Tag: gratitude

Three Things Thursday

Isn’t it funny how a certain post will show up in your feed right when you need it most? I was looking for something, not sure what to write about today but wanting to write, and then there it was- the perfect post- #ThreeThingsThursday- created by Emily at Nerd in the Brain and hosted by Natalie at There She Goes. Three Things Thursday is a list of three things that made you happy this week. This actually lines up perfectly with my mindfulness book, which asked me to share some memorable moments.

downtown chicago

 

Before they headed back to school, I was able to spend the day at the museum with my college kids, who I don’t see nearly enough. Going to the museum is a favorite pastime from my childhood that I was able to pass on to my kids. It was a special day.

 

 

 

 

bingo

 

 

I played Bingo with my parents. This is actually a regular occurrence but hasn’t happened in a while due to circumstances beyond our control. It was nice to do something that feels just plain normal and everyday. I’m blessed to have my parents still here and nearby.

 

 

lights

 

We are having a heatwave here in the Midwest, which means the snow, icy slush and general messiness along with the freezing temps are gone- temporarily. I’m going to enjoy the 60 degree day for the brief time it’s here.

 

 

 

 

What made you happy this week?

#Bathwater

I hope your week is going well!

-Kat

This Place in Time

The last month in photos. The days have been filled with waiting rooms, parking lots, hallways, vending machines, elevators, and faces- some kind and compassionate, some indifferent. There have been setbacks and improvements, sometimes one pushing the other out of the way. I know this is not permanent. I believe I will come out of this experience having grown and changed in many ways. My loved one continues to grow stronger and for this I am grateful.

“Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?” -Rumi

Weekly Photo Challenge: Temporary

Thankful Thursday

dandelion on patio 7.2.17When I sat down in front of my computer today, my mind skittered around in an attempt to decide on a post. I wasn’t prepared for any of the photo challenges- at least not quite yet. A quick scroll through pins on my “In the works” board on Pinterest didn’t spark anything. I felt my spirits droop and an unwelcome thought entered my mind. “Why does everything suck?”

This made me sit up in my chair and do a quick examination of my life at that exact minute. As my thoughts darted around my head touching on this issue or that area, I quickly realized that I could only think of one thing that could be categorized as sucking.

As I ran down my laundry list of usual problem areas, it dawned on me that things were pretty darn good and truthfully, I had so much to be thankful for. I gave that “sucky” thought a kick in the pants and settled down to share my thankful list with you:

  • My two college kids are in good places- both of them! They are both finishing up their last year of undergrad studies. Despite a little adversity, both are facing these obstacles in a more mature manner. And they are thinking past graduation! Score!!!
  • My dear friend, Hugh, who writes Hugh’s Views & News so kindly shared a post of mine that he enjoyed- Yesterday Once More. What makes this act so special to me is that I was feeling a bit vulnerable writing it. I’ve been playing it safe for awhile now and when Hugh’s own post inspired me to write mine, I was hesitant to hit that “Publish” button. Every insecurity I have as a writer rose to the surface. Hugh sharing that post was the gentle nudge I desperately needed and I’m eternally thankful to him for this.
  • I met new people through my blog at a time when I’ve been feeling quite cut off from the world both behind the keyboard and out. It’s been so much fun!
  • The infernal heat broke and it’s a breezy 70 degrees here in the Midwest- absolutely perfect!
  • I’m feeling more pulled together than I have in a long time. Being in limbo can be draining and scary and frustrating but today I don’t feel so disconnected.
  • I chose (and purchased) a paint color for my front door that was referred to as a “bold” choice by the cashier and although she said it in a way that implied it was over the top, it only confirmed to me that I had, indeed, picked the perfect color!

What are you thankful for today?

“I have a lot to be thankful for. I am healthy, happy and I am loved.” -Reba McEntire

Happy Friday Thursday!

-Kat

 

 

Ten Things of Thankful- 1/28/17

It’s been awhile since I took part in Ten Things of Thankful but today seems to be a good day to give it a go. Every day is the perfect day to keep in mind all that we have to be thankful for!

In no particular order, here are Ten Things that I am thankful for-

  1. My late night texters- Last night when I was having problems getting to sleep, two very good friends texted me (an hour later than they normally would have). My conversations with both of them were inconsequential but just the kind of chit chat I needed to wind down.
  2. Ari, our dog- Ari never fails to keep us entertained. Whether she is battling Team Squirrel in the back yard, or hunting ghost predators in our house, or just staring at me woefully hoping for an invite up on my chair, her unconditional love and loyalty fill my heart with joy.
  3. No snow- Although the weather has been downright screwy for the past month, at this exact moment in time, there is no snow! (All bets are off for later in the day, though.)
  4. Space Heater Magic- I am so thankful for the space heater that brings the back porch to a temperature where I can spray paint all of my little projects, feeding my spray painting obsession.
  5. My car’s remote start- Since my car is outside year round, on those miserable rainy, slushy mornings, I am so so thankful for the remote start that allows me to get into a not frozen car.
  6. Those little odd jobs- With most of my week spent with a busy toddler, I am relieved (and thankful) that all those tiny tasks that I squeezed in in-between potty time and reading left my house almost not quite a nightmare to look at today!
  7. Quiet- We have very little planned this weekend. YES!
  8. Pinterest- I found myself visiting Pinterest more often as I needed an escape from all of the current events that are clogging up my newsfeeds. It all gets to be too much and it was a nice change to just mindlessly search for random things and let it all go. My searches varied from “writing prompts” to “how to paint paneling” to “diy lampshades” to “toddler busy bags” and more.
  9. YOU GUYS- (Guys are all of you- not just men. It’s a Midwest thing….) Your presence is felt all over my life. Whether it’s texts, posts or emails- you continue to be such a positive and supportive presence in my life.
  10. Ten Things of Thankful- I am so thankful that I found this! It crossed my feed at the perfect time and I am thankful that it makes me think of all of the great things that I have in my life- those things that I take for granted. Thank you!!!

Have a great Saturday!

-Kat

Ten Things of Thankful

Follow Up to “Say Nothing or Something”

Yesterday’s post- Say Nothing or Something– was not the post I thought I was going to write when I began it over a week ago. In fact, I scrapped half of it and changed the name a few times. I had actually thought about the post for weeks before even trying to formulate a coherent post and in the end, I still felt that it was rambly and not quite what I wanted to say.

The past few weeks have been filled with some unpleasant blindsides, truths and a bully along with his spineless followers thrown in for good measure. I had recently said that I felt like I was being pushed out of my own life. In too many places, I was getting the message that I no longer fit in or was no longer wanted and/or needed. To say that I’ve been floundering would be something of an understatement. I can’t remember feeling this insecure and unsure since my teenage years.

And the Say Nothing post was taunting me. I might not know where I belonged anymore or where I was headed but I knew I needed to write it. And to write specifically about how I wasn’t sure if I had something to offer. (I’m not going to go into details about “the hits that just kept on coming” but suffice it to say, I was rattled in all areas of my life, and quite frankly still am.) I knew that my need to write was not a result of “the hits” because it had been flitting through my mind for awhile. So I attempted to write it. 

And here is what happened- 

You responded. Through blogging I have had the pleasure and honor of meeting incredible people. First of all, there is the blogging community. Wow! Although I have been writing my entire life, this blog was the first time I let anyone actually read what I wrote. I cannot think of a better place for a beginner to get her toes wet.

Whether you liked, commented or read my post and did nothing more, THANK YOU! This community is amazing. People are so supportive and are always willing to cheer you on and help you to succeed. My little oddities as a writer don’t seem quite so odd in this place. 🙂 I have the courage to continue to write and I’ve been toying with venturing into writing fiction here, too.  Bloggers are the best!

When I took the Blogging U courses, I met some really great people, who have become friends. I have connected with them outside of this community and their friendship means the world to me.

The other group that I’ve been blown away by is the LGBTQ community. I wasn’t sure who was going to read my blog, although I thought that they might be parents of transgender kids. (Makes sense, doesn’t it?) Some of my most enriching experiences were with the transgender people I’ve met here. I have never been looking for support or a pat on the back as a parent. As I’ve said quite a few times, I don’t know how to be any other type of mom than the one I am. I cherish the heartfelt exchanges with my fellow parents of trans kids. This group, the LGBTQ community both within the blogging world and out, are consistently the most gentle, kindest, welcoming people I have ever had the fortune to interact and connect with.

But parenting a transgender child is not easy. Especially when you spend 18 years not knowing you’re doing it! And it was as I shared our journey and heard from people who were on their own journey, but as full grown adults, that I felt that we were going in the right direction. I didn’t want Kris to feel that they had to wait for someone to die before they could be their true self. Although I will never truly know what it feels to be transgender, through research, reading and talking with Kris, I wanted to be sure I was getting an accurate feel for where they were at and what was going on inside. It was through Kris and my transgender friends here that I was able to gain a better understanding.

And my heart broke as I thought of Kris’s childhood and the confusion they must have felt for so much of it. I’ve been assured that it wasn’t all torture, gloom and doom, and there are videos, photographs and memories that support that. Still, I wanted to be sure that moving forward, my child would have to opportunity to live the same life that everyone else was given and that they would be accepted as their brothers were- for who they were- not what people wanted them to be.

As Kris has become more comfortable expressing their gender in a feminine way, there are people who thought/think that Kris changed their mind and had gone back to being a girl. I don’t feel compelled to go into a lengthy explanation. Kris is Kris. If someone asks, I will answer. The depth of the answer depends on the person. I consider this to be a huge step for me- no longer feeling the need to explain or justify Kris’s life to anyone. But it came with a price and that was that when I continued to speak as the parent of a transgender child, it didn’t really look that way anymore. If you have a nonbinary or gender variant/creative/nonconforming child, you know that appearances are a wild card on any day of the week. And those folks don’t even ask because they get it. They live it too.

It’s that world that follows the gender binary that gets caught up in semantics and all the little details. Some of those people live in the LGBT community and are parents of transgender kids. I respect their conviction that their child is transitioning to male or female, regardless of the child’s age. But I did stumble here because I didn’t want to make them feel like I was judging or questioning their choices for their kids. I was them once. And it didn’t occur to me that maybe Kris was not a boy. Luckily, we live in a world where transgender people are more visible and at times it appears that genderqueer people are highly visible. It was after reading comments on the Say Nothing post that I realized that I needed to continue to share our experience, no matter what we looked like on the outside.

More people are comfortable living with two genders- male and female. The concept of gender being inherent is foreign to them, even though they would probably admit to feeling their gender down to the fiber of their being.

Consistent, insistent, persistent. These are words that you will hear tossed around when a person questions their child’s gender. Do they show signs of these three things? Maybe that’s where I tripped up. Because Kris was all three and according to those markers along with professional assessments, Kris was a boy. But Kris wasn’t. Kris spent their life saying “I’m a boy” but that was not what Kris meant. And let me tell you, this kid has above average intelligence and always had a sophisticated vocabulary. What Kris was actually saying was “I’m not a girl.” Kris was a child. How could they know that the two don’t mean the same thing? They only knew two genders. But they knew their sense of who they are did not match the label they were given.

So my place in the LGBT world is a little bit different than I thought it was going to be. While I can still speak to what it feels like to have a female to male kid transition complete with name/gender marker changes, binder and testosterone, I can continue to stress how important it is to take your time and listen to your child but also listen to your gut instinct when it comes to this child. I can share my ftm kid experiences but I can also talk about where that led.

Do you remember the game “Don’t Break the Ice”? It had the square frame with plastic ice cubes in it and you took turns tapping on an ice cube, trying to free it without collapsing all of the other cubes? Well, my life feels that way lately- like I’m not quite sure if all my ice cubes are going to crash to the ground while I tap gently on this one. (I do have a point here.) My cubes are pretty shaky right now but thanks to the people who took part in commenting on my last post, I have safely freed one of my cubes and maybe the remaining ones are not as much in jeopardy as I thought.

I need to thank everyone who commented on my last post- Shawn, Kris, Claudette, Curious Mother, and Ruth. (I hope I didn’t miss anyone!!) You inspired me to write this post. Your comments helped ground me and give me direction. My heart was warmed so much. It’s hard to find words to express my gratitude.

There is a strong possibility that this post is just as rambly as the last one but inside I feel like something was set straight. My thoughts on this topic are focused and no longer shooting off in all different directions. And even if Kris should show up with that buzz cut looking like a boy, I’m ready.

 

The Great Book of Lists: Chapters 5.2- Elements of My Day

The idea for this list comes from Brandon Burchard’s day planner. As a snapshot of your current life, it will allow you to leave a trace of what your days are made of, what you truly enjoy and what you’re really looking for.

So, just this once here are the instructions to build your list :

  • quickly jolt you to do list
  • what are the 3 things you are excited about today
  • what are the 3 things you are truly thankful for today

To Do-

  • Straighten up home office
  • Baby-sit the little guys
  • Update calendar
  • Work on blog

I am excited about-

  • Spending time with the little guys
  • Hopefully discovering goodies I purchased for my new “hideaway/retreat/mom cave” and packed away and forgot- while cleaning my office
  • Seeing a dear friend

I am thankful for-

  • My family
  • The beautiful sunshiny day
  • Quiet time

This is another chapter in The Great Book of Lists.

Season Now

I never knew what the name of this song- The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell-  was and I had forgotten it until now when I was searching for appropriate music to accompany this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons.

beej and star wars

I find myself in a season I had not anticipated. 15 months ago when Beej was born and the baby equipment slowly overtook our house, I found myself plunged head first into the world of a newborn once again. Because Beej is my son’s child, I was experiencing it from the new perspective as grandparent. Watching this little guy, who looks so much like his daddy- but opposite in coloring, grow from infant to toddler these last 15 months has been been amazing.

beej and ari on ari's bed

He is a curious mixture. He is the living embodiment of his dad in so many ways. He is very curious about how things work and spends much of his time examining his toys, discovering all the secrets they hold. He was born with a larger than life personality, just like his dad. He is always smiling and looking for the humor in every situation. And if there is no humor to be found, he will find his own, often laughing hysterically at things only he finds amusing. That really is his daddy all over again.

Beej reading

My son and his family moved in a few months ago while waiting to move in to their new house. I have been granted the gift of seeing this little guy daily. I am so grateful for this time. Because he was here, I was able to build on his interest in books. He has an extensive board book library and every day he spends hours either looking at his books, examining each picture or flipping through to simply look at his favorite pages. On any given day, we read the same book 5-10 times. One day, we estimated that between me, my son and my husband, Beej heard Goodnight Moon 20 times.

beej and ari reading

He loves Ari and she loves him in return. She has endless patience with him and he adores her. He loves to cozy up against her when she’s in her bed, usually holding one of his dog books- either Baby Einstein’s Dogs or Go Dog Go.

Whether it is reading his favorite books, stacking blocks or rocking in my chair listening to our favorite songs at nap time, I will cherish this season in our lives as the special gift it has been.