Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Intentions and Personal Reflections

Summer break + no marathon training + lots of open time with kids = creative fun with our fitness.  This was a mix of yoga, stretching, gymnastics, killing time before real gymnastics, and running (around the room like crazy) all rolled into one.  Love our local YMCA.  

Summer is officially here.  I'm actually enjoying my lazier mornings where the kids sleep later and I have quite moments to drink coffee around the time they were usually catching the bus.  With summer comes lots of activity, mess making, sibling spats, finding fun things to drive to, saying NO to screen time about a bazillion times a day (um, if you asked me 5 minutes ago and the answer was no, chances are very likely that you won't be getting a yes now), walking to the library, staying up way too late, hoping to find time to myself to save my sanity, etc. This summer is a little different since we will be moving back to the west coast in just about 4 weeks.  As much as I'm trying to soak up these last weeks, I can't help but think lots about the "what's next" in life.  It's hard for me to be still.  It's a challenge to soak up the present moments without always having to have a goal, something to learn, or a plan in the works (career, school, races, involvement with community...).  I'm conscious of this and strongly reminding myself to soak up the time I have with my kids in a place I love so much.  There is much to be excited about and much to look forward to once we move to Bend, Oregon but those things can wait.  I know we will find great schools for the kids and a place in the community quick enough.  I'll decide on next steps in my career when the time is right.  And I'll make our new house our HOME.  That alone will be so much fun and engaging.  In the meantime, I just finished with Grandma's Marathon (will post on that many GREAT things to say about this race!) and I have until July 20th before we road trip to Oregon to make the MOST of this time in Asheville, North Carolina!  Bring it!

Summer means lots of messes but also lots of fun learning and experimenting.  


  • Practice daily gratitude lists again.  I'm always grateful but something about writing just a few things down each day that helps me be that much more intentional and positive with my thinking.  
  • Work on patience.  With myself, goals, plans for what's next, and as a parent. 
  • See the value and reward in Motherhood.  Lately, I find myself craving intellectual stimulation, new career possibilities, furthering my graduate studies, and the opportunity to seek out so many of my passions.  This is great in itself but I tend to undervalue my job as a mother sometimes.  There are days when I don't see it as valuable work but in reality, it truly is.  It is passionate work.  A masterpiece if I see it that way.  Putting my career on hold and staying home with my kids is something I chose to do (not everyone's choice or ability and that's ok) and something I intended to do long before I had kids.  It's easy for me to forget that I will still have time for my interests and work when I'm ready.  Authors, artists, scholars, people who are leaders in their fields of studies and contributing in such lasting and BIG ways (changing the world in positive ways, making the world a better place, etc.)...this seems so WOW to me.  I want to to do that too!  But as mothers, we ARE doing that.  Even if we find ourselves thinking that we are "JUST Mothers"... it's so much more than staying home in our pajamas, thinking we'll never again not wear a hat over our greasy hair, playing UNO and pretending to enjoy Lego Ninjago and battling with play swords. I suppose it is one huge balance of contentment, challenge, motivation, passion, contribution, connecting, feeling heard and seen, etc.  For now, I'm home with my kids and continuing to grow and learn. That works for our family.  I feed my passions and think of what I'll do in the near future but if I really settle myself down and be still, I'm very thankful for this time to be where I am.   
  • Be open to receiving.  Be open to possibility, change, and embracing the next chapter in life.  
  • Instead of being sad to leave North Carolina, be thankful for the time I have had here and recognize how that has added to our lives in positive ways.  
  • Be a model for my children.  Easier said than done.  If I want them to respond to each other with patience and love, I need to do the same.  If I want them to value learning and be true to their passions and interests, it helps if they see us doing the same.  So much here!  

A few personal thoughts that I've jotted down over the last few days when I am alone with my thoughts in the stillness of the morning:

  • We find our family. Family can come to us in ways we never imagined.  
  • We won't like every person in life.  In fact, there will be people that no matter how hard we try, will still never be someone we like or enjoy being around for longer than a few minutes.  That's okay.  Not everyone will like us either.  
  • Living small is a mindset.  Small living doesn't mean never taking big and bold steps and making dreams come true.  What I mean by living small is in relation to material possessions...I don't need to fill our lives with "stuff"...all the latest and most popular clothes, toys, cars, etc. to be happy.  In fact, these things clutter life up for some of us.  I've struggled with this new step in life where we move from 1200 sq ft of space to well over over double that.  Doesn't a big house just mean more "stuff" and being tied down to our home?  It doesn't have to.  As with anything in life, it is what we make it.  Who cares if our home is half empty for the next few years.  I'm not going to just go on a frenzy of filling it up with "stuff" just to have it even if it doesn't mean much.  Nope.  Let it be empty in a few rooms.  We can still live small in a big house.  And with living small, our living in other ways will be BIG! Besides, an empty room or two can mean some awesome fort building space for the kids!  
  • Training for a race or even simply running and taking care of our health and fitness carries over into our life in wonderful ways.  There have been so many times recently where I've found myself pushing through a difficult workout, facing my fears or nerves and doing something I was dreading (only to feel amazing afterwards), or thinking of something difficult in my life and how I'll move past it when I'm doing just that on the track or the road.  The mantras I tell myself when I'm running, racing, and pushing through a challenge (mental or physical) in training are the mantras that also help me continue being strong and making my dreams come true in daily life. I have much to say about this when I write about my recent marathon!  Really powerful thoughts in that race.  
  • When I'm being especially negative or critical about situations that come up in daily life, it's time to take a long hard look at myself.  We often project onto others things about ourselves that we dislike the most.  And when our kids are around all the time, they HEAR.  Trust me, they hear us.  Even when we don't speak.  If we are being especially critical, they pick up on that and before you know it, they are walking, talking, miniature versions of the parts of us we like least (along with the good stuff).  Nothing reflects our weaknesses quite like our offspring.
  • Boredom is good for kids sometimes.  Boredom and downtime to just...PLAY.  This is one of the biggest reasons why I'm looking forward to that backyard and bonus room...places to tell my kids to scram and make some imaginative messes! Let them figure things out on their own, solve their own fights, etc. I want to be a more hands OFF mom but that can be hard for me when I'm in such a small space with them.  Without me being so uptight about the noise and the messes, things will be so much nicer for all of us.  Imagination and creativity can be loud and messy sometimes.  Yay for yards, summer, trampolines, rooms to make forts, and having my own space so I don't have to be a part of it all the time.  After all, I lived my childhood and it isn't my job to make their life gloriously magically entertaining all the time.  Kids need some stretches of being unstimulated so they can create their own fun (all within boundaries of course...ha!).
  • Change is constant.  No need to judge ourselves for being a different person than we once were.  Even if there is a drastic difference in our life  compared to who we once were.  It's okay to be different.  It's okay to evolve.  That's one of the most beautiful things about life.  We change.  The world changes. Life changes.  Our friends and family change.  That's a good thing.  Embrace it.  It can cause a bit (or a lot) of stress if we let it...when we see ourselves doing and saying things that we would have flipped over in the past.  It's easy to dig our heels in and try to stay the same because it is comfortable and what we know.  We can find ourselves pulled to close our minds and continue to stick to the same ideas, places, routines and paths even if we feel pulled or led in different directions, but that's how we get dusty and rusty.  Change lets us grow and if we are open to it when it comes, life will continue to surprise us in wonderful ways.

Time to get things ready for my son's five year old birthday celebration with family tonight.  Again, much to say about Grandma's Marathon soon.  Really, much to say about lots right now.  My head and heart are full full full.  Full of ideas, inspiration, words, love, and possibility.  Thankful for that. Life is good!



  1. Wow, really good post. I've been thinking of a lot of the same things. I am a stay at home mom and struggle with the same thoughts of feeling like I'm not "achieving" anything but it's true that the time with my daughter will be well invested. I have also thought about how she does imitate me and my husband and continuing grow myself will help her become a better individual as well. Glad I am not the only mom that struggles with these things. Good Luck on the move!!

    1. Thank you Kris. No, definitely not alone with these things! Good to hear from you.

  2. Re: the part about letting kids figure out how to be alone. THat one resonates with me. I see so many friends that have their kids days mapped out to the Nth degree. They need iphones to keep up with all the stuff they are scheduled to do.

    I remember long days just playing out in 'the woods' It seem huge and infinite! (recently I looked on google earth and found it wasn't as big as I thought ;)

    Anyway good idea to let kids figure out how to make themselves happy.

    1. I think having a good balance with this is good for me. I have them signed up for a few things (more in the school year) but also PLENTY of time to just play! And funny how things seem so big when we are kids compared to later in life.