Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Hills are Alive

This past week, as we’ve vacationed in Sunriver, I’ve had several opportunities to smile and reflect on our ever-changing status as parents.  My runs are a great opportunity to watch other parents in action.  The slow bicycle-crawl with children riding with training wheels or just learning to ride “two-wheeler”.  The admonitions on the bike path to “Stay to your right.”  I smile and run on, aware that, for me, those days are past.  Now I’m more concerned with encouraging the kids to leave the comfort of the couch and just get out on their bikes.

Friday, in the last mile of my long run, I came to the killer hill near our house.  I had already decided that I’d be walking, not running, up the hill, when I spotted a mom and a little boy up ahead.  The little guy was riding a bike with training wheels and he was pedaling pretty hard trying to get started up the hill.  As I approached, I overheard Mom ask him, “Do you want to walk your bike up the hill?”  I came up behind them and said, “Would you mind if I gave him a little help?” and indicated that I would hold on to the back of his bicycle seat and push him up.  Mom agreed and thanked me profusely.  As we made our way up the hill (I was actually going faster than I would have had I walked – between his pedaling and my pushing, we were making good time) with Mom continuing to thank me, I told her that I have a lot of kids and I’ve pushed all of them up that hill over the years.  I went on to say that now they’re older and no longer need me to help them get to the top, so it was fun to be able to help her little guy.

As I was relaying this story to my husband he laughed and said, “They may not need you to push their bicycle up the hill, but they still need you.”  I realized that, while our children no longer need me to push their bikes up a geological hill, there are plenty of figurative hills that they still need help ascending.

There is a saying in Korea, “Over the mountains, there are mountains”.  While this can be interpreted negatively, it can also say that there are achievements after achievements out there – lots of opportunities to strive, succeed and enjoy the view from the top, before trying again.  For my family, I will always be available, whenever they need me, to give them a little push along the way.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

This Day

I’ve begun keeping a gratitude journal.  I’ve tried in the past and haven’t been successful.  This time, I’m not stressing over a missed day here or there.  The idea is to write in it as often as possible, meaning as often as I remember, and to enjoy the process.  I’m actually writing in two journals:  one is more of an overall narrative journal and includes my gratitude list for all types of feelings and happenings in my life – both the good and bad (check out the book, Make Miracles in Forty Days, by Melody Beattie for more information on this theory), the other is an app on my phone that is strictly a list of gratefulness – I keep this one positive – and a star-rating system for the day (I’m using HappyTapper’s Gratitude Journal).  I write in my journal-style-anything-goes gratitude journal in the morning and I use the positive-items-only phone app in the evening.

After several months of following this program, I had an “aha” moment that sounds a bit trite, but that has truly changed the way I look at each day.  I had been thinking about someone who had died too young, someone who was cheated on their total number of days and I realized that I am so grateful to have made it to 54.  Beyond the good and the bad that might be happening, beyond the joys and blessings in my life, what I am truly most grateful for is the opportunity to be alive for this day, to have woken up this morning, to have this day available to me.  Since having this realization, the first item on my gratitude list, both morning and night, is, This Day, sometimes it’s, The Gift of This Day.  Like I said, this sounds a bit trite, but realizing how special it is to be here for this day has changed how I go about my day.  Bad news?  I’m thankful to be here to hear it.  Irritations?  I’m thankful to be here to experience them.  Happy moments?  Of course, I’m thankful to be able to enjoy them.  Regardless of what comes my way, what mood I’m in, I am truly grateful for This Day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

If I Only Had A Minute

I planned my life, including the houseful of kids
Noise, laughter, messes
It’s joyful
But still my soul whispers
If I only had a minute

I planned my life, but sometimes plans go awry
Work, worries, detours
It’s stressful
And still my soul whispers
If I only had a minute

I planned my life, including the dogs, cats and a hedgehog
Hairballs, dirty footprints, wagging tails
It’s joyful
But still my soul whispers
If I only had a minute

I planned my life – professional career, volunteerism, writing
Check, check, when is there time
It’s frustrating
And because of that, my soul still whispers
If I only had a minute