Space, Thought, Time and Purpose

I’ve been thinking a lot about space lately. All kinds of space, but mental space especially.

Josh and I took on cleaning out his parents’ basement recently in preparation for a garage sale. You would not believe the number of VHS tapes we recycled. Or the number of times we heard from his dad about how each item is definitely going to sell, it’ll be worth a lot of money. just you wait.

space time thought

Spending a weekend in a small dingy unfinished basement full of stuff, some worth the effort, most rotting away, it’s enough to make you want to go home and throw everything you own away. Especially when you live in a small one bedroom like we do, constantly running out of space as we work on projects, have company, or just clutter the space up with everyday life. Continue reading “Space, Thought, Time and Purpose”

Just Around the River Bend

If there’s one thing most people know about me, it’s that I’m not an “outdoorsy” person.  Now that doesn’t mean that I hate nature.  I just prefer to enjoy it while I’m sitting on a beach or from the backseat of the car as my family drives through the Smoky Mountains.  You see growing up in my family, our idea of fun didn’t consist of hiking or camping or canoeing.  We would go to places like Gatlinburg not for the mountains, but for the miniature golfing, shopping, and dining.  So this is why at the age of 29, I just went canoeing for the very first time in my life.

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I assumed that maneuvering a canoe down the river would be a fairly simple task.  I mean it’s not white water rafting.  You just have to paddle the canoe in the right direction.  After all Pocahontas makes it looks so easy while she’s singing “Just Around the Riverbend”.   How hard could this be?

It took about thirty seconds before I realized how hard canoeing was actually going to be.  My friend and I had barely pushed off from the bank of the river before I had us turned around and going backwards.  As if keeping the canoe in the right direction wasn’t hard enough, we also managed to unsuccessfully avoid several tree branches that were dangling over the river bank.  (It was about this time as I was being whacked in the face with tree branches that I remembered why I’m not an outdoorsy person.)

Surprise, surprise.  Canoeing turned out to be a lot harder than a cartoon character made it look in the movies.  One thing was for sure, you didn’t know what was waiting just around the riverbend.  Sometimes there was an easy stretch of water where we didn’t have to paddle as hard, and we could enjoy the scenery.  Then the next thing you knew, you were trying to keep the canoe from tipping over in the wake of a passing jet ski.

Looking back on that day, I realize how much life is like trying to maneuver a canoe down the river.  There are times when life is easy and you can just enjoy the ride.  However, there are also the days when something you weren’t expecting rocks your boat, and you find yourself just trying to stay afloat.  In those moments, I was thankful that I wasn’t the only one in the canoe.  Even though there were times when my friend may have wanted to push me out of the canoe (something about not paddling hard enough), I was thankful to have her experience to guide us out of those rougher waters.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life over the last few years, it’s the importance of having a community to support and guide you through those rougher waters.  When I graduated from college seven years ago, I expected my future would be smooth sailing down a straight path.  What I didn’t expect was seven summers of job searching, multiple temporary teaching positions, and being turned down too many times to count for various positions.  It was a rough ride with many twists and turns, but throughout it all I had the support of family, friends, and coworkers.  They listened when I needed to vent my frustrations, encouraged me to keep going when I wanted to quit, and prayed that God would lead me to the right job.  Just like my canoe trip down the river, my path to finding a teaching job wasn’t an easy journey, but I never felt like I was navigating through it alone and that made all the difference.

So maybe canoeing wasn’t quite as easy as Pocahontas made it look in the movie, but she was knew what she was talking about when she said that the water’s always changing, always flowing.  Life is the same way; always changing, always flowing.  So when life has you turned around paddling up stream or smacks you in the face with another unexpected obstacle, lean in to those around you for the guidance and support you need to keep going.   It’s so much easier to navigate those rough waters when you know that you have someone who will see you through whatever is waiting just around the river bend.

Chase 2015

This time of year everyone seems to spend time reflecting on the last year and what they want to change about the year to come. I am definitely included in that. Having worked in the field of lifestyle change for many years, studied it in school and beyond, and being a nurse presently; I am more than aware of how hard change is for people including myself. I’ve read the statistics and how hard it is to predict if someone will stay with a change such as a regular exercise pattern. Let me tell you, the statistics are not encouraging. Change is hard.

Chase

Continue reading “Chase 2015”

Saying Goodbye is Never Easy

2014 has just a few short hours left. How is that possible? Where did the time go? Saying goodbye is never easy and 2014 was a year of goodbyes for me. Goodbyes suck. Even when they are opening up the door to something else, there is a pain and mourning that goes with each one. And I had a lot of them this year, A LOT.

Let go and begin again

Tonight I sat and walked through the goodbyes of 2014. From the beginning of the year where relationships that needed to be parted ways with were, saying goodbye to living in the city and the neighborhood I loved, transitioning to a new job, and the hardest part of all, each patient I said goodbye to. My heart aches and the tears roll down my face as I reflect back on 2014. It was a hard year. There are moments from this year that contained the word “goodbye” that have forever changed the feelings that are brought up with that word. There were goodbyes where I screamed and asked God “why?” because to be honest many of the goodbyes were nothing of what I wanted. Continue reading “Saying Goodbye is Never Easy”

The Oppression Inside of Me

I collect experiences, my own and others. My worldview is an infinite puzzle, built piece by piece from my collection of experiences, the good, the bad, the ugly. Some pieces are big, some small. Some have to be moved to the edge to make space for more pressing, present issues, but none are forgotten. Old ones may change in shape and color. It all depends on what else they surrounds them. The last few weeks’ experiences layered upon the last few years have painted a picture I just have to share.

It began over a month ago, sitting around a friend’s dining room table, sharing a meal and honest conversation. She spoke candidly Continue reading “The Oppression Inside of Me”

Week 9: Volcanic Eruption

Today, I forgot to weigh myself. So that will be tomorrow’s task I am afraid. I woke up later than I wanted to this morning. I am out of coffee that isn’t Maxwell House or Folders. Lately, when I have been making coffee using the low quality quick fix, I just haven’t been drinking it. It is wasteful.

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Dum…de…dum…de…dum-dum

Tomorrow I will weigh myself first thing. I will see where I am at then. How do I feel at this very moment? Tired. Exhausted mentally speaking. Emotionally, I am wiped clean. My mind is a total blurry abyss where only momentary thoughts bounce wall to wall as though one was playing Atari. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce-Bounce. Continue reading “Week 9: Volcanic Eruption”

Giving Hope another Fly

I started a new job recently, abandoning a hard-earned dream that someone else owned. I picked up one abandoned long ago. Dusty, faint and never fully realized. Like pulling your fall sweater from the depths of your closet where you threw it in celebration of spring. The sweater feels a bit like a long-lost friend, a hope you had forgotten. 

Building your dream through someone else’s money does a funny thing to you. It splits you in two. One part working his ass off to build this picture inside your head. The other part kicking and screaming, “it’ll never be yours, so why do you care?” The struggle between the two was exhausting. Creating my vision in someone else’s head, well, it killed me.

Survival of the business far more pressing than my own, the division snuck up on me. It came gently, drowned out by the immediacy of the daily tasks at hand. My visions, my hopes were always getting trampled in confusion and muddled with coffee. My heart was being pulled in two very different directions. My vision conflicting with money. My reasonableness conflicting with ideals. Til one day I woke up and my heart was on the floor, clean ripped in two. Hope totally rung out to dry. 

So I laid that dream to bed, leaving no regrets. Thankful for the opportunity to try and I am very glad to have been forged in the fire. Stitching my heart back together, rediscovering pleasures I’d lost time to enjoy. Giving hope another fly. Who knows if this dream, long forgotten in the back of the closet will prove any better than the last. But I’m a dreamer, a painter, a vision maker and I know no other way to live. So I’ll lay my heart on the line and bend my back to the plow at least one more time, not knowing what lies at the finish line. For who really does? But by God I will not give up trying. To cease trying is true death from which one does not rise.

NeverStopDreaming

For we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

Life giving places and spaces

People who know me can attest to the fact that I’m a festival nerd. Currently, I am sitting in a non-chain coffee shop in a western suburb, with a bag of farmers market cherries on the table, awaiting the art fair opening in one hour. Days like this make me feel ALIVE.

I’ve suspected for most of my adult life that I need little “retreats” like this one to feel healthy. Upon graduating college, I struggled with time management and couldn’t figure out what to do with myself once I left work at 5 p.m. I erred on the side of sitting at home, watching chick flicks, and ultimately feeling like I was stagnant. I started exploring my area and contacting local chambers to be kept up to date on events and places to try. How life-giving it was for me to go and experience culture in my community!

In various moves since my initial year in Indianapolis, I’ve kept up the tradition of finding spaces and events that recharge me. Admittedly, I am a learned extrovert, so the stimulation of the festivals coupled with retreating in a corner of a coffee-house, balances out my extrovert/introvert personalities perfectly.

This has not always been easy to make room for in my schedule. I had a stint of three years working two jobs that ate up my energy from 4 a.m. To 7 p.m. or from 11a.m. to 7a.m. Due to that circumstance, I literally didn’t have time to do my “life-giving” activities because sleep won out every time. I was tired and crabby, partially due to lack of sleep and partially due to the fact that I lacked a recharge.

I recognize that not everyone has the luxury to take a day or partial day to do what brings you life. I’ve been there, and I assume the struggle will be magnified once a husband and children and all the responsibilities they entail enter the picture. However, I am convinced that once you find something that is life-giving, don’t give up on working to carve out time for it. I’ve learned that I enjoy others around me much more when I’ve taken time to recharge,(and others seem to like me better too!).

Challenge: make a list of things you like to do and places you like to go. Circle those that you could make time for in your schedule within the month of August. Think realistically about what is actually attainable within the context of your current life situation. Next, put a dot next to ones that you know aren’t feasible within the next month, but that within the next three months you would like to make room for in your schedule. Keep that list somewhere to remind you that life-giving places and spaces are necessary. In a few months, you’ll look back and breathe a deep breath and realize the time management adjustments were well worth it!

We’d love to hear what/where brings you life!

Coffee house/farmer's market

Reacquainting Myself with the Gym: Mommy Edition

My husband was gone for a couple of days recently and I have to say, it made me realize how amazing single moms are. He was only gone for two days and I live with my in-laws, so it’s not like I was alone. At the same time, I still felt like I was going crazy. Yes, I only have one child but that one little child is a live wire.

I usually do alright until 5 p.m. hits. I’m not sure why, but right around 5 pm everyday, Lyla goes into “destructo mode” (regardless of any snack she might have had to hold her off until dinner) and she decides to throw little tantrums and knock over everything in sight. Needless to say, while I’m trying to cook dinner, things are a little stressful. My mother-in-law is awesome and usually keeps the little demon child busy, but sometimes she isn’t available. When that happens, things are…you get the picture.

On this particular day, things had gone relatively smoothly all day and the late afternoon hadn’t been bad either. I’m not exactly sure what triggered my craziness, to be honest. But, for whatever reason, I was fed up with the child. I put her to bed and wanted to then sleep, stuff my face with ice cream, or pull my hair out; whatever would bring the quickest relief. But for once in my life, I chose a better option.

I went to the gym.

I’m not saying that I have never entered a gym before, rather that, I have never turned to exercise as a form of stress relief. And let me tell you, it was probably some of the best stress relief I have ever had! I left the baby monitor with the in-laws and headed to the gym with my book in hand.

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After peddling my heart out on a stationary bike, I returned home a new mommy. It was a great feeling to have “vented” all my frustrations out and yet it harmed no one (unless you count the wear and tear on the bike of course). And along with my stress relief, I got a great workout too!

So I challenge the mommies out there: the next time you are frustrated and just want to quit this whole mommy job, take some time for yourself and exercise! Maybe you only have 15 minutes, or you don’t have anyone to watch the kids? Take what time you can and pump those muscles, do some jumping jacks, buy a punching bag and punch away your problems. Stick your baby in the pack’n’play or your kids in their room or in front of a movie for a few minutes so you can wipe that mommy slate clean. I’m sure you will feel the difference, and your kids will SEE the difference too.

Happy venting!

Friday is Meant for Music…

There is nothing better than going on a nice summer ride with the windows down.  The wind is blowing in your face with the music in the background blaring loudly.  It is such a glorious free feeling when the sun is out and you just can’t help, but get your groove on!

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So today I may or may not have been caught singing in my car.  I politely smiled back at the awkward gentleman in the car beside me (what, you have never seen a girl who thinks she was a rockstar?  psh)  and continued with my jam….as you all should know Friday is meant for music.  I have a soundtrack with eclectic and some meaningful music you all should check out.

1. Nightmare and the Cat-Blackbird Smile This fun little tune has a  good beat in the back beat.  It pumps me up.  This Neon Trees like band has a lot of variety of songs along the same lines and this song just makes me want to dance with my arm in the air.  Fist bump, oh yeah!

2. Jukebox the Ghost-Somebody My brother introduced me to Jukebox the Ghost.  They are a phenomenal Ben Folds Five-ish band that totally speaks to me.  I love the pop chords on the piano and the upbeat rhythm makes me feel alive with movement!  It is so hopeful and it speaks so much being a single…when is it going to be my turn?  No….but seriously!  Plus, I secretly want to be one of the dancers in the video…Charlie Brown anyone?

3. Spoon- The Underdog The song is a great reminder that you should never discredit anyone, especially the underdog!  They have to work the hardest to get to where they want to be.  If you are cocky, on top of the world, or are complacent with where you are living…WELL my friend you will not survive in this ever evolving world.  You have to be able to reinvent yourself from time to time.

4. Robyn & Royksopp-Do It Again  This is a good dance song.  Get your glow sticks ready…the repetitive lyrics and rhythm are catchy.   Perfect song to get you revved  up for a night out with the girls or any sort of dance party you may want to have!  Go ahead…listen to it and see what you think!

5. Something Corporate-Punk Rock Princess  This little throwback became my inspiration.  I am not sure why I love this song except when it was released I was in high school.  It brings back some pretty fond memories.  It was my AIM screen name back in the 90’s.  WHOA flashback!   Whenever I am ready to stroll down memory lane, Something Corporate is one of my many goto’s.

Whatever songs are on your soundtrack, choose to jam and have fun listening!  If you want to sing….then, sing!  If you want to dance…then dance!  These are the songs that inspire us.  These are the songs to which we are motivated and can relate.   Whatever music you choose,  don’t be afraid to get caught singing/dancing!  The other person’s reaction is priceless!

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