Thursday, July 24, 2014

a beginning

Some time ago, I read a book by Ann Voskamp (wrote about it here, here and here) and it changed my life. Changed me so much I got a tattoo to forever remember the heart behind the book.

In a very small nutshell, Voskamp's book is about finding joy in the everyday life (the mundane, if I may call it that) by giving thanks for things in the (mundane) every day.  Seeing piles of laundry as a gift and reminder of loved ones having enough to wear, for example.*  I started counting my thousand gifts but somehow in the midst of babies, life, moving, babies becoming toddlers becoming big girls and another baby I have lost count of my gifts.

So I am beginning anew with fresh eyes to find joy among newborn life and still feeling a bit new in my community... life moments that can lead to self-pity or loneliness, I am choosing to find joy in the midst of my (mundane) life. Wanna join me? Leave a comment with the things you are thankful for today... I guarantee your life will be changed.

01: new curtains billowing in the baby's room
02: voxer and the technology to keep in touch with long distance besties
03: korean leftovers from an amazing cook and friend
04: thick rain showers that kept my garden going when I wasn't able to
05: sweet cries from the nursery that remind me of how precious life is

*Find Ann's book here...
**Join the challenge here...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

raining on Taylor Swift's parade

In Taylor Swift's song, "Love Story" she talks about two people getting married and sings, "you'll never have to be alone".  News flash!  Marriage does not cure you of loneliness!

People, loneliness will always be a part of life!

I'm sorry to rain on your parade but getting married, moving in with someone, and possibly physically duct taping yourself to someone is not going to cure your loneliness. Believe me, I have considered duct taping myself to Hubs because as a double whammy "quality time" and "physical touch" person that seems to be one of the best solutions to keeping my love tank filled.  Lordy, just thinking about that makes me laugh out loud. Hubs would die in two days. He would be so overstimulated. Like a plant that has been overwatered my Hubs would shrivel and die.

Loneliness is part of why I am restarting my blog.  Not my own personal loneliness but because I read my friend's facebook status the other day and she was lamenting how lonely motherhood can be.  Agreed.

But I was lonely before I was a mother.  I was surrounded by people all the time and I still felt lonely!  So why are we as human beings so lonely? If we have friends, family and people around us why are we still aching in our hearts for someone to reach out and love us?

Loneliness is a great push for us to not only search for something deeper but to also share with those around us more deeply.  I believe everyone is on a journey in life and that involves spirituality.  Loneliness is a disconnect in our spirits.  Even in my marriage, Hubs who knows me best, cannot know me fully.  So there is this disconnect, a gap in the spirit.

You can also be physically lonely.  I was often times lonely when I lived in Japan because I felt that language kept me from fully sharing who I am.  My jokes wouldn't translate, my background is different from theirs and values would be miscommunicated.  Now that was not often the case and that's the worst scenario of my time there.

So now in Colorado why do I still find myself lonely where language no longer is a barrier?  I believe it has to do with more than being a stay at home mom.  I think my loneliness also has to do with the fact that its hard to share who I am.  I'm waiting for someone to show me their cards before I place my bet.

Here's another news flash, that's not going to happen in real life.  Hubs has told me, "To have good friends, you have to be a good friend" and I would totally agree.

I'll be honest, I don't think there is any 100% cure to loneliness because I think loneliness (should) drive us to vulnerability and other people.  We were made to live in communities and I am not talking online communities.  I like my blog. It serves a need I have to write. I like facebook.  I get to photostalk all y'all!  But these venues are not real communities.  We still need to physically get outside, away from our iphones, computers and look people in the face and talk to their faces. And let them argue, disagree, spur us on and love us just as we are.

It's hard to pursue people in love when we just want them to pursue us in love. We want to sit back and let the sun rays of love warm us like we're on a beach somewhere.  And for some of us, that happens.  But even for those who are lucky to be pursued in love, you have to respond and return that love. You can't just lie there and soak it all in or it will eventually disappear!

For most of us, we have to pursue first.  We have to write the text or make the call... but in the end, sitting across from a friend, sharing life and a bit of ourselves too, isn't it worth it in the end?

Monday, July 21, 2014

What is she thinking?

I have gone back and forth (and back and forth) deciding between picking up this ol' blog and leaving it lie.

Writing and words are such a part of who I am.  While I am at home by myself with my kids I write in my head. I write posts and tell stories about what is happening and life lessons I am learning.

I'm afraid to pick up this blog again because I want it to be more than just stories about poopie diapers, tantrums and potty training.  I am not going to lie, I want to be more than those things too.  I want to be hip concerts, microbrews and late nights out with friends. I want to write about things that will make you say, "Wow!"

But in reality, I am not those things. I am late night feedings, sore hips and microwaved leftovers...

I am realizing though... that a lot more people in my life are the latter.

So here I am... hoping to connect friends old and new through the internet and physically together with real life.  This is where I can come and be myself and know that I am okay with who I am.  So I hope we can all connect on my blog, talking, debating and sharing. While I feel okay with who I am, this is a place where you will always be welcomed to be who you are.  In the words of Mark Darcy "I like you very much. Just the way you are."

So despite the fact that I am a tired but blessed mummy (I feel like I should use British here now that I've referenced Bridget Jones) I have decided to pick up this ol' blog, blow off the dust and share with you in hopes that my (un)fabulous stories of poopies and microwaves will inspire not only other mothers but anyone in life to live fabulously wherever they are in life.

So "what is she thinking, is she crazy restarting her blog?" I guess the answer to that is... we shall see!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Better than before


Something about leaving made me want to bless the next tenants. My cynical mind went right to, "managers just gonna rip 'em out!" because its been an uphill battle trying to leave with good graces between our manager and us. That story shall be told another day. Anway, I persevered and decided that no matter what the managers decide to do I have a responsibility to God and to my own well being. 
So I took my beautiful and beloved mums which have thrived and are soon to bloom and planted them along the fence. I wish I remembered what colors they were so I could attempt to landscape them properly but alas, they'll be beautiful no matter what. 
And with dirt under my nails and sweat on my brow I leaned back and thought, "I should have had these here when I lived here. " and that is EXACTLY how I want to leave. 
With things better than they were when I moved in....

Saturday, May 18, 2013

In this moment (take 2)









When I was young I made the mistake of thinking things never changed and that goodbyes weren't necessary. I never said goodbye because in my precious little world goodbyes weren't a part of them. 

I left my childhood home and never said goodbye. I didn't take my beautiful best friend and lifesaver in so many ways face in my hands and look her in the eyes and say, "I wanna thank you. Thank you for helping to shape me for who I am. Thank you for laughing with me at life and into life. Thank you for being by my side through thick and thin. For crying with me in break ups and being loyal when no one else was. Thank you for sitting by me in junior high when no one else would and lets be honest I didn't deserve anyone too! Thanks Sarah for being my best friend. And things are about to change and we're gonna change but I'll always love you and I'll always consider you one of the most influential people's in my life. Thank you." 
That's what 18 year old Joanna would say. But 18 year old Joanna thought life and people would stay the same. 

So now I am taking the time to appreciate and love the little things from California. I'm taking California's face in my hands this week and looking into it's eyes and telling it that things are gonna change... But that I'll always love it and be grateful for the time we had together. 

Here's part of how I said goodbye to Japan... I always thought I'd go back and maybe I will... But here's the goodbye I wrote the night before I left. 
http://joannakay.blogspot.com/2008/06/in-this-moment.html

Leaving

I really don't like goodbyes.

I'm terrible at them. I either don't cry or I cry too much.  I either am laughing and making it seem like it won't tear my heart a bit to leave OR I'm blubbering too much, snot dripping down my face and people are wondering if I'm going to be okay.

I do not like goodbyes.

There is so much to say and to do... so many last moments and before I know it they have all passed me by and I didn't relish in the beauty of those moments.

Life....

Life has not happened like I thought it would.  It has been harder in ways I couldn't have predicted and a HUGE blessing in other ways.

I have lived in California longer than any other place minus my childhood home.  Isn't that crazy?  It's a bit sad to me to be honest.  I didn't think I would be in California for a long time and I had a hard time adjusting so I pretty much rebelled against putting down any sort of roots for the first two (maybe more) years.  But then life happens. And babies happened.  And plural amounts of babies were not part of my plan.  Thank the Lord because I am forever changed and blessed by them.  But in the unpredictability of said plural amounts of Love Bugs I was in a good way forced to put roots down and appreciate the little roots that had grown in my heart without my knowing.

And I prayed at the beginning that I would cry leaving this place because although I couldn't see it and didn't think it would happen, I wanted to be sad to leave the place that was so hard to get used to.  I've never felt like such a foreigner in my own land and never so out of place and out of sync and like... a nerd in a place quite like I have living in California.

California has dug up the ugly parts of my heart and for that I hated it.

But now I am sad to be leaving it.  Weird, how that happens huh?

California, thank you for changing me.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Granola: family style and Paleo



Before Hubs wooed me and won my heart I was a single gal living in a large foreign city and loving life.  I also was not a consistent cook.  I had my moments of glory.  Moments where it seemed domesticity was my middle name and I was going to conquer all cobwebs and dirty toilets   I had blissful glimpses of what being a wife would look like and I dreamed of it daily.  I wanted to be a wife and mother.
But those were fleeting glances.  I was definitely a bachelorette living like a bachelorette with fleeting moments of wife-hood...ness? Wifehoodness? 
Anyway, the thing that shocked me most about marriage was that my adorable Hubs wanted meals... big meals, like three meals a day, with all food groups present.  Seriously? I have to give you vegetables? And protein? And carbs?.... Three times? Well, maybe twice he wants a full balanced meal and breakfast can be easier.  What can I say? Marriage has changed him too! But if Hubs had his way he'd be eating Chinese breakfast aka soybean soup, Chinese "donuts", pork buns, and rice porridge.
Anyway, I could eat (and do eat when Hubs is gone) cereal for 3 meals a day. It's got your fruit, your dairy, and your grains. Cereal is all I require to survive.  Well, cereal and popcorn. But my love for popcorn is another topic for another day.
With cereal, I especially love granola! I love love LOVE granola. It's got this tangy saltiness, tart dried fruit and sweet undertones of the honey melting into one beautiful dish. I love granola!

Recently, I started doing paleo and was a bit sad to realize that I couldn't eat cereal.   Well, I recently discovered this beautiful website full of glorious recipes and one of them being GRANOLA.
So I adapted it (didn't need that much sweetness) and have made my own combining my Grandmother's wisdom and my desire to cut back on refined sugars and processed carbs.
So without further ado; Schupbach Style Granola and Joanna's Adapted Granola!
Make, Eat and then softly sigh knowing that all is right in life when one can enjoy a bowl of cereal

Schupbach Style
7 c. oats
1 c. sweetened shredded coconut
1 c. almond slivers
1/2 c. honey
2/3 c. oil
1 t. salt
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. vanilla
Place in 2 jelly roll pans and bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally   When cool, add 1 c. raisins.  Store in air tight container.

Joanna's Paleo Adapted Granola
2 c. almond slivers
2 c. chopped pecans
2 c. sunflower seeds
2 c. unsweetened coconut shredded
1/2  c. honey
1 c. melted coconut oil
salt
cinnamon
Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, and sniffing the sweet air of deliciousness. When cool, add craisins.  Store in air tight container.

Now, if you don't mind, I have some granola to take out of the oven, cool it and eat it.
What do you like in your granola?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

i'll admit it

Okay, so I'll admit it. There are days when I'm a "better" mother than other days.  Days when I rise early, get showered, dressed and cleaned... make pancakes from scratch with blueberries, bounce up the stairs to get my rising babies while birds are chirping alongside me and woodland creatures folding the laundry downstairs....

Side note: they should make a disney princess who's married and has a kid. I'd love to see her whistle while she sweeps up cheerios for the 16th time that day. ;)

Anyway, I do have the days where I am thankful and grateful and my God-cup is full so full that I am overflowing and spilling all the blessings onto others.
I hear ya sister. Some times we do better than others...
...
and then. there are other days. Days where I can't sing because I'm selfish and I don't want to sing. :) 
Days where I feel like I'm a performer at a dinner and show kind of place because no eating will be done unless I am doing "wheels on the bus" with full motions...
Days where Baby Beluga turns into 30 verses instead of 3.
Days where mommy says, "blah blah blah" because it makes her feel like a little victory after having read the same book forty-two times. ha ha ha take that! I'm reading the book but I'm reading it MY way, suckers!
Days where I can recite all of winnie the pooh and baby einstein rhymes because I've read them forty-two times.
Days where I drive laps around the pike in downtown long beach because they're taping my favorite show and I am hoping for a sighting of a star (yup, true story) and babies are crying in the backseat because they should be napping and I respond with, "Don't you know how important this is to me?" Baaah! (just airin' my dirty laundry people!)
Days where pigeons attack my stroller because I've let the snacks spill all over and I'm too scared of catching fleas so I try to combat the pigeons with a coffee cup.
Days where poopie diapers are like nuclear bombs, destroying everything in their path and making it seemingly impossible for new life to grow there ever. again.
Days where snacks explode all over the car.
Oatmeal gets rubbed in hair.
Days where I feed my Love Bugs cookies for breakfast lunch and dinner because... well, because there's oatmeal in there?!
Days where I lay my head down for a sweet night's sleep and Elmo's song runs through it to lull me to sleep... and Lord love me, I can't keep my toes from tapping.
Days where I think Elmo is passive aggressive and manipulative...
Days where I think Elmo is so stinkin' cute and I wish he were real...
Days where I can't remember the last time I showered... and come to think of brushed my teeth.
Laundry sits in the basket till I'm forced to empty it on the bed so I can put the next full load in.
Blueberries wind up in ear canals and Love Bugs trying to pick their boogers or clean their own bottoms during changings...

life is messy.
but life is also loads of fun.
I'm never going to end up on a magazine cover or walk a Hollywood red carpet ... but I'll admit it. I'd take my cheerios-ground-in-and-accident-stained rug any day over that fancy shmancy carpet, anyway!
As my good friend Jamie hashtagged, "good play makes a good mess" and I couldn't agree more.

Invite some mess into your life. Let your little ones discover and adventure and yes, probably rip off the cover off a book (or two).  But let them know they are more important than whether anyone else thinks I look like a good mother or not. And this goes for all you married with no kids and singletons too! Enjoy the freedom to make messes and learn from them or just live in them. Life isn't perfect! Enjoy it!

How do you invite "good mess" into your life?