Monday, November 24, 2008

giving thanks

i love this time of year and all that it entails...i could do without the excessive commercialism that kicks off the day after halloween, but ive become an expert at ignoring that. i love the effort we make to spend these holidays with family and friends regardless of the distance and the questions it has sparked within our little peach as we talk about all that we have and are thankful for. ive been challenged by my friend to fast for a period of time this season to remind myself what real hunger and want feels like at a time when everything to include great meals seem to flow in excess. to briefly experience a fraction of the suffering that millions live and die with everyday. and to reflect on the multitude of blessings that define my existence.

i heard a great message this sunday at church, one that is worth sharing and meditating on. real gratitude is not dictated by our circumstances, but rather Gods presence in them. living that out would mean our gratefulness wouldnt shift or change. ever. not during the moments when we are healthy and loved nor when we are grieving and alone. imagine if we all lived that out. imagine how different our days would look. how different our hearts would look. imagine if we really just lived a life of gratitude to God simply because we believed Him when He promised to never leave us. to trust and accept that in spite of where we are, we are always close to Him. what if we chose to obey Him when He commanded us to give thanks in everything. not everything joyful. not everything pleasant. simply everything. how amazing would it be to experience that kind of gratitude. it would be impossible to overlook that kind of life. it would be impossible to ignore. it would be so counter to what the norm is, it couldnt help but be significant and even life changing for those around you. it is what i long for. a life lived with significance, with grace and humility, courage and hope and above all, gratitude.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


you know youre life has taken a turn when your new moment of victory is not dropping an expletive when your two year old pulls back her toe nail and says, 'look, mommy, i have an owie...see it goes all the way back like this'. aaaaahhhhhh.

and this would not be the only noteworthy victory from the week...patrick and i pulled off a heist worthy of a james bond flick by extracting two pacis guarded as well as fort knox with just a little help from the paci fairy. oh yes. the withdrawal has been slightly better than a heroin addict in detox. no shakes or sweats, but a plethora of well thought out questions by our interrogator. the best was the first night of 'operation paci-free' when said interrogator summoned us to her room moments after bedtime to inform us that she was in fact in fear of the legendary paci fairy...that she 'wears a big hat and opens her mouth wide like a cow but doesnt say moo and thats scary'. i promise i did no drugs during my pregnancy. patrick assured her the paci fairy was rather small, had hands to drop gifts with and wings to fly away with. no big hats, big open mouths and nothing to be scared of. we are now 5 days paci free and while i dont need to stand on a ship with a crowd, i will happily hang a 'mission accomplished' sign and toast yet another significant victory.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

a few observations

after spending the night watching entirely too much election coverage, i had a few quick observations about a few things i saw...this list may grow in the upcoming days.

1. was it just me or did mccain deliver the best speech of his campaign last night? it was nice of his speech writer to truly save the best for dead last.

2. did anyone else find if somewhat funny to hear obama scaling back a wee bit during his first speech as the president elect, offering a refreshing and rare dose of reality with phrases like 'it may not happen in the first term' and 'the government cannot fix everything'. really? i was saying the same thing during so many of his speeches as wild and unrealistic promises were being made...i was half expecting him to recruit david blane to help him walk on water to take the podium and offer free ice cream on sundays throughout all the land.

3. colin powell crying as he spoke of obamas election:: understandable
70 year old black woman weeping at the news:: completely understandable
19 year old white college kid breaking out into dance in the streets playing a bongo drum with tears streaming down her face:: please put the pipe down.

4. giddy man waving a gay rights flag with a peace sign on it in times, obama is not a homosexual pacifist but if you start now you may be able to convince lance bass to run in 2012.

i know there are more, but even i have reached my saturation point for today...more to come as it wears off.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

the fairytale today

last week we took a family drive after an afternoon spent at a local lake. i had been wanting to take this drive almost since we knew we were moving to virginia and with the leaves creating an ever changing tapestry, i thought it was a good time to go back. back to a place that holds countless memories for me. a place where i spent thousands of hours and rarely missed a day visiting over the course of the five years i spent here years ago. rarely a day goes by that i dont think of some aspect of this place and how it shaped me, the things i learned there and the people i knew. i began riding when i got my first pony at the age of 6. from 6 to 22, horses and riding were a part of my daily existence and the most exciting years were the ones spent here in northern virginia training and competing. i have missed it so much and yet know it isnt exactly feasible to pursue that part of my life anymore, at least not in the near term. and yet, i couldnt shake the longing to go back. to drive out to the stables that were a second home to me for so many years.

with my new life in tow, we made the drive only to discover that it is in fact still there, still operating and still looking virtually the exact same way it did when i drove away from it hauling my horses for the last time down that long drive as i moved to the midwest. in the indoor arena, there was even a young girl working a horse that looked just like mine. i couldnt help but stop and watch, count strides and remember the feeling of being that girl. as we drove away pat commented, 'no wonder you have a warped sense of lived in a fairytale'. he was joking and yet not. and its true. while my life has been no fairytale, this part of my upbringing was magical. it was altogether perfect and i missed it. the whole thing. i never thought for a moment that i would spend a day absent from it and the joy it brought me. mornings spent surrounded by the smell of a barn, evenings spent oiling leather and packing for shows. hours upon hours sharing the excitement and fun of competing with my parents at the side of the ring. and yet, this huge part of me is now a part of my past.

on the drive home i couldnt help but wonder what i am missing now. what part of my present life is so magical and so temporal that i wont grasp its greatness until the moments are part of my past? perhaps its the tiny hands that reach for mine when i least expect it or the first smiles of a sweet baby in the wee hours of the morning. maybe its the questions that seem to exhaust me by the days end but never fail to make me smile. it could be the luxury of time with a husband that i know is fleeting or the eyes that ask to snuggle for a few minutes after naps. i dont know how many magical moments God is giving me on a daily basis that i am missing, but i dont want to one day look back longingly wishing for more of them when i am unknowingly swimming in a sea of them right now.

today, this afternoon, i am opening up my self and my soul to the abundant joy He has given me in the present. not the excitement of the past or the anticipation of the future, but the happiness and contentment in today. i will hang onto the coattails of time and beg it to slow down. to slow down for tiny hands and loving glances, for new smiles and wet kisses, for honest questions and insatiable curiosity and for the chance to recognize and embrace all of the magic in the seemingly mundane fairytale i am living.