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Intentional In-touchness

You may remember, back in January, I became a participant of a project called Bold Brilliant Beautiful You. My gut told me there was something very necessary about joining these women. And I continue to find out how right I am. Because connections are a good thing.

I grew up as an isolationist. My parents divorced and then my sister moved away. There was no religious community. Friends came and went. Our extended family lived far away. We would befriend neighbors who would eventually move away. There were weekends with Dad when I was little. Summer weeks as a teen. Then he moved too.

When I was a young adult, I was a party thrower. I worked in restaurants and had as much social life as I wanted. But I’m not in my 20’s or in the city anymore. Now, I’m married with kids in the country and we’re not super social like we used to be. Visits with family on occasions and Holidays and once a year reunions with friends from an hour away is the extent of our social life. Add that the first baby was born in a town where I knew no one. We have more acquaintances with this next baby 8 years later but children can dampen some of our partying attending enthusiasm. I long for the party throwing of the old days and community block parties.

Seems the computer, which once was evil beyond belief, ended up being my soul savior. Then the blog I had created warranted I interrelate with strangers outside my known world. Now I have an opportunity to talk and exchange ideas with people from all over the world of like minds and differing opinions. The biggest benefit of these interactions ?  I have begun to see my invisible self. Not a small feat. And I owe it to  practicing what I call intentional in-touchness.

Sunset on the courthouse green on Shalavee.com

The private message conversation below demonstrates what this is and what it means to me. Patti is one of the amazing women I met through the Bold Brilliant Beautiful You project. I wrote a comment on her blog and the first message is Patti talking.

Friday 3:22am

Hey! How are you? I wanted to followup on the note you left on my blog about my goals to be Bold. Brilliant. Beautiful. You had a baby at 46? How was that? I turn 40 in one week and am thinking of having a third but am scared….Anyway, I wanted to reach out and say hi and thanks for your positive energy in my direction!

Friday 7:13am

Hey Patti. Thanks for your return communication. Yes, 46. Really no different than having my first baby at 38. You have to steel yourself against the over the prime hype. I refused any invasive tests. Only ultra sounds. And kept a positive attitude even with another good case of morning sickness. She’s perfect. And I’m such a better parent now. I’ll keep in touch via social media. My number one goal right now is intentional in-touchness Love, Shalagh

Monday 9:15pm

Hey Patti I tried to follow you on Instagram but you are a private user. Shalagh

Did you try recently? I realized at ALT that if I wanted people to follow me, I needed to make myself public. So I thought about it and then did public. Try it again and if you have a problem let me know! I love the idea of intentional in-touchness. What does that mean for you? Patti

I tried last night. It’s still saying you’re private and I’m shown as having requested to follow you. Hmm, I guess intentional in-touchness is following a person everywhere and then making sure to read their stuff and comment and get a feeling for them. It’s a little more effort than just obligatory following. It takes checking back and making a note and being sincere. I notice intentional in-touchness from others. It makes me feel good and I want to gift it to others. And now I’ll have to write about it. Thanks Patti. I can honestly say I didn’t really know myself until I heard others say happy positive stuff about what I’d said. And you did it again.

So this is me savouring every blog post I’ve signed up to receive in my inbox. Trying weekly to reach out and say hi to people, comment, and like their stuff. They’re sticking their necks out and deserve to have people acknowledge this. I get it and know how hard it can be sometimes to step up and say hello. When you get a real piece of mail, it feels really good right?. It’s this odd acknowledgement that you’re worth the postage. And that feeling is a gift someone gifts you. It’s called caring and I’m practicing intentional intouchness so that I can give that gift to others that I may feel the universe hand it back to me. It’s a selfless and selfish act all in one.

Thinking About Getting It Together

Again, motherhood had muddled my mind.  Nap-time was upon me and again, I had a vague notion that I could be and desperately needed to be, accomplishing something, anything. Now if I could only find that list I made of all those tasks I really needed to finish doing instead of chasing my tail. Because that paralysis had set in. Again.

Those lists are made. I’m a fine list maker. And then they stick around out on a table and next to my chair for a while until their presence becomes menacing, a reminder of the childcare that’s not in place for that date for the thing I want to do but can’t. And so I stick it in “that” folder. And out of sight, out of mind. What list? What folder?

st mikes

And I’m then thinking, am I as un-together as I think I am or do I just have too many expectations and desires about how I want to move my life onwards? Because keeping the babies alive and fed and napped and entertained without ignoring them into negligence is a very time-consuming task. Or is it my process that needs revamping? I think it’s both.

Fiona Marie with a pencil and a hairclip from Shalavee.com

All those Apps and programs and gizmos and lists are only as good as the habit you’ve created to use them. There are only so many hours in the day and not all of them are your top energy packed productive hours. If you have only kids in school, you are already lucky enough. But with little ones still at home, you just have to develop systems and get help to care for them if you want to gain ground instead of just hold it.

Sometimes I get the overwhelming feeling that if I can just write it all down. I mean ALL down and get it out of my head, I will feel less agitated. Include all the tasks I want to accomplish, cleaning musts, thank you notes, shopping, meals, stuff I wished I’d said, courses I want to take, ideas for next Christmas, cobweb I spotted in the hallway, thoughts on spiritual enlightenment, books to read, day-trips to take, reasons for breaking up with my hairdresser, and marketing ideas for my yet unspoken business idea. To name a few examples of what happens at any given time in my busy brain.

The floor from Shalavee.com

For me, the biggest roadblock is often, “I don’t have the funds”. “I can’t because” is a good indicator of the things you are afraid of and not the state of your bank account. And provided my lists are in plain sight, sometimes just sitting with my pile of lists, papers, folders, notebooks, and journals and looking at them and a calendar and a blank piece of paper can inspire me to create new goals and revamp old ones.

The trick is to know when the overwhelmed feeling that causes you continuous paralysis is hurting you. If you aren’t proud of the choices you are making, make different ones. If it’s a matter of depression, perhaps postpartum or losing someone close, seek help, be a good parent to yourself and move yourself on over the bump. Have compassion and be kind but do something even if it’s wrong, as my husband’s fond of saying. Keep at your habit changing and task mastering methods until you find one that works.

Playing in the cat food on Shalavee.com

And do as much as you possibly can to plan out everything in your way. Set a date on a calendar to go through your closets for the big yard sale. (That was yesterday and today. Some progress was made.) Take 15 minutes to go to recipe sites and make up a menu for your week. You can change it but you’ll have something to change. Or go ahead and plan the date with friends and loved ones to celebrate your ties. Plan it and put it on the calendar because the day eventually comes, you enjoy the heck out of yourself, and wonder why you didn’t plan this sooner?

I feel immensely pepped up, how about you? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not uber-organized Simple Mom Super blogger but a little will go a long way. Check off blog post. Next?

Lamb Kabobs and a Green Salad

Easter brought family into town and I was compelled to cook. A holiday’s an excuse to make leftovers as well as try something new. Continuing cold weather had me in the mood for lamb stew with Guinness beer. A beef version from my Irish friend Jane here. But then, when the weather became beautiful, I began to think grilling instead. And this inspired my final menu. First, lamb kabobs marinated with orange flavors and orange slices.

Lamb Kabobs with orange marinade recipe from Shalavee.com

The lamb I bought from a lamb man at the Easton farmer’s market. He had run out of boned meat and sold me ribs assuring me I could de-bone them myself. Well yes and no. I did a fair job of getting the meat off but there are still tough enough parts that should just have been left on the bone. They got mixed in. Oh well, next time local be damned, I’m going to a butcher to get my meat the way I need it.

I chose to go with the following green salad which ended up being divine. A mixture of crunchy, creamy, and sour elements with sweet clementine slices to add a balance and tie in with the lamb. The dressing is a classic “french” dressing aka vinaigrette and I didn’t have parsley the second and third time I made it.

green salad recipe from allrecipe.com

Piazza in Easton, Maryland on Shalavee.com

Prociutto and cheese “candy” from Piazza in Easton, Maryland

I served fabulous Italian meats and cheeses from Piazza in Easton, Maryland.

With bread from the Easton Farmer’s market.

french baguettes from the Easton Farmer's Market on Shalavee.com

Eamon ate the bread at Shalavee.com

Well, I did have a baguette but then Eamon devoured it while we were waiting for the meats and cheeses to be lovingly cut and packaged. So we got bread from Piazza too.

pussy willow at he farmer's market in Easton, Maryland

And flowers from the farmer’s market in Easton, Maryland.

I made a giant vat of fruit salad which had two kinds of apples, oranges, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, and pineapple. Somehow my family is much more willing to eat fruit in fruit salad form. There was so much leftover, the strawberries were squishy before we finished it off. I add a lime and honey to flavor it.

Additionally, I grilled shrimp in a skewer and served it with a yummy remoulade sauce from the Gourmet cookbook from editor Ruth Reichl. 

I had served this on a New Years Eve years back when we’d grilled a leg of lamb and shrimp on the barbie in the winter on the front porch while it was snowing. There’s a roof there unlike the back porch. We really enjoyed that meal.

remoulade recipe from the Gourmet cookbook via Shalavee.com

A tad too salty if you stick your finger in it but absolutely divine when used with the grilled shrimp.

The leftover lamb bones went right into the oven to roast with some tomato paste smeared on them and vegetables to roast beside them. I made a stock from this as I’d remembered doing with veal bones once.

Roasting the lamb bones for stock on Shalavee.com

Don’t know how it turned out but waste not, want not.

You can see the rest of our crazy birthday Easter Earth Day weekend here

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