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Sunday, January 15, 2017

thoughts on saying yes

So. I am sitting in a little tiny apartment, baby sleeping on my chest in the Ergo, three kids watching Netflix behind me. And I am in Hawaii. Not Greece.

It didn't work. Our trip. To lead the team of volunteers. To a refugee camp in Greece.

Turns out last minute adventures with four kids in tow are not terribly easy to pull off

But, I am realizing as I sit here, ocean to my right, that sometimes its not about the doing but about the willing.

And also. And also. I realize I now have Greece and its people permanently etched on my heart - not just the refugees, certainly them! but also the people of Greece who have suffered so much with economic downturn. They are there. Forever on my mind.

And sometimes. Sometimes. That is all that is needed to move to action. To move to yes.

We have all had this happen as humans and mothers. Our child almost drowns one summer at the pool and we are suddenly huge proponents of learning child rescue techniques. Our brother joins the Navy and we see him in every fresh faced uniformed seaman we pass in the airport.

The Rwandan genocide occurred the year I graduated from highschool. I tried to go on a youth missions trip to Eastern Africa that summer and unlike the past four summers, it just didnt work out. But my heart. Oh how my heart was changed. I wrote my first paper in college on the genocide and cried tears when I read through the thick packet of documentation sent to me by the United Nations (yahoo search was only basic then - HAHA I AM SO OLD. You had to actually write away for information for research.)

That is what this "almost trip" has done to me.

And what's more, I know this isn't the end of the story for us and Greece. And I fully see us living in a little stone house for a month, working, meeting with people, developing some kind of project, homeschooling the kids, even within the next year or two.

It's gonna happen.

And yea. It didnt now. But that is okay.

Because it spurred me into thinking about saying yes. Saying yes to good things. Saying yes to a simpler life. Saying yes to less. Saying yes to opportunities, though scary, and friendships, though hard sometimes. Saying yes, for some of us, to love. Loving ourselves more. Loving our spouses more, or to maybe loving again.Saying yes to being who you are, not who you think you have to be. Saying yes to the body you have, not the body you think you have to have. Saying yes to contentment. To peace. Saying yes to courage.

What are you challenging yourself to say yes to this year?

Find it. Hold on to it. Say yes.

And I am writing now from my teeny tiny hole of an apartment where we have landed after all this, feet first, like cats on the prowl.

And I have an actual little desk, with cubbies for notebooks and thank you cards and decks of cards and colored pencils. I honestly think its the nicest set up I have ever had. And gosh darnit, I think I am going to be able to blog again from this here desk.

And I have a brand new super nice laptop that dada finally was able to get for me. AND IT IS SO LOVELY.

And the ocean is just a glance to my right. Hazy today, palm trees lazily swaying in the evening wind.

And I am content.

I could write a book from this desk, I think.

I think I shall.

And I will lead my little school next quarter, even with the three students we have so far, and I shall start pulling my justice projects together in skype calls around the world.

And gosh darnit. Its all coming together.

And I am going to keep saying yes. Because there is magic in a yes life.

this is going on outside my window right now!!!!!!!



mom has a cool camera???

mom wont let me touch her camera!!!

mom has her camera back out!!!




hazy lovely goodness...

Monday, December 5, 2016

comfort and courage

 You know those people you see traveling around the world, speaking maybe or writing or traveling for fun and they are with their amazing children doing amazingly wonderful things and they look to be amazingly wonderful people.

 I feel like I am trying to impersonate those people.

Like I'm a total fake. Look at me. This is the face of an overwhelmed mama. An overwhelmed mama who is a total fraud.  A frantic fraud.  I am not amazingly wonderful.  My children are not perfect.  I like to eat chocolate and drink wine.  I like to stay up to procrastinate watching sappy shows. Part of me feels like I should be reading the New York Times cover to cover every day. Reading spiritual books to become better. I should be doing something edifying. Filling my soul. I should be reading inspirational stories to my children. Or, something I don't know. Something more.

I don't have everything together! I can't even get my butt off this couch. I need to pack up. I need to raise money.  I need to clean. Holy crap do I need to clean.  I need to write. I have so many emails I need to answer.

 But this is what I am doing. Sitting on the couch. In fact I am laying on the couch. A sweaty hot mess. I went outside I repotted my lemon trees which for some reason are infested with fire ants. I loaded the dishwasher. That was about it. That is all I can handle today. So now I'm laying on the couch. A hot sweaty mess.


 I saw one of those inspirational memes the other day. And it was something like this.

 We can choose comfort. Or we can choose courage.

 I feel like this is where my heart is struggling right now. I want so badly to have a little house a little farm to call my own. I want my own dishes, my own artwork. I want my stuff.

 I want to sit and write and paint and homeschool my children. I want to stay very close to home.

 My heart wants comfort.

 But my heart also knows that this is the year of courage.  Don't get me wrong. Some of the most courageous people I know are stay at home moms. You don't have to be a crazy adventurer to be courageous.

 Courage is taking the next step however. Courage is momentum. Whatever that looks like. Courage is being able to look around at your life and say this isn't all I am here for.

 But I am realizing that even in the courage we cannot be perfect. And part of me so wants to be perfect. I want to pack up my children, have color coordinating luggage, have a Kindle for each perfectly behaved child. Be perfectly at ease in my mind knowing that this is the right thing for us to do right now. That we can spend a month in Greece, learn about the local culture. That it will be excellent. That I will kick ass at this adventuring mama lifestyle.

 And all that might happen. But I am also super duper freaked out.  My anxiety is skyrocketing. I am snappish with the kids. I don't want to do dishes. I don't want to do laundry. I want to lay on the couch and eat chocolate and watch Netflix. My comfort side is rebelling against my courageous side.

 Which is so life right?

Motherhood is courageous. Saying yes to love is courageous. Saying no to the wrong relationship is courageous. But sometimes stepping out of ourselves, stepping on that ledge into the next transition is so freaking scary. Maybe, though, following that resistance  says something. Maybe it's key. Maybe following the resistance is what we need to do. Because that is where life becomes more beautiful.   In those moments of I can't I can't I can't.  We can see and find our own strength and say I can I can I can.

Instead we are letting in the yes. We are letting in the light. Letting in love. Letting in light. Letting in a stronger faith. Saying yes can carry us to greater and bigger and more amazing things.

So mamas. Where is your point of resistance? Forgiving someone in your life? Forgiving yourself? Saying yes to love? Saying yes to adoption? Saying yes to schooling for yourself? Saying yes to a new scary exhilarating career? What is it?

Find your fear, your point of resistance. Chase it down relentlessly, then look it in the eye. And say yes.

I'm going to do it too. Take my kids and dada to Greece. Lead a team of teens. Then come back. Teach. Buy a farm. Write.

And eat lots of chocolate and freak out more than once and cry and wail and procrastinate via Netflix. But I am going to keep leaning in to my point of resistance.

Courage mamas! The best is yet to come!




Saturday, November 12, 2016

ohmygoshiamsooverwhelmed

You know, when you have the next baby and they get past the cooing stage to the moving all the time stage and then your husband is working crazy hours and suddenly you are like....

OH MY GOSH HELP ME SOMEONE I AM DROWNING IN LAUNDRY AND DISHES AND RUNNING AND CHASING AND WORK CALLS AND TRYING TO HAVE A LIFE AND JUST EAT THE DAMN NUGGETS ALREADY

....LIFE.

This. Is. My. Life.

No seriously, eat the damn nuggets.

I am so tired.

Dada is working this crazy hours job. Have I mentioned this? We have made some crazy interesting assortment of friends on the island. Including many in the movie making biz. So he is helping them on a shoot. Turns out movie making is not glamorous. Not when you are part of the crew anyway.

And I am kinda dying.

We are talking 16 hour days up on a mountain with no cell service anywhere.

I AM LOSING MY FRICKING MIND.

And so I stop writing and blogging. Which means I stop processing. Because writing is how I process. And I totally wanted to do the November Novel writing challenge this year. But that requires being able to stay awake past your children. And I cannot. At all. Sometimes even cant before they are asleep. HA.

But, as one does, one must be gracious with oneself when one is overwhelmed.

Sara. In the past when you have had a baby the novel writing month thing has also been impossible. Yes, yes, Sara good point. Now, now Sara. You will write a novel someday. You will get this organization doing good things off the ground. It will be okay.

Grace. To yourself.

Then an ugly election happens and you try to understand. WHAAAAAAT????? And read far too many New York Times articles using up brain power typically reserved for things like remembering to turn around the laundry before it smells nasty.

And all the ugly gets too throaty and raspy inside you.

And so you have to step back. Cancel meetings.

Lift up your hands and let go.

Holding tightly to things (be it plans or emotions) is usually only harmful to ones self. And you are too precious to harm with silly things like unmet expectations for say, a massage promised for one's birthday more than a month ago.

So. Hey. Let's live in the moment. For a moment. Come on Sara. Let's go buy some books with grocery money. Let's take the kids to the park, on a whim, with milk in the car. Lets go out for shaved ice at bedtime, let's go swimming after, in the dark.

Let's let go.

Let's look straight at the future, eyes shining, unblinking, big girl pant(suit) on, and say, yes, you are right, I do not know what the future holds. Or even where we are going to live in three weeks time. But...there are possibilities...and it will be OKAY.

Good, even.

So let's hold teething cranky baby as he sleeps. And slow down.

Honestly, this baby was such a gift to our family at this time in our lives. He MAKES me slow down. He makes us smile. He is at the stage now where we just all sit around and watch him and giggle together. Ten year old little man flips him around, kisses his neck, calls him his "little manny," the girls coo, and Little Green says he is her best friend.

Here Sara, have some more chocolate. It helps, it really does. Write out some to do lists in a new pretty notebook (with attached pen) Pack up the kids for (another) trip to Target. Make a date with a friend for coffee. Day in, day out. The season will be changing soon. All those dreams will come to pass. For now, fill up.

The best is yet to come.

Which isn't to say this isn't the best. But we gotta believe for the best. For the future. For goodness and love to prevail. Even when things seem tough. Right? It's necessary, so necessary.

Sip tea. Light a candle. Pray. Rest. Eat buttery French toast. Go for a walk at twilight. Hold the baby while he naps. Eat an entire bowl of chex mix. Drink good wine. Write to do lists. Connect with a friend. Make a plan to be a changemaker in your corner of the world. Buy someone coffee.

Life is full of moments and opportunities to be kind to others, and ourselves. And every act is worth it.

Hugs mamas. And sorry for the sporadic writing. I miss it. I miss June. She is just super tired. WHERE DOES ONE VACATION WHEN ONE LIVES IN PARADISE??

Target. With an iced latte.

HA.

See you there.





















Thursday, October 20, 2016

life, in check

I suck at blogging one handed. My only down time these days is when holding baby - who refuses to nap on any surface other than my lap, usually suckling the whole time, mama you are there, right? Milk dribbling down his chin. So shush children. Quietly parent, the fan blowing as I whisper out how to spell the word kindness or awkwardly tying bows on dresses, baby pressed to me as I reach around his flailed out body.

And, occasionally, when the laptop isnt in use and I dont have a million emails waiting in my inbox, I think about this blog. So, I take a breath and peck away at the keys, attempting to say something witty or profound about motherhood, parenting, homemaking...life.

But instead my stilted typing keeps my thoughts from coming out.

And I am tired, Another cause of blockage. Baby is teething and wakes frequently, his cries piercing the stillness of our tiny hot condo.

And I feel distracted. The stress of life looming, pressing in on me as thunder rolls up the mountain.

We've only got a few more weeks left in this condo and then we need to find a house.

I can see this house in my mind, I decorate it with unclicked purchases on Amazon, with Pinterest boards called "next house," "design love," "someday."

It feels like "never" today.

We got one of those awful calls today, Little man fell at school, cracked his head on the ground. Dada drove to get him while I slung baby around on my hip. Reloading Facebook over and over online. Opening and closing cupboard doors. Waiting for news,

"He's okay," came the text.

He walked in the door and threw his tall strong frame onto the couch. Dada left to juggle work calls to clients, the stress of life with four kids in the most expensive state in the country eating away at us both.

Little man's eyes flutter.

"I'm tired," he says, as my mama heart seizes up.

I sit next to him, letting him listen to a book on tape, his eyes closed, face pale, nauseated with every turn. My giant boy. So grown up. Yet still my baby. His face just a more chiseled version of that baby, that toddler who stole my heart ten years ago.

Suddenly the worry and stress eating at me seems ridiculous. This. This boy.

Perspective right? My obsession with work stuff and finances and our next house seems...dumb...a wasteful distraction...from this boy.

Life, in check. Life pecked out on the keyboard. It slows down. One keystroke at a time. Slowed down to the rhythm of this heart, beating next to me, this baby in my arms, the other boy child now at the urgent care clinic, the two sisters making cards for the family. "How do you spell loving mama?" she whispers. "What about special?" Love notes delivered in tiptoed steps. Teething baby whimpering in my arms. Legos clinking as they sift through the giant box for just the right piece, clicking their dreams into place one brick at a time.

What is life giving to you? my friend asks as we walk to our cars after drinks last night (!! friends!! going out!! drinks!! yes, I did this!!)

Life giving?

Um.

This? Thinking. Adult conversations. (No talk about kids, we said. Trying and failing to escape potty training teething preschool woes)

Writing. I know this is one. And somehow writing here has gone from twice weekly to twice monthly. I let my blogging mojo stifle, stagnate, then lay forgetten, the half written posts that seem too stupid now clogging up my list of posts on blogger.

But the one handed pecking with the crabby grabbing baby makes this kind of release doubly difficult.

Still.

Oh thank God. As I type daddy texts to say, "He is okay, on our way home."

And I choke back ridiculous tears as images of brain bleeds fade away. (Damn you Google)

And baby screams at me and the cacophony of four kids in a tiny sweltering condo overwhelms me.

But.

But.

Breathe.

I need to write.

So I write here.

And I know you guys get it.

Dreams and hopes and the chaos of the day to day all streaming together into an overwhelming flood.

So we eat chocolate. And brew some iced coffee. And hit post.

And thank God for Friday.

















THE FUTURE IS AWESOME! Yes. YES.









Wednesday, October 5, 2016

vision 4.0

So.

Forty.

Did you know that happened to me?

It did. Last Saturday.

I think I am still processing.

I slept in. Went to a cafe and wrote (new writing project EEEEEK). Then forced children to go to a historical coffee farm open house, at which they had a lot of fun. The day went down hill from there though. Dada took the kids to a birthday party (MOM, the whole CLASS is going to be there. I HAVE TO GO. ....commence sobbing....) I made myself steak and drank a dirty vodka martini, minus the vermouth (so....vodka and olive juice...HAHAHA) and watched Friday Night Lights, episode after episode.

I was a tiny bit put off by how un-special the day felt. Is that selfish of me? I dont know.

But then I realize.

FORTY. IS a big deal.

So, lets celebrate ALL DAMN YEAR.

That is what I intend to do.

Here is what I say.

20s. Discovering who you are. Painfully, very self-absorbedly.

30s. Discovering your place in the world. Putting in your dues. Working your butt off.

40s??? 40s is about DOING SHIT. GETTING IT DONE. Living. Loving. Feeling comfortable in your skin. And looking out into the world, through your kick ass Ray Ban aviators, and saying "HI WORLD. WHAT'S UP?"

I am feeling optimistic.

Clearly. HA.

But I really think this is it.

Forty is standing up in front of a group and casually talking about what you are passionate about (GO GO SOCIAL JUSTICE!) and sitting down and thinking for one fleeting second. Damn, I am good. (Then humbly repenting of pride, of course, due to Midwestern proper upbringing LOL)

But just for that second. You think it.

Yes. I can DO THAT.

Forty, as a mom, is rolling your eyes at your child's meltdown in Target and strolling over to look at sunhats while they put their little selves back together (Okay, fine, I lose my cool a lot too.)

Forty as a mom is putting down your smart phone and playing Uno, even when you feel like crap. Forty is being okay with leaving crabby baby with dada because MAMA NEEDS A NIGHT OUT.

Forty is recognizing that you ARENT going to be a famous XYZ but that's cool, you can still do it anyway, for fun (painting, writing.tennis, etc)

Forty is a poochy stomach (that is where my babies grew!) and not giving a rat's ass about your body in a bikini at the beach.

Forty is wearing what you want. (And being now allowed to embrace Eileen Fisher clothes)

Forty is only one glass of wine, because 6am comes early, and only drinking good wine, because life is too short. Plus crappy wine is full of sulfites and makes your head throb within an hour.

Forty is nursing baby in the Ergo as you browse the kitchen good aisles in Target.

Forty is dinner parties where good food and good conversation play equally important roles. Forty is valuing friendship, treasuring it like a gem. Forty is cutting off toxic relationships, learning the art of boundaries. Forty is letting people be where they are on their own journey, and being okay with that.

Forty is knowing your limits. Forty is knowing your strengths. Forty is knowing you are often your own worst enemy. Forty is staying in on a Friday night and going out on a Wednesday. Forty is saying what you think and having the wisdom to back it up (occasionally.) Forty is also knowing when to keep your mouth shut. Forty is giving advice to younger women, remembering the pain of that stage of life, grateful you made it through, sanity (somewhat) intact. Forty is giving advice and thinking "my gosh, did I just say that??? That's DAMN good advice self!" Forty is knowing there is so much more to learn. Forty is knowing you will never know it all. Forty is giving yourself pep talks. Forty is listening to your 50 year old self. Forty is honoring your 20 year old self.

Forty is golden.

Bring it.




And now, for your entertainment. Here are selections from my pinterest board. Inspiration at 40. Vision 4.0, if you will.




























HAVE BABY WILL TRAVEL

















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