Sunday, November 27, 2016

A walk in the woods, and why grandparents are the best

Since I was confined to the sofa for a whole week (my back is much better now, thanks for asking), and since it has been dumping record rainfall for weeks, I hadn't gone outside for a while.

So when the sun came out the day after Thanksgiving, my sweetie and I went for a walk in the neighborhood, which consists mostly of trees, rivers, and mountains, and a stack of firewood here and there.

Before I tell you about our Thanksgiving, why don't you come along for a walk?

As soon as I stepped outside, the winter sun warming my face, fresh air streaming through my lungs, wind ruffling my hair, something deep inside of me relaxed and let go.  

I NEED to be outside, which is easy to do in the summer, but harder to pull of in winter.  Do you guys realize how much rain we get here?  It's like a rainforest, except colder and muddier.

Being outside with the trees and the open sky is like going to church for me.  Here, I find spiritual sustenance and feel the bigger picture of life, gain perspective on things that are going on around me.

Outside in nature, my anxious worrying seeps into the earth, my troubles float down the river, my negative feelings poof up into the air, and I feel renewed, ready to love and forgive once more.

My best friend Lindsay is a psychotherapist deeply connected with nature, and she has studied in depth all kinds of interesting research.  She once told me that people who have had abusive childhoods and weren't able to attach to people instead might attach to nature.

That's me.  That's totally what it feels like.  The term "Mother Nature" literally feels true for me.  I never felt emotionally nurtured by my German family of origin, but instead spent time in nature, where I felt truly happy.  I spent hours walking the German countryside with my dog, even when I was quite young.

I've been feeling quite sad lately about my family of origin, the disfunction and disconnection of it, the bad blood.  

In stark contrast to that side of my family are my husband's parents.  They are visiting us from Minnesota right now and are some of the most non-judgemental, loving people I know.  They LIVE for their grandchildren.

I keep thinking 'When will they get impatient or sick of my kids?', or 'Should I keep the kids quieter in the house?' or 'How come they don't get tired of playing games with the kids all day?', but all I have seen for years is the deep love and commitment they show for our kids and for us.

Before they arrived, seven-year-old Eva asked, "Mom, are Gramma and Grampa gonna spoil us?"

Why, yes, little girl, they will, and they are, and they have since you were born, and don't you forget that you are very, very lucky to have them in your life.

Here we are giving our dog Raka her birthday present.  She just turned one.

Let me leave you with images from some of our critters in our backyard.

So, so thankful for this amazing life.

What are you grateful for?  Leave a comment here.  Let's spread some positivity around, shall we?


  1. I have goats too...Nigerian Dwarf...I adore these animals and am so grateful to have them as part of my life. I just came to your blog to refresh my memory of your Gouda recipe. I'm ready to make another batch

    1. Denise, I'm glad my recipe is helpful. Hope it goes well!

  2. I feel your pain about your family. I keep a file "Just For Me" that I save things in, quotes, prayers and such that speak my soul. When I "get hit" I go to that file and read them to "my spirit". This can be a great help:

    1. Sheri, I love Clarissa's work and read her Women who run with the wolves book. So deep, so nurturing, so inspiring! Thanks for the reminder!

  3. I surely relate to what you are saying. I have often referred to a place outside as a "church". For example, there's a place in Oregon that I call The Church of Ebert's Rim. When I was young and my parents were arguing loudly in the house I would escape to the corn fields and mud roads around our little house on the edge of town. When I got sad my place of peace was lying in the tall grass like a womb watching the clouds go by overhead. It was better than confession. I have also said I am like Heidi in the Swiss children's story. When she was compelled to live in the city she thought the carriages going by was the wind in the pine trees.

    That's me.

    Yes, your kids are blessed to have one set of GP that are beautiful. Luck! (well, good choice on your part for a partner, huh?)

    My daughter and I sat eating our picnic dinner while watching the sunset on the Pacific on TGiving and counted down our blessings... which are many! Let's start with being alive to experience this beautiful nurturing planet.

    1. Heidi! Me too. I totally identified with Heidi and wanted to live in the mountains, with goats and a dude like Peter. My dream kind of came through, except the dude is called Steve.
      I love the image of you and your daughter watching the sunset on the Pacific and counting down your blessings...

  4. The beauty of your environment always wows me, you are so fortunate to live in such a great place, despite the wet weather. I have to say though, the 'blonde' look is not rocking it for you :). I think it's great that you have lovely in laws and truly believe the people who love you and yours, unconditionally, are truly your family, it's not always about biology.

    1. WHAT? You don't like my ultra-fashionable lichen hair-do?
      Awwww... I spent hours in front of the mirror trying to achieve that look.
      Oh well. I'll go back to my natural hair, then.
      And yes, you are so right about family - I count my friends as family as well and call them my family-of-choice...

  5. Jean-Paul Sartre made a big deal about this "chosen" family business. So peeps have been wondering how the heck did I get born into this family for a long time. Maybe as long as history. Some eastern guys would say it's "karma" how we got into such families. In the end it is what it is and we make the best of it. Thank God for Nature! And as Don Juan would say "TG for Petty Tyrants!" Great are the uses of adversity but let's have some fun in between the episodes!

    Snow in the Sierra today! Gorgeous! Homemade baked poquito beans! Yum!

  6. I am with you on the attachment to nature thing. And strangely enough I found myself pondering about my family as well these past weeks. What's my father up to these days? How does he feel? Does he at all?? etc.
    And like you I felt like finding a home, when I came to my in-laws. Unfortunately that "home" is now broken too, which leaves my kids practically without grandparents although all of them are still alive. And it saddens me deeply.
    I have not been able to make it to the woods for a long time, mainly because of the dogs. Can't take'm with me and can't leave'm at home alone.
    I decided to train them to be less..... energetic while in the woods, taking a very big chance to venture off the paths and in between the trees with 2 very lively, boisterous bundles of energy pulling in every which way. had some near misses, some painful experiences, but no broken bones yet. It still might work out and for that I am grateful.
    as well as for the fact that we'll be celebrating our fifth christmas in Sweden this year and that things are looking brighter on the other side of new year too.
    And for blogs and people like yourself which restore trust and belief, whenever I feel without it in darker moments.

    1. Dear Ron, ack, I'm sorry you have to deal with sad family stuff.
      I don't know about you, but I always used to feel so weird, or that I'm all alone in feeling this way, but what I found is that every family, no matter how great they look on the outside, have stuff going on inside. There's always something...

    2. My german side of the family always said "immer etwas" or "immer was". Which I was told meant "always something". Do you know this phrase?

    3. I guess it's because of this darkening period that I get melancholic. Usually I do not fret much about it. Never belonged into my family anyway. They all feel like strangers to me.

      There's something missing in that sentence, Renée; a big heaving sigh right before it... ;)

  7. It's good that you have loving and supportive in-laws in your life to make up for what you were lacking in your own family and that you didn't perpetuate their dysfunction with your own kids, that you've made their childhood magical at the same time as preparing them for the future. My father experienced a very dysfunctional upbringing that he unfortunately carried with him into fatherhood. His family was all kinds of messed up, whereas my mother's family was just a big, weird, fun-loving bunch. Because my siblings and I spent most of our time with my Mum's family, issues with my dad were tempered by laughter and crazy stories, loving aunts and uncles, lots of cousins, and joyous holidays. Luckily, my dad eventually got smart, realized he had a horrible relationship with his children and that he was becoming as bad as his own father. Little by little, he changed and we actually have a good relationship now. And while I don't condone the way my father acted when I was child, for better or worse, it shaped the person that I am today. Learning from his bad example has made me more patient, more forgiving, more aware of what I say to my husband and stepdaughter (especially in times of frustration) and because of that, my relationships with them are better than I could have ever hoped for! I see that as well in your love for your family, the way you write about them and from your videos. Your early family experiences have shaped your relationships with your husband and children, and you can see how much joy you bring into their lives!

    1. Tiffany, what a beautiful reflection! You are so right: our experiences make us into the persons we are today. My upbringing actually gave me a deep capacity to be emphatic and sensitive to the needs of others, and for that I am very grateful.
      Interesting, too, how generational violence gets passed along, unless the cycle is interrupted. It sounds like both of us were able to break the cycle! Hurray!

  8. Hi Corina

    Sending you hugs. The day of the ancestors is around the corner is it not? Seems like a natural time of year to be thinking of our roots, where we come from and where we are going.
    I am so thankful for YOU- I love receiving your weekly missives full of beauty and joie de vivre.
    All the best to you and yours. Holding you in my heart thru the hard times.

    1. Clelie,
      Thanks for that hug!
      And thanks for your beautiful comment!


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