Oops! In all the craziness that is life in these parts, I forgot to post a birthday wish to the love of my life. It's ok though, 'cuz he has a "senior moment" every now and then too :) Plus I made it up to him with an awesome birthday dessert --- hot fudge, warm brownies and vanilla ice cream. Mmmmm
I am not the only one "suffering" from all the changes on the farm --- the chicklets feel it too. Oh, they don't come right out and say, "Mama Hen, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed and need to take a bit of a break to collect my thoughts." No, their M.O. is more like temper tantrums of epic proportions, sassiness and grumpiness to the nth degree. If I wasn't so wrapped up in trying to catch my own breath, I'd be a bit more patient and understanding I'm sure. But this is real life folks, and this Mama Hen is anything but perfect.
The Geek had a business trip this week and the chicklets and I tagged along for a little R & R. I wish I could say that all the whining and attitudes stayed back on the farm, but I'd be lying. I can say that there has been a bit more laughter and quite a few more hugs and kisses and those are ALWAYS good things.
Yesterday the littles and I took a trip to the Pittsburgh Zoo. I think it is safe to say that everyone had a great time. The Munchkin made the comment that "It was the best day ever!" I don't think I would go that far, but it was nice to just go and have fun with my three youngins' for the day. Everyone had their favorite part about the visit. Boy Wonder says it's hard to choose, but he really liked seeing the penguins and the elephants. We could have watched those silly penguins for hours and the zoo has a baby elephant that was cuter than cute. Besides the elephants, The Little Prince loved riding on the train and the tram all around the park. Gotta say I loved that tram too --- 85-plus degrees and humidity made trekking around a bit uncomfortable. Have you ever been to the Pittsburgh Zoo? It is a bit hilly. Throw in those high temps and trams would be pretty high on most people's' list, I bet! What about the the Munchkin? Well, she tells me riding the escalator up the steep hillside was her favorite --- go figure! I guess I need to get that chickie to the mall more --- NOT! As for me, I liked just about everything too, but I'm gonna go with the giraffes as my top pick. Something about those gangly creatures always makes me smile.
There are times where I will hear a certain message (for lack of a better word) over and over. I'll read a quote and think I like that. Before I know it, I'm hearing a story driving home the same thing once again and I find myself thinking, "Hmmm, I wonder if the Big Guy upstairs is trying to tell me something?"
Serenity isn’t freedom from the storm, but peace within the storm.
This very thing has been happening to me lately. I keep hearing quotes and reading inspiring emails and blog posts that are all driving home a point near and dear to me --- the importance of finding a place of peace. A place to slow down, breath and just be.
None is richer than he who simply has peace of mind.
I gotta admit, such a place is not easy for me to find right now. And if ever I needed such a place, now would be the time. The stress of being a caretaker of five people plus myself --- and occasionally the Geek if he's acting especially childish;) --- is taking it's toll. No doubt about it folks, I need me some peace and I need it now!
Serenity Now! Serenity Now!
Frank Costanza from the show 'Seinfeld'
So the question is where does one find such a place? What about you? Where to you go to catch your breath and be still? What do you do that helps you quiet your soul?
Sadly, I have been putting finding peace at the bottom of my mile long to-do list. As much as I need it, I just can't seem to make the time or place for it as much as I should. If I'm lucky, I get a few moments to myself every evening after everyone has fallen asleep and I take a shower. It's easy to spend the time going over all that didn't get done and all that needs my attention the next day. There are sometimes, however, I am able to let my mind drift and when I do, I picture my ideal place of peace. A place I don't get to very often in reality --- a rocky bluff overlooking the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. On those rare occasions I can shut off my racing mind, I close my eyes and I can hear the waves crashing. I breath deeply and I feel the tension lifting. For a few moments I allow myself to just "be".
Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace.
I am also trying to make a habit of finding little moments of joy throughout my day. A while ago I started a photo project where I challenged myself to take at least one photo every day of something that brings me happiness. I even started a blog about it here. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to post as much as I had planned, but I have continued to take photos of the happy minutia in my life. Taking snapshots like this force me to slow down, focus on living for a moment and maybe, just maybe. bring a little peace to my weary soul.
Sometimes I think my life would make a great TV movie.
It even has the part
where they say, "Stand by. We are experiencing temporary difficulties."
Life on the farm is anything but easy going right now. Taking care of my parents has proven to be a full time job, which is unfortunate since I already had a full-time job as wife and Mama Hen to my three chicks. Sometimes I feel like a juice box that has been sucked dry. "They" say that one must eliminate stress from one's life, but what does one do when stress has moved in and has no intention of leaving anytime soon?
Here's just a sample of the mayhem going on in this neck of the woods ---
My daddy has a bone spur in his spine and is in an intense amount of pain which has yet to be managed properly by his doctor. He has also lost his appetite and refuses to eat just about everything. This has been extremely upsetting to my mama and has made her just about impossible to talk to about anything. Add to that, her hearing has really gotten bad so she misses have of what is said to her and fills in the blanks with some pretty crazy $#@%. Boy Wonder is totally embracing the "teenage pain in the butt" persona at the moment and is so not pleasant to be around. Every request is met with a grunt or worse and I am just about ready to ship him off to Siberia. The Little Prince has croup and as is the nature of croup, it's keeping him up at night. This of course means I am up at night too :( The Munchkin not only has croup as well, somehow she managed to pick up another lovely virus --- Hand, Foot and Mouth disease. As you may have guessed, she is not sleeping so wonderfully either. With everyone short on sleep, there is a whole lotta crankiness going on in the ol' farmhouse. Add to that, the Geek was out of town last week and I had to face all this craziness solo. No surprise, I seem to have picked up a virus of some sort myself and now have a sore throat and a nasty migraine to boot.
Right now, all I feel like doing is curling up in the fetal position and just hiding out under my comforter for a day or two. Can you blame me? Of course that would only last all of five minutes until someone needed feeding, or changing or some other demand of my time.
To be honest, lately I don't feel strong enough to face all the crap stuff life is dealing me right now. I mean how much can a poor girl take before she breaks? Lucky for me (I guess) the Geek won't let me hang out at my pity party for very long. He insists that I am stronger than I think I am. I know he's probably right, but I there are times I have my doubts. I just gotta remind myself I am not in this alone. God's got my back and He will give me strength to make it through this season of my life.
"What doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Friedrich