Never underestimate the urge to RUN....

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Never underestimate the urge to RUN....

I have been working at my new career now for about two and a half months now. Do I feel like running away at times? Sure do! Do I get sick of being so needy and asking so many questions? Yip. Do I wish I could start feeling more confident, sure of myself, and balanced? Of course. But when you start something new there is never that feeling. In fact the feeling of drowning and wanting to kick to the surface is a more accurate account of how it feels to start.  In fact I have had this feeling several times in my life before. I remember this feeling when I started to stay home with my darling children. I used to explain the feeling of running after my life instead of with my life. I eventually got used to the feeling, found myself as a mom, and rested in the understanding that being in control was not what life was all about. But now that I have that feeling all over again I am still struggling with the strong desire to run knowing full well I won't. 

What do you do with the feeling of wanting to run and not knowing where you would even run too? You stay. That's what you do. You acknowledge it, pat yourself on the back, and then tell yourself you can do it. You remind yourself that in time the strong feeling to run will leave. You remind yourself that everyone feels it. You take deep cooling breaths and you trust that God has you right where you are suppose to be. At times, leaning into the feeling is best because it reminds you how difficult it is to do something new and how dependent we are on comfort. Comfort is of high concern to the human. Discomfort makes us all want to run. Living in the tension of discomfort takes mental strength. We can't live on auto pilot. Maybe that is what we miss. Living less conscience of our life. Living in the tension of discomfort brings change. Usually the change is not around us but inside of us. I wish growing was more comfortable. I wish changing felt good and right. I wish my mind did not remember "the good old days" before the tension started. I wish my mind would work with the change better. But since my my mind does not always choose the right decisions I have to direct it to follow along with the discomfort. 

Today, if you are with me feeling the tension of discomfort, join me in directing your mind to trusting in the process and trusting in God. Remind yourself that change comes at a price that is always worth paying but is easy to talk yourself out of. Give yourself lots of grace because during these times only you can give yourself a feeling of comfort. Dig deep. Find who you are under pressure. And sit back and enjoy the ride if you can. That is where I am today. Trying my hardest to enjoy the movement of my mind. Allowing myself to move in a new direction and opening my mind up to change. Directing my thoughts with intentional awareness and creating new confidence.  Be brave little solider. This is what life is made of...... 

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TARGET....

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TARGET....

It has been close to 23 years since I held a 40 hour a week position. During those 23 years I sometimes wondered if working would have been easier than staying home. During my stay at home days I was faced with wondering if I what I did at home mattered. Many times my days felt like someone who stayed on vacation too long and had lost their will or my days were spent doing nothing but laundry and putting babies down for naps. Somedays I would wonder why I had gone to college and I would dream about the girl I once thought I was. During my stay at home days Target became my second home. A place to dream, to get away from responsibilities and yet feel like I was not being irresponsible (I mean I WAS "running errands"....). As my kids got older I would take each of them with me to my "get away" I mean run errands and would spend my time going down aisles learning about who they were becoming. As they became teenagers it felt easier to learn them at Target then looking them in the eye over a serious conversation. Today I still miss those sweet moments. I used Target when they were all young too. When your kids throw a fit at Target no one cares. In fact other mom's just look at you with an "I know how it feels" look. Sometimes a mom would walk past saying, "Damn nap time" :) because we all just got it in the aisles of Target.  When we did not have much money I would go to Target and let the kids play down the toy aisle. I usually left with the cheapest toy on the shelf. Or I would let them each find one pair of shoes they really wanted. They would each excitedly look through the boxes for their size of shoe. It seems like yesterday in some ways. Sweet darling memories of each of them saying, "Can I get these?"  

It never really was JUST about Target. I mean don't get me wrong I love that you can find "cool" things at a good price. I love that they put Starbucks at the front door. I love that they set up their patio furniture so you could sit and dream about what it would look like in your backyard. But I realized it was a place that as a mom you could just "go to". It was safe because no one asks you if they can help you. No one looks at you strange for just walking the aisles deep in thought. No one expects you to look your best. No one questions you if you have been there too laughing on the phone with your best friend. Sometimes I would go to the exact department my best friend was in at Target and we would talk Phoenix to Seattle each in the patio section. :) I never felt strange if I was alone there, I never felt out of place. And in fact many times I would make eye contact with my own kind (another wondering mom) and know I was not alone. My sister in law loved Target too and so many times I would get a text, "Are you here?" It's funny because I always knew where here was... Seeing other mom friends wondering the aisles of Target was just part of the experience. Leaning on our carts as if it was holding up the world we would share how we were doing in life until one of the kids would say "Mom! Let's go." In fact I kinda hated to see men at Target. I almost feel possessive of the store like "oh brother what are THEY doing here?" I never minded seeing sons but grown men in Target kinda bugs me to be honest (haha no seriously). When I see a grown man in Target I find myself thinking, "why can't you just stay home or go to Home Depot? This is "OUR" store." I kinda think that is why men don't really go to Target or love Target as much as girls. Jeff complains every time he walks into Target. He says something like this, "come on hurry up, this place takes so long to just run in and out of." I don't hate him saying that in fact I like it. :) These days I find myself alone at Target more than I used too but on some occasions my girl Jess will call me now and say, "shall we meet up at Target?" I love that. I need less from Target these days than I used too. I have more escapes but Target will always be a special store for me. 

But now that I am working 40 hours a week I look back on my Target days with such love. I realize now that it was a place where I grew up and found myself as a mom. I know that sounds strange and it might not be how everyone feels but for me the red Target sign reminds me of my four darling children that each had a part of leading me to a deeper understanding of life, love, and the meaning of the simple things in life. Target gave me my own personal experience apart from Jeff, a place to figure out how to be an independent mom.... Funny how all of that can happened at a ordinary little store...

This entire blog was suppose to be about my adjustment to working and all I could think about was Target and my Target memories. Next time I write it will be able the stay at home mom becoming a professional woman...  :)  

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The BIG 50!

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The BIG 50!

Well this was the big year of turning 50 for me! To be honest when I think of that number I still struggle to think it describes my age. I used to think 50 year olds were very old. haha Now I don't think that so much. But this birthday will go down as one of my very favorites thanks to my sweet family (especially Jeff and Jessi). They pulled off an amazing surprise and filled me with so much love that I ended up not minding turning 50. :) Here is how it all went down.

First Mandi and David came home on Thursday which was November 10. To be honest we could have stopped right there because being with them is a gift! I miss Mandi so much that when she comes home it fills my heart with so much comfort that it all could have been good right there but that actually was just the beginning. At noon on that day Jeff had Jessi and Jefferson bring me to a really cool spot for lunch where he had arranged some of my close girl friends to meet me for lunch. It was such a blessing and so much fun to be with each of them. My sisters and mom were there as well and it was a great time with friends. 

Next I was informed that we were all going to Tucson to revisit my home town memories! So we got packed and ready to go and headed out the door in two cars to drive to Tucson. When we got there we checked into the Westin and relaxed a bit before all meeting in the jacuzzi for an evening of talking and being together. The next morning we hit the bagel shop and headed up to Mt. Lemon where I have plenty of childhood memories. We visited the cookie cabin for a big chocolate chip cookie and ice cream, threw the football, and walked into a few shops. We then headed down the mountain because Jeff had arranged a photographer to photograph our family (picture above). We were to meet the photographer in the lobby of the hotel at 3:00 sharp. We all got dressed went to the lobby and waited. Who do you think walks in??  My bff from Seattle!! Alison (an amazing photographer)!! I could not believe it! After I got over the shock of seeing her we went to Sabino Canyon (the 6th stop) and took some great family photos.

Again things could have been stopped here as well but they were not even close to being over. After the family photo session they informed me that we would be doing a "memories tour" of Tucson. :) (something that made me feel completely loved). We started by heading to my elementary school and junior high school. They all jumped out of the cars (we were in three cars by then) and they would chant, "memories, memories, memories" and then I would tell two or three funny memory stories. Here is a photo after I finished telling stories of Jr. High and the church I grew up going too. They all look like they are shooting a basketball because I told them my jr. high basketball memories... :)

From there we were off to my high school. Everyone jumped out of the cars again as we stood on the steps that I once climbed 30 years ago. This time I was grown and sharing memories with my children who were all old enough to not be in high school themselves. I told them how I had been bullied by a girl in high school but how I have found the positive in order to not let it get me down. I told them about my friends and the good times. They listened to my stories and it all made me feel so loved. 

After that they told me they wanted to take me by the house I grew up in and take a picture in front of that house. I had not really seen the house I grew up in for almost 26 years. My parents had sold the house shortly after I got married. We drove up to the house and Jeff said he would run and ask the owners if we could take a picture in front of the house. He came back to the car and said they had not only agreed to a picture in front of the house but they had invited us all in to see the house. This thrilled me because there have been many times in my life where I have just wanted to walk back into "the house that built me".

And here I am walking into that house for the very first time in years. The last time I had walked through that door I was 23 years old and a young married woman. Memories in the home stopped right there. So when I walked through the door with my husband and grown children two of which were married my entire childhood hit me and gave me the largest hug ever! I can hardly put it into words. It was as if my childhood looked upon me. All my fun days of childhood entered my mind all at once. The owner of the home noticing my emotional response said, "I know it looks different than when you lived here." I shook my head and said, "It does but it doesn't all at the same time." She said, "Let me show you what we have done with the kitchen." I followed her back into the kitchen and she showed me how they had updated it. She then said, "well the yard looks almost exactly the same" she turned the outdoor lights on and I saw a crowd of people yelling "surprise!!!"

I could NOT believe it! Outside friends from high school, childhood, and my wonderful family were all there!! There were tables and chairs set up a food truck and music playing. Jeff looked at me and said, "happy birthday!" It will be the largest surprise of my life! I had zero idea!! I was enjoying all the fun memories and had not thought once about a surprise party in my childhood home. 

HONESTLY this makes turning 50 amazing!!!  It was so much fun and I felt so blessed!! I do not know if I will ever be able to thank everyone enough but I will never ever forget this night!! It will be one of my favorite birthdays!!!

In time if you find that you are having trouble finding yourself take some time to look back upon your life. Walk through the memories that made you into who you are today. Reflect upon all the events, all the struggles, and all the joys and blessings that created you into YOU. What you may find is that ALL of it (the good and the bad) created something very unique. Something that is uniquely YOU. You will begin to see why each life has its own twist, its own strengths, its own weaknesses, and its very own perspective. You will become very aware that we are all uniquely created as individuals sharing this world with one another. Not one story being exactly the same but all stories being just as important. Memories.... 

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Time to VOTE...

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Time to VOTE...

This is the first year my boys were old enough to vote. I love voting. Certainly not because my candidate always wins but because it is my right as a citizen of the U.S.! This year became more interesting than most presidential elections. I have never really seen a year like it. If people wanted to vote for Trump they told no one and if people wanted to vote for Hillary Clinton they told everyone. It was the strangest voting I have ever witnessed. The ones who told everyone to vote their way ended up losing much to the surprise of the entire country. Now the same people are struggling with the loss. The several weeks building up to the election no one really knew what would happen and I hardly know one person that could have predicted the win of Donald Trump. It was a wide sweep of change. Only time will tell how it will all pan out. But I loved voting with my boys this year. Jeff and I took the guys nice and early and then the four of us had breakfast all together and discussed how we would deal if our candidate lost. That is part of the voting experience learning to deal with your own anxiety on the win or loss. Our elections are not up to a small group of people but it is up to the entire country. Democracy is an amazing thing and I value it. So many people are protesting currently and begging for a different reality but to be honest it is pointless. We are all Americans, it is time to dig in and be a good citizen. Make a change in your own little part of the world. Love others, be kind, and do your part of the job in making this country strong. That is just my personal opinion.

Well I had a BIG birthday! The big 5-0!! Sometimes I'm just minding my own business and then I remember I'm 50 and I think to myself, "ugh, I'm old enough to know a few things!" It was such an amazing birthday! I will have pictures soon and many stories. But what I can say is that it was by far the most surprising thing that has happened to me in a long, long time!! Jeff and Jessi spearheaded an amazing couple of days for me and I have NEVER been so emotionally moved in my life! It taught me a lot!

I will end with this little lesson about voting. Always cast your vote for who you think will be the best person to lead our amazing country. BUT always allow others with a different opinion to have a voice as well and then join the team of Americans to make whoever the winner is as successful as possible. Let's be honest some of the success will be up to the president but at least keep an open mind until there is evidence that you want to vote a new candidate next time around. Four years really is not that long. So if you voted for the winner or if your candidate lost you only have four years.  It is all part of living in a democracy! 

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Tidying up....

I got this cool artwork when I was in Seattle this summer. It's a favorite of mine. After the boys started school this year and I began the paperwork and the long process of waiting for the board to move my counseling licensure through, I thought purging items in my house would keep me busy. I was not expecting it to take me months and I was not expecting it to be as good for me as it was! I made the crazy goal of going through every single cabinet and closet and purging, organizing, and re-establishing some sort of order in the house. I had read the book, "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and I wanted to try it for myself. It felt like a big goal when I started but it became more like therapy in the end. God met me in my mess and gave me days full of love, grace and insight. Let me explain.

As parenting, as I knew it, came to an end, I began to look at the job I had done and question if I had been a good enough parent. From this perspective I saw all the holes that existed in my parenting. All the times I wish I could have gone back in time and correct what went wrong. I began to feel burdened with the fact that there was nothing I could do about the past. And I began to believe that I had done my best but even my best had not felt good enough. I struggled with this thought for months maybe even years. As I began to purge and clean out my closets I decided to put together a box for each kid with little personal things from their childhood. I would spend a day in one closet or one area. I would not put music on but rather I would go through all of my items and ask myself if it brought me happiness at this present moment. If the answer was no I then thanked God for what the item represented and acknowledged the memory. I then would decide to store it in one of the kids boxes or get rid of it. Each and every item held in my hands. Each item examined, considered, and carefully placed. 

As I went through the house God walked me through my life as a mom. He filled me with love and grace. I began to gain deep insight to the fact that I had been the exact parent God had created me to be. God began to reveal to me that the holes in my parenting were intentionally created for each of my children. He revealed that those parenting holes would be the places that His strength and love would shine through to each child giving them their own journey to Him. He reminded me that I was never created to be my children's God but that I had been created to be imperfect. I began to see how badly I had wanted to be perfect at mothering. I began to identify areas where I needed to trust rather than fix or control. I began to see that each child had to do their own journeying to make sense of their childhood. And I began to accept that being imperfect was actually part of the beautiful plan. Love was really the only perfect part of my parenting.

Then something amazing happened. God filled me with so much love and grace and I could almost feel him say to me, "Good job! You did exactly what I asked you to do with MY children. I will take it from here." As I packed each box with great love I prayed for each of my beautiful children and thanked God for using me to mother them during their childhood. Sometimes, I would just sit with the memory of an item that took me to a special moment of time with a particular child.  I would let the memory float through my mind and I would intentionally give the memory a treasured place in my heart. Sometimes I cried, sometimes I would smile, and many times I would just be filled with deep love. Isn't it funny how motherhood changes a life? I acknowledged how changed I was after this amazing journey of raising children. I met myself in my messy closets. I accepted my new self. I acknowledged my new life as a mother to grown adult children and in my mind I bowed out vowing to be a mom that would be more in the background. I wrote a note to each child reminding them of my deep love and appreciation for them and placed it in their box. And I physically started to shift my mind into the new stage of life I was entering. I did this all at a pace that felt comforting to me. I felt in control of the moment and gave the feelings and thoughts room to just BE. 

I questioned God saying, "what could I ever do with more purpose than raising these children?" I felt Him say with gentleness, "everything has purpose!" I thought about that for days as I was going through more closets and drawers. I would often say, "everything has purpose?" And I would always feel a gentle, "yes" to the question every time I asked. As I have finally come to the end of my purging two and a half months later I get it. EVERYTHING has purpose!! Every stage of life has much meaning and much to do. Every time we move to another stage there is always fear that we will not be as good as the last stage or maybe there is regret. But the great insight is that EVERYTHING has purpose, meaning, and much to teach. 

As I leave the stage of journeying back over the last 23 years I am filled with great appreciation that I survived, that I grew up, and that I found myself. I learned how to give myself grace, I learned to love another deeper than I loved myself, and I learned that from this moment forward everything will continue to have purpose! I never thought I would find such great insights by cleaning my closets.                         I think I am ready to turn 50....  

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