April 5, 2013

April Inspiration Redux

My amazing blogging friends (both virtual and actual) have inspired me to sit down and write. It has been a very long time since my last blog entry.  In fact, almost exactly a year.

Blogs that have been inspiring me?

  • One friend has MS and is blogging about her experience training for a huge, hairy bike ride.
  • The end-of-life journey of a friend who died after a long battle with cancer and how his wife and kids have coped and made peace with their loss.
  • The simple daily pleasures of a young couple, very recently married, who share their love through cooking.
  • Cheering for a micropreemie who clings to life as her parents chronicle her daily struggles to cope with ongoing medical issues.

Unlike these, I don’t anything quite so  profound to say, but I do find springtime brings out my desire to create and renew.

This month my twins turn ten and my husband turns 50. My mom just turned 70. I am still trying to find ways to celebrate all that chaotic joy around me, often in very small increments of time.

Recently I moved a big old handmade dresser into the dining room. This room has become part of my “girl cave”. It’s where I can store my writing paper and pens. My creative stuff. My painting supplies. It’s where I can put up the artwork that only I like. Where I can store my memories and create new ones. I hope being organized will help me find the time to write more.

Along with the springtime birds who are busy and chirping early in the mornings, I’m going to commit to writing again–between times.

April 13, 2011

April gratitude…the list goes on and on

Part of trying to live your dreams, for me, is being grateful for what you have right in front of you. There is a great little website called Good List Daily and I love checking out what other people are grateful for (recently re-launched as: We Love Gratitude). If you want a gratitude pick-me-up, check it out (fun fact: did you know Tiramisu means pick-me-up? Really, the Italians were right on with the discovery that a little sugar, fat and caffeine – in a completely civilized combination – can give your soul a bit of a happy jolt.)

Desserts aside, this recent list could’ve been written by me. I’m not a huge L. Ron Hubbard fan but I like the quote anyway.

1. Trying new things
2. Letting the late March snow be an invitation to rest instead of a burden of cold
3. Knowing my limits
4. Exploring them anyway
5. That reckless abandon that says you can do anything (I’ve missed that)
6. Being on the edge of great things
7. Pushing through
8. Tireless optimism
9. Really loving it (which makes it no longer work)
10. “The way out is the way through” -L. Ron Hubbard

I’m not saying I embody each of these. But I love watching manifestations of each of them around me.

I have a boss (actually I have more bosses that I can count, and it is with profound gratitude that I truly admire and respect just about all of them) who almost always let me try new things. I have been known to pop into an office and declare (with a fair bit of enthusiasm and often with no warning), “I have the BEST idea!” I am amazed each time that I’m afforded their valuable time to present said idea. Sometimes I even get to give it a try. Gratitude.

I won’t bore you with my thoughts on the rest of the list. Other than to say that they are some good things to reflect on.

Spring is a season for gratitude, to me, because both my children were born in April (along with my husband and a whole bunch of other people close to my heart). Having spent this past weekend celebrating their 8 years here on Earth, I love to recount the story of the day they were born. They never tire of it, for which I’m grateful. I am well aware the day will soon arrive when my re-telling of their birth will mortify them. But for now, recalling our struggles to get pregnant (four years of infertility!), and then the amazing gift that arrived on April 10, 2003, twins!….beautiful and perfect in every way (despite the ushering in of the Era of No Sleep)….changed my life and made me learn gratitude in ways I never thought possible.

Happy birthday, April babies. My best dream, right in front of me. Gratitude.

April 1, 2011

Just ask

I was at yoga this week, as I often am over my lunch hour.  Usually this is my best time of day, but I’d been in a bad mood and found that my mind kept wandering to all that I had yet to do that day, all that had happened during the morning.

Not very yogic of me of course.

Luckily, somewhere between ujjayi breaths and flowing asanas, something started to loosen in me. My mind still wandered but more to this place of “what are my dreams.” I will say, having a blog makes you think more mindfully about what you are doing each day (and what you will write about it). So it kind of keeps you honest.

For the past couple years, the headliner on my mental “dream list” has been to go on a yoga retreat. Living in Colorado, a very yoga friendly place, there is no shortage of amazing places I could go for a day, a weekend, or a week.  Even more simply, I’ve envisioned doing yoga outdoors, in an inspiring environment (probably some yoga-wear catalogue image that has stuck in my head).

I’ve kept track of new classes and teachers, done some Googling, trying to find the right thing. For various and mundane reasons, I’ve never booked myself into a retreat. Never found the right class or teacher.

Hmmm. Lots of excuses.

Toward the end of class, I thought of the exercise/boot camps you see at Red Rocks.  And it struck me how perfect it would be: yoga on the stage where legendary music has been made for decades. Unfortunately, I knew my studio didn’t offer a class at Red Rocks. My teacher had recently opened a second studio, and I knew she was really busy keeping both very popular studios running smoothly. So, that wouldn’t work.

And then it hit me (yes, I’m a bit slow sometimes). Ask if she’d do a class at Red Rocks. Why not?

When class ended I could hardly contain myself. We bowed, gave our namastes, and I blurted out, “I have the best idea!” She loved it and half the class was also excited and ready to sign up. We are going to do a morning practice next month when the fickle Colorado spring weather is a bit more friendly.

Why had this not occurred to me before? I had been looking at catalogues, watching studio schedules, and searching for the right thing…for years.

The lesson is obvious.  Particularly when it comes to your dreams…just ask.  The worst that can happen is you’ll be told no.

March 25, 2011

Too early spring

In high school, I loved Forensics. These days “forensics” brings to mind crime scene investigation shows. But back then (and maybe now, I don’t know), it was sort of like the shorter, more dramatic version of Debate. Now that I think about it, Forensics was Toastmasters for high school kids. We didn’t write out own stuff, but selected meaningful works that we then practiced and delivered.

One Forensics moment I recall every year around this time, was an excerpt from Too Early Spring, a short story by Stephen Vincent Benet. Delivered exquisitely by the sister of a good friend, it is about first love. Most of the story doesn’t actually take place in the spring, but that’s beside the point. I have never forgotten her passion in delivering the angst-filled passages. The story gave a nod to that transition from innocence to adulthood.

There is something about early spring that always gets my heart racing a bit. I love transitions, metaphorical and actual, and spring is one of the most remarkable of all. Not really winter, not nearly summer – but quietly alive. Spring means “mud season” here in Colorado. I’m weird; I love the mud. I love it because it’s the ugly, dirty promise of things to come.

Too early spring. I am transported to one college pre-springtime on the field next to our dorm. Dead, yet damp grass (yes! it will be green again!). There was the promise of warmth in the weak sunlight; but not so much as to be actually warm. All of us college students running around in shorts; white winter limbs finally free of dry, overheated dorm rooms.

What I remember, so poignant it’s almost painful, was the transition from the cold hold of winter, to the promise of balmy days.  Ahead, but still out of reach.

As we head into spring break next week, my friends and colleagues are venturing to tropical places like Hawaii and Florida. I’m jealous. I want a beach vacation, as does my family. Outside it’s not cold, but it’s certainly not warm either. Snow or rain is on the way.

But, under the last, thinly veiled hold of winter, you can feel it. The air is lighter. The promise is real and for me, recalls a time when everything seemed possible. When dreams happened easily, didn’t have to be planned and plotted.

Spring. We yearn for it. It can’t come too early for most of us. It carries the secret promise that, like first loves, makes your heart skip a beat in anticipation.

March 23, 2011

Show your spots

This will be a slightly inappropriate post. You’ve been warned.

Getting ready this morning, I chose winter white pants. Not my usual gig but I recently found out you wear something like 5% of your wardrobe, 90% of the time (astounding!). So I’m branching out. Once you start thinking about your life and your dreams routinely, it creates lots of interesting brain diversions.

I put together the outfit – it was cute. And then, in the Daylight Savings gloom, I wondered if my – ahem – undergarments were showing. You know, the kind that might be visible through winter white.

I don’t always plan as well as I should. I guess there are some people who think about all this before they put on their clothes. In my case, not so much. And I realize, in the gloom, I am wearing my absolute cutest undergarments. Pink and grey cheetah spots. I don’t own much exciting underwear, except these. I love them. If I had “lucky underwear” these would be it. Weeell, you can see where this is going. Of course there was a high risk factor that in the light of day, the cheetah spots would indeed be on display.

What to do? Do I really take the time to change? Despite my lack of planning, I am a bit of a stickler for correct undergarments. So, of course I give in and put on something far less interesting but that will not put my not-27-year-old ass on display to the world.

It wasn’t until I was out the door and driving to work, that I kind of regretted my decision. Not that I wanted anybody at work checking out the spots, but in reality, I’m sure nobody would really be looking anyway.

In the world of “acceptable risk”, this would’ve been low on the scale.

Next time I am presented with a life decision to show my spots, or play it safe….I think I’ll show my spots. What’s the worst that can happen? The world might be a better place if we all worried less about what people around us think and instead find joy in small-and-sometimes-secret things. We each have our own spots – and they are all beautiful.

March 21, 2011

Poached Eggs on Guilt

With the news getting worse by the day out of Japan, more oil leaks in the Gulf, unrest in the Middle East and daunting personal challenges among friends and family alike, I am feeling a bit frivolous doing this blog. I should be raising money or something, not trying to squeeze in dreamtime each day. Having gone through my own difficulties in the past few years (none were as scary or insurmountable as nuclear meltdown, I realize), I have a freshly honed sense of gratitude for all that I have. My family and I were not immune to the financial meltdown, and I feel very lucky to come out the other side of that crisis, while feeling a vague but nagging guilt every time I read of another family who was not so lucky.

Guilt comes to me quite naturally. I don’t know why, but I tend to feel guilt about too many things. My old shrink used to ask routinely, “Are you Catholic?” No, I’m not but would’ve done great in that department. My tendency toward guilt is probably one reason I often put my own dreams on hold (yes, a personal theme I should explore or go back to therapy).

That aside, I do have a dream today. It’s in the “small dream” department (still working up to the big ones), but it has to do with something I love. Poached eggs. To me, the ideal breakfast is perfectly poached eggs on toast. On the weekends, this is easy. During the work week, despite packing kids lunches the night before and being as organized as possible, poached eggs are just too time consuming.

My dream? There must be a microwave egg poacher out there in the world, right? Then I could poach my egg at the office. I know, I know: bo-ring! But to bring a little weekend moment to my work-a-day morning? Well, that may even be a guilt-free indulgence.

March 19, 2011

Take the magic where you can find it

Day two in the blogosphere!

I’m working up to actually making a list of my dreams. Big and small. You’d be surprised at how small some of them are. Last weekend, as I pondered the idea of launching this blog, I had a small dream. So small I’m a little embarrassed to put it on here. But I think busy moms everywhere might identify.

By the end of the weekend, I wanted every single piece of laundry in my entire house to be washed and put away. I would not say I was obsessed with this, but I really really wanted to do it. No more stacks of mismatched socks on my dresser, no more small piles of delicates next to the washer. Every single thing washed and put away.  I know, really a very small dream.  Back to this in a minute.

Yesterday, after I launched this blog, I got a bit nervous thinking of future topics, whether I’d keep with it. These conflicting thoughts cycled through my head as I quickly pulled into a Starbucks drivethru on my way to pick up my kids from school. Fridays are my early day at work and my day for pickup. I treasure Fridays for that reason. I often get my twins a fun snack to eat in the car. A celebration of sorts and a nice way to start the weekend.

The chatty barista window guy commented that it was nice that the weather had finally improved–to nearly 70 and sunny–from the morning. We had woken to a dusting of spring snow. The beautiful, lacy, powdered sugar kind that coated the tree branches but didn’t stick to the street. The sunrise was pink and stunning. I said to him, “Yeah, but it was a magical morning. The snow was beautiful.” He thoughtfully took that in and replied, “You know, I agree…and you’ve got to take the magic where you can find it.”

Transcendence at a Starbucks drivethru window? Maybe.

Back to last weekend.  Upon putting the last piece of laundry away, nice and clean and neat, I had an inward smile. A secret sense of accomplishing a small thing, but to me, there was a little magic tucked in each drawer.

Like I said. Some dreams are small. I think that’s OK.

March 18, 2011

The only way to start, is to just start

Hello world!

Welcome to my newly minted blog. I hope it won’t bore you.

First things first. I am the lucky mama to nearly eight-year-old twins, a wife, friend, daughter and sister. I work full time at a place I love. I will turn 43 this year. I don’t really feel that old (yet) but I am finding it harder and harder to do all that I just listed (and do them well enough that I don’t permanently damage my kids, let my house go to complete ruin, or mess up any major projects at work) and still do things that I want to do. You know, the other things. Those creative and sometimes crazy things I used to have time for, and therefore totally took for granted.

My dreams.

In an effort to write this blog according to all those bloggy do’s and don’ts (I am a corporate writer-type so I get endless emails about how to do things like write good blog posts), I will keep this first entry short. And will attempt to keep all future entries short. I want to note my “launch date” is significant. It’s the birthday of my friend from college who died two years ago. He was the sort that was super full of life. Kind of crazy. Always smiling. I won’t be so sappy as to say this is dedicated to him, but he’s in my thoughts today. And like any birthday, today is for celebrating.

To honor loss, and how it sometimes pushes us to counterbalance with joy, I am pursuing my other dreams. The ones I just haven’t made time for in recent years. This blog will chronicle that journey.

Stay tuned.