Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Be a Shrinking Violet.

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Girl Warrior. Don’t be a shrinking violet. Ever. No, not ever. Not for any reason. Not for any person. Not in any situation. Under no circumstances or conditions.

Do not make yourself small. Do not diminish, draw back or decrease in any way your presence on this planet. For it belongs to you as much as it does any other. You have a place here. A position to defend. A stand to take. A clear and resounding voice. Let it be heard. For it is utterly magnificent.

Don’t back away from the good fight. Don’t abandon your convictions. Or betray your beliefs, ideologies or principles. Don’t let fear or any other false fabrication of your imagination prevent you from being the big girl that you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are too big for your britches. That’s impossible. Stay vigilant and ignore ludicrous comments designed to keep you in your place. Or worse yet, keep you down.

You have big things to do Girl Warrior. Brilliant things. Bright things beyond your wildest dreams. But doing these things will require you to step out boldly and bravely into every arena as the formidable force that you are.

So put on your big gutsy pants Girl Warrior and show the world what it looks like to be too damn big for your britches.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Surrender All.

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Girl Warrior. Surrender all. Let go of all the junk that litters your beautiful life. This includes everything. Externally and internally. Release all the things that break your heart, your mind and ultimately, your precious soul.

Change what you can. Clean house when you. Chuck out all the clutter wherever you can. Clear away as much of the chaos and confusion that is causing you stress and suffering, anguish and agony, distress and disease. Do all that is necessary to rid yourself of negativity. Say farewell to the three isms – cynicism, criticism and pessimism – in yourself, in others, in situations, and in circumstances.

Put on your fiercest boots and kick away. Stomp hard and stomp fast. Do what you have to, to set yourself free from these physical, emotional and spiritual crushers. But be warned Girl Warrior, this may also mean you have to say goodbye to some people, places, things and thinking. Yes, thinking. And this may not be easy. Loosening the grip, uncurling the fist, severing the tie is grueling work. But it is also gratifying.

Girl Warrior, now stand up and take a long hard look at your world, the one you have created. Is it as good as you can make it, at least for today? Have you done all you can? Given it your best shot? Tried the hardest you possibly could? If the answer is yes, then drop to your knees. Kiss the ground. Exhale fully and let it all go.

Then slip into sweet sweet surrender.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Foster Wisdom.

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Girl Warrior. Foster Wisdom. Seek enlightenment, illumination and insight at every turn, every opportunity. Grow your intuition and awareness of the world around you and the one within. Fine-tune your instincts and your vital sixth sense. Follow your hunches and listen closely to your gut feelings. For these are the essential bits in the Sage’s toolkit.

First you will need to take a journey inward. You will also need to open your mind to all the possibilities that abide there. You will be opening the door to the unknown, the unexplored, the unfamiliar, and above all else, the uncertain. You will be knocking on the door of mystery and magic and all things mystical. The prospect of this may frighten you. Don’t let it. Open the door and walk unflinchingly through. This is a big step and a brave move on your part. But it is a prerequisite on the path to true understanding.

It is here that you will begin to know the difference between the accumulation of information and knowledge and that of wisdom, knowing and genuine insight. It is in this pilgrimage to the deepest corner of your soul that you will discover the Universal Truths, your highest self, your eternal being and your infinite connection to the Divine. It is from this vantage point that you will do your best work.

It is both exalting and humbling. And when you get there, Girl Warrior you will know.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Take Good Care of Your Skin.

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Girl Warrior. Take good care of your skin. You are never too young to begin a daily routine. This is the outer layer of your Earth Suit and it needs loving-kindness every bit as much as your heart and mind and spirit, your muscles and bones, your blood and sinew. It’s what you present to the world initially and it always makes a first impression whether you like it or not. But the beautiful thing is you have the power to make this perception good if you choose to.

This isn’t about looks or appearances – although if you do look after your epidermis you will definitely reap the benefits – it’s about health and wellbeing. It has absolutely nothing to do with vanity. Your skin is the largest organ and it has the very big job of protecting your inner being. Every second that you walk this good earth it is doing exactly what it needs to do to preserve, maintain and sustain you Girl Warrior. But it does need you to do your part.

It’s pretty simple really. You didn’t get this far without knowing the drill. The secret to achieving a Cleopatra-like complexion isn’t that complicated. There’s no mystery here. It’s all about habits. Good ones. Daily ones. Circadian ones. It’s about mindfulness and awareness, practice and routine.

And it’s about knowing and abiding by these basic rules.

Moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. Start your day with a clean palette and smear on your favorite face cream and body lotion. Don’t step out the door without protection. Take off all your makeup at the end of the day. No matter what. No exceptions to this rule. Then moisturize. Moisturize. Moisturize. And remember, while you’re in the Land of Nod your skin is exercising its super healing powers. So remove the residue and remnants of the day and get your beauty sleep.

Be good to your skin Girl Warrior. It needs to last a lifetime.

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Aimee Collage

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: 20 Things to Love About Yourself.

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At the end of November my beautiful daughter-in-law (DIL) sent an interesting Facebook message to my two daughters and me. This message was actually a challenge. It was something she herself had been challenged to do in her fitness class that week, and one that she found extremely difficult. When I read that, my first thought was that “if this incredible young women finds a “fitness” challenge difficult,” then I’m dead meat. No way Jose. Not going to happen for this Old Broad (OB). Then when I read “the challenge” I was even more convinced that this was something I could not do.

What was so challenging about “the challenge”?

Everything. Why? Because it requires that you take a long hard, uncompromising, honest, candid, truthful and LOVING look at yourself. Both physically and non-physically. And come up with ten things for each that you like about yourself. I’m not even talking love here. Just, like. A little nod to one of your more redeeming attributes, a mere mention of some cute little trait or charming characteristic. You know the thing I’m talking about. That endearing eccentricity that your family mutters under their collective-breath at family gatherings, “There it is.” We all have those, right. But as my DIL said in her note, “It’s amazing how in 2 seconds you can name a million things about family, friends and even people you’ve just met, but to name 20 things about yourself is HARD!”

She’s right. It’s easy-peasy to find 20 things about someone else that are admirable and praiseworthy, both physically and non-physically. But try pointing the lens back at yourself and it is damn near impossible. At least for me.

But this is a new year. And I’ve decided that this is the year that I will challenge myself more. Go out on that fragile limb and do things. Face uncertainty head-on. Take some risks. Do things a little, or a lot, differently than I have in the past. Some of these things I know are going to scare the shit right out of me. And at my age this could seriously happen.

Other things, I’m going to do because they’ll be good for me. Like eating more vegetables and less meat, especially the stuff that causes the unnecessary death of cute animals. This is a dilemma for me because I think all animals, and many plants, are cute. And if you think I’m being facetious, check out Marimos. They are freakin’ adorable. So are Baby Lichens. Then there’s Venus Flytraps. Not all that cute but extremely interesting. Like the dark-haired girl wearing uncool glasses in a roomful of Barbie’s with big boobs. I can relate to the V-Flies.

And then there are those things I’ve been putting off for years, decades even. You know the things, the “I’ll do that someday” stuff. All the stuff you make excuses for, that possibly involve some kind of weird time and space continuum. I have no idea what that is but it sounds like it may apply here, and very likely every aspect of my life to date. But I do plan to make a heroic attempt, and at the very least, confront some of these things that I’ve been putting off and maybe quite conceivably, should all the stars line up just right, get around to it. Perhaps.

As for the 10 physical things and the 10 non-physical things I like about myself? I haven’t a clue. I only know that it will require me to be as kind and loving with myself as I am with others. I will need to be as gentle and gracious, understanding and big-hearted, caring and compassionate, forgiving and magnanimous to me as I am to you and you and you, and the person I’ve just met. For this is all the great big important stuff that is at the very heart of “the challenge.” Maybe, just maybe, that’s why it’s so difficult.

And as my wise, witty and wonderful DIL said, it’s easier to come up with these things about someone else then it is about yourself. So I thought I’d do it for her.

10 Physical things that I LOVE about my DIL (in no particular order and just for starters):

  1. Big beautiful smile
  2. Gorgeous hair
  3. Killer abs
  4. Cute freckles
  5. Dazzling blue eyes
  6. Tiny waist
  7. Artistic hands
  8. Infectious laugh
  9. Melodic voice
  10. Magnificent fit figure

10 Non-Physical things that I LOVE about my DIL (in no particular order and just for starters):

  1. Loving-kindness
  2. Generosity
  3. Compassion
  4. Thoughtfulness
  5. Gentleness
  6. Intelligence
  7. Creativity
  8. Humor
  9. Courage
  10. Warmth and wonder

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Celebrate.

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Girl Warrior. Celebrate. Everything. And anything. You can always find a reason. Take a moment every day to honor and take pleasure in something. Even the smallest and simplest. The stuff that’s so easy to overlook. The outwardly ordinary. The seemingly run-of-the-mill. Start here and let it grow. Like a heaven-sent happiness seed.

You woke up. You’re alive. You’ve been blessed with another day to give this life your best shot. A clean slate. A fresh beginning. Another day to dream and scheme and breathe utter brilliance into every single thing you do. Take note and rejoice in that astounding thought.

Make every day a special occasion. No matter where you are or who you’re with. Enjoy every second. Whoop and holler. Party hardy. Live it up. Have a ball. Kick up your heels. Be silly and make a fabulous fool of yourself. Let things get insanely messy. Eat drink and be merry. Dress up and go out on the town. Or throw a pajama party for all your besties. Celebrate your friendship, your sisterhood, and all those you hold near and dear. Crack-open a bottle of wine or a bottle of pop. Dunk Oreos in milk. Make bread and break bread. Have big wonderful meals together. Or snuggle two-by-two. Make hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and read a good book. Celebrate your priceless alone time too.

Celebrate the holidays, special occasions and all the magnificent milestones along the way. Don’t let them slip carelessly by unnoticed. For these are the markers of your life. The things you’ll look back on that will make you smile and fill your heart with joy and gratitude. These are the essentials of memory making. The lumps in your throat, the flutter in your heart, and the shiny tears in your eyes. These are your finest happy pills.

Girl Warrior, cherish the gift of celebration all the days of your life. You will never be too old.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Judge.

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Girl Warrior. Resist the urge to judge. Criticize. Condemn. Crucify. Cast aspersions or make snap decisions about the words or deeds of others. Not everything is as it appears on the surface. Nor at first blush. Outward appearances are often deceiving.

We all have a backstory that affects the present-day things that we do or think or say. And some backstories aren’t so rosy. Glowing halos do not hover above everyone’s head. For some, the crown of light has been dimmed or extinguished completely. And there is no glory. The reasons for this loss of luminosity matters not.

What matters Girl Warrior, is that you take a step back. And ditch any self-righteous attitude. Holier-than-thou posturing. False feelings of moral superiority. Shake loose the sanctimonious, smug and self-satisfied belief that you are better than the girl next to you, the one down the road, or across the world. Instead take a walk in another’s earth-worn shoes. You may find their pain unbearable. Enduring one single step impossible, much less going a mile.

For this, and only this, will allow you the grace to see things from a different perspective. To hear the true meaning in the silence between the words. To fully understand that there is usually more to the story.

And always remember this, kind and loving Girl Warrior, judgment is a door that swings both ways.

 

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: For the Love of Mary Passingham.

Ma in shorts

Dear Love,

I wanted you to know that my great grandmother’s name was Mary Passingham and she was born on the Isle of Wight. And that some day I’m going to write a romance novel and use Mary Passingham as my pen name.

I wanted you to know that I have always had a passion for reading books and I think that was a gift from Mary Passingham.

I wanted you to know that when I was growing up and everyone else in my house was watching television, I read books. And that I dreamed about another life that had nothing to do with the one that I lived.

I wanted you to know that my mother was raised by Mary Passingham and that she died when my older brother was two months old.

And that my mother loved her dearly. I say my mother, “loved dearly” because Mary Passingham was the only person who ever called my mother “dear” while she was growing up.

And I wanted you to know that because Mary Passingham called my mother “dear”, my mother at age ten, would walk two miles to Eaton’s to buy Mary a spool of embroidery thread. Just to be her dear. And because Mary taught my mother how to embroider. And my mother taught me.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had no money but she loved my mother dearly and that once she gave my mother a bottle of Evening in Paris perfume for Christmas. My mother cherished that bottle of perfume. It didn’t matter that it cost only seventeen cents because it was a gift from Mary. And she received no others that year.

I wanted you to know that I never understood why I loved books so much until my mother told me that Mary Passingham spent her days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer. In the summer my mother and her sisters feasted on Mary’s garden.

And I wanted you to know that Mary taught my mother how to bake bread. And my mother taught me. And that my mother loved sandwiches made with Mary’s homemade bread and lettuce from her garden.

And that I love sandwiches made with my mother’s homemade bread and lettuce freshly picked from her garden.

I wanted you to know that I love to spend my days reading books, doing embroidery and growing vegetables in the summer.

I wanted you to know that Mary Passingham had a china cabinet made of carved oak filled with knick-knacks and trinkets and that my mother polished it for her every Saturday morning.

And that my mother has a china cabinet made of Canadian maple filled with knick-knacks and trinkets but I never spent my Saturdays polishing it. Although I loved that china cabinet.

I don’t have a china cabinet but I have a house filled with knick-knacks and ornaments. And I love them dearly.

I wanted you to know about all these wonderful gifts that Marry Passingham gave to my mother. And my mother gave to me. I never knew Mary Passingham. Only my mother did.

But I wanted you to know that I love my mother dearly just as she did Mary. And even though I never met Mary I loved her dearly too.

Love,

Boo

Footnote: I came across this sweet little piece today while looking for an old story I had written called The Sixteen Jacket. I hadn’t seen it in years and thought it was lost. Both this piece and The Sixteen Jacket were written decades ago when I was a young woman, and long before my mother died. I don’t even remember who “Dear Love” was. I’ve decided to share it unedited, and exactly as I had written it back then, to honor with loving kindness the young blossoming writer that was just beginning to emerge from a veil of shy awkwardness.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

Cherished pillow cases embroidered by my mother.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.

I spent months embroidering the front of this denim skirt.

Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Be Someone’s Blessing Today.

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Girl Warrior. Be someone’s blessing today. A glorious Godsend. Wonderful windfall. Lucky penny. Look for all the ways you can make someone else’s life easier or more meaningful. Lighten their load. Lift their spirits. Ease their burdens. Dry their tears. Make someone’s day.

Listen attentively. And look deep into their eyes. Extend a helping hand. Wrap your arms around the one in need of a hug. Calm the trembling shoulders. Hold the door open. Be of service. Give someone a leg up. Or save their bacon. Do favors and expect nothing in return.

Be someone who can be counted on, trusted, relied upon, and the wind beneath the wings. Most importantly, just be there when needed.

This is the perfect paradox. Bless and be blessed.

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Diaries of The Breadman’s Daughter: Don’t Waste Your Pretty.

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Girl Warrior. Don’t waste your pretty on anyone who is unworthy. Consider that thought for a moment. Let it sink in. Allow it to ooze into the deepest place inside your generous heart and beautiful mind. For it is here that you will know the truth.

And the truth is Girl Warrior you are one fabulous chick.

You deserve to be surrounded by sweet heart-stopping goodness. Pure and simple. Drop anything less than that like a bad habit. Kick their sorry ass to the curb. Don’t wave or blow a kiss goodbye. Put them in your rear view mirror. Permanently. Save all your heavenly kisses for the good ones. For they are out there just waiting for your warm embrace.

Be radical about this knowledge. Wrap your brilliant brain around this information. Fill your soul with this awareness. Grasp the importance of this concept. And hold onto this big idea for dear life.

Seek extravagant love. The best love. The kind of love that is true to the marrow. That sees, with breathtaking clarity, your pretty in all its magical complicated layers. The kind of love that holds like crazy-glue. No matter what.

Because Girl Warrior, your pretty is too precious to be unappreciated.

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