… from the bungalow


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Five things I wish my wife knew

It seems that no matter how many times I compliment my wife, she doesn’t internalize it because it didn’t come from her. That’s true for pretty much everyone, though, right? So I’m sharing with you a short list of things I wish she really knew. Even if it doesn’t help her fully realize these things to be true, it’s my hope that it will help you or your partner feel more supported/supportive. Here we go!

1. She’s smart.

My wife knows she’s not dumb, but I don’t know exactly how smart she feels. I over-analyze things, which gives me the sometimes false impression that I know what I’m talking about. I have to be careful not to mistake over-thinking for thoughtful consideration. Truth is, she often has more insight than I when it comes to parenting. I could stand to listen with more intent when we butt heads about the kids.

She also has a level of emotional intelligence that allows her to walk away when something doesn’t feel right or productive. My lizard brain wants to resolve this shit right now! But it’s rarely productive. And she can really dig deep to find patience and gain perspective. I admire that tremendously.

2. She’s funny.

I’ll admit I don’t love sarcasm, but it has its place. Sometimes she uses it for good, sometimes not so much. BUT, she can be really funny when she’s feeling playful. I love that about her. When she laughs, it’s like a warm bath. I wish she did it more often.

3. She’s beautiful.

I think my wife is pretty, but what really makes her beautiful isn’t what she does or doesn’t do about her outward appearance. She has a child-like wonder about the world. As much as she may not like some aspects of life, she likes to say how much she likes it here. Not “here” as in “southeast Michigan,” but “here” as in “on planet Earth.” The stars and the ocean take her breath away. Images of space make her cry. She connects deeply with her feelings and with nature. It’s something I can relate to, and to me, it’s so, so beautiful. Continue reading


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Remembering Chris Keith, aka “The Adventures of a Thrifty Mama”

A woman–a mother of four–and her 14-year-old son have been killed because she struggled to choose between poverty and abuse. Please consider helping her three surviving kids. ❤

Poor as Folk

I “met” Chris through my Facebook page for my personal blog crazy dumbsaint of the mind and I in turn become a fan of her blog Adventures of a Thrifty Mama in the City ‘Stead, and then later we got to know each other outside of blogging. For those  who don’t know how online friendships work, they might be confused when I call Chris my friend. Online friendships are funny things and sometimes it happens that the people you trust online with your experiences  and thoughts are these people you’ve never even had so much as a cup of coffee with.

Chris & I had a lot in common. We were both struggling to feed our families real food on a food stamp budget and defied being stereotyped as “welfare mom living off the system”. We both were striving  to create a sustainable  and secure food sovereignty for ourselves…

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Movember Madness or: Why I didn’t do the ‘stache

Surely, you’ve noticed the mustachioed men (and women and children and pets and cars and coffee mugs and fingernails and …). You probably know what that’s about. If you don’t, here’s some info about Movember. (I particularly recommend browsing member-submitted photos.)

movember

A couple of posts that got my attention this morning come from The McGill Daily and  Dad All Day (DAD).

Mr. Heddad of The McGill Daily wrote a persuasive piece on the nature of Movember as microaggression. Heddad writes:

The pure and charitable sentiment is there – raising money for prostate and testicular cancer research, and fighting mental health problems among men – but what once started out as a harmless campaign has become sexist, racist, transphobic, and misinformed.

DAD responded by explaining why “everybody needs to chill the fu*k out!”

I think there’s a happy medium to be found. Here was my response in an online bloggers’ group… Continue reading


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Stop hate. Love yourself.

You know what makes me sad? I mean really, deeply sad?

Self-Hatred

Maybe you grew up with a low sense of self-worth.

Maybe affection was withheld except on those occasions when you wore a handsome shirt or a pretty dress, or when you earned an “A” because “a ‘B’ is good, but you can do better.”

Maybe you were labeled “lazy” or “selfish.”

Maybe you started to believe and even repeat those messages to yourself.

Maybe you developed unhealthy coping mechanisms to replace the need for affection or acceptance.

Maybe you started to wish you were different, or someone else entirely, or non-existent.

Maybe you began to hurt yourself, physically or emotionally.

Maybe you learned berate yourself for not being “enough.”

And maybe–just maybe–you are

Maybe there’s a light in you that feels small.

Maybe that light has big dreams.

Maybe that light knows everything about love and nothing about fear.

Maybe that light wants, needs, to expand…
to be free…
to love freely.

Maybe that light isn’t in you.

Maybe that light is you.

Continue reading


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Roller Coasters

Cedar Point, ca. 1986

click click click click click…

We climbed higher and higher, my mom and I…

click click click click click…

…edging closer and closer to the two things I feared the most…

click click click click click…

…heights…

click click click click click…

…and falling.

click… click… click…

She held my hand and smiled at me.

click. whooOOOSH!

Every muscle in my body locked up. I couldn’t breathe. The worst part was I knew it was only the beginning. There would be many more hills before the ride would be over.

I must have been about 10 years old the first time I road a roller coaster. Even waiting in line gave me anxiety, but nothing like that initial climb to the apex or the first fall. Each time I rode one as a kid, it was with my mom. She could reassure me like no one else could. Her unspoken promise to me: safety and support.

Together, never alone.

And when we finally exited the ride, she’d say, “See? That wasn’t so bad, was it?” My mom taught me how to face my fears, and to push through them.

Waiting

When she first told me about her ALS diagnosis last year, I was in shock, denial. My mom had been given a death sentence. Last Thanksgiving we drove the 7 or 8 hours it takes to get to my parents’ house in southern Indiana, then we saw her again over Memorial Day weekend. Each time I saw her, her health had declined significantly. During that last trip, I decided to tell my mom about a burden I’d been carrying; something personal and private. Once again, I had her full love and support.

Then, one Friday morning, my dad called. My mom had been in hospice care, and the home nurse told him he should “start making calls.” My middle sister and I had already planned to drive down that day, but now we had no time to spare. Our other two sisters lived close and were already there.

Jen and I talked about our lives, our work, our children. We spoke aloud the fear that our mom could actually pass away before we could reach her. “No,” Jen said. “She’ll wait for us.”

Shortly after that, I got a text message from my dad. “Are you still driving? Tell Jen to pull over then call me.” I was sick.

My sister pulled off and parked the car. I called my dad and put him on speaker phone. He gave us the news: Mom had already died.

We all cried for a few minutes, then I took him off speaker phone and asked him when, and why he waited to tell us. He didn’t want to risk our safety during our long drive. He wanted to let us know that she’d be in the house until about 5:00 PM. Our ETA was 4:45. He asked if he should have the funeral home to wait to collect her “remains.” “Wait,” I told him. “We’ll be there.”

We hung up. “F*ck!” I slammed my phone on the floor of the car. We would have to mourn later. Jen and I switched places, and I drove the remaining three hours, numb, angry. Even with construction, I managed to shave five minutes off our drive time. Continue reading


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My mom passed away.

Friends, I need your help.

Last spring I learned I would lose my mom to ALS, as I wrote about here.

Three days ago, she took a sudden, serious turn for the worse. She passed away while I was on my way to say goodbye. When I arrived, I lay on the bed next to her and cried until I couldn’t force out another breath.

I am carrying a heavy load right now, weighed down by grief and the responsibility of planning my mom’s funeral so much sooner than anyone expected.

This is where I need your help. I have set up a fund here to help defray costs of my mom’s funeral. If you are able to contribute a few dollars, it would be more helpful than my family and I can find the words for right now. It is difficult and humbling to ask, because I know you are shouldering your own burdens.

I don’t know what’s ahead. What I do know, even in the depths of mourning, is that I am grateful for your support these past several months, and now. It is sustaining in the face of such enormous grief.

Thank you for helping hold me up through sorrow. Even in mourning, I know I am blessed.

Thank you, Mom, for teaching me about love, compassion, and acceptance.
I love you.

 

Denise L. Tucker 13 February 1957 - 7 June 2013

Denise L. Tucker
13 February 1957 – 7 June 2013

Thank you so much.

Chris

 

Donate here if you can.


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The Best Birthday Present My Mom Ever Gave Me

This is my mom. Isn’t she beautiful?

This is her first Mother’s Day since being diagnosed with ALS. That also means it’s the first Mother’s Day I’ve really, truly struggled with. Lots of folks are estranged from their mothers or have lost them. Two of my mom’s sisters passed away years ago, and I’ve always felt a sort of sympathetic loss for my cousins on Mother’s Day, but I can’t know their pain. My siblings, cousins and I also lost our grandma last summer. She was a second mom–and in some ways a more “real” mom–to my cousins, and now they’ve lost her. It’s devastating.

I can’t bear the thought of losing my mom. So rather than focusing on the negative, I did something this morning that I thought would help bridge the physical distance between us; something she taught me; something that represents to me sweetness, thoughtfulness and love.

I made no-bake cookies.

Rows of perfectly imperfect no-bake cookies.

Rows of perfectly imperfect no-bake cookies.

For so many of my elementary school years, I brought a big Tupperware container filled with these cookies to school to share with my classmates on my birthday. As an adult, I botched many, many batches of this simple recipe trying to perfect it when I missed my mom and needed that sense of comfort. I’ve tried adding my own touches over the years, but I’ve returned to my mom’s basic, tried-and-true recipe. The soft, semi-dry texture of the sugary chocolate, oats and peanut butter take me back to those chilly almost-spring days of my childhood.

Feelings of sharing with friends and being in the spotlight for a moment wash over me. I was stiflingly shy when I was young, and I didn’t have many friends. But on my birthday, everyone was my friend. That was a gift to me from my mom. More than any toy my parents may have bought for me on my birthday, I hold this gift dearest.

Thank you, Mom, for this and so much more. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you.

Chris

Friends, do you have a comfort food? A special way of honoring your mom on Mother’s Day? Anything else you want to share? Leave a comment! I love to read them.