Monday, November 25, 2013

Time for 34


Around the time of my 30th birthday I realized something that irritated me.  I have mentioned before that I am a lover of lists. Sadly, this philosophy of setting goals and then crossing them off has spilled into areas where it is not applicable. For instance, somewhere in my late teens I decided that by the time I was thirty that I would REALLY know myself, and that I would be able to check this off the "list" and move on to bigger and better things.

When I woke up to the fact that this was not (and should not) be the case I talked it over with my friends, all of whom are much wiser than I.  After telling me in the sweetest and most gentle way possible that I can be an idiot sometimes (it's true), they gave me their own stories of growth. They listed examples of truths learned at varied ages, most of these startling discoveries happening well past my 30 year deadline. Today, I heartily agree with my confidants and am excited to know that I will continue to challenge myself, my ways of thinking, and that I could wake up at 58 or 88 and find something new to be passionate about.

34 happens for me next week. I am so excited because 33 was wonderful. This year I discovered that I love to garden, that I deeply want to be outside.  I made more time for my girlfriends than I have since becoming a mom and had more fun than I knew was possible.  I also made time to grow my relationship with God.  I discovered that homemade chicken noodle soup is worth every second of effort that I put into it.  I realized that I am so fortunate to be a nurse, that getting to work along side people that heard the same call is a gift, and that I am grateful for every patient that I have ever cared for.

I don't know what the next year will bring.  I do know that if it is built on the foundation of learning that I have gained so far and that if I stay open to new experiences, it will be a great one.


Thursday, September 5, 2013


I don't even open my eyes in the morning until I have formulated some kind of list or plan to tackle the day ahead of me.  If you were to thumb through any notebook ever owned by me, you would find lists upon lists, all kinds; things to do, make, cook, dreams, gifts to give.

Ten years ago I had some serious plans.  I was to finish LPN school, move to Boise, work and get my baccalaureate degree in nursing.  Then I would pack up my jeep, my dog and move to McCall, Idaho.  There I would work in the ER, play in the lake and hike all summer and snow board through the Winter.  This plan was perfect, it had everything that my 23 year old heart thought it needed.  

What do they say about making plans?  Mine changed before the moving truck pulled out of my parents driveway.  Shortly before I finished LPN school I had randomly asked a boy out on a date, the dating bloomed into something more.  I was still convinced of my plan though so we decided to give the long distance relationship a go.  I moved, I started school, we talked on the phone. Then one day he called me from the road, I assumed that he was on his way home from work, he wasn't.  He was on his way to me, to make me his home, forever.

My plan was no longer my plan, it was our plan, and it continued its metamorphosis until it contained the needs, hopes and dreams of one more person, then two more people and finally our third little one. I forgot completely about the original plan at all, until last weekend.

We spent Labor Day weekend in McCall, and we finally got to give paddle boarding a whirl.  It was while I was cautiously making my way from shore, feet planted, paddle dipping into the water that I remembered my plan.  I looked out across that gorgeous lake, stared into the tree covered hills surrounding it while listening to the giggles of my family on the beach behind me, and knew that the most amazing plan was the one that was given to me and had never involved paper or pen at all.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Love

This has been the best summer of my entire life.  I was a little worn out at the end of the school year, and missing my little people terribly.  Thankfully vacation came just in time to rest and refresh us all.

My baby is still in need of her afternoon naps, so we kept close to home most days.  In the mornings we would make the best of the coolest part of the day and head out to explore a little.  We had wonderful times at city parks, or in the downtown fountain.  Then we would retreat to home and put Willa down for her rest.

Being a mom to kids ages 1-7 is wonderful.  Their dreams are small, easy to bring to life.  Make telephones out of tin cans? Done! Want to go get an ice cream cone? Yes! Run through the sprinkler! Great idea!  You need a hooded cape? Of course you do!  A chocolate chip cookie would make your afternoon? Mine too! Do I want to go for a bike ride? Absolutely!!

I always tell my kids to look for everyday magic, to find something to wonder at, to be amazed by.  Their excitement and curiosity always makes short work of this and because of them, I rarely have to be awake longer than 10 minutes to find mine.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Newton's Law

In her book, “My Stroke of Insight,” Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor talks about the awakening that she experienced while suffering from a hemorrhagic stroke.  The entire book is amazing, insightful and though it has been two years since reading it, I find myself thinking about it again and again.  One of the most powerful things that she revealed was that even while she lay in a medicinal induced coma she could feel the intentions and the spirit of a person from the time that they stood in her hospital room doorway.  From that distance, and while appearing asleep she knew whether the person was kind or not.  She knew whether they would touch her gently or if they would disregard her entirely and treat her only as a body lying in a bed.   As a nurse that often cares for people in this same state I felt empowered.  It was uplifting to know that my unconscious patients may know how much I care for them, how frightened I am for them, and how badly I want to be there for them in their time of need.

This morning I found myself once again thinking about that book, about my intentions and how they are read by others.  We are immersed in a new world these days, one which we feel free to scream aloud our every thought, emotion and notion into cyber space.  This is a world where we can take a stance without any real action.  Where a status update feels like “doing something” for a cause that we profess to care about.  We can shove hurtful words (cartoons even, if you are so inclined) into someone’s face without ever having to stand beside it, to say clearly, “this is meant for you, this is how I feel about you,” or “this is how I feel and I know that it will be hurtful but I want you to read it and say nothing,” all done in front of a computer screen.  My thought this morning, the one that brought me here to type was this; if the unconscious and drugged can read our intent so clearly, what about those alert and awake?  The intentions so loud and obvious to someone that cannot see, or likely, even clearly hear our words, are like neon flashing lights to the rest of us.

Over Lent I gave up Facebook.  I did so because the screaming of the world was getting so loud that it was making it hard to hear my own thoughts, clouding my vision and making it difficult to see my own path.   My “friends” where hurling their intentions out into the world at the rate of a speed train, dismantling my equanimity to the point that I could not take it anymore. 

Now with Lenten season over I have decided this, we are responsible for what we put out into the world.  Every thought we voice, no matter the forum, is likely read by someone else.  This is the social media realization of every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  If we feel these things strongly enough to send them on their merry way then we need to prepare ourselves for the fallout, anything less is cowardice.
My hope is that those that I love and love me back will feel my intentions, my compassion for them from the doorway, awake or not.  I hope that I will have the courage to have hard conversations as they were meant to be had, face to face.  It can appear in this strange place that we have many, many friends, but the true number pales in comparison to the number of people whose thoughts I have invited into my life.  I am so thankful for the few people that have been given to me to help me navigate this world, people that will say to me, “I disagree, this is why, and I love you no matter what,” and for whom I love enough to do the same.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Life is Sweet

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Someday I hope to; rock a guitar like Lindsey Buckingham, speak at least 3 languages fluently, hand quilt a entire blanket, build new and reupholster old furniture, run a marathon, become a master gardener,  design my own knitting patterns, obtain certification as an intensive care nurse, and celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary having raised three happy, healthy children.  These are so many big goals for one little life.

There was a time when a large aspiration for me, was simply a big picture painted with grand strokes.  Goals appeared to me to require as herculean an effort as jumping across the Grand Canyon in one leap.  Today, I find myself in a new place, one where everything at first appearing very large is quickly broken down into easy manageable steps.  Small steps, consistently made that reach great heights.  I do not know if my awakening is a gift of age, or of doing the things and being with the people that I love.  A sweater is made one tiny stitch at a time, a 13 mile run is one foot picked up and set in front of the other. A baby has moved from crawling to walking. Each of these things in the end may appear to be large but looking closer at their small parts; I can see that they are not.

 I will not discount the large leaps that I have made in this life.  The decision to marry, to have children, to move to a new place, change jobs, all have value and required courage, faith in myself (and others). What I am impressed most by right now however, is the quiet determination of the actions and thoughts that come after, for me that is the place where the true work exists.

The exquisite thing about very small steps is the momentum gained.   Repeatedly made, over and over, these tiny movements have taken me very far places.  They have entirely shaped or reshaped my life.  It is easy on a long path to take a misstep or two but if I keep my eyes, my intentions,  focused on the big picture without allowing myself  to be overwhelmed by the pixels, I find that I enjoy the journey as much as the end result.