Well, I missed Earth Day in April and I’m a little early for next year, but as my favorite baseball cap says “Every day is Earth Day.” This is the 12th installment of my Love Series and how the woman in the picture looks is how I’m feeling today – full of love for our Earth.
I’ve recently been watching the new Cosmos with Neil Degrasse Tyson and reading the original Cosmos by Carl Sagan. And I must admit, it fills me with awe for this Earth, humanity, and the entire Cosmos. Those great works have also reminded me of how precious and unique (as far as we know) our Earth is and how we must care for it because, right now and for the foreseeable future, it’s the only one we’ve got.
So maybe go and do a small thing for the Earth today. Plant a tree. Pick up that piece of trash (yes, I know you didn’t leave it there, but someone has got to do it – why not you?). Volunteer for a beach clean-up. Give a little extra effort to recycle that (fill in the blank here). Start composting. Hug a tree (it’s not just for hippies). Or go do a naked gratitude dance in the woods (this one might be just for hippies). I don’t care what you do as long as you do something. One small step. One small act for this pale blue dot we call home.
This 10th installment of The Love Series is dedicated to breastfeeding aka Booby Love. 😉 I drew this picture only a couple weeks after my daughter finished weaning so it’s a bit bittersweet. My goal was to make it to at least 2 years old and we made it to 2 years and 3 months. Did you know that there is a such as thing as post-weaning depression? I had no clue (despite many La Leche League meetings and breastfeeding blogs) and was a little blind-sided when I decided to reduce my daughter’s free-for-all nursing schedule to only one nursing session in the morning. I wasn’t even ‘weaning’ in my mind, just putting down some boundaries. But not long after we made the change, I felt awful. I was moody, crying all the time, anxious and depressed. I had no idea what was going on and was obsessing about why I was feeling this way and how I might ‘fix’ it when I stumbled upon post-weaning depression online.
After knowing why this was happening to me, I was able to relax and just accept that this was a temporary hormonal shift and to give myself a little break. A few months later, when I decided to wean fully, I was prepared. Thankfully, going from a 5-minute nursing session per day to no nursing wasn’t as large of a hormonal shift (I’m assuming) as I didn’t have such severe symptoms – only mild depression and anxiety that lasted a couple of weeks.
While I was pregnant, I’d heard many women recount their experiences of postpartum depression and anxiety, but I’d never heard a woman discuss post-weaning depression. So this is my little PSA. Post-weaning depression is a thing. Maybe if you know it’s a possibility and that it could be coming, you’ll have a better system in place to cope until it passes.
These 2 years of breastfeeding have been quite a journey. Those first couple of months of figuring breastfeeding out were complete hell (the postpartum depression and anxiety didn’t help either!) but I’m glad we persisted.* There have been some truly wonderful moments – one of which is captured in the drawing below. It was in those first two months of hell that my daughter was nursing and laid her hand upon my chest with her pointer finger, pinky and thumb extended forming ‘I Love You’ in sign language. The significance of this is that my husband and I had made that sign to each other since first saying “I Love You” to one another. We still make that sign to one another and now my 2 year old daughter does too.
*This statement is not meant to judge, criticize or shame any mother who could not or didn’t want to breastfeed. Every person fights their own battles and must do what is best for them and their baby and I 100% recognize that was is ‘best’ for me may not be ‘best’ for you. You do you. I’ve got your back.
This is the 9th installment of The Love Series and it’s a celebration of the love a mother feels for her child. I did this painting when I was pregnant with my daughter and in complete awe of how much love I felt for someone I hadn’t even seen with my own two eyes.
My love for her now is the same as it was then: powerful, fierce, and deep. Any person is capable of feeling this kind of love whether they are a biological parent, adoptive parent, step-parent, animal parent, grandparent, auntie, uncle, or friend. May we all know the joy of giving and receiving such a love.
P.S. This post happens to coincide with the e-book release of my new book of poetry – Hummingbird Heartbeat:Poems of Pregnancy and Beyond. You can find it on amazon.com for $3.99. It’s also available on Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Lending Library. I hope you enjoy it. <3
Amidst all the flooding, rain, and chaos, Houston and it’s surrounding areas as well as many across the nation have united to help those who have suffered the most during this record-breaking storm. As I watch the news and social media and see the stories of citizens and first responders saving and caring for one another, my heart breaks open again and again. I’ve essentially been crying for the past 4 days.
So this 9th installment of The Love Series goes out to Houston, it’s surrounding areas and all the citizens, civilians, officers, fire fighters and first responders who are spreading the love any way they can.
If you’d like to give a little love to Houston, there are many ways to do so. Here are just a few:
1. JJ Watt of the Houston Texans is raising money to get direct aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. You can donate HERE.
2. Over 160 police officers have had their homes flooded but have still been working. To help officers whose homes have been damaged, consider donating to Assist the Officer HERE.
3. Brene Brown, author, UH professor and all around badass, has suggested donating to Undies for Everyone on her Facebook page. It’s an often overlooked area. You can donate HERE.
4. Lastly, if you are here locally, consider volunteering your time, your washing machine (so much needs to be washed), or resources to shelters, neighbors, family and friends in need. So, essentially, keep doing what you’re doing Houston. #HoustonStrong
This 8th installment of my Love Series came to me during my morning meditation. As I was imagining myself as a big ball of love, spreading love to each person I met, this image popped into my head. I like it because it helps to remind me that each small act of love I do ripples out and reaches much farther than I can see.
How Love Works: The Ripple Effect. (Also, how infectious diseases work just FYI.)
This 6th installment of my Love Series goes out to a very special group of people: #TheBloggessTribe. I found these amazing nerds via the Bloggess and they’ve become my wonderful, wacky friends in the online world. One day, I’ll hopefully meet some of them in person too!
So this Love Series post is for internet friends. They’re like peeing in your pants – everyone can see them, but only you can feel their warmth. 😉
Love you Bloggess Tribe! <3
Watercolor and Ink. Damnit. Now I want a purple laptop.
My wonderful husband and I had a date very early on where we visited the beautiful Mecom Fountain. It was lovely and romantic and less than a year later it was also the place he proposed.
Another year later, on the morning after our wedding, we had a lovely breakfast at our hotel’s restaurant and could see the cascading fountain from our table as we sipped coffee and orange juice.
To say that this fountain has played a part in our romance would be an understatement. So when the time came for me to procure a ‘wood’ gift for our 5th Anniversary I decided to paint our beloved fountain on a wooden canvas with the words “I will always say Yes” painted at the bottom. Here was the result:
I mixed glow in the dark paint with the white. Because I’m a grown up. Acrylic on Wood.
The husband had no idea what I was getting him so what do you think he got me? A wooden jack knife easel that he burned our anniversary date and other sweet nothings into. We gave each other complementary anniversary gifts without even realizing it. And in case you’re wondering, yes, yes, we are this lovingly disgusting all the time. 😉
And for those of you looking for a partner to love (not that you need one to be happy or whole or anything in between) here’s some advice I got on my 21st birthday. Take what you like and leave the rest:
This is the fourth installment of the Love Series and it centers around something that, without fail, will lift my spirits: a good cuppa. Whether it is coffee or tea, a good cup of hot liquid is something I truly love and usually features in my self-care days. So make yourself a hot brew and enjoy!
Watercolor and Ink. And yes, I was drinking a cup of tea while I painted this. 😛
This is the third installment of the Love Series and one that I drew back in 2014 when my husband and I were trying to get pregnant. After we decided we’d like to start a family, I thought things would happen pretty quickly after that – oh how naive I was. Month after month dragged on and still there was no plus sign on my pregnancy test and Aunt Flo was still visiting.
Well, I got mad. Then sad. Then mad again. I was so frustrated and distraught. “Why was this taking so long? Why hadn’t I eaten better? I should have never tried pot that time!”
For months, I tried to somehow fix it. Fix me. This was one of my dreams, to become a mother, and I felt like somehow it was my fault that it was slipping through my fingers. That somehow the choices I had made up until this point in my life were causing all of this. “This is probably happening because of all my stress. I should have worked harder to be less stressed!”
One day, I was feeling so glum and frustrated and realized that I needed to chill out. Let go. Trust the Universe. I decided it was time to send a little love to the area of my body that I had been not so silently seething at for months. Actually, I started to realize, the fury at my uterus had begun 7 years prior when, almost every month, I’d have debilitating cramps during my period. I decided that whether or not I got pregnant, sending a little love to my uterus would be good for the both of us. And it was.
A few months after I drew this picture, I became pregnant. Months later, during my unmedicated homebirth, I realized that those “debilitating cramps” I’d been having for years were actually very similar to labor! It was all worth it though because we now have a beautiful little girl and I don’t have period cramps anymore. 🙂
#3 in THE LOVE SERIES. Sidenote: This drawing was based on a medical picture, not MY uterus. I have no idea what that thing looks like.
Today begins an idea that has been brewing for literally years. When I was in high school, I was given the assignment of creating a mission statement for my life. Being the over-achieving, perfectionist I was, I agonized over the assignment for days. I fell far down the rabbit hole and had a near existential crisis before realizing that there was only one true answer for me: LOVE. Try as I might to create a more ‘traditional’ mission statement, the only thing that rang true and was all-encompassing enough to satisfy me was simply: LOVE. Love, I thought (and still do), was the reason for life and a straight and true guidepost for any and all quandries. (Later I would find out about the nuisances of loving vs caretaking/rescuing someone). The teacher printed all of our mission statements out and I still have mine to this day.
Exhibit A. She’s a little worse for the wear, but still kicking nonetheless.
LOVE has been my mission and guidepost ever since. It is the thing that drives me, motivates me, moves me and inspires me. Two years ago, when I began my creative journey in earnest, I thought up an idea for a series of LOVE expressions. That idea has fermented for two long years and is now being brought to life.
This LOVE SERIES will be a collection of art about love. Love that I see. Love that I experience. Love that I feel needs to spread. Any and all iterations of LOVE that I come across and wish to express in an artistic way.
Along the way, if you have an ideas, questions or comments, please feel free to share them with me via my “Contact Me” page or in the comments section. If you’d like to receive new posts in your inbox, please subscribe here or in the sidebar.
It is my sincere hope and wish that these pieces might brighten the world in some way and bring our focus back to LOVE. For love is, in my opinion, the reason we are here and a great balm for our weary souls. So it begins…