Back to the Basics

Friday, September 4, 2015

^^Clearly, we were all on the same page for this picture.  Just perfect.^^

The worry I felt as a parent last week nearly crushed me.  It wasn't anything huge, but there were a couple of things that felt really heavy.  I often wonder how I'll ever make it through this parenting gig.  It wasn't just worry either.  It was this maddening sense of loneliness for feeling entirely too sensitive.  I desperately needed to tell a girlfriend about how I felt, about what had happened and why it made me ache for my kids, and yet I kept thinking I should save it for something more important.  I also worried that if I did share my fears, and it wasn't received well or was dismissed, it would crush me even more when I was already feeling fragile.  I didn't want to put that risk or responsibility on anyone I loved.  (I was being silly of course, because I have the best people and they all would have received my information with great care, but you know how our brains can be real jerks sometimes.)

I wanted someone to blame, but I knew it wouldn't really make me feel better.  I like peace and order; when you're good, I'm good.  After days of anxiety, some tears, and that lonely tug, here's what finally helped me relax on yet another restless, sleepless night.  For some reason, probably by the grace of God, one of my favorite quotes that my Dad had shared with me long ago (and that I included in a post a few years back), popped into my head.

The world is so beautiful, how can we not be grateful?
The world is so difficult, how can we not be kind?

This is one of my life's mantras, but I still sometimes forget it.  Deciding to be grateful and kind.  Remembering this quote and knowing this truly was the only way through for me... back to the basics.  Now, I don't mean this in a dumbed down, cheesy after school special sort of way.  And I don't mean it like it's an easy fix or that it's the quick answer when facing serious tragedy or even serious anxiety.  I certainly don't think that.  Rather, that for the day to day worries, this is a good way of giving myself permission and acknowledgement that yes, life is hard, and yes, life is magnificent.  My kids will most assuredly struggle.  That is guaranteed for everyone, so kindness, kindness, kindness all around!  How will we get by without it?  And my kids will also celebrate and rejoice, so Praise the Lord!  (Or PTL as some of my old Social Work gals used to say.  Aww, miss my SoWo gals.)

I will always worry, because it's my thing.  Sorta would've liked to have an awesome thing like mind-reading or best at eating pizza and mashed potatoes (actually I might have that second one), but alas worrying is what I got.  And while it's a pain in the ass, it also keeps me aware of my kids' feelings (and maybe my feelings and your feelings too from time to time), and I'd like to think that ends up being a good thing.  I'm a big fan of a team, I like being part of one.  My basketball days were oh so dear to me.  So let's be a team, and all use kindness and gratitude to combat our everyday worries, to be glad in our victories, and for goodness' sake let's use our people.  We must use our people.  So grateful for mine.  And so grateful for each of you that meet me here.  You have no idea how much this team means to me.  

Where to begin?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

It's sort of always the question, isn't it?  I sometimes often have trouble getting started with tasks.  Easy tasks, hard tasks, everyday tasks, new tasks.  I don't like to start a project I can't finish.  I don't like to start something without having all the information about all the things, and all the possible obstacles accounted for.  Yikes.  It's amazing I've made it this far in life, huh?!  

After taking such a long break from blogging and feeling eager to get back into it as my kids have started school, I've thought long and hard on what to cover and where to begin.  I've spent a lot of time trying to organize the gazillions of photos that have been taken over the last several months.  I'm still not organized and still don't really know where to begin.  I'm having trouble starting this task, friends.  So, I'm just jumping in blindly, haphazardly.  That's how so much of life is for me anyway, regardless of how much time I spend trying to control it and keep it tidy.  The first few years of my thirties have taught me how rugged the road can be.  And how much beauty and adventure lie in that bumpy terrain.  It's constant really, the ups and downs.  I knew there was much pain in the world, but I guess I didn't really grasp how much of that discomfort could be wrapped up and intertwined with so much joy day in and day out.  I'm trying to make sense of this.  It has kept me silent from here.  Too much to sort out.  But remember (see above), I'm jumping back in, without all the information about all the things.  I'll never have it (sigh).  

I don't know how to adequately describe this summer.  It held such highs and lows.  There was so much to celebrate, with birthdays and anniversaries.  Jaron and I celebrated our 10th (!) wedding anniversary and traveled to Napa Valley (by ourselves!) and drank wine at 10:30am and coffee at 5:30pm.  It was magic.  We visited family and got to see old and new friends.  The kids and I were extra lazy with most of our days, tried to soak up the sunshine and find adventure in the ordinary.  It was delightful.  

And yet, this summer also held the lowest of lows with the loss of loved ones.  Really precious loved ones.  It was sad and uncomfortable and painful.  It's still sad.  There was celebration for these beautiful and brave lives.  And we keep remembering them.  Remembering always, paying forward hope and love.      

I plan to write more about the summer and life lately.  I will share way too many pictures, because it's what I do.  You won't recognize my kids.  It's completely unacceptable how big they have gotten.  It's the worst and it's the best.  Oh, just like life sometimes.  The worst and the best.  I'm putting my hope in more of the best though.  That's where I'll begin.  


Thursday, July 16, 2015

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  I love stripes.  I love love my kids in stripes. I love love love my kids matching in stripes.  There, I said it.  (iPhone)

I know, I've been pretty fast and loose with the whole 'portrait of my children.'  It's been more of a 'any shot of my children, in the vicinity of the camera, whatever way they happen to be looking, once a week, every week' blah blah blah.  It's where we're at right now, and I'm mostly happy with any pic I can get.  Just wanted to make it known in case you were worried about the semantics of this whole project.  Happy almost weekend!


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  This was from the 4th of July.  We had a pretty low-key day, but we like it that way sometimes.  E is happy as a clam in this pic, rolling over rocks in our front yard, in search of bugs.  Cora follows along, eager to join in any adventure that may arise.  I can't get enough of Cora's profile these days.  Her hair, or at least the back portion of it, is growing like a weed this summer, and those wild and free wispies fill me up with all sorts of happy thoughts.  (iPhone)

Happy Week, friends!

22, 23, 24, 25, 26/52

Monday, June 29, 2015

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."





I've gotten so behind.  These are all iPhone pics, because it's been much more convenient for our life these days, and honestly I'm pretty out of practice with my Canon.  I'm just more comfortable with the phone camera lately.  You may also notice that some of these have Jaron and me in them, because those pics were the ones I was most drawn to and most wanted to remember from that particular week.  Instead of an individual description on each, I'll say that being outside in the evenings has been good for us, as a family, in this season.  Walks around our neighborhood, trips to the park, playing with the hose, digging in the dirt, eating dinner in the backyard.  Even if I feel like I've failed through the day or life's other pains seem overwhelming, the evening sun acts as a reset, a promise for a new beginning.  And maybe it also indicates that the kids' bedtime is not too far away, PraisetheLord!  (I know, I'm the worst.)  The last picture was taken right before Jaron and I headed out to California last week.  I wanted a picture of the four of us to have to look at while we were gone, because I knew I'd miss those little stinkers.  This picture is ridiculous and just right.  It was the perfect thing to keep me from getting too homesick while we were away.  

I really do have more to write.  Maybe some of it will turn into another post.  You just never know with little ol' me.  Love all your guts like crazy!

19, 20, 21/52

Thursday, May 28, 2015

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  Playing with hair things, as you do.  (19/52) 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

Emmitt:  He was telling me all about this playdough creation.  I tried my hardest to remember everything he was saying because it was just so rich with imagination.  As soon as I could, I typed his words into the notes app on my phone.  What a sweetie and a weirdie this boy is.  
Cora:  Modeling our friend's sunglasses that she had just swiped.  (20/52, iPhone) 

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2015."

E&C:  All this rain.  Goodness, it is making outside play very exciting for my bug loving boy and his up for anything sister, but it sure is getting pretty disgusting for their mom.  We have to spray these kiddos down after almost every backyard adventure these days, because of all the digging in the mud.  (21/52)  

Oh hey there!  Remember when I used to blog?  Yeah, me neither.  3 weeks behind on the ol' 52 pics.  Hope to be around here more this summer.  Hope you all are well.  Hope you get to do something you love today.

The Thing

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Sometimes I hate that the main times I'm inspired and motivated to write are when I have to because otherwise I'll burst... meaning they are usually posts about feeling sensitive or my aches with life's ups and downs.  I want my writing to be carefree, and dare I say, cool.  But I am painfully sensitive to the world around me, to my feelings, and those of others.  It makes for quite a lot going on in my head most of the time, and it makes for a large lack of carefree and cool. 

Often writing is one of my go-to ways of leaning into any discomfort I may be feeling.  As I've said before, it shows me what's really bothering me and allows for a release, after scrolling through Facebook has left me feeling numb with no relief, sometimes even worse than when I began.

I've told some friends that I don't know how to be a writer.  I'd like to think that I'm a pretty teachable person, but more so when I've had a teacher or coach getting me started, showing me what has worked in the past, giving suggestions for practice and discipline.  Of course I have read about these things in relation to writing, but I still feel like I'm wandering, mostly aimlessly. 

But I just keep on wandering, even if it feels aimless, because deep down, I know it's not.  Deep down, I know there's no other way.  While I wish I had more direction, could see a little further ahead on the path, I wouldn't change it, because this aimless wandering has filled me up.  Aimlessly wandering and stringing together words has become my thing.

Which works well with my new mantra (along with about 6 others from Amy Poehler's book, Yes Please):

"We did the thing.  Because remember, the talking about the thing isn't the thing.  The doing of the thing is the thing." 

(She's kind of my hero.  Well her, and Leslie Knope.) 

I sure like the thing.  My very uncool, worry-filled, yet life-giving and joy-producing, wildly weird thing.  

What's your thing?  Go do it!

(My other thing is taking pictures of my kids.  Because they too are life-giving, joy-producing, and wildly, wildly weird.  In the absolute best kind of way.)


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