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I am Woman, Hear Me Roar.

October 19, 2012

Sometimes I think I live in a bubble – a content but inspired bubble. I have this notion that I can do anything I want to do. Granted, the things I desire to do with this life are good in nature, not reckless or hurtful to others or myself. My goals are to always better myself and others, physically, mentally, and spiritually, and experience the joys and beauty of this world while I am here. I want peace, kindness and respect from those around me, and I want others to expect and get that from me (Did I just write a Mission Statement?). It’s pretty simple, actually, and I 100% believe I can do and have all that, because I am empowered as a child of God and a sentient being with free will, who also, lives in ‘MERICA!!!

With the presidential race going on there have been recent developments regarding women’s rights. I didn’t even know this was still a concern, but it’s probably my little bubble shielding me from all the unfairness toward women in our society. I’m being completely honest – in my world I am 100% equal with my male counterparts, and I’ve never been aware of being treated as less than such – not in my career, my relationships, my family, or out and about. It’s possible I am just ignorant – most likely in the career arena if what all the hoopla is about is actually true. Maybe I’m being paid tens of thousands of dollars less than my male peers at work with less experience. Maybe if Romney wins the election, that will be the case for even longer. I don’t know, and I don’t personally care. I have a great job, where I enjoy what I do, work with fantastic people, I am thankful for it every day, and I am paid enough to live comfortably in today’s society.

Now I’m not terribly political – I actually hate politics and the campaigns. I don’t believe anything that comes out of anyone’s mouths anymore. I don’t think our government in it’s current state (no matter which party is in power in which department) is actually capable of being really productive and turning the economy around or providing healthcare for everyone or accomplishing world peace. Maybe I’m jaded, maybe I’m too complacent. I think it’s far too big and far too sold out to really serve the people effectively. But, when I hear people getting so bent out of shape over stupid and horribly out of context statements like “You didn’t build that” and “My job is not to worry about [the 47%]” and “I have binders full of women,” I want to to tell the haters to stop whining and trying to change your neighbor’s political views, and just go do something to make this world a better place. I didn’t hear the first two statements when they came out and caused a ruckus, but I did hear the “binders” one and as a woman, there was not one thing there that was offensive to me, except probably that the question was even asked.

In my little Girl Power Bubble I like to imagine that what if everyone stopped looking at what everyone else was doing or not doing, and asked the simple questions: What can I do with my life? What isn’t going well that I need to find a better way? What am I passionate about that I should do more of? Who has a problem that I can fix for them? What if we all got off our bums, and instead of watching the talking heads inaccurately cover the latest campaign drama, we went for a walk to improve our health or read some non-fiction or learn a new skill. What if we took groceries over to a friend who was jobless? What if we took the time to map out the plan of what could make our dreams a reality? What if [gasp] instead of giving our money to some politician’s campaign, we donated it to a charity we believe in? The list is endless of the productive things we could be doing with our time instead of moaning about soundbites and campaign speeches and how the next president is going to suck everyone’s life or money away. We, as women, as men, as humans here in the United State of America – we have the power and abilities to change this country for the better. If we sit and wait for someone else to do it for us, we will never be satisfied.

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating ignorance or not showing up to vote. Do your best to learn what is real and what isn’t, and vote for the people that best represent your values for all leadership positions. But don’t put your faith and hopes and dreams for your life and others’ in those people and their promises, and please don’t waste away our short time on this Earth fretting about it. Go do something good…pay it forward..be all that you can be…ask not what your country can do for you…be the wind beneath someone’s wings…carpe diem…git ‘er done. Okay I’ll stop now. Signed, Polyanna.

To My Life Changer

July 30, 2012

Lately, every time I find a few spare moments and decide to write a blog post in that time, I can’t type a word. I think I’ve lost my edge for writing after all these years. I’m kinda sad…but yet the reason I can’t think of anything to write is because I’m content. Contentment brings peace, which means I am perfectly happy falling asleep. I’ve got no problems to solve or lessons to share. Nothing to prove or explain. Life is good, and I am good with that.

But today I was inspired by two separate incidents to share something. Those two things could have been related, but I’m not certain. The first was the quote “Don’t let the life changer in your day to day, go unnoticed ” (Jonathan Haynes). The second, was when a friend gave me a shout-out as one of her inspirations to become a strong healthy woman. She placed me up there with her husband and her sister-in-law, two pretty amazing people. I felt honored and humbled, to say the least. Reading her words made me realize just how much impact my actions and words have had, even if just on a single person. And even if just for her, it is a victory. It reminds me yet again of this wonderful quote: 

You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. –Marianne Williamson

So it’s my turn to give a shout-out to my life changer, my amazing husband Ronnie. I don’t even want to think where I would be today without him. While God supplies our blessings, Ronnie has been the human driver of the joy in my life. Without him, there would be no Skyler. Her little nasal voice and silly sense of humor are music to my ears and keep me laughing. She is the wonderful little person she is not only by his blood, but by his strong presence in her life. They adore each other and it makes my heart want to burst.

He is quick witted, quick to temper, and quick to forgive and forget. I admire his ability to move on so easily after an argument, to get back on the positive track. I long to be like him in that area, which I struggle so much to do. Thank God for his patience with me, he is always waiting with a smile and a hug when I finally unshackle myself from my stubborn grudges.

He asked me at our anniversary what I loved most about him. The easy answer that I’ve always given is his sense of humor. It’s been a constant since I’ve known him. But I added a second item this time, which is something I’ve learned about him over the last couple years, and that is his tenacity and drive. He has a persistent desire to do better. He sees the potential in others and himself. That energy drove him to leave the security of a government job to join the corporate fitness industry, and then to branch out again on his own to really change lives by owning his own gym. Each and every person that walks through his door is someone he sees on the verge of change. If they will let him, his desire and talent is to show them their potential. And so many have taken that chance and found more to themselves than they ever thought possible. But on top of challenging others to be better, he walks the walk himself. His internal drive to be better is like nothing I’ve ever seen. His work ethic is unfaltering and he knows no such thing as defeat.

I think the thing that makes him so inspiring is that he holds all of us to the same standard he holds himself. He believes more than so many of us, that we are capable of so much more. As with others, he challenges me to improve, and doesn’t put up with my excuses. He knows my insecurities but doesn’t believe in them. If he did, it would make them real and binding. Instead, he accepts me and loves me for who I am now, but always helps me keep moving in the direction of who he knows I can be. And while I am inspired and continuously amazed by the impact he has on the other lives he touches, I am thankful and proud to be the luckiest one, since I can call him mine.

Blog Hiatus

June 4, 2012

This is the longest I’ve gone between blog posts in over four years, since I started blogging sometime in 2007. I used to always find time to write, even if just once a week, often so I could collect and package my thoughts, but also so I wouldn’t forget all the moments that come and go quickly in this life. Lately I’ve been busy, but surprisingly more, for lack of better words, sane. I think sometimes blogging was a way to bring back my sanity when I felt so out of balance. If I wrote it down, I could turn it into a story, with a beginning, an end, and a moral.

Something has changed and I don’t need that now. I don’t feel the need to package my life on this electronic journal. Is it because I’m spouting random thoughts on Facebook to much of the same audience? Maybe…and I know there are certain cross country family members who would love to read more. But, life happens. Other things take up my time now, and sometimes it’s just not worth staying up 30 minutes later to rattle off some thoughts on life. Life is good, and I don’t feel the need to prove it here, though I do hope to continue this some, at least for posterity.

So what is up with our life? A lot of the same – Skyler is busy learning tons and bounding with energy and stories. She is moving to Red Room at preschool, which is the big kid room, pre-Kindergarten. She’s pretty excited. Her little attitude is going strong right now, as she argues with everything Ronnie or I tell her. Sometimes it’s just hilarious, but sometimes it challenges my patience like no other. She knows how to push the buttons and doesn’t hesitate. But the other side is that she is so sweet. She has a nurturing personality, still loves to take care of everyone. She’s still my girl, and my best little friend.

Ronnie and I are staying incredibly busy with both of our work. His inevitably takes up a lot of both of our “social” lives, but in a good way. We are at the gym a lot, or doing fun things with gym members a lot, or planning events or equipment purchases or just talking “shop.” It’s still an exciting adventure, but has become much more business as usual, and continues to be a blessing in so many ways. I can’t thank God enough for where we are with this, and the joy it has brought to us.

We’re beginning to look at the year ahead of us, with one big looming project, and that is moving. We’ve long outgrown this house, and want to find our next home before Skyler starts kindergarten. We’re even seriously considering keeping this one as a rental, as the market in our area has just not picked up enough to get anything out of it as an investment if we sold. Our neighborhood is prime for rentals, being near KU Med and UMKC both. It’s a huge thing to start thinking about, but whether we rent or sell, we’ve got some home improvements to do this next year, so it’s time to get serious if we’re going to make this happen. My chest gets a little tight thinking about it, both from a stress and sentimental level. Oh well, one thing at a time.

So here we are, with a few paragraphs to some up our life, for now. Hopefully it won’t be so long between posts next time, but who knows? I can’t find my other shoe half the time…

Making It Work

April 26, 2012

It’s the key to a fulfilled life, and I’m not saying I have it figured out, but we’re on track to get it done. We’ve figured out what our priorities are, and we stick to them. And with that, there is a lot of crap that just doesn’t get done (like a pristine house). Maybe that’s okay. Maybe we are missing out on some things. I’m not sure, but we learn as we go.

Right now, this is how we make it work:

I blog less frequently. Sometimes it’s just because we have so much going on that I don’t have a bored moment to process and compose my thoughts. But also, it’s because I’d rather spend my blogging time hanging out with Skyler or having a much needed conversation with Ronnie. Or, just vegging out, not having to think. I think way too much when I write. I do think my overall higher level of happiness has lead to less frequent blogging, because I’m not trying to process my confusion and conflict so much. I’m just happy, and don’t feel the need to explain it.

Taking turns – We don’t have traditional family dinners every night. In a way, I wish we could. But it just isn’t feasible in our life, so why worry about that tradition and stress on it? During the week, Ronnie and I take turns with Skyler-time. I have her in the mornings and right after school. Once I head to his gym to get my workout and “me” time for the day, he takes her home and they have Daddy/Daughter time while finishing up dinner prep and eating together. I get home late, we have brief family time together, and then take turns again putting Skyler to bed. It’s our little family rhythm, and it works. Friday nights are typically “family date night” where the three of us make a big deal about going out together for dinner and sometimes dessert. It’s a much needed de-stress time at the end of the week where we can all relax and enjoy family time. It’s perfect for us.

Food preparation – I plan healthy meals for the week but we often take turns actually cooking them, or at least share the steps. I might prep some veggies and meat in order for him to come home and cook them, or put something in the oven so he can come home and take it out. It takes coordination and planning, but it means a lot less chaos in our lives and the time and energy to do more of the things we love when we’re working together.

Partnership – Ronnie and I are truly partners in our relationship and leadership of the family. We don’t always agree, but we always find a way to work together. We’ve figured out what we respect and admire about each other, especially our differences. I know when he is contemplating something, what I can offer that can counterbalance the knowledge and feelings he already had. And vice versa – we provide each other checks and balances in everything we do. We’re not opposites in everything, but enough things to round each other out, and enough in common to “get” each other most of the time. He is my partner in everything, life, love, parenting, business. We consult each other on every part, no matter how different we may think.

I dont’ know if these are really secrets, but sometimes I do wonder in our chaotic life how we make it work and stay so happy. All I can guess is those things are part of it. And we like to have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s not that hard really…

Where Did I Come From?

April 10, 2012

Anyone reading this who knows my usual posts probably think this is about one of those tricky parenting conversations. It’s actually not, at all. We’ve had those, though, and they are tricky! And funny. And Ronnie and I tend to explain very differently so Skyler is pretty thoroughly confused at this point, but nevertheless, that’s not where I’m going with this.

I have had some sort of crazy and amazing journey this last year or so, and I guess you could call it an awakening of sorts. I’ve always been an introspective, very self-aware person, who thought I knew myself pretty well. But turns out, I didn’t really know myself very well. I only knew the “safe” person I had allowed myself to be. Someone careful to never offend or get hurt. Never act or sound stupid. Only take minor risks if carefully calculated. Calm, reserved, nice, conservative.

I can’t really say those are bad things; that person was a hard worker, loved her family and friends, and wanted a life of joy which she often experienced. But there was something missing, and it wasn’t the obvious assumption of spirituality. Yes, we don’t go to church like we should, and I know I’m not spending remotely the amount of time in that part of my life as a Christian girl should, but I still talk to God every day, praying for wisdom and thanking for blessings. I have always been well aware of that spiritual presence in my life and thankful to know it. The thing missing wasn’t even really a thing, as much as it was a feeling.

But things started changing when Ronnie took the plunge and decided to open his own business. In and of itself that was a risk and an adventure that I knew would change our lives. I just didn’t realize how much and how positively it would. Watching him turn his passion into the now bursting at the seams community at Sky’s Limit CrossFit has been inspiring to me. And I didn’t just stand by and watch him, supporting from home, I dove right into his dream and immersed myself in it, and it is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

On the surface, I’m currently in the best physical shape of my life, capable of things I’ve never before known how or been able to do. And that’s freakin’ exciting for a thirty-something mom who figured her physical “peak” was her wedding day after completing P90X. But all that is just surface stuff. It goes way deeper. What I have learned about myself in this past year has been the most amazing part of this awakening.

I can change, I can learn, I can always get stronger and be better. I can take risks and survive them. And I’m learning to like taking some risks! I can do way more than I think I can when I think I’ve reached my limit. I can fail, and then I can get back up and conquer. I used to fear and dislike change, of nearly any sort, but now I see it as a new challenge and opportunity to grow. I am confident, I am strong, I am smart. Let’s get colorful – I’m kind of a BAMF, as my husband would say, in my own way. God has blessed me with some unique gifts, mentally and physically, and I’m finally learning to see myself this way and allow myself to be even more than I am today.

This awakening, while beginning in the gym, has touched every area of my life. My outlook has gone from mostly pessimistic to mostly positive. I’m more alert, more capable, and more in tune with the crazy life that surrounds me. I swear that colors are more vibrant, music is more beautiful, and love is that much sweeter. I am a better, happier, more confident person. I’m not just surviving this crazy life, I’m embracing it and making it mine.

The only two things about this new appreciation that sometimes bring me down a bit are that I wish I could have found it sooner, and I wish everyone could find this! I think the quote that sums up my journey and these last two concerns is the following, my favorite quote that makes my heart hurt in a wonderful way when I read it.

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” –Marianne Williamson

This little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine…

My Girlfriend

March 28, 2012

She loves Mickey Mouse, but especially Goofy. I love how she cracks up at his clumsy attempts to remember how to say “Mousketools,” he can never get it right! And despite my best efforts to instill some Tomboy in her, she loves all things princess more and more every day. She comes home and changes into either Rapunzel or Snow White costume, and loves to walk out and pose for me to tell her low lovely she looks. Lately she’s obsessed with any dress, though, foregoing her jeans and even comfy pants so she can wear a dress or skirt to school every day.

She loves to draw hearts and cut out hearts to give to loved ones, whether family or preschool friends. She even drew a heart for Ronnie and I, found some tape, and taped it on the wall above our headboard.

She still loves to snuggle or hang out on my lap, and asked to every day. I say “this is my favorite thing,” and she says “me too.” When she goes to bed at night, we have a tradition of talking about what we did that day, sometimes goofing around, I scratch her back (she says I do it the best of Daddy and her Grandma’s), and then hug, kiss, hi-five, and goodnight.

We listen to the radio every day in the car on the way to work/preschool, and if a song either of us loves comes on the radio, I peek at her in the rearview mirror, and her eyes light up while we celebrate the excitement of hearing a favorite song. If I forget to make eye contact with her, she calls me out on it.

We stay up late to watch movies together, starting Pirates of the Caribbean and Horton Hears a Who even after 10 pm. She stays awake till the end as I fight to keep from knodding off.

I love the relationship we have – she’s my little friend. She makes me crazy sometimes, but in the end, seeing her smile makes every trial worthwhile. I hope we always have this.

Things We Don’t Suck At

March 13, 2012

Sometimes when I’m feeling inadequate in life, I remind myself of the things that are going well. It’s easy to get down on myself for things like our constantly messy home, the cluttered seats and floor of my car, my overall lack of organization or craftiness, and other things in life that we just can’t seem to balance out. This list goes on, but I’m not in the mood to whine about those things today. I’m focusing on what this family does well.

Friday nights – The last several months our Friday nights have become a tradition: family night out to dinner. We rarely eat dinner together during the week, so I look forward to this very much. We’ve even been sticking with the same restaurant, our favorite, Beer Kitchen. Their burgers are unmatched, and let’s just say sweet potato fries with bacon aioli in which to dip. It doesn’t get much better, and I love that we do this together.

Cooking/eating – So far the first two things we do well as a family have to do with food. Well, we love food! What’s great is that Ronnie cooks well, and now I am a good cook too. We can share the efforts in the kitchen, so when I plan meals for the week (which I’ve also gotten skilled at doing – yay for organization points!), I try to plan meals around our schedules in a way that we can split efficiencies. Some days I’ll have Ronnie throw stuff in the crockpot when he comes home for lunch. Other days I’ll get veggies chopped and everything set out so he can make a stir fry when I head to the gym for a workout, or I’ll have something already baking in the oven and ready to go when he gets home. On the weekends, he cooks us eggs and bacon. He also gives me great ideas for what to cook, and is willing to try everything I come up with. I am truly proud of our efforts to cook and eat nutritious, real food, and I hope Skyler grows up with a love for good food, an appreciation for variety, and a strong, healthy body.

Music – We love music in this house. We always have the radio on in the car or a CD playing, and even Skyler belts out her favorite tunes, which are usually some of Ronnie’s or my favorite tunes as well. We never really played any of the kiddie tunes for her, she’s just grown up listening to what we listen to. Saturday mornings, I blast a playlist of our favorite songs, and we dance around the living room and sing as we attempt to clean up the house. It’s terribly inefficient, but it helps make cleaning fun.

Fitness – Since Ronnie opened the gym, our life has revolved around fitness. And I love that! It has become a normal and joyful part of our life, not a task I dread. It’s just part of life, and Skyler is growing up with this as the norm. She does burpees and push-ups for fun. If I’m stretching at home, she mimics every move alongside me. I hope she grows thinking that being active is the standard, fitness is fun, and that she is capable of anything she sets her mind to. I’m learning all this finally, after over thirty years. The new appreciation for life, health, and the things I’m capable of has been amazing, and I wonder where this part of me was all my life?

Life is busy, and there is a lot of hard stuff. We definitely have our fair share of stress in this family, and I’m always wishing we could get our act together in all the traditional ways. But, somehow, with the things above and so much more, we make it work. And despite our messy house and other insecurities, I think we are actually pretty good at life. At least we don’t suck at it.

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