We’ve been renovating our home over the last few years, constantly moving toward more function. We had a couple of living rooms in our old home, which is not the case in our current home. What we’ve sacrificed in space, we’ve made up in every other way. However, this means every area of our home should be used optimally. When our living spaces have better purpose, our lives benefit.
Last week our son had friends over. Five teenagers in his ‘postage stamp size’ bedroom. On my mind, as I went up to our bedroom and then into our ‘walk-in closet’ room, was how they were crammed into this tiny space. I thought to myself, “why do our clothes need a room of their own (seemed dumb) and how much time do we actually spend up here”? Other than a night’s rest, probably about 12.5 minutes per day. What a silly use of space, we’re not ‘sleeper-inners’ and it’s not important to us to have a master suite situation. It’s more important that our family has a functional house.
In a 3-minute conversation, we decided we would move our
bedroom downstairs into one of the three smaller bedrooms and give our son a
bigger bedroom and ‘entertaining’ space. When he graduates, our daughter will
have her time in that same space, keeping it equal (as moms, we strive to do
this). In the meantime, she can have the additional bedroom downstairs for her
6th grade sleepovers and such. This time in our lives is 100% about
our kids. When they’re happy, we’re ecstatic.
We’ve not been as excited about a project in a long time. In
one week, the teenage dream suite is done and as I type, five freshman friends
are over enjoying the Superbowl. We’ve been smiling ear to ear, listening to
the giggling and the goofing off. Literally music to our parental ears.
We’ve downsized the insignificant, as it relates to our clothing and accessories. We’ve comfortably moved our sleeping quarters to the main floor. The bonus, my husband created the room(s) he always wanted, as a kid. Here’s to living vicariously! We’re feeling super good on this Superbowl Sunday, scored one for family.
When I’m behind the camera, teaching yoga or writing, I feel like me. It’s an extension. I’m satisfied, at peace and whole.
Purpose is that ‘thing’ that shoots energy into life, like
rocket fuel. It’s the mixture of talents and truths that live inside the flesh
and bones, making us feel both restless and at peace. It rests below the
surface, patiently waiting to be acknowledged, celebrated and showcased.
The reach for perfection can sidetrack purpose, focusing
efforts in the wrong direction. We mustn’t be hindered by the mind, that often holds
us hostage by fear. Expectation can ‘speed bump’ the cultivation of our genuine
selves, too, wasting precious time and vitality.
Once purpose is discovered, unfolded and refined, it’s as though
the universe nods, ‘yes’. A nightlight converts into a stoked fire. This ‘spotlights’
the pathway of purpose, the endless highway filled with opportunities to grow
and glow. Authenticity stamps our lives through our spirit and insignificant obstacles
There’s no substitution for living our truth. Navigation is personal,
no ‘one road fits all’. All roads lead us to lessons. An experiential life
offers a process of trial and error, in a ‘getting to know me’ sort of way. This
takes patience, dedication, and determination before development. We mimic, we
pretend and try on. Our honed skills gathering in our tool box, waiting to be
A purposeful existence sits comfortably among all areas of
our lives; enhancing, strengthening, balancing and connecting it all. This gift
is worthy of sharing.
We notice when the light is turned on. It’s empowering, contagious
and inspiring. It’s a power incased in the soul, untamed and free.
Toward the end of my friend’s funeral service, his brother
(Chad) got up to speak for a second time and this was the moment of the day. The
first time he spoke of brotherly love, his tremendous loss and moments passed. His
second time to the podium, he explained that things weren’t always perfect, but
he was happy that they came together, putting differences aside, in what turned
out to be the very last time they were to see each other. These words were about
Life isn’t perfect because people aren’t perfect. We all have
our degrees of messy. This is the delicate thread that binds us. Each of our lives
have unfolded with imperfections, missteps and heartache. These moments soften
our souls and toughen our spirits. Without them the lessons wouldn’t run so
deep and life’s other moments wouldn’t be as sweet.
Chad was urging us to put the petty stuff aside, ‘Just lay
it down’. For me, I understood and felt what he was saying completely. I’m
familiar with being at odds with someone. Thankfully, I’ve also experienced the
coming back together. There’s nothing as loud as an absence in one’s life. When
reconnection happens, we often regret the time lost and moments missed.
The term ‘lay it down’ resonated with me and intrigued me. I asked Chad about this term and he explained that he has asked people in his life to ‘lay down their swords’ and come together for the greater good. Pause the disagreement. In other works, set differences aside for what really matters. A little deeper take on this; Set the ego aside and move forward.
In yoga we use the term, ‘let it go’. One of my favorite quotes,
‘Let go or be dragged’. Forgiveness is a huge factor. Lay it down, let it go,
forgive and forgo the fight. Another ‘ah-ha’ quote, ‘Holding back forgiveness
is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.’
I’ve been a stubborn grudge-holder and I’ve held back
forgiveness. In my rearview view, what a waste of time this turned out to be. Laying
it down is a poignant posturing. Lay down the sword, stop the fight and get on with
Time is marching on and tomorrow is not promised. Holding out forgiveness lessens our chances of being at peace. It just may leave us in pieces and steal the happy from today. Laying it down, builds a sturdy foundation and opens space for living.
Last night, we celebrated the life of someone special. Sprinkled in between our reminiscences, we shared our life’s highs and lows. I spoke to three classmates who have lost children. Many of us have lost parents, siblings and other friends. This is a wake-up call for the living. There’s nothing quite like a loss, to remind us of what we still have.
So, make the dates with old friends. I did. Say yes to invites, to both the old and the new. Connect, connect and connect some more. We’re gifted this one life. We write our stories (this is in permanent marker, no eraser) and we build tomorrow’s foundation by what we decide to lay down today.
Our childhood (including high school) memories are the
foundation for our lives. The good, the bad and the in between are sprinkled
with a variety of people who have contributed to our textured history. Chance
brought us together and experiences bonded us. There’s something extraordinary
between us and our earliest tribes, they influence, enhance and leave undeniable
marks on our hearts. Early days of playful innocence often lead to later years of
changes, challenges, lessons and years filled with memories. These first
friends know where we came from and love us more based on this. In looking back,
we see the unfolding, understand the lessons and recognized the gifts that came
from a simpler time. These are years full of friendship, experimentation, fumbling
and growing into ourselves.
An old and dear friend passed away this week. During times
like this, memories flood our minds, doubling the sadness that we’re feeling
for their families.
My friendship with Eric Sumner spanned junior high and high
school; regular school stuff, hanging out and going to parties. Eric was our paper
boy and my mother always questioned his influence, putting him into the ‘bad
boy’ category. Eric confirmed this (in her mind) the night that my parents came
home early when I was ‘having a few people over’ – a party (details not necessary).
“I told you so,” she said. What she didn’t see, in those early years, was the
gentle and loving heart inside his wild child exterior. He was a spirited person
and a talented musician, finding his way. We were all finding our way, some of
us better at hiding the different roads we took.
It was my first New Year’s Eve party, I had too much fun. Eric was by my side, holding my hair back and
comforting me. This is how I remember him; kind, compassionate, caring and
My last memory of Eric was from a couple of months ago. I’m happy that our paths crossed on that day. We caught up on each other’s lives in the isle of the Family Dollar. He had been recovering from many health-related issues but that wasn’t keeping him down, still moving and pursuing what made him the happiest – music. He was proud of some latest accomplishments and shared them with me through his phone. His struggle was apparent, but his spirit was soaring and the same. We hugged and said the usual stuff; it’s nice to see you and so on. When I went out to my car, he had left a thoughtful note under my windshield wiper. So special, so Eric.
Rest in peace, Eric Sumner. You were many things in this
life; eccentric, outrageous, fun, funny, sentimental, one-of-a-kind, a musician
and meaningful. What I’ll remember the most is that you were my friend.
Almost everything that you need to know about me can be
found in my head in the first hour of the day. Note, this was a non-school day
(that would be a whole different blog; faster paced, increased thoughts with a dash
Rise and shine, up and getting ready for yoga class. Time in
front of the mirror and in my head; putting my best face forward, mascara and concealer
where needed. As much as I don’t want to care what people think, I do. I’ll try
to shift the odds in my favor, trying not giving anyone any material to work
with. Also, in the mirror and in my head is my hair, a superficial obsession of
mine. Like the perfect handbag, I’m forever in search of the perfect hairstyle.
Yes, I’m growing it out AGAIN! I want to be 29 indefinitely but I’m also a
realist. My genetics are decent, I don’t smoke, I eat reasonably, however, I
love the sun. It’s a blessing that I live where the sunbathing season is
limited. My skin has some wear and my spirit doesn’t always identify with this
outer layer I’ve been growing for 50+ years.
Off to the kitchen, where I prepared my ‘every morning’ cup of hot water. I believe in its ability to flush the system and get the pipes moving and that it does (TMI, I know). This speaks to my consistency personality. I’m habitual about having a healthy lifestyle (but not obsessive, trust me); yoga regularly, coconscious eating, I sleep well and have a positive mindset. My chosen lifestyle is a part of me, just as natural as the body that I walk in, day after day. It’s a beam of balance. One body, one life.
In and out of my head (constantly) is the well-being of my
family, specifically, our kids. I replay the previous day and preview today’s day.
How at ease I feel when I know they’re happy, productive, fully functioning and
feeling loved. This is not something spoken (it’s felt) and is purely based on speculation
and a whole lot of hope.
Once I’ve dressed, I triple checked that I have everything I need for class (fear of failure to prepare enters), I pour myself a cup of coffee and contemplate my breakfast. I always wake up hungry and excited to eat, telling myself what I’ve always believed – it’s the most important meal and kicks in the metabolism. I have a hearty and healthy appetite and I’m equally as motivated to burn the calories. I like moving in the morning. I rarely sit (I just got a stand-up desk for work, from my hubby). I like movement and purpose. I feel anxious sitting (even as I’m writing this blog), it’s something that I’m working on. I decide on maple and brown sugar oatmeal, two bags, heated and put into a paper cup. 3 trips to the car. First, start it and lug in the yoga bag, handbag, and rocks with inspirational quotes on them (it’s my thing, I’ve been doing it for years). Second trip; coffee and camera (most days I leave early to chase the morning sunrise before class, my FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – rids its ugly head as I see pink in the distance sky). I love photography. Lastly, I get into the car, just me and my oatmeal. I’m irritated with myself most mornings for not taking the time to eat at home but the excitement of catching a possible perfect photo prevails and pushes away my personal frustration.
It appears that I like the challenge of an actual coffee mug, in the car, versus a travel mug. I enjoy a steamy mug of coffee (I typically warm it in the microwave 2.5 times before I leave). In my head I examine my behavior and conclude that if I saw someone else attempting this coffee and oatmeal thing, while driving, that I would think that they were an idiot. I rationalize my behavior by noting that there aren’t many other people on the road at this hour, so it’s relatively safe. Safe driving, my thoughts turn back to my kids. I catch my breath just thinking about them behind the wheel. Then I’m briefly sadden by the fast passing of time. Our son will be fifteen next month. How will I survive these years? I can barely think about him driving without hyperventilating. The uncontrollable. Don’t go there.
Then I remember that it’s New Year’s Eve, my thoughts turn
to the last year; a quick reflection and overall satisfaction comes over me,
like melting butter. I LOVE butter. I turn up the radio. 70’s music fills the
space and effects my spirit in a way that only music can, hijacking the overthinking
and setting the soul free. From disco to the soft rock, my mind melts and
nervous system takes a brief vacay.
I chase the photos (snap, snap) while appreciating the
beauty that surrounds. A photographer looks around continuously, moment absorption.
Oops, I’m almost out of gas, thoughts go back to the kids
and where this vehicle has been the last couple of days. We endlessly shuffle
them to school, to sports, to be with friends, basically anywhere they want to
go. We’re happily (and forever) at their beck and call. Just when I feel
overwhelmed by the demands of parenthood, I quickly remember how we came to be
a four pack; years of infertility, infertility treatments, son born, failed
infertility treatment, adoption, enter daughter. Lucky, thankful and aware of
my fortune, a wealth that has nothing to do with my bank account. I pull into
the parking lot. Begin hour #2, hello yogis.
Celebrate you. Unfinished, untamed, unframed, under the wire, barely done, almost done, well done and hopefully never done ~ you. Highlight your patched together imperfections & perfected parts that make up you…..the you that has been carved out by challenge and change, sweetened by stacked up stories that have unfolded year after year. The you that has been enhanced by the many people, places and things that have touched, broken and mended your heart.
Come to your mat not in pieces but in peace, equipped with the knowing that you’re exactly where you need to be and that you’re exactly who you need to be at this moment. Let this be your foundation as you move intentionally, fueling your machine with deep breath, open mindedness and spectacular shapes.
These are the silent heroes in our lives, the ones who use their spotlight to light up others. They stroke their own egos. This supporting cast shows up, stands beside and catches the fallen.
These are the full-fledge ‘getting sh*t done’ people, nothing half done. They walk the walk, they’re money in the mouthers. They’re the movers, shakers and life makers. No excuses necessary, they’re too busy dream catching, stepping out of comfort zones and inspiring greatness. A distant cousin to Half Ass.
These authentically happy people have discovered the secret to the good life, it begins and ends with finding and being themselves. They don’t compare, seek approval or morph into what others believe they should be. They’re unapologetically themselves, not in an ‘in your face’ sort of way but in a genuine, ‘sure of it’ sort of way. They’re confident characters.
Another supporting cast to our lives. No matter what we say or what do, they love us. It’s traditionally our family. To be love without condition is the sweetest kind of love.
These individuals believe that the depth of the soul is greater than the width of the wallet. They’re free from the confusion that money makes happiness.
For the second day in a row, Parker said yes to a hike. Any mom with a 14-year boy, knows to grab ahold of these moments, as soon as they present themselves.
On the hike today, I found myself in and out of the moment, while Parker (and Wilson, our pup) was leading the way. He was rambling on about a Netflix series and I found myself in a daze, staring at the young man he has become. His words sounding more like Charlie Brown’s teacher’s, the conversation in my head was louder.
Memories kept popping up; times when he was a baby, toddler, preschooler and so on. Images of that round face and big brown eyes were making me feel both nostalgic about the past and astonished at how time’s passing is far too fast (it can feel unfair). Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was feeding him in the middle of the night, soothing his hunger and other infant needs? Wasn’t he just entering preschool, bravely waving good-bye? Wasn’t it just last year that he was overly excited when I walked into a room?
As a 14-year old, he flows effortlessly between boy and young man. His goofy laugh and his gentle spirit shine as I try to capture him (candidly with my camera) while he’s giving Wilson water. He notices and tries to shoo me away. Time’s ‘breakneck’ passage, has me constantly reaching for the camera. I fear I’ll forget these precious moments, as they slip and slide away.
At the risk of sounding like a desperate mother, I long for these one-on-one chances, like the windshield time, when we find ourselves alone with our children in a confined space. This is a place where they can’t escape the conversation. I said to Parker, “I don’t even know where it changed, you use to want to be around us all the time and now we, as parents, do the wanting”.
The struggle, for me, is finding the balance between holding on and letting go. It’s a scary time, filled with worries and fears all born out of unconditional, uncontrollable and spirited love. Even though we must be the parent first, we should be laying a sturdy foundation for the future friendship to flourish.
Motherhood’s importance is not lost on me. I feel with every cell in my being, the need to live up to the name, Mom. When it’s called I melt and I will answer, whatever the case may be, whether it’s inconvenient or the timing bad. I still remember, painfully, those days when I didn’t think I would be blessed with children. One thought of this puts it all into a bright perspective.
I was staring at Parker’s long, hairy and muscular legs, while I was hiking behind him (don’t tell him, he’d be as mortified as any 14-year would be by their mother’s observations), again wondering, “how did this chapter open when I didn’t notice the last one closing”. The jump from 8th grader to Freshman is a significantly bigger one with many noticeable changes from deepen voices to outgrowing a mother’s height. However, there are things that haven’t changed (only deepening); his courtesy, compassion and understanding of life’s important stuff. I adore the character development I’m witnessing; learning the importance of laughing at himself, his handling of disappointments and the way he’s taking responsibly.
Today I referred to myself as the ‘momarazzi’. I am this, unapologetically. I’ll continue to take hundreds of pictures and follow my kids, wherever they go (even if it’s only in spirit). I’ll enhance their happy and soften their suffering, now and whenever I’m invited to do so, as their adult chapters unfold. Motherhood is a reoccurring role that changes and evolves. If we try hard enough, we can gracefully roll with it and rock it, too!