Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Pink and Pinkier

There’s the barely pink blush of spring.

Then there’s the LookhowpinkIcanbe show off of spring.

~mwe

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Going Green

I took way too many pictures on my spring break outing to share in one post, so I’m going to divide them into themes.

Today, we go green.

~mwe

Read Full Post »

I’m a list maker.

I put even minor things on my to do lists.

First, because it relieves the stress of trying to remember every little thing I need to do.

But my favorite part of making lists is being able to cross things off.  When I’m able to cross even one thing off my list, I feel like I’ve done something with my day.

A couple of weeks ago I made of list of things I needed to get done as I wrapped up winter quarter.  I also included the title for a blog post I was thinking about writing: Choose Joy.

The next few days, every time I checked things off my list I saw it staring back at me:

Choose Joy

It wasn’t long before I decided I’m keeping it on my list.

Because you know what?  I forget to do it ALL the time.

How can that be?  I mean, it’s JOY.  It feels AMAZING.  It makes my heart burn – in a good way.

But I often find myself choosing everything else.

Stress.

Boredom.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Discontent.

Why do I do that?  Why do I so easily forget the things that bring me joy and fall into the things that keep me down?

Does this happen to anyone else?

(Let me say, I believe joy is different from happiness.  Joy can exist in the face of adversity and even sadness.  It makes the worst of situations bearable.  It’s a sense of peace.  A sense of contentment.  A deep, abiding love for life and all that comes with it.  But when it’s not there, everything is off balance, irritating, upsetting. In short – wrong.) 

So true to form, I spent most of my spring break doing random things.  I appreciated the unusually warm, early spring weather, but didn’t really get out to enjoy it.  So on the last day I had to myself, I decided (with a little coaxing from my husband) to go to one of my favorite places to take some pictures of spring in all it’s glory.

Because that brings me JOY.

Here’s a little preview.  I’ll share more in the coming days …

~mwe

Read Full Post »

Life Remodel

What do you do when you’ve lived in your house for years and years and it no longer meets your needs?  It seems to me that you have 3 choices.

1.  Stay put, change nothing, and be uncomfortable, maybe even unhappy.

2.  Leave your old house to find a new, better house that allows you to spread out and live the way  you dream.

3.  Remodel the home you have, keeping what you love and change the parts that don’t work for you anymore.

What do you do when your life no longer meets your needs?

1.  Stay put, change nothing, and be uncomfortable, maybe even unhappy.

2.  Leave your old life to find a new, better one that allows you to spread your wings and live the life you dream.

3.  Remodel the life you have, keeping what you love and changing the parts that don’t work for you anymore.

This is where I find myself – or maybe found myself – in the past few years.  I knew the life I created wasn’t working for me, or anyone else for that matter.  I was stressed, unhappy, unfulfilled, and grasping at anything that might make me feel better.

So I had to make a choice – door #1, 2, or 3?  I knew something needed to change, so choice #1 was off the table.  That left me with #2 and #3.  But that can be a hard decision.  So I started down the path of change not knowing what the outcome would be.

I left my job.

Went back to school full-time.

Repaired the personal relationships in my life.

Repaired myself.

Going down this road was exciting, challenging, energizing, and frustrating.  The biggest frustrations came each time I faced that choice – leave or remodel.  One thing was certain, I wasn’t leaving my husband or children, because the more I learned to love myself, the more I loved them.

The choice, however, became more and more clear as events unfolded.  I’m staying.  There is too much of my life – here and now – that I love.  There are, though, parts that don’t work for me anymore.  And that’s where I get stuck sometimes.

How does a 43 year old woman remodel her life?

New job? Check

New hobbies? Check

New outlook? Check

Heck, I even switched the furniture in the family and dining rooms to completely flip our house around.

But there’s a chunk of life that I still haven’t quite figured out.  Before I go any further, let me say I love my friends.  They are wonderful. But I’ve never been very good at getting close to people.  I’m good at knowing a lot of people and being friendly, but not at being friends.

So I find myself at a point in my life where I’m ready to belong to a community of smart, spiritual, amazing women.  Women who want to be their best in order to do their best work in the world, whatever that may be.

But where do you find them?  We’re all so wrapped up in our work, families, church, you name it, we hardly ever have time to focus on ourselves.  And if we do, shouldn’t we really be focusing on something or someone else?  I’m ready to say no.  I need time to work on and sustain myself, and hopefully help sustain others.

So I’m embarking on a journey to create such a community.  I’ve taken a few steps to get started and I’ll be sharing them with you along the way.  I think this could turn into something pretty exciting.  I’d also love to hear what you think.

Are you anywhere in this process?

Do you belong to such a community of supporting women?

Aside from your family, where do you find the support and energy that sustains you?

~mwe

Read Full Post »

How is August almost over??  Where did the summer go??  No, I mean really – where did the summer go???

Camps, swimming, sleeping in, lunch dates, fairs … it all went by way too fast.  My kids are starting their second week of school and it already seems like a distant memory as we get back to schedules (which isn’t entirely a bad thing.)

Even our family vacation, which was just 3 weeks ago, seems so far away.  So in an effort to keep it fresh in my mind  I decided to share one of my favorite parts with you.  We visited Jekyll Island, along the coast of Georgia.  I had been there once with my parents the summer after I finished 5th grade, so I was curious to see if it was what I remembered.  (For the record, it wasn’t.  Or at least my memory of it wasn’t.  Well, part of it was – the beach.  But I didn’t remember anything else on the island except the hotel we stayed in.)

This was the first time my kids have been to the ocean since they were toddlers, so they were excited to put their feet in.

We spent time on the beach…

the Georgia Sea Turtle Center…

watching dolphins…

As the boat captain said, trying to take pictures of dolphins is like trying to photograph lightening.

and enjoying life at a slower pace.

Sunrise

But one of the most amazing places we saw was called Driftwood Beach.  This beach, on the northern tip of the island, is a landing spot for all kinds of trees.  Walking through the brush onto the beach literally took my breath away.

At first, all I could see was the trees.  Enormous trees.  Scraggly trees.  Dead trees.

But the longer I stayed, the longer I noticed there was more.  The beach was teeming with life in and around the trees.

And I noticed something else.

Beauty.

Such amazing beauty.

It’s a lesson I’ve learned many times in my life, but one I always seem to need reminded of … beauty is found beyond the obvious.

It’s in the big, monstrous.

It’s in the tiny, microscopic.

It’s in the dead.

It’s in the empty.

It’s in the light.

It’s in the dark.

It may take 15 hours in a mini-van to find it.

But it’s also there when I open my eyes every morning.

~mwe

Read Full Post »

Hi strangers!  I’ve missed you!

I’ve been keeping very busy since we last chatted.  Lots of cleaning, organizing, and decluttering going on in my house.  And even some exercising.  I’m not sure where this burst of energy came from but I’m going to ride it as long as I can.  It’s a great feeling to walk into a closet or open a drawer and feel the peace of an uncluttered, organized space.  Maybe that sounds too Zen to you, but I here to tell you it’s true.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

Today I’d like to take a moment and talk about what we do and who we are.

I love doing things to make people happy, put a smile on their face, or make them feel special.  I do these things because I want to show I love and care about someone.  It’s for them.  If you’re familiar with Gary Chapman’s work, you might say acts of service is one of my top love languages.  It’s how I express my love for others.  But if I’m completely honest with myself, there is some place deep inside me that believes if I didn’t do things for people, they wouldn’t like me.  Which I think comes from a little place that still believes I am not good enough to be liked for who I am.

This really hits home when someone is bothered by who I am.  I mean those things that I do or say without even thinking about them.  Or the way I do or say things.  I feel like it’s not what I say that bothers them (which can be easily fixed), but who I am (which is not so easily fixed).  It’s as if love becomes connected to things on its way out, but it becomes connected to me on its way in – or when it doesn’t come in.  I may have completely lost half of you by now and the other half may think I’m completely nuts.  Either one is okay.  It comes down to the feeling that I sometimes feel like people will love me if I do the right things, but won’t love me just for who I am.

Now don’t get me wrong.  This isn’t something that clouds my every thought.  But once in a while a crops up, and when it does, it bugs me.  I’ve come a long way over the years in knowing who I am and there are a lot of qualities about myself that I love.  I wonder, though, where I learned that it’s what I do and not who I am that people love.  And why that belief holds on so tightly.  When did my love language become my reason to be loved?

What do you think?  Do you have a hard time separating what you do from who you are?  If you took away those things would you feel as though there was enough left to be loved?  Or worth being loved?

~mwe

Read Full Post »

Take 5

Hello all –

I want to let you know I’m taking a little time off from daily blogging.  I’ve decided I’d like to devote some time and energy to other things – namely my physical health.

One of my first 5k's

Almost five years ago I was about to run my first half marathon and I could bench press almost 100 pounds.  Then I went to grad school, wrote a dissertation, and spent a year recovering from it all.  Needless to say, it’s taken a toll on my fitness level.  As those of you who blog daily (or often) know, it can consume a considerable amount of time and energy.  My plan is to redirect this time and energy to getting myself back in shape.

Writing has become an important part of my life, so I’m not giving it up!  I’ll still write when I feel I have something to say (or ask), and I’ll still be posting some photos that I take from time to time.  Most importantly, I’ll still be reading your blogs.  Although it sounds odd, I feel like I’ve come to know many of you and I don’t want to lose the sense of relationship I’ve come to have as we share our thoughts and feelings.

Remember, you can be notified of when I do post by subscribing (if you haven’t already).  You can do this even if you don’t have a WordPress account by submitting your email address.

As always, thanks for reading!  Until next time …

~mwe

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »