Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Minute Friday - Relevant

I'm joining up with Lisa-Jo (aka the GypsyMama) for Five Minute Friday.  It's a time for bloggers to stop, drop and write.  No editing.  No overthinking.  No second guessing.  So that's what I'm going to do:  write, gush, pour it all out onto my keyboard and hope that after I push "publish" it'll all make sense.  Her topic this week is:





Is. It. Relevant?  These are three words I heard over and over again as I sat next to a judge as a law clerk and across from a judge as an attorney.  The Federal Rules of Evidence defines "relevant evidence" as evidence that has the tendency to make the existence of a fact more probable or less probable than it would be without the evidence (sure, there's more to it but I only have 5 minutes :).  Basically, this just means that whatever you're putting in front of a judge or jury needs to have a point.  It needs to back your claim.  It needs to support your case (or disprove theirs).

The funny thing about relevance is that it's all quite, well... relative.  It depends on what you're trying to prove, what case you're trying to make, what facts you're trying to establish.

So it is in life.  In order to know what's relevant, we need to ask some important questions.  What are we trying to say?  What kind of life do we want to lead?  What point are we trying to make? What legacy do we want to leave?  Once we can answer these questions, our case becomes much clearer.  We can distinguish what's relevant and what's not.  We can prioritize.  We can say no. We can say yes. We can avoid confusion.  We can walk in confidence.  We can fulfill our purpose.  We can focus on what matters because quite frankly, the rest will be irrelevant.


Wow, that went by way too quick.  I desperately want to re-read and edit but in the spirit of Five Minute Friday, I will click "Publish Post".  *cringe*

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Life in Numbers

Just for fun...

2 - amazing daughters
6 - months as a vegetarian
9 - years I've been married
10 - movies in my Netflix queue.
13 - the amount of books stacked up next to the side of my bed
20 - years I spent in school
22 - shots I've given myself in the thigh
25 - my last ESR (inflammation level).  That's a "high normal"!
45 - minutes I spend everyday on PT exercises
54 - the age I'll be when I pay off my student loans (Ya, I consolidated and opted for smaller payments.  Sounded like a good idea at the time.  I need to strike it rich.)
69 - the number of posts I have written since April 15th
10,500 +  Page views this blog has received (it still amazes me that people read this!  Thank you...)

If you want to add to my numbers, click on the blue Google "Join This Site" tab on the top left and follow along.  The more the merrier!

Thanks for reading...

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Road to Wisdom

I don't get it.  

I don't get how some mornings I wake up just a bit achy and can manage a normal routine, while other days the pain radiates all over making the simplest tasks a lot more challenging.  

I don't know why my neck won't move today.  It was fine yesterday. 

I don't know why my arm keeps tingling, going numb, feeling hot then cold.  

The most frustrating part is not being able to communicate - with myself.  I mean, you'd think after 36 years we'd understand each other.  

My one-year old has a few words under her belt.  Otherwise she communicates with grunts, groans, facial expressions and hand gestures.  I pride myself on being a fairly in-tuned translator and can almost always figure out what she's trying to "say".  When I take too long and can't figure out that she wants the purple and green puppy on the top shelf of sister's closet, she lets out a fierce pterodactyl-like scream (note:  I had no idea that's how you spell pterodactyl.  Crazy.) Anyway, I try to be patient because I understand her frustration.  Oh, to have something to say, but no words to say it.  

I feel like my body is screeching at me, in that all too familiar pterodactyl scream, and I'm just not figuring it out.  It's like a cruel game of charades.  It flails it's arm and legs, looking at me like, "hey, you should know this one!" and there I am guessing:

Did I overdo it?  Too much laundry?  Too much walking?  Too much pumpkin-patching?  
Did I not do enough?  Exercise?  Stretching? Yoga? 
Is it what I'm eating?  Sugar? Gluten? Dairy? All of the above?  
Stress?  Sleep?  Allergies? Vitamins?  

I don't know.  

I can't figure it out.

But here is what I do know.  

I have found purpose through pain, strength through weakness.   I say this sincerely as I type with one numb hand, as I sit on my exercise ball because a regular chair hurts my hips.  

Yesterday, our pastor said something that has been echoing in my mind the last 24 hours.  Here's the gist of it:

Sometimes the things that are the hardest, most challenging, 
end up being the very thing you're designed to do.  
Suffering is a road to wisdom.  
Suffering is part of the process to bring wisdom.  

Now let me pause for a second.  I don't want to get into a theological debate on sickness, suffering and healing.  I simply want to share that this last year, a year filled with pain, fear, and unanswered questions, has given me new purpose.  It has broken my heart, only to make it more tender.  It has renewed my mind, only to make me think clearer.  It has shattered my faith, only to refine it.  It has made me weak, only so I could  experience grace.  

So maybe I don't get it, but I know enough.  And in the meantime, I will continue to look for answers.  I will continue to choose health. I will continue to manage my pain with a goal of complete remission.  But more importantly, I will continue on this road, because I do believe that on this road there is wisdom.   And if that's the case, I don't want to take any shortcuts.  


Monday, October 17, 2011


I just got back from a weekend getaway with a bunch of girlfriends.  It was fabulous on so many levels.
I've been a stay-at-home mom for almost 2 years now.  I really don't love the word "stay-at-home" mom. For one, it just sounds kind of boring (and being a SAHM is anything but boring).  Anyway, the point is I'm with my girls pretty much 24/7, which I LOVE and would not trade for anything in the whole wide world (except for maybe a top of the line Vita Mix blender, weekly massages and a car with automatic locks - just kidding, kind of).  But yes, I was looking forward to 48 hours of grown-up time and only shed a few (dozen) tears as I drove away.

It was a much needed time for me. At first I thought I just needed a break.  You know, sleep in, eat out, catch up on a year's worth of mindless magazines, laugh til my cheeks hurt, that kind of stuff.  And while I absolutely did all of that (except for the mindless magazines) the getaway ended up being so much more.

One night, sometime between red wine and a short-lived game of charades, I looked at each of the 6 women I was with and realized I didn't know any of them 2 years ago.  We didn't even live in the same state.  And there I was, sharing heartfelt stories about my past and present - joys and struggles, with women who so quickly went from strangers to friends.  For that, I am so thankful.

A bunch of us decided to go for a hike on Saturday.  It was 2 miles of straight incline (which then results in 2 miles of straight decline), but there's something about nature that just keeps you going - looking and moving forward.  Something about breathtaking beauty that inspires you to go the distance. The hike was definitely a challenge for me.  My hips and back hurt but I made it to the top, and boy does getting to "the top" mean more to me today than it ever did before.  I'm learning when it's okay to push myself and when I need to sit something out.  There are days when that decision is made for me, when my body goes on strike and doesn't give me the option.  But more often than not, I can choose how far to go and I don't ever take that decision for granted.

As we got closer to the top of the summit one word came to mind:  perspective.  Seriously, if perspective could be bought and sold the world would be a different place.  The ability to step back, see the big picture, sift through what matters and what doesn't, take a breath, clear your head, quiet the noise - it's a powerful thing.  I love how your circumstances can remain exactly the same but a simple shift in your thinking can change everything. I think I came down from that mountain a more patient mother, a more loving wife, an overall stronger woman.

I know we can't always escape for the weekend, but I've been reminded how important it is to step back.  Take an hour, go for a walk, drive to the ocean, sit near a stream, go somewhere and let the quiet re-calibrate you.  Perspective:  it changes everything.

Here's to more mountaintop moments,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Peas and Thank You

Cookbooks are my weakness.  I didn't realize it until I looked at the pile of books next to the side of my bed and half of them are, you guessed it, cookbooks.  I read them like novels.  Whenever I take my girls to the bookstore we take a quick detour so I can grab a handful of cookbooks - in the event they are both occupied and mom can steal a minute to peruse the latest must-try dish.   I don't want you to get the wrong idea.  I don't cook every night.  I'm no Giada.  I often find myself at 4:00 p.m. saying, "ugh, what should I make for dinner?."  Still, there is something about a good cookbook. They get me every time.  My youngest sister bought me not one, but two, for my birthday (Thanks, Lin).

A couple weeks ago I was rushing through Costco.  Of course, I had to speed through the book section just to see if there was anything I had to have.  Well, sure enough one book caught my eye.  The title and cover did it for me.  I didn't have time to skim so into the cart it went.  Lucky for me, both girls decided to nap at the same time that day so I had a few minutes of peace and quiet.  Holy moly!  Let me just tell you - I adore this book and adore Sarah, the author.  In fact, I sort of feel like we're soul sisters: we're both former attorneys turned stay-at-home moms, turned vegetarian/vegan, turned bloggers.  We both have 2 daughters and live in the great Pacific Northwest.  Seriously, she and I will have green smoothies one day, you just wait and see.  Oh, and she has really great recipes.  And fabulous stories that go along with each one.  She makes eating meat-free simple and fun.  Just my style.  

Check out Sarah's book or her blog, for some fabulous recipes and a few laughs. I think you'll love her, too.  Gotta run, Cowgirl Cornbread just came out of the oven and Tempeh Chili is simmering on the stove.  Mmmmm...


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

When Hope Happens

It happens.

Every now and then.

Somewhere between asleep and awake, when my body is completely still.  When my eyes softly open, gently blink, while every other part of me remains at rest.

It happens.

In that complete stillness, I feel no pain.  None.  Nothing throbs, no part of me aches.  There is nothing. I dare not move lest I cut this moment short.  I imagine what it would be like to hop out of bed, stretch my arms way up to the sky, take in a deep breath - all without pain, without a "warm up".

I think.

What if today is the day?  What if it was all a bad dream?  What if it's gone?  What if the miracle came in my sleep?  What if?

But then, I wiggle my toes.  Bend a knee.  Attempt to roll to one side.  And there it is: stiffness, pain, aching, reality.

I get out of bed.  Slowly, but I get out of bed.  Put one foot in front of the other.  Check on the girls. Walk down to the kitchen.  Take my medicine.  Open the curtains.  Let the light shine in.

Let the light shine in.  

I tell myself:  Today is the day.  It was not a bad dream.  The miracle is here.  I am walking, breathing, living.

This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.    

And I hope.  

Not just to be healed, but to be made whole.  Not just to feel no pain, but to feel - deeply, sincerely.  To love.  To give.  To use my life for good.  To tell my story.  To listen to others.  To hope.  

It happens.  

But you have to choose.

You have to hope.

With Love, 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Welcoming Fall

Inhale, one, two.  Exhale, three, four, five, six.  

That's how I feel.  Like I am able to breathe.  


Over and over again.  

I find the seasons fascinating. On one hand, I feel like we got a little ripped off because summer really didn't start until August around here.  But still, just when I start to feel a bit frazzled, a bit overwhelmed from the non-stop action, the leaves start to change, the air gets cooler, the days shorter and life, well... somehow life seems to slow down a bit.  There's something about fall.  A sort of permission to pause for a second and breathe, reflect, renew.  

Last fall was a blur.  In fact, it was exactly this time last year when I realized something was definitely not right.  It was the first week in October and both my sister and mother-in-law were in town to visit.  I was laying on the ground and I couldn't get up.  When I finally got up, I couldn't move because my back would cramp up.  I sort of laughed about it because it was so ridiculous.  I joked about how crappy c-section recovery was, but my gut was telling me something was not right.  

I hardly left the house.  When I did go for a drive I focused more on the bumps in the road that would leave me wincing in pain.   I remember the leaves changing color, the streets being lit up with incredible red, yellow, or orange.  It was beautiful, but really, I just wanted to get back home, put on my sweats, and try to get comfortable.  I remember feeling a little angry at the time.  I love fall.  I wanted to go out and enjoy it.  Instead, I observed - at a distance.  

This year, I am reclaiming fall.

I will watch the changing colors.  

I will sip pumpkin spice lattes.

I will make squash soup, stews and stir-fries.  

I will dress up for Halloween.

I will walk on the crunchy leaves, maybe even roll around in them. 

I will bake everything apple.  

I will rake my yard.

I will turn my home into an oasis of coziness and inspiration.  

I will watch football.  

I will give thanks.  

I will wear sweaters, scarves and boots.  

I will accept the change.  

Because really, every season has something to offer, and I for one don't want to miss any of it.  

Peace and Pumpkins,