Saturday, May 29, 2010

Making Time...

When life gets hectic and stressful the first thing to take a back seat to that stress is my creative time. Which makes absolutely NO sense since, as we have established here before, creative time for me is probably the best stress busting, depression stopping, re-energizing activity there is available to my soul. (I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say maybe even more so than yoga.) While I have been able to sneak in a little knitting on my February Ladies Sweater (um, that I started in FEBRUARY!), I realized earlier this week that if I'm going to make it through the next 4 weeks with my sanity in tact I MUST make a little time for creative moments.

So earlier in the week I grabbed my poor neglected camera, mounted the new "play" lens I bought way back in December (Scott just shakes his head over the fact that I spent money on a lens to take pictures with my high-tech digital Rebel to get photos that look as if they were taken with a low cost plastic toy camera...but I digress), and headed out to mess around while the girls were blowing bubbles in the front yard.

Needless to say, I need a lot more practice to get my lo-fi photos to resemble anything dreamy and/or artsy. The first problem I'm having is with exposure. Remy seems to want to over-expose everything taken with Diana attached so we need to have a bit of a convo about that. (Photoshop to the rescue again.) Oddly enough, this is my favorite snap from all that messing around.

I think the soft focus, slight color flair, and big chunky wagon pretty much says it all when I think about the simple joys of being a kid.

As I was downloading my new art-tastic photos (laughing to myself as I type that phrase) I realized I had yet to download the photos from our spring break trip and Brea's birthday. You know, those kinda BIG events that happened in MARCH! What a nice surprise to find this shot taken the day grandpa and the girls spent time flying a kite in the hay field next to my Mom's house.

Ah memories. So sweet.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Somebody Pinch Me...

All over the country high school seniors and college grads are celebrating one of the many major mile stones of life. It's hard this time of year not to get a little sentimental about looking back through the years to remember what it felt like to be preparing for the next big step...the last summer living at home; the move to college, the endless possibilities that seem to lie ahead when you first hold your newly awarded college diploma. I think that diploma should come with a disclaimer that warns that while your official book learning may be over (granted there's always time and reason for more book learning IMO), the real lessons of life have just begun to expose themselves. Lessons that are often much harder to understand. Ones with no clear set of "right" answers.

Moving weekend for our family is only 4 short weeks away. I have yet to REALLY start packing. (I tend to work much more focused under a bit of pressure.) This afternoon as I enjoy a beautiful Friday afternoon doing simple domestic tasks around the house, waiting for Lexi to get home from her last full day of 2nd grade, and waiting for Scott to arrive home from work to start the long holiday weekend, I can't help but reflect on the many lessons we have had a chance to learn over the 10 years we have lived in Grinnell. Life lessons and memories that will forever cement this community in our hearts. For me part of that time of learning has involved finding ME. For that reason Grinnell will always feel like home to my soul and is partially why the though of moving away has been such a roller coaster of emotions. At the same time I'm confident I can move away from this place and still be ME. It's just one of the MANY gifts life in this community has offered.

I received a phone call today with some information about the financing of our new home in Carlisle. Good news that I hope I'm not celebrating prematurely as we all know nothing is ever TOTALLY said and done until the dotted lines have been signed and the keys have been handed over. But at the same time this bit of news, that may not seem like much to some, has unleashed a whole slew of emotions in me this afternoon. Feelings of relief mixed with a little joy, some amazement, a shadow of doubt that it's all going to work so smoothly, and a side of disbelief that we could be so lucky. In general it's been hard not to believe that this move has been fated for our family once we just opened our hearts to the possibility. We fell in love with a house...and then it sold...and then it came back on the market after we had FINALLY come to terms with the the fact it was no longer a possibility. The fact we are 4 short weeks away from closing on said house is still more than I can really wrap my head around at this point. We have been blessed with a banker who has gone above and beyond not only to help us secure financing but to help us start to paint a better financial picture for our family over all. Then today's news comes and it's even harder for me to believe the luck of it all. And don't even get me started about how warmly we have been welcomed into the community by the contacts we have made even before we have officially taken up residence. It really has been amazing on so many levels.

I shared a few of the thoughts I have going through my head with Scott via email this afternoon. We agreed that over the past couple of years we have gotten so used to disappointment (and to a certain point fear) that it's hard not to go into this transition wondering when the next wrecking ball is going to come swinging through our lives. Not saying we have lost hope, but we've probably been living life a little more defensively than offensively lately. We've tried to keep in perspective small blessings, staying true to the priorities and values that guide our actions in life, and have had faith that no matter what life throws our way that we ARE strong enough to keep moving forward. (We have also realized what an amazing web of support we have surrounding our family.) We've found peace in living a simple, honest life and somewhere along the way we've learned to accept both the times of ease and the times of challenge simply for what they are free from expectations.

Which is why I think having things falling into place so smoothly in terms of our relocation seems an awful lot like divine intervention. Blessings that we aren't sure we are worthy to receive. Fortune that we will not take for granted.

To be continued...


Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Tuesday to Remember...

Because I have been blessed with lovely friends who do a much better job of being aware of current events than I, Tuesday I loaded up in a car with these ladies...

to attend this event...

We knew we were in good company when we arrived at the event venue and had to stop to allow a group of red and gold clad Buddhist Monks to cross the street. (What a surreal moment I will not soon forget.)

While the venue was set very formally, as one would expect for a major university event of this magnitude...

the Dalai Lama right away established that his talk was nothing more than a simple, casual conversation human being to human being. Not only did his warm presence pull you onto the couch next to him, his every action made you feel as if you were in the presence of an old friend...

(The bright lights of the stage were bothering his eyes, so he gladly accepted, and wore throughout the whole event, this bright purple UNI visor. It was somewhat comical, yet at the same time seemed totally appropriate.)

The Dalai Lama had been invited to the UNI campus specifically to present on the topic of education. But this afternoon public talk took on a much more informal feel as he discussed everything from education, to religious tolerance, to families, to marriage, to the environment, to the source of true happiness, to the importance of inner beauty, to science and technology. Through it all the base of his messages was clear.

1. We all must strive to live a compassionate life and to promote others to do so as well.

2. We must all strive to live in harmony. Rather than allowing secondary differences such as age, race, gender, and philosophical beliefs to divide us, we must first remember (and be united by the fact) on the most basic of levels we all simply human beings.

Compassion and harmony. A simple yet powerful message aimed at promoting peace.

The Dalai Lama has authored a number of books that can obviously more clearly share his message and wisdom than I can summarize his Tuesday talk from memory. But for me, just as important as the words he spoke was the way he spoke them. Slow and deliberate, from the heart. While some scholars share their knowledge from the facts and studies stored in their heads, the Dalai Lama very obviously shares his wisdom from the knowing of his heart. From the way he leaned towards the crowd making eye contact with people in the front rows during his talk; to the way he interacted with his interpreter; to the number of times he reached over and squeezed the hand of the UNI president's hand with a laugh and a warm smile; to the time he took to thank everyone on stage with him with a bow and the gift of a ceremonial white silk scarf at the end of his talk, his actions showed how clearly he lives his message every moment of his life. It was touching and even today the memory of his actions brings warm tears to my eyes. It was a day I will always remember and cherish.

For more information about the Dalai Lama's visit to UNI, you can read a short article on the UNI website. Or for a short video of part of his morning panel discussion, check out this YouTube video posted by an audience member. If nothing else, you get a little taste of him amazing laugh. (I'm hoping UNI might offer up their own short video of the day's events in the coming weeks.)


Friday, May 14, 2010


Have you ever gone to the grocery store to buy specific ingredients and then gotten home only to discover one of those items which you KNEW you had placed in the cart was not in your bag? That happened to me a couple weeks ago with an avocado. I was a little miffed that obviously it got left on the counter after it was scanned rather than put in my bag. Avocados aren't cheap after all.

I just came in from cleaning out my car and guess what I found wedged under one of the front seats?


Thursday, May 13, 2010

This One's for You Aunt Carol...

Today is one of those days where I'm not sure writing a blog post is such a good idea...yet at the same time it could be just the therapy I need.

I just got home from teaching my last yoga class on the campus of Grinnell College for the year. I actually have a few classes in the gallery scheduled through the summer, but summer is different. Many of my regular students will have moved on with their lives...literally.'s one of the great evils of life in a college town. Because of the college a number of amazing people find their way from all over the world to this little central Iowa students, as staff, as faculty. But many of them are only here for a short while before they move on to new adventures in other places. And sometimes that just sucks. (I will miss you Amy and of luck in Texas!)

Any hoo...I found myself unexpectedly emotional drawing this week's classes to a close. I have had a connection with the college in some an employee, as a coach, as contracted service provider...for almost 10 years. I've been teaching yoga there for almost 3. I've watched the yoga community on campus grow from a few familiar many familiar faces. I will miss those faces and the practices we have shared over the years. It is comforting to know that with the growth of participants the number of yoga related offerings on campus has also grown.

On the house front...rain has once again stalled progress on our painting. But now with Uncle Jason back in town, we'll have an extra set of hands to help once the weather decides to cooperate.

"Our" new house in Carlisle went through inspection yesterday. While yes, we knew some of the things that would pop up because it's an 80 year old house, some of the other findings give me reason to pause. We will be looking for council from some of our friends "in the know" when it comes to houses.

I've hit a little bump in the road in relationship to my business contacts today too. Not enough to discourage me, just enough to cause me to expand my search for possible solutions to WHERE I might be able to offer classes and private services in our new community. I realize having to change directions NOW is mostly causing me stress because our close/move date (if it sticks) is only 6 weeks away(!), not because it's a difficult thing to do. That combined with the fact that I will be making this transition in the middle of summer, the slowest time for any time of group classes, has me just a bit nervous about the state of my income come the first of August.

The girls and I are scheduled to visit the Carlisle Elementary next week. I'm hoping a visit will help ease some of the anxiety Lexi is starting to experience as the school year is drawing to a close and she thinks about not returning to third grade with her familiar buddies come fall.

I know that all these emotions I have going on today are simply part of the grieving process that I expect to go through as we move forward with leaving a community that we have loved so much. In which we have so many amazing friends and connections. A community that offers just about everything we had ever hoped a community could offer our family. The only thing it hasn't been able to offer us is the right employment opportunity for Scott...and as such it's apparently not where we were meant to land forever. My mind knows that...but today my heart is having a hard time accepting it all.

So that's the update. Tomorrow the sun is suppose to shine. Thank goodness! Stress + cloudy, rainy grayness = less than optimistic me.