Saturday, September 27, 2008

Is This a Kissing Book? Oh Ya!

I don't know where to start.  I like to keep things upbeat, and simply muse (or rant) about the things that are going on in my life.  I like to think that in almost every situation, we can find some good.  Some lesson to be learned.  Something positive to focus on. I am going to try...
I recently saw an old episode of Everybody Loves Raymond in which the lead character, Ray, is speaking to a friend about marriage.  He says, "Ya, we have been married eleven years, and there is no end in sight."  Double entendre duly noted, that is quite poignant.  When Hunky Hubby and I married, because of our religious beliefs, we ended the ceremony not with "until death do us part", but "for Time and all Eternity."  So I can say, 17 years--with no end in sight!  I am so thankful for this...most of the time! (it's a joke sweetheart)
So, HH and I love to get outdoors when we have our "mom and dad time".  We often go backpacking, but the last couple of outings have been mountain biking.  SOOO much fun. Usually.  
Yesterday, we dropped the kids off at school and headed to some trails fairly close to home. The trail we take is difficult, but we know we have plenty of time to make the 15 or so mile loop back to the truck and get home before the young'ns do.  Obviously this is not what happened or I wouldn't be blah blah bloggin' about it.  The first 13 miles goes smoothly. Except for some parts of the trail that are not in good shape, we are having a good time.  The leaves are starting to turn color, and the weather is perfect!  Near the end though, we cannot find the last turn-off to get back to the truck.  We try several different trails, including one that was a horrible downhill bushwhack, followed by an arduous UPhill bushwhack back out (this required carrying our bikes a good deal of the time).  We are quickly loosing time and patience. We finally decide to just backtrack and go out the way we came in...another 13 or so miles!  In the end our fun-time 15 mile jaunt turned into a 30+ mile fight-waiting-to-happen, who's-sleeping-on-the-couch-tonight major expedition!  HH kept his cool the whole time.  He is just level like that.  I lost it pretty good once near the end.  On a rather steep and rocky downhill, he got way ahead of me.  When I came to a fork, I wasn't sure which turn to take so, I stopped and waited for him to realize I was not there.  It took what I considered WAY too long for him to come and retrieve me, and I let him have it!  Poor kid, he just took it and said how sorry he was and tried to soften my scowl by adding, "I will always come for you" in his best attempt at a Westly-like fake British accent.  He is cute.  I reminded him, however that he should have not lost me in the first place!  He agreed.  I will never doubt again.  So, it is still 17 years with no end in sight...
We both found a positive.  Hubby said that from now on, every mountain bike trip we take will seem way more fun and pretty easy.  I loved the new bike seat he bought me last month.  It's way more comfy than my old one and I was sure to thank him for it. 
Quote of the Day:"Pray for your marriage because God will fill the void and sweep in and muster feelings for your spouse you never thought you had."
--Patricia Heaton actress

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writer's Brick?

So, major amount of writer's block this week.  I don't know what it is, usually I have millions of inane things floating around my head (lots of empty space perhaps).  But this week...not a whole lot going on up there.  Actually, the problem is more likely that I have soooo many things right now, that I cannot concentrate enough on just one to put my thoughts down. In my over-zealous attempt to keep myself busy as all of the kids went back to school recently, I have taken on many fun projects.  I start teaching a small yoga class this week. I am also hosting a blood drive near my home for the Red Cross, volunteering in the First grade classroom at my kids' school, hunting down the perfect recipe for my church chili cook-off, trying to build a firepit in my yard out of used bricks from a friend's unfortunate incident involving his garage and a drunk driver's pickup, and flying the first womaned mission to Mars (ok, that one is a joke), but you get the idea. Whew!  I suppose I should be exhausted, but somehow all of this action invigorates me, until around 3:30...then I am exhausted!  We hear so often of all of the terrible things that are going on in the world, I wish sometimes that we would notice all of the good--the people all around us who are helping, lifting and lending hands.  All over the world, I believe there is more good than evil, it just isn't as well reported.  "Old Scratch" must have a better publicist!  I have met some great people when I have taken the time to get involved.   Roll up your sleeves, get your knees dirty, and get out there! We often shun the physical labor that used to keep us fit.  As I spent most of last Thursday hauling bricks into and out of a trailer,  I wondered why the heck I had bothered to hit the gym that morning! But there just aren't that many opportunities to move bricks really, so most days I have to do something.  There are very few opportunities for any hard work these days. Washing machines, cars, riding lawn mowers and tractors have made work and travel easy.  Now we have treadmills , stationary bikes, and exercisagizmos to make up for all of the work and walking we aren't doing...Funny if you think about it huh?  So, writer's block be danged! That is my rant for the day...
I am off to build a firepit.  Guess I shoulda skipped the gym again huh?  Oh well.
Quote of the Day:  "People who grow old well, focus on the growing, and not the old."
--Dr. Dale Vicky Atkins

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Balancing Act

                    Where to begin?  I took some pretty intense yoga training over the weekend. Twenty hours worth to be exact, and, yes, I was a bit sore!  I hesitate to call it yoga training, because I really view it as life training.  I want to share a bit with my readers today (yes, both of you).  Contrary to common belief, yoga is not about being an ultra-bendy, underfed, hippie contortionist.  It is about balance.  In yoga, we strive to bring all parts of our life and our body into balance. Each flexion has a counter extension. And really, we work both directions so that in the end, neutrality can be achieved (go ahead, make the connection to our lives off the mat). Our minds, bodies and spirits are connected.  When one is out of balance, WE are out of balance. On the mat, each movement, breath and pose has a purpose. So should it be in life. The purpose of everything we do should be clear to us. How does this relationship, education, action, reaction, thought, job or project bring my mind, body and spirit into balance?
                      The process of "letting go" is huge in yoga. We honor ourselves and others by letting go of competition, judgement and expectations. Everyday is different. Every body and everybody is different. Respect that. Embrace that. Give ourselves permission to "ease out" of a pose, a relationship, a project, a job or a feeling. One of our instructors gave us some of the best guidance I have ever heard.  She said, "We are the masters of what we are allowing to affect us." Oh ya! Along with that, she cautioned us to not let other people's energy or opinions of what should be, override what we know is right.  
                     In a yoga practice, it is imperative that we listen to how our bodies feel at that moment. Physical or emotional feelings are messages. Our whole lives we are constantly getting these messages; either we will listen or we won't. Whatever you believe the source, God, the universe, your spirit...listen to it. I personally believe that a benevolent Father in Heaven guides us all along our mortal journey, but it is up to us to listen and follow the promptings. Another student said, "Remember in life, even the bad stuff is good stuff." We have challenges and obstacles, heartache and,! What we learn from it and what we do with it, is entirely up to us.
                     Thank you--Sandi, Barbara, Jennifer, Andrea, Larinda, Shannon, Jane, Megan, Natalie, Sarah, Maria, Lynn, Miranda, Cheryl, Linda, and Pamela--some really cool yogi chicks!
Quote of the Day: "The important thing is this: to be able at any moment to sacrifice what we are for what we could become."
--Charles Dubois

Monday, September 15, 2008

Garden of Eatin' (horribly cliche, I know!)

So, Friday, I am making dinner, and I go out to the garden to dig up some potatoes, and voila!  I had a little 'lightbulb moment' of gratitude.  I was amazed at the beauty and miracle 
of the earth. In May, I stuck some pieces of potato in the ground and in a few short months, the little spud chunks had each propagated a dozen or so little tater tots (this is Idaho, individual results may vary). Amazing!  Miraculous!  Perfect, beautiful, ovalish Yukon Golds.  I had watered, tilled and weeded, but the little buggers really did this mostly on their own.  What a marvelous creation is this world we are blessed with.  I was so inspired by those little guys, I began to look around the yard and snapped some pix of the last of this year's bounty.
Quote of the Day: "There are plenty of people with loads of money who are anything but rich."
--Suze Orman  
financial guru

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just For Fun!

My friend Monkeypantsjorg sent this to me--thought it was fun.  You have to answer all of the questions with one word answers...
Where is your cell phone? desk
Your significant other?  Hunky
Your hair?  wild
Your mother?  crazy
Your father?  conservative
Your favorite thing?  books
Your dream last night?  hmmmm...
Favorite drink?  water
Your dream/goal  centenarian
The room you are in?  den
Your hobby?  yoga
Your fear?  heights
Where do you want to be in 6 years?  better
What you are NOT?  patient
Muffins?  bran
Top of your wish list?  vacations
Last thing you did before this? gym
What are you wearing? ick
Favorite gadget? none
Pets? tarantula
Computer? MAC
Mood? preoccupied
Missing someone? yes!
Car? batmobile
Something you are not wearing? makeup
Favorite store? online
Like someone? everyone
Color?  greeeeeen
When is the last time you laughed? always
Cried? often

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oh, Say Can You See...

So, I hope everyone remembered to fly the flag today. This is a picture of my son at a flag display near our home.  I get teary eyed every year when they do this display.  Right now, as we are inundated with the political rhetoric and vitriol that surrounds an election,  I hope we remember that, party platforms aside, we are all Americans.  This is the land of the free and the home of the brave.  
God Bless America...
Quote of the Day: "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
--Edmund Burke

Monday, September 8, 2008

Feelin' Groovy!

Here in beautiful Idaho, the seasons they are a changin'.  I love autumn.  It is likely my favorite season.  I am a bit sad though to say goodbye to summer.  Those lazy, hazy crazy days of summer. Sunshine, fresh fruits and veggies, picnics, parks, playing in the water, breezy skirts and flip flops. (I love my flip flops.)  I go into the garden and pick fresh raspberries for breakfast.  I lie on my back in the grass and stare up into that endless blue sky.  I read in the shade of the patio while the kids run through the sprinkler and dash across the lawn headed for that iconic summer contraption, the "slip'n'slide" wishing that the season would last forever.  (And secretly wishing that they would stay my little ones forever as well.)  Yet as the kids start their third week of school, and I see the leaves beginning to turn and the temperatures fall, I know that another summer has come and gone.  Did I appreciate it while it was here?  I sure tried to, yet it seems gone too soon still.  I feel that way too as I watch my four kids grow up right before my eyes.  Do I appreciate each stage for its own wonder and excitement?  I am trying to, yet the years too, seem gone all to soon still.
Before I fall off my chair and roll up into a soggy mom-ball of tears, I had better move on to autumn.  I do love autumn.  The air smells crispy.  It is clear and cool.  Just as the summer flowers lose their color, the trees begin to change and a whole new pallette is arranged. I just love the way it feels, and the sunsets are spectacular!  It is time to don cardigans, scarves and cute hats to crunch the leaves on the sidewalk during my afternoon walks.  I relinquish the barbecue for the big soup pot.  Fall is the time to enjoy a giant batch of chili with a big, crusty loaf of sourdough...Yummm!  The pumpkins in the garden are getting plump and I know that trick-or-treating is just around the corner.  (I DO love to dress up.) I used to relish the passing of the seasons and celebrate each milestone in the kids' lives with a mad desire to see how it was all going to play out in the end.  Now, though I just wish it would all slow down.  I don't want it to stop, of course.  I love seeing my kids grow and learn and develop into their own little people. They really are cool.  I don't really want summer to last forever, nor fall either.  It just goes so dang fast!  So, I say, let's slow down.  I'm not putting a way those flip flops just yet...
(go ahead, click on it)
Quote of the Day:  "You create your own universe as you go along."
--Winston Churchill 

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oz Never Did Give Nothing to the Tin Man That He Didn't Already Have

I am getting rather excited about my upcoming yoga training.  I have wanted to do something like this since the first time I stepped onto a yoga mat.  Even more than noticing I was in desperate need of a pedicure, I was aware of every part of my body.  Even as out of shape as I had let myself get, my body suddenly felt powerful and alive.  During a yoga practice I am vibrantly aware of all my pieces and parts.  I notice how my breath feels coming in and out of my nose.  I am aware of my posture and balance.  It is obvious, if I really focus, where I am holding tension.  It is important to release that. In yoga (and I believe in life) when we refuse to release the tension, we restrict our growth.  I am guilty of this in life and yoga.  It is in the "letting go" that we really stretch ourselves!  I know my body isn't perfect.  I am guilty of wishing sometimes that it was, well...I don't it was when I was 20 let's say.  But on the mat, I am always amazed at the human frame.  I appreciate what my body CAN do.  I try to practice without judgement of where I am today.  No matter how proficient one becomes at yoga, it is still referred to as a "practice".  If only we gave ourselves that kind of permission and leeway in all aspects of our lives.  Like my friend, Heidi...
Last night I attended my 747th 'Back to School' night.  I ran into another mom whom I think is amazing.  Her name is Heidi and she has the most wonderful, loving spirit.  Despite being about 10 years my junior, she is my guru.  She takes life in stride and when life hands her lemons she makes lemon meringue pie and smashes it in the face of life!  Fun girl.  She was wearing the standard "mom at back to school night uniform" (i.e. casual pants, cute T and a little argyle sweater) except on her feet were bright red, sequined, big bowed, sparkly shoes. Yes, the kind Dorothy jacked from the Wicked Witch!  She told me that her sister had bought them for her as her "happy shoes".  She is supposed to wear them whenever she is in a bad mood.  I mean, looking at those feet, who could stay glum?  Her husband though, said she would never have the guts to wear them in (and competitive) as she is, they made their debut at Back to School Night.  Heidi sat squirming a bit discussing her daughter's scholastic prowess with the teacher, who was wearing the standard "teacher at back to school night uniform" (i.e. black slacks, blazer, and sensible shoes), all the while wondering if perhaps the teacher thought this brilliant child might actually be adopted. In the end the happy shoes made up for any embarrassment felt for actually wearing them in public.
I admire the ability to just let go like that.  On or off the mat.  It may not be yoga that does it for everyone.  Or even happy shoes.  But whatever it is, find it.  Do it.  Love it.  But remember that the shoes have to be so ridiculous that no one will think you just have bad taste!
Thank you, Heidi, for the lesson learned from a life well lived.  I am off to find some happy shoes.  Or maybe earrings and a cute sweater!
Quote of the Day:  "If someone is laughing it is a sign that someone else was creative."
--Jeff Nelson   
My brother's college art teacher

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Patience is a what?

I don't think I am a very patient person.  I looked it up...of course!  
[patience: n--The capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble or suffering with out getting angry, anxious or upset.]  Yep, that is what I am lacking.  It is funny though, because there are some things that it does not bother me to wait for.  When it is Spring, I don't wish for Summer.  Or wish for Autumn when it is Summer.  I enjoy the season while it is happening.  I do not count down the days to Christmas (anymore).  Instead, I relish the preparation and anticipation leading up to it.  The lady in front of me at the WalMart with a seemingly unending supply of problem!  I am not anxiously awaiting each stage of life, but rather am loving and living the moments for the joy each stage brings.  But sometimes I cannot seem to make this work.  Some things make me crazy waiting!!  Like teenagers when it is time to get in the car for church!  An expected phone call or email.  If I start a project, I have to finish it right then!  This often keeps me from starting at all, because I know I cannot finish it all at once.  I go batty waiting for relationships to work right, arguments to end, and for me to figure out who the heck I am.  I need to be willing to just have faith and wait.  Wait patiently for that friend who is struggling to come around.  End the argument with patience, compassion and empathy. Be ok with a half painted wall for a few days!  Cut myself a little slack and figure out that I have quite a while left before I have to have it all figured out.
I am about to begin a journey that promises to help me with this.  I have been practicing yoga for a few years, but am now beginning my training to teach.  I hope it will be the start of a path to discovering more about me and how I can better relate to those around me.  Be a better citizen, wife, mother, sister, friend, disciple.  The author Elizabeth Gilbert said, "The reality is that we human beings are constantly leaking our dispositions upon each other."  Funny, and true.  I am going to TRY to take her advice.  She said further, " If you are brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting (which can be anything from your house to your bitter old resentments) and set out on a truth-seeking journey, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue, and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher, and if you are prepared-most of all- to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself...then truth will not be withheld from you."  Woo-hoo here I go!
Quote of the Day: "What lies before us and what lies behind us is nothing compared to what lies within us"--Ralph Waldo Emerson