Sunday, August 29, 2010

Be Like Them

My son is 8. He has been on this Earth for 8 years and 9 1/2 months.
He was our only baby for 3 1/2 years.
I've nursed him and cuddled him all night long. I've changed his icky diapers and wiped up his icky vomit. I've yelled and I've laughed, I've shown dissapointment and pride...mostly pride...and all of it is just the outside, really...all of what I see on a day-to-day basis is just some sort of shadow of what he is on the inside. I see glimpses of his grown-up self all the time. When I really listen, and when I really look. I see this man in there...a man who is sensitive and worries over details. I see a man in there who will hug like there is no tomorrow. I see a man in there who will care deeply about his work, but worry if it is really important enough; is he making a difference for humankind?

I see a boy who sees life in black and white, but knows there is gray, and wishes he saw the gray, but until he does he'll believe in the gray...he'll be a man of great faith, whatever that turns out to be. He'll pray and be thankful. He'll call his sister on a whim. He'll visit his old mom and dad often, and ask us to come to the desert in some faraway land to see the dinosaur he is digging up, or to witness the building of a bridge he's designed...my son will do these things.
Here she is...my 5 year old girl...my baby. The one who nursed so well, I was sorry to end it. the baby who surprised me with all that she knew. The baby who is an old soul inside. The 5 year old who asked me recently, "How do you know if you're in love? What does it feel like?" My daughter is all "inside on the outside". She smiles from her insides, with real purpose and meaning. When she is a woman, she'll be beautiful because she smiles and hugs and touches so often. She'll be beautiful because she says, "I'm so sorry, " and "I just love you," to people she hardly knows. She'll write phone numbers on her hands, because she can't keep a datebook. She'll forget birthdays, but she'll always be around and full of fun and making us laugh till we pee our pants. She may be a roller girl for awhile, and she may frequent topless beaches, but she'll always have a fun innocence about life. Life is about LOVE! Her heart will be near to bursting most of the time...and when her heart is broken, she'll come home and let me help her mend it. I'll cuddle her 30 year old self in my laugh and say "shhh, shhh"

I love my children, not only for who they are right now...but for who they are going to be. I'm already so proud of them. In the quiet of my heart when I am really seeing them while they talk, or interact with others, I hold them and feel so grateful.
Children are the best things in the whole wide world, and not because they are always so easy, but because they teach me to be better. I want to grow up to be like them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Catching Shadows of Stillness...

In my forward-moving machine, flowr'd skirt a-twirling here and there, I stop for a moment to see bright, autumn-edged shadows
the light is so strict and unmoving...the air outside is still and stifled...it moves like the underbelly of a lizard over volcanic rocks...but I am busy...sweaty or no, the show must go on.
I've been immersed in papers and colors and paints and staplers and tape and glue
The only shadows I'm making friends with are the ones I encounter from deep within my satchel, looking for that "thing" I was going to do at home tonight...
or in the early morning shadows of busy baskets against painted paper backdrops...
I haven't had time for reflections of liquid brass in doorknobs, or yellowed lace curtains looking edgy in the heat...
but I've been finding MY reflection, and afterall, isn't life at times slow and oftener times like driving a well-known road and not remembering the actual trip, but finding yourself suddenly at home? I hope to find ways to slow down and see my reflections and the shadows of things as I go along on this well-known road, because it won't slow down for me, I must tame it and make it go at my own pace.

Here's to finding oneself happily busy, skirts a-twirling.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

To Teach

created by Katie Estvold on Polyvore.com

Do you remember this?
It has come true...I am actually, physically, in reality, going to teach this year...
I'm still in a not-quite-sure, dreamy kind of state about it...it isn't real yet, but it is fast becoming real...

Here's to DREAMS (however big or small) and to SEEING them so clearly in your mind's eye that they JUMP OUT to REALITY.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Life is Sweet

In a bright green orchard, smack in the middle of the desert (like some sort of sticky steamy oasis), we gathered peaches this weekend. We scouted out the perfect peaches.
It was quiet and sweet. The peaches hung in varying stages of readiness, many already dropping to the ground, squishing under our feet.
There were sticky arms up to our elbows, big wet spots on our shirts and toes, and desperately still moments in the shade when we thought it couldn't get any hotter...and then a gracious little breeze blew up the row and we all said, "aaaaahhhhh..."


I have so much I want to say today, but I'm in some sort of half-way dream and can't say it yet.


So, I've been settling for things like finding the best peach EVER - hot from the sun, the leaves stayed on, and the taste was pure bliss.
and peachy-pink ladybugs found hiding in peach tops...PERFECTION!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Little Lava Lake

I take a risk at putting this picture on. It is me with all my rolls and bumps, but in another better way, I love it. I had been having the strongest urge to swim in the lake. I just wanted to take my clothes off and dive in. I stood staring at the strange beauty of frothy, bubbly yellow-orange algae clinging precariously to ancient lava flows, broken by the years and softened a bit.
And all of a sudden, before I'd even known what I was thinking, I had pulled my shirt over my head, laid my hat down and dove in. It was exhilarating...my skin tingled and I could hardly catch my breath it was so cold. I barely lasted a short go round, before I hopped out, pulled my shirt back on and began to wring out my skirt. It made me so happy to know that I'd done it without too much hemming and hawing and talking about it...I said I wanted to, and I then...I just did. Having seen one naked woman and heard tell of one naked man nearby, I can see that the pull to feel the coolness over the only part of yourself that was truly YOURSELF, was catching.

~When you hear that inner voice, listen to it...just jump in.~

Golden light sparkled at me, even when I closed my eyes I saw it. The awe of the slate-chip bed of the river, only shin-deep in most places turned my curiosity over and over and over. I was like a child in wonder, and when I found a rock at the perfect height hidden among a stand of purple-topped grasses, I was in a quiet state of praise. The colors and the sounds were sharp and solid. The smells were fresh and faint and clean. The water was the perfect temperature, whether I wanted it warm or cool.

~God's gifts are varied and if there were bows tiny enough, we'd see them tied around the minutia of life. I look for them. I love presents.~

The gift of repose. Give it to yourself. Make your mind stay quiet when you are in the midst of a gift like this. Tuck away those things that will not get better by worrying over them. Instead of taking them out, bury them under a rushing river and let the movement round the edges of them, so that while you are reveling in the sunlight and the birdsong and coolness of the river, your worries are being dulled...forever.

~Be in the moment. Let tomorrow worry about itself. ~

Trouble stacks itself upon itself. Worry begets worry. The secret to life, at the moment, is to find the places in the dead-fall where the sunlight comes through the needles. It is in finding a few minutes joy at seeing the change in the shades and hues of green to gold. It is the delicate bone-like quality of dead trees, and the rusty marrow of the beetle-devoured insides.
There is beauty, even, in this.

~See beauty and give it the time it deserves to be admired.~

This trip reminds me that we are each only human. We are each on a journey that is informed not by what has happened to us (thank GOD for our tangled webs that make us fall in love with those who naturally know how to untangle), but by what we make of it all when we are through.
It reminds me that each person has the freedom to make of themselves whatever they will.
It told me that no matter what we've done, ultimately other's lives and how they live it
is their own doing.

~We choose how we feel and how we'll react at EVERY SINGLE MOMENT. We CHOOSE.~



Therapy CAN be this simple, if we open ourselves to the HEALING properties of NATURE.

"Nature is most lavish in her gifts and in order to appreciate them we should listen to her voice and study well her teachings." ~J.Clark
Words I live by.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

The truth about dreams


There is a secret about dreams. The secret is to never believe that you completely have them figured out.
About a month ago, on a very chilly night up in the mountains camping near that most beautiful lake at which I'd seen THE sunrise - the one that was ethereal, moving, fantastic - I had a dream.

The dream was, in essence about a man coming to me and saying, "We have this new school, this new program, this new classroom and we want YOU to teach in it. Will you do it?" It was the BEST school dream I've ever had. It was a dream about me achieving my dream because the Universe had decided to hand it to me. It felt like it was saying, "So, you've waited long enough...this is going to come at you easy-like, and give you all sorts of opportunity to bask in your worthiness and your excellence." Yup, it was a gooood dream.

Now, let's skip ahead a couple of weeks from that dreamy night. A friend leaves me a voice mail: "You have to apply to a job for the Parks and Rec. Call me." She leaves me an email: "Call me about this job you must do." I'm all in a tizzy wondering what in the world she is talking about...she calls again and I think as I see her number come up, "What? Why?!" When I pick it up she is adamant that I MUST apply to a [frickin] Kindergarten job that is being offered through the parks and rec district. I was taken aback...what? Why me? I've never taught Kindergarten. NEVER. N.E.V.E.R.

I was a little bit livid...who did she think she was telling me what I should or shouldn't do? Moments - literally like 5 minutes - later my husband calls, "Did you call J? She thinks you should apply to that Kindergarten job. I'd do it if I were you."
WHAT IS THIS CONSPIRACY?! I can't understand it. I'm mad, I'm fussing around my house muttering things like, "Why...little beasts...never...ever...what?"

That night, a separate friend sends me a facebook message with these words: "thought you'd be interested" ...and the link for the Kindergarten job. I didn't answer her. I was so mad I wanted to kick something. Who did these people think they were? I'm a Middle School teacher. I've never ever ever expressed interest in teaching Kindergarten. I've only shivered and said, "Oh you brave soul" to Kindergarten teachers. I was NOT one of THEM. I wasn't...besides...I don't...I don't know the first thing about it...

I'm certain I never want to even HEAR someone even getting close to telling me I should teach Kindergarten again, when I have dinner with my dear friend Alma...yes...I scoffed and told her all sorts of high-minded things about all of these "people" who keep telling me to apply to a job I'd never in a million years apply to. She smiled the whole time I talked and then said, "Be careful what you say you'll never do. The Universe is listening." I think I wrinkled up my nose at her and had another swig of Knotty Blonde Pale Ale. END.OF.DISCUSSION.ALMA.

A week later (that was, um, today), my husband is hanging out laundry quietly while I'm reading my book in the shade of the backyard, when he, quite nonchalantly, says, "Oh yeah, you got an email from [the guy who runs the parks and rec district] and he was wondering if you'd apply to that Kindergarten job."

Stunned silence.

"What? Why?! He doesn't even know me...what the hell is going on here? Don't these people...why...what...oh god."

I go and lay on my bed...angry. Why am I angry? What is going on here? So I stretch out on my bed, letting the tears just flow out of my eyes. this can't be my dream. this isn't what I was thinking of. this is isn't the job the man in my dream was offering me. I put my hands over my face and start silently sobbing. Then I hear my husband come in. I know he is thinking he must say and do the right thing right now...luckily, the kids come in as well and say, "What's wrong mommy?" My dearest says, "Kids, mommy needs hugs from you guys."
Very quickly, I feel my son with his entire top-half over my chest, arm around my neck, face buried in my shoulder in the BEST hug I've ever had from him - so comfortable and sweet, I could've stayed like that forever.
I can hear my daughter struggling to get up on the bed, but she heaves her little body up and she is wrapped around my head. Her belly on the top of my head, coiled protectively. She starts up the softest little "pat-and-smoothe" routine on my hair and starts to croon over and over, "It's okay. You're okay. It's going to be okay. It's okay. Shhhhhh. You're okay, mommy. It's okay..."

My husband sits against my legs and puts a protective arm over them, rubbing my leg.

I just couldn't help it then, I grabbed on tight to whomever I could and cried some more and some more. I just let them love me. I let my kids see me cry and be scared. For the first time, I let all four of them take care of me. It was an incredible thing that I'll carry with me forever.

When I could talk, I said, "Well, I'm crying because I think I'm scared. Have you guys ever had somebody ask you to do something you've never done before, and you get scared to have to do it so much that you feel like crying?" My son sat up so he could look in my eyes and said with the most serious sincerity, "Yes." and nods and nods and then he hugs me tighter, sits up again and makes sure I see him in the eye and kisses my cheek. He pulls back and looks me in the eye again and smiles and then hugs me again.

My daughter says, "Yes mommy. I know about crying and when you feel like crying, you just tell us and we'll take care of you. Okay mommy? You're going to be fine mommy. It's okay."

My husband just keeps squeezing my leg and when I look at him, he looks like he is tucking this moment away forever, too and says, "We all love you." I just nod and let more silent tears fall down my cheeks.

I'm not going to pretend to know what that dream was about...maybe it was a dream of my innermost desires, and not of something to come...but I do know one thing: my anger came from the unknown. I was angry at being pushed into something I didn't know. As soon as my anger broke and this brand new idea came into my head of "what if", I started crying from fear. And once my fear was covered by the pure, sweet STRONG love of my little family, I felt zipped up in love. And once I was zipped up in love, I sat down to send in my cover letter, my resume and my references...

Then I ran down to the library and literally checked out everything on how to teach Kindergarten that I could find.

That's the truth about dreams. They never get to the point the way you think they will or should, but there is always a point. Be on the lookout for it.