Belt It Out

July 31, 2009

For a chunk of time in college Mary Chapin Carpenter’s “I’ll Take My Chances” was my roll down my windows, smoke a cigarette and sing at the top of my lungs song. Thinking about my bra dilemma made me feel so practical and boring and predictable. I really don’t want to become that mom in mom jeans that doesn’t know she is in mom jeans. You know who I am talking about. I am not saying I wish I was in college again, actually there is nothing I would change about my current life. It is a personal issue. I need to take more chances. I need to race (even though the thought makes me want to go diarrhea), I need to wear my favorite white tank top even though it will get slimmed. If I have learned anything through moving 500 million times, it is:  nothing has to be permanent. And if I have learned anything since having kids: the only thing that is certain is that time will not stand still. I don’t get to redo my day or my last hour, but I can make it count. I can be at the park with kids attacking me and know I have on a hot pink bra with black polka dots.

The other day I popped Mary into my CD player rolled down my minivan windows (only the front ones of course), wished I was smoking (I am much to responsible for that these days), but I still belted it out (with Scott laughing and Nate screaming in the background). It felt so good.

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I have a slight obsession with Kristin Armstrong. I think she is wonderful. No, I have never actually met her, but if I lived near her (Austin, TX) I would definitely stalk her.  Not in a scary stalker way, but in a if-she-would-just-get-to-know-me-we-could-be-friends kind of way (I know, still creepy, so I guess it is best that I don’t live by her after all….). She has an amazing running blog that is about so so so much more than just running. She also has an incredible  book.

I really could dedicate an entire blog to the ways that each of her blogs speak to me, but again with the creepy stalker profile…. Anyways, one of her points in her  latest post is finding and pursuing your passion. Which (as her writing always does) spoke right to me. I have been wondering a lot lately what my passion is. I know right now I am wrapped up in being a mom, but I don’t want to become a woman whose identity is so tied to her kids that she forgets who she is and looks in the mirror eighteen years later and doesn’t recognize herself. I love running, but, let’s be honest, I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to train and travel to races right now. I consider myself lucky to get my goal of four runs a week in. I would love to volunteer, but have had a hard time finding something I can do with kids and getting a volunteer coordinator to call me back in general (Gervase if you by some chance are reading this, please call me back, I would love to bring toys home to wash them…) I have tried scrap booking. No, thanks. I have tried getting crafty. Not so much. I am searching.

I feel like I used to know myself better. Pre kids and even pre marriage, when I got to be completely selfish. When I got to pursue my desires on a whim, with out coordinating schedules or feeling guilty for not being home. When I didn’t have to use my “free” time to simply have coffee with a friend. Aaahh, the days of ordering whatever I want at a restaurant with out having to think about splitting it with Scott. Having kids is one of the best decisions I have ever made, but I think I need to start making an extra effort to get to know myself again. I have a couple of passionate ideas, we’ll see…

What are your passions and how do you pursue them? (this is not a rhetorical question, I really would love to know how other people make it happen!)

Do it now

April 16, 2009

A little over two weeks ago my grandmother passed away. It was expected, but for some reason the expectedness didn’t make the pain go away (like I was anticipating). This is my first grandparent to die and really the first person I have lost that I was close to. In so many ways, it is a relief to know her pain is ended and her vivacious soul is no longer stuck in bed, but it is also an empty feeling to know that spot in my heart where she lives will have no new memories added to it. I will always be grateful that I got to laugh with her on her last good day.

For some reason, after she died and through the funeral and still now, about once a day something my grandpa said to me years ago comes flooding back. It was shortly after Mike and I got married and I had called him to tell him happy birthday,  we were just chatting and he said, “Do everything you can while you are young, because when you get older, the desire doesn’t go away, only the ability.” I have no idea why that memory has stuck with me. If you know my grandfather, you know he is FULL of quotes…(another famous one being “If you pound and pound upon the ketchup bottle…none’ll come, and then a lotta’ll” – less deep, but still very quotable!)

I guess as I think of her spending her last months in bed with only her mind, I can’t help but wonder what she thought about. What did she regret? What was she most proud of? Was there anything she always wanted to do, but never got the chance? Who did she wish she would have kept in touch with? All those things that I think I will wonder about. So I am trying to wonder about them now. What an amazing journey through life it would be to come to the end and be able to say “I am ready.”

Life on the Plain

April 14, 2009

Instead of saying “plain” Scott says “real”. As in, “I want bread and butter, but I want the butter real.” Translation: I want a piece of bread and a chunk of butter but separate. (yes, I let him eat chunks of butter, what’s the difference if it is “real” or on the actual bread???) I have no idea where he got this and I have tried explaining the word plain, but for some reason it always comes out “real” and now I have actually come to like the term.

Before we decided to move back to Tulsa, Mike was asking me what I wanted our life to look like and all I could come up with was to say plain. I wanted him to have a plain job, I wanted to have a plain house, and I wanted to do plain things. Meaning I wanted an uncomplicated job that didn’t dominate every aspect of our family, I wanted a small house that was cozy and easy to keep clean, and I wanted to get back to the basics and spend time with family, play at the park, have people over for dinner, live around the people and places that contribute to making life worth living. I want our life to be pared down to the things that bring us joy and get rid of all the extra. You know, the plain life.

Last year I would say was our hardest year since we have been married and I think it is because we got cocky. We moved away from family when I was 17 weeks pregnant with baby number two, thinking we can do this on our own, we don’t need any help. HA! I am now deeply grateful for how much my parents adore my kids. We spent too much money on stuff, we spent too much time in the car, and we got lost.  We are striving to make more conscious decisions with our money, to be more involved with the community around us- to consume less and give more. It is a journey and we are definitely not perfect, but we are desperately trying to remember that every decision that we make has an impact. Big or little, good or bad.

I think Scott and I got our words switched. He means to say plain and I meant to say real.

*Side Note, there is an amazing book called The Irresistible Revolution. It is written by a Christian, but I truly believe it applies to everyone. It will change your life.