Friday, January 15, 2016


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I’m not going to lie that I stole this list from Tsh Oxenrider. I started her book on my trip, mostly because I’d downloaded it months ago and had already spent my $10 per month Kindle budget. It was just sitting on my iPad, calling my name.

She’s a smart lady, that Tsh.  A culturally aware, spiritually rooted, local-food loving mama in Central Oregon. I think we’d get along swimmingly.

It never ceases to amaze me that in my quest toward the movement for slowness, I keep finding more things to add to my list to be a simpler person living a slower life. The irony is not lost on me, folks.

Adopt a cleaning routine.
Have a weekly meeting for budget review and scheduling.
Work out three times per week, walk or get outside the other days.
Make craft activities for the kids.
Look into sign language or Spanish classes for the kids .
Keep the house clean.
Keep the car clean.
Keep your heart clean.

It seems that, in my quest to be better, I automatically equate it with the need to do more. Logic tells me that it is precisely the opposite. The journey in-between, however, is where I struggle.

She wrote this list on page 22 of her book. I wanted to mark it with a flashing beacon and paint it on my pillow. Maybe osmosis will make things happen if I’m not disciplined enough to do it on my own.

One thing was apparent: going with the flow and living like everyone else does not automatically guarentte a slower life. My nudge from God was true; living slower requires living with intention. And to live with intention means to make little daily choices that resonate deeply in our souls—that make sense deep in our being and ring true…

These five slices represented the major categories of our family’s daily decisions:
·      Food
·      Work
·      Education
·      Travel
·      Entertainment

I’ve adapted it for our own family. Knowing myself, I’ll probably forget I wrote it in May and rediscover it again in November, only to attempt reimplementation in 2017 (by the way, how the heck did it get to be 2016, yesterday it was 1993). But nonetheless, I’m really going to try this time. I’m feeling all sorts of giddy at the power of togetherness we will be forced to have in this new environment. The possibilities are endless and all I want this time around is limits. Intentional choices. Mindful eating. Purposeful spending. Quality time. Margin.

I know we don’t need to move to Costa Rica for that.

(First FOOD, coming soon)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Flying toward 2016.

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I’d guess we are about 30,000 feet above the ground now. I’m here, in my pleather seat, plucking away on the laptop keys—just as I would be sitting at my dining room table at home. The fact that I was catapulted into the sky, enclosed in a metal object with wings is totally lost on me.

I’m not sure why I’m writing, actually. It used to be cathartic for me—a release of sorts. I used to find solace in the words, the familiar pecks of the keyboard, the glow of the computer screen after the house was quiet.

It has become something else though: foreign.

As much as I hate to admit it, I just don’t have the drive to write anymore. Which is honestly odd because I have sentences & paragraphs, stories to be told swirling in my head all day. But at the end of the day, when the children are nestled & the floors are wiped (or not, lets be honest) & the dinner is fixed & the lunches are packed, most of the time I feel like I don’t have much more to give—to God, to my husband, to my home, to myself.

It’s what this is, you know—the giving of myself. But it is also for myself—something I oft forget in the bustle of the day. Encapsulated in the drive to get things done is also a desperate echo to slow down. And, as I’ve keenly noticed after packing up our millions of belongings into two mobile storage containers, the drive to have more on a daily basis (I look at Pinterest too, you guys), oddly results in the desire to own less.

This crux—the junction in the road where either something has to change or something else will give—its where I’m at.

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I just finished a medical conference in Las Vegas. My brain is exploding with information. I’m still processing, still computing—still figuring out what it means for our lives. We mostly talked about nutrition—which is exactly what I was hoping it would be & nothing I was hoping they would say. Knowledge is power, so they tell us. But now because I know, I have to decide if we are going to make a change (a big change). The truth is that something has to change or something else will give. Maybe not now. Probably not tomorrow. But in 30 or 50 years, we’ll know whether or not the choice was the right one.

We moved—did you know that? We packed up our stuff & drove 130 miles south to Wine Country (in the desert). We are not completely settled (those two mobile storage containers still hold 95% of our belongings), but we are working on it. Housing is more expensive, preschools are more expensive. They say the school districts are better. My pessimism tells me that better schools doesn’t mean the kids are better or brighter or more Spiritually successful. That’s home-grown, I think. And plus, the sunsets are prettier here.

Honestly, I was a bit embarrassed about how much stuff we discovered we had when we moved. Old houses are awesome, except when the full unfinished basement acts as a storage-dumping ground. I could pretend we were put-together upstairs; but it always felt like an episode of Hoarders was fixin’ to be filmed in our basement. Somehow, the pleasure in buying kept overriding the logic that we have enough—in our home, in each other, in our faith. Funny how that happens. Its like Black Friday every day at the Dollar Tree or Target or Goodwill—wanting more & buying more & getting the deals & saving money (but not really because you are still buying)—shortly after expressing sentimental thanks for what you already have. I’m guilty, too.

I noticed an odd pattern, actually; probably akin to dropping spinning plates. Or maybe better: If you give a mouse a cookie. I would let dust bunnies accumulate & intentionally ignore the toys on the floor. It birthed a disappointment with our space, so I would feel the need to leave the house. Leaving the house took me to the coffee shop (I had coffee at home), the grocery store (we had a full fridge), a thrift store (what could I possibly need?), or the Dollar Spot (it’s only a dollar! Right!? …right?!!!????). Then, by some stupid miracle or severe lack of willpower, I would come home with another bag of stuff—snacks or pastries or stacking bins for which I had no purpose. …and having snacks around meant that I would eat them. Following, I would feel bad about eating them, then lazy…& I would let the dust bunnies accumulate & intentionally ignore the toys on the floor.

…Something has to change or something else will give.

And all this rambling finally gets me to January 1. I’ve never been one for “New Years Resolutions”. I think they are corny, actually. I mean, really, every day is a new day. But this year, with all the changes in our lives, I’m feeling a bit sentimental about 2016. It just dawned on me that had we continued our pattern of babies, I would be bursting with pregnancy right now. And for as much as I’m loving having my body back from growing & feeding those babes, I’m a little torn about what is next for us. This move was a big decision. And for the first time in years, there are no major life changes planned. Medical education is over (except for yearly CME, but that’s a treat).  Jon is done with higher education. New jobs are settling. No new family members on the immediate horizon.

Maybe this time, “just hanging in the balance”, is purposefully placed right here. Right about the time that something has to change or something else will give we are handed the golden opportunity to make that change. To re-evaulate, re-locate, re-think decisions for our family & our daily lives. And maybe most of all, in a way, to re-define ourselves. Not to abandon who we were before (in lots of ways I liked that version of us), but to recalculate the trajectory we are on, check our proverbial parachutes, & take the faith-based jump into the unknown & the uncomfortable free fall that awaits.

Actually, come to think of it, parachutes & free-falling probably aren’t the best analogies to use when I’m stuck inside a metal tube flying at 30,000 feet.

New Year, here we come.

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