Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Kissing Rocks

I didn't wake up before my kids today for my usual coffee/writing/ME time that seems to start the day off so perfectly.  Instead, I pretended that my alarm really hadn't gone off and I tried to hold on to just a few more minutes in bed with my eyes closed.  Before I knew it, all three kids were awake and making it so very obvious that my warm-cozy-bed-time was so far from OVER.  Days started like this always have a feeling of trying to catch up if I'm not intentional in "SLOWING DOWN" and just going with the flow.  

So, after getting my older kids out the door to school this morning, I took a deep breath, grabbed my coffee and thought I might sneak in a moment to just sit down with myself and collect my thoughts that I didn't wake up early for.  But my three year old son seemed pretty intent on making sure that none of that nonsense happened.  While I was in slow motion mode and wanting to ease into my day, HE was already bounding up and down the halls, warming up his LOUD voice, whining about wanting to eat  his third meal of the day before 8:15 a.m, and making it clear that he wanted my time and attention and not to be set off to play alone.  I get this. He has his rights to mommy time.  However, there is only so much rough boy play I can handle before finishing my coffee so I chose one of the best ways I know of sharing love and quality time with my kids.  I grabbed a big stack of books from the playroom library and carried them out to the couch with a blanket and a happy little boy.  After reading Maisy's Pool at least six times by request, I picked up one of my all-time favorite stories to read to my children...The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn. 

I've read this story many times over the last my own children and to children that cared for and taught before my children were given to me.  In all the times I've read this story, I don't think I've ever really noticed the dedication.  But today, the dedication words made me stop for a minute.  

"...and children everywhere who love to be loved."  

These words are so beautiful to me.  Yes, children everywhere...adults alike...humans...
we all loved to be loved.  Love is perhaps the greatest need or want that there is.  It is one of the things that makes us human...the ability, desire, and need to LOVE and be LOVED.  And what appropriate words for this book and any children's book really. Reading to our children....really sharing a story with one of my favorite ways to soak up  a loving moment with them.  And this book is such a beautiful message of the love we share with our children.  

The Kissing Rocks

It was this book that first inspired me to start the tradition of the Kissing Hand with my children in helping make it easier for them to say goodbye to me when I had to go to work or anytime I was leaving them with someone else.  My first daughter loved her kissing hands and she loved giving me MY kissing hands before I headed off to my teaching job. I'd kiss her tiny hands and close them tight and she'd protectively put my kisses in her pockets or on her cheeks before returning the gift. I'd take my hands and kiss them after she did and then I'd ask for another to put in my pocket.  And another to just hold on to all day.  It was our little routine.  So special.  It certainly made the morning ritual of saying goodbye go so smoothly.  

Once my son was old enough to leave him in the gym childcare or with a babysitter, he struggled with leaving me...even more so than my daughters since he had been home with me always.  We tried the kissing hand and this worked sometimes, but for him, he needed something more tangible...something he could really hold on to.  And that's when the Kissing Rock tradition began.  

On our way into the gym, we always pass an area with rocks and all it took was one time for my son to pick up a rock and refuse to put it back that gave me the idea to kiss it and let him put it safely in his pocket...the rest is history.  So, for almost two years now, we have our Kissing Rocks. Something about having his special rock that has been kissed by his mommy, gives him such peace and a feeling of control.  He puts that rock into his pocket and off he goes.  
It is his invisible cape.  
         His shield.  
His blanket of warmth.  
Sometimes he has two or three and sometimes only one but he almost always has to grab a kissing rock on the way into the gym or the church nursery.  I'm secretly happy that he hasn't yet outgrown this tradition that is so dear to my heart.  

As the years have gone by, we have taken many a "gym rock".  We try to remember to put them back sometimes but I'm sure we owe the gym at least a couple hundred pounds of rock.  I find rocks in pockets and in small clusters in the side pockets of my son's car seat.  There are random rocks in the toy boxes and under pillows.  Anyone who didn't know our tradition would probably wonder what's up with all the random rocks around the house.  But for me, these rocks are LOVE.  Each time I find one, I think of the love I have for my kids and of how much we all...

LOVE to be LOVED.  

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Thankful For, Remembering Sara, and Possible Tattoo

 After a very lazy, lounging, stay home sick kind of day yesterday, I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to make the most of this day.  We all are.  The kids woke up excited to be at school and we all seem to have a sense of gratitude and productivity surrounding us.  

A Few Thankful Bullets today:

  • Boston training officially starts on Monday with a 24 week plan.  The first phase will just be about getting in shape and building some base...slow and steady.  Above all, I'm just excited to have a goal.  A focus.  Something to work towards.  The drive I find when I'm training for something almost always carries over to the rest of my life and I end up with this extreme sense of accomplishment.  Life is just all around better when I'm training for something....I'm more focused and determined, I smile more, sleep better, my jeans FIT, my body takes on this really awesome shape that I LOVE and only comes with hard work, food tastes better, a glass of wine or beer feels well earned, I'm a more energetic person, more creative mom....I'm so excited to just TRAIN.  Not so much hungry for a HUGE time goal right now.  I'm sure this will change as training progresses.  My main wish is just:  To run strong, stay injury free, find JOY in training, run just for ME and BE HEALTHY!  The time goal should come right along with this.  
  • Autumn Leaves...SO MUCH BRILLIANCE!  Color everywhere.  I love this time of year.  
  • Feeling like myself for at least 3 weeks in a row now...Ha!  This is a good sign.  I just feel a peace and sense of Rightness with myself, my future plans, life changes, friendships, etc. that have been foggy for me at various times this year.  Feels good to feel good.  
  • Feeling more and more SURE that a move to Asheville, NC for a year or so is the right decision for our family.  A new adventure but knowing that we will be back here makes it seem like just adventure.  Going from one GORGEOUS place to another...but having the opportunity to see the east side to this country..great travel opportunities for a year.  
  • Abundant Love in my friends and family.  So blessed with them. 
  • Thanksgiving approaching...Love this holiday. 

I went to my friend Sara's memorial service on Saturday.  It was just the kind of memorial that Sara would have wanted.  So many stories that made us all laugh, just as Sara would have made us do.  Stories that made me us all walk away filled with so much JOY at not only remembering who Sara was to the us, but at the feeling of having Sara in our heart forever reminding us to be our BEST SELF...the best she saw in all of us.  

"I came away from Sara's memorial today smiling and filled with Joy at the memories of her and hearing the Sara Memories from others. I know Sara must have been smiling to see so many people come together like and old friends, remembering...Sara...and each other. Hearing the stories about Sara's life made me want to BE MORE LIKE SARA...I was INSPIRED to say the I always have been by her. She clearly lived her life in a most extraordinary that left everyone feeling loved and "Best Friended" by her. I think I need a WWLD (What would Lasky do?) bracelet made...or better yet, my first tattoo in honor of her. So Thankful for this most perfectly Sara-fied memorial. So, what kind of tat would say SARA? Certainly one that would make me feel joy, laughter, love, beauty, laughter, passion, compassion, and spice...all rolled into one. hmmmmm...."

I've never wanted a tattoo before.  I've thought about it for brief moments but have always said that I never had anything I'd want on my body permanently. As cheesy or cliche as it sounds, leaving Sara's memorial made me want my first tattoo...a remind of Sara..what she was to all of the world....the parts of her that I want to be more like.  Or rather the parts of her that reflected MY BEST SELF.  In thinking of what symbol would best represent what Sara was and what I wanted to remember for my life, I asked a  mutual friend her opinion and I loved what she said:

"I think a tattoo of a leaf is an awesome tribute to her memory. Not just because she was a lover of the outdoors and an expert friend to all nature. But because, like a leaf, she was given to change with the seasons of her illness and remained beautiful throughout every turn. Then, there's the rebirth in new growth of fresh leaves in spring. New beginnings for us to carry on as she would have in the 
unexpected seasons of our own life."

The next day, I went on a run and Sara was everywhere....

"I saw Sara Lasky everywhere on my run this morning. She was in every brilliant fall leaf that covered the sidewalks and that fell down on me as I ran under the trees...reminding me to live my life just a little bit love a little fuller, smile a little wider, notice MORE, see others a little deeper and keep giving of myself through the seasons that life has to offer. And I didn't run with a watch today but I know that I was running faster and stronger than I feel most days...thanks for pushing me Lasky...and reminding 
me to be a FULLER me. Gosh, you inspire me Sara."

I probably won't get this tattoo anytime too soon.  This is something I want to be thoughtful about...something I really want to take time in deciding.  I did come up with some really quick (under a minute) sketches yesterday just for fun. I was only trying to come up with a quick image to then give to my mom, an artist, so she could come up with something but I actually like what I came up with on first instinct.  Kind of like Sara was helping me.  Then I grabbed a blue ball point pen and made a sloppy sketch on my stomach to see if it was a place I'd like this image.  I'm not so sure I'd want it on my stomach and I'm certainly thinking I'd make it much half the size.  There are several locations I'm considering.  I want it to be somewhere where I can see it but not necessarily where everyone else can see it all the time.  I came up with a design that if you look closely, you can see the S for Sara in the vine (subtle), a leaf for each of my loves in my family (husband and 3 kids)...a symbol that stands for so much....change, beauty, growth, resilience, love and so so much more... A tattoo that reflects life, love, my best self, and in memory of the Sara and what she brought out in all of us....The Sara that we all loved.  My first sloppy draft just for fun (again, this is a messy pen sketch on my skin..not what it will look like...only for deciding the location...would look different...ha!):

Since starting this post, I've already dropped my kids off at school, went on a 5.5 mile run, picked up my daughter from Kinder and now we are off again to get my son from preschool and make this day a bright one.  And a bright one it already is!

  1. What are some things you are thankful for today (big and small)?  
  2. Have you ever thought of getting a tattoo?  Tattoo fan...yes or no?  Do you have any? 
  3. And what are some of your favorite locations for tattoos?  I'd like a location where my tattoo can be hidden or shown.  And I think I'm really into a much smaller tattoo than the one shown in the picture...something meaningful, beautiful, but not flashy.  I like the idea of the inside of the wrist, side of stomach, lower stomach, possibly foot...
  4. What is your favorite thing about training for a marathon/half marathon?  For me, this comes down to having something to help me focus and feel that drive and dedication that comes with working towards a goal.  This time around, I'm not so sure a time goal matters to me as much.  I'm just excited to have the structure and sense of accomplishment that comes from training...that tired but satisfied feeling. And the energy and motivation that carries over into EVERY other area of my life...making me thrive.  


Monday, October 22, 2012

Birthday Wish for 2Cellos

Today is a sick day around our house.
Lousy night of sleep
Lazy morning
Blankets and pillows piled on and off the couch
Toys scattered
Routines to the wind
All three kids
Playing in Peace
Using their imaginations
to just
cozy up
     settle in.
Books read
Old games and toys that were forgotten
    are found,
and given attention.

All the While...


A lazy, lounging
Kind of Day

Soaking up the last bit of time before Boston Training begins.

Loving it.

And if I could make one "not going to happen" wish for my 34th birthday in a couple weeks, it would be to fly to Australia and see these guys (my new favorite MUSIC) in concert:

We can dream right?  I may not get to see them play LIVE this year but it is on my "Before I Die..." list.  LOVE them.  I could listen to them all day.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sunshine, Gratitude, and Goals for Living

 The Sunshine came out today!  Yes, I admit, I was feeling just a tad bit sorry for myself here in the pacific northwest at the thought that our last day of sunshine until June was already had.  No joke, this was a real possibility.  But the sun decided not to give up on us just came out just in time for the one hour of my day that I have once a week just to myself.   It came and it has been out for most of the day.  Maybe all day.  It is still out.  And to make things even better, I got to run the first 2ish miles of my 5 mile run with my friend Stephanie who was on her way to the track to run her 800's as part of her training for the New York Marathon coming up.  So sunshine and a sunshine of a friend and feeling sunshiney = a sunshine kind of day.  Bring on the sunshine.  Goodness knows that we won't see much of it the next eight months.

I've set a goal for myself to wake up every morning and spend time with just myself for the first little bit of time.  Before the computer or phone comes on...before talking to anyone...just time to ME.  In journaling, prayer, thinking, making a list, meditating....whatever that first bit of time brings.  This morning led to a list of thankfulness, one of my favorite things to include in my journals.  I always finish feeling charged.  And a sense of abundance in my life.

After school, I had several of the neighbor kids over to play.  Never too early to get geared up for my all-time favorite holiday that will be here in less than a month.  I mean, really, we are practicing thankfulness year round around here anyway but it was fun writing down our gratitude together and seeing little hands coloring and listing the things they are thankful for.  I used to love having this stuff covering my classroom walls.  And this was so easy and meaningful for the kids.

Some goals for my life:

Personal:  Take more time to myself.  More time to grow my brain...learn...set professional and intellectual goals.  Easy to get lazy and bored but really, there's no reason for that...our world is FULL of opportunities to keep LEARNING.

Professional:  Continue to savor this time at home with my kids but be thinking about some of those ideas I have floating around in this head of mine.  I'm not so sure I want to return to the classroom but I do have some ideas for writing and ways to use my gifts that will most likely be very stimulating and fulfilling for me.

Life:  Be in the present!  Soak up these last few months in this HOUSE of mine before we move.  Yes, that is looking more and more like it is going to happen.  Here comes Asheville, North Carolina.  99.9% positive at this point.  But I'm really focusing on not letting this time pass pass me by without really soaking it up.  This is our first house.  All three of my kids were born while we lived here.  We've made this our home.  I love this little house.  I love the memories we've made here.  But I also love the idea of branching out and experiencing new horizons.  This is one thing about life that makes it so exciting.

Kids:  Be silly, be fun, ENJOY THEM instead of grumping around all the time.  :)  I get so grouchy lately.  So stressed.  Overwhelmed.  When really, I would love to see myself just relax and let things go a bit more so that I can just BE with my kids.  And say YES more often.  Not just to them but to LIFE in general.  Yes isn't always easy but it sometimes leads to some pretty cool things.

*  What are some of your goals for living right now?
*  What are some top things that you are thankful for right now?
*  Do you find yourself always saying NO to your kids...even before really thinking about what they are asking for?

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lazy Sunday

Lazy Sunday
No Running
Even after my "return to running" 8 miles from yesterday
Heel and achilles ache a bit
Best to just be still
Ease back in ...slow and steady

Lazy Sunday
Wrapped in blankets and kids 
on the couch
Listening to my favorite tunes of 
Cat Stevens
Van Morrison
Simon and Garfunkel
The Beatles 
Music from another generation
But perfect for me

Lazy Sunday
Kids calm
Doing our own thing
Being fine with fine
Content with the NOW
Pretending to fold some laundry 
In between e-mails and silly daydreams
Of love and romance and adventures
Of things that once were
Things that could have been
And all that is still to come
In this lovely life

Lazy Sunday
Getting lost in old hobbies
Playing my guitar and singing
child-like and free
My only handful of songs
Fire and Rain
Turn Turn Turn
Father and Son
Blowing in the Wind
The kids know these songs
They know it is rare that Mom plays the guitar.

Must mean she's happy.  
And I am.  


Saturday, October 13, 2012

Running Again! Who Needs Real Sunshine? And Running, Motherhood, Life Goals..Simple.

Fingers Smiling,
Toes Tickled, 
   Legs laughing,
Body Buzzing,
Eyes Bright with possibility.

Running Again.

Arms stretched wide,
        Open for receiving, 

A sigh of relief,
A reminder of Me,
for Making my own sunshine today, 


It's been too long.

We may not see the sunshine around here for 8 to 9 months out of the year, but days like this where I can run injury free and feel myself getting back into shape, are a reminder of all the reasons I do it...why I run.  It IS my makes my life brighter.  Running helps me see the world in color.  It helps me open my arms to all the love and that life has to offer. It gives me focus and strength.  Motivation.  The time I spend running translates to the energy I have to give to my a mother, friend, wife, etc. 

 Feeling my body move so effortlessly today (although still obviously out of shape) has left me smiling from ear to ear.  There was no real sunshine shining down on me, but the trees were splashed with reds, oranges and yellows, the air cool, and the beauty of the pacific northwest so striking as I made my way up and down the hills around my house,
through the paths,
past the children playing soccer games,
parents cheering with their coffee cups in hand and coats wrapped tight.
Rolling fog in the distance,
Pumpkins on the sidewalk....

I noticed things.  
I noticed the life around me.  
My world that has so often been in gray lately was so obviously in full on color as I made way way home after my 8 mile run.

Only 8 miles today but it was 8 miles more than I ran yesterday or the day before.  8 new long run after a stretch of practically  no running.  And what little running I have done has been in the pool or very sparse and slow.  My 8 miles today was 8 miles of feeling whole and hungry for more.  This feels better than I can possibly say.  It's almost as if I remembered ME today.  I know this sounds dramatic or a little extreme...but really, the last couple weeks...months even...have just been odd for me.  Not bad.  Not good.  Just different.  An in-between place.  And we need these times in life where we have to slow down and take a long hard look at ourselves whether we like it or not.  This time has been good for me.  But gosh, I'm so happy to be coming out of it and getting back to running and remembering the JOY that surrounds me in everything.  Remembering focus and motivation.  Remembering why...WE RUN.  

So, although still out of shape, I'm happy with my run today.  8 miles with 5 easy and 3 moderate.
8:02 avg
1 8:21
2 8:35
3 8:17
4 7:35
5 7:23
6 8:30
7 7:16 (ha!  This felt more like a 6:40 might have felt back in the spring but that's steps).
8 8:17 

Goals and Time with ME
This morning I had some time in my journal (pictured above).  My journal that I used to write in daily has taken a back seat in my life lately and it was so nice to reconnect.  Writing to myself felt so good.  Just writing to me...saying hello to was a breath of fresh air.  As I was writing, a card slipped out (also in the picture above) that my husband wrote to me a few weeks ago.  I didn't really notice the message on the front at the time...I noticed it but I didn't think too much about it until today.  Today it was such a strong message to me.  Yes, all we need is love.  In my opinion, LOVE is the most powerful gift we have.  It is the essence of God.  Of God in us.  Of God in the world.  And having love for ourselves is perhaps where it all begins...the prerequisite for being the best we can be and spreading love to all we touch.  I decided to make a few goals for my life but instead of  my usual lists, today I just chose to keep it simple....

To get back into it slowly and just take it in as it comes.  The next few weeks are about getting back in touch with running and myself and then I will be ready to decide on my goals for Boston training.  

TO CUT MYSELF some SLACK!  Love me.  I am enough.  I am enough as a mother and my kids will remember me as a good mom despite my mistakes.  Really working on letting go of the GUILT that is always there for me as a mom...the perfectionism that dominates my motherhood mind...I'm working on letting it go and just being...ME.  Enough.  I'm a good mom and I don't need to keep beating myself over the head for all the things I'm not doing...I will celebrate the things I AM Doing.  

Make time for growing the friendships/relationships that really matter.  Give to them.  Give and receive LOVE.  These people are gifts...I don't connect with just everyone on the deepest of levels but I do have a handful of people in my world that I consider soul connections...people that have made it deeply into my heart....people worth holding on to forever and ever.  I want to make sure I take time for these people...they make my life richer.  At the same time, they are the kind of friends that will always be there no matter how much time we spend together.  But life is short...I want more of them.  

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Replacing Negative Self Talk and Judgmental Thinking, Running Again, and Random

Learning is what we are meant to do.  It is our birthright as humans.  If we stop learning, we stop growing and our minds become stagnant.  If you don't use it, you'll lose it.  --Chi Running

Watch for phrases like "I should" or "I can't" or "I'm not" or "I have to."  Any negative or judgmental thinking creates static on the line.  And who needs that when you're trying to get clear reception?  --Chi Running

This could end up being the shortest or the longest post I've ever all depends on how fast I type.  I haven't sat down all day and I finally have maybe fifteen minutes to steal to myself while my oldest is reading, my youngest is surprisingly self-content, and my middle daughter is at soccer smiling from ear to ear that her daddy is the assistant coach tonight.  So after having what seems like a pretty decent mom day mom day with attending a field trip to the pumpkin patch, painting pumpkins, waking my kids up cheerfully instead of with the grumpy grey cloud I've seemed to have over my head too much lately, I am allowing encouraging myself to take a little slice of me here before continuing the rest of the motherhood "to-dos" that I still have to cross of my list for the day.  So, how about some bullets:

  • What an awesome weekend for marathons.  I've read about several PRs and one of them was set by a very dear friend of mine.  She smashed her old marathon PR and reached her goal that she set out to do. Inspiring.  Exciting.  Highlight of my Sunday!  
  • Another highlight of this weekend was being in Leavenworth, WA with some of our best friends.  What a gorgeous place to spend a weekend!  
A picture I took on my trail run on Saturday morning along the Leavenworth Marathon course.  

This marathon or half marathon is surely on my list of marathons to do someday. It was fun to cheer.
  • I'm feeling more like myself the last week than I have in quite awhile.  Feels good.  And I know that a lot of it has to do with running again and being healthy.  Knocking on wood here but I feel darn near injury free.  Now, I know my feet are not 100% and I'm still getting treated for my left hammy that I hurt way back in January.  I also still have pelvic pain that comes from who knows what but always seems to feel better after getting adjusted.  Anyway, mostly just Thankful to be feeling strong again! 
  • Running makes me happy.  I'd rather run slow for the rest of my life and still be able to run injury free than chase down big goals and always be injured trying to do so.  Running gives me balance and JOY for everything else that is so much more important.  
  • I'm running but I'm being really smart as I start to build up my mileage.  Yesterday's 8 miles was the longest I've run since mid August maybe?  It felt glorious.  8 miles in 8:25 average = nice easy run on a sunny blue sky day.  And let me tell you, we are having an absolutely beautiful fall here in the Pacific Northwest.  
  • The lack of running has meant just a little bit of weight gain.  Ha!  I tried putting on my jeans today...the ones that are always the jeans that tell you where you're at.  They are the jeans that only fit when I'm in my tip top shape.  Ha!  And let me tell you (with a smile on my face) that I wast nowhere NEAR Close to getting those babies buttoned.  I did feel like it was funny enough to send one of my best friends a photo of this joke of a jean try on.  I'd post it for you too but I'm really much too vain.  
  • I'm really not too concerned with this weight gain.  It isn't like I'm crying myself to sleep over it.  In fact, pass the cookies...marathon training will come SOON ENOUGH.  I'm going to enjoy the extra junk in the trunk.  AND at least 2 of the 6 or 7 pounds (9 with my coat and boots today at the doc) has gone to my boobs.  I'll take it.  And so will my husband.  He's liking the extra cush for a change.  Goodness knows that in marathon training I get too skinny and I wish for more cushion.  And I did kind of ask for this with all the beer, late night snacks and going out with friends for dinners I did this summer.  It was worth it.  

  • I'm keeping my goal of reading more books again.  It has been hard to make myself sit down and focus but having a long car ride this weekend and a husband that likes me to read running books to him was nice.  I read several chapters from Chi Running and we had some great discussions.  Two lines that jumped out to me from my reading:  
Learning is what we are meant to do.  It is our birthright as humans.  If we stop learning, we stop growing and our minds become stagnant.  If you don't use it, you'll lose it.  --Chi Running

Watch for phrases like "I should" or "I can't" or "I'm not" or "I have to."  Any negative or judgmental thinking creates static on the line.  And who needs that when you're trying to get clear reception?  --Chi Running

  • The second quote above was in context with a section on Body Sensing and getting to the point where we can sense how our bodies are moving...without having to think too much.  Anyway, without having anything to do with body sensing, these words just about jumped off the page and slapped me they were meant just for me at this time.  I've read these words again and again since then and they continue to run through my mind. And I will write them down and put them where I can see them.  I spend way too much of my life starting messages to myself with these phrases.  My self talk is constantly filled with "I should....."  "I'm not...."  I have to......"  I didn't realize just how much I fill my life expecting myself to be doing something more or different or better. Now a little bit of this is GREAT!  In fact, this type of thinking is what helps us continue to keep improving and being better and climbing higher...indeed!  But too much of this thinking can make us feel like we are doing NOTHING right when in reality we are doing lots right.   I'm really glad for this part of the book that made me more aware of this.  Changes and improvements all start with awareness.  Now that I'm aware that I do this, I can REphrase things so that I can spend more time telling myself things like "I am doing..."  " I might like to try..."  "I did...."  "I can..."  "I'm okay just as I am right now."  "I will...."  "I'd love to...."  

My time is so far from up!  Time to grill some Salmon and make it look like I've slaving away around here.  :)

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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Perfect Oregon Morning, Finding Treasures in Old Words, a Forever Hello to a Forever Sara, and Randomness in Pictures

It is an absolutely gorgeous morning in Portland, Oregon today.  The kind that goes down in the books as perfect in my book:  blue skies, a crispness to the air, the smell of fall in the air, falling leaves, and a "just so" angle to the sun that is a sign of an approaching winter/settling in season.  Then add sleeping kids, hot coffee,  a quiet house, a morning after some much needed time with a best girlfriend and a conversation with a dear friend, and time alone with my thoughts and an old journal and you have a simply perfectly peaceful start to the day.  

I found this journal on my shelf yesterday when I was looking for a book to write some things down that I want separate from my other journal. This book was never lost, but along with all my other journals, it just sits on my shelf collecting dust and holding pieces of my life and heart. I'm so glad I took it down yesterday because looking through it has been such a slice of peace for me.  It is a book that was given to me by my dear soul sister of a friend, Jenny back in the summer of 2000.  It is a book that I originally started keeping quotes and pieces of writing that touched me deeply.  Almost immediately, it became a place where I felt free to try my own hand at writing poetry or pieces that came to me but I was too embarrassed to share.  And now it is a beautiful book that has all sorts of writing stuffed into own, old letters to me, poetry written for/to me from long ago, quotes and snippets of writing that have touched my life, etc.  What began as a start to healing and furthering my spiritual journey after such an abusive experience with religion, grew into a collection of "Written treasures" and I'm looking forward to adding to much left to this book.  

Here's the beginning entry that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with my views/thoughts now (although, not entirely, I've worked through so much of my issues that came from being in an abusive church/religion) but were so real back then.  Funny how our life goes in circles...more often than not we come back to the root of the person we once were at some of the most powerful times in our life even when it means taking a long journey around before we return.  I'm thankful that I've always written my heart down and that I can go back to reread...we can always learn from ourselves

7-22-00 (age 21)
"I am starting this journal as a step--a new step to taking me further on my spiritual journey.  I am so very hungry for spiritual food right now and I'm starting to realize more and more that I can be CLOSE to GOD....without religion.  God is in me and it is up to me to seek that love out in myself, the people given to me and the life that surrounds me.  So many wounds have started to heal and that feels so wonderful to me.  Each new friendship, each new life song and beauty, that comes into my life for the first time just reveals more and more of God's love.  Thanks to my sweet Jenny C--my friend, my soul sister, I have this book to fill with things of my choice--things that touch my heart, heal me, and draw me closer to God without the pain and judgement that has come from religious abuse...and things that make me more aware of life...the here, the now, and the life ahead of me.  The life that is so very simple and intricate at the same time."  

I'm sure I'll offend some with my words about religion and God.  But it is what is and that's where I was when I wrote this.  There are still parts of me that are overly cautious about religion and the place that church holds in our world (even though we do attend a church and want to raise our kids in a church ).  Such a tricky subject for me and one that is forever evolving. A subject I'm not afraid to be open is part of me and people can judge if they want...I'm at a point in my life where I feel free enough to say how I feel without giving power to how others will judge me...I don't want those people in my life...not enough room for that.  Thankful for a constant love in my life no matter where I am with religion.  I choose to embrace is everywhere. This is the essence of God to me. 

As if this post isn't random enough, I think I'll add some more random in pictures and captions to go with this beautiful Wednesday that is so full of hope:

My sweet friend Sara. Amazing, Beautiful, Brilliant, Gifted YOU Sara! Dying of Brain Cancer.   Can't possibly put Sara into words that would do her justice or that would show how many of us that have breaking hearts right now with the realization that Sara will no longer be with us on this earth soon.   A friend to so many.  The world will never have another person like Sara.  In her 30 some years she has already done so much to give to the world...more than most do EVER.  Beyond gifted....teacher, friend, musician, daughter.  Exceptional is an understatement.   So sad for all that know Sara and have to say goodbye (but such a joy we have all had to have been blessed with her friendship that we will FOREVER hold on to)  and all that haven't had a chance to know her.   I gave her my "forever hello" 2 days ago and I know that will be the last time I will see her on this earth.  Heartbreaking.  But even in her last days on this earth, Sara continues to bless us all with the extraordinarily beautiful soul that she is.  
"Sara, you are an incredible gift to so so many of us. YOU, beautiful you. Thank you for giving so much to the EVERYTHING around you YOU. Thank you for making me laugh today. I left, as always when I leave you, feeling beyond blessed to know you. I love you."

One of my recent goals is to start reading more often like I used to.  So good for the brain and in just being still with ourselves.

Running is going really great this week!  My feet are starting to feel better...they still hurt a tiny bit but my body is responding well to the easy runs that I've been making part of my days.  Sunday was a reflective slow 7 miles in the forest with my friend Nicole.  I would take trail running with my girlfriends over pedicures and shopping ANY DAY! 

I miss getting REAL mail in my mailbox:  letters written and sent...waited for with anticipation, opened eagerly like a gift, savored, and tucked away to read again someday.  So glad I saved the special ones.  

If only we all could see the world more like children.  Especially in the way we make friends and accept love as it comes.  Most of the time it is a simple "Will you be my friend?" without judgement or assumptions.  Somehow, somewhere in our life, we become guarded (often for good reason) and we lose this innocent connection with other humans.  And when we do connect so freely and perfectly and find love in unexpected ways, we are quick to assume that something is wrong with it so many of us look for flaws/holes that don't need to be part of the big picture.  

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