Monday, June 17, 2013

Monday, June 10, 2013

This I Like

"Our life's work is to use what we have been given to wake up. If there were two people exactly the same-same body, same speech, same mind, same mother, same father, same house, same food, everything the same- one of them could use what he has to wake up and the other could use it to become more resentful, bitter, and sour. It doesn't matter what you are given, whether it's a physical deformity or enormous wealth or poverty, beauty or ugliness, mental stability or mental instability, life in the middle of a mad house or life in the middle of a peaceful silent desert. Whatever you're given can wake you up or put you to sleep. That's the challenge of now: what are you going to do with what you have already - your body, your speech, your mind?
May we all learn that pain is not the end of the journey, and neither is delight. We can hold them both - indeed hold it all - at the same time, remembering that everything in these quixotic, unpredictable, unsettled and unsettling, exhilarating and heart-stirring times is a doorway to awakening in our sacred world." ~Pema Chödrön

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Seasons of life pass us by so quickly.  I look over my past thirty four years and I feel a sense of whiplash as I contemplate all that my life has encompassed, and all the changes that have come – much without me even realizing that so much change was happening.  How quickly it seems I have gone from the young girl playing on the prairie with my brothers on those long summer days to being a young mother of three filling the schedule of those long summer days once again.

I glimpse back on snippets of the person I have been in the various stages of my life and I would just like to step back for a few moments in to those shoes once again.  I would love to give myself the insight that I now know is 20/20.  To tell my frantic mind to not worry about the trivial things that it used to, to protect my heart from the things I let wound it, to be intentional about those exact moments in my life.

I feel like in many ways I have let life happen to me instead of controlling what I make out of life.  I have been guilty of letting the days pass me by without really having a focus about what I was hoping to get out of them.  I am not in any way a believer that all of life is controlled by us, but there is a portion of it that comes down to personal responsibility, to personal choices and vision. 

There are moments where I mourn the past seasons of my life that I took for granted.  I miss being a young girl living at home, surrounded by my family at the dinner table and my brothers with all their pestering and hairy legs they loved to torment me with.  I miss the carefree days of high school where theater and friends (and a dumb boyfriend) were allowed to be my center.  College was an amazing time for me where I created friendships I still treasure to this day.  If I could just tell the 18 year old me to enjoy the freedom of staying up until 4 a.m. eating nachos with best friends and boys because those days won’t last forever.  And then falling in love and meeting the one.  Sigh.  Those first years of married life where it is all about the two of you and the building of this foundation that you have together created, growing together, meshing two lives in to one. And then the days of my career. The letters from past students who were touched by me, and me in turn by them.  Digging through my tubs of teaching materials and realizing that I really was a pretty darn good teacher!

And here’s the thing that’s hitting me.  THESE days are going to be like that one day.  One of these days I know that I am going to look back and my children are going to be grown.  Everyone tells me this is true.  Women of grown children look at me with that glimmer in their eyes and share stories of when their children were young and just how quickly those years seemed to pass.  I know I’ve mentioned this before on here – but this is something I continuously work on.  Two words actually.  Being content and being intentional. 

I spend way too much time thinking about what life is going to look like after toddlerhood.  What am I going to do with me when this stage of my life is over?  I admit to moments of dreaming of a life past young children, laundry, Old MacDonald, cleaning, sprinklers, sippy cups, and dishes.  And when I look back on those past stages of my life mentioned above I see this common thread of discontentment.  Always looking ahead to what was going to come next.  When I was a young girl I just wanted to get out of the house. When I was in college I just wanted to find the man of my dreams. When I was married I just couldn’t wait to have children.  Do you see the pattern?

And so I am trying to stop it. I don’t know if I fully can. Maybe part of it is just the way I’m wired, the dreamer in me perhaps – but yet I’m not willing to write it off as just that and then years from now look back at regret about how much time I spent planning for the next stage instead of relishing the one I was currently in.

And so the summer of 2013 is my summer of intentionality.  I have three young children who are with me  I have three young children who love being with me  What kind of a gift have I been given?  I have vowed that we aren’t going to waste it sitting idly by and watching life pass us.  We are grabbing hold this summer.

And so the kids and I sat down and we created our summer bucket list.  Adelyn couldn’t quite grasp the concept entirely yet and just offered bits of advice like “kitty cats,” but she is enthusiastic as all get out and along for the ride with the rest of the gang!  The boys, however, spewed idea after idea. Everything from watching fireworks to catching bugs made the list.  We compiled a list thirty-seven items long, and even now they keep adding to it.  We’ve got ourselves a full summer folks!

On top of that I find that I am a creature of routine. (I’ve known this for quite some time I guess!)  Give me no schedule and I am a woman on edge.  I love when everyone has a groove and everyone knows what to expect and the world just sings in harmony. These things make me happy.  Toss in a spontaneous date night once in awhile or the chance to sing karaoke at a gas station on a whim and I’m all for it, but for the day give me my groove baby. And so I knew that summer had to have some rhythm.  So I took some time last week to create this schedule for our days.  I pulled a lot of these ideas offline, so I can’t take full credit by any means, but I tweaked it to make it work for us.

summer schedule

(Please excuse the blurry business going on underneath each heading.  I attempted to do some jpeg tweaking, but it wasn’t resolving itself as quickly as I had hoped and so we work with what we got.  If you care to know more about how I have this all laid out please just ask!)

In a short summary Monday is our crafting/cooking day.  Tuesday is our library/story hour day.  Wednesday is our get wet and crazy day. Thursday we’re taking a trip to a new destination and Friday we’re eating something delicious at a new dive every week.  I must admit the boys are mostly excited for Foodie Fridays above all of the days! 

I then compiled a list of things for each day.  Recipes, crafts we’ve been wanting to try, ways to get wet, places we’ve always wanted to check out, and the joints with the best snacks in town. 

I am excited about living each day with intentionality, but yet at the same time allowing myself to breathe and realize that not every moment is going to be glorious. Not every day is going to go according to my plan and routine.  There are going to be moments in my glorious intentional summer when I may feel like screaming in to a pillow or downing a bottle of wine at 10 a.m. – but this gives me a goal.  A goal of loving my children and loving this summer I’ve been given when my children are 4, 4, and 2.  I’ll never get another exactly like this.  I’m up to the challenge.  It is going to be epic. Smile Stay tuned…


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