Sunday, January 25, 2015

On Living Life With Passion

When Jemma who blogs  at At Home With Jemma asked for participants in her Passion, Purpose, Productivity Project I decided to join in. I saw that several others were also participating and I was interested to see what they had to say  about living life with passion and aging with grace. I found everyone's  experiences very inspiring. For additional information regarding this project, please visit Jemma's blog at the link provided above. I will also be adding add some additional links to this page.)

Here is my experience:

Everyone defines passion differently but I define passion as an energy or very strong feeling of wanting to do something so well because you love it so much that it keeps you up at night wondering how you can do it better.

 I have personally gone through periods of time when I have been extremely passionate about something and have thrown my whole heart into whatever that happened to be. I have also gone through times when I have felt almost without passion but it was not a great place to be so I hope that remains a thing of the past. At any rate, the objects of my passions  have changed over the years as circumstances in my life have changed and it may well be that what I am passionate about today will not be what I am passionate about tomorrow.

For me, the primary focus of passion for many years has been my family; my husband of almost 33 years, my 3 daughters  and of course our furry companions (dogs--see sidebar) that we have loved over the years! 

My oldest daugter with me

My husband with youngest daughter (left), middle daughter (right)

At a very young age, I daydreamed about having a family. When I was in seventh grade one of my best friends sat behind me in science class and her mom was expecting. I was intrigued, excited for her and a little envious as she awaited the birth of her newest sibling. The very day she told me I sat in class and wrote a list of possible names for my own “someday” daughter. I remember it like it was yesterday.

 My science teacher was talking about our next project which was distilling dirty water in an aquarium. We were instructed to bring in something disgusting to add to the aquarium and by the end of the project he said we would all be able to drink the distilled water. I mentally bowed out of that project, not remotely interested in ever drinking water that had once contained mud, a shoe, dirty old bottles,  grass clippings, chocolate milk, vinegar and whatever else my classmates dreamed up to throw in there.  Instead I was dreaming up baby names. At the age of twelve I had already decided that I wanted three daughters and my first one would be named Jennifer, and she was. I was twenty three and my husband was thirty three when she was born. 

3 mos

From that moment on, motherhood became my passion.  As I look back at the start, it wasn't terribly romantic at first.  I was a stay at home mom, my husband worked nights, and at least one weekend a month he was working out of state, we had our share of sleepless nights; 2 years in a row of sleepless nights to be exact, overfeeding at first and projectile vomiting as a result, nightly colic that would cause my baby to scream for an hour or so, the dirty diapers (understatement of the year) whose contents seemed to obliterate the diaper and the onesie,  requiring an entire package of wet wipes to clean up after and a separate hefty trash bag to dispose of it, onesie and all ....……but then over time it all seemed to settle right down and life  turned into such utter bliss and contentment that I started to imagine a baby #2. 

rough housing

watching dad build the back lawn

When I was 27, Baby #2, Emily was born, and she fell asleep in her crib the first time we placed her in it. We were dumbfounded. We had heard that babies sometimes fall asleep in their cribs on their own but we had no prior experience with this phenomenon. Life with a 4 year old and a newborn was not as difficult as I had imagined.….

mighty proud big sister

Playing in snow tunnels my husband built all over the yard

I enjoyed sewing Halloween costumes. Here a Pierot (left) and pink Unicorn (right)

My husband and I were loving it. We were a happy little family doing happy little family things. We celebrated Christmases and other holidays, attended church and Sunday school, took vacations, planned birthday parties, went to dance, gymnastics, skating and soccer games. I helped in the classroom and became room mother. That’s when I started baking cupcakes. Little did I know that I would be baking cupcakes for nearly two decades! I sewed Halloween costumes, and costumes for other events. I loved it! I was a Brownie leader and PTA secretary and president. I baked more cupcakes.  Our PTA started a school carnival and every year I would help my husband build a very large game for it --one year a mini golf course, another year a cowboy sponge throw game and in the last year he build a giant labyrinth. The carnival also included a cupcake walk and you guessed it! I baked more cupcakes!

One of many soccer games

We were much invested in our little family and were both pleased and surprised when baby #3, Lindsay came along. We were not surprised in the sense that we did not know where babies come from but surprised because when I suggested to my doctor that I might want a third child at age 35, she told me in so many words that my biological clock had stopped ticking. She assured me that there would be no more babies without some sort of medical intervention. We were not interested in procedures. The news was devastating to me but only for a short time.  Not even four weeks after the discussion with my doctor, I found out I was expecting.

My eleven year old was not overjoyed with my unexpected pregnancy and did not want me to get out of the car when I picked her up at middle school.  My 7 yr old was ecstatic and could not wait to have a baby brother.  These were the makings for certain disaster but when they both saw their new baby sister for the first time they fought over who was going to hold her. Phew! Thankfully we headed back into a period of relative family bliss.

I was thrilled with my chance to go through another infancy.  With maturity and the hindsight of how quickly my first two were growing up, I knew I wanted to savor each and every moment. She was born in the summer and I didn’t have to return to work for a while. I enjoyed several months of staying home with my new baby. I would hold her and look at her precious little face, inhale her smell and try to commit it all to memory.

This was probably the most mindful, purposeful, “living in the moment” thing I had ever done at least at that point in my life.

a Sunday morning

Some family time at our favorite vacation place with a 5 wk old baby--what was I thinking?

Road trip!

Same vacation spot when baby was almost 2

Then life became hectic again, and a blur. One day turned into the next, and life was reduced to crossing events and commitments off on the calendar. When it all just seemed like it was spiraling out of control I would mindfully try to rein it in. But it didn’t last for long. Time flew by……and then one-by-one they were gone.

Last year my youngest daughter went off to college.  At first it was emotional. The house was too quiet and dinner time felt very uncomfortable to me. Would I always feel this way? The answer is no!  I began to really appreciate a slower pace and time alone, warm evenings at home instead of the ice rink AND I began to actually thaw out......

Human Zamboni! One moment of many spent in an ice arena.

 She is now halfway through her sophomore year, all is going very well and I have found my way back to the things that I loved to do all those years ago. I did go through a bit of an adjustment period but I am very content with my new normal. 

checking out her college campus with an ocean view

 I am no less passionate about my family but I do have more time to pursue all the things I love. Now my husband and I are able to spend more time together, take a week or a weekend away, visit our kids whenever we please, take a hike or a walk with our dog that we absolutely adore, or enjoy a nice evening dining out. Sometimes we just sit and talk over coffee for a couple of hours in the morning, just because we can.

a favorite spot.....

I am sewing and crafting regularly these days and it is a crafter’s smorgasbord out there! The vast array of choices we have in crafting and sewing today versus years ago is mind boggling.  I find it very exciting and I am constantly finding some new craft or medium to try. I often lie awake at night in bed planning my next sewing or craft project.

I used to love playing the piano for hours on end! I am going to get my piano tuned so I can start playing again. It's been years! I am thinking about taking violin lessons too! I love music!!!!

My piano

A friend and I are starting what we call, "Together Tuesdays." She came up with the name. Every week we will get together to try a new recipe or craft project. There will definitely be coffee too! Our first Tuesday together, (this week) we will attempt to make macarons. Both of us love to cook and we have long talked about making these sweet little confections from scratch. It should be a lot of fun! We may even blog about our Tuesday adventures! "Together Tuesdays' sounds like a great blog name, doesn't it?

I began My Sew What Blog about three years ago and it has been an a very rewarding experience. The friendship, support and inspiration I receive from people I have not “yet” met face-to-face is amazing!  Notice I said yet.  I think we should plan a retreat.....some place warm!

My Blog--love all my blogging friends!

I also started an ETSY shop....looking forward to working on it!

I love where I am in my life, I am grateful for all that I have experienced and I appreciate all of the little things in my life that make me excited to start a new day! 

Thank you to Jemma for initiating this discussion on living  life with passion and aging with grace. The posts from other participants and comments have been genuine and heartfelt. I found them all to be very inspiring. (Links to other project posts and Jemma's blog below)


 I don’t think living life with passion has to be anything particularly grand. It can be as simple as having your afternoon tea in a beautiful antique china teacup, complete with a vintage linen napkin and a sterling silver spoon. It’s all about doing the small things that you love in a grand way, being present in the moment and enjoying it so much that you can’t wait to do it again. I have learned to recognize that the sum of all the small things in my life adds up to something quite grand!

What are you passionate about? Join us in the discussion!!

Jemma's Blog- Click here
Jemma's most recent Post with additional project links - Click here

Dewena's Blog- Click here

Honora's Blog- Click here

Nancy's Blog - Click here

My Journal Word for the week is Passion! 
For those visiting my blog for the first time, I have been choosing a word a week to help me focus on some 2015 goals.

Have a lovely week!