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A few weeks ago, I participated in a Joy workshop. It was exactly what a full-time mom (or dad) needs heading into the holiday season.

The gathering started with a meet and greet cocktail hour on Friday evening and then, over two days, became a thoughtful consideration of:

  • what zaps us of joy?
  • are we choosing emotions other than joy?
  • how to connect with our own joy
  • rituals for creating and keeping joy

There was conversation, teachings, things to read, skill drills, time for journaling, laughing, crying; it was deep and messy and wonderful all at one time. Most importantly, it was a reminder of how and why we lose our joy and what it takes to find it again. Woven into the workshop was yoga, delicious food, and the chance to meet like-minded women who want to connect with themselves and each other.

 

What came up for me during the workshop was the profound loss I have felt the last eight years since my mother and grandmother passed away. My life changed instantly with their passings. My mother’s sudden death was particularly hard. She and I were not close, but we loved one another. When she died, I truly did not know what hit me. More importantly, I did not know how to grieve.

 

My grandmother’s passing was quite different. Her dying took place over many months. We were close and her slow exit from this life brought us closer. I am incredibly thankful for the time we had together and for the wisdom and guidance she shared with me in her life. With her last breath, she was teaching me something.

Two back-to-back deaths however, left me lost…and I didn’t even know it. What I realise now is that I was living in a haze colored by loss. I compare myself, pre and post their deaths, to being severely concussed. In my sorrow, I walked through life unable to feel, think, participate or do anything fully. That phrase “the lights are on but nobody is home” says it all. In a textural point of view, it felt like I was walking in a sticky web and could not get free.

I am a fighter, so to be sure, and I struggled against the darkness but it always pushed back hard.

 

Slowly, the stickiness of loss has lifted. Last year I noticed that I was finally coming back to myself. I was feeling joy again. In a moment of absolute “what the heck happened to me”, I saw a therapist who explained that it can take one to three years to fully process a loss. Two losses, one right after the other, may take twice as long or longer. And grief comes in waves…you’re fine and then you’re not…you’re fine again and then you’re not…again.

I have grieved for my beloved mother, grandmother and myself. I include myself because I have lost precious momentum and time: eight years to be exact. I forgive myself for not being able to see my way clearly.

Sadly, I acknowledge that I can’t get back those years. I can’t change what I did or didn’t do…did or did not say. I can only be aware of what happened, love myself, acknowledge my pain, and the hurt my emotional absence may have created in other people’s lives, and move forward.

Love

This past year, my intention has been “Love”…love of self, love of others, love of work, love of learning and travel and so much more. Love and time have brought me back to myself…brought me back to today. And the Joy workshop I did last weekend helped me to look at what has been holding me back from having as much joy as I had before my mother and grandmother died. That information I’ll save for another blog post!

When I woke up this morning the phrase “Today, I Begin Anew” popped into my mind. I wrote it down on a sticky note and put it on my mirror as a reminder of the new awakening I feel for my beautiful, complicated, messy life.

This is my journey. It is perfectly imperfect.

Maybe God, the Universe, the Powers that Be are molding me for something I do not yet know. Loss is part of being “molded”. And, with grace, I am open to the possibilities of the journey. So, today, I begin anew. Perhaps this post will help you in any loss you are experiencing. Today, please know that you are not alone.

~XoK

 

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Saoirse Ronan and Martin McDonagh at 2018 Golden Globes

Photo Credits: HFPA

It was a cracking night for the Irish at the 75th Annual Golden Globe Awards ceremony in Beverly Hill, CA last night as Saoirse Ronan and Martin McDonagh took home top honours.

Ronan won the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy category for the film Lady Bird, in which she plays a headstrong high school senior experiencing a turbulent relationship with her mother. It has been praised in many circles for capturing the poignancy and craziness of late adolescence {something this Irish mother of two teens can relate too!}. The film Lady Bird also won the award for the Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

McDonagh won not one, but two awards, last night: Best Motion Picture – Drama category and Best Screenplay – Motion Picture category for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. For McDonagh, there was additional success as actress Frances McDormand won the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture award and actor Sam Rockwell won the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in any Motion Picture for Three Billboards as well.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is both a wickedly dark comedy and searing drama that takes audiences on the journey of a vigilante single mom forcing the police department in her fictional town of Ebbing, Missouri, to investigate her daughter’s unsolved murder by buying ad space on three billboards. {please note, there is profanity in this trailer}

 

 

For Ronan, this year’s ceremony was not her first appearance at the Golden Globes as a nominee. In 2008, at the tender age of 13, she was nominated for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in an Motion Picture category for the film Atonement. And she was also nominated in 2016 for the Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama category for Brooklyn.

 

As the mother of two, it was refreshing to see both Saoirse Ronan and Martin McDonagh mention their mothers in their acceptance speeches. Ronan said this: “My mam’s on FaceTime over there on someone’s phone right now so hi!…I want to thank all of the women who I love so much in my own life, who support me every single day…my mother, who’s on FaceTime…!”

Not to be outdone in the humour department, McDonagh said: It’s my mum’s birthday tomorrow; she likes this kind of thing…So happy birthday, mum – even though I think she wanted Lady Bird to win!”

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* To read all full list of all the winners and nominees at the 2018 Golden Globe awards, visit here.

** Read more about Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn at the Sundance Film Festival 2015 here.

*** Visit the Lady Bird website by clicking here, and the Facebook page by clicking here.

**** Visit the Three Billboards website by clicking here and the Facebook page by clicking here.

 

 

 

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There’s something exciting and wonderful about January and the start of a new year. It’s a blank slate…don’t you think?…the chance to create something wonderful in our life and the world at large. It’s an opportunity to renew relationships and commitments or scrap the ones that didn’t work for us in the past.

Resolution, intention, purpose, goal, conscious thought…whatever you/we call our outlook for the coming twelve months…I am glad we are here today and have the chance to think about the next 363 tomorrows in 2018.

My intention this year is LOVE. 

I thought about other words and phrases: do better, be more, simplify, focus, get healthy, gratitude, travel, family, thankful, be positive, trust, faith, find joy, be present…but they didn’t resonate as much as LOVE did.

So this year…I’m going to practice Love of Self, Love of Others, Love of Work, Love of Learning, Love of Travel, Love of Being Strong, Love of Cooking, Love of Parenting, the Love of Letting Go…and more. Love, love, love…isn’t it just grand?

What is your intention, purpose, goal, conscious thought, resolution or “word” for 2018?

~ XoK

 

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Hello my lovely friends, fellow bloggers, and visitors! It’s almost New Year’s Eve and our home is a buzz with preparations for a celebration…teen style! Our two daughters are hosting different groups of friends this year…their first time ever…which should be interesting. Wish us luck!!

In return, I wish for you a New Year’s Eve celebration that fills your night with everything you need: romance, love, friendship, quiet time, family time…whatever!! And for the year ahead, may you enjoy good health, much happiness, peace, and abundance.

God bless you. And, thank you so much for your friendship and support this past year. XoKim

Happy New Year 2018!

 

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* Please stay connected with me in the coming year through: Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

 

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It took me a long time, a very long time, to fall in love with Ireland. I was young and foolish, when we first arrived, and I longed for the familiarity of the country I grew up in, the people I knew well, and a life faster-paced. But, slowly, oh so slowly, this serene country grew on me…like moss taking over a field.

Rolling green Irish countryside with ancient trees and cows grazing in the distance

Today I appreciate what I once did not. I love how at every turn something arresting catches my eye…like this field near our home. Notice how the land rolls softly at crooked angles, emerald green. Imagine cow bellows being carried softly on the breeze, and leaves rustling loosely in the wind. See the old trees huddled together, while one brave one stands tall and stately on its own. And sense the darkened cotton-ball clouds rolling overhead.

If you will, take a moment…blot out the words…and just look at the photo. Drink it in. Does it make you feel serene? I hope it does: then you too will share a tiny bit of what it took me a long, oh so long, time to realise: Ireland is an extraordinary place. Slán.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credits:

* WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene

** Want to stay at an Irish farm? Check out this article from The Irish Independent newspaper!

 

 

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Wishes from In an Irish Home to You and Yours

I have so much to be thankful for today and every day: my sweet family {the inlaws and the outlaws!}, wonderful, supportive, friends, and you…the fabulous visitors who call-in to this blog every day!

From the bottom to the top of my Irish heart…THANK YOU!

Thank you for visiting In an Irish Home, for leaving your comments, and for sharing what you like with me and others.
Wishing you and those you love a blessed Thanksgiving Day!

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Three candles in pumpkins with autumnal leaves

With two daughters in our Irish home, there is always a craft project in the works. And, happily, these sweet little pumpkin luminaries are a doddle to make. In fact, we a had a few odd shaped and left-over candles on hand, so I didn’t even have to buy wax for this activity. Wicks are readily available, as are tiny pumpkins…so there’s no excuse not to try making these pumpkin candles in your home. Enjoy!

Candle Pumpkins

Materials & Equipment

Small pumpkins

Wax flakes or left over candles

Wicks {if you have odd-shaped or old candles you are repurposing, you may also be able to repurpose the wicks}

Aluminium

Cutting board

Knife or store-bought serrated carver {the later worked well for us}

Spoon

Paperclip

Wooden skewer

Old pot

Tape

Instructions

1. Line your countertop or work surface with aluminum. Set out all your supplies.

2. Carefully, cut out the top of the pumpkin with your knife or store-bought serrated carver. This is the trickiest part, especially for little hands. Discard the top.

3. Hollow out the pumpkin with the spoon. Scrape out all the seeds and strings. You can save the pumpkin seeds for roasting later, if you like.

4. Tie one end of the wick to a paperclip and place in the hollowed out pumpkin. If you buy wicks with the metal ring already attached, press the base of the wick into the hollowed out pumpkin.

5. If repurposing old candles, chop them into small pieces on the cutting board…again, taking care not to cut yourself.

6. Put wax into your pot and melt over very low heat on the hob {stove}. It will be clear and totally liquid when ready.

7. Pour the wax, carefully, into the pumpkin. Only fill about half-way. Hold the wick upright as you pour.

8. Tape the top part of the wick to the skewer to hold it in place.

9. Pour the rest of the wax into the pumpkin until it is completely filled.

10. Reposition the wick, if necessary, and leave to cool for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.

11. When the candle is fully set, remove the tape and the skewer. Trim the wick to about 1/2-inch in length above the wax surface.

Additional Notes, Related Articles & Credit:

* While it is still warm, wipe clean the pot you used to melt your wax with kitchen roll {paper towels}. Do not pour hot wax down your sink and do not pour it into your kitchen bin {trash can}.

** For a warm, autumnal smell, add crushed  cinnamon sticks to the wax and stir well before pouring into the hollowed-out pumpkins.

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