Archive for May, 2009

ScrapMania (Really!)

On Friday night, Kory returned home from a month long trip to Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.  It is so good to have her back in home!  Also, on Friday, Adara was called back to employment by Target Corporation, (yeah, Target!  I don’t have to boycott you any longer—kidding–I never could boycott that store), so we three little girls had reason to celebrate. 

I had booked us a table at Archivers to do some scrapbooking on Saturday night, so with bins in tow, (I haven’t moved up to the wheelie case thing yet), we started our excursion at 3:00 and ended it at 9:00.  Adara said she was going to blog her own pictures at http://proudlybrewed.blogspot.com

Here’s the work of ‘the mom’.  Oh, and not all of these got done in that one little 6 hour session!  No way, no how!

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Just for Fun…

It has been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, (kidding—I mean Buffalo, MN), where scrapbooking, writing, reading, and picture taking have been the focal points of the week.   In other words, CREATIVITY ABOUNDS!

Last night, Chris and I sat on the beach of Buffalo Lake and watched the sun set while debating the merits of the paper he was working on.  I still say I am right, but research proved to me last night that collegiate women athletes have a lower self esteem than non-collegiate woman athletes.  I would have thought that a woman at that level of fitness and dedication would be fairly self assured.

Anyhow, back at the ranch, we took Georgia to the lake with us to capture the essence of a peaceful weekend.  After some tweaking on picnik, here are a couple of shots.

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Pumping Iron

Oh well, this one doesn’t depict the beauty of a sun setting over the lake but rather the beauty of a man always willing to make me laugh.  Can you believe that in our little cow-town of Buffalo, MN, they have workout equipment like this sitting around the park?  There’s a stairstepper which looks out over the lake and equipment for arms, legs, back, shoulders, etc.  Unique.  Progressive.  Never in this lifetime will you find me using it!  Awkward!

Can Integrity be Justified?

I am really wrestling with something tonight and I would like any and all of your comments.  I’m starting to wonder if I am the abnormal one here and should just learn to ‘go with the flow’ regardless of how that flow affects others as well as my own well being.

I’ve shared with you before here on this blog that I work part time for a company struggling greatly.  The new leader of this fledgling organization, (there are only 2-1/2 of us left) is a man who will tell you and everyone else he comes in contact with that he is a “man of his word,” and “filled to the brim with integrity.”  However, I unfortunately write that his actions are usually the complete opposite of what comes out of his mouth.  He lies to people, is presently in some severe conflict of interest situations that I think could end up in a court of law, and he caters to the will of the elite shareholders of our organization at the expense of the ‘everyday Joe’ member.

I know many people who exhibit similar qualities of this man, however I have never met anyone who so proudly states that he is filled with integrity, is honest, and loyal.  There is little he works harder at than justifying his ill-willed decisions and trying to talk others into seeing that they are correct and appropriate. 

It is now to the point that the stress of what I deal with on a daily basis is starting to physically affect me.  His emanating leadership style trickles down to me and the other employee left and we are to the point where we don’t disagree with our leader any longer or even offer an alternate suggestion-any idea other than his is not worthy.

So what do I do?  I want more than anything to have this situation come to an end but in these tough economical times, who I am to see the blessing of having a job as a negative?  And to be a bit more calloused, why should I even care?  I see people go through their careers not caring about their reputation or their organization and no matter how sometimes I envy that, I just can’t seem to leave the personal out of the professional.  

When your job, albeit part time, makes you physically and mentally ill, and when you’re put in a situation that you completely disagree with, is it just time to pull the plug and trust that God is showing you all these shenanigans for a reason?  At what point is my life my life regardless of the paycheck involved?

My Mother’s Day

A reflection on Mother’s Day:

I am 43 years old.  We had the first of our three kids when I was 20. The second child arrived 10 1/2 months after the first, and child #3 entered this world 7 years later.  Chris and I were college juniors when Adara was born and college seniors when Kory showed up.  Yup, two twenty one year old “kids” graduating from college with two kids of their own.  Needless to say, I was the only graduate that year who pulled that one off.

_DSC0221Fast, (and I mean fast) forward 23 years.  Adara and Kory  are college graduates on there own and Mikey is in 10th grade.  Where does the time go?

Since motherhood showed up on my doorstep in a blaze of fury, I have worked full time, attended graduate school, mothered 3 overly active children, and kept up a home, (I’m not looking for accolades here so please bear with me.). 

It came out in conversation with my wonderful husband a few nights ago that I won’t let myself have any downtime.  While growing up, my father made this out of the question, so once I moved on and had my own family, I, too, threw the notion of rest and relaxation under the bus.  I was supposed to keep going-like the Energizer Bunny.  Needing time to regroup only meant I was weak.

Boy, was I ever wrong.  Now, with all the baggage still hovering, I am trying with all my might to not feel guilty for resting.  My job is 1/2 time at best right now, so I am writing and learning.  But because of this 1/2 time status, I feel guilty, so I don’t write like I should; I “try” to clean the house, do laundry, etc., but mostly I just sit and spin.  I was talking to my awesome mother-in-law yesterday, and she told me to just quit even the 1/2 time gig, get a cleaning lady, and focus full time on myself and my writing.  Wow, can I keep her for another 23+ years?Yup, feet propped up and twittering

So, here’s my visual mantra: Mother’s Day 2009.   I worshiped this morning, I read from my new book club’s selection, I ate glorious food prepared and served to me by my family, and I rested.  Yes, I rested and I loved it.  Slowly, if I work hard, the guilt associated with my resting will go.  With all the love and support I get, how can I fail?

For the love of Georgia, (my camera)

This morning, Chris and I headed our for a drive and took Georgia along.  We headed no where in particular, but it really didn’t matter–there is beauty in everything.

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I thought this sumac bush was having a bit of an identity crisis.  Is it spring?  Is it fall?  I’m not quite sure so I’ll just stand still for a while longer.

 

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“Oh, what a tangled web we weave when we practice to deceive.”  Looking at this tangled mess reminded me of that quotation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I am a sucker for old, dilapidated barns that are still majestic yet hanging onto life by a thread.

 

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This is Chris’ idea of what would be the opposite of Georgia O’Keeffe’s work. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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No words needed.

 

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An old neighbor of mine growing up now owns this farm.  In a tribute to 1976, I aged the photo to resemble the look of the era.

REAL social networking

This afternoon was the inaugural meeting of the Buffalo Babes Book Club.  Fourteen women, most of us strangers to each other, met to make introductions, choose our first read, and to establish the ground rules of the club.  As I drove home, I felt connected to a group of women, most of whom I did not know prior to meeting, but who are all interconnected through at least one friend in the group. 

The word “community” is screaming at me right now as the best way to describe what happened this afternoon.  We don’t live in the same towns yet we have all now expanded our network of other like-minded women.  Hey, we have to have at least one thing in common, right?  Books!  We don’t all like the same genre of literature yet we all are open and willing to read what the group’s majority wishes to read.  Most of us said that one of the big reasons we chose to join this group is to get to know other women.  We also all decided that one of the important outcomes from this book club is to have fun.

So here we were, 14 women, some connected to each other but most not.  We came together as strangers and/or acquaintances and left as members of a group.  We are going to be going into each other’s homes for meetings-a scary thing if you’re like me and aren’t a neat freak, ( oh, there’s another thing: most also said they live in a “lived-in” home.  Yeah for me!).

By the time our meting had ended, my spirits had lifted from the day and I felt engaged again.  I was a part of something.  Sometimes I forget that working from home can lead to more isolative tendencies than I care to admit.  It is good to get out.  It is good to socialize, (and not just via social networking tools provided for us on our computer).  It is good to have human contact; a slap on the knee from the person sitting next to you can make one feel so befriended.

No matter how computer savvy we have become and no matter how “connected” we are, there is still nothing like personal one-to-one conversation, making eye contact,  a slap on the knee, or the seemingly ever-elusive hug.  Ummmmmmmmmmm.  Nice!

Clear the Vessel

Yesterday, I blogged about my inability to have one simple creative thought that could be put down on paper or entered into my computer’s new journaling software program.  Try as I might, nothing but crap transferred from my body to the paper.  As a runner, we call these downtimes “junk miles;” you’re just going through the motions, admitting that your effort is producing junk.  Not to worry however, this too, shall pass.

It Passed…

My one hour massage yesterday afternoon was the tip of the iceberg for what I needed-refueling of the vessel of my soul and spirit.  8 weeks of nonstop running and taking care of everyone else’s needs had left me not only physically askew with a knotted back and neck, but had worn my right brain down to the core. 

Now feeling relaxed and calm, and with a quieted spirit, I moved through my day with an open mind and a watchful eye.  I again saw beauty in the common element and awe in rarity.  Thoughts jostled for position with each other competing for space in my mind.  I was becoming engaged again in life.

I was inspired and not alone…

I received a number of comments from my social networking sites yesterday encouraging me to plug along knowing that the emptiness and void I was feeling was common.  Thank you to everyone who told me that they too, share at times in what I was going through.  I really needed to hear that I was not alone.

 What happened…

As the sun set on the lake tonight, I watched the hues in my writing room change from a bright and invigorating shade of goldenrod to ones with a softer and more muted pallet.  The cool spring breeze floated into my space and reminded me of the newness of life all around me.  Nothing smells as beautiful as a crisp, spring evening.  I had to stop and close my eyes to take it all in; to try to be whole and complete in my surroundings.  Slowly, I picked up my notebook and began to write.  Not junk, but first thoughts, feelings, joys and sorrows.  It was pure and had purpose.  It was again my spirit on the page.

 And what have I learned?

I have learned a lot by consciously wandering through this period of grayness that had taken hold of my work.  The more I forced change, the stronger my void held.  It wasn’t until I stepped away, replenished a tiny bit of my being, and solidified the fact that I was not abnormal, that my mind opened and what was natural to my being was allowed to come out and play again.

I need to not push the envelope.  Rest and revitalization are important.  Clear the vessel.  Replenish.  Listen and follow your body and mind-they always know the truth.