Day 116: Hold on Loosely, Time is Gonna Pass

Sunday was a rest day…time to breathe and time to be…time to clean house, do laundry, buy groceries for the week, get homework and grading done for my classes. My dad and step-mom were in so we met them for lunch. My mom got new puppies so we walked to her house to see them. They are so cute and so sweet! Then, of course, the little love came home so there was dinner and bedtime shows and books and conversations…

So after all this “resting”, I am ready to snuggle up next to my Love (I don’t think it will ever get old that I get to sleep with him every night!) and drift into the sweetest of dreams…

But this is what I’ve noticed lately, my dear readers, time never stops and life never slows down. Not because you want it to or need it to, and sure the hell not when you think it should. No matter what happens — divorce, loss of job, even death — life is the quiet marcher who continues on without fail. So it’s not so much time that we get to control, it’s our attitude toward it. Do we bemoan how it was spent? Do we fail to take advantage? Do we hold it loosely or tightly? Do we thrive or survive? I think we probably do it all in different seasons…but I ask you to ponder your relationship with time as I leave you for the dream world.

A brunette smiling in the warm glow of a bedside lamp.
Bed is Good!

Day 113: Pat Yourself on the Back

I dropped something on my foot yesterday and today it looks terrible. The whole top of my foot is bruised, swollen, and generally extremely painful-looking. But in actuality, it doesn’t really hurt. I rested today just to be sure there were no major injuries but I am fairly certain its bark is far worse than its bite.

I am feeling unsettled about plans and future and security. The logistics of change are much scarier to me than change its self. And I’m trying to remember that just as with my grotesque looking foot that it easy to look at something and it seem a much bigger deal than it is.

I have had a lot of change in my adult life and I have survived it all. It was always scary in the in-between but it has always worked itself out and usually to my advantage.

So here’s to bruised lives… colorful, sensitive and reflective of the active, risk taker that always chooses life. And here’s to discomfort without prolonged pain because it teaches us we are stronger than we know.

And finally, here’s to us, gentle reader, for trying at all…

A very swollen and bruised foot.

Day #106: Don’t Blink, the Present is Becoming the Past

I was abruptly woken up at 5am by a little love complaining about her tummy hurting. Initially, I was very disappointed about being awake so early on a snow day but the next thing I knew we were running for the bathroom. And that pretty well summed up the rest of my day…

Finally about 4:00pm, after medicine and a nap, her stomach seemed to stop waging war with her. For some reason as she began to feel better, she got in her head she wanted to look at pictures. So we got out the baby books (yes, plural, she is the first!). As we looked and talked and laughed and sat side by side, I felt such nostalgia but such pride too.

What once was so little now is so strong… so helpless–now screams with independence… she has developed such intelligence, creativity, and personality… she is becoming right now… learning who she is and deciding what she likes and dislikes… she is beautiful in so many vibrant ways.

But I mourn too… the squishy and the toothless grins… being able to snuggle and dress her without her opinion about either… I miss watching her learn to walk and talk… I miss the mispronounced words and the squeaky voice… I miss the littlest versions of her.

I stayed up after she was asleep and looked through hundreds of digital pictures… remembering… reliving… re-loving that girl that I have always seemed to grow, first physically and now emotionally and intellectually…

Don’t blink, gentle readers, or the present most certainly becomes the past…

A girl sleeping in a colorful bed.

Day #82: Childhood Daydreams and the Reality of Right Now

And now twelve hours back home… I’ve got work that needs to be done, pictures I can color, music we enjoy…

But it’s still a long ride.

I remember as a child loving road trips. We went camping frequently and I would beg to ride in the back of truck with the camper on it. We would pile up all our supplies and then I would make a bed on top and just lay back there by myself and daydream. I recall as a pre-adolescent sitting in the bucket seats of the minivan with my pillow propped and my headphones in and staring out the window just thinking the miles by.

As an adult I continue to love the open road, the distinct taste of possibility, the beauty of adventures not-yet-had, and the forced stillness in the holding cell between what is and what will be. But I wondered as I sat here today, what on earth did I think about so much and so deeply as a child, a teenager?

Most involved visions into my future, as I recall. Who I would marry… Where I would go… What I might accomplish with this one life… I’ve always been a planner, a dreamer, a doer…

But today I heard some news about a friend who is struggling with cancer. Way too young, way too healthy, way too close for comfort…

I’m thankful that science and technology have advanced to the point that prognosis is generally good. I hope her experience with this is as quick and painless as possible.

But what hits home for me is the reality that shit happens and it spares no one. No matter how “good” of a person you are, how health conscious you try to be, etc. etc. etc.

The rain just falls where it will… just and unjust included… and future daydreams seem silly in the vastness of all that is not guaranteed.

I find myself clinging to what today holds because it is all I know for sure.

Day #76: Time, Changes, and New Perceptions

We ran our 3.75 miles today outside because the weather was in our favor. The sun was out and the wind felt good the more sweat-soaked I became. As I ran, I thought about how when we first started running, our goal was a 5K… 3.10 miles… and it felt like SO much. Now we are cranking out 3 miles all the time but they seem so small compared to the 13.1 half-marathon we plan to run in May. It’s funny how time changes perspective…

I thought of this again as I sat cuddling my girl before bed. Tomorrow she will go to her dad’s house because I have class and then we are taking a weekend trip to go skiing. Five days without her voice, her humor, her literal brain, and her beautiful smile. It makes me sad now, but by six years old, we understand we can live without each other for a week. When she was a baby, it would have devastated us both… it’s such a trick that time plays with us…

But still, I sat there soaking in the cuddles and thinking about what six more years might do to our perceptions of who we are as individuals and as mother/daughter. Who knows really? But for today with tears threatening to spill at the thought of who we have been and who we will be, I squeeze every ounce of joy out of who we are today.

Mand women smiling wide, soaked in sweat and flush from running.

Day #72

My Love and I have a “game” we play. It’s called “Remember that time…

We’ll think of fun time, silly time, or really big time…

“Remember that time we went to Kansas City for your birthday and got tattoos?”

“Remember that time we went to New York for Christmas and it snowed while we watched the light show?”

“Remember that time we went to Yellowstone and hiked all day so then we got tipsy off one glass of wine?”

Remember that time… it’s a favorite of mine…

In my efforts to live presently I most often berate myself for living too much in the future. As I’ve mentioned before, my Love and I are dreamers and always planning our next move in life. But this game as helped me see I live in the past, at times, too…

And I’m beginning to wonder…

If the balance isn’t the place in-between. Where intentional daily living produces a life you love so much you don’t mind reliving it in memory. That my today is a beautiful yesterday leading me to my brightest tomorrows.

Today we cross-trained, Wednesday we rested, tomorrow we run. It is what must happen to create the race experience we desire. Maybe the same is true in life… maybe we have to dabble in yesterday to create today in order to embrace tomorrow

…maybe the balance is there in that in-between.

A blonde girl with a blue bow peering of into the distance while her food sits in front of her.
Waiting anxiously for the first sight of the best friend.

Day #49

Sometimes I get frustrated with myself. Today I had several opportunities to walk. I did not take them because it was below freezing pretty much all day and I didn’t want to freeze my tail.

There I said it … I’m a cold weather pansy.

Rationally I know I will warm up as my blood starts pumping. I know I will feel better if I set myself in motion. I know I would not regret doing it because I never do.
But it’s just so hard to push through the initial shock of cold. The pain in my ears. The stiffening of my back as I shiver.

And today, my cowardliness won. The fear of the uncomfortableness kept me frozen to my chair. I could not see past my immediate pain to see the possibility of future reward.
And as my Love and I sat in a warm coffee shop drinking hot tea, we discussed future decisions. How to move toward certain goals.

And I realized life is so much like taking a walk; it’s hard to get the momentum started. It’s difficult to push past the pain of complacency. I often get stuck in my idea of things, finding it difficult to make the decision and just DO something for fear of doing the wrong thing.

We talk ourselves in circles, my Love and I, but today we decided on some doing. And it felt good.

Tomorrow, I will decide to walk. Cold, or no cold.

A sundog visibile in the icy clouds on a crisp January morning in Arkansas.

Day #18

“Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I’m not living.”
—Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

A cloud-speckled sunset over dormant trees, with a path to the left, leading off into the horizon.
We walk along and “shoot the breeze” and hold hands and just be…

The inevitable comes up… the future… our plans… what to do… who to be… finances… stability vs. dreams… confusion, angst, uncertainty…

We are dreamers! he and I… and I adore it about us. We go on long treks across the U.S. in an RV. We travel to Ireland at Christmas and China, just because. We own land and have a small hobby farm. We have successful online careers that allow us to come and go as we please… In our dreams

Some days it’s a burden on my bones. Because I talk of all the things we could do, should do, would do–and I become so discontent with where we are NOW.

I shake my head a little and we keep walking. I notice a cat and a sunset and a warm hand wrapped around mine. And for now, it is simply enough… until we dream again…A tabby cat looking mischieviously up from the bottom of a concrete drainage ditch in dusk lighting.

Day #6

Life is too short to be too serious.

Sometimes you gotta let your hair down and dance.

image of shot glass on tableI lived so much of my life focused on the future. Everything for the eternal reward, the appearance of evil, the belief of everlasting. And I missed so much Joy in the process of serious living. Last night we walked downtown after having a few drinks at dinner with family. It was loud and bright and busy and fun. We experimented with flavors and types of beers (they had local brews and such). But we needed to walk before heading home so we enjoyed festive lights, cold breezes, pavement and old store fronts instead of our usual scenic nature walk. We joked and laughed and acted silly and danced.

It was fun.

Of all weakness, seriousness is mine. I tend to over-think, over-do, over-achieve. I like deep conversations, intellect, and meaning. But sometimes there is no meaning, no point to make, and honestly every achievement in my life has been a double-edged sword. We tend to sacrifice so much in the present for the hope of future reward. And that actually turns out to be pretty counterproductive in most instances.

In my first marriage, I feel this was my greatest downfall. I focused so much on the future and setting us up for success — 10, 20, 50 years down the road. But I mostly forgot to love that day with him. My focus was ministry, career, school, and even marriage but I was so worried about doing everything “right” that I forgot to enjoy the doing at all. And I learned that lesson when my marriage crumbled and the smoke and mirrors of my identity were torn away.

And when I got the opportunity to be with my Love (now husband), I repeated two mantras to myself:

1. Don’t worry about tomorrow with him; enjoy today and trust the process.

2. Always choose to move toward him… physically, emotionally, etc.

Almost three years in, this has worked so much better… we have goals and hopes and plans but we don’t get hung up on them. And man do we have fun… every single day… and this is the best gift I have ever given myself.

I live one hundred pounds lighter, one thousand times brighter, and with every part of me. I want to never chose not to be all of me again. To only have a fraction of myself thriving was unacceptable.

I promise myself as I walk amongst the Christmas lights: “I will always choose my brightest.” large lighted christmas tree