Firebirdlifecoach's Blog

Pursuing a Passionate Life

One Lump or Two? January 13, 2012

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Do you remember your first cup of coffee? For me, it is a distinct memory. It was back in the day when people served coffee in cups and saucers, not mugs – and it was prepared in an aluminum “perk-pot” on the stove. I remembered easing my way into embellishing this new hot beverage with milk and sugar – having first tried a sip as my mother prepared hers – with a drop of milk so small that it barely changed the color of the liquid. I settled on the “light, one sugar” preference and for years that’s how I drank it – until I finally gave up on the sugar addition during one round of dieting years ago. (Though sometimes, I still like a sweetened cup – it’s almost more like a hot coffee – ice cream dessert .) During my college years – I consumed ridiculous quantities of coffee on a regular basis and actually needed to give it up for a while. And now, though I still drink coffee most days, I have found that my addiction is to a hot beverage rather than the caffeine therein – which no longer seems to impact me one way or another.

Why the heck am I talking about coffee this morning, you ask? Well, last night my 17 year-old walked down to the corner store to buy some half-and-half – so that he would be all-set for a cup of coffee today. In fact, I made sure that I got up early – not just to start my day, but to make a pot of coffee, per his request. Lately, he has taken to making himself a travel mug to take to school most mornings and my 14 year-old has expressed an interest in an occassional cup, though typically that isn’t a school-day request. It’s like a rite of passage in my mind, a sign that they are growing up and taking on some of the habits of adults. I won’t get into the issues of how “healthy” coffee is for you or not – or the reverence and peculiar fascination our society now has with coffee; bistros, lattes and brewing methods. Because though part of me was hoping they would never “take to the stuff”,  for the most part I am okay with it.

So as I adjust to having to share my pot of coffee each morning – the big awareness is that I am no longer living with two children, but two young men. In fact, in a nostalgic boyish moment earlier this week – “my baby” asked me to check his height for him because he was sure he had gotten taller since the day before. And though I know it didn’t happen overnight – he measured an inch and a quarter taller than he was a couple of months ago – topping out (for now) at six feet, three-quarter inches! And that’s the younger one!!! They are getting bigger and life here has changed significantly since they were two little, juice-slurping boys. It’s quite a change – and sometimes the growth spots – pull and strain, lurch and crash – into dreams of a peaceful, harmonious household – but this one, this goes down rather smoothly – like a well-prepared cup o’ joe on a quiet morning.

 

Here We Go Again… October 12, 2011

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A flock of geese in chevron flight, honk their way across the sky on the way to their winter condo – somewhere warmer then it will be here for the next several months. Yesterday, a Monarch butterfly took a break on its long journey south of the border, to rest on one of the final flowers in my shrinking hanging basket. And though somewhere inside me I resonate with their instinct to fly south where the temperatures will be warmer, the skies bluer and the chance of snow is remote, I know my place is here; watching the leaves turn, prepping the snow blower and readying house and heart for the upcoming New England winter. You know the days will be shorter, the sky darker, the temperatures colder, and the challenges greater but it is your place. And… you know you’ll not only get through it – but you may enjoy yourself a bit a long the way.

There is a crisp, freshness in the air that awakens you in the morning, the beauty of the changing leaves, the sound of their rustle as you paddle down the road, pumpkins, stews and fires in the fireplace. As fall turns to winter and the leaves give way to snowflakes, the yard clean-up switches over to snow removal and a light sweater is replaced by gloves and a wool coat you quietly resolve yourself to the winds of winter, and you hunker down for the ride. Even with the relative unpredictability that global warming has brought to the forecasts, you still know that the seasons will come and go with their earmarks, challenges and beauties, the turning of the seasons, marches forward no matter what.

There are days when dormancy feels about as good as it gets. When snuggling in to your cave feels like the best way to deal with the elements, but you know that it is all temporary and soon you will be witnessing the signs of spring and the re-birth of nature. I never wanted to live where the skies are always blue and the temperatures balmy throughout the year. I would miss the beauty, adventure and challenge of each new season. Spring would not feel as welcome, and the winter holidays would feel strange if winter coats and sweaters did not factor in somehow. I will take the good with the bad, the beauty of a snowflake with the bite of the cold, cause in these here parts, there is a sense of accomplishment when you clear the driveway of two feet of snow, and you don’t just get by, you don’t just survive, you thrive.

Adversity comes at us from all directions, all the time,  though often not with the same predictability with which we can anticipate the change of seasons. There is something to be said for weathering life’s storms, rising to the challenge, gaining new skills and not just making it through – but feeling strengthened by the experience. You can fly away, if that’s what your instincts tell you to do, after all, flight is a viable option for dealing with threats. Your options for dealing with them are limited by your own resources and desires. But sometimes the only way out is through – and as I don another sweater, reheat my coffee and hunker back down into my seat on the porch, I am ready for this most predictable element of life’s cycle. Bring it on…