Being Grateful: The Beauty of Fall

The crisp air of the fall has set in on us in Park City.  I love all things that come with fall.  

  
 Yellow leaves.

Sweatshirts.

Wearing boots.

Football.

All things pumpkin.

Dark mornings.

Mountain biking on top of the leaves.

Soccer with our kids.

The first fire in the fireplace.

The first frost on the mountain lawn.

Red wine returns. 

Transition.

School routines begin.

The first snow in Park City.   

What I love most is that I live in a place where we not only experience it, but where it is majestic. Where the beauty of the season turning helps you to recognize the passing of time, and be thankful for what you have lived.  I am grateful.  

Being Grateful: Preschool Graduation

Time is such a hard thing to keep in perspective.

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Sometimes you wish it away, like those moments you are sick in bed with the flu and you just want your sickness to be over with.  You hope beyond hope that time will pass faster so you can get back to normal.

Sometimes you wish to relive it, like those moments you reminisce about your past.  The “remember when…” moments that seem to grow in frequency as you get older.

Sometimes you wish for more of it, like those moments when your list of things to do is longer than time allows.

Sometimes it moves slow, but for me most times it moves fast.

After watching Katharine’s preschool graduation yesterday, I am simply grateful for the time I have had being a mommy to this precious little one.  It is amazing how she has grown and what a wonderful caring, little person she has become.

I Want Peace

“I just wanna make you laugh.  I just wanna see that smile.  Babe, we’re only here, oh, for a little while.  I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep.  I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace.” – O.A.R.

We have been fighting sickness in our house for what feels like the entire winter.  One of us gets sick, then the other, then Mom which takes everything down.  On this late-April weekend in Park City, rain and snow have graced us with their presence waking up to a 3-4″ layer of white on everything, including our spring tulips.  We decided to take it as a weekend just to hunker down in our house and be at “peace.”  No commitments to anyone, no plans, just each other.

This morning as I prepared some bacon and eggs for breakfast, Matthew was building a whole scene in the living room – Dusty Crophopper was being rescued by the Fire and Rescue helicopter while Katharine was preparing for class at her art table.  She was a 13 year old that can drive to school, and is practicing her cursive writing.  In this land of pretend, O.A.R’s song “Peace” came on our stereo and both kids starting belting out the above lyrics almost subconsciously.

What a good memory to capture on my blog.  I am grateful to have the life that I have.  Today it isn’t marketing meets motherhood, it is must motherhood and being at peace.

Being Grateful: Celebrate the Moments

Sometimes during the tantrums, the sibling fights over toys, and during the crazy schedule I try to run, I can forget the joy of what I have in front of me.  This weekend when we were out to brunch with Matthew, I captured Matthew at his finest.  He is kind, energetic, inquisitive (what’s that mom?), and loving.  His eyes tell stories and he makes me smile.

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This last week at work I had the opportunity to hear Chris Williams speak of his personal story of letting go.  He lost his wife and two children to a drunk driving accident almost ten years ago.  He spoke of forgiveness and moving forward with his life.  It was an unforgettable moment for me to listen to his story.  His humbleness, quiet power and gratefulness for the life he has lived helped me to take a deep breath.   How many times do I harbor anger for something that has happened to me?  How many times have I carried this frustration throughout my days, letting it inadvertently control me?  Chris framed forgiveness as a selfish act, saying that the act of letting go helped him to move forward.  Wow.  What a powerful thing to remember when things don’t go as I want them to go.  Here is to hoping that I never have to face something as tragic as Chris to learn this.

For now, I am grateful for the moments.  This weekend we enjoyed so much fun together…skiing together, playing pretend together, building castles and jails for Matthew’s infamous “mean guy” together, and snuggling as a family of four squeezed into our queen-sized bed.  Sometimes life seems hard, sometimes I have no energy, but always I feel lucky.  Lucky to have this little Matthew in my life, lucky that Katharine is his big sister, and incredibly blessed to have Jon to share it with me.

Being Thankful: A Purposeful Direction of Thought

I began writing this post on Thanksgiving Day as I was feeling I needed to have the obligatory “I am thankful for…” post on the blog.  It was rough.  Although I am thankful for so many things, what I found myself doing was writing what I thought I should write versus the things that were on my mind.  The original intention of this blog was to write from my heart and my head, and not to write what I thought people wanted to hear or what I “should” write.  So, for that day and for the last week or so, I stopped writing.

Once I lived through this writing crisis, I became increasingly more skeptical.  All of the “Thank You” messages that I saw in my Facebook feed and of all of the articles I was reading on other blogs about thankfulness didn’t seem authentic.  I wondered if those were real thoughts from people or if they were just posting/writing about what they thought they should say much like I had been about to do.  So much of our world today is about broadcasting our social “status.”  Therefore, how much are people broadcasting thankfulness versus being truly thankful?

Tonight, I am a little less skeptical.  I have decided that this broadcasting of thankfulness is a good thing.  We all have a lot going on in our lives every day and night.  Our brains can get filled with worry, stress, to-do lists, work, family and so much more.  Being thankful requires a purposeful direction or redirection of these thoughts and energy toward celebrating the good in our lives.  By being purposeful, does that mean it is isn’t real?  I don’t think so.  The forced thought, and ultimately broadcasting of these thoughts, helps to move my mental energy toward what is good in my life and away from what may be dragging me down.

As a way to direct my thoughts toward thankfulness, I will start another category on this blog describing things in my life that I am thankful for.  Look for this, coming soon!

So Thankful…Relationships Make Me Stronger

Time with my girlfriends is what my soul needed this weekend.  I was able to sneak away from Park City to Denver to meet my sister (Hilary) and one of my best friends (Laurian).  It had been about 18 months since our last girls weekend and probably months since I had time for longer than a 5 minute conversation with either of these ladies.  Life just seems to get in the way on a daily basis.  That said, it is amazing that despite this, girlfriends just pick up where we left off.  There is a lot of life to catch up on, but it always feels like it was just yesterday that we did this on a regular basis.

So, after a weekend of food, drink, dance, spa, catching up and as much sleep as we could squeeze in, I head home thankful.

First, thankful for my dear friend and my sister.  These are amazing women who take on life’s daily challenges with confidence.  Time together makes me realize how lucky I am to have kind, strong women around me.  By no means do we have it all figured out, but we get along so well because we aren’t ever scared to try to figure it out.  The other thing I realize when I am with these strong ladies is how infrequently I let my guard down whether on purpose, or by accident.

Second, thankful for my husband and my kids.  All weekend, I got updates from them and they seemed truly happy.  In one conversation with them, Katharine said “we have an action-packed day planned.”  Jon is a remarkable person, husband and father.  He truly went all-in with our kids this weekend to help them have fun and to help me not worry.  It takes so much effort to entertain a feisty 2 and 4 year old for a weekend, and he does it with grace and true care.  The reason I have these wonderful kids is because I found a partner who is truly a partner.

Finally, thankful for this life of mine.  Although it feels sometimes like I am just hanging on for dear life, dear it certainly is.  I often wonder how this all happened.  How did this shy girl from small-town Ohio, who didn’t seem to know what she wanted, get what she wanted?  I still truly don’t have an answer for that, but after a weekend like this I realize that much of it comes from the relationships that I have with amazing people who help create strength.   I am thankful for this strength around me.