"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." A.A. Milne

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beautiful Summer Days

We have been blessed with the fleeting days of early summer. They show up randomly and without warning here in Missouri. The days are a gentle upper 70's maybe lower 80's. The humidity is exceptional low, always a cause to celebrate. The sun shines with a purity and clarity rarely seen. The lush greens are illuminated and the vibrant colors of rampantly growing flowers catch the eye in juxtaposition. The air smells clean and fresh. It is the smell of a day newly born to this world.

I am so happy to be mentally present for this time. If I had remained tied up in self imposed anxieties and manufactured worries, I would missed all of this. It would have been tragic. Glad to have missed the worry and embraced the joy.

This weekend is shaping up to be fairly free flowing. I love those times. If I am not stormed out, I want to get a 10 mile run in early. I have rediscovered my love of running, the joy of simply moving. It is a treasured gift. I found out there will be a hoop jam in a local park. I am excited to go. I want to get in contact with the local hooping community. It has not been the focus I would like. I want to jump, or dance, right back in to the circle. I love it will be at a park. I LOVE hooping in nature and my family can go with me and play. Win-win for all.

We have been enjoying this gorgeous weather. I am taking time to connect with my precious babies. Running through the grass, sharing smiles and laughter, watching them discover baby animals and explore new environments. It has been heavenly.

In a moment, I will log off my computer and spend some quality morning time snuggling and talking with my babies. Then I will put a batch of chili in the crockpot. It will feed us many meals this weekend. Then we will be free to run back outside and experience today. It will only be here for a moment and will never come again.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

This morning, for the first time, I rose at 4:20 am to go out running. I have wanted to do this for a long time but a precious little one has shared my bed until the past couple of weeks. He is a very light sleeper so if I woke, so did he. But this morning was mine.

It was hard to roll out of bed. I could hear a light drizzle. Maybe I should just stay in my warm, dark room snuggled with my husband. But I knew it would be worth it.I stumbled downstairs and went through my preparations on autopilot. It may be a good thing to get up early but it is not a bouncy, energetic thing.

I met my group while it was still dark and we took off. It was glorious. I had forgotten the stillness and beauty of early morning. It was quiet, the world was at rest.All the hustle and bustle still slowed. Maybe all that rushing around and noise is necessary but there is a part deep inside of me holding tight to the idea we would all be better off if we slowed down and learned to listen to the quiet. The sky lightened until the magically time of twilight surround us. Twice a day, twilight comes and it is my favorite time. With the shadows of twilight, the child in me thinks there just may be something to all the tales of magic, fairies, and their ilk. We ran quietly with th wind gently winding around us on our path. The soft rhythmic sound of our shoes hitting the road.

On this run is a nasty little hill, big hill actually. It is sneaky. You don't really realize how long or how hard it is until your are deep within its grip. But it is joyfully rewarding as well. When you finally reach the crest a euphoria carries you downhill and along a cobble path. The harder you work, the more intense the joy. This morning I was rewarded for my efforts not only by the expected rush of good feeling, but a stunning sunrise laid out before me. Gorgeous.

After my run, I came back to a sleeping house. My workout is done and my family still slumbers. I have written, drank coffee, and read my bible. It is the perfect way to start the day. May you have a wonderful day.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Soooo Much Better

Attiude and focus play an immense role in our lives. I hope you never underestimate them. It can be the difference between stress and being fairly miserable and joy and peace. The decision to back off on my physical pursuits, marathon and half Iron man, have granted me immediately results. Understand, nothing has really changed in my life except my perspective which is reflected in my attitude and focus. I am still running just as much since I had not started the climb in miles. But life is dreamily beautiful again.

Due to some insane storms, I only ran once this past week. Before my change of heart, this would have been cause for a great deal of consternation. In in effort to scramble my plans to fit those runs in, I would have trashed my weekend and my family's weekend as well. But instead, oh well, I will go back on Tuesday. Therefore Saturday was filled with a fun but drippy trip to the farmer's markt and some much needed gardening.

I had been reading a blog recently that stated if some project is draining because it is NOT getting done, why don't you do it? My newfound mental clarity illuminated two stressors in my life, the pantry and the huge craft closet. Both of them were tackled this weekend and I am happy to say even more weight was lifted.

Today has been simply joyful. I have savored the opportunity to experience moments as I prepared the produce from this weekend's trip to the market and did the every day mundane chores. These mundane chores enable my family to live in a clean, tidy, and happy home. It was joyful to take the time to reflect on the purpose of my actions and praise God for the opportunity to serve my family. It was simply beautiful.

The most important thing is my attitude to my wonderful, crazy, messy, hilarious babies has changed. I am ashamed to say, I was becoming annoyed with them. I realize now it felt as if they were getting in the way of the things I needed to get done. They were a distraction. But the truth is, they are not a distraction, no not at all, they are the reason. My incredible littles are one of the main reasons I do what I do. It is for them, for our family, It is to create a home of warmth, joy, comfort, and family. It is NOT to be productive. I lost my way on the path. But I have returned.

I am amazed and humbled I have such a wondrous life, mine for the asking. All I had to do was realize I had wandered off and Presto! it is mine again. I love these people who form my family. I am savoring these times of growing closer and reaffirming our bonds. Amazing, it realy is.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thankfully, I Have a Sense of Humor About Myself

Wow, it has been a long time since I have last blogged. Like many in the glorious summer months, I have been busy. There have been some great times but sadly, I have slipped back into an old habit. I found something figuratively shiny and fixated.

You can't fault me for my enthusiasm and gung ho attitude. I tackle projects, challenges, and mountains, sometimes literal ones, with focus, determination, and sometimes (um, often) an unhealthy dose of obsession.

Yes, once again I have jumped in with both feet and bit off more than I can chew. Well, at least more than I WANT to chew. I have been loving the running thing. Coupled with the challenge of copetition, my natural drift to fixation happily leapt to the forefront. I planned on running a full marathon this fall, another in the spring, and a half Ironman a year from September. Grab the bull by the horns, wrestle it to the ground, and then find another beast to tackle. Right??? Can I hear a woo hoo!!?? Um, maybe not the best idea.

Here is the dangerous thing, I am physically and metnally strong enough to accomplish these goals. But the only way I can is a the exclusion of pretty much everything else in my life. Obsessive focus, table for one.

Lately I ahve had that empty, unsatisfied feeling. It is the first sign of trouble. A harbinger of going down the wrong path. Due to the these feelings, I have been assessing my life to find the problem, brain dumping lists on paper to find the element out of balance. I was desperate to tweak life back to contentment and peace. So often the solution is right there in front of me but manages to stay hidden in some quantum shift blind spot.

When I finally resigned myself to put on the glasses of honesty, I realized I have neglected many important aspects of life. Physically, I have not been lifting, cross trianing, or practicing yoga. I am not physically balanced and I am starting to pay a price for said imbalance. I have not been creating. Hooping is a major creative outlet for me. I have also failed to write, hence the neglected blog. My knitting is sitting in the butler's pantry untouched. I had a burning desire to start working with mixed media art but it strangely evaporated.(Warning, warning, danger of obsession ahead)

Another clue to the mess emerging in my life is the chaos of my physical enviroment. The house is messier. Projects I was determined to finish have been left undone. My beloved garden has been turning into an overgrown, wild mess. And not in a good way! Anytime my environment is chaotic, I guarantee my mind is chaotic. In this mess, I do not thrive.

But the absolute final piece of this puzzle was the shape of my relationships. I am a relational person. Good friends and family quicken me with the essence of life. It is one of the main sources of my energy and joy. I have been letting them all slide. I have not been seeking out my friends. I have been distant with John. But the biggest indicator something is wrong, I have been short tempered with my precious babies. I have felt annoyed and easily frustrated. It is wrong in so many ways. They are my joy, my blessing, and my most precious gifts. The deserve so much better than the momma I have been.

Ultimately, it was readily apparent I have fixated on these races to the detriment of things and people much more important to me. The decision to back off and rebalance was inevitable. I have to take the time to refocus my energy and passion. I can still accomplish these goals but a much slower paced timeline.

Lately, I have beent thinking a great deal about women's perceptions of themselves. I know alot of women desperately trapped in the cycle and cage of living for others or worse, for what others may think about them. I am going to be honest, for a fleeting moment I wondered what some would think of my decision to back off. Would they think I was weak? a quitter? Then my beautiful friend humility, whom I do not see nearly often enough, showed up and gentle stood her ground on the notion it must be done for the good of all I love, no matter what.

Self confidence quickly followed the lovely humility and declared, "So what if they do? Do we really care about the thoughts of people who would judge us?" Well nope, not really.

I want to encourage you to make the decsions, however hard or unpopular, that best serves you and your family. I hope you learn to scoff and ignore the people who would judge you. They really aren't important, they just think they are.

In the end, Liz Phair sang it best, "I AM extraordinary!" and so are you. I promise.

Peace my friends.