Thursday, December 1, 2011


Here is a little addendum to yesterday's post and I hope that those of you that are thinking, "Get back to the Provençal Christmas preparations already" will bear with me. 

Your comments always push my thinking to the next step. It made me realize that beyond the outer, physical expressions of the roles that we play, what is more interesting to me is the idea that there is a unique fire within each of us, one that waxes and wanes at different stages in our lives but frequently glows strongly in our youth (whether we were rebellious or not). And yes, like many, I tend to idealize that stage in our lives and the fearlessness that comes from not knowing any better. But what I had forgotten is the importance of those that let their fire burn bright even once they do know the consequences. I am referring not only to my response to Vicki Archer, who is increasingly creative on her blog French Essence but also to the numerous inspiring women that I have in my life both online and in person. Courage has no expiration date.

So if the fire within me feels dimmer than it has in the past, yes, it most certainly is a sign that I haven't fully accepted who I am at this stage of my life. Which leads me to a question that came up yesterday while talking with my Sister, Robin (whose birthday it is today. Happy Birthday! I love you!) that she encouraged me to go ahead and ask. For those of you with children, did you feel that personal fire within you expand in having them? Knowing that it is passed on within them? Perhaps I am mistaken but for women like myself who haven't experienced motherhood, the transition towards middle age seems to take a greater effort. It is something that has to be wrought rather than arriving on its own--or is that obvious? Any thoughts?  


  1. While I haven’t experienced motherhood the journey towards middle age has been fairly easy, I’m getting tired…lol. Actually I look forward to the coming years since each decade seems to offer something new and wonderful. I’m one of those odd people who doesn’t mind a few lines on their face, it makes it more interesting, and a few (ok tons) of gray hair. But I feel fortunate to have made it to 51 and look forward to many more years.

  2. Debra, thank you so much for your honest response, I am so grateful for it, I can't tell you! If I am asking these kinds of questions, it is for no other reason than I really want to know what someone thinks. How lucky you are to feel so good in your skin--you inspire me! Bisous,

  3. Heavens, you ask the most fabulous questions Heather. As usual, I have to ponder them for a while. But first thought, on the first observation you made, about fire burning within, is that it varies so much with different people. Perhaps we have a set quota - and can either use it all up in youth then sizzle out - or can glow gently at first then get brighter and brighter as we get more confident with life experience - or for those who are creative, they can discover the secret to an endless fuel supply. Certainly, the most creative people do seem to fit into that mould. Perhaps that is why they tend to live the longest, drawing fire out of every new adventure. (Thinking here of musicians, artists, writers etc who live to a good age.) And how to top up that fire supply, I wonder? Constantly being challenged, so things are always a little scary, travel, meeting new people with a different point of view, reading, music, thinking, learning. Maybe that is the secret formula?

    If there is any room left on my comment the children question. I don't know if it is necessary to have children in order to keep that fire burning, because it can be achieved in other ways. But having children is truly the greatest adventure of them all, and almost because it is scary and they don't come with an instruction manual. So they keep you constantly learning, constantly challenged and constantly re-thinking a new point of view. For me personally, their belief in me + being enlightened by their attitudes has fueled my fire. And the other thing it does, is make me look forward to the future, as I follow their adventures.

    Middle age smiddle age. Who cares - it's all arbitrary anyway, this age thing. A person at 5 can have the wisdom and spirit of a 50 year old. I prefer to measure age that way. I read a marvelous quote the other day from a 100 year old who said you have to ignore birthdays but treat each day like a celebration instead. Virginia xx

  4. Virginia, I got this just before heading off to sleep and it moved me very much-in such a good way! There is too much to respond to here in my tired state--lots for me to think about-- but it all hits home with me, right down the line of your reasoning. I knew that I could count on you for telling me what you really thought and I wasn't the least bit disappointed. I most certainly agree that age and wisdom are relative. We all have so much to offer in our way... Merci et bon nuit!

  5. Heather I was really thinking about this. I was quite young when I had my son and daughter. I remember trying to be perfect so that everyone could see that I was a "Good Mother".

    Now I wish I had been a little less worried about perfection and had more fun with them. I have tried to do this with the grandchildren.

    You have so much spirit just go with your inner voice, your passions!

    Art by Karena

  6. Thank you Karena, you certainly are a wonderful example of that! I am sending good energy for you to be on the mend...and thank you for your perspective, I am very sure that your children and grandchildren are grateful to have such a wonderful person in their lives!

  7. Hello Heather. Yesterday I started to write a comment to this blog. It became too big so I moved it to a word processing document. 500 plus words later I thought it best to email it to you and couldn't find an email address!
    So in is shades of grey. I've know people to be burnt out by their children and I have friends who have chosen to be childless whose flames have burnt brighter the older they get! Then there are parents who are just big kids, parents who should never have been parents...the list goes on. And parents like yours and mine - wonderful, loving, firmly grounded with solid values. Life's journey is a series of hills and valleys. What ever the challenges I have faced.......,midlife, early adulthood, childhood or teens, I have found the quote "...and it came to pass..." has helped me to get through them.
    Thank you for being such a wonderful blog friend. I appreciate your comments and wit, and as you already know, your style of writing is delightful. Bisous.
    (P.S. Love to hear from you via my email address on my blog)

  8. Elizabeth, I would love to read the whole of what you wrote if you still have it! My email address is So much of what you say makes good sense to me. And yes, I appreciate you very much too!!

  9. I think that was all have a flame burning within us, some days it is so small and flickering that it seems as if it can be snuffed out by the merest breath of negativity, other days it burns so brightly it threatens to consume us. The trick is to feed your fire with the things about which you are passionate and to shelter it from the ill-winds that may blow it out..

    Age, I'm 55 and I have finally understood who I have trying to be all my life. I'm still childish at times, still learning, still asking Santa for a pony, but now I don't fret about silly stuff and I like my life...

    And children, I have two, The Rags. It took me 8 years to conceive my firstborn, it was a long and hard road to travel, but worth every stumbling step. My Rags are my master pieces, my giving back something to the world, my pride and joy.

    But children belong to all of us, they are life's longing to continue, they are our faith in the future. My children, a stranger's children, they are all Our children whether we've given birth or not.

    Does that make sense?

  10. Yes, it most certainly does make sense and I find the idea very beautiful as well. But I appreciated so much of what you wrote. The idea of topping up the fire with things that we are passionate about or that challenge us came up in other responses as well. It is true when I look at freinds that are older than myself, it is something that they all have in common, despite how different those passions might be. How great to be right where you want to be. I can feel the unimportant things falling away like shedding skin but I am not quite there yet and so this phase feels rather awkward. A bit like an adolescent in reverse.
    Again, thank you so much for your thoughtful response, Mouse. Wishing you an excellent Sunday.

  11. I remember being in the thick of parenthood, my thirties were a complete blur. Juggling a nursing new born, while chasing an adventurous toddler, while volunteering at my five year olds preschool class and then also keeping up with my second and fifth graders homework and school projects! Whew! I always focused on how I couldn’t wait until they were all older, what they would be doing with their lives and how much “easier “ life would get. I so wish now that I had lived in the moment and just enjoyed each stage as it came. How much more that adventure would have meant. What I know is this, nothing gets easier, it just changes. I’ve changed. I’ve ended up saying and doing things I once judged others harshly for. My kids have taught me to be flexible and accepting. I have my principles, yes, but more so with an open mind than before. High expectations and perfectionism have been replaced with the wisdom of embracing what is and what changes can occur on any given day. The kids are now 15 years thru 26, and my job is far from over as is my adventure in this journey I signed up for all those years ago. It is all I ever wanted, and not at all what I expected. It is a calling that will keep calling until I draw my last breath. Regrets? I have absolutely none, this is the most beautiful, heart wrenching, overwhelming, exhausting, fulfilling and utterly precious task and journey I have ever experienced. One where the road will never end with it’s twists and turns, views constantly changing and my heart growing fuller with every step.

    1. Thank you for this beautiful, beautiful response Laura. it moved me so deeply. Namaste...the light in Me bows down to the light in You.

  12. Oh, thank you! I decided to start at the very first post you made back in 2010 and work my way up in chronological order. Slowly and thoughtfully as to really digest it all and relive the feelings it evokes in me. Just loving it!


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