Where The Rubber Hits The Road


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30 Days of goodness: Day 4

Day 4 and the days are blending together in such a way I never know if I’m coming or going. I feel like my true self appears when I’m not on a schedule! It’s not great! However, we press on!

On the home front

My girls and I continue to work out together! There is not a single muscle in my body that doesn’t hurt…but I’m so grateful for the time and energy to finally focus on fitness!

I baked a German Chocolate cake last night. We needed something special and it was a favorite of mine growing up. And it was sooo good!

My kids went to a park to watch the sunset.

We’re hardly watching any t.v., the kids are listening to podcasts! What??

After much research on food safety we ordered from Olive Garden! It was nice to have a meal from somewhere other than our kitchen!

 

Small pleasures – many bands are live streaming music for free so I was able to see

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one of my favorite bands, Grouplove, put on a mini concert! And there are lots more planned!

 

 

In the news 

Chinese Company Ships Crates of Masks to Italy Covered in Italian Poetry: We Are ‘Leaves of the Same Tree’

TV Medical Dramas Are Donating All Their Gowns, Gloves, and Masks to Real Hospitals Fighting COVID-19

 

Across Canada, Scaremongering Becomes ‘Caremongering’ as Citizens Help Each Other In Challenging Times

 

Inspiration for the day

Take a few minutes to these beautiful thoughts on dealing with fear by Sarah Blondin

 

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Remember, you are loved and you matter!


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30 Days of goodness: Day 3

I’m back! I confess, this should be day 4 but I skipped yesterday. It was a hard day in our house, lots of anxiety and tears. I stayed in bed a lot. I felt overwhelmed and saddened by everything. But, we pulled through. We had a family game night…it almost fell apart, but we pulled through. We are all going to have those days, some worse than others. We are learning and adjusting and grieving in the process. But I still believe in goodness. So here is day 3 of good things –

On the home front

We managed a family game night. We played Taboo and it was hilarious.

My online college courses are still running, which means after many years of trying to finish my bachelors degree, I am on track to do so in June!

My daughter and I are working out together. Everything hurts, but it’s such a good feeling to be active.

I learned to play Vance Joy’s “Riptide” on the guitar. A very proud moment for me.

We have food and toiletries. If you don’t, please please reach out to me!

 

In the world

Here are some encouraging headlines-

JOANN Stores are Handing Out Free Fabric Supplies at Curbside to Anyone Sewing Face Masks at Home

People Are Now Stocking Little Free Libraries With Toilet Paper and Food for Neighbors in Need

Siblings Filmed Playing Sweet Spontaneous Porch Concert for Elderly Neighbor in Self-Isolation

“The children’s mother, Rebecca Tien, later told CNN that she couldn’t have been more proud of her kids for reaching out to their neighbor during such uncertain times.

‘It was one of those moments where you feel like you’re a part of something incredible,” she said. “It was also a good way to remember the value of connection, especially at a time like this when everyone feels disconnected. Just to know we were a part of something so sweet, even just for a minute, meant a lot.'”

Some pictures of life. Spring is here, flowers are blooming, life continues on. The second picture is a tree that blew over during a wind storm quite awhile ago. I just haven’t hauled it off the yard yet. I looked at it closely and realized it was still alive, with new buds!! Life always finds a way. Always. We will survive this. Nature is proof.

 

Inspiration for the day

“People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life…I think that what we’re really seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonance within our innermost being and reality, so that we can actually feel the rapture of being alive.”

Joseph Campbell

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Be safe! Take care of yourselves! Know that you are loved and you matter!!


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30 Days of goodness: Day 2

If you missed my first blog, I’ve committed to 30 days of finding the good in this tense meadow-4485609_960_720and scary time. So here goes for day 2…

On the home front-

My parents, who are in their 70’s, are healthy and staying home!

My kids are cleaning their rooms, on their own accord!

I’m practicing guitar again, which is something I never find time for.

Whats App has made it possible for me to reach out to people that I wouldn’t normally be able to afford to call.

In the community-

We’ve had a week of sun which has allowed people to take walks and work in their yards. We all need the sun!

People are working really hard to make sure  kids have food while schools are shut down. You are amazing!

Medical personnel are working their butts off to provide care for more people than they should ever have to. But they’re doing it! You’re my heroes!

A bit of humor…

My son said, “Did you know that it’s impossible to crack an egg in your bicep?”

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He was proven wrong….

 

Your inspiration for the day-

Ring the bells that still can ring,

forget your perfect offering.

There is a crack in everything.

That’s how the light gets in.

Leonard Cohen

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Be safe out there! Be courteous and kind. Try to walk in other peoples shoes, we’re all facing different crises. Most importantly, know you are loved and you matter!


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30 Days of Goodness: Day 1

We are living in uncertain times. Most of us alive today have never witnessed something hands-1926414_1920so life-altering as this virus that now consumes our daily lives. We have never lived through a crisis so large and widespread. Our reactions vary, but many of us are afraid. Rightly so. In the midst of this, I want to take some time to remember the good and beauty and kindness we are still surrounded by. We cannot let fear overcome us. I’ve decided to dedicate the next 30 days to celebrating goodness. We all could use an infusion of hope.

For those of you that have lost a loved one, your livelihood, or something else irreplaceable, these 30 days may not be for you. The last thing you need is someone telling you to “look on the bright side”. You need to grieve. You have every right to your anger and despair. My heart breaks for you. I grieve with you and hold you in my heart. I wish there were words enough to comfort you. Life will never be the same, and I pray you have someone to provide you with support and comfort as you adjust to life as it is now. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here. Email me at racheltyanne@gmail.com and lets get in touch. You are loved and you matter.

For those of you who are simply afraid and overwhelmed, these 30 days of looking for goodness are for you. I encourage you to do the same, find ways to be a light. Spread love and hope and kindness.

This is a poem from The Gift. It’s called “We Have Not Come To Take Prisoners” and is by one of my favorite poets, Hafiz.

 

We Have Not Come To Take Prisoners

We have not come here to take prisoners,

but to surrender ever more deeply

to freedom and joy.

 

We have not come into this exquisite world

to hold ourselves hostage to love.

 

Run my dear,

from anything 

that may not strengthen

your precious budding wings.

Run like hell my dear,

from anyone likely 

to put a sharp knife

into the sacred, tender vision

of your beautiful heart.

 

We have a duty to befriend

those aspects of obedience

that stand outside our house

and shout to our reason

“O please, O please,

come out and play.”

 

For we have not come here to take prisoners

or to confine our wondrous spirits, 

 

but to experience ever and ever more deeply

our divine courage, freedom, and 

Light!


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You should be ashamed…or should you?

The beliefs I grew up with  go back to Eve in the garden eating that freaking apple and therefore damning all of eternity to things like pain in childbirth. They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but in my world apples are nothing but a prescription for a one way ticket out of paradise, so no thank you very much. I always picture the apple that Eve picked as one of those very dark red shiny ones. You know, the same as the kind as the one that Snow White ate, that really forked her up as well. If history is supposed to teach us not to repeat our mistakes, it’s clearly not working. With people like that in our lineage, we were screwed as women from the get go.

I came from a place of equal parts grace and shame. Where Jesus died to forgive and save you from all your sins. And also, your job was to live a life like Him, which was also impossible, because sin. Quite a conundrum. Nevertheless,  you would try to be like Jesus and fail to be like Jesus the rest of your days and thus the shame piece, because well, sin is so bad, isn’t it?

It might sound like things were all bad. I mean, the shame was bad, but the people, they were another thing entirely. I have never met more sweet, caring individuals, aside from a few rotten apples (see how that apple keeps coming up?) I wouldn’t say these particular bad seeds had the devil in them, but he was definitely operating in close proximity.

My people believed in love and potlucks,  and boy, were there potlucks. Every dish you could imagine, covered in flies, mind you. But we took over Rose Ann Vuich Park with our casseroles and KFC and wicker paper plate holders. I grew up dirt poor, but somehow my family still had those wicker plate holders like our life depended on it. My mom was thrifty, though, she took advantage of all the little stamps you could collect at Alpha Beta, or IGA or whatever, and eventually came home with a complete set of free dishes.

The best part of Rose Ann Vuich Park was the playground. They had an honest to god stagecoach. You could ride inside like a lady, or climb up on the top and be the driver. There were even those metal horses up front that rocked back and forth wildly. After stuffing your face with potato salad and potato casserole and potato chips, us children would try to be the first to the playground so we could take over the stagecoach.

Love and food and community, what could go wrong. But life wasn’t all rainbows and potlucks. No, there was that shame piece. That feeling that you could never add up, never be enough. I was constantly ashamed. Ashamed that I didn’t read my bible enough, that I thought door to door evangelizing was embarrassing, that my mind wandered during prayers. I was ashamed of my body. Ashamed that I liked to flirt. Ashamed if I dressed in a way that would cause a boy to have impure thoughts. I was ashamed if I thought that girl’s bodies were beautiful. Ashamed if I wanted to have sex. Ashamed for watching R rated movies, ashamed for having dreams about other men when I was married.

One of the definitions I just came across for shame was “A painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Do you hear that? Humiliation. Distress. This is not “I’ve done something and I feel bad about it”. No, this is humiliation, “I’ve done something and now I am bad.” Big difference. I don’t believe there’s any place for shame in the church. Shame makes you want to hide. Shame makes you feel like a failure. Like there is no fixing what you’ve done. Shame is a negative message about who you are as a person. It’s a message about whether or not you add up. To me, it was about if I deserved to be loved or accepted. If I was enough.

I’ve walked away from the beliefs I held as a child. They don’t serve me anymore. But I still like to think that there was once a man named Jesus who hung out with the “untouchables” of his time, and taught a message of love, kindness, acceptance and inclusion. A man who taught you how to be free from shame. That’s the kind of person I want to be.

 


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A letter to my Mom

Dear Mom,

For starters, I’m sorry I didn’t get you a card. I know, all you ever ask for is a nice card. Mothers everywhere echo the sentiment, while secretly hoping in their heart of hearts (wherever the heck that is) that their children will magically tap into the the hidden place full of longings, and figure out that they just want (fill in the blank). Usually it’s just a day without the damn kids crawling all over you, and how hard is it to figure that out, since the day I pushed your huge ass head out of my secret garden ALL I’ve ever wanted was a minute to myself! Kids are selfish, by nature, so mothers usually get burnt breakfast in bed and a day planned out minute by minute that usually involves mom doing 98% of the work. Ah, Mothers Day.

So I hope this blog post takes the place of a nice card. If not, the card is in the mail. It will be belated.

My mom had my sister and I very close together. When that happens we like to call it a “surprise”…which we all know is the nice word for accident. I can’t imagine how full my mom’s hands were as she adjusted to caring for two small children, especially after leaving her whole world behind in Canada to travel to whatever awaited in California. I will say, however hard it was, she never made me feel like I was an accident.

An early memory I have of my mom is her yelling from the kitchen, “If you guys yell one more time!” I can’t tell you why we were yelling. Put two girls together of similar age and there will be yelling. I also don’t know what the threat to follow would be. She was probably too tired to come up with anything meaningful.

My mom is hilarious. One of the things I love about her. My parents have lived many places and met many people over the years. And the thing that always comes up any time one of those old timers come to visit is how my mom has always made them laugh. I got a strange mix of my dad’s gift for puns and my mom’s gift for making people laugh. She memorized dozen of jokes from Readers Digest and was ready to tell them any chance that arose.

My mom taught me (and continues to teach me) about empathy. Growing up, I would come home and tell her about the way someone had hurt my feelings. And her response was, “Maybe they are going through something rough.” As a kid, that response made no sense to me. But now, as an adult, I get what a gift it is to walk in another person’s shoes. The gift of perspective and empathy. My mom continues to display such incredible kindness to the families she works with, often refugees, who have suffered unthinkable hardships.

My sister and I were home schooled for middle school. My mom had us making bagels for Home Ec, and running down the ditch bank to prepare us for running the mile (which we had heard was a requirement in high school.) There was never a dull moment, as mom grasped at straws trying to find anything at all that could be considered school work.

On occasion during high school (in which I wasn’t prepared to run the mile) my mom would take my sister and I for a blueberry muffin at a little shop before school. We would talk about life then she would drive us to school late. It didn’t hurt that we were close friends with Tish, who handled attendance at school. But I remember feeling so special on those mornings to have a little extra time with my mom. I felt like she really got us in those moments. That she understood that life needed to be about more than just school. My mom has continued that tradition all these years later, and tries to take a friend to coffee once a week. She and I have our coffee dates frequently, too, and I always love them.

My mom isn’t perfect. But I know she’d do just about anything in her power to be there for me. Including doing the Polar Bear Plunge with me three years in a row! She was a rock for me during the horrible years following my divorce. And she continues to be available to listen and even to pop over and surprise me by doing my dishes for me (a chore I hate more than anything else in life.)

My mom lives simply. She doesn’t mince words. She loves parties and coffee and beach days. She loves crime shows and mysteries and can read a book in one day, which I have yet to accomplish.

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! Thank you for all the amazing things you’ve taught me, and all the amazing ways you’ve loved and been there for me! I can’t imagine life without you!


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No spanx, I prefer to be myself

For the longest time I’ve been seeing these ads on Facebook for these glorified spanx. You just pull them up and they flatten out all the flab you carry on your stomach. For reals. The commercial shows these women pulling up these high wasted spanx and all the fat just flattens out instantaneously and they can wear that dress or Christmas sweater thcorset-148410__340ey only dreamed of wearing before. Move over Anne Sullivan, this is the real miracle worker.

I have to admit I’ve admired the work of these high wasted spanx. I’ve gained a lot of unexplained weight over the last few years and I feel pretty shitty about it. And I would love to slide into just about anything right now and not have to deal with my 7-8 month pregnant food baby mushing up on top. Talk about muffin top. Mine is Costco sized.

But then I think, this product goes all the way up to ones boobs. That’s right. So not only are your boobs held captive, now your entire torso is too. I thought we had left the 1800’s long behind.

I picture myself slinking into a New Year’s Eve party in a hot little number. Everything has been smoothed to perfection, just like a cube of butter when you first unwrap it. Then, at some point during the night, my lower half goes completely numb (from all the smushing…I mean, it’s not just fat in there. There’s important organs in there as well!) I buckle to the ground and have to roll myself out of the party, taking partygoers and tables with me as I go like some kind of rogue bowling ball. It’s not a pretty picture.

Or worse, I don’t go numb. And I meet some handsome, well off, respectful man. Who wants to respectfully take me back to his place. At which time I slide down these high wasted spanx only to burst forth like Pillsbury dough can, all that fat that’s been held back so forcefully being set free, knocking both him and his full glass of sparkling wine to the floor. Can you imagine? How do you explain that one?

I have nothing against women who purchase or wear these high wasted spanx product. Truly I don’t. You should absolutely do things that make you feel pretty or good about yourself! I just realized that for myself it would be a band aid, a very large stretchy band aid, over a problem that goes deeper than weight gain.  I need to find a way to embrace myself.

It’s not easy. I have a very long nose. My stomach and thighs have completely given up trying to look nice. I don’t get tan, I get freckles. So many freckles. I don’t find cool life hacks or recipes on Pinterest. I’m learning to be ok with these things. Very, very, painfully slowly. But I am trying.

So here’s some truth bombs. I encourage you to drop some as well. It’s so freeing to be yourself.

I tell more dad jokes than an actual dad.

I used to eat fish stick sandwiches on white bread with mayo. And loved it.

I fall in love way too fast.

I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. I wear it in front of my shoes, where everyone can step on it. Then I say “sorry” in my best Canadian accent, when someone steps on it. I’m working on my self-esteem.

One of my greatest thrills in life is exploring abandoned buildings.

I cry every time I watch Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events.

Every time I watch Anne of Green Gables or Little Women I’m inspired to write about my childhood.

I’m attracted to younger men.

I want to marry Gilbert Blythe.

As a kid I lived in the country surrounded by orchards and I used to go out and pee in the orchards on occasion, just because I could.

I have very specific songs I listen to when I need to cry.

I cry a lot.

If I could get paid a living wage to just go around loving people, in hospitals and nursing homes and homeless camps I would do it in an instant.

I like cheap whiskey.

I used to blush every time I talked to a guy, whether I liked him or not.

I have fallen up the stairs at work multiple times.

My best friend growing up used to make me laugh so hard I would occasionally pee my pants.

I don’t know how I feel about the whole story of Jesus’ birth anymore, but I still think Christmas carols are some of the most beautiful songs.

I still have letters people wrote me in high school (I call it emotional hoarding).

The first guy I kissed after my divorce was this guy in a band who had been checking me out all night. We made out so hard he knocked my earring off. At which point I excused myself and did the walk of shame to find my friend.

The next guy I kissed was on New Year’s Eve at Daphne’s bar while Frank Sinatra played. It was one of my life’s most romantic moments. I promptly forgot his name.

We all have dirt, and scars, and weird hairs growing on our face, or belly fat, or kankles. We all have skeletons in our closets (hopefully not real ones.) Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Don’t hide your true self under some tight-fitting nylon (literally or figuratively). You are beautiful as you are. You are funny and unique and brave and strong and intelligent. You are skilled and talented and useful. You are enough! Learn to embrace all that you are.

I’ll leave you with this song. I love it so much.  I hope you’ll check it out. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LX3lvwks7NU

You are enough!