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So here's the thing...

I've been thinking a lot about finding balance between acknowledging, accepting, and finding some peace with where my life is at the moment and the struggles that we have been facing, with not becoming so resigned to that reality that I don't continue to dream and strive. Yogic texts, Buddhist texts, all sorts of spiritual, philosophical, and self help writings talk about making peace with your struggles, not giving them extra power by focusing attention on them, and ending suffering by letting go of the desires of the ego and finding contentment in the here and now. (You'd think I'm on some vision quest as of late with as much of this type of stuff as I have been reading. No wonder my head swirls!) While I believe in the power of those words and the strength of such a practice, I have a hard time putting the theory to practice at times like this when there is so much to come to terms with. I think I could benefit from a mentor in this area.

On one hand I'm thankful I have a forum like this blog to express my thoughts and feelings freely and safely since I'm not the best at verbalizing them in conversation. On the other hand I want this to be a happy place, not just a place where I bitch and moan about the woes of life because I have so much beauty and happiness that should be celebrated in my life. I often feel guilty after posting a rant like this and try to "make up for it" by posting something happy shortly afterward. But I am a believer in being open with the truths of your life, the sunshine and the shadows, because pretending that everything is A-OK all the time and always putting on a smile regardless only works for so long. And then when it stops working, people crack and do crazy shit like drive their families off bridges and shoot people while driving down the interstate! (Ok, those are extreme examples, but they get my point across!) Scott will probably confirm that our relationship has become stronger over the past year thanks in part to my willingness to make more of an effort to let my feelings out, not always trying my darnedest to hold everything in just to keep life looking clean and neat. Tough but necessary conversations are more rational, more productive, and involve a lot less late nights and boxes of facial tissue.

And now, some radom thoughts that have been swarming around in my head the past 36 hours (or so)...

Today Brea and I walked downtown for errands and coffee. On our way home (about noon) an administrator at the college was getting into his car, I'm assuming on his way to lunch. I don't know why but I glanced at his license plate to see he was from the county that houses Des Moines. I was reminded of how frustrating I find it that some of the best jobs here in town are held by individuals who commute in from larger cities, who turn around at the end of the day and take their handsome 6 figure incomes back to the benefit of the town in which they live. Mean while my husband makes the reverse commute to the city for a lousy (especially for someone with his amount of education) 5 figure income in an effort to provide the basic needs for his family and our desire to live a small town life. Does anyone else see the backwardsness in this situation?

Scott starts his new part time job today. We've come to terms with the fact that in order to stay afloat, and hopefully to dig our way out of this hole which we are in financially, we need some extra income. We talked it through and weighted all our options. In the end we decided because his schedule is more regular and less dependent on the flexibility that my schedule requires, that it would make the most sense for he to be the one who takes on an extra part time position. (I think what really sealed the deal was when he realized if I took on an extra job it meant he'd be responsible for cooking dinner 3-5 nights a week instead of just 2...HA!) We are thankful that his new employer is willing to be super flexible with his schedule and that it is here in town. But it means on nights like tonight I will put the girls to bed before he gets home and his presence will be missed as we fix and eat our "traditional" Taco Tuesday dinner. Last night he did the same while I was working, and he will repeat it again tomorrow while I'm at the studio. It's days like this that I seriously wonder if life wouldn't be easier if I just went back to a more traditional full time job?

I've been thinking a lot about my plans to work massage therapy school into my not so distant future. I look at the opportunity to continue working in a field that I love while creating an income for my family that would better serve our needs and I wonder if I need to make this goal more of a priority. For the long term gain, rearranging life a bit for 6 months doesn't seem like that big of a deal. And then I wonder if this is a "real" answer, one that would honestly help us find some financial freedom, OR if I just think it's a "real" answer because it's what I want. The school I'm looking at attending in Iowa City will welcome a new group of students into their regular 6-month program in Februrary. I really want to be in that group, but figuring out all the logistics to make that happen is overwhelming me. And I want reassurance that it's the right thing to do. Any insights anyone? I've been thinking maybe I should start the Send Jenn to Massage Therapy Scholarship fund-raising campaign. I mean organizations and businesses ask for money all the time, for all sorts of reasons...

Our neighbor planted these cool viny flowers on the fence between his yard and ours. They are a fall blooming flower and have exploded white this past week. I've been meaning to get out and photography them all week. If I don't do it soon they will be gone.

The day is speeding by. It's already time to head over to the school to retrieve Lexi. I've got PTO work that needs my attention and the dog is being a whinning pain in the ass which means she's gonna soon find herself getting some fresh air in the outdoor kennel. My mind will continue to silently churn as I move through the rest of the day's activities. I'm thankful for the ability to multi-task or nothing would ever get done around here with as much as I've been pondering lately!



My Most Read Thoughts


Today while I sat in a classroom supervising students as they worked on their math assignments, I watched Lexi through the window enjoying time with her friends during recess. My heart smiled.

Those moments, moments of learning and carefree fun, those are the moments that SHOULD make up a school day. As a Mom, and an elementary school employee, my heart is breaking over the news and images coming out of Connecticut today. 
I send my kids off to school everyday without a second thought that they will return safely come day's end, just as I'm sure each one of those parents in Newtown did this morning.
Every day I walk into my school for work without a second thought to my personal safety, just as I'm sure each of those teachers, paras, custodians, sectretaries, etc in Newtown did this morning. 
Theories will be published. Evidence will be presented. Words will be exchanged about gun control and the need for change in our current culture of violence. I don't suspec…

DIY: Reusable Produce Bags

With Earth Day festivities gearing up for tomorrow, I thought I'd take a moment to post a short DIY tutorial on making your own reusable cloth produce bags. (Tutorial inspired by my favorite crafty mom blog, Crazy Mom Quilts. Produce bags inspired by running into my friend Laura at the grocery store while she was stuffing her produce into these.) This is my next step in the fight against the excessive use of plastic bags.

Our family has been making small environmentally minded changes in our daily lives over the past few years. We use reusable shopping bags. We've stopped buying/using Ziploc bags and plastic wrap. I'm trying to commute around town via bike more. I'm being more mindful about where the food we buy comes from and how it was produced. We more often hang our laundry on the line to dry in the spring and summer instead of just throwing it in the dryer. (Which is convenient at the moment since our dryer has decided to quit drying.) As we use up chemically clean…

Sunday Morning Silly...

Once in a while Dando's curiosity urges him to venture off the bookshelf so he check out other toys in the house.

I think he thinks Froggy is missing a few marbles.