Monday, July 2, 2012

My Mid-Year Resolution

I know 6 months have already passed by in 2012, but I think it's time for me to make a change.  I am not going to wait for another ball to drop in Times Square either.  Now is the time.  I am totally inspired by this article I read in The New York Times.  Basically, the writer states that he believes our "crazy busy" phenomenon in the US is completely self-inflicted. Maybe even an addiction for many.
I can relate.
In the past 6 months I have juggled 3 jobs, raising a child, being a wife, connecting with friends (not nearly enough), practicing yoga, planned play dates, writing (not nearly enough), and the list goes on.  This does not make me different from millions of others out there.  Nor does the fact that many days I don't sit down to chill out til 9 or 10 pm.  The chill out time quickly leads to heavy eyelids and a few head bobs trying to make it to at least see what the weather will be the following day on the news. I know.  You too.  Some people believe that's just how life is.  I pledge to create and live the life I intended. And that's not it.
For the past month, I have had the luxury of staying in a heavenly place.  Montana.  While Husband has been working, Peanut and I have been playing.  What I realize is that even in play we can feel overwhelmed and over scheduled.  "Let's go swimming, then we'll go the grocery store, oh I gotta fill up the car with gas, yes, we'll stop by the toy store to play with their displays, but only for 15 minutes, bc we have to meet daddy for lunch and then we'll go to the playground, oh shoot, I forgot about the dogs, we need to run home to let them out, oh and crap, what's for dinner, oh and for the love of God why does it not get dark til 10:30 pm here..."On the days that I  stopped planning so much and enjoyed where the day might lead, Peanut and I had a blast together. I was a more present and engaging mother.  She was more expressive and communicative with me.  I was a more pleasant wife and person.   This is the life I intended.  It has only 2 jobs that I love. It includes more glasses of wine.  More mornings on my back porch with a cup of coffee and/or a yoga mat.  More skype dates with girlfriends spread across the country. More easy conversations with Husband.  More quality time with family.  More day trips. More exploring. More strolls around my fantastic neighborhood with my family... all done at leisure.  Enough with the over scheduling.  I vow to stop organizing my day in mind in 30 minute intervals.
Dishes will still need to be washed (yuck!) and laundry to be done. I do not deny this.  But I am letting go of the overwhelming feeling I get when I feel like I can't keep up.  Keep up with what?  My insanity?  The world will go on if I go to bed with dirty dishes in the sink.  (Who am I kidding?  This happens all the time.)  I invite us all to breathe more deeply.  Slow down our pace.  This will not remove the bills from our lives or the demands from our jobs.  But it will bring us to this beautiful present moment which holds so much peace and joy.  Join me.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Good to be back!

I have taken some time away from the blogosphere for the past 6 months.  I admit that I hope I was missed.... at least a little.  I certainly missed writing.  Here's the scoop.  I spilled a few drops of water on my computer keyboard.  bummer.  Took it to apple store and was told our laptop was "vintage".  There first time this term didn't make me feel hip in the least bit.  So, yadda, yadda, time, money...finally glad to be back tapping on the keyboard and reconnecting here.
I am writing from the mountains of Montana.  We have been blessed to have some awesome friends, who run an awesome theater company, in an astoundingly beautiful part of the country.  This is our third summer here. Last summer here was equally awesome, but ended with some sadness.  We were surprised to learn I was pregnant, but at about 8 weeks I had a miscarriage.  I am not gonna lie.  I was nervous to return here.  Scared that the reminder and grief would be overwhelming.
Last July when I returned home, a dear and generous friend gifted me with 2 months of unlimited yoga to work out my grief on the mat.  She doesn't realize she gifted me with so much more. Free yoga, of course is fabulous to a penny-pinching mom who doesn't make enough time for herself.  But she gave me permission to be sad, angry, and to take the time to "work it out".  I hadn't give myself that kind of permission.  Fast forward beyond 2 months, and I was still practicing yoga, still crying, considering pregnancy again, and began yoga teacher training.  Yep.  Who knew that such deep sadness would lead me to a realization of a new love of teaching yoga and helping others?  Was it suppose to happen this way?  Who knows? And frankly, I don't even care about all that.  I began a journey of even deeper self-study and that's what I care about.  As our luggage and dog-filled car trekked closer to Montana last week, I could feel my anxiety increasing.  I have been reading "A Return to Love" by Marianne Williamson and was reminded that my past, no matter how heartbreaking, does not have to decide my present.  This week has been filled with reconnecting with favorite people, spending just about every minute with Peanut, supporting talented Husband, inspiration from amazing theater, spying deer at dinner time, picnics, and many moments of gratitude. I have been buoyed by so much support this past year.  I literally felt loving hands holding me up when I felt I was sinking.  That's why I share all of this very personal stuff. I am giving you permission to work it out...what ever it might be.
It's good to be back.

Monday, January 16, 2012


"What's your intention with my sister?"  This was a question my protective older brother posed to Husband upon their first meeting 15 years ago.  Husband came to visit me in Dallas, not long after we began dating and what started out as a simple family lunch turned into an inquisition.  Husband handled it very well and passed with flying colors.  

INTENTION.  Such a strong word. I think of intention as having a clear and specific understanding of why someone is doing something. There is power in that.  Not puffed up, put your chest out, strut around town kind of power, for that's not power at all. I am writing of grounded, centered, confident power.  I don't know about you, but I certainly lived the first 30 some odd years of my life with little intention.  Basically, I woke up each day still asleep, going through the usual motions, regurgitating what others had told me I should do and believe. Sure, I had hopes and dreams.  But it was more like I prayed hard, crossed my fingers, took a deep breath and closed my eyes in hopes that said dream might happen.  That's not intention. It's just exhausting.

Intention isn't a to do list that you check off.  I intend to buy groceries. Check. I intend to swing by Target and spend less than $50 (good luck). Check.  No. Intention is a mind set, a life style, a vision.  So what if that means that you might have a big poster board on your fridge filled with cut outs from magazines that express your goals and dreams. Take a step toward intention. Maybe you think that's all spiritual mumbo-jumbo, but it beats waking up again with that heaviness on your chest because you will start another day filled with questioning and doubt, wondering when life is gonna throw you a bone.

Intention means I will not say, "Well, we'll just see how it all works out", followed by a deep sigh.  No more finger crossing here.  I will be encouraged by the words of Marianne Williamson who reminds me that "I am a child of God.  My playing small does not serve the world." You cannot be small and have intention. Remember? Power.

Here's my intention for the new year. Each day. 
I came to win. To fight (for peace, love and goodness). To conquer (fear and hatred). To thrive (that's my favorite). To prosper. To rise. To fly. 
If those words are familiar to you at all, you are much cooler than me, as you recognize the hit by Rihanna and Nicki Minaj.  I have added a few of my own intentions to join them.  

By the way, fifteen years ago, Husband had very clear intentions with me and I am happier for it. : )

This is written as a part of my dear friend's blog, Not Just Another Jen.  She does a word of the month and this month was INTENTION.  Be sure to check her out.  She's beautiful, funny, open and constantly inspires me.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Xmas and Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays.  Yep.  Holidays.  When I say this, I mean that from a bit before Thanksgiving until the New Year, I hope you are happy. It's really that simple.  I am not saying that my beliefs negate yours.  No one can take Christ out of your Christmas.  It's your holiday.  Just like even if you don't want to admit it's your birthday, it is still the day you were born.  You love Christmas.  You love Christ.  I get it. I do too. However, I don't understand how saying the all-inclusive "Happy Holidays " can be offensive? Going out on a giant limb here, but the Jesus whose birth I celebrate would be more likely to say "Happy Holidays" to his Jewish friends, or even, Him-forbid, say "Happy Hannukah". I'm just saying.  This is a season where we encourage peace and love, right?  Then why is there still some sort of strange battle here? Isn't it beyond time for us to start respecting each others differences and realize that someone else's belief that in something/someone else doesn't take the value out of our own beliefs?

FYI:I learned this from a Baptist pastor in small town Arkansas, but wikipedia agrees:

"Xmas" is a common abbreviation of the word "Christmas". It is sometimes pronounced /ˈɛksməs/, but it, and variants such as "Xtemass", originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /ˈkrɪsməs/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for "Mass",[1] while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word Χριστός, translated as "Christ".[2]
There is a common misconception that the word Xmas is a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas[3] by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas".
 So, if I write Merry Xmas, I am not taking Christ out of Christmas.  Basically, I am just too lazy and find that writing those five extra letters too strenuous. 

Peace on earth. Good will to men.  All men. I wish it for all of you.

Happy Kwanukkahmas!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I Like Myself

A few weeks ago, My sweet little Peanut said something astounding to me that stopped me in my tracks.

I gave her a huge hug.  I was so proud.  Yes, of course, you do. You are an awesome kid.  I have contemplated this moment over and over again, not to pat myself on the back, but to think if I had ever believed much less exclaimed that statement in my life.  And with such exuberant confidence!  Just a few days later, I went back home very briefly for a funeral of a family friend. This trip took me back to see people I seriously had not laid eyes on in about 20 years or more.  I was nervous.  It felt different than going back to my 20 high school reunion.  There's time to prepare and transform yourself for the reunion.  Lose that 5 extra pounds, whiten your teeth, freshen highlights, etc.  This trip was unexpected.  I'd be going back to my church where I'd spent a lot of my time. I thought back to who I was back then and the people I might see.  I had negative feelings toward what might happen.  Then a nugget of wisdom from an unexpected source said to me, "It's not the people who are this issue.  You don't like who YOU were back then. That's the issue."  BINGO!!!!!  Back then, I was full of judgement. I was square.  I had no sense of cool whatsoever.  I wore bows in my hair.  Big ones.  That I made myself as a hobby.  And drop waist dresses, with sailor collars. Did I mention this was Texas?  You can imagine the size of my hair. I felt so disconnected from that girl.
Well, I arrived to the funeral and I saw so many familiar faces.  So many wonderful memories came flooding back to me.  I had numerous people in my life who loved, supported and cheered me on.  They guided me.  I left that day grateful and feeling very blessed.  And I realized how hard my adult self had been on my youth self.  I had forgotten about the goodness in my heart and the stubbornness that set me apart from others.  I had forgotten about my courage to follow a dream that no one else around me pursued.   I have let go of so much judgement and replaced it with compassion and understanding.  I learned about "But for the grace of God, there go I." I have become a grateful member of humanity and stopped seeing "them" and  "us" and now see "we".  And I can tell you it's because of who I was back then that I can honestly say now without question...

Monday, October 31, 2011


fear.  a strong and powerful word, often with negative connotations.  I think there's a positive side to fear. I believe fear connected with instinct is a helpful resource for all of us. About 15 years ago, I was a twenty-something who had just moved to NYC by myself.  I found a pretty cheap, very small studio apartment on the Upper West Side.  During my moments of unemployment, I was a loyal watcher of Oprah.  One day her guest was an author named Gavin DeBecker.  He'd written this book called "The Gift of Fear".  I was intrigued.  He spoke about how women especially have been trained to ignore their intuitions.  You know, you are walking down a dark street.  You begin to feel like you are being followed.  Yep. Indeed, a strange guy is right behind you.  He offers to help you carry you heavy groceries.  You say, no thanks.  He doesn't listen.  No really, let me help you.  Oh, okay, you don't want to be rude. Fast forward to him forcing his way into your apartment, holding you at knife point, etc.  All because you suppressed those intuitions/fears that were actually a gift to you to keep you safe.  Be rude.  It could save your life.  Well, I rushed out to buy this book.  I figured it would come in handy in "the big city." I have so often referred back to what this book has taught me.  Listen to yourself.

fear. a stifling response that may keep you from taking risks. I have struggled with fear more these past few months than I have in a very long time.  I have let my fear of heartache, fear of failure, and fear of indirection inform too many of my recent decisions.  Finally, I said "Enough!" First, I accepted a job for which I was not completely qualified, but I was willing to be cheap labor in exchange.  I have found that I am capable of learning many new tasks and skills. I am good at much of what I do, even when I lack experience. I communicate well.  I realized how greatly I have limited myself.  Short changed myself. I am beginning to see a whole new world (cue music from Alladin) for myself.  I am considering choices I never thought attainable.  Next, I began to welcome the heartache.  I let it wash over me, let it teach me, let it strangely comfort me.  It felt good.  Necessary.  Now I can move forward a little at a time.  I no longer want fear to be the reason I make a decision to not do something.

fear. it's your friend and your foe.  Let it teach you, guide you.  And if it tries to keep you from reaching for what you want, give it a swift kick in the ass.

Please visit my fierce friend's blog. Check this out!!!  She truly is not just another Jen. She is a courageous woman, wife and mother who challenges me to think broader and dream bigger.  Recently, she invited me to contribute to her word of the month club.  You just read my first attempt.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Racing in the rain

I like to read.  However, it has been since January that I have been sucked into a book that I just couldn’t put down.  I enjoy getting books from the library.  It makes me feel a little “old school”.  Upon a few recommendations, I recently checked out ”The Art of Racing in the Rain”.  I was told it was a great read for dog lovers. While I love dogs, my relationship with my own canine has been tenuous these past few years.  He tests my patience, i.e. he gets into to the trash at any chance.  He howls a lot.  He stands and just stares at Peanut and barks very loudly when it’s just to the two of them in the room. I’ll be honest.  He frequently annoys me and I have called him “a pest” on numerous occasions.  Back to the book.  SUCKED IN.  A dog is the narrator of the book.  This is a voice I needed to hear.  Not only did this pooch remind me that my own sweet puppy is just that…a dog.  He has instincts that are simply a part of his nature (food…must have it at all times). I have put unrealistic human-like expectations on him regarding his behavior.  I was reminded that he is so full of love and devotion.  I just stopped paying attention to that part of him.  Our relationship has been transformed.  I am his friend again.  He never stopped being mine. Husband likes to tease  remind me that a dog did not actually write the book. 
There are also a few life lessons reiterated throughout this novel.  The dog owner is a race car driver.  I am not a sports enthusiast at all.  Most especially, I am not into car racing. I don’t get it.  However, this character had some great ways of thinking.  Ways that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about.  He believes that “you manifest that which lies ahead of you” and “your car goes where your eyes go”.  The latter really spoke to me.  If you stare at the wall you are speeding by at an uber-fast pace, you will head for the wall.  I have stared at too many walls in my life.  I began to contemplate what lies ahead to me.  What do I want to be in my future?  I can choose to create that in my life.  I was surprised that I truly deeply didn’t really know what I wanted for myself in the future. That's beginning to change.  By ceasing to look at the walls, I can little by little see and feel more clearly where I'd like my car to be heading.  What about you?