decided that I will always reveal my scars because they are so much a part of me and who I am right now but I am unconcerned about how the world will perceive it. I also don’t have to come out “scars ablaze” if you will. I get to decide who sees what, and when and why. Not everyone deserves to hear our stories.

I’m no longer comfortable with “mincing words” so to speak. I have almost forty-one years of life experience and I’ve got thoughts and opinions that matter.

I no longer feel the need to appease or people please. The people for me will get me, love me, except me and encourage me… as I will them because the truth is we are all just trying to figure it out. We don’t have to be friends but we can lend support to each other and respect the others journey. Those that are going to love you, will love you at all cost and no matter what. Those are good people. Keep them super close.

I’m in no way, shape or form interested in keeping up with my twenty and thirty year old sister counterparts. I’ve lived through those decades. I’ll cheer you on from my forty year old position though. GO YOU!!! You’ve got this!!

My body is no longer as round or supple as it was in those decades. I have watched as it has become more angular. My breast are no longer what they were in my twenties or thirty’s, but they nourished my child and continue to bring my husband pleasure and above all that I just like them. I like that they are healthy and still there. If in reading that my candor makes you uncomfortable, I promise you will be ok.

The skin on my face has more lines and the skin on my body is thinning in other places. Is this a flaw? Absolutely not. They are simply a part of life. If you are not you should get comfortable with that quick. But it doesn’t mean to settle for it. Do what makes you feel best about you.

I am forty. My body has changed but my feelings about it are good. I’ve completely settled into my own skin and it’s really comfortable here. I eat healthy most of the time but I’m a firm believer in the occasional decadent indulgence and bag of Doritos. I exercise to keep my body and mind healthy and strong. I drink a lot of water and coffee and I also get Botox.

I read to stimulate my mind and to feed my soul. I love the people that are close to me with my whole heart and try to give them my best and when that’s not available I will give them what I have. I do yoga to be still, deep breathe and stay limber and lean because that makes me happy and it’s how I feel most comfortable.

Music and travel are crucial components to my over all wellbeing.

The crux of all of this is to say get comfortable with you. Sit with yourself for a while and just be still. What are you saying to yourself? Listen to your self talk and if it’s negative, began to feed yourself the positive truths about who you are… you are a fantastic creation, one with so much purpose and the ability to do so much good in the world and we need you to show up.

Be kind to others… Be kind to you…

Love,

Mandy

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Broken Things

I love broken things. I do! I know it’s strange but I find my self attracted to them. Pottery, old watches, old camera’s, new camera’s… people. If it’s broken you can bet it’s going to get my attention.  When things are whole and in their original form, they are beautiful and working within their design and purpose. However, when they are broken, when the pieces fall and land where they may, that’s when you get to the heart of a thing. That is when you see it’s soul.

Brokeness absolutely reveals the true character of a thing. It is the great revealer. In the pieces lies the truth. That is when everything gets stripped away. Nothing is relying on anything else to function because there is no function. Everything has stopped working. Nothing seems to have purpose. When this thing, whatever it may be, was whole, from the outside, it worked to do its job and appeared well. But on the inside, the parts, the innards, the guts… they were rotting, rusting, just barely performing, but who could tell when the outside was so beautifully put together and performing as it should. Then, it all falls apart. The insides spill out, the parts stop performing….. the thing is just BROKEN.

It’s not always something traumatic that happens that causes the brokeness. Sometimes it’s years of neglect. The outside was polished but the insides, they were forgotten about and neglected. Little by little, they began to break down and only when it finally stops working, it stops performing, does anyone notice.  Now what? What is to be done?

You must confront the broken pieces. You must examine them. See what caused the break down and then…..

You are finally ready to heal. With each confrontation and examination of the pieces, truth is revealed and you can put that piece back where it belongs.  Only now, it seems to fit better…. you may have had to shave off some of the “gunk” that has built up around the piece, corroding it, causes its function to falter.  That “gunk” can be many things… old memories, old hurts, things people have said to you or done to you, people…. whatever needs to be removed… remove it.

You keep confronting and examining until you’ve gotten to every piece and before you know it, it’s all back together again. Now it works better and is stronger.  You know that if the pieces fall apart again, because they will, because life, it’s ok. It will hurt. It will feel like you are going to die. It may be the worst thing you ever go through…. but you will be ok. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not next year, but eventually. Ok is better than great right now. Accept ok.

Don’t run from brokeness. Don’t be afraid of it. Sometimes it’s where you find your greatest strength(s) and sometimes it’s the only way to find out how strong you really are. Cliché out the wazoo… YES! But nonetheless true.  Then you can wear it like the badge of honor it is. Show the world.. and yourself..” See this! This happened… it broke me… it shattered me..I’m in a million pieces right now, but I’m still here….I didn’t die….I survived… I’m a fighter… I’ll be back….I. AM. STRONG. ”

The breaking hurts my friend…but oh, when the healing comes………

Love,

Mandy

 

 

On being creative

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and I am happy. I can actually say that I am happy. As I sit here, I can think back to last year and recall with excruciating detail how I was feeling. I can actually feel it all over again, but that is not the place I am this year. I miss my mother in the most painful way. I have never gone this long without hearing her voice. We spoke almost daily, but I’ve settled into that. I’ve settled into the fact that I am simply always going to miss my mother, and it’s going to hurt. It’s going to hurt bad.

At the beginning of this year, not as a resolution per say, but just as something I knew I needed, I set out on this journey, if you will, to re-discover my creative side. Creating makes me feel alive and feel like my best self. Whether it’s writing, making jewelry, taking photo’s, I just feel this need create. I feel I am being my best self when I am making. I also feel I am being my best self when I am on vacation and I have got to figure out a way to make those two things work together for me.

Anyway, I went out and bought a few books on creativity, more so the process of creating. One book that I couldn’t wait to read was ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. I enjoyed her book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ so much. But these books are two very different animals. Don’t worry, this is not going to be a review of the book…. go out and read it if you want to. What this will be…what I am saying is this, don’t over think the process. If you feel drawn to create, the go create. If you mess up, start over. If you feel uninspired, go do whatever it is that makes you feel inspired, then go back and have it. Take a breather. Set your creating aside and live. I’m finding that I feel inspired these days by living my ordinary life. Being in and being fully present in the moments with my son, or my husband or spending time with friends whose walk has been vastly different than my own. People are incredibly inspiring to me, as are music and movies.

Point being….just go do it. Whatever it is. Make the thing you need to make and put it out in the world. Give the world a piece of you….we need it. We want you to show up and be you because you are incredible.

No Winter Wonderland Here…

So here it is the day after Christmas, and I’m sitting on my cozy sofa, peck, peck, pecking away at these keys and listening to my ‘Christmas’ play list on iTunes, still trying to hang on to whatever remnants are left of this holiday season. Daniela Andrade is singing to me right now about the ‘Perfect Christmas’ and although it has not been perfect, it has been so good. So so good. We decided this year to not travel. This was a huge decision for us because for the past twelve years I’ve driven to Alabama to be with my big family on Christmas. For the eight years that Alex and I have been together, we’ve always headed south. This year however, was our first year in our first home and we wanted Cam to wake up, run downstairs in his home, and see all the gifts that Santa brought to him here, in his place and space. It was very special and although I missed seeing my family, everything about yesterday fit and felt as it should. Peaceful and right.

We woke early Christmas morning to watch Cam discover all that Santa left behind for him, and to have breakfast and coffee together. Some went back to bed. Santa delivered but we had some hardworking elf folk that stayed up pretty late putting things together.(thanks so much honey! You da man!!!)  While the other’s rested, Cam and I stayed up discovering what all his new loot would do. We absolutely love playing his new game Yeti In My Spaghetti! It’s such an adorable game and I highly recommend it to anyone with little people in the house. The squeals every time the yeti falls into the bowl, well, it’s just too much fun to miss.

An added gift was that my wonderful mother-in-law and father-in-law came into town to be with us. They flew down to the warm south, leaving behind the beauty of the Pacific Northwest to be with us here on our seventy degree Christmas day. It has been so nice having them here and we’ve eaten well to say the least. A wonderful Honey Baked ham, with my mother-in-laws pineapple bake and my roasted Italian and parmesan red potatoes for our Christmas dinner. As if that were not enough we topped it off with a wonderful chocolate mousse with coffee or hot tea. It was such a scrumptious Christmas dinner.

It has been such a lovely time.

The new year is approaching and I always get super reflective at this time of year. I also look forward to the beginning of each new year. The promise and hope and this year, I am going to allow myself to plan, to hope and to sit back and enjoy instead sitting in a ball of anxiety, worried over the ‘what if this or that happens’ that has plagued me since losing my mother. I’m so over worrying and stressing. I just can’t do it anymore. Life is so beautiful and it’s such an incredible gift. Are bad things going to happen, yes. I’m I going to have to go through more challenging and scary times, chances are pretty high on that one too. But I have my faith, my family and this year, hope. I’m leaning into the hope that is mine because of who I belong to. I don’t know what will come this year and that’s ok. But I’m making plans anyway and I’m excited. I’m choosing happy this year and from now on.

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas! Lot’s of love to you. I hope the new year brings wonderful things for you and yours! Here are some pics of our Christmas season.img_1254img_1268img_1250

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Until next year Santa…..

Love, Mandy

Time for a catch up….

Hello all! I hope this finds you each and everyone well. It’s been a little crazy since the end of the year, but things seem to finally be slowing down a bit… or actually not, but the days aren’t whizzing by at lightning speed. That’s one of the good things about summer.

Alex and I buckled down and finally decided to plant our roots in the Nashville soil. We really do love it here. It’s such a great city, full of great people and the food.. YA’LL… THE. FOOD. If you are planning to visit here anytime soon, as soon as you get in the car or on the plane or in the horse drawn carriage or whatever mode of transportation you use,  just go ahead, reach over and slap the person next to you.. the food is THAT good and you will want that out of the way so you can enjoy it. If you need any suggestions.. as we say down here.. HOLLER.

I will have a post about the house soon.. if any of y’all care to see it.

Speaking of food, Wednesday night I made a dish that I think anyone can make and will totally enjoy if you like fresh veggies and chicken. Who doesn’t like that combo? Ok, if you’re the one who doesn’t.. what’s wrong with you? I’m kidding.. no judgment here.

Like I said it’s quick and eau so easy….


2 boneless skinless chicken breast.

2 cups Broccoli

2 cups Cauliflower

2 orange bell peppers ( we prefer these but you do you boo. If you prefer green or red, toss’em in)

Sweet onion ( chopped)

1 whole zucchini

1 cup sliced cherry tomatoes

2 tsp olive oil

1/4 cup of sea salt ( or regular salt… the “you do you boo” applies here as well)

pepper (to taste)

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning ( I actually think I used a tad more ’cause I like it.)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees

Chop up the chicken boobies and all of the other ingredients … Mix in a big bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. Spread it all out on a large baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve over rice … Or don’t, but we did and it was good.

Enjoy with the wine of your choice or water or heck! orange juice if that’s what you like.

All of these measurements are for my little tribe of three.. if you have a tribe of, I don’t know say,  five or twelve, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

See! Easy peasy.

As I mentioned on my Insta and FaceBook post, I am always looking for ways to get extra vitamins and goodies into my little cub, aside from his daily Flintstone. He unfortunately inherited his mother’s sweet tooth but he also likes yogurt and fruits and veggies. I call that balance. Ya’ll, my babe likes broccoli. BROCCOLI! Not smothered in cheese or butter, but he eats it like we do… steamed with a dash of salt and fresh lemon juice squeezed right from the fruit.

Listen, before you go thinking I’m all “Mrs. Healthy eater.. all the time”.. I had a pancake with butter and maple syrup for breakfast this morning. I also had a side of fresh, organic strawberries.. naked. No honey or agave or anything. Again.. Balance. I’m also going to be keeping my three year old occupied on this scorcher of a day so running is in my near future. If I were not going to be moving, the pancakes would’ve only been consumed by one of us and he is three with mach speed metabolism. We are also potty training so there’s A LOT of running these days. But I’m happy to report he is doing exceptionally well.

Back to the food.

I love banana bread. Like.. LOVE it…. a lot. And I just happened to have three bananas that were getting darker by the hour and well on their way to the trash can if not for Pinterest. I could linger here for a while but we all know the fabulosity that is Pinterest. I found a healthy recipe that included chia seeds, which I put on just about everything.

Look them up…they’re good for you. But you will want to take along some floss if eating them in public or er’body gonna know you’ve been eating chia seeds. They will be in between ALL of your teeth and unless you actually like to look like you climbed right “out the holler” (a totally different ‘holler’ from the ‘yell for something you need, holler.’) take the floss. Trust me.

This particular recipe did not include chocolate chips but I added them because THAT was the kicker. That is what would draw my little cub in like pooh bear to a pot of honey. If I put chocolate chips on brussel sprouts, I’m pretty sure he would eat them. You know, on second thought, he wouldn’t. And I don’t blame him. I loathe them myself. I’d rather lick a tire.

Geez…I’m such an extremist, over exaggerator…I really wouldn’t rather lick a tire. 

Gaze upon all this yummy in your tummy goodness…. 


   Keep it in the fridge or freeze it for later. Here’s the recipe:

1 1/2 cups of flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg ( room temp)

2 tbs whipped butter ( room temp)

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup chia seeds

1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

3 large banana’s ( ripe and smashed)

1/2 cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 4oo degrees. 

In a large bowl mix egg, butter, bananas, and sugar until well combined. 

In another bowl, mix flour, salt, and baking powder until well combined. 

Slowly add flour mixture and almond milk to wet ingediants, alternating until incorporated. 

Fold in chia seeds and chocolate chips. 

Pour all in a greased loaf pan and bake for 1 hour or until the middle is done. 

BOOM! Enjoy and feed it to your kids.  

You know I always find it so funny that all baking instructions have ” in a bowl” next to the mixing instructions. In a bowl as opposed to say, on the counter or on a plate. ” On the counter, mix flour, salt and sugar”…..Ha! Sorry. Just giving my self a chuckle. 

Ok folks, that’s all she wrote for now. It feels good to be writing again and I’ll try and do better about keeping it up if for no one but myself.  I hope you all are thriving…rock’n and roll’n… just enjoying this crazy, beautiful life. Love to all!!

Positano and Hover Boards….

So here we are …. 7 days into the 3rd month of the year 2016. NUTS! BONKERS!!! As a child, I believed whole heartedly that we would be riding around in flying cars by now and we would all own hover boards. FOR REAL hover boards… not these grenade like contraptions on two wheels. I’m talking hover boards of the Michael J. Fox variety. Alas,  we are all still scooting around in grounded vehicles, most with four wheels.  I have a sedan, the hubs has a truck.. and in my dreams I own a Vespa. In that same dream I wear wispy floral dresses and espadrilles and hats while Vespa’ing around Positano after a delicious lunch of Prosciutto e melon o fiche and a nice flute of Prosecco at La Cambusa.

How the heck did I go from hover boards to Positano??? Welcome to my brain.

We are getting ready for our first trip of this year to see our Seattle family and I can not get on that plane fast enough. What makes it even more exciting is that I’m bringing my oldest niece Madison with us on this trip. She has never been out west and has never been on an airplane. This will be eye opening for her in so many ways. I’m excited for her to see the patchwork quilt that is the landscape of this our beautiful America, and once it is dark, the electrical grid that runs across our country. It looks like illuminated art to me. I’m interested to hear her take. I’m excited that I get to show her this stunning part of our country.

Another something new.. .I’m going to vlog this trip!!!  And THAT could possibly lead to me pulling the proverbial trigger on my own YouTube channel. Do I do anything especially interesting that I think anyone would want to watch…. No.  But I love watching family bloggers on YouTube. My three favorites are Love Taza, itsJudysLife, and The Michalaks. I love watching how other people parent their little’s and I love observing the whole family dynamic within these family’s and seeing the family culture that they cultivate. It’s inspiring for me and maybe.. in some small way… I could at least offer some new mom or mom to a few out there the promise that she is normal when she loves her child or children beyond words but wants to pull her hair out sometimes or a lot of the time and when her house is a constant disaster and the laundry piles up, and mom guilt threatens to completely over take her. But also I hope to make someone laugh or at least smile about all of these things… because really.. they are the small things. I want to completely exploit the big things though.. the big things that are the moments I get to spend with my little family.. doing family things.. just being a little family, living in a cool city, and enjoying the life we’ve been given.

Life is moving on through the constant ache of missing my beautiful mother. The “fog” seems to lift and then descend again. I think this is how it will be for the foreseeable future but I cling to my hope and faith of knowing I will see her again. Beautiful Juice… Just felt like saying it.

Have a great week!

Mandy