A few weeks ago I posted about Transformation. I debated asking some influential/important/incredible women in my life about how to go about effecting the change that is "transformation". I thought, I pondered, I wondered, I asked myself and ultimately, although I know how important guidance is, I feel like I have - at this moment - enough information to begin. I have been blessed and given ample instruction on starting where I am and what needs to be in place to effect true transformation, it all begins with me, and it's an inside job, holmes (an often used quote by a dear old friend from Albuquerque. I cannot say the phrase "it's an inside job" without hearing Adan's voice, and it was always followed by "holmes")
That being said, I also know it is a process. Deliberate, painstaking at times, tortuous in pace, but it is a process that is going to take time. So during this time, I'll continue to be present in life as it is, celebrate life exactly as it is, in it's inherent perfect imperfection, and sneak in a "transformation" post, and a Nica post, where I can.
We celebrated the Feast of Thanksgiving in true Storch/Barnas/Houston style at Abuela's casa, bittersweet because it is probably our last holiday season at La Playa, mama is selling the condo and getting ready to begin the next phase of her life, hopefully living at Pablo Towers, and enjoying walking distance to St. Pauls, Publix, and of course, her beloved beach.
Here we are, I'm attempting my first gluten/soy/dairy/corn/potato free pie crust and Abuela is chopping veggies, preparing our feast. The pie crust was a relative success, I'm sure I'll get better as time passes.
Frida, Magdalena, and Augustus romping at the beach.
Flying kites with Maco aka David.
A visit from our dear friend Lien, who is one of the kindest and most generous people I know, and we give thanks for her often, probably not often enough though.
Two of the men, maxin and relaxin after the outside play with the littles.
Thanksgiving has such profound significance for me personally, as well as for us as a family, community, nation. Every day that I get to walk around healthy with all my working parts is a miracle. Each day that I live, breathe, think and feel is gravy, baby, icing on the cake. 16 years ago I began the journey of becoming the woman that I am still aspiring to become, and where it not for a radical 180 in my life and behaviors, I wouldn't be here today, at least, not in this incarnation. So I personally find bliss in being thankful for this life I get to live. And then on top of that, well, the blessings are exponential.
I know how lucky I am to be a part of a family that seeks each other out to hang out with, to be with, to celebrate with, to chat with, to bear the absurdities of life with, to have fun with, to laugh with, to grieve with. Not that we are unique, but we are special, and we have such love for each other that our gravitational pull is irresistible and I know all families do not share in the mutual admiration society club that is our family.
I appreciate and acknowledge how blessed I am to be a part of a larger community of families - families that practice loving and respectful parenting, families that homeschool, Catholice families that do both! Who knew?
And finally, especially after my latest sojourn to another country, I appreciate and understand the truly privileged nature of what it means to "be an American". I can go to the store, wait, let me back up. I can wake up in my oh-so-comfy-yummy-featherbed-topped-bed that is inside a house with four solid walls, not to mention walk the 15 steps from the side of my bed to our bathroom and use the bathroom, get dressed, walk out the front door of an awesome house that my fabulous husband bought for us to our car that is in pretty darn good shape, and then drive to the store and buy whatever food it is that I care to buy from an astonishing array of food, products, and beverages and then go home to my sweet safe secure comfy abode that shelters our family and cook what I want and then share in all that bounty with my family. Not every family, in every part of the world gets to participate in that luxurious of a lifestyle, and I know not by a long-shot. Yes, I know there is profound poverty in the good ol' U.S. of A., but there is also abundance, and I do not take infrastructure or inside plumbing for granted, not lately at least.
This past Sunday we began the Christmas celebrating and decorating here at Casa Naranja, with Tito Chuchi, Abuela, Tita and Frida in attendance to help put it all together. Below is a snapshot of our day: the bowls of shells that are on the table since Nica, the Christmas flowers from Tito Chuch, the small arrangement of picked flowers from Gustie, shushi to snack on while awaiting the steaming yummy Chicken and Dumplings - gluten/dairy/soy/potato/corn free, of course - and the cranberries for stringing.
Let the decorating begin! Saturday night, Ethan, M & A went out to find the perfect tree, and find the perfect tree they did! It is huge and glorious, full, round, and lush. We love it.
And the stringing of the cranberries, it must be done! I have to say that this is one of my favorite new traditions. We never did cranberries growing up, and once we discovered it as a family, now we do it every year, and love the process, the outcome, and the making of a tradition.
Speaking of tradition, a funny thing happened on the way to the holiday this year. I woke up to something that has been brewing over the last few years. I snapped to the fact that oh, wait a sec, decorating isn't at all about "me" and getting it done anymore, is it? The children were chomping at the bit to get the big Christmas box down. They are both old enough to have years of accumulated memories about Christmas, about different ornaments they get every year, about garlands and where they go - as in where we put them in our old house on Gable, and where we put them here in our new house, about the lights and Advent and about our book on St. Nicholas, about presents under the tree, Santa Claus and Christmas classics. It just gets richer. Life just keeps changing that way with the children, it just keeps getting better. Do we have rough moments and serious challenges? Oh heck yes we do! Am I a totally-together-always-does-it-right parent? Oh heck no, I have my own serious challenges! But it is so rich, life is so dear, and we are, ultimately, blessed beyond my wildest dreams. And as Martha would say, that's a good thing.
xo life, we love you.