Thoughts from the polar vortex of 2019

There’ve been a number of different themes floating around my head/heart lately. Boundaries, Permanence, Patience. They’ve been poking around like those little sucker fish that hitch a ride on larger species, just kind of there. Waiting, often annoying me or nagging me or sucking me dry of my limited resources while other times I can go entire days without knowing they’re still there.

But, it’s the sixth snow-day in a row for my kids and I found myself silently saying “just wait til next week.” I have honed my ability to lower my expectations over the years to a bit of a science of Jodi. I know what it feels like to build, build, build until the only thing left is to watch something fall or, maybe, how it feels to latch on to something someone said (leading) and start to think in absolutes about a situation, event, or idea only to feel completely gutted and like I got the wind knocked out of me when things don’t go the way I had imagined.

When our last school-week ended with a snow-day and the weather looked ominous, I started preparing for the whole week home. I figured if they went back to school at any time, that would be a bonus, but mostly I was just ready to hunker down, go very slow, and shovel a ton of snow. Guess how this week turned out?

Home every day, all day. I yelled more than I wanted to, there was way more screen time than I thought I would allow, but there were still playdates, I cleaned and organized my entire kitchen, I watched some fun shows, we played games and as it started to feel less like the apocalypse we started venturing out of the house. To the store, the library, to see the water.

Polar Vortex 2019

I stayed off my phone as much as possible, misery loves company and I was trying so hard to not go down there. I’ve had years where snow-days threw everything off and instead of just slowing down and taking it as it came, I fretted over the things I wasn’t able to do or the places I wasn’t able to go. I didn’t know how to recalibrate. I think I’m still learning, but I also didn’t engage in the practice of complaining.

And those little sucker fish; Boundaries, Permanence, and Patience kept pace with me as I slowed down. I wasn’t gracious about it, like I said, I yelled more than I wanted to – but I also apologized more than I used to and took more deep breaths. I don’t want my kids to remember their days home with me as being an inconvenience for me.

I had to cancel plans I had made, I had to reprioritize my days according to my kids’ needs and wants, every night before I went to bed I had to decide if I was going to get up tomorrow and try again, and not disappear, as is also my M.O. There were a few mid-day cocktails. But there was also a lot of laughter. My kids (and I) finally got bored enough to get curious again.

Last night we watched ‘Patch Adams’ as a family and after the credits rolled we googled Hunter Patch Adams and found his blog and a recent post with a video of Patch talking about books.

He’s in the same league as Bob Goff, for me. When people lead with their passions as publicly and unapologetically as they seem to, I can’t help but be a fan. I am a serious fan-girl of seeing other people’s fires lit and glowing white hot. And I think I like to believe that people are mostly good and that we’re all working something out and that laughter is often the boat that outlasts the storm.

And I went ahead and ordered David Abram’s, ‘The Spell of Sensuous’, from the library that Patch recommends in his video. As well as checked out a small army of books for garden planning and landscaping ideas, because along with my little suckers of Boundaries, Permanence, and Patience … I’ve grown wildly in my ability to rest in Hope.

Remind me of this when I forget, which might be often. Or just every January.

I want you to be ridiculous. I want you to say YES to the weird stuff. You’re not having any fun? Change that. We can absolutely be sojourners on this ride, and we can be missionaries to our neighbors – or we can pack up everything and move across the pond. Let’s do it all. Let’s not wait another day to start living. Your bank account might never be wide enough for the dreams you can dream but may your heart always be strong enough for the weight it will carry.

You can’t afford a trip to Europe? Do you know someone who’s been? Invite them over to tell their stories and ask to see their photographs. Make food you might taste over there and drink the drinks you envision yourself having. Sit outside in a garden. Call the visitors bureau and ask them about the city. If you can’t call: research, here I’ve done some for you … Travel ideas for Italy. Pinterest is a thing: use it.

Streets of Madrid

Go there, do it. Even if you can’t literally go any where. Enlist help from someone who loves hosting, ask them to show you or help you, invite friends (new and old) to enjoy a night on the canals.

You don’t have to own a boat, rent one; it doesn’t even have to have a motor. Or you can ask a friend or family member who owns one. Buy the hat for the captain, sit down, play the music, and watch the landscape pass-by as if you’re in Italy. DO IT. Why not?

Fathers Day 2015

When you feel ridiculous you should always have weird looks and stares from those around you who can’t see the beauty of dreaming just yet. They will soon, keep going. When they ask “why” your answer is always at the ready … “why not?!”

Dreaming isn’t an idea that you never realize. Dreaming is the opposite of fantasy, it’s your reality waiting to happen.

It won’t give you permission and the first step into Ridiculous is chilly. You might feel foolish and childish. You might fain mocking from the crowds but here’s a secret: they all wish they could wade into this water too. So keep going. Start swimming.

Lakeshore, showing them the beach

They will know who I am by your love for each other. (Paraphrased from John 13:35) Love is so many, many things. Mowing someone’s lawn, visiting the sick in your hospitals, making meals for young mothers, lending your hands, giving to causes with time, money or talent. But love isn’t a chore. Love is also being first in line at the roller coaster with your wide-eyed 9 year old for the first coaster ride of their life. It’s the sheer volume of happiness they eek out as you ascend and then rip down the rafters. Love is showing up to the dance recitals and hosting the sleepovers, it’s making the pancakes or warming up leftovers. Love is beneath the sheets, but also in the backyard. It’s touching your loved ones gently and ushering them closer for an embrace. It’s always an offering, never an obligation.

You guys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love is the high five and the posters on the sidelines when your people run the race they never thought they could finish. It’s the Holiday dinners and traditions for some of us, it’s the stockings and wrapping paper for others. It can be too much and not enough all at once. Love is overwhelming, like standing in a field of wild poppies for the first time and noticing that if you had never taken the wrong turn you would have gone the rest of your life not knowing that this existed. And it would continue to exist, without your permission or need for interference whatsoever. It’s there because the seed was planted and the clouds broke open and sang them into the air, a duet with the sun. It’s there, we just have to see it.

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Love is so contagious. Be ridiculous. And then pass it on.

Adventures: This one in Arizona

December 2015 we surprised the kids with a trip to Arizona. This was a working trip for Aaron but with both of his brothers and both of mine living in the Grand Canyon state it was a nice trip to tag along with.

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

We did plenty of hiking, a day trip to Sedona, sightseeing, off-roading, and visiting close by parks and state parks.

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

Arizona 2015

I’m feeling a little but of the wanderlust this season … ready for another adventure. A flight, an open road, a few minutes beneath the sun. With our kids being the ages they are (12 and 8) we’re starting to think about some different destinations. Where have you been (with or without kids) and what should we do/see/experience? I grew up globe trotting so over-seas itineraries don’t bother me at all. I have my eye on London, but weirdly also Ireland and Sweden. Or closer to home trips are fine too. I’m not really bothered by distance or lack thereof. Let’s just get going.

Where have you been?

Red light, Green light

I have .7345 minutes to get this out of my head and onto paper. So this will be quick.

Lately I feel as though all the anxiety I could experience about any given situation has woken up. As in, HI. I HAVE COME BACK, REMEMBER ME? The stuff of crippling ineptitude to move in any direction. I can’t even slenk backwards, I’m paralyzed with indecision so I stand still. And it’s not an active stop, where waiting is the active searching for the next step – it’s literally the halt.

Right there.

In your tracks.

No moving.

Freeze!

I find it interesting that this is where I am, no longer looking for certain purpose in my work or my time but instead divided by how to use my time WITH my purpose. I’m aware of distractions and oftentimes I’m trying to either quiet them or dislodge them so I can stay focused except for now. Right now. Now I can’t decide.

Have you ever felt this way? It’s not even a crossroads – it’s inevitable. Change, movement – it’s all coming. It is going to happen and I am aware of the shift but I can’t keep my feet on both sides of the fault line. I have to step firmly into the unknown. I have to let go of the comfort, embrace the out of control, and often awkwardness of the search within the journey, and I have to feel like an adolescent who hasn’t grown into their limbs just yet. Proof that I will one day be able to use them to their full potential.

It’s just the in-between of learning how to run while clumsily shuffling through the hallways seems to be the only way to cross said line. And I keep looking down to make sure my shoes are tied so I won’t trip.

Learning to tie.

But I keep falling anyways.

Sanctuary Woods

Finding adventure

A few weeks ago I took Oliver on a hike to Sanctuary Woods.

Finding adventure

look closely

There’s a rhythm of habitual practice to the way I go about my life. I used to be worried about developing habits, I didn’t want to be so predictable. I wanted to be as wild and untamed as I felt inside. I wanted to follow the whims of my demanding temperament.

Finding adventure

Finding adventure

But I’ve learned that I throw myself into predictable chaos to protect myself from the reality of my vulnerability. Only what if every day was a choice to move forward? Regardless of what yesterday left undone? What if every moment was an opportunity to practice acceptance for who you are – right now?

Finding adventure

Finding adventure

Spending time on these trails reminds me to look closely. To pay attention. And when Oliver is with me, the conversation is light, he notices things I can’t even see until I take off all my preconceptions and put my cheek to the ground to see the magic he sees.

Finding adventure

He looks for the adventure and when he happens upon it, he partakes. Like a feast for your soul, he dives in. There’s no waiting to be invited to the table of wonder when you’re a child – you just leap. And I love that about them. I love living that all over again on each adventure. It rips me from my routine. It takes me from my head to my heart and it keeps me here.

Finding adventure

Finding adventure

I take a lot of photos, an overwhelming amount of memories to store and keep. I’m often reluctant to snap because I feel the weight of the responsibility to take them from the lens to the page and in all of those photos are snap-shots of my feet. I’ve been keeping track of the movement of our family for years. I’ve had a camera attached to my hand since I was fifteen, and the only place I turn it on me is down, towards the ground. Where I can prove I’m there. Where I can see that the ground is still there, where I’m planted firmly beneath the moments I keep.

Finding adventure

And the legacy of proof I’ve collected that I’m still here, still standing; Well, it keeps me moving one step forward, one at a time. Leaving old ideas, habits, and routines behind that no longer serve me well. Leaving footprints but still collecting theirs.