My online friend Heather hosts a monthly link up, helping us to gather our thoughts, remember, and (for me evaluate) something loved, something read, something treasured, and something ahead.
I have participated almost every month in 2021…which is stunning. I find that I am very grateful for the moments of pause it requires…the chance to think about what I want my life to actually be. I am grateful to you, Heather.
May was a full and wonderful month.
I am in a season I refer to as STUPID SELF CARE. I call it that, tongue in cheek, because I am naturally a person that would rather avoid all that “nonsense”. I would prefer to just gut out the hard times and move on.
But that is not how life works. Also, as my kids are engaging in the world as adults, I find I really want them to practice good self care, so I have to act as though it matters. And, as it turns out, it does actually matter.
In that spirit, because this season with my parents is HARD–not just for me but also for the people who care for them day in and day out–I hosted a SPA/SELF CARE DAY for my parents’ caregivers.
I coordinated with the establishment where I do yoga and counseling. We had a custom Restorative Yoga session, then each woman received a one hour massage and 1/2 hour NuCalm session.
I had food and drinks and gifts set up for them to enjoy in between sessions.
Living Well has a lovely pool area where we hung out, soaking in the beauty.
One precious woman told me, “This was the very best day of my life.”
Here’s the thing: I suspected that if I handed out gift certificates many would go unused.
Caregiving is hard and holy work, and the kind of people who do caregiving are often the kind of people who put themselves last. That practice (of putting yourself last) is actually not in my parents’ best interest, I explained.
“I cannot offer you job security,” I confessed. “My parents are old and ill. But I can promise to appreciate you while we are in this together.”
I could offer it to them because I was familiar with the location by practicing self care myself. I loved this day. It was a wise thing to do for my parents, because taking care of the people who take care of them makes for much better days for everyone.
May was a good “reading” month. On Audio I finished Mike Rowe’s The Way I Heard It, which I absolutely loved. Ryan and I also finished a couple of Penderwick stories…getting her to appreciate audiobooks as much as I do is a process that is not going as well as I would like.
In addition to these, I also read Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights, which was very entertaining.
The format for The Dept. of Speculation was wonderful. Was it a novel? Is it her memoir? I am not exactly certain.
That Sounds Fun, by Annie F. Downs was okay. It’s a very easy read with some great parts, but I didn’t necessarily leave the book dying to dig in to All Things Annie F., if you know what I mean.
I always love Lysa TerkHeurst, but my by far favorite was Maybe You Should Talk To Someone, by Lori Gottlieb. When she wrote, “Yes, I’m seeking objectivity, but only because I think objectivity will rule in my favor,” on page 38, I was a fan for life.
By the time I reached page 70, I ordered a copy for a dear friend in California, and had it shipped to her. It is incredibly entertaining with great nuggets of wisdom tucked in.
This is an easy one: My mother/daughter trip to Gulf Shores, Alabama.
In my prayer journal I often beg the Lord to help me create a life I love, in the midst of the life I have.
Reagan was at a new school, with a new major (hopping from a writing major to a Biology major/Chemistry minor at a school 5 times the size of her first college is not for the faint of heart), in the middle of a global pandemic, with a huge class load. It was the toughest semester she’d ever had.
Because I am in the aforementioned Stupid Self Care Season, I told her that when one is in the midst of a temporarily stressful time, it is wise to schedule in a break. “Help yourself recover,” I told her.
Sun, sand, and good food are helpful in that quest. I wanted to try someplace we had never been before, so Gulf Shores got the nod. Reagan flew from Vermont to Pensacola, and I drove to pick her up so we could spend a few days together.
We went on a dolphin watching cruise.
She told me she has taken to bird watching and has an app on her phone which helps her identify species and keep count of sightings. So, I handed her my camera, and told her to have fun.
Everywhere we ate had delicious food. We devoured peach French toast and Eggs Benedict; Burgers, fries and milkshakes; delicious steaks and scrumptious seafood. She can get on the thin side when she’s stressed, so I loved feeding her whatever she wanted.
We read books, rested, and talked.
I think she is so beautiful.
I treasured every single minute.
It’s my very favorite. I will keep homeschooling because it is going well, but the afternoons at the pool and FINALLY trekking to the water park are always a delight.
We are visiting a local town for the 4th of July, which we are looking forward to, and I am meeting my BREAKFAST CLUB friends from California in Ft. Lauderdale soon after.
And I look forward to reflecting on my Four Somethings in June, grateful for the opportunity to do so.