Friday, December 28, 2012

fifty two on fridays | week fifty two

"[. . .] I’ve had the highest mountains. I’ve had the deepest rivers. You can have it all but life keeps moving.

I’ve tried to cut these corners. Try to take the easy way out. I kept on falling short of something. I coulda gave up then, but then again I couldn’t have ’cause I’ve traveled all this way for something.

Now take it in but don’t look down.

‘Cause I’m on top of the world, ‘ay. I’m on top of the world, ‘ay. Waiting on this for a while now. Paying my dues to the dirt. I’ve been waiting to smile, ‘ay. Been holding it in for a while, ‘ay. Take it with me if I can. Been dreaming of this since a child.

And I know it’s hard when you’re falling down. And it’s a long way up when you've hit the ground. But get up now, get up, get up now.

‘Cause I’m on top of the world. I’m on top of the world."

- Imagine Dragons, On Top of the World 
WEEK 52 - Reflection

Instead of posting a new picture this week, I decided to "reflect" on this past year. This series of images, I feel, sums up my year pretty well. At the end of 2011, I had all these exciting & fun things I was going to do, things I wanted to change to become a better person & stretch myself. I often joked with my husband shouting out, "2012! The Year of Liz!" with victory fists raised in the air. Was I in for a shock! I guess I can still say that 2012 was the year of Liz, but for reasons I was completely unprepared for.

I was the mother of two children. Ruby joined our lives in 2011, & I found things going much smoother than I would have thought was possible with two kids. The problem was, life was "easy" because I kept letting everything slide. The home was a disaster, I distracted myself with my phone to pass the days away & help me "survive" while Scott was at work, & my motivation to follow through with pretty much any of my resolutions for the year never truly came to fruition. I realized one horrible day that I was depressed. Extremely depressed. Hurtled into a depression that came from having another child, experiencing post-traumatic stress from my sister's death years before & not knowing how to handle it all.

I slipped into oblivion. Into a darkness that almost consumed me. I felt desperate, helpless, isolated. I felt like I could just melt into the floor & not return. I was disappearing into oblivion.

 I tried to push through, but my own strength was not enough.

I hated how my children were affected by this almost all-consuming abyss. Will climbing on my lap, grabbing my face, telling me to "wake up." Telling me, "It's okay mommy. Don't be sad. I love you." & kissing my cheek. The guilt I felt for letting my family down dragged me even further into a pit that I couldn't seem to claw my way out of. But I continued to try. I tried to remember to "be present." To see the beauty around me. To recognize the love of my Lord & Savior & put my faith in Him. To allow my family - my husband, parents, siblings, in-laws - to lift me up & help carry my burden. Through this horrible experience, I realized how loved I was, how blessed I was.

I sought greater help & forced myself into activity.

I started to believe in myself again. Not to be so hard on myself. To have the patience to allow myself to heal.

Life started to return to normal, & I realized what it felt like to be me again. I found joy in my life. Joy. Peace. Happiness. Purpose. My family was thriving, & I was a part of it, not just an unrecognizable shell of me on the sidelines, but involved physically, mentally, emotionally, & spiritually.

Now it's the end of the year, & I feel so alive! Sure, life isn't perfect, but who's is? The difference for me now is that I see the love of God reflected in everything around me - this beautiful world, my family, my love for living creatively & purposefully. I continue to choose happiness & strive to see the good around me & within me. 

I'm on top of the world, & I'm not looking down!

Continue on to the lovely Jackie Petersen to see her take on "reflection."

Friday, December 21, 2012

fifty two on fridays | week fifty one

“There's no place like home. [. . .]
If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again,
I won't look any further than my own back yard.”
- L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
WEEK 51 - Home

Continue to Katiusca Guzman Photography to see her beautiful film images of home.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Preschool: "Moon Shoes"

"As time passed, the moon became a planet-sized playground for the boy. There was so little gravity that with one hop he could bounce over the tallest mountain."
- William Joyce, Man in the Moon

For our preschool curriculum, we're doing our own personal rendition of Five in a Row (FIAR). Rather than follow all the books that they suggest & using their lesson plans, I'm choosing my own books (w/ some suggested in their curriculum) & planning little activities or lessons to go along with them. I figure if this works out okay this year, maybe I'll be ready to tackle the actual FIAR program next year when Will turns five. As of now, we're just dipping our toes in.

This week for preschool, we are reading the book Man in the Moon by William Joyce. Yesterday, we read through the book in detail, looking at the wonderful illustrations of lunar moths, glowworms, flying starfish, & the Man in the Moon (MiM). 

Today, our focus was on gravity & the ability to bounce across the moon. I grabbed some new sponges & rubber banded them to Will's feet. He then spent a good thirty minutes bouncing with his "super-really-awesome" moon shoes. 

Tomorrow, we plan to go see Rise of the Guardians to go along with this first installment of the Guardians of Childhood series. Then maybe I can convince Scott to take us to Snotopia to get some "lunar ice cream" (Hawaiian shaved ice).

Thursday & Friday, I'm hoping to talk about lunar phases of the moon (using Oreos to demonstrate the different phases) & go to the Planetarium in Sacramento. We'll then top off the week by visiting Santa Claus (one of the Guardians) on Saturday morning.

Ruby got in some learning time of her own:

And of course if you're going to take a trip to the moon, you need to wear a space helmet! (Will & Ruby were both supervised the whole time they wore the "helmet.")

Friday, November 23, 2012

fifty two on fridays | week forty seven

“The miracle is not to walk on water.
The miracle is to walk on the green earth,
dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh

WEEK 47 - Thankful

What better time of year than now to pay attention to all the things there are to be thankful for? In particular, all of the simple things that you have come to see as ordinary: children to feed, a home to clean, books to read, projects to finish . . . there are so many blessings in the everyday that are easily forgotten or seen as burdensome or insignificant. Instead, wake up & see all the good around you! Don't just see it, but live it!

It is easy to look to the future & wish for things that you don't have, or to dwell on the past & pine over things lost. But what about today? Isn't the present the most beautiful thing of all? I guess it doesn't always feel that way. I have a poster in my room that says "BE PRESENT." It is a daily reminder, a mantra I repeat to myself often to rekindle my love of now. To see the good in the now. To be thankful for all that I have right now. Remember to count your blessings. Remember to notice the details - not so you can nitpick & tear down, but so you can rejoice in even the smallest thing. There is much to be thankful for. Just remember to open yourself up to see it.

Continue on to Katiusca to see what she is thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2012

fifty two on fridays | week forty six

“My heart is drumming in my chest so hard it aches,
but it's the good kind of ache,
like the feeling you get on the first real day of autumn,
when the air is crisp
and the leaves are all flaring at the edges
and the wind smells just vaguely of smoke -
like the end and the beginning of something all at once.”
-Lauren Oliver, Delirium

WEEK 46 - Autumn

I don't know what it is about this time of year, but I love it so much. When I was younger, I soaked up the sun & lived for summer. But now, the smells, colors, & feelings of autumn call to me. They refresh my soul & make me feel close to God in this beautiful world He created. The falling leaves, the bright hues of orange, yellow & red that fade into brown & then leave both fragile & majestic branches bare.

Perhaps it's the memory of family traditions, good food, hot chocolate, brisk air, the first long sleeves & jackets of the season, cuddling under warm blankets with loved ones. The richness of autumn sets my heart on fire. The peace of this time of year, the extra burst of love & kindness, & the presence of God everywhere rejuvinate me & remind me of all I have to be grateful for.

My good friend Tiffani took this picture of Ruby & me, & since it's so rare to have pictures of me with the children, I had to add it. Getting colds is not my favorite thing about autumn, but I do love cuddling my sweet babes when they need the extra comfort.

Continue to Jackie Petersen Photography to see what her autumn experience is like.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

10 on 10 | november

pruning trees:

and wishing she were outside to help:



you'd think it was spring:

waiting for my friend for lunch & a book discussion:

up from her nap & ready to go:

played too hard to stay awake on our way to get a treat:

my latest obsession - Hawaiian shaved ice:

in strawberry & grape:

so much to see outside 'Snotopia':

on our way home:

Continue the 10 on 10 circle with the incredible Renee Bonuccelli