Friday, November 10, 2017

Grateful

I have a couple friends a season or so ahead of me in life - I call them mentors and friends. And when they are willing to somehow share openly a glimpse of what is going on in their life, I always walk away with a bit more perspective. What a gift to get to do now with an eye of what's right around the corner. I am beginning my 11th day of being a parent to a human in the outside world. John and I are constantly checking to make sure our son is breathing. We've poked him. We have no control over our schedules and end up botching most attempts to arrive at our doctor appointments with a well-fed, ready to just sleep baby.

To know that the worry doesn't end - that the concerns change from SIDS to college applications and then to a myriad of new developments in a blink is hopefully informing my very first attachments to my son.

We feel so grateful in these first days. Grateful for our child. Grateful for my body. Grateful for healing. Grateful for friends with 3 month olds who arrive with takeout at the hospital, because they remember just how sick you get of hospital food. And who tell you, sleep is near, we promise. Grateful for friends a few years ahead of that, who drive over to listen to your baby breathe and assure you it's normal - demonstrate how they bounce their baby to sleep - set up a sample sleeping arrangement that worked in real life for them - tell you, you are doing good. Check in on you. For those who offer to lend us swaddles, bouncers, clothes, etc. and tell us what worked for them. For those who show up with a cup of coffee.

Grateful for an unbelievable medical team and hospital staff. Grateful for giving birth in today's times. Grateful for epidurals (there I said it). For kind, funny, attentive nurses. For doctors who helped us manage our expectations, always kept us informed, listened to us, and worked with us as we tried every option we could, always keeping our son's safety first.

Grateful for family members who sat patiently in a hospital room, or anxiously by their phones all day and night and into the earliest hours of the next to hear he was here, and lay eyes on his perfect face with us. For grandmas who've held our son so we could sleep.

Grateful for those friends a season ahead to remind us - the days are long, but the years are short. You can never fail by..... this or that. Those who's children are newly grown and facing the challenges we ourselves just faced. Grown "children" - new adults we look at and think, I hope Nolan grows up to be something like that. And so, we drink up every word as we watch these friends hold our newborn child, telling us to be his cheerleader - raise him to hear the Lord, and then, trust him to. Find wisdom in him. We watch these friends hold our newborn child, and listen to them share a little about the joys and pains of the next season ahead, their current world, and we think, I hope I grow up to be something like that.


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Things I want to fill my home with -

poetry
soft places to sit
solid places to share and eat and stand
warm blankets and looks.

music.

clean smells, crackling fires, cool breezes that move curtains.

bread, bubbling fruit in the oven - apples, blackberries, peaches, cherries, plums, especially plums, wrapped in crust and cinnamon, and everything that can compose and rise, sweet in a kitchen.

a place to come and go and come again.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

I have what I believe is an unusual number of early memories. All simple and ordinary and priceless to me these past 26 or more years. We moved right before the end of my preschool year. I know this because I road home from that school with my sisters in Tina's brown pickup.  She shot some sort of little pop gun out her window at another student.  We drove to her house - across the street from our new huge house.  The one with weird stuff on the walls, the big back yard, my own room - and most importantly the one next to Elise, Robert, and soon Tyson.

I mark my early years this way - before and after the move.  The old house. The new house. So I have the benefit of knowing all the memories preserved in the old Edmonds house are from my first 4-5 years of life.  When I speak with most people, they have a couple blurry memories from these years of their life.  I have almost as many from those years as all the childhood years to follow.

Sitting at the kitchen table with my dad while he played a voicemail for me - "Hi, this is Ivy. Elise and I are wondering if Kati is free this afternoon to go to the beach with us?"  The photos from that day rested on our wall for the next decade. The sound of that message still rests in my head, the mischievous smile on my Dad's knowing face as he played it, and then told me I could go. He probably toyed with me a bit first, as he is prone to do.

The memory on my mind today is from weekend mornings - my parents up, blaring music over the speakers Dad had set up in the kitchen.  The feeling of waking up to a happy, melodious house on a Sunday morning, breakfast being prepared.  I think this exact thing probably didn't really happen that many times, but my heart remembers it as a family habit for a while - a thing we did on Sunday mornings before getting ready and heading off to church.  I want my kids to feel that way on Sunday mornings.  I want them to store it up, potent enough to fill them in their thirties. That memory. That feeling.

Weekend mornings are my absolute favorite time. John and I linger over coffee, or walk to a cafe, or make breakfast at home.  We do that most every morning, but weekends it's longer, it's better, it's more melodic. I wonder if this childhood memory plays any part in why I so prefer to spend my mornings this way - maybe it's the resonance of a lodged memory, vibrating as we hit the same note.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

When I quit my job last August I quickly learned to dread a new conversation - "Oh that must be so nice! I bet you have so much time! What are you even doing with all that time?" I mostly hated because I constantly wondered, what am I doing with all this time? I suddenly had about 60 more hours of it each week, and yet I didn't really feel like I had more than an hour of free time a day - if that. And that bothered the heck out of me! Where was it going? And at the same time, it felt so smug, everyone assuming I had this life of luxurious free time - the strangely unemployed non-mother. I usually found some nice reply, or what I at least imagine was a nice reply.  But I wanted to remind people, my husband and I run a business out of our home, and just because we've decided to stop running three businesses, our daily ones each demanding well over 40 hours and the sum total requiring a circus-level routine of aerobatics and antics - doesn't mean I spend my days sipping rose and getting pedis.  Mostly, I scoop up animal poop, schedule appointments, pay bills, and run unending loads of laundry and dishes.  When it pours rain, I run out and make sure our entry isn't flooding, and if it is, I bail it out at noon or 2am.  And, I'm trying to build another business... and figure out what that business is, if there is a client, a need, a talent, a joy.

And most of all - I'm prioritizing, not by deadline or revenue potential - but by value.  John and I chose for me to leave my current career path for a few reasons (one being it was soul-sucking), the most important being that we didn't want our lives to be run for us.  We knew what mattered to us, but felt like others were dictating how all of our most precious hours had to be spent.  I for one wasn't always good at reserving enough emotional energy to give to those I love, after meeting the demands and needs of professional associates all day.  What I agree to do, I do well.  I have to - it's who I am.  I can't miss a deadline, or do a half-ass job even if that's the resources my job provides for, and go home happy with myself.  So I'd pull from the reserves over and over and end up dead as I headed home to spend time with the one I love most - and all the others I love too.

So a change.  A reorientation.  That is what we have been trying to do - that is how we've been trying to spend all that time.  We still have a lot of work, but we're trying to figure out how to put what is first, first, and then do the rest with excellence.

And I hope we've built some deeper, better habits and approaches because it seems like before things ever had a chance to really be slow - they are back to being crazy! A different crazy, and it's great - but mad house crazy!  The things we decided mattered most, and we wanted to spend time sowing to, well all those things grew. (Go figure!)

Family. Health. Home. Business. All of it has bloomed to fill the room we made for it - and we're back to wondering again - how do we simplify?  Amidst all of this good, all that is important, what is most important? And how do we spend our time now?

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

May 9th is one of my favorite days.  It's the day John proposed.  And I have to be honest, I might like it more than our wedding day.  Our wedding was a whirlwind, filled with a million emotions - and it was AMAZING and beautiful - but it was also too fast, too stressed and much of it felt like it belonged to all those we love. We kind of did that on purpose. My favorite moment from the day I think was when the sound cut out on our vows - I'm serious.  Even in the moment I thought, this is kind of nice.  It's our vows.  And you could kind of hear them from the rows, probably not from the balcony above.... but we heard them, and we were making them to one another. They were ours. They were intimate, private, sincere... not broadcasted. I think that's a symbol of who we've become and how we've been trying to live our life out as since. Let those beside us hear, witness and share... in real life, real time.  We'll call our loved ones, or send them a letter.  We want to be open to those around us - see the big world and care for it - but we want to treasure the intimate, the real, the sincere.

So if the wedding day was mostly for the people we care most about in our lives - bringing them into our love story and sharing our joy with them - then the engagement day was ours.  Which is slightly ironic since it was fronted and shared as a social media campaign kick-off.  Every detail though, every moment and twist and turn and surprise was a direct link from John to me... and it was perfect. Amidst stress and quick on the spot adapting (remember this was a Friday work day), that day was when I realized what was in my heart - he created space for me to be present, all alone, discovering peace and longing - and then hours later gave me an offer I'll forever be grateful I accepted. Before that very day, I didn't know if I'd say yes... and I'd told him as much.  He asked on May 9th in vulnerability and bravery - exactly as I'd want it truthfully. It wasn't a fake question we both knew the answer to --- and that is how it had been for us all along, real questions.  Every day it seemed we were asking ourselves and each other silent questions we didn't know the answer to, and it was frightening. Plenty of them out loud too.

I was circling around in the ferris wheel alone, each turn thinking it would stop and John would step in.  But he never did.  After 3 rounds, I laid back and listened to the music just for a moment let's be still.  I realized he really might not be behind it all. And then I realized, I wanted him to be.

May 9th was just perfect. He surprised me (a hard feat).  He showed he knew me.  He demonstrated he loved me.  I knew the proposal was coming someday soon, and I'd wondered what I would think when I saw the ring.  It may sound superficial, but when I saw it my whole head just filled with "That's my ring.  And it's perfect for me."  I couldn't have dreamed up anything so right for me as John.

Beau, thank you for the best Proposal.

xo.
Your favorite blogger. ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

If you're like most people, in January, you spend a lot of time contemplating changes.  You think about all the "new" a fresh year can bring you... we tend to call them New Years Resolutions. But for one reason or another I was acutely aware this year of the other end of that string - the goodbyes, the cutting, the tying up of the old and bidding things adieu.  You can't have one without the other.  I think that is my wish for you all this year - that you find the strength to say goodbye to all the extras that have accumulated to slow you down and wear you out... be it a bad habit, a bad relationship, a bad thought, or even all the good that has become the antagonist of the unknown great of which you dream or wonder.  Please, use the wonderful happiness of a fresh start that a new year can offer, to do the hard work of saying goodbye and ending something. 

Creating a new habit does take decision after decision, but ending a habit or relationship is done in a moment (and then you just have to stick to it!).  It is over starting the first time you don't go back to it. I think that's really the power of the new year.  It's that an old one has closed, and you can't go back to it.  You get to decide what to leave back there.  

And with goodbye comes new energy, time, space.... everything a new beginning requires.  Suddenly, the future looks bright, with all of its unknowns and wonder. 

I'm being equally intentional about my firsts this year.  This is my first use of my revamped laptop. John installed a new RAM and a solid-state hard drive so I can seriously start working on my consulting business.  When he left for work this morning, I reached for my "new" laptop - opened chrome - typed in Facebook - and thank God it asked me for my sign-in credentials.  That flicker was just enough time for an intentional thought to over-ride the frightening thoughtless habit of my fingers to open that blue page! I thought, "This is my first act here in this all new space - what do I want it to be?"  I came here. 

Similarly, I've had my eye on a dreamy Waterman fountain pen for most of the last 6 months.  When John surprised me with it for my 30th birthday last week I took time to consider what my first act with it should be - I had pulled out a sheet of paper to write a to-do list and was of course going to use my new pen to outline it.  Is that really what this fountain pen is for?  Is that what my 30's are for?  What I'm for?  No.  I wrote a three sentence love letter.  Then, I wrote a to-do list.  (I really do like to-do lists.)  The acts are small, but with each first, I set a direction, a priority.  I set it.  

In short - let's say goodbye. And then let's take advantage of each opportunity we have to make a new 'first step' - allowing ourselves to intentionally chart our first moves, even if we can't plan out or control our whole coming year.  


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

I have some friends that hate when people hide things.  And I not only understand that, but I love that they feel that way.  I love that they are so passionate about people being open and honest and real that they'd much rather hear bad news than see a smiling, dishonest face.

I've got to say, I'm not one of those people.  I feel very strongly about being who you really are, being honest and sincere.  But I feel equally strongly that your core does not belong to them. You do not belong to them.  You belong to few.  You belong to one. You belong to you. You belong to who you choose to share you with... and that is wildly beautiful to me.  I like looking at a person I know somewhat, and knowing they are concealing things from me - beautiful things, sincere things, their things.  I admire those people.

It makes it that much more wonderful when one of your few share one of those concealed pieces with you - maybe it's only for a moment, a timely secret, painful or happy, or maybe it's forever, a piece of them.

My world has grown so much smaller in the past few years.  Less ears, less voices.  In my old world, we used to always have to tell everything, to almost everyone, and everyone else would tell the rest anyways.  Talking.  Telling.  Sharing.  So little keeping.

I love the keeping.