Friday, July 31, 2015

Almost Full Moon reflections

Last night we walked home from Audrey's end-of-season softball party. Her coach lives on our road so it was a nice, little commute for us. One in a wagon, one on ripstick, one on bike, another walking. We made our way up the road. We stopped to ooh and aah the 12 point elk grazing in one of the yards. Then I looked up and saw the moon as it crept up over the mountain, showing itself in all of its beauty. Oh, was it ever marvelous. I pointed it out to the kids and we took some pictures that, of course, don't do it even one iota of justice. It changed a bit with every step we took as our perspectives changed.
Sir Elk hanging out in the neighbor's yard
It's so hard to see in this junky cell phone picture since the flash brightened the sky,
but that wee orb is the glorious moon coming up to say howdy.
I came home and got kids situated in bed and checked out facebook and at least three friends either posted pictures or mentioned the beauty of the moon. Four people in four cities in three states in two time zones remarking about the spectacular display of natural beauty going on outside our doors.

That got me thinking.

We are all on this earth, gazing up at this same sky. We are all on this little planet during this same little blip of time. We share this amazing, little home. I find that absolutely remarkable.

Every  night I am looking up at the same sky, marveling the same creation, sharing many of the same exultations and worries as people all across the world.

Yet we argue and whine, gossip and backstab, compare and covet. And, if I'm honest, that's just me on a regular Tuesday. On a grander scale, we war and rape, destroy and disregard. We do not live our lives as though we are tiny specks breathing the same air inhabiting the same tiny space.

Maybe that's why I love the uninterrupted night sky. Maybe that's why I have found my heart's delight living in the mountains. Maybe that's why I can gaze at the ocean for hours, watching the waves meet the sand. All of those things, those great, expansive, glorious things, remind me of my place here.

I am only passing through here. The world was here long before me and will continue long after I am gone. Therefore I am compelled to use my time here wisely. To love. To take chances. To fail and then take the chances again. To treat people well. To give grace and receive grace.
I fail. In fact, I fail a lot. In fact, I fail a lot every single day. I am a work in progress, working towards being the living expression of God's kindness. Can you imagine if we all did that? Can you imagine if we all lived like neighbors gazing at the same remarkable sky?

Today I'm working on that. I'm working on being the living expression of God's love to everyone I come across. Again, if I'm honest, it's a lot easier to act this way to the acquaintances and friends and strangers.

To day in and day out act this way to my husband and kids is more difficult. We are sharing this same space, sinning these same sins, pushing these same buttons, holding these same grudges. So I work and pray and pray and work and repeat the word "grace" to myself over and over.

Let's live in harmony with the people with whom we share a bathroom, the people with whom we carpool, the people with whom disagree on pretty much all levels. Let's rejoice when others rejoice and weep when others weep. It's not easy. It's just right. It's just the first step in filling this world up with love. Today, let's look up and look out to better remember our place in this vastness and to better appreciate the people sharing this same, crazy ride.

Check out tonight's full moon. Share pictures if you snap a really pretty one. Wishing you a lovely weekend, full of love and grace.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Just 10

I am training for a marathon. That's 26.2 miles. Whew. It's hard. My longest run so far is 16 miles. I have had wonderful, inspiring runs where I felt I could run forever and ridiculously tough runs where I questioned all of it. I am doing it for the best cause I can think of. I am doing it to honor the beautiful and much too short life of my friend, Jenna. I'm raising money for pancreatic cancer action network so they can continue research to end the brutal, horrific disease that took her life at 40 years old. (If you're interested in donating, click here. Any amount is welcomed and appreciated.)

This week was a cut back week. That means that last weekend I did two runs and then a long run of 16 miles, but this week I did two runs and the long run was 10 miles. This allows our bodies to adapt to longer distances, gives us some mental space to breathe, and gives our bodies a rest. I thought about that on my 10 mile run. The chance to rest. Jenna did not have a chance to rest. Once she got her diagnosis it was doctor's visits, chemo, hospital stays, trips with family, lunch dates with friends, moments with her husband and sons, just soaking each other up. There were grand moments of joy and love and peace, certainly, but there was no cut back week for her. I can't express how much I hate that. I can say that no matter how hard cancer tried, it could not steal her joy, her spirit, her love of life. Suck it, cancer!
Three kiddos, a baby cuatro in the belly, Jenna, and me at her Jenna's Fight Club 5k
Those thoughts were running through my head as I got ready for my training run on Saturday. My mom and her husband graciously offered to watch our kids that day so we could do some work around the house. (side note: if money and time grew on trees this house would be divine. As it is, it's home sweet home. Home without trim, with terrible wall textures, woodpecker holes in the siding that have grown thanks to swallows who make nests in our walls, etc., etc., etc. Thankfully, the view really IS divine and the 2 acres suit us beautifully and the floor plan is great and it's full of potential. Just no money or time trees. Thus ends my side note.) I met my mom to swap cars, since Lord knows I wasn't going to move that many carseats/booster seats. We stopped in the parking lot and Isaac asked how long I was running today.

"Just 10."

He giggled. "Ten is a lot to me."

I shook my head. Why did I say that? "You're right. Ten is a lot of miles to run."

I do that a lot. I bet you do, too.

"Just 10."

"I just stay home with my kids."

Someone compliments you on your outfit. You don't say thanks. "I've had it forever. It was on sale."

Someone says you look great. You don't say thanks. "Ugh. I really need to lose a few pounds and I just found another gray hair yesterday."

Do you do that?

"Just this." "Only that."

Ten miles is a lot of miles to most people. Parenting is important stuff. When I give a compliment I am sincere and I should assume the same when they are directed my way.

We are not just this or only that. We are created with purpose. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. We are made in the image of God.

We mess up every day. All of them. Monday through Friday, plus weekends. Multiple times. Because we're humans.

But I did not run "just 10" and I don't "just stay home with my kids." I'm not just anything and neither are you. I am 100% me and you are 100% you. We're going to wake up and love and laugh and fall on our faces, perhaps both literally and figuratively. We're going to raise our voices when we should hug, hold a grudge when we should forgive, roll our eyes when we should apologize.

Gosh, I wish I didn't. I wish I were perfect. Like that person on Facebook who I swear always does her hair and make up and never shouts at her kids and always gets along with her husband and is going on ANOTHER vacation. Seriously. How is that her life? Come on!

Well, it isn't her life. It's a piece of her life.

Life, real life, all of it, is ugly. Beautiful. Brutal. Glorious. We're going to celebrate grandiose victories and endure the deepest depths of grief. If we're really lucky we'll have people surrounding us to hold our hands and wipe our snot, pick us up when we are weary and love us no matter what.

And those people love us because we are who we are. 100% us.

Life's too short. We all say it. We have to live it. We have to live it before we get the bad news from the doctor or before the car crash or before the marriage crumbles.

Let's stop apologizing for ourselves or minimizing our accomplishments.

Let's shine. Not to draw attention to ourselves, but to brighten the lives of the people around us.

Let's live boldly. Kindly. Lovingly. Purposefully. Beautifully. Brightly. 100%.

It's Monday. Instead of being in a Monday funk, let's all do one thing to brighten someone else's day. What will you do? Share in the comments if you'd like.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Boys playing baseball in the front yard.
Girls making birds' nests from mud and leaves, grass and pine needles.
Toddler following everyone around, waiting for his chance to get in on the action.
Trimming trees.
Mowing grass.
Girls switch to making fairy gardens out of moss.
Sun kissed noses.
Screen door banging open and shut as kids come in and out, in and out.
Sandal tan lines.
Lazy mornings, pjs, piles of books.
A raw spot in the yard for the pitcher's mound, rubbed bare from hours of ball each day.
Neighborhood bike rides.
Late breakfasts and late dinners with ice cream in between.
Girl reading her book on the front porch.
Bare feet in freshly mowed grass.
Watermelon for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Dirt in the bottom of the bathtub.
Evenings spent at the ball field.
Hikes and wildflowers.
Swim lessons.
Breeze through window.
Family read alouds at all hours of the day and night.
Exploring new spaces.
Fire pits.
Getting to know new puppies.
Getting gnawed on by new puppies.
Loving new puppies.
Farmer's Markets.
Sloppy Colorado peaches, juice dripping everywhere.
Aspen's bright green leaves.

Summer, apparently, is not for blogging. Oops.
beautiful photo, not taken by yours truly

What does summer mean to you?