If your house is a mess, you may be suffering from CHMP!


 

sad starving soul

Chaos chaos, go away,

I have no time to come and play-

you have left your shoes of filth and dirt

on my brand new sexy holiday skirt.

 

I cook and I clean

I’m grumpy and mean

Today- I am done

It’s no longer fun.

 

Alas, I know better—

Where’s that Go getter

—I used to be?

Where’s the harmony?

 

More harmony?! …better make that a double,

Because my head and house are in trouble.

My Grace has been put to the test

—Damn this House-Mess Paralysis!

 

I am surrounded by mess and I don’t know where to start!

It’s as if each room in this house pulled an all nighter and drunkenly vomited on itself. I practice tools that keep me grounded and connected to the bigger picture of life and the Now. Yet, today… I am struggling.

Chaos and disorganization EVERYWHERE… Christmas is coming … and just because I got the memo (thanks Target for your Lego Xmas booth before Thanksgiving) doesn’t mean I am prepared, much less excited about it. Mike and I are about to remodel the entire 1st floor, to include the kitchen, in less than 30 days… and I am KINDA freaking out; which makes me feel sad, Scroogey and ungrateful-and yet here I am, full of angst.

target lego photo booth

In attempts to hold on to my Grace, I fear I am strangling the life-force out of it instead.

I truly  believe that our homes are SACRED spaces; our bodies are SACRED spaces. We should only invite what nurtures and feeds our soul.

This is a practice that I have been teaching others; How to bring themselves and their spaces into spiritual harmony through clear intentions and actions. Somewhere along the journey- I have let my own knowledge slip and have not been practicing what I preach.

If I am dancing like a whirling dervish right now- I know I am not alone in my crimson skirt, spastically spinning my way down the halls. With the end of the year holiday pressure we pile upon ourselves, comes a burnt out, hot mess of a Mama. Which is no good for anyone! We must remember to put on our “air masks” first or the whole plane goes down, right?

In 2011 alone, my fervent spending contributed to the 1.2 TRILLION dollars American consumers spent on “non-essential stuff” according to the US Department of Commerce. Seriously?! 1.2 Trillion dollars of crap we don’t need or really want?! Oh my dear ones, what a cluttered house we have created. What do we do with all these “had to have” non-essentials? I bet you would never guess what the hottest commercial realestate segment has been for the past 40 years— The self storage industry! 1 in 10 of us haul our “too much for my house but had to have it while QVC was in the final countdown with a bonus gift—stuff into one of those containers and pay someone monthly to safe keep that very stuff we may want back someday. Yikes! That can NOT be my answer. I will dive deeper into the spirit sucking energy drain that builds when we don’t treat our homes as sacred spaces in another post. For now, we need to deal with the task at hand.

I KNOW how to clean my messy-ass house. I know I need to sort and toss and organize and purge, and yet there is something Paralyzing when it gets this bad.

The grace guru within is telling me to be okay with where I am and to congratulate myself for coming to acknowledge that I have too much crap. The other, practical, old world mother warrior is rolling her eyes at my whining, clicking her tongue and muttering, “First world problems Girly!”

My overwhelmed, wide hearted women, what do we do when that black hole comes to claim our creativity, our sexy, our sanity —our heart? We get that sh*t back, thats what. #CHMPFREE

Ok- so where do we start? How do I begin when I have gotten stuck at the beginning? We start with Google, of course.

Wait! Before, we google we have to put out the intention so we receive the right nugget of advice or guidance and our google moment doesn’t become a “stay-cation of procrastination.”

I close my eyes, take a deep grounding breath and as I release it, I ask: “Universe, please offer me presently actionable —next steps in a way that I will understand what to do.” And so it is —Pressing Enter! ….and BOOM!

https://mommyonpurpose.com/how-to-clean-your-house-when-its-messy/

Cue angels, parting clouds! Carly the Mommy, I love you and your words, your understanding and advice. Please take a moment to check out her fantastic blog post with her detailed tips on how to tackle the clutter.

She SO gets it! and has the cure for what I call  House Mess Paralysis, (HPM… my advertisement is forthcoming 😉

Carly says, “start with one thing…” I can do that. I can do one thing. If that doesn’t mean that I have to think about the kitchen remodel, or the unwrapped Christmas gifts still in their amazon.com boxes, then the answer is yes. I can find the home of that one thing.

So that worked for a while and then I hit a wall and became paralyzed again…Confronted by the thought “…but the home of the “one thing” will be changing soon. Maybe I shouldn’t put it there” is creeping in.

Yikes, moving to Carly’s phase #2 Phone a Friend Approach.

I call Nikitha, my creatively gifted, entrepreneurial soul sister, who is a self proclaimed Chronic House Mess Paralysis (CHMP) sufferer. After sympathizing, we committed to to move each other forward in our organization and purging. We will be going to each others house and acting as a guide. She speaks my eclectic design language and has the same mission of  defining a home as a sacred place for the things that nourish and love us. In fact, during our conversation about our CHMP, she came up with this amazing quote,

“If it doesn’t feed your soul, it’s gotta GO!”

So, I have my Sister from another Mister’s coming over tomorrow at 9 am sharp. No kids or hubby’s, just Nikitha, our fur-babies and a whole lotta House-Mess-Paralysis.

Knowing we are in this together is uplifting and I am excited to share with you how we move through the mess and our resistance to change so we can become CHMP free!

In the meantime, I invite you to be a part of the CHMP liberation! Are you ready to LET IT GO? Great!

Set your intention: First, please sit down and take 5 minutes to breathe. Focus on how you feel when you are in a clean, clutter free space. Then tell God(sourse)/Universe/The Divine that you are ready to release what you no longer need and are asking for support in creating your sacred space. This is the most important step. Setting your intention, but it must be followed by ACTION! Once you are done with that exercise, immediately follow Carly’s advice and, “start with one thing.” If you know that won’t work then skip straight to tactic #2 and phone a friend. It is important who you choose. It should be someone who is kind, supportive AND action-minded. You have to set a clear intention on releasing the things you no longer need in your life that are cluttering your sacred spaces (and causing bouts of insanity ;).

The action can be little bites: Don’t discount the little moments. Those little action steps, every day is the authenticity Jo Packham spoke of in our interview. “You actually have to show up and do the hard work.” she said. Those words count here too. Show up for yourself.

Set a goal: How are you going to practice Carly’s “just one thing” at a time tactic? Is it a 5 minute timer set to tackle a slice of your laundry room? Committing de -cluttering just 1 drawer a day? Or are you a warrior who will forgo that Ugly sweater party and tackle an entire room Saturday night? I also believe that we can not receive what we ask for if there is no space for what we desire to manifest. Let’s make some space!

Use Nikitha’s quote, “If it doesn’t feed your soul, it’s gotta go!” as a barometer of how to determine what to keep or discard. Grab two trash bags, one for Donate the other for, well, Trash. They should be by your side and ready to work. Don’t just leave them in the hallway when you are finished… follow through and take the trash out and walk the donate bag to your car to drop off. I am there with you- I SO get it! I know we can do this.

For those of you who have rolled your eyes and clucked your tongues as you have forged through this post thinking, ” Good grief! You should’ve never let your house get this messy in the first place!” or “Stop whining you are so very lucky to have too much stuff!” Thank you for reading this far and I would love to hear your tips on how you show up for your space everyday and keep things organized. How do you decipher what is allowed to come into your house so it doesn’t’ invite chaos? Do share in the comments. Be kind. Be helpful. I love learning new ways to grow and conquer.

I promise to show you my pictures of the shock and awe that is my CHMP, starting with this one below.

IMG_3082

I will also update you on the journey Nikitha and I are on. I would LOVE to see your CHMP. Tag it #CHMP-GOTTAGO!

We can do this LMS Nation!

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

 

Best!

Kimberly

 

 

 

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Interview With Jo Packham: Exploring the connection between creativity, spirituality and your willingness to show up and do the work.


Jo 02.17.17 8896

Creator and editor-in-chief of Where Women Create, Where Women Cook and Where Women Create Business, Jo Packham is a publishing powerhouse.

The first time I met Jo Packham, she gave me a passionate, “You can do this!” hug as I waited in line at Jo Ann’s fabrics. Ok, so it wasn’t Jo in the flesh, but that was the feeling I got when I first picked up the 2016 spring issue of her magazine, Where Women Create.

Mixed media and assemblage artist Rosemary Lebeau sat gracefully on the cover and I felt like a twitter-pated school girl as I flipped the pages. The velveted weight of the paper married with the crisp, inspiring photos; it was love at first sight. Each article felt so authentic, not the usual watered down and over edited version we usually get from other magazines (Thanks to this interview, I would later find out how Jo is able to capture the true essence of her subjects).

I quickly went home and began the long journey of carving out my own “creation space.” Something separate from the kids and the litter of laundry and housework that nips at my ankles. Distractions that often become the excuse for not connecting with my creative spirit and sticking through the messy, insecure hours my creating demands so I can triumphantly ship a finished product into the world.

When I met Jo for the second time, it was a response through LinkedIn. She instantly taught me the impact of replying with a personal note vs just pushing “connect”. To me, she is not only a creative powerhouse, she is in the business of building relationships in a way that supports success for everyone involved.

Questions:

Back in 2012 Karin Ulin entered a contest on www.dowhatyouloveforlife.com to win a subscription to your magazine, Where Women Create Business. She shared in her comments … “she didn’t have a clue when and where to start.” Women see someone like you who has been in the publishing business for over 30 years and they think, “I will never get to where Jo is!” Do you have any advice for women that are suffering from “failure to launch-itis”?

I believe 90% of the success is showing up. Do your homework. If you are a “stay at home mom” or someone like me who just simply decided she wanted to get into the publishing business, you need to do your homework. Find out what part of the game you want to be in, who or what your competition is… What is the best way to do this? How much money and time do you need to invest? What can you afford to do right now, so what you do is actually what you WANT to be doing and doesn’t become a failure because you are not doing enough or it is too expensive or too overwhelming, because you are doing too much.

Everyone is afraid to start small, but starting small and doing it right the first time is key. Like going on LinkedIn and writing a short message and making people feel like they are important. You can have success in each stage and not be overwhelmed by it, but you really have to do that homework first, then make a plan.  Then follow through the steps of that plan. Yes, of course one out of a hundred-million people will have success right out of the gate but it is like that famous folk tale or urban legend about Liberace, where the guy walks up to him and said, “I would give half my life to play like you do,” and he says, “ I did.” So you just have to do it. You actually have to show up and do the hard work. Then you have to take it one step at a time, because there are millions of great ideas out there but people are so overwhelmed and so afraid, that those ideas never see the light of day.

 

I think people are afraid to commit.

Absolutely! Life is so fluid these days and with the information highway, it is overwhelming! We compare ourselves to other people, like Ree Drummond who has 5 million followers; but they are not engaged followers. If you have 500 engaged followers that support you and  through them that support multiplies and grows, then you will have more engaged people than Ree does. My world is larger than some and smaller than others, but I know that there are 500 women out there that I could call and say, “You guys, I really need help with this. Will you help me?” About 95% of them would step up to the bat and say, “Sure! What do you need us to do?”  Where people with 5 million followers, 90% of those people don’t even read it!

 

That puts things into perspective. We have to bring ourselves back to reality in regard to our expectations and ask ourselves, “How tight and how strong is our circle?” and, “ Are we showing up for our followers or friends like we want them to show up for us?”

In our magazines, we have a formula where we feature one famous person, 3 well knowns and the rest are real people …they are just us. They have small studios, they cook in their kitchen, they started a tiny restaurant. At the end of the day, we get more comments and followers from those real people, because the people that THEY know are completely engaged!

 

We dismiss our power as a community and as individuals. I look at Joanna Gaines and I think, “Oh my goodness she is fantastic and fabulous!” But we have to watch ourselves and not put people on a pedestal… because when you do that, you give away your own power. Everyone has their own unique and special gifts. Joanna Gaines is fantastic… and we have our own fantastic-fabulousness we shouldn’t be afraid to put out there and share as well. You mentioned in a past interview that the people at the top feel isolated and alone, yet they are so eager to share their skills and what they’ve learned. I’d never thought of that before.

“You are surrounded by so many people and yet you are so alone. The higher up the food chain you are, the more isolating it gets.

 

Why don’t we build in networking and connecting as we go? Why don’t we build in freedom?

(Big pause for laughter from us both…Exasperated Laughter.) That is the million dollar question and I haven’t got a clue. Everyone is coming at you from all different directions and you feel obligated. When you are just starting out and are brand new, you are willing to try anything because you really don’t have anything to loose. But when you are at the top of the food chain, like Joanna Gaines for example, it is very different. There is much to loose if you make a mistake or the wrong decision. She has exploded: the show, the mill, the line of furniture, the silos, the B &B… and now she is quitting the show. Her PR access!…Even Oprah doesn’t do as well because of not having her show. You can get so overwhelmed with all of the opportunities. And yet your terrified to say no, and the people who surround you, don’t want you to say no, because you don’t know when it will all end and go away. Nothing lasts forever.

 

I hope we realize that we have no control over the future. That our job is to be present. If you show up for yourself in each moment, every day, that is really all you’ve got. Doing that, gives us back our power to say, “I’m good right here, right now,” like Johanna and Oprah have done. When I do things for others in a way that is not me, I don’t come off as authentic and I get burnt out. My writing and the things I produce don’t have that same sparkle or magic. The world needs magic now more than ever. We need people to show up as they truly are.

Which is why we let the people featured in our magazines write their own articles- and we don’t change them, for that reason! 40 years ago, when I first started my career; whatever publicity you could get, you took. I was creating a line of cross stitch booklets and Woman’s Day was the biggest, most prestigious craft magazine on the market. They wanted to feature craft designers for Christmas and asked if I wanted to be involved. I said, “Of course!” And they asked if I could send them a sample of my Christmas ornaments. I said, “Sure.” Then they called and said they didn’t like my Christmas ornaments and asked if they could make my ornaments for me because they had a different vision… I needed the publicity for the book, so I said I didn’t care. So, they made a series of ornaments for me. Then, they called me a few days before the photo shoot and asked if my “whole family” would be in the photo. I am divorced so there is my son, my daughter and myself. Woman’s Day said, “Well we need your ENTIRE family and we would like your ex-husband in the picture. My ex-husband and I are really close, so he came and did the shoot. Then, they asked me to write a letter to be published along side the ornaments and the family picture, with my signature on it.  So here was my article; with not my ornaments, not my family, and I try to tie it all together in this letter, sign it and they don’t let anybody proof it.

So here comes November and I can hardly stand it, I am so excited.  I go to the news stand to get a copy and I open it up to see the article with… Not my ornaments. A picture of Not my family. Not my letter and Not my signature! I immediately called the editor and said, “So what happened … exactly?!” She said, “Well, your letter didn’t say exactly what we wanted it to say because it needed to be about “not” your ornaments with the picture of “not” your family and we didn’t like the way you signed your name — so we changed it.”

That very day, 30 years ago, I promised myself, that if I ever owned my own magazine … the people that I featured, would actually get to BE the people that I featured. You can talk to anybody who has been written about in the press, I don’t care who it is or how famous they are; the first thing they say is, “Why would they choose THAT picture?! I hate that picture!” …and the second thing they say is, “I don’t know what I said that made them think I said that, but I didn’t say that!” So, I never wanted that to happen to anyone else if I ever had my own magazine.

 

My goodness, what a lesson! At the time, that was probably super crushing but, what a gift! I mean, what a gift to us, because you learned something that would (in the future) really help clarify everyone else’s personal message. I am sorry you had to go through that though! That’s awful!

At the time, I was crushed. But it set the trend for our very, very, successful magazine.

 

You have built a fantastic team around you. What are signs that women can look for in their growth to know it is time to hire help and how can we stay connected to what is important?

From my perspective, it is time to hire help when you are doing the things that you are NOT best at. For example, if you are a pie maker and everybody says you should open a pie shop and you wake up one morning and YOU aren’t the one making the pies. You’re the one hiring and paying the bills and worried about the ordering and you have hired someone else to make the pies…then you need to get back to what you are best at. #1, because you enjoy it more. #2 because you can do it better than anyone else — and you are faster! I can do the accounting in this office if I have to, but it will take me five hours to do what it would take my accountant a half hour. Whereas if he were trying to do a photo shoot, it would take him 2 days and I could do it in 20 minutes! I have alway found a way to get someone to help me that is doing what they are best at because everybody has their strengths.

 

I read on vintageimagecraft.com that you have a personal theme, “From a woman’s soul. Through a woman’s eyes. By a woman’s hands.” That is so beautiful! Is there a spiritual connection between who you are and what you create and do for a living, or are those two things separate?

I think they are very much entwined. I am not religious or go to church, but I do view myself as extremely spiritual. There are a lot of things I believe in; and I think that people who are good, honest, and hardworking are spiritual by nature. It is part of who they are. Whether they know it or not, it is the spiritual people who are the givers and are the kindest. They are always there and are task oriented. Because they get the job done… They’re the ones. I don’t think that you can’t ever separate the two, from my perspective.

 

How important is having a spiritual practice?  Do you have something everyday that you do to nurture your creative spirit? How do you stay connected to that feeling? 

You know, I don’t …and I do have a hard time, in the sense that you are talking about it. For me, reconnecting with spirituality…It’s like, having an interview with you and sharing what we have in common,  who we are and how we believe what we believe. THAT feeds my spiritual soul much more than meditating and sitting on the beach and thinking happy thoughts. That stuff doesn’t do anything for me. When I am down and need to feed my soul, I introduce myself to someone I have always wanted to know or I call one of the women we featured in the magazines. Or I will go back and read past issues because it is the people and the connection that gets me up in the morning and keeps me going and balanced so I don’t go off the edge. I think that creative people always stand on the edge. I think, by nature, we are always taking the leap…Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s not so good.

 

Sometimes, being on the edge is a scary place to be. But I feel like we have one hand reaching forward and one hand behind us. I also believe, spirituality and creativity are intertwined and that awareness in what I do, drives me forward… I feel like it is my responsibility to have my hand in back of me holding onto the person that is just one step behind me; helping them forward. I see you doing that. You’re  such an inspiration! You don’t take all your nuggets of wisdom and horde them away. You completely showcase everyone’s gifts and not put people in a box.  You are showing us all the variety of ways we can be ourselves out there – and I think that’s beautiful!

Thank you so much!

 

How do you know when it is time to throw in the towel and let go of a dream and when to fight for your vision and not give up?

I wish I knew! How do any of us know when we are close to the finish line or if we are just too stupid to quit? What drives me is that I have worked so hard and I may be so close and yet not see the finish line. If I quit, am I going to be sorry? So that keeps me going…I am not the one who has the answer to this question. If you find someone who does have the answer, let me know and I will feature them in the magazines!

 

What are your goals for 2018? 

I would like the magazines to keep selling really well. I want to sell a million magazines. I, of course want to pay my bills, but if I sell a million magazines and I feature you, then you are in front of a million people and have a million more opportunities. If I only sell 100,000 magazines, you are only in front of 100,000 people. We just entered this program/partnership with HSN (Home Shopping Network) Women Leadership Live, The American Dream Foundation, and Where Women Create Business we four companies are banding together to give new entrepreneurs a really viable, affordable opportunity to sell their products on HSN. They have 90 million viewers. It launched in our magazine this issue. This really will give entrepreneurs who have a product and a good idea, an opportunity to give it to the world without selling their soul or mortgaging their house. It is an amazing program where you can bring your idea to life without having to deal with investors who just care about the numbers and not the story behind the idea. People say to me, “I want to follow my dream so I mortgaged the house!…” In 20 minutes the dream is about to become a big nightmare. That dream can only come to life if you are careful about how you plan it and implement it.

 

Like you said in the beginning, little steps are ok! Show up every day and start small. Nothing happens overnight. We don’t have to go out in a blaze of glory in trying to get where we need to go!

It is a hard lesson to learn. I have had great ideas and I have also made some big mistakes. I was feeling sorry for myself until, one day, when I was on a tour of a vineyard …and the winery owner shared how he had to reinvent himself 11 times! “I didn’t reinvent myself because I got tired of what I was doing, but because I needed the money!” he said. It happens to everyone. We all make mistakes. So we have to be smart about our choices.

 

I read somewhere in an old interview that Jo once wanted a talk show, I brought this up and we discussed how amazing she would be, interviewing the little mom and pop shop owners; sharing their entrepreneurial stories with the world. An exciting thought. For now, Packham will continue encouraging us to make those smart choices like showing up and working hard for what we want. Spreading her creative magic with her magazines and cultivating opportunities on HSN for us women entrepreneurs. She leads the way; one hand, reached out behind her, to help us forward.

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

Teacher Appreciation Book Cover


The second week of May was a whirlwind of a a love-fest at our school. Fresh garden flowers were brought into classrooms by the fistful. Yummy home baked goods, baskets full of gifts and cards of gratitude adorned the desks of our teachers and staff.

After having the kids fill out the teacher appreciation questionnaire, I followed the awesome instructions from indulge.comIMG_2865 and bound the book with the cover below. The teacher’s LOVED IT. I have uploaded a version for you to use. Let me know how it works out for you.

work of heart-templatework of heart-template

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

Teacher Appreciation Week


Our everyday hero’s have a week of gratitude bestowed upon them once a year. Let’s make it count! This year, I am having the students fill out this simple PDF in their precious handwriting and having it bound into a book. They will present it to the teachers at the end of the week. Wanted to put this out into the world to spread the love.

If you use it, please let me know how your project turned out!

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

Option #2 My teacher is good atOption #2 My teacher is good at

Mind Bombs and Car Rides


This morning was a rare treat. I have this cousin that I can geek out with in regards to Spirituality. He is one of those special souls that is a true guide and seems to speak Truth when you need to hear it the most. (xoxo MJD)
We had a rare, quiet, moment and swapped funny stories about our lives over the phone. I was excited to share the mind bomb that Luke dropped on us 2 weeks ago. I hope you enjoy the story as much as  he did.
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On the way to school, Luke asked me, “Why do you think we are alive on Earth? What is our Purpose?”
Before I could answer, he blurted out, “Wait- Let me guess… we’re on Earth to learn by making the best choices…” [Insert Eye rolling here]
So – I asked why HE thought we were here…
He said, “Well, I think God has a God… And God is taking a test to show that he/she knows everything. We are the avatars… we’re in a video game – and are the avatars just thinking that we are making our own choices, but we aren’t! We are living out the many possibilities God has to prove he/she knows about to her God.” Luke was beaming at this point. As I am very rarely speechless. I was gobsmacked.
“Does our God’s God have a God?” I asked, still stupefied.
He was silent for a tick- “I assume so, yes.” Luke said as he looked out the passenger window.
“If we are God’s avatars, we are still God.” I stated as a question.
“Yes.” he replied.
“…Ok. Then why wouldn’t God build the game so we could never be aware of this?”
“That would take out more possibilities. Avatar awareness is like being on a higher level in the video game.”
My mind felt like crunchy grains of sand were careless dumped all over my not so tranquil grey matter. “But if WE are GOD, then we are God’s God too?” I asked. As I worked it out in my gritty brain, Luke smiled again, “…Fun, huh?”
With that, he and Jax, jumped out of the car and raced toward school. We flung kisses and professed our love for each other until we left each other’s line of sight.
Before I pulled out into traffic, I turned to Ziva, “Mind Blown. What about you?”
She just shrugged as if to say, “Eh, I’ve always known that stuff. How come you’ve forgotten?”
…. how, indeed.IMG_2618
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I can only imagine some of the fantastic conversations happening in your cars on the way to school or on a road trip. Would love to hear some! What are some eye opening revelations you have experienced lately?
Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.
Best!
Kimberly Crawford

Setting Limits & Unleashing the Warrior: The Paradox of Parenthood


Can we walk the line of unleashing our child’s inner Warrior and set limits?

I recently had a play date with a mother of two. With her newborn on her hip she recounted how different her kids were. How this new baby is rewriting the parent handbook she just finished mastering with her firstborn. Though she was in a familiar place with new challenges, I admired her for setting her life up so she could be fully present. As a young woman she has worked relentlessly to build a successful career and with the same fortitude, she is constructing a purpose filled life raising her children.

After they left, I began to reminisce. When I was a young mom, was my guidebook the same as it is now? I dove into my journal and found this post on letting our kids discover their own limits while keeping them from killing themselves. May you walk the fuzzy line that keeps your heart pounding and still keep your spirit on Earth! Enjoy 🙂

August 27,2012

Alamo CA

 

As a “High Spirited” kid, Luke is always willing to take on a battle. Today was no different, yet it was terrifyingly magical.

Luke and Jax are learning to respect animals and the sacrifice  they make by providing us food. They’re beginning to understand the cycle of life and the practice of self-reliance. Growing food in the garden, harvesting and canning fruit, learning to fish are all part of life in our family. Learning to hunt is on the horizon.

It’s as if they look out their car window, assessing their food options based on the wildlife we pass. The boys have shrieked for me to pull over when they spot a flock of wild turkeys so they can, “catch ‘em and eat ‘em for dinner.”

This particular morning was luxurious and lazy. Full of eggs, tea and toast; I saw the sun beaconing us to come out and enjoy his splendor.  I hustled the boys and Ziva outside. All 3 sporting their pajamas, perfect attire for a morning walk down Kensington Court.

The boys grabbed their scooters and blazed down the street.  My morning zen began to unravel as I attempted to call them back.  16 month old Ziva, engulfed, was lagging behind. She inspected every leaf and acorn. Investigating the world that lives within the division between tar and earth.

It’s too quiet, I thought. I could feel the hair on my neck electrify and lift off my skin. I begin my “mother-safety scan” and start to count kids. Ziva, check. Jax, check. Luke….ugh…. LUKE!

I spot him at the end of the court, laser-focused on the two young deer grazing on our neighbor’s cashmere pink hydrangeas. With the stealth of a lion, Luke lowered his scooter to the ground. Confused, I watched as he crept toward the unaware mammals.

Lost, I turned to my middle child, “What in the world is your brother up too, Jax?” My three year old, who is mentally 93, looked at me and shook his head.  Throwing his hands up in the air, he gestured, “how the heck should I know?!”

In a burst of movement, Luke exploded forward, breaking into a full frontal attack.  Sprinting toward the preoccupied deer, his hands stretched out in front, deadly weapons. His plan?  Take them down at the neck and choke them out.

Oh, did I mention he was screaming? Yeah, like an extra in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart who wanted to make every moment of his 3 seconds on film, count.

 

So here we were, Ziva straddled on my hip with a fist full of leaves and Jax holding both my hand and his scooter. Our mouths dropped to the floor as we watched our warrior, literally, running down what he expects to be tonight’s dinner.

At first I laugh and shout, “Hey buddy, deer are pretty fast runners, I don’t think you’ll catch them.” Silly mommy- what do you know about running down deer? Apparently nothing.

Ignoring my comment, Luke kept after them and ran the startled deer into a corner. Our neighbors fence blocked any chance of escape. The only way out for the two deer? Through my 6 year old son.

In his eyes,  he saw an opportunity and he was ready to take it on. With every ounce of his being, he believed he could not only take down one deer, but two at the same time. Looking into those quivering Doe eyes, I could see the animals believed it too… and they were scared silly- at this point so was I.

The color drained from my face as I yelled, “They will fight you and hurt you to get away. They will not willingly be dinner, Luke. Back Off!”

Deaf ears; he was in the “hunter’s zone,” something my husband,  hasn’t felt in a long, long time (sorry sweet-cakes;).

Luke crouched lower. His fingers splayed out, channeling his inner X-men Wolverine. The sun beat against his now perspiring brow, his lips curled back, exposing his unbrushed and fierce 6 year old teeth.

Each step was full of intention, “I am going to eat you deer,” was the menacing whisper I heard muffled in each step he took.

“LUCIUS ALEXANDER! STOP! You are trying to send their energy back to the Universe and they are going to fight back and hurt you or send YOUR energy back to the Universe! Don’t move an inch closer!”  The words flew out of my mouth and echoed off the hillside.  Yeah, that SO didn’t work.

In his mind, Luke  KNEW he could catch them.  I could see that his purpose in that moment was to take down those deer and I was internally Freaking OUT… Do I run up and try to grab him? He is 10 yards away… what about my baby girl? Do I set her down … what if the deer come this way and trample her, what if she falls off the road and into the creek? Could I trust my 3 year old to hold onto her? Seriously?! Is this really happening?!

I thought to myself, “Okay, God, a little guidance would be AWESOME right now.” Boom! Like a power surge, the words… “protocol” flashed in front of me. I had to appeal to the Vulcan logic that ran deep in my first born.

I tried again, “LUKE!” I hissed. Do you have a permit?!”  Suddenly, my deadly hunter slowed but was unwilling to break posture still crouched, menacingly in “attack” mode. Luke’s gaze still locked on his targets, he snarled back, “What?! Mom, what are you talking about? What’s a permit?”

 

In rapid fire, I explained that when Daddy goes hunting, he has to register for a permit… “It is like asking the hunting department for permission. Do you have one?”    Luke broke his focus on the petrified animals and turned to face me, dropping his tense, claw shaped hands to his sides, “One, what now?”

“Something that shows it is okay to hunt these deer. You have to have permission- a permit- or you can’t hunt these deer.” I warned. Ziva squeaked and tried to wriggle out of my too tight grip. I’d clenched her waist so tight to mine, I was hurting her and yet I couldn’t allow myself to loosen up.

“I don’t have one of those,” he sighed, “..I have a library card, does that count?”

“… No, son, it doesn’t. You can only check out books with that, not animals.”

Click. Click. Click; I could see his brain running the program…. “Daddy needs a permit to hunt, I need a permit to hunt. Got it.”

I watch the warrior in him dissolve and slip into the sunshine. Luke shrugged at the deer and backed away, allowing just enough space for them to bound off into the canyon.

I finally released my grip on Jax’s hand and Ziva’s waist, frantically rubbing my fingernail indents on Jaxie’s poor hand with my thumb.

A long, slow breath escaped from my chest as I watched my 3 children squeal and chase each other down the street, as if the moment before never happened.

I learned a lot from Luke that morning. At one point in our young lives, we all believed in ourselves.  To the core. True and complete belief in our capabilities. Hunting  deer with our bare hands, creating a  tempura painted masterpiece; as kids, we didn’t let fear or doubt anywhere near our driver’s seat.

And I also understood to use “protocol” with caution.  My kids will, eventually, believe that the limits I put upon them are real. In this instance, well used. But, I must be aware of abusing those limits in the name of gratuitous angst or personal comfort. I must guide enough to keep them from killing themselves AND let them determine their own limits. A heavy responsibility, but what an honor it has been so far.

May you remember that you are capable of most anything and use limits sparingly. Here’s to unleashing your inner warrior!

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford

 

#MamaIsOverIt


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Within a few hours of posting, a flurry of activity unleashed and… poof! It was gone!

The choice I made to get rid of that tank, ASAP made me think, … “what else is bleeding me out that needs to go?” Why do we hold onto things that we no longer need? The intentions to do great things with them are there, sure. But I learned today that freeing your physical space, frees your mental space. #Momma’sLettingGo&LovingIt

What could you get rid of, right now or by sundown that would bring you peace of mind?

Laugh hard. Love strong. Live to serve.

Best!

Kimberly Crawford