Thursday, January 31, 2008

Exhaling...

Today, after 5 months of uncertainty, of ups and downs, of holding our breath....today, we finally got to exhale. Scott has been offered, and has accepted, a new job. It pretty much happened like so many people said it would. Nothing, nothing, nothing...and then all of sudden, BAM!

Ironically, after 5 months of barely even being able to get an interview, this week brought 3 interviews and 2 offers.

One offer would have taken us back to Wayne, actually to WSC. How many years have we considered returning to a place we called home during those infant years of our marriage? We loved our time in Wayne and still enjoy returning to visit friends and loved ones there. (Kyle, Dan, Megan, Nick...we love you and we promise to come back soon to visit!) So, naturally when the search in Iowa was going no where, Wayne became an attractive option. An application was sent, an interview was scheduled...all in less than a week's time. Scott had a wonderful trip, a good interview, but when it came down to decision time, we were torn. It was not a decision to make lightly. I so badly wanted to support the move and Scott in his desire to find a career, not just another job. Higher Education fits our family well and I know Scott would enjoy working in that environment. But the uncertainties and road-blocks were many. An entry level job meant accepting entry level pay. I would have had to return to work and finding a job that would still fit my professional goals and interests in a town 1/2 the size of Grinnell would have been tricky. Then there's the whole issue of selling our house in a crumby housing market and relocating after spending the next 4 months living apart with Scott in Wayne and us girls here, finishing out the school year.

Right or wrong, I tend to follow my gut. And while I kept telling myself it was going to be ok if we accepted the WSC offer and set things in motion to make the move, my gut resisted and today the tears let loose. My heart ached at the thought of leaving the place and the people who have become our home over the past 9 years. The thought of taking a step back and essentially starting over took my breath away. We're strong people, we could have made it work...but then this morning came offer #2.

The second offer, the one Scott chose to accept, is here in town. In just a few short days he'll be starting his new career as a medical office manager, a job where he will get to utilize his skills and education to help the workings of a small, private clinic. Health care administration has been an interest for several years and we're confident this is a good fit for both Scott professionally and for what we need at this time in our lives as a family. It amazes me how how this unexpected opportunity come along at just the right time.

I don't know that I can even begin to explain the mood shift that has taken place in our house over the past 12 hours. It's a collective exhale. Smiles have come back to our faces. There's a comfort in the air...like the comfort and love you can feel in this tender moment between daddy and daughter.


It warms my heart. We are at peace. Balance has been restored. Life is once again moving forward.

I don't even know how to begin to express the deep heart felt gratitude that I have for all of the blessed people in our lives who have been so encouraging and supportive through this difficult process. It is that out pouring of love that helped us to maintain some semblance of normalcy in our lives over the past 5 months. Thanks to endless words of encouragement, we never lost hope that blessings were indeed headed our way. It was during our time of need that so many lent a helping hand and that generosity will never be forgotten. We share this victory with you all. May you be blessed as you have blessed us.

Tonight the tears are flowing again as I write this. But these are the warm tears of love and joy. Happy tears they are.


peace

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Sleeping Arrangements...

Tilde has been a part of our family now for just over 4 weeks. It's amazing how much even a small breed puppy grows in that amount of time! Bonding has gone very well. She adores the girls and is lost when Scott is not around. While I'm a bit lower on the love list, I still get happy licks and loves each morning and anytime I return home during the day. She's a very loving dog and even Jasper has decided that she's an ok addition to the family.

Potty training is going SLOW, but we can see progress and have learned to read her signals. She eats well, will finally spend some time in her kennel when we're gone without totally freaking out, and for the most part does a good job only playing with her toys (though one baby doll and a couple Littlest Pet Shop animals haven't been so lucky.) Our biggest hurdle is with sleeping.

Tilde is a snuggler. You can always tell when it's nap time because her eyes get all red and droopy and she starts searching for a snuggle buddy. Her favorite nap local is on Scott's lap, curled up in the crook of his elbow. She loves the couch, especially if she can snuggle with her favorite blanky...


Or a little person...


When in a pinch, she'll curl up alone in Jasper's bed (much to his dismay) and has even been known to search out Scott's slippers...


With their growing bond, she occasionally can sneak a spot in bed WITH Jasper...


But that's still a pretty rare occurrence.

Brea thought maybe she could be of assistance and offered up room in her crib at the end of an afternoon nap...


But as you can see it didn't take long for sleepy snuggles to turn into playtime...



I have a feeling we may continue to struggle with this issue for a while. Scott would really like a solution to present itself soon so he can go back to getting a full night of uninterrupted sleep! (I'm so thankful he has been so willing to handle nighttime potty breaks! THANK YOU, THANK YOU honey!!!) However, the trade off for a few sleepless nights now is a lifetime of unconditional love...and the simple joy of blogging with a soft, warm, snuggly puppy curled up in my lap. Life doesn't get much better than that!


peace

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Connection...

For several months my lower back and hips have been giving me fits. I change the chair at my desk. I try sitting on the floor more than on the couch. I lay different in bed. I focus more on hip openers in my yoga practice. I focus on stabilizing my sacral area when I bike or practice yoga. I do more twists, less twists. I try to strengthen my abs. I spend a night out dancing. I both try easing back and increasing my physical activity. Nothing seems to be helping at this point and I'm thinking I need to both call my chiropractor and schedule a massage. I'm frustrated.

Lower back pain is not something new in my life. My problems started at the young age of 17, during my senior basketball season in high school. Lots of stretching and a wonderful chiropractor helped me get through the season and on the road to "recovery" after. Over the years I've had times with no pain at all, and times when the pain seemed to be as central to my daily activities as eating and sleeping.

Starting a yoga practice has helped. It's helped to strengthen the muscles of my core. During periods of greater discomfort it helps me keep strong and open hips. (A quality that comes naturally to my body when I'm not experiencing lower back pain.) And slowly it has opened up a stronger mind-body connection so that I now realize my pain is not simply a physical issue. Metaphysically your pelvis, lower back and hips represent your foundation. So it's no wonder during both my senior year of high school, when the world as I knew it was shifted through my parents divorce, and currently, as we continue to deal with the unknowns associated with unemployment, that my physical foundation has felt weakened and unstable.

For the past year or so I've become addicted to reading about yoga, spiritual journeys, and inspirational stories. I just finished this touching book, Waking by Matthew Sanford.


Matthew is a yoga teacher in the Minneapolis area who happens to be a paraplegic. The book is his life story to this point. The details of the family car accident when he was 13 that left him paralyzed from the nipple line down. His accounts of his long and painful medical recovery for the 6+ months following the accident. His memories of his father and older sister who were killed in the accident. How his mother and older brother carried on and picked up and put back together the pieces of the family that remained. It's also about his journey into yoga and the connections he has both broken and made with his body beyond the physical realm of sensation and movement. It's a heartbreaking and inspiring story and I hope one day I may have the honor of taking a class at his studio.

One of the over arching topics throughout the book is how we as individuals and as a society view and treat the mind-body connection. A connection that can't always be explained by science, but which is so real to those who have learned to tune into it's subtle signals. In my case, sometimes I just have to "hear" my body for the healing to begin. At other times, a little more time and work (emotional, spiritual, physical) are necessary. I think this is one of those times that a little more than simply acknowledgment are going to be needed, but I hope because of my awareness for the need to connect, I'll be able to honor my being and it's needs as we move forward. After all, as is taught by the practice of yoga, in order to be truly compassionate and nurturing towards others, we must first be able extend those same things to ourselves.

I'm working on it...


peace

Monday, January 21, 2008

Goji Berries...

Just as things happen for a reason, I truly believe people come into your life for a reason. I'm so lucky to have a small group of close friends, all who nurture a different part of who I am.

Like Monica. She's my yoga loving, coffee drinking, fellow part-time fitness instructor, full-time Mom friend. Monica was a huge help 18 months ago when I was dealing with making the transition from full-time working Mom to mostly-stay at home Mom. She helped me to learn to balance what I felt I should be doing as full-time Mom with reality. She also reminds me that it's ok to have hopes, dreams, and interests that don't center around laundry, housework, and dinner preparations. We've sat on the preschool board together, gone yoga work-shopping (and shopping, shopping) together, and enjoyed many hours of good conversation (and occasionally tears) over coffee. I love her. She inspires, as so many of my close friends do, to be a better person.

One of our closest bonds is we both LOVE yoga. And we're always finding little yoga related or inspired things to share with each other. A website, newpaper article, cartoon, whatever. This past week she brought me a Vosges Exotic Chocolate Bar with Goji berries...a little treat from her girl's weekend in Chicago. The particular choice of flavors was inspired by this YouTube video.



Monica had sent me the link to this video several months ago. We've chuckled about it ever since. The chocolate bar was wonderful. (Yes, I've already consumed the whole thing!) Not only did it have little sweet Goji berries in it, it also had pink Himalayan salt, all wrapped up in a deep milk chocolate goodness. The combination of the sweet berries, rich chocolate, and subtle saltiness...well, do I really need to say any more?!?!

Yoga and chocolate. Just one of the many reasons I love you Mon.



peace

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A new look...

Sometimes you just get an itch for something new. Hence, the updated look of "The Blog." I'm amazed at how much Blogger has changed since I first set up my template...like 3 years ago now I guess! While some changes were easy, some took a little thought and problem solving simply because I was used to doing things the "old" way. I love how the colors of the photos pop on the black background...and supposedly it's more energy efficient to view!

I'm excited that I can now change the image of my header. The current image...wet sidewalk chalk. The bucket caught my eye sitting on the front porch last June after a spring rain. The colors, normally somewhat muted just pop with the little big of moisture. Brings a smile to my face every time I see it.

Hope you enjoy the new look. Comments and suggestions welcome!


peace

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Clutter...

Clutter overwhelms me. I truly believe in that whole Feng Shui theory that clutter is a source of energy drain. I've been accused of wanting to present our family with a certain "image" when I get into clean and de-clutter mode, but in reality I'm just trying to plug the drain! I'm not sure why we can't keep a handle on our clutter habits. I know we're not alone in our battle. I can't help but think there has got to be a better way than the way we tend to live our day to day lives in relationship to our clutter.

Exhibit A-the normal state of our kitchen table:

Exhibit B-it's close neighbor the dishwasher:

And last, but not least, Exhibit C-My desk:

So today, this cold, snowy January day when we're all home enjoying a snow day, I once again am trying to tackle the piles. One at a time I sort. Paper is the worst offender - Lexi's school work, junk mail, magazines. Piles and piles of paper. I'm disgusted at the amount of waste we produce in the form of paper!

Unfortunately no matter how hard I work today, the battle will be replayed many times in the future. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy today's little victories. Off I go!


peace

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Even in the darkness of night...

you can find light in the stars!












peace

Friday, January 11, 2008

What the HELL?!?!?!

Warning...this is a rant. I totally understand if you stop reading right here...


4 months. 150+ job applications. And for what? NOTHING YET!!! I want to scream out to the universe and ask WHY??? We're good people. My husband is a good man. He's well educated. A responsible person willing to work hard. He's a loving, caring husband and a fabulous dad. We live a good, clean life. We don't smoke. We don't drink in excess. No gambling. No secret dirty sex addictions. We try to be responsible parents and raise our kids in a way which helps them be responsible, caring members of society. We think of others and do our best to provide for those in need. We recycle and are concerned about how our actions affect the environment today, and for generations to come. We believe in a good, loving higher power. So WHY????

Why do we find ourselves in this position? Why am I in constant worry about whether or not we'll be able to make the mortgage payment on our small, but sufficient house. And then why do I have to worry about whether or not we can afford to heat said house.. And I pray every day that we stay healthy and safe being as we're part of that lovely health care statistic...4 of the 7+ million uninsured. Why, after working so many years in "just a job" in order to bring home the necessary paycheck, and now working hard to do what I LOVE and have a passion for, do I find myself wondering if I should scrap it all and get my butt back behind a desk for a bit bigger paycheck and benes. WHY?!?!?!?

While my spiritual beliefs may not be the most "traditional", I believe in a higher power. A encompassing, all encompassing source of light and energy and love and good. And while I don't necessarily believe that things happen as "punishment" for wrong deeds or lessons unlearned, I'm having a really hard time keeping a positive attitude when interview after interview we're faced with rejection and I can't help but wonder just what we're not seeing. What lesson we're trying to be taught.

I'm sad and angry and confused. I just want it to end. I'm not asking for the world. For fame and fortune...just an honest job, with a fair wage that helps us to provide for our family. A chance to return happiness to our lives. A chance to allow us to move forward. That's all.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for your love and support. We'd have never made it through the last 4 months, and would never be able to make it through whatever is ahead of us, if it wasn't for the love and support of you all...our friends and family. Thank you.

Rant over. Back to believing the world is a good place...



peace

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Looking forward to 2008...

On our way to the air port last Monday, my brother and I were recapping 2007 and talking about what's ahead for 2008. I'm not much of a resolution maker. Honestly, I know I'll never stick to them so why cheapen the act for others? I realized during our talk, I think of my years a little different than just the typical January to December calendar. While the start of the new calendar does offer a nice jump off point, I tend to measure my years based on my age. Like the year I was 30, I broke my ankle (downer), but also got pregnant with Brea (upper). And goals for me are often age based. Like before I'm 35 I'd like to get my Yoga Alliance certification as a yoga teacher. But the start of the year does offer a chance to reflect on life...both where you've been and where you're headed. So with all that in mind, here's some of my hopes, dreams, and aspirations for 2008! (In no particular order...)
  • Bike a total of 7500 minutes in 2008. Approximately the equivalent to 1500 miles.
  • Stop consuming empty calories in the form of soda!
  • Take the time at least once a month to pursue personal and professional growth in relationship to my yoga practice.
  • Get a massage at least once every other month.
  • Get to the root of my SI/sciatic nerve problem and make changes in my life to make it go away.
  • Make the shift towards a vegetarian lifestyle.
  • Spend more time playing with my photography and learning how to use my camera in more than just the "point and shoot" mode.
  • Help my family to: be more physically active, eat better, and continue to make changes that help to make a positive impact on the environment and community in which we live.
  • Change my/our relationship to finances, credit, and need to acquire possessions.
  • Have more fun!

Whatever you're hopes and dreams are for 2008, I wish you well on your journey!


peace