14
Oct

When the struggle is real

I have been in a season of sacrifice for a very long time.
I started referring to times like these in my life as seasons of sacrifice because someone I follow mentioned how it helps to reframe the hard.
Focus that it is a season, not your life.
Focus that it is a sacrifice, not the new normal.
Focus on the systems you can put into play to make it manageable and realize you will get back to your ways in time.
It's a season, and seasons change.
But I remember the end of last year.
I remember how that season of sacrifice made me so sick.
Brought me to the doctor kind of sick.
Made me think something horrible was happening to me kind of sick.
And in my year of different, I knew the season was approaching and I have been trying.
I planned, I put my systems in place, I prepared, I put myself in the "right" state of mind, I kept eating and drinking water and doing the things that I was told I needed to not get sick and avoid another health scare.
And instead, I have been struggling, really struggling.
I think part of my issue is that it started so much sooner and summer never let up and I just never felt an exhaling.
Halfway through my year, there is always this little window of reprieve.
One in which I get to calm down a bit, regroup, recenter, refocus, and remember to breathe in and especially out.
That life isn't that serious.
That all is going to be okay.
That I know where my real priorities stand.
And as I enter my last quarter of the year, I am never ready, but my mind at least got a little break.
My summer normally is a time of rest and calm and instead it brought with it turmoil and haste.
And I struggled.
My fall is crazy, always crazy, and for the last several years, just keeps adding on to itself.
And I am still struggling more and more.

It could be because my summer was too much.
It could be because there is now too much on my plate and I can't breathe.
It could be because my calendar and schedule and to-dos and family and kids and business and life and all of it is piling up and I am the one that keeps us organized and I can't so we're not.
And I'm the one that keeps the house running and I can't so it's not.
And I'm the one that keeps everything moving but I can't so there's a lot of running to stand still.
So, I'm struggling.
To smile, to stay awake, to keep it all going, to be close, to talk, to want to partner, to take anything else on, to laugh.

And I say all of this for anyone that is reading and feels that they are alone.
I know I'm not, we're not
I know we are all out there.
Doing our very best every single day.
Because we are.
And our tempers might be short.
And our patience might be worn.
And our minds and bodies might be tired.
And our nerves are actually sizzling.
But we show up.
We show up for them and for us.
We show up for jobs and homes and loves and life.
We know the end will come and we tell ourselves every day that we, of course, have a little more to give.
We wake up a little earlier, we stay up a little later, we make time, we find a way.
We show up even though the struggle is very real, and there will come a day when we look back and think, how did we do that all?
How did we manage that?
How did we make it?

Today, for my birthday present, I went ziplining.
We were about to walk across a really scary bridge after three exceptionally scary "falls" and the tour guide said the best thing I have heard in a very long time.
Compared to the shit you have just done, this bridge isn't' even a skid mark.
And that's how we make it.
That's how even though the struggle is very real, we always find a way.
We show up, keep going, and realize we can handle a load of crap coming our way.
We let things go that we can, we prioritize it all, we continue to do and try our very best, and we show up again and again.

It's hard to stay strong and remember all of this when we are smack in the middle of it.
It's hard to keep remembering how capable we are.
It's hard to remember that sometimes you will lose at things.
It's hard to remember when you feel so unappreciated and so very alone.
It's hard to remember that it's not all on you.
Because the struggle is very real, and the time seems unmanageable, and you don't see a way out.
But hold on and remember it is a season, not your new normal.
The last leaf will fall
the season is changing again and the sacrifice is always worth it because we make it work.

17
Dec

I lost my hum

There is something that happens when you say yes to everything.
There is something that happens when you think, sure, I can do that too.
There is something that happens when you keep on going and forget to eat, or breathe or think.
You lose your hum.

There is something that happens when you don't delegate.
There is something that happens when you take control of it all.
There is something that happens when you keep plugging along.
There is something that happens when you keep adding to your plate.
You take other things away.
You make your priorities out of whack.
And in the end, you lose your hum.

I first heard someone describe the hum on a Ted Talk and as soon as she opened, I immediately cried.
Tears of anguish
tears of guilt
tear of understanding
tears of being understood
tears of heartbreak
tears of wanting a different life
tears of realizing how beautiful my life is if only I stopped to look.

But, there is something that happens when you don't stop to look
you lose your hum.

I have acknowledged the hum before but in five minutes, I couldn't exactly dig deep...
So, here is how the hum goes...
I introduce myself by the number of hours I work in a week.
I wear it like a badge of honor.
I define my life by it.
Because a mom that loves her work and loves to work has to justify it, to someone and everyone.
And I do love to work.
I love working
I love the joy, the accomplishment, the tasks, the wave, the ride, the emotions, the winning.
I love to work.
It makes sense to me, I love that there is a right and wrong answer.
I love that I can get better at it.
I love that math makes the world seem real and I understand it.
I love that I get to be good at something.
I love to work.
And so, I do it all of the time.
I do it in my sleep
I do it instead of other things
I do it instead of things that I am worried I am not good at
I do it instead of sitting in quiet
I do it all of the time.

And the harder I worked, the better I got, the higher up I was promoted, the more work I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and the harder I worked
and the more I was promoted
and the more I was responsible for
and the hum got louder
and so on and so on and so on.
Until, there was nowhere else to go.
And I was doing so much of the work
and I am a hard worker so she can do that too
and I won't let it fail so I work harder
and I won't give up so I keep going
and the hum got louder.

And then one day, it was gone.
The hum, the drive, the determination.
I lost my hum.
Suddenly, none of it made sense.
None of it seemed right.
Suddenly I was filled with regrets and what ifs and I should haves and what did I do and resentment and anger.
Because the hum made me think and feel
the hum was my guide.

So, I doubled down and searched everywhere for the hum.
I hear it when I am working, so I will work harder.
I hear it when the work makes sense so let me stay right here until it all makes sense.
I hear it when everything comes into focus so let me stare at the problem, I can find a solution again.
I just need to work harder.
But the hum was gone.
And I went into mourning.
I mourned a loss.
Of my work
my time
what I sacrificed
what I allowed to be sacrificed
I mourned me.

And then, I rooted to rise.
I ground down to rise up
and I found a new definition.
I found a new badge to wear.
I found other things to be proud of
and I learned to find a hum in different places.

It is still my go to
and when things get stressful and work becomes overwhelming
I still put my head down and forget to come up for air.
It is only when my depleted and exhausted and angry body climbs out of bed in the dark that I realize
I am here again.
I am in the bad place and I have to set a different plan in motion.
I have to determine a time, a limit.
I have to set a schedule of I will allow this for this amount of time and then,
I find my hum someplace else.

I cannot do it all
I cannot say yes to all
I cannot be it all
but I can still love the work
and the life.
I can say yes to my kids
I can read to them
I can train with them
I can journal with them
I can play board games
I can comb their hair
I can have quiet snuggles
I can be present when I am with them
I can make this life I asked for lovely
I can find my hum.

This Ted Talk changed me...http://www.ted.com/talks/shonda_rhimes_my_year_of_saying_yes_to_everything

17
Jan

A friendship, 17 years in the making

So there we are...17 years later. We met in September 1996 and that woman you see sitting in that chair was just seven years old. She was full of energy and life and she changed my world. It should have been the other way around, after all, I was her Big Sister. I was suppose to mentor her. But, in meeting her, literally our first outing, it hit me how incredible childhood is. She took over. I couldn't get over how much fun it was to be around a child. She, and her family, are the reason I believe in family. They are the reason I became a mom and as you can expect, they are the reason I believe in Big Brothers Big Sisters.
As C.E.O. of this agency, our mission is what I wake up thinking about and go to bed dreaming about. The work we accomplish each year builds stronger kids and stronger communities. We are changing the lives of our local youth. We are changing how they are growing up. We change their lives for the better, forever.
Erin

20
Sep

if you sit still and listen

Quote of the day "if you sit still and listen, you will find all the answers you are looking for because life is simple".

So many of us try and live by this. So many of us think that we have life all figured out and balanced. But there are so many moments that you are off balance. Moments like being at work and thinking about all that needs to be done at home, or being home and thinking about all you need to get done for work. Moments where you are your worst critic and enemy and if you could quiet the doubts in your mind, all would be well. Moments when you can't stop thinking about the little family that you have created for yourself and wondering if you're giving them enough (because you feel them giving you the world) and you just hope that they realize how much they mean to you. How much of the reason you get up everyday is for them.

I would never trade a moment of my life. I am so appreciative of all the opportunities I have been given and I love every moment of my crazy day. Cory and I have a routine that works and Anna is thriving and loving her world. The only one that feels left out is our little Mia who still struggles with all that we have thrown at her.

I'm turning 33 next week and with a job that keeps me aching and exhausted and challenged and so grateful and a family that owns my heart and is my smile, I can't help but think that life isn't simple yet because I'm not sitting still enough. I'm not listening and I'm making it too complicated.

Here's to the quiet simple joy of life.

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