Thursday, May 29, 2014

On Not Glossing Over - With Love to UCSB

Honestly I didn't want to write anything about the Santa Barbara shooting.  It hurts too much I thought...its tragic and hurtful and lets let it pass.

And that feeling is exactly the reason I'm mentioning it.

When did I become one of the masses who just lets these tragedies pass by?  And even more tragically I think that I represent the generic whole, the "they's" if you will.  We are the ones not directly affected right now, at this time. and therefore we can say the pleasantries like "oh how sad" or "I can't believe this happened again" or "what is wrong with this country?" or a million other little phrases you say to pacify yourself.  And then you move on with your regular life.  Breathing in and out.  Going through your everyday routines, work, sleep, life.

The problem is there are 7 people who won't be going through their routines today.  Who won't be breathing in and out.  And there are infinitely more people also won't be going through their routines, and are having a really hard time with just getting their breathing under control.

So now I'm just sad.  I ache for the families who have lost these beautiful souls.  I'm desperately sad for the man who committed these acts of violence.  And I'm disappointed in myself, that even for one moment I considered letting it all pass me by.

Hate me or love me, but I believe no civilian should have a gun in there home.  I mean really I can argue that no one should have a gun in their HOME period.  But I'm realistic, I understand that people want guns.  But that's just the problem.  People want guns.  What is that about?  Fear? We've really become the society that feels we need to defend ourselves so desperately from our neighbors that we need semi automatic rifles in our homes?!

People say that guns are fun (sick if you ask me)  That we have a constitutional right to bear arms.  That the government shouldn't dictate our freedoms.  Blah blah blah.  You know what I hear.  I hear selfishness.  I hear, my enjoyment and my fear come before your safety as a human being.  I hear, I am inflexible and unwilling to move with the times.

I don't even want to touch the misogyny aspect or the violence against women because its too much and my head will explode right here and right now (and trust me these things they must be addressed, but I know my limits)  

I just want to deal with the gun violence.  And I just want it to end.  

Whether you want to admit it or not, this human race is a family.  We are bound together by our humanity and, I'd like to think, by a larger belonging.  It is our duty to be good to one another. To be accountable for each other.  And this world as it is now, its not the one I choose.  I have to believe we can be better than this.  That we can stop defending gun violence and instead choose life and safety over personal freedom.  I know I will.  If you tell me tomorrow that the only way to keep everybody on this planet safe from unimaginable tragedy is to get rid of every car on this planet I would do it.  In a heartbeat. Yes it would take away some freedoms, and yes it might be inconvenient in some moments, and I would miss it a little because driving is fun but I'd still push my car off the cliff to stop even one tragedy.  Because we belong to one another!  And because I have to believe that we can do better - for ourselves, for our children, for our grandchildren...  We can be the heroes of our own stories, we can stand up when every one else sits down, and we can talk about it when it's easier to just gloss over.  I can do more.  And I know you can too.  

It is ironically tragic that we also lost Maya Angelou from the world this week.  One of the great Peacemongers of our time.  And because she will always say it more gracefully than I, I will give you her words:

"We, Angels and Mortal's, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.”

-Maya Angelou

Maybe tomorrow I can't lead everyone to a worldwide surrender of firearms, thats true.  But I can write my representatives. And I can sign the petitions circling around. And I can donate money to peaceful programs

And most importantly -  I can speak Peace, when its easier to speak hate.

Your sister

Thursday, May 22, 2014

La Gratitude

I know as well as anyone else how easy it is to get lost in the tornado of the mundane. The daily grind is a cliche for a reason.  But I think it sadly also numbs us to the amazing things that happen around us all the time as well.  Because when things are really good really often we expect them to be that way all the time.  Which in turn leads to that horrible moment when something unspeakably bad happens and all of a sudden our heart breaks and our eyes open and admist the pain we can finally see joy and color and all that happiness that we miss every day in our daily goodness. 

So today I choose to stop the tornado, or rather stop before the tornado and recognize how great the everyday things are.  And to recognize how much happiness, joy and beauty surrounds me on a regular basis.  And to recognize that this is not the reality of many many people on this planet of ours, and thus I am lucky and have every reason to be grateful.

So without further ado and in no particular order, snippets of joy:

Early morning walks around the reservoir near our house

Local soccer games

Friends who help put together beautiful new dining room tables

And curious puppies

Celebrations of the Earth and all she gives to us

Performance art and unicorns?!

Little league games (and nephews who pitch!)

4 year olds who wiggle their eyebrows at you for 72hrs

And little kid birthdays

Gorgeous families

And a beautiful wife

What a gorgeous tornado it is!  Happy long weekend my friends - enjoy every beautiful moment!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

One for the Some Day Mama's

First, I would be remiss if I did not recognize my own mother.  The light of my life and the one from whom all my "special" DNA comes from.  My mommy/twin is far and away the most fantastic embodiment of motherhood!  She is light, love, gritty perseverance and true kindness.  I only hope that I can learn to live with her joy and "I do what I want" attitude!  I love you mama and I am grateful beyond measure to be your daughter! Happy Mother's Day to my mama - heart of my heart, I can't wait to be JUST like you :) 

But this one, this one today, is for those of us who don't have our babies here with us yet. Or maybe those of you whose babies left you far too soon.  This pulse of loving energy out into the world is for those fierce, loving women who know the ache of not holding their children in their arms.  I haven't held a little one of my own in my arms and then let them go, so I can't even begin to imagine the loss and heartache and yearning for the motherhood you once knew.  But I've felt a shade of it in the no baby reality I'm living in.

And the reality is it hurts.  It hurts in an indescribable black hole sucking away your joy kind of way.  And it hurts in a special and stingy-er way on a day dedicated to loving and recognizing mothers and motherhood everywhere.  

But we, "the some day moms," we are warrior women.  Truly I believe that.  When you have known the loneliness and sorrow of the big ugly "INFERTILITY" monster, you learn how to carry on like never before.  You learn how to build shields and also to be heroically vulnerable.  You build up an amazing network of hope because really what is your other option, despair?  Trying to have children (and failing) has cultivated in me a new kind of empathy, a new kind of gentleness, a new kind of love for my fellow warriors.  I'm also the valedictorian of battening down the hatches, putting your head down, and holding on to your hope like no other.  I mean really, if there is any game I am winning it is the hold on to your hope no matter what game.  I have also learned my reserve of strong runs deep.  Because hurting and crumbling and crying and worrying and hoping and planning - those are the earmarks of strength and my heart is marked with every single one.  

But I also know that some day, when I look back, when I'm holding my babies in my arms, when I'm awake for hours in the night and covered in the spit up and exhausted from the grind - I will know how to love it all better, and I will know exactly how to batten down the hatches, and my patchy heart will be super strong from all those micro-tears.  This is my training ground.  Every moment and every trial is developing a new muscle...muscles of compassion, muscles of confidence, muscles of faith and hope and such strong muscles of love.

So happy mothers day to my fellow "some day" moms, the warriors of my heart, I love you all!

My mama role model in all her glory :)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Home: A Sacred Space

So...we bought a house.

And I'm in love.

SP and I had a relatively modest budget by California standards (not so modest many other places in the country, in fact I’m pretty sure we could buy some kind of mansion in say…Nebraska?).  And while the mortgage company told us we could afford about 2x as much, we went with our budget and not theirs and that was probably the best house buying decision we could have made.  Take heed of those before you, sink not all ye monies into thy house my friends.

The process was a whirlwind.  We started asking around to some friends for real estate and broker recommendations around last November.  We finally found some people we liked late in Nov/early December.  We met with them once and then the holidays took over. We started getting financing and such in order in January.  And then we went looking for houses.  We went out only 2 weekends (and saw like 12 houses...) and put an offer on a great fixer upper in a good neighborhood.  That turned around and was sold to a cash buyer (can we just talk about how I can't even fathom having that much cash...) 

And then a new house popped up on our online portal (house buying has gotten way high tech these days guys) and we liked it a lot.  So much that we didn’t want to wait until the next weekend to see it (since houses seemed to be flying off our online portal like hotcakes)  So we set up a time to see it one evening after work.  We were worried because it was winterish time and it was getting dark by the time we got there but guys it was the perfect little house of my dreams.  Not a mansion.  Not a sh*t hole (and trust…we looked at some of those)  It had cute little arches and a big big kitchen.  It wasn’t a 100 years old but it also wasn’t brand new (I apparently have a prejudice against new homes?)  And most importantly it had potential and some places for us to put our stamp(s) on it.  We loved it.  But we were trying not to love it just in case the gods of home buying didn’t love us.

The next day we put in an offer.  Higher than the list price (yikes I may add) That was a Thursday.  Friday night we found out we had gotten the house.  A couple of weeks and about 43 trillion pieces of paper later and we were home owners.  Many a curse word was spoken in shock.  Especially when we were frantically moving in a week before my parents came.  Or the weekend before when we painted for 72 hours straight (no lie I don’t think I’ve been that sore in a long long long long time!) 

And now it’s a few months later and I can honestly say that it is feeling like home.  We’re putting our things in here. We’re putting our selves in here.  And I am slowly whispering my dreams to these walls.  I’m letting myself imagine the “could be” in this house.  I’m imagining the spirit working through me in this house, working to let me build my dreams, my family, those visions from long ago. 

It’s a sacred space, this home we’re making.  And I’m so blessed that I’ve been invited into these hallowed halls. 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Why I Decided NOT to Apply for the Great Job

So yes, I recognize that I owe you many a post about my life and definitely a long long post about the new house but today is not that post.

Today is a post about making choices and living your best life.

Well as you may or may not know, I love student affairs.  I love my job.  I love nerdy students. And as time has progressed I've decided that I really love career development. I love the process of watching students have those aha moments about where they may want their life to lead.  I love seeing them put together a portfolio they are proud of or get a job they are super interested in.  I love resumes and cover letters and editing.  I love interview workshops - the works, you get it.

So slowly but surely I've been testing the waters.  Editing more resumes, reaching out to people in career counseling, making connections - you know the usual professional schmoozing.  And its been good and interesting.  And today I non-chalantly took a look at some job postings, and there it was: an open career counselor position.  With an application deadline of TOMORROW.  Blargh.

So naturally I started the agonization process right then.  Do I apply?  Am I ready?  Am I qualified?  But I love this job that I have now and I've been here less than a year, but is this the job I'm going to love in 5 years?  What if I could make more money?  What if I get it and it's insanely overwhelming?  What if I fail?  What if I have to give a super long interview and presentation in 3 days and I'm not ready?  It's a scary place in my brain my friends...a scary scary place.

The agonizing continued, I discussed with SP who of course was annoyingly supportive (I love you babe), and then agonized some more.  And right now, this very minute (ok maybe 10 mins ago) I decided not to go for it.  And that's ok.

And here's why.

Sometimes it's ok to settle in and enjoy it. 

I'm not giving up my dreams and I do think that career counseling is in my future.  But not right now.  Of course the experience would be great.  And yes we just bought a new house and more money would be great etc etc.  There are a thousand reasons that it would be a good thing.  

But right now, in this moment, being who I am right at this unique time, there are a thousand and one reasons why it's not the right time.  I'm loving my easy, comfortable schedule.  I love my coworkers who support me and encourage me and make me laugh.  I adore my students who make me laugh and make me proud.  I came from an insanely stressful job where I was alone and I had forgotten that it could feel so good at work and in life - that you could go home and not cry about your work day, that you could actually enjoy your work, and do things OUTSIDE of work (WHAT?!!!...crazy I know)  And I'm just not ready to give that up right now.  

I love the possibilities of career counseling, and supporting my family is important, but enjoying my life and enjoying my family is more important right now.  I want to spend a few more years not being overwhelmed, not striving for something more.  The thing "they" (oh the all powerful they) forget to tell you most of the time is that you DON'T have to climb the ladder all the time.  You can stop on your rung and enjoy it, you can decorate that rung, you can paint it, for the love of God you can jump off the freakin ladder if you want.  

So I choose now.  I choose me.  I choose SP.  I choose free weekends and stress free nights. I choose learning in a supportive environment.  I choose less striving and more fulfilling.  I choose feeding my soul instead of my bank account and my resume.

Isn't life a gorgeous journey?  

I love sitting here in this spot...right here, right now...with you!


And now because you read through all this, a pictorial sneak peak - next time...All this good stuff:

Borrowed Baby!  Baby Niece-y poo!

Surprise birthday and a home made saw pinata 

The NEW HOUSE (eeek!!!)