Tuesday, March 31, 2015

#SOL15, Day 31: Fourteen

I can't believe it has been 14 years. 
I can't believe how quickly time has passed. 
I can't believe how different life is. 
I can't believe how incredibly kind, compassionate, caring, and committed this young man is. 
I can't believe how much he has matured, and how much fun I have when I get to hang out with him. 
I can't believe how incredible he is. 
I can't believe HE is FOURTEEN. 


Happy birthday, Jerrin David. I will never forget the day you were born. I was on my spring break, heading down to Oregon from Tacoma. I got a text from your dad with the creepiest picture of your ginormous bruised up head, and I kinda freaked out. I called grandma and asked, "What is WRONG with him?!?!" and she reassured me, "He is perfect. His head is just badly bruised. It will be OK." Grandma was right, of course. You were perfect. Not perfect in the "never-does-any-wrong" kind of perfect, but in the, "God-created-someone-amazing" kind of way, and I am so thankful that with every bruise along the way, you have simply become stronger, more courageous, and more perfectly you. I love you so very much. I hope your day was perfect. 

Love, 
auntie jen. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#SOL15, Day 29: Slowing Down

As I am savoring this weekend of "slowing down" and letting it be my spring break, I can't believe how calm and relaxed I feel. Yes, it may be the consequences of a massage yesterday and facial today, but I think it is greater than that. I think it is being afforded the time to live the way I want to live everyday. The reminder that I love and am loved. The reminder that I have hobbies and interests. The reminder that sometimes, what seems like doing nothing, wasting time, even, is actually so very important. 

I realized this yesterday as I wandered through homes that I would never buy, nor be able to afford to buy, on a tour of remodeled homes with a friend. It was so very clear last night as I sat and played "Sorry" after pizza and hot chocolate with my dear friend and her little. The six hours spent sitting and watching a cousin play some stellar volleyball today was yet another reminder that sometimes sitting is exactly what is needed for the soul. And while I wandered through a few stores today, killing time, I didn't have to think about how to breathe - how to slow down - I was slow. I was calm. I was relaxed, and at peace. 

It is in these moments when my greatest sense of fulfillment tries to make its way out of me and into the lives of others. Today, I found myself shopping for little things, all day, that made me think of my loved ones. One of my favorite things, which I find myself putting restrictions on - scheduling (do I have time for this?) budgeting (oh geez, can I afford to do this?) rewarding (only if I get my to-do list done can I...) - is simply making care packages and sending them off in the mail. Now, don't get me wrong, this could get out of hand in the financial department super easily. But, it doesn't have to. I mean, seriously, do I have a SINGLE reader that would be disappointed with a care package that "wasn't good enough"? Highly unlikely. More likely is the fact that when something unexpected shows up on your doorstep, your day is made before you even open it - whether it is an envelope with a familiar return address, or a box the size of a new car. So, instead of worrying about making my last round of care packages "good enough" - I just made them with as much joy as I could. 

I have a whole gaggle of girlfriends having babies in the upcoming days/weeks, and a little set of twins that arrived ten days ago. I had to get some baby gifts in the mail. But these Mamas are my girls. They know me. They know my soul. I couldn't simply send them baby love without making sure they could feel the love I have for them as Mamas, too! 

And so, while I made sure the new babies will be well-dressed and have a little baby library (hello!??! I am a reading teacher!) I also made sure the Mamas felt a little pampered and loved with these little random items: 
A few treats for sustenance, a few personal hygiene pampering products, some trashy magazines, and chocolate. It really wasn't that hard to pull together - nor expensive. And, it was pretty darn light, making it not so expensive to ship, either. And guess what?!? It made me feel like I was back in my groove of lovin' on my friends, trying to be connected while living thousands of miles apart. One has already been delivered, and that moment when I got the text that said, "So great!" and I knew it was appreciated? The moment that reminded me that this is important. This is what slowing down provides. This is where I want to live. 

#workingonit
~ j. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

#SOL15, Day 28: Off to a start

Spring break is, truly, off to a perfect start. While I love the years when I get to hop on a plane and experience a new place, or an old place - new people, or my favorites from afar - this year, spring break started in the most perfect way I could imagine for this year. 

Last night, I went to dinner with my dear friend, Mary, after she sent me an email that said, "Can you go out for dinner with me, without my kid? I don't think we have done that since I told you I was pregnant." And that was just about 4 years ago. :) It was SO fun to sit in a restaurant, share chips and salsa and queso, have a drink and some dinner, and talk without our favorite little ball of energy squirming around and entertaining us. 

I was home shortly before 8. I was in bed shortly after 8. Seriously - my choice. It was PERFECT. I watched a TV show on my computer, curled up in my bed, and by the end of the 22-minute show, I was nodding off. In the midst of my nodding, I realized I hadn't written my daily post. I consciously made the choice to just let it go. I had already missed a day here and there this month, and I had survived. I would survive another miss. I was so relaxed. So ready to sleep. So OK with just letting it go for the night. 

I slept so hard that I missed four text messages that came in after I was zonked out. I was wide awake, without an alarm, feeling very rested, at 7:00 this morning. I got up, did dishes, a bit of cleaning, some laundry, and hopped in the shower before heading off to get a massage at 9:00. I felt so productive before my massage that it was even easier to relax during my massage. Post-massage, I ran home and changed clothes, did a little more cleaning - have you cleaned your shower head lately? Seriously - I wrapped a bag filled with white vinegar around it before I left for brunch, hoping it would be all taken care of when I got home. 

Brunch was with two of my favorite friends from church who are also teachers on the first day of spring break. It was a perfect brunch. I left brunch to meet up with my friend, Stephanie, so we could spend the afternoon on the home re-modelers tour. SO fun! It was the first time I had been. There were definitely a few over-the-top jobs that I would never choose. However, there were a couple that seemed like they may have been created for normal people - and I got some great ideas for my sweet little home... some day... 

I didn't get home until shortly before 7, and of course my cell phone had been dead for hours. When I got it plugged in, I had messages from Mary wondering where I was and why I was ignoring her. :) I ordered pizza and she and Aaron picked it up on the way to my house. When they got here, after we ate, Aaron "taught" me how to play Sorry, sing the ABC's, and count to 20. Such a sweet evening. He isn't even mine, and I can't believe how fast he is growing. 

Yes, today was a MUCH needed day surrounded by so many loved ones, feeling so relaxed and so grateful. Oh - and this evening? Yep - I removed the bag of vinegar from my shower head - it looks like BRAND new, and all of the water comes flowing out of every single hole. Success! Perfect end to a perfect day... 

:) j. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#SOL15, Day 26: Spring Break Plans

The best part of my day today? Scheduling my spring break plans. 

I know -- you are DYING to hear about them, right? 

I mean, what, with everyone flying off to some warm, tropic place to sit on a beach and read great books? 

Makes you jealous, right? 

So... should I share my plans? I mean - I wouldn't want to upset anyone. But... 

I am pretty sure...

My spring break is going to be EPIC. 

Today - I scheduled.... 

A manicure and pedicure (thanks to my siblings and a birthday gift card)

A massage

A facial

A hair cut and color

And that's all! 

Well, except for the internship hours I scheduled with my bosses so I can get this license out of the way for GOOD! So... all of my appointments are pretty much this weekend, and I will work next week like a normal human being and see how I like it. I mean, if I grow up to be a principal, that might be my truth sometimes, so I might as well try it on for size this year, right?!?! 


My to-do list is still much more "me" than "school" or "work" for next week - like, 

read my book club book
play in my craft room
go to the gym
show up to work by 9 rather than 8
leave work by 3 rather than 5
happy hour with friends I never get to see

See? It's not going to be so bad - there might not be sun, or sand, or umbrella drinks, but it will feel good just to operate on a slower pace and have a few less items on my daily deadline radar. 

How about you? What are your spring break plans?? 
~ j. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#SOL15, Day 24: I hate baths.

I know life is out of balance when I want to take a bath. I don't think there are many things more disgusting than laying in your own filth in a tub of hot water. Seriously. BUT, twice this school year, all I have wanted was to hop in the hot bath tub full of bubbles with the window open above the top so the fresh air keeps me from passing out from the hot bathroom steam that makes me feel sweaty and gross. Why does anyone find this enjoyable? 

Then again, tonight, I sat, no technology buzzing or beeping or dinging in my ear. Nobody to talk to. Nobody to worry about. I just sat and breathed and smelled the good-smelling bubble bath and sweated and breathed and did nothing. I made it about 30 minutes before I had to hop up and shower off, but it might have been the best 30 minutes I have had in the last six months. 

What do you do to relax??? A bath has never before been my answer, but as I lay in bed finishing up this post so I can sleep, I actually feel like sleeping, rather than moving on to more checkmarks on my to-do list. Maybe there is something to this whole bath-thing.... 

:) j. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

#SOL15, Day 23:

It's March 23rd. 
Yesterday my grass was brown.
It is beautiful. 


Pretty sure this is my first haiku EVER. 
:) j. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#SOL15, Day 22: Being a Photographer Means...

This weekend, I had a few brief moments of love with my camera. My current status of "full-time educator and student" has not allowed me to enjoy my camera that way I like to in recent months. In addition, my post-surgical status also made jumping, crouching, leaping, skipping and crawling around with my camera challenging as well. This weekend, I realized that spending time behind my camera means so much to me. I decided to write down what it means today as a post so I can be reminded when I need to MAKE time for me that this is something that truly brings me joy.

Being a photographer means... 
 capturing the silly.... 
 capturing the sweet... 
 capturing hesitation.... 
 capturing connections... 
 capturing real life... 
 capturing personality... 
and celebrating everything that makes life beautiful for every person I get to capture. 
Full heart. 
So happy. 
Joy. 
~ j. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#SOL15, Day 21... Friends

I am having a really hard time, this year, getting my posts in on Eastern time. I don't think I realized how often I write at the very end of the day, which is usually 11:00 PM. Post-midnight on the East coast. Darnit. But, I won't give up on the challenge - I WILL write, every day... ten days to go! :) 

Today has been a good "friend" day. The last 36 hours has been very eye-opening for me. I have really been thinking about how I have put my friendships aside to focus on schools and work. While it hasn't necessarily been intentional, and it is just a season in my life, it definitely makes me feel like a bad friend right now - I am definitely not able to live up to my "friend" standards these days. 

Yesterday, I got the best news about one of my former teaching partners... after a journey through the world of infertility, I saw on Instagram, that she gave birth to TWINS! Gus and Edie. Adorable. Beautiful. Perfect little humans. 

Now, I definitely would have been super grumpy to find this great information out about a friend via social media. However, this time, that was not the case. You see, my friend called me a long time ago - weeks, months, maybe. I don't even know. I think we played a little phone tag. I think we set a phone date. I think I ended up missing that phone date due to work, or school, or something. The phone date was meant to be my turn to find out the exciting news that my friend was pregnant.... with twins! Yes, I felt like the crappiest friend ever. 

However, I also realize, I am the luckiest friend ever. 

Last night, I spent a most-relaxing evening laughing, belly-laughing, with two of my favorite friends. Today, I got an unexpected phone call that brightened my day from a Seattle roommate. I also hung out today with a friend that let me bring my dishes from the whole week to her house to put them through her dishwasher (I know... who does that?!?!) And most beautifully, this weekend, when I called my New Mama-friend yesterday to congratulate her, and apologize for being a horrid friend, and she laughed, excused my behavior so genuinely, and even told me that she knew my life was crazy because she had been keeping tabs on me via social media. Seriously - she didn't give up on me, she kept watching me live and being happy for me, and knowing that it is a season I am in. And then, she shared her greatest joy to date with me - Edie and Gus - and the joy in her heart that spilled over because her greatest wish to be a Mama was finally granted, and she wanted me to know. 

I am so incredibly blessed with friends that support me, love me, forgive me, and even disregard the things I think they should be forgiving. They get it. They get me, The love me. They support me. 

And tonight, THAT means the WORLD.
~ j. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

#SOL15, Day 20: The Struggle is Real.

That's pretty much all I know. 

The struggle is real, friends.

You have had a bit of a glimpse into my week. It hasn't been my favorite kind of week. The joy just didn't seem to ooze out of this one. Now, I know it could have been worse, but I also REALLY know it could have been better. And I like better... a lot. 

The funny thing is that I have spent most of the last 24 hours thinking about the struggle. I mean, it is so real that I have a stomach ache. And a headache. And I don't want to leave my tiny little closet disguised as an office. Anyone who knows me knows that leaving my space, to be among people, is something I can hardly resist. No this week. But, why? 

Well, I have decided that I am feeling like I don't fit in. However, I can't quite articulate what that means. For real, I am usually not excessively bothered by not fitting in. I sometimes laugh when people say that at a certain age they stop caring what others think, etc. because I think that I must be premature in that sense. It is rare that I am really bothered by whether or not I fit in. And even if I am bothered, I can usually convince myself it is superficial and I can pull myself out of the trenches and move on. 

Hmm.... am I on to something??? Maybe, this time, I am not fitting in, but it isn't superficial for me. Maybe this time, I am so bothered because it isn't my clothes, or my hair, or my size that are making me feel like I don't fit in. Maybe it's ME - my heart, and soul, and the core of my very being that I have worked hard to learn about and allow to become. 

And, if that's the case... then what?! 

I have been pondering this most of the day. Intermittently, thoughts have crossed my mind like, "Is it this city I work in - the pretentious, over-the-top, too-rich-for-their-own-good-sometimes place?" "Is it the district office? Is this month excessively worse than the last five years? Or do I just have more think time as I am sitting at my desk reading?" "Is it this district? Are my thoughts and actions too progressive to ever fit in here? Do they really not actually want to step up to the plate and leave status quo behind?" 

It is just really frustrating to be in this position of thinking I don't fit in and trying to figure out if I am at fault and need to fix something, if there is no fault, it's just not a good fit (all-of-a-sudden), or if I just haven't stumbled upon the truth of the situation in its entirety yet. 

And, it's Friday. It's 6:05 PM. I decided to write my post from my office, and hopefully leave it all here. Maybe Monday will be the start to a new week; one that will ooze joy and allow me to be me and still feel like I belong here in this working world, doing the work, alongside the community that I want to be part of. 

:) Happy weekend, all... 
~ j. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

#SOL15, Day 19: Caught up in memories...

I know it's too late to link up with the rest of the #SOL15 community, but tonight I got all sorts of caught up in memories.... I was looking for one set of pictures, which led me through one photo album, which led to a mystery box, which ended up revealing some journals from some really interesting periods of time in my life, which led to phrases like these:

- "my favorite part was that we ordered s'mores" about my first conference in Washington, DC
- "Wayne" - who I apparently spent a lot of time with for two weeks and then he said he could see falling in love with me, which freaked me out, so I ditched out.... I have NO idea who Wayne is.
- "As soon as I said Hi to mom, she started crying" - it was one of grandma's first mini-stroke-like things that started a rough series that lasted a long time and bought us a couple more years with her, if I am remembering correctly.
- "I don't like boys. Stupid boys." - HAHAHA! I am sure I didn't just write that once. :) No offense to any gentleman readers...
- "Today I was having a 'lonely for a boyfriend' day" - HA! Just a mere two pages after the previous quote. :)

I am sure there are plenty more, but I have less than a minute to make today's post. :)
j.