Monthly Archives: July 2014

When women lift each other up, beautiful things happen.

20140729-094849-35329657.jpgLately I’ve been reading many blog posts on other sites that highlight the pain of divorce. I’ve written about my own experience, to some degree, and every time I read about another woman’s pain I want to leap through the page and reassure her, give her a hug and an insight into her positive future. This past week I’ve reflected on the two women who significantly changed my life during my own journey through their monumental acts of kindness.

I was young, naive, and shell shocked when my husband told me he was leaving on Christmas Day. My son was six months old. During the day he was being cared for by my mother-in-law. I had been working partial hours, balancing the responsibilities of a career and motherhood. I went from normal to emotional wreck with such gusto it scares me to even go back down memory lane. Continue reading

Family vacation, when things don’t quite go as planned.

20140719-081428-29668106.jpgThe memories we have are so precious, and some of those memorable moments are made on vacation. Sometimes things don’t go the way we’ve planned. Kids get sick, the hotel smells like mold, the air conditioner breaks and your ocean view would be perfect if you could see through those trees in front of your window. We have all been there, but we don’t post those moments on Facebook do we?

I should have known that our family outing would be problematic. The plan was to go on an eight kilometer bike ride near my in-laws’ house. When we reached our destination, we would stop and take out a picnic basket and enjoy the beautiful scenery and nature around us. My first clue that this would not be the picturesque outing I had imagined, was an exchange between my son Max and myself. “Mom, when is the last time you’ve been on a bike?” my darling son said. “Well Max, I haven’t been on a bike ride since I broke my elbow.” “Oh that’s why you’re fat!”

Just great.

My next clue appeared when my mother-in-law packed not one serious mosquito spray, but two different kinds. Always very positive and persistent, she smiled at me and said “perhaps there will be some mosquitoes on the way.” My final and last clue was the “road” we were going to bike on. The road was a forest path, the kind mountain bikes go on, with all of the bumps, hills and weeds that go with such a path.

Continue reading

Why it’s never OK to buy a wetsuit in whale colors.

20140713-153112-55872483.jpgIf you need motivation or feel-good messages today then this post is not for you. If you want to hear how I have forever ruined the reputation of Americans in Northern Sweden, then please read on!

A little over ten years ago I married a man from Northern Sweden. Every summer I take the kids to see their family and we all spend time regrouping. I have a confession brewing here, my personal hygiene may slip just a bit. I don’t pack clothes, I keep clothes here, old Victoria Secret PINK sweatpants that I am simply too old to wear, long sleeve shirts and high waisted jeans that seem to shrink with every year that passes. I rarely wear makeup, my toes look like Fiona feet, and the hair gets a bit unruly. There is simply no one to impress. It is a bit liberating! Don’t worry, my in-laws truly love me. Continue reading

Your strength and tenacity. Thank your ancestors!

20140708-163934-59974544.jpgWhen faced with the impending loss of my grandfather and desperate to preserve some of his colorful stories, I embarked on a genealogy project. I first gave him a notebook and recorder and asked him to write down stories of his life. Over the course of two years, until he passed away, I started building my family tree on ancestry.com. The wealth of information my grandparents had in their heads, the information that my own parents, my aunts and uncles have in their heads, is a goldmine for this type of project.

The stories my grandfather wrote were amusing, they made us laugh, but what was noticeably lacking were the stories of hardship that I know he experienced. I am convinced that living through those hardships once was enough for him. He did not want us to live through them nor could we fully comprehend the complexity of his burdens. He shouldered those alone. I tabled my project, mostly from frustration, and years later my father picked it back up and my husband also started researching his own family tree. What they have both discovered is not only interesting, but it is heart wrenching and eye opening at the same time.

Continue reading

Recharging the batteries in your soul.

dirty-ragI am worn out, like an old rag that used to be a glorious hand towel that has been downgraded to wiping countertops and being stored in a bucket with cleaning solution.  I shouldn’t feel this way.  Intellectually I know it’s all about balance, but who can balance when there are bills to be paid, laundry to be done, kids to take care of and meals to cook.   It makes me sad that I haven’t yet been able to love my family fiercely and take care of myself properly. Join the club, right?

My children wanted to go away with my husband on a trip.  Off they went and I spent the first couple of days staring at the walls, drool gently dribbling out of the corners of my mouth….I kid you not.  After the shock of not having to do laundry in my sleep, I started to have some serious free time on my hands.  It scared the daylights out of me.  I realized that even though my youngest child is only eight years old, there will be a time where I will be the captain of my own schedule and I will have to figure out how to put myself first.  It became painfully clear that I need to make some improvements in my life.  I had some remaining days left to myself so I wiped the drool off of my chin and proceeded to go out to lunches with my girlfriends, host a girls’ night at my house, read a book and spend some quality time with friends and family. Although I did have a great time, I probably should have taken the time to simply recharge. Recharging means reflecting, it means taking the time to evaluate where I am and where I want to go in life. It means engaging my soul. Continue reading