Look at me…two weeks in a row of a Thursday Three. It’s almost like a trend or something.
1. Balance is key. We’ve practically been living in a season of survival the past few months. Only in the past week or two have we started to reintroduce exercising, playing music, and making space for individual creativity. So here I am, sitting in a coffee shop while writing my thoughts–totally baby-free. As a couple and as a family, we’re asking the question of how to find balance in our lives and somehow make it work for everybody. It requires some planning and some sacrifice, but it seems to be worth it in the end. If you have tips and systems that have worked well for you, I’d definitely be interested in hearing them.
2. My phone is overloaded with pictures of my kid. (So much for balance, eh?) I know I’m biased, but I think he’s pretty stinking cute. To be honest, I haven’t figured out what I think about sharing countless photos on the internet (of him or me, really). Maybe one here or there. Occasionally, I send some photos of him in a text to people I think might want to see the latest facial expression or outfit he’s rocking. Like everything, I’m overthinking it and questioning how much I want him to be all over the internet. I don’t know that there’s a right or wrong answer, but I do think it’s worth considering what we are putting online and what the long-term impact might be. Ugh. The world is crazy and the future of the internet is a mystery to me. I know I can’t protect him from everything, but I do have some responsibility as a parent to look out for him and his well-being. So, please humor me while I think it over and know that the photos might be sparse in the meantime. (But what the heck? I can’t add a photo from my week without including him because he’s in ALL the photos…so here you go, a week’s worth all at once).
3. We need each other. I’ve heard and read so many thoughts and feelings this past week regarding the election and the actions that have followed. Frankly, it’s hard to sort through it all. Last week, all I could say was that kindness was the first place I planned to start. I think the thing I’ve found to be true in it all is how much we need to support and love one another as a community, a city, a state, and a country. There’s so much that has already been said on the internet, and I don’t want to pretend I have something big or profound to add. I just think that at the bottom of it all, we each want love and support. We want someone to say, “I’m for you and I’m with you.” I think that means seeing a need amongst the people around you and filling it. It can mean showing up, even without being asked. It means prayer, money, food, time, and energy given to someone else or for someone else. As much as living in isolation or only surrounded by those who think and feel the exact same as we do sounds nice (and can have its place from time to time), the strength and mutual respect/understanding that can be gained by recognizing that we need each other is invaluable.
Well hey there, Thursday. It’s been a full week somehow…there are literally not enough hours in the day. Oh, how I wish I could simply skip sleep sometimes. But then again, what would I do? Just watch a few more movies? There’s only so much time one can dedicate their brains to working and side projects before running out of energy and productivity. So, I guess sleep is good. Let’s stop this babbling and get on to the good stuff…
1. Sometimes what’s “broke” don’t need fixin’ …just love. The vacuum cleaner I thought was broken for…uhm, months….turned out to just need a little extra TLC. Isn’t that just the analogy for everything in life? Okay, it needed a LOT of TLC. In the four and a half years of owning it, we’ve replaced a few parts but apparently never cleared out the hose. Here’s a gross display of everything I’ve ever tried to clean out of our house but instead just stored in the bottom of our vacuum…the hubby called it the “dust rings of our marriage”.
2. Remember to make due with what you’ve got. Last week we both battled some sort of cold/sore throat/allergies/virus–who knows what. We also had a little gig to play at the end of the week. Practice was weak, the hubby had a little loss of voice scare and we even tried to figure out a plan B…but somehow we made it through the end of the night. All things considered, I thought it went pretty well. It’s easy to get stuck on things when an obstacle is right in front of you, but the trick is to not limit yourself by your own fears of a potential problem. I’m constantly trying to remind myself that–not always succeeding, but definitely going to keep on trying.
3. Keep asking what inspires you. Maybe that’s through an interesting video, encouraging poster or a collection of quotes and images on tumblr. Maybe for you that means reading the thoughts of others in blogs or books, listening to a great podcast, attending a presentation or admiring the craftsmanship and artwork of a completed project. Don’t worry about what particular form your inspiration comes in (as long as it is excellent/encouraging/true), but continue to pursue it–continue to be inspired. Make a habit out of seeking out inspiration and surround yourself with it for motivation. We all need that extra encouragement and excitement so we can create and do things to inspire the next person.
Hello to the Thursday Three! It’s been a good week of lots of fun things. I’ll just go ahead and tell you that this will be a photo heavy post, but I’m alright with it. We’ve been showing off Raleigh to my youngest sister for the week, which is a great excuse to visit all of our favorite places in the area. All I can say is, YUM FUN.
1. You are never too old to try something new. Right before my sister arrived we decided to cash in one a Christmas gift card toward a local Art Bar. I’m much more of the writing type…I see things I like in art but when I go to replicate it…well, it doesn’t always go as planned. That said, we spent six plus hours painting away until our canvases looked like something we meant to make. Can you tell what it is?
This was the bonus 6″ x 8″ canvas the hubby painted while I finished up my masterpiece. It fits right in with the rest of our kitchen!
2. Christmas is still here in this household. Because both sisters were going to be in town this week and shipping is a total pain, we just decided to leave the tree and decorations up. At this point, it almost seems easier to keep it going year-round. Alas, we have a real tree and cannot make it last much longer. But who doesn’t love those twinkly lights on the tree?
3. There’s not enough time in a week to see all of our favorite places in Raleigh. I made a master list of all the things we’d go do and see and eat while my sister was here and we’ve only hit about half of them so far and sadly, she leaves tomorrow. Recently, I found a list of places to check out in Raleighand they really did include all of our favorites in case you are wondering what there is to do around here. I wouldn’t call Raleigh a tourist-y place, but we sure do like living here. It’s been really fun showing yet another family member all the reasons why we love it.
Do you dream about doing something epic? Especially this time of year when people are going wild with goals and dreams? There’s the pipe dream or acceptance speech that you picture happening one day. Whatever it is, it’s amazing and you’ll be leaps and bounds from where you are now.
Some days though, the success is merely in making it through the day. There’s no award passed out or a congratulatory grin flashed your way. You get to go to sleep and do it all over again. All the little details and duties add up each day, and suddenly you’re out of time to do that epic thing or even have time to think about it.
In the movies they have a clever way of showing someone trudging through life. There’s a theme song and clips upon clips showing the main character go through the practicing and preparing. They pace through the hallway or run up and down the stairs–trying and failing–albeit showing small signs of improvement. Finally, the moment comes and it all amounts to something. Cue end credits.
Right now, all I’ve got to show is the movie montage, and it’s not even half finished. I keep working on fixing my mistakes, finding who I am, appreciating what I have, realizing my strengths and weaknesses, building better relationships and searching for my moment. That great big shining moment at the end of it all when it comes together and somehow makes sense. The tedium and the frustration of going through it all again and again is far less lighthearted without the song and the sped up highlight reel.
I look around and think how badly I want to check all of those things off my list, forever. Wouldn’t it be nice to say you’ve mastered all of your mistakes or finally formed perfect working relationships with everyone you know? Maybe you can say that, but I certainly can’t. Each day seems to bring both lost battles and small victories.
You know what? Sometimes I want the montage to be over already. Get me to the good part. But what I’ve been realizing lately is a need to appreciate the montage. It might be as close as we ever get to the “big moment” in this life. This wonderful thing called life is a nonstop montage of all the things we have to work through. It might not even be until the end that we get to look back and see all of the triumphs within it. We get to constantly grow and learn and do things, despite the hardships it might bring. Wouldn’t you rather have a life that is progressing instead of a stagnant life after that one big moment has passed?
So maybe living out the montage isn’t so terrible after all. (Having a theme song couldn’t hurt though…)
Hello Thursday, my day of the week. The day that I’m tired and ready for the weekend but sometimes stay up too late anyway just because. Getting home when it’s dark outside makes me feel like I never even had a chance at the day, so I try to stay up late out of defiance but usually don’t accomplish much in those hours anyway. So it goes.
1. Sore muscles are the best worst feeling. After months without formal exercise I decided to try the gym that’s much closer to where we live last night. It was good to get back there and fake some confidence while I lifted baby weights next to hulking men as they grunted. Glorious. Okay, not that part. But I tried to do the machines for the first time since the big injury this summer and didn’t end up on crutches. Success.
2. Learning is fun. I’m taking not one but two graduate level classes this semester at a nearby university. So far so good, but the homework hasn’t really piled up yet. I’m really glad for the opportunity though to learn some new things and hopefully open up some interesting opportunities down the line. The classes are in the nonprofit management program, which in no way relates to what I’m doing in my day job. Sometimes I think doing things like this is really great and interesting and other times I wonder what the purpose is or what I’m doing with my life. But in a good way.
3. February might be my favorite month of 2014. I know that sounds a little presumptuous and not totally fair to the rest of the months. But seriously, so many of my favorite things are happening this February that I can hardly wait! First of all, my favorite holiday (Groundhog Day) is on February 2nd, as always. We might even try to throw another party this year for it. Too soon to say officially, but it’s a good possibility. Second, the Olympics are coming! It will be like a party every day for 17 straight days! I LOVE the Olympics! So, even though that has no direct relation to this week, I’m pretty pumped about February.
There are parts of my life that don’t seem to line up. Like, I’m not quite hip enough for all the shows I go to. Or don’t have kids hanging off my arms like most of the other women at church. Or I don’t look old enough to do the things I am capable of at work. Or maybe I’m not musical enough for what people expect in relation to my incredibly musically inclined husband.
It seems like I’m never quite what “they” wanted. Sometimes I want to shout in return saying, “I DON’T FIT IN HERE! I KNOW IT JUST AS MUCH AS YOU DO!” Yes, I get it, thanks. Because trust me, I feel even more awkward about it than you do. It feels as if my life is hanging in the balances, tinkering on the edge of total discord and absurdity.
So maybe we don’t have the same amount of money, number of kids, personal beliefs, musical talents, magnitude of eye makeup, years of experience or extensive vocabulary. No matter where I turn, I don’t seem to be matching everyone else there in some major life area. As uncomfortable as that can sometimes (often) be, I think there’s something incredibly valuable in it, too. Because instead of continuing on our own little paths, we get to learn from each other and grow from each other. That can’t happen if we all look, talk, act and think the same way. So maybe it will take a little more effort to bridge the gap. Maybe we’ll have to take those differences in stride and assume the best of each other. But I’d much rather that than living a life removed from those who have different experiences and understandings than my own.
That basically sums it up. Over a quick weekend out-of-town, I think it sunk in for me. We’re doing alright. We are. We really are. And past that, we’re growing and learning and healing and developing. Some of the past few days, and even weeks, have been rough. Some of them have been as easy as can be. Sometimes we stress over the future and what it holds. Sometimes dwell too much on the past. There are good and bad things on either side of the present, but all in all, we’re doing just fine. This move has been good for us. Good for our marriage, good for our perseverance, good for our faith and good for our lives. I’ve thought it and mentioned it in passing. Now it’s time to say it out loud—we’re doing alright.