Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Notes on Friendship: EFFORT in the time of Coronavirus

My thoughts on friendship these days have revolved around how to maximize closeness without being close. How do we support each other without actually being THERE for each other? How do we show up for one another when we can't hop in the car and meet up for a walk, or a hug, or a dinner date? 


It takes effort. Friendship always should take some effort, but during these hard and uncertain times it takes more. It just does. 

Friendship during a pandemic is new for all of us AND it's more important than ever.  Friendships are the touchstone of life. They ground, encourage, and propel us. Friendships keep us accountable and take us out of ourselves...if only for a little while. 

What does being a friend look like right now? It may be different for everyone but for me, it's zoom. It's FaceTime, Marco Polo,  actual phone conversations (WITH screaming kids in the background), and sitting in my front yard- six feet apart- talking and venting and being with each other. 

I have had the beauty of trials in my life- hard, painful, heart wrenching trials. The crises in my life have given me the gift of understanding the "village" and feeling that village love me and my family well. This extended trial that we're collectively going through is a call to action for relationships. Are you willing to put in the work? Are you willing to make the effort? Are your friendships going to be strengthened, galvanized, and woven into your heart because of the effort made when things were complicated? Or do you drift, only to come away from this time looking up and realizing that you are far apart from relationships that were once important? 

Loving people well is the greatest lesson we can learn. Loving your friends well; it looks like EFFORT.

Here is a simple list of questions, that when asked can be profound for anyone on the receiving end. 
    * How are you doing PHYSICALLY
    *How are you doing EMOTIONALLY
    *How are you doing SPIRITUALLY

I challenge you, my friends... make an effort. Ask these questions to those closest to you. Let them open up and in turn, so will you. Make the effort. 

Calmly rage on.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

poppy is eighteen months!

our sweet poppy is eighteen months old. to say that i feel grateful for her is not quite sufficient. Poppy has brought so much joy and sweetness to our life- but more than that, she's brought awe and wonder into the hearts of her parents.

while Poppy is now ten months post heart failure and surgery, the miracle of her life is still as palpable as it was. we are in awe of her resilience and tenasity. we are amazed by her strength and her will. Mostly, we are amazed by God's GRACE in her life and in ours.

Poppy is strong willed and feisty. She has found her screaming voice and makes it heard throughout the house ALL. DAY. LONG. She loves dresses and twirling, she walks with a strut when she knows we are watching (right arm swinging dramatically at her side), and stops performing her hilarious dances or singing as soon as I point my phone in her direction.  she makes light sabor sounds while she holds a stick or broom, and goes nuts for basketballs and soccer balls.  Poppy wants to play outside constantly- she grabs her shoes by the door to try to bend our will to hers.

Poppy is still a tiny peanut. she weighs eighteen pounds and wears nine month clothes (although she's graduated to 12 month jammies). She runs and tries her hardest to jump. Her favorite game is playing "sleep" with sailor. He wraps her up in a blanket and she lays down like she's falling asleep (usually with a stuffed animal held tight in her arms.)

I knew it was only a matter of time....Poppy is now sleeping through the night (Hallelujah!!). She started sleeping through the night about two weeks ago, and I could literally cry from joy. Her naps are in the middle of the day, and she "requires" me to lay with her the entire time, or she'll wake up. Luckily, tony is working from home and both of the boys are homeschooling (freaking coronavirus) so it actually works out for me to nap with her during the day- albeit annoying.

Her appetite is small, but she eats a variety of things. She has been in a phase of walking to the snack cupboard first thing in the morning and saying "ah ah ah ah" hoping for one of the boys to open it and give her gummies (insert slap to forehead here).  sailor is still one of the only people who can consistently get her to eat, a job he is very proud to do. Easton wakes up early and brings her down stairs with him to play every morning. It's their special time and they love it.

she barks like a dog if anyone says "dog," if she sees a dog, or if she hears a dog. Poppy sings "Let It Go" on repeat all day long and dances to music whenever she hears it.

Keep on being YOU, sweet Poppy. "There is no one in the world just like you, and I like you, just the way you are" -(Mr. Rogers).

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

notes on quarantine: week 5

you guys. i can't tell a lie. this quarantine has NOT been hard for me. i am a self described "outgoing-introvert." if you have ever met me (and if you're reading this, I assume you have) you would probably think- she's easy to talk to, outgoing, talkative. those things are true. I'm also an introvert. I get energy from alone time, home time, and yoga time. it takes WORK for me to do anything outside of the normal daily life activities. if i am home, i am usually pretty happy. if i have my husband home, i'm always content.

i can safely say that as the shelter in place order goes on, I am getting progressively happier and my dear husband is getting a little more stir crazy.  tony asks me every single day if I need anything at the store- I remind him that we have all we need and there will be no shopping today. He walks away, a little deflated and then starts to "tinker" in the garage or around the house. He's succesfully changed the bathroom faucet, painted the bathroom, and painted the railings on the stairs. He's also still working full time and experimenting a little more in the kitchen (which is a HUGE benefit to me).

the kids? the kids are all right. these are sweet times for our household, and i've chosen to look at quarantine life through that lens...sweet.

we have gone on daily walks (PE time, i like to say). on those walks we stroll...we don't have a time constraint and we move at the pace we feel most comfortable with (although we often beg Sailor to move his little butt). Our school day starts around 8:30. Sailor works on his virtual reality eye exercises to strengthen his eyes, Easton writes his gratitude list. We move on to a video that Sailor's teacher posts every morning and Easton does some computer math (Khan academy is his favorite). Sailor practices his piano, Easton works on Spanish, and I try to distract Poppy from coloring on the carpet with one of the many markers she always seems to get her grubby little paws on.

I have enjoyed watching the boys learn. I never imagined myself in this role of Head Teacher and mama; and while I don't plan on continuing it past our quarantine, I'm really enjoying the time with my boys.

the hard stuff is present of course. if i look hard enough i can certainly see annoyances. but why? why not cherish this time with my entire family glued to one house, with little or no outside influence? we are luckier than many. we have our jobs, food is in the fridge, medical insurance is active, and our children are loved and respected. OUR experience has been something that I hope to look back on with tenderness and fond memories.

*Sailor showing off his cooking skills and Easton's "moss castle" in our front yard. 

the introvert in me has a hard time with constant engagement...even with (and sometimes especially with) the kids. Poppy is a bear. A sweet, cute, difficult BEAR. the key to my sanity is finding outlets that bring me joy. I still teach my regular yoga schedule, just virtually these days. I get to see friends pop into my classes from back home, which warms my heart and fills my bucket. I pray, I meditate, I practice my own personal yoga (the latter has been a little more difficult to carve out the time for, but some weeks are better than others). I have weekly zoom calls with my church community group, my girlfriends in California, and three of my close friends here in Washington. I even get to do AA meetings on zoom! Life is good, these days. I am soaking this up. I'm letting these sweet times permeate my spirit and fill my heart. I will enjoy this time, for as long as it lasts....I choose to be OH-SO- Grateful.


Sunday, January 12, 2020

Notes on Travel: Vancouver, BC

In early December I went to Vancouver with three of my dearest friends. We came together to celebrate my ten year sobriety birthday. I could not have asked for a better way to enjoy this milestone. We ate food and sipped tea and explored and spent time with each other. We had adult conversations that held depth and meaning and laughed... a lot.

A couple of months before our trip to Vancouver I sent out a bat signal to my thirteen girls from California. Our group text is one of the highlights of my life on any given day, and it was there that I mentioned the idea of a quick trip with my nearest and dearest to celebrate my big 1-0. We chatted about a few trip ideas and when we couldn't quite settle on any one destination, I decided I would go to Vancouver. I told my girls- "I totally understand if it won't work, but either way, I'll be going to Vancouver. Join me if you can!"

Soon enough texts came in from Kathy, Zoraida, and DeAna. They were making the trip. I booked a spa day for us, reserved dinners, and found some yoga classes to attend. Zoraida flew into Seattle where I picked her up and drove with her to Vancouver. We talked the entire ride and never turned on the radio. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Time with Z. It still warms my heart when I think about it. Kathy and DeAna met us at the AMAZING AirBandB. We went to our first yoga class on Friday night and then dinner at Maenam (a Thai restaurant).

On Saturday we did a morning hot yoga class and waited in line for about twenty minutes to be seated at Jam (an incredibly delicious brunch spot). Then it was back to the AirBandB for naps! Saturday night we went to the Vancouver Christmas Market to soak up all that European vibe holiday spirit. We ate a late dinner at Farmer's Apprentice (seriously my favorite meal, if I HAD to pick). Farmer's Apprentice is a farm to table family style restaurant. The bread and butter were my favorite and I even bought a loaf for the next morning!

We spent Sunday driving through Vancouver, checking out the park (which I would compare to central park in New York...), and stopped for lunch at Fat Mao's Noodles which was a hole in the wall noodle joint that rocked my world. We then went to get some delicious spa treatments! Dinner on Sunday night was at Forage. Sheesh. All the restaurants were so great. Vancouver is a very foodie city, and for this sober alcoholic, finding good food is my number one priority on any given vacation.

The trip with my girls was really special. They treated me to a couple of very sweet gifts and cards from all my girls back home- each one gave me so much joy and so much gratitude for the women in my life who have stood by me through the best of times and the worst of times. I was blessed beyond measure for this trip and the time and the conversations and the company.

Also- Vancouver...I see you. You sweet little Canadian city. I will be back. xo

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