Friday, September 18, 2015

A new blog....

Hello dear friends!  It has been quite some time since I manage to put thoughts into printed words - but a comment from an acquaintance recently got me started again.  She said she thinks in blog posts - and it struck me that I, too, often think to myself that same way.  So a new blog was born, chronicling the changes in my life as we assimilate into country life in a small town in the foothills of Colorado.  Head over and check it all out:

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Lost Art of Selfishness

Selfishness is a lost art.... Not the selfishness that might first come to mind –spending money you don't have or making decisions that benefit one to the detriment of all. That concept of selfishness is something we need to purge from our society in general.

I am thinking of the kind of selfishness that most of us have given up in favor of selfLESSness.... The selfishness we need is the kind that allows time for family and time to ourselves; saying “no” to taking on one more project or hosting one more event... As moms (and even worse –working moms) we often think selflessness is the way of life and more is better – more sleepovers, more play dates, more sport participation. We forget sometimes saying no is in someways an opportunity to say yes – freeing up time for spontaneous fun or just relaxed family time.

We also forget that we need time for just ourselves too. I have been blessed (although sometimes I didn't see it that way) over the last three years with the opportunity to take time for me. I've read lots of books (both fiction and non-fiction), taken lots of runs and even managed one or two solo getaways. I've had the time to see where I've been, to forgive myself my mistakes and to get an idea of where I want to go (and to pray for the vision of where He wants me to go!). It has been time well spent, time I encourage others to take. So often when we have a major life change – a move, a divorce, a new job – we want to take off running, to make friends, find a new lover, make our mark. Learning to step back and see the road ahead is a skill well learned and can often translate to even more success in the new season of life.

One of the things I've discovered from all this 'me' time – it isn't something I'm willing to give up! My quiet mornings spent reading, my snowdays spent writing, my runs – all make me the person I now am. I have no desire to return to that hard-charging career-minded person who always says yes. I find the balance of today is much more exciting, challenging and rewarding.

So go be selfish today –take a few minutes (or hours!) to yourself. Discover it isn't always a bad thing to do!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Process of Life

Life is such a process. And so often, we want to push that process – make it move on our time. To be “over” that hurt or injustice quickly, like ripping a band-aid off to get the pain over faster. We spend our youth waiting for the next milestone – drivers license, high school graduation, college selection.... Then we reach that coveted adult status and start looking to marriage and children – then we can't wait for them to grow up so we can travel (or just sleep through the night!). And then our children are suddenly grown up and we wish so much they could regain that innocence, that we could smell that sweet baby smell on them again...

And this process doesn't necessarily apply to just emotional milestones . When we were in Afghanistan an aid worker commented once that there is a process to development as well. A country moved too quickly through the process is never really successful – they don't learn the lessons of each stage to apply to the next more technical or industrial phase. Sometimes I think this is true of people as well.... We have to move through each stage to be successful in the next one.

And, we each have to travel our own road through life; no two trips are the same.
Even someone who is experiencing similar life stressors, who may be walking the same walk, will describe much different scenery. I have a very good friend who I am so thankful for, who has been sharing similar experiences for the last two years. We often laugh that it is a good thing we don't fall apart on the same days; if we did who would carry who?? In reality, we both fully recognize who is in control (and it isn't either of us!!) and know if we both stumbled at the same time there is still another there to pick us up and carry us along.

And when you finally reach the end of a difficult journey and the light is so bright at the end of what has been such a dark tunnel you can see that the struggle was worth it. Without all the lessons learned it would be impossible to be successful at this new place, this new stage of life. Sometimes the darkness helps you to appreciate the light all that much more!!!!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Hard to believe another year has passed... It seems just yesterday I was sitting at this same laptop, typing up a list of goals I had set out in January 2011! I seem to have missed the list in 2012.... January is one of my favorite times of the year when everything seems so fresh and new; our slate is wiped clean and things seem so much more attainable. The beginning of school has a similar feel but that often stresses me out more with the pressure of new teachers and the school supply list that grows every year.

This year has started like most – I tackled closets: thinning and purging for all three of us the things we've outgrown or just won't wear anymore. I (finally!) cleaned off the laundry room counter and found a place to put all the charging stations for the various cordless tools. And, what was the biggest chore on my list became one of the best afternoons: cleaning out the garage. I put both kiddos to work, initially to a litany of complaints, sweeping and sorting all their outdoor toys. What was initially the most daunting of the cleanup – taking apart our old soccer goal – became the most eye opening. I pulled the goal out and handed my boy a box of tools (the rotten net had gone several months before but the rusted nuts were too time consuming on my first attempt). He promptly set to work finding the right tool and enlisting his sister to hold the pliers when things needed it. He managed to safely dismantle the frame and then together they cleaned everything up. I was so impressed by his maturity and diligence – not quitting when the right tool was hard to find or yelling at his sister when she tried to help. My lesson – he is growing up and ready to handle more responsibility (and needs to be challenged like this more often). I might have to invest in a safer/lighter lawnmower soon and hand that job off to him, too!!

In addition to all the purging and cleaning I've been pondering my goals for the next year and am surprised at how similar the themes are to the ones I set two years ago...

Spend more time with God – reading and focusing on His plans for us

Focus on our health – making time for the dentist, checkups and various things that get pushed back between work and other demands

Encourage the kiddos to see their strengths and make more time for fun

Continue to save in preparation for 2014's big challenge of retirement

I'll try to keep you all posted on our progress.... So far we are 12 days into the new year and things seem to be shaping up pretty darn well!!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

On this cloudy and cool Colorado morning I am enjoying some quiet time with a cup of coffee, counting all that I have to be thankful for.

The kiddos are growing strong and happy. After my boy's health scare and surgery this summer I honestly didn't know what the holidays would look like for us. And here he is – begging me for a ski day tomorrow!! My girl continues to adjust to the challenges of middle school – making new friends and learning the trials of group work. Both excelled on their fall sports' teams – the boy leading the statistics on his baseball team and the girlie consistently ruling the soccer game at mid-field.

As you sit down around your food-laden table today I hope you are able to celebrate the time together, and remember those who are far from home today. I am thankful to be spending the day surrounded by my children and our good friends – part of the awesome community we are so blessed with.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Time on my Hands

Rare occurrence for me this week – time on my hands... I tend to be in constant motion – between kids' activities and my own schedule we so rarely have time to just do nothing for long periods of time. This week is the school Fall Break (something we never did growing up but we very much enjoy now!) and for the last two years the kids and I have gone exploring around the area. One year we went to Estes Park and hiked in Rocky Mountain National Park; last year we visited a good friend in the Vail area and biked, hiked and explored her new stomping grounds. This year – the kiddos spent time with their dad, which left me with time on my hands.... Yes, I could have canceled my vacation time and headed to work (this would have been my nurse's first choice as her workload increases considerably if I am not there) but instead I decided to attempt some time just for me.

Day one was easy to fill – I spent much needed time with my college roommate. She lives just an hour away but we rarely manage more than a visit every 6 months or so. We talked non-stop for the afternoon and barely touched on all the topics that needed covering. She is one of those people in my life that I can go months without seeing and we pick up the conversation almost right where it was left off... Day two was easy too – well, until dinner time. I spent much of the day with another friend – baking and doing little chores that seem to be easier with a friend. But as dinner time rolled around it was hard to consider cooking for one; and how to fill those hours between dinner and bed – hours normally spent in homework or breaking up fights over the remote...

As the week has rolled on I became introspective over these empty hours. We as a culture are often so busy that unscheduled time becomes scary. I found myself feeling like I still needed to fill those hours with productive activity – cleaning the grill, preparing the patio for winter, typing a blog post... And I felt guilty if I chose to just sit in the sun and read my book (maybe not too guilty – I have a sunburn to show for that “lazy time”). So rarely do we take the time to just be still, to take in what is happening around us, and to reflect rather that react.

In the long run I am sure I will pay a price next week when I return to work with all the things that will be waiting for me... But as the week winds down I am thankful for this time of quiet, unscheduled activity before we go into the Holiday rush, before ski season starts and we are back on the run. Now, all that said – time to get moving – there is laundry to get started, errands to run, homework to accomplish...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Simple Acts of Kindness

I have a confession to make... I am a softie at heart. Please don't let my kids know – they think I am tough, the enforcer of all rules and responsible for squashing all fun....
In truth – TV commercials and sappy songs on the radio bring tears to my eyes, and those little stories people post on Face Book can make or break my day.

Recently I shared one of those little FB stories with my 11 year old girlie. We've all read it – the one about the boy carrying all his books home on a Friday afternoon after school who is befriended by the popular “jock”. The two go on to become lifelong friends and the first boy eventually admits he had planned to commit suicide that weekend they first met. The simple act of kindness and friendship, unknowingly offered by the “jock”, changed the course of this young man's life. I read the post to my girlie in hopes of reminding her how little things we do through the day can affect people; how a simple smile or helping to pick up a dropped item can lift someone in ways we may never know. As she navigates the waters of middle school and concerns of popularity can overshadow studies I don't want her to lose her kind heart that has shinned so brightly all these years.

Yesterday was “Make a Difference Day” - a day to volunteer, to reach out to the community, to serve those in need. I love the concept but shouldn't every day be a day to reach out? I know – it isn't practical to have a coat drive every day or serve at a soup kitchen on your lunch hour. But simple acts of kindness incorporated into everyday are easy – and you never know how it might affect the life of another (or even your own...).