Thursday, December 29, 2011


I'm not one for New Year's resolutions. I kinda think if you are going to start something, start it today!
But what better time to set a direction for the year and reflect-so here I go.

I'm all about not setting these vague goals. Give me practical application. How do I accomplish this day in and day out? What specific things can I do to make this happen? What does a certain goal look like to me? What has prevented me from being who I want to be or accomplishing goals in the past? What does such and such really mean?
It's good to take a look at, "Where have I been, where am I now, where would I like to be?" Figuratively. Literally. 
I make sure I have short term and long term goals. I  always have some lofty ones but I call those dreams not goals.
What's the fun in life if you have no dreams!
Knowing that my goals aren't contingent on anyone else or anything else gives me both a sense of responsibility to myself to see them through and accomplishment when they are reached. No one can take those away from you!
Sometimes I think if x, y, and z all align then I can accomplish my goal but this is malarkey! Start how you intend to go on. If I'm waiting for everything to calm down or for all the factors to be just right it will never happen. If I have learned one thing lately it is this: life is cuckoo and some thing will always come up. Life is life and it is a crazy ride at that!!
(*Jumps off soapbox*)

So here I go (take two) with my resolutions.

Be healthy, both physically and mentally.
Practical application-
Workout at least 5 times a week. 
This helps with my attitude. Gives me some me time. Gives me a sense of pride and accomplishment that only physical goals such as running or doing a Bob Harper workout can give. All around my mental and physical health are greatly improved. The better me I am, the better wife and mom I am. Simple but true.

East breakfast. 
OK, I should be more a healthy breakfast something that does not include a sugarfest* or skipping it all together.

Take time to be quiet.
No phone, FB, Twitter, TV....filling every moment with some thing. Take a moment to breathe. Maybe journal, like with an actual pen and paper.

Enjoy the moments-just be.
Stop thinking and thinking and over thinking everything. Make a meal plan so dinner isn't such an ordeal every night. Know that it's OK for life to be messy, the house, the kid, the dog and the husband. Know that the time I have with R is so incredibly precious and short. Having this mindset daily will have such an affect on my attitude.

Live up to my wedding vows.
(So much easier said than done)
Communicate, communicate, communicate.
Know that the world will not end if what I want done doesn't happen right at this very minute-the dishes can stay dirty for an evening.
Listen way (OK way, way, way) more than I talk.

These don't seem too hard to me. But, doesn't everything always make more sense on paper-ha ha ha!
I've had this thought rolling around in my head lately:
This is it in life. One life, one body. No do-overs, no second chances. I'm not suddenly going to wake up one day and be 20 again.
I feel like I'm in a limbo of sorts, like I'm waiting for life to really begin. What am I waiting for? Cause it started a loooong time ago!
Am I waiting for all my ducks to be in a row?
Who knows!!???!
But I'm going to start off this year with the mindset of living. Not just surviving or making it through or being on autopilot here and there, really living. 
Taking an active role in enjoying the beautifully messy life I have. It's the only one I have but at least it's mine.  Taking responsibility and control to work on the aspects that need improvement and delight in the wonderful, joyful moments. Giving to others, investing in myself, family, marriage is how I want to live.

Well, let's get going. Bring on 2012!

*Yes this is a word, and yes I defined it as a food group.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silly Photobooth

 I decided it was time to have a post of some silly photos. I love taking photos. I love looking at photos. You never know what special little moment you will capture. These are silliness...enjoy.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Tom and I had the privilege of attending a wedding the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It was a lovely ceremony that was held at Reiman Gardens. Flowers in full bloom, new beginnings. It was beautiful.
Thus the inspiration of this post.

Marriage is a big deal. A commitment. A contract. A joining of hearts. However one chooses to look at it. IT IS A BIG DEAL.

It is a union not to be entered into just because one is not sure what next step to take in life. Because they have nothing better to do. Because they live in the Midwest and they are 23. Because its "that time" in a relationship. Etc. Etc. Etc.
I'm not going to be presumptuous enough to say why I think one SHOULD marry but I definitely know a gazillion reasons why you shouldn't.

I read an article once about the changes you go through in life between 18-25. Just think about that for a minute, the difference between and 18 & 25 year olds....
It's crazy. One (typically) goes from being in high school to either college or a full time job. Living under your parent's roof and rules to your own or living by your own rules.
You are discovering who you are as an individual. What you like what you don't like. What you want to do with the rest of your life. Hobbies. Rebellion. Reading. Learning. Growing.
What path you want to set for yourself.
Of course this isn't accomplished with ease and perfection. There are goof-ups and victories. But they both come with their own set of lessons. 
So much life happens during this time in one's life.
So do I think you should wait until you are 25 to marry? Maybe. Maybe not. Plenty of couples that have the right tools (and patience) can grow together, both as a couple and as individuals. I admire these couples. It takes a certain sense of maturity at an immature age. 

Back to the point-Marriage.
What makes a "good" one? What makes a "great" one?
Here's what I think, well know, about marriage.
I like the analogy that marriage is like a garden.
Think of a small garden, basically dirt and a couple of blooms. And then think of what it can grow into.
As the marriage starts, the dirt is fresh, the flowers are in full bloom, there's no weeds. Everything has just been tended to, ready to grow, last, be beautiful. 
I think of this as the process of engagement and the wedding. A couple relationship is (hopefully) in its best shape going into a wedding. They have every intention of being their own best so the other can be their best. Both giving 100% not 50/50.
Then life happens. Arguments. misunderstandings, miscommunication, hurts. (Weeds) One needs to constantly pull the weeds. If you have ever had a garden you know this takes a lot of patience sometimes, other times you can pull those weeds right up. 
You can deal with the weeds one of two ways either pull them from the root or trim them back with shears. 
A couple can deal with problems the same way-look at the real issue or just the symptoms of the issue. 
Apologies, forgiveness, making things right, getting on the same page, communication. (Pulling the weeds)
If one doesn't deal with the weeds it leads to all kinds of problems. It might not affect the garden so much right away but left unattended there a huge mess and no way to find the blooms struggling to survive.

There's also giving the garden what it needs to grow and bloom to its fullest.
I think of this as showing you love your mate how they receive love.
Words of encouragement, gifts, notes, thank-yous, I love yous, appreciation, kisses, hugs, laughs. (Sunshine, fertilizer, rain, shade)
Different plants need varying amounts of light, rain, shade. People show love and receive love in very different ways. It's an adventure to find out exactly what your mate needs and wants. This also can change at different stages in their life.
Which brings me to seasons. Literally. An outside garden in Iowa goes through all four seasons. Marriages go through them to. Some winters last longer than summers. But during these times it's important to remember that spring is coming and there is a bloom in need of it. It won't always be summer and it won't always be winter but both are normal. You are in this together. After all you are planted there. (Commitment)
And every plant that is moved isn't quite the same.

Picture now a big garden with huge trees and tons of flowers, plants, herbs...
(Great grandparents, grandparents, parents, kids, etc etc.)
That can be your legacy.
But it takes work, maintenance, love, caring, and the "want to."
A real marriage can be such a blessing to so many and an incredible gift to one's children. A old neighbor of mine used to put fake flowers in pots in her garden. Ridiculous. The same change be said for marriages. We all have weeds that need to be tended to and sometimes we might have lost our blooms from a storm but that's life and that's real.  
I could come up with a garden analogy for every aspect of marriage (and its struggles and joys) but for now I'm leaving it at this.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dreams (Like the ones you have at night, not goals)

"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange."

Dreams are weird.

When I dream, I dream very vividly, always. Apparently this isn't how everyone dreams. It makes for some interesting nights. I will awake and it takes several moments to realize I was just having a dream or what just happened didn't really happen.

When I was a child I would have a couple of reoccurring themes or dreams. One theme was the end of the world. I would always be so terrified when I awoke from dreams like this, terrible-ugh. Suffering, fear, pain, the unknown. Also, I would inevitably lose my glasses and be wandering around totally lost without being able to see.  The second dream was always the same. My mom would be driving me and my sisters home and stop a few blocks away and get out of the car. We would have to find our own way home with the car. Of course we were all under driving age. I was never scared in the dream just confused. It was odd.

As of late I've been having some more dreams with reoccurring themes. I keep dreaming about things in my life that have happened and then I change the events so the outcome is different. I'm sure this stems from wanting to have acted/responded to situations differently.

Oh let's take a short bunny trail here....I think it is utterly fascinating to explore dream meanings. If they have meaning at all or if they are purely for entertainment. The smallest details can represent something (or nothing at all just purely in the dream because of your subconscious.) Of course I'm leery but I've done a little bit of research out of curiosity. But as they say, curiosity killed the cat. OK, back on track.

The next dream theme is school. I have had so may dreams of my senior year in high school. Our class trip, daily classes, the senior lounge. It's strange because I am who I am now and I keep thinking, "Why am I still here." (Supposedly) this can have the meaning of needed to look toward the future instead of the past. Interesting.

OK, here's where it get kinda strange. I kept dreaming in gray tones and of dead bodies. Not a scary nightmare but of strange circumstances and I would stumble upon bodies. Not gruesome and gross but morbid for sure. Meaning: gray can represent fear, depression, or emotional disconnection and dead bodies can represent the fact you are sick of your mundane daily routines. I didn't really need a dream to tell me that my life need some change but it took dreaming those dreams to spur me to action.

Its strange that in dreams we just accept things for the way they are. We are adults in our childhood home. We know previous things that only apply to that current dream. There are places, things, people, etc, etc, that we have moved on from but they appear in the dream.

I do believe that dreams are a mix of elements of our day and our subconscious. Sometimes they have meaning and some are entertainment. I think it is folly to try and put meaning to meaningless things and you can't take your dreams too seriously. But I do think dreams have the ability to help deal with life. It may sound strange but bare with me. People who have lost someone can dream of a loved one and receive comfort. You can have a conversation with someone that could never happen in life. Some resolution can occur which leads to the ability to move on. Having an experience in a dream will finally be the "kick in the pants" that one needs.

Bottom line: are dreams there to teach, help, inspire, give hope, scare, frighten, encourage change,  entertain....

Who knows, maybe I'll never know but until then...."They say we only use a fraction of our brain's true potential. Now that's when we're awake. When we're asleep, we can do almost anything."

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Grateful Heart

During this month of Thanksgiving I've been reflecting on things that I appreciate or am thankful to be able to enjoy. I've frequently answered the question what are you most thankful for with a very simple answer. I'm most thankful for the ability to walk, run, and enjoy the world around me. I never want to take simple things for granted in this life. I'm able to get outdoors and enjoy a wonderful day with my daughter and husband. Breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sunshine. I can't imagine one day being robbed of that.

Here are some other simple things that I am thankful for...

A wonderful little family that loves me for me, flaws and all.

A sister that has the ability to lovingly set me straight and tell me when I'm way off.

A dad that knows how to father a daughter.

A mother that I can call and ask how to make mashed potatoes.

A husband that respects me and loves me (pretty darn close to) unconditionally.

A healthy, joyful daughter that God blessed me with.


True joy.


An excellent read.

A funny T.V show.

The teachable spirit that I possess.

Life can be funny, challenging, dramatic, and downright crazy. But so often it is a matter of perspective. Looking at what you have and not at what you don't have is vital to true happiness. We can get stuck in a rut of "if I only had this or that" or constantly comparing and sizing ourselves against some one's measuring stick. That's no way to live. The grass maybe greener but look at your own. It maybe be dead or sparse but IT'S YOURS! You have the ability to make it as lush as you want, as bright and full as you want. You just need to get to it!

Approaching life with a balance between risk and caution is where I want to be. Content with where I am but not with my own growth. You can lose out on life when your focus is off. Little moments of joy float by unnoticed.

During this season I hope to take time to really look at the things I'm grateful for daily, breathe them in, take time for them and have a grateful heart.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Decisions. Decisions. Decisions.

I've been thinking a lot about decisions lately. Small ones. Big ones. How they form your life. The direction you take or don't take. A certain path. At a crossroads. I've been looking back at my own life and the things I decided to do or not do. Decisions never come easy for me. Well, for the most part they don't come easy. Often I don't have an opinion so the choice doesn't really matter. Take for instance what to have for dinner. I usually don't care. It doesn't matter too much, BUT when I know what I want to eat I WILL speak up.

If I look back I've been this way my whole life. Not really knowing what I want so I let the choice be made for me. I'm not sure where it came from either. I'm a youngest child but I didn't have my sisters speak for me. I was kinda a shy kid (I still am until you really get to know me) and not too opinionated. I'd often answer a question with, "I don't care" or "It doesn't matter"

Where was I going with this....oh yeah. The choices you make with the decisions you have in your life are HUGE! Growing up I made so many choices based on a boy. Where to go. What to wear. What team to cheer for. What music to listen to. What movie to see. Then I made choices based on guys. What to do with my life. Whether to go to college. Whether to get married. Buy or Rent.

Then men. By this time I didn't have any sense of self to stick up for or know even what I wanted out of life, for myself, to give to others. I gave those choices to others in my life instead of take the time to figure out what makes me-ME. Growing and learning from there. I made so many decisions based on others and what I thought I needed to do or be for them. I was lost because I never really formed an I.

Fast forward to now. I've always said I'm a person without regrets because everything that has happened has made me who I am today. Well, I'm realizing that's not true for me anymore. I regret I gave up my freedom of choice for so long. Yes, I let others form who I am. That makes me shake my head at myself. I had the power to be, to do, to become whatever I wanted. I was content to let life happen because (in my mind) when I did finally make a decision my track record was bad. I've made some awful mistakes that lead to terrible decisions. I've made small decisions that lead to horrible mistakes. But that doesn't mean I should stop making decisions altogether.

So, self, what do you want out of life? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to go from here?