Life Changing

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We had spent a couple of days in San Francisco hanging out…tourists…ya know the typical…China Town, the Japanese Gardens, Lombard Street. Dating, having a blast…smitten. On this particular day we drove up through Saulsalito stopping for lunch, the best artichokes I’ve ever eaten, on our way to hike the Muir Woods.

Many people talk about their Best Days. This day 15 years ago was a Life Changing day. John and I hiked the trails amazed at trees. Have you ever seen trees that brushed the Heavens? Trees that hug the Earth and hold her tight with a mightiness that can’t be touched. It was absolutely breathtaking.

On this fabulous hike John and I stepped inside the trunk of one of these beauties…the two of us in the trunk. “Will you marry me?” Were the next words I heard. Life Changing.

I cannot begin to put into words adequately how awesome this guy is. I thank him daily for marrying me. Um, no lie.

He gets me, and he puts up with me. I’m not easy. I lose my words, and shut down. I cry, oh do I cry. I question things, and I get pissed off. But, he’s patient. Patience. Oh, Lord do I love his patience! He knows when to sit back and wait for my clouds to pass. And, he knows when to gently nudge to bring out the best from me.

John never fails to go the extra mile when it comes to our marriage. He totally understands the little things. The fridge must be stocked with half and half at all times. I hate revolving doors. Crowds make me nauseous. I like our house clean…very clean. My dog must sleep with us always. My side of the closet is a pit. I shop. I love flowers.

His humor lights up our house, and his laugh will give him away every time.

He is my biggest cheerleader and stands behind every passion I decide I’m following. These passions change daily sometimes, mind you.

He sets the bar high for our five kiddos, but I know he has a soft cushion. There is nothing he wouldn’t do for his family; they are his heart.

Just like that majestic tree that we stood inside of on October 7..15 short years ago; John holds our family tighter than  I could ever imagine. Protecting and loving us above all else.

So, ya our engagement was “Life Changing”. I am just everyday so very grateful that this great guy married Me.

It’s Not Perfect, But It Sure Is Beautiful

It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful

How often do we run around like crazy people trying to get everything perfect? I mean seriously…think about it.

This applies to so many aspects of our lives. Whether it be the homemaker wanting her house to be spotless all the time…nice and tidy, nothing out of place, laundry baskets always empty, cookies in the oven, “Are you kidding? Who touched the throw pillows?”. Ready for Martha to stop by at a moments notice. (Raising hand) I don’t think Martha is coming. All the while missing the laughter that barrels through the door, the snuggles on the couch, the talks on the porch…the life around us.

We may criticize the hair out of place in a photo…”take it again…my muffin top is showing”. Instead of looking deeper at the love and laughter that is truly shown in the memory. I mean, honestly, 20 years from now that muffin top will be the least of our worries.

Ahhh, perfect kiddos….little cherubs. Do you have those? Didn’t think so. Me either. Comforting to know that we are all in the same boat on this one. Mine, all 5, have gotten in trouble, caused me to lose sleep, given me gray hair, said things that shocked me, and have filled my heart with more love and joy than I could have ever imagined.

And, then came marriage. It’s always amazing to me when a couple gets divorced, and everyone looks so surprised. “But, they were the PERFECT couple!” Really, people? Is there such a thing?
John and I are about as far from perfect as we can get. What we are is committed to our marriage. Committed to doing whatever it takes to make this wonderful sometimes-crazy difficult partnership work. It means looking past the little stuff…socks on the floor…and savoring the stuff that matters….John rubbed my feet while I lay shaking in an MRI last week.
Marriage is a constant work in process, and I am a firm firm believer that you get what you give. Handle your partnership gently, nurture it, and be prepared to work on it daily. Think about it…you wouldn’t plant a garden at the beginning of spring and come back at the end of the season expecting beautiful fruits and veggies. No, you would tend it lovingly; daily…and you would reap your rewards. Marriage is no different. Put the love of your life as a top priority; love them with your whole being. It’s the beautiful nuances of a relationship that will see you through…not the grandiose gestures.

None of us, nothing we have, or anything we do will ever be perfect. But, there is absolute beauty all around us…in the people we love, the home we create, and the lives we live.

Its not perfect, but it sure is beautiful.

Those 12 Letters…Middle Scho

 

imageThe view from my hammock this morning…..swaying slowly, trees dancing back and forth above just enough to give me that slight twinge of motion sickness….

Thinking about the upcoming week…total serenity buzzkill. Why do Mondays creep in on the weekends where they have no business? The twins will start 7th grade. New school…Middle School and all that those 12 letters bring with them. The good, the bad, the nervewrackery that is junior high.

Oh, I know they’ve got this…I’m quite certain I’m just remembering the fun that I had in Middle School. Yes, that’s it.

So, as I lay in my hammock I’m saying a prayer and lifting up all of the kiddos as they approach “the first day”. Take care of our Babes, handle them with care. Give them the courage they need to stand tall each and every day, and let them know that we are waiting for them each and every day to love and hug them…to fill them back up. #lovedoes #middleschool #wecandohardthings

My Village

My village

These women…where do I begin…it’s safe to say that they are the Family that I choose. A couple of them have known each other since pigtails, a few since high school, two more since their first cherished neighborhood. I thankfully fell into this group about 13 years ago.

We have been through the births of babies… (Cindy almost decked my OBGYN because he wouldn’t let her in the delivery room.) The drama of middle school; hormones, dating, attitudes…watching all of our kids (19 between us) come in to their own….finding their voices. And, high school….oh, that was fun. Celebrations have been thrown as kids have left for college, and glasses of wine have been poured as we commiserated when kids have come back home…Just to stay for a little while.

Hands have been held and we’ve shared the worry when jobs have been lost and life has been uncertain. And, we’ve pulled each other tight and offered comfort as we’ve lost parents. Reminding each other that we are always here no matter what…

We have raised our glasses to our kids’ accomplishments, and celebrated when they’ve married. And, now Grandbabies!!! How wonderful is this? Our village is coming full circle.

Us Instead Of Them

us Instead of themUsually in our lives we tend to separate people into groups …most often two groups. US and THEM .

Our neat and tidy group…US. These are our friends, acquaintances, and people who look like us. It’s a pretty safe group. We gravitate towards them at Church, parties, sit by them in theaters, smile at them in line, push our kiddos towards them on the playground. Oh come on you’ve done it. I’ve done it. Go play with that cute little girl; she has a pony tail just like you. We don’t even have to “know” them, but we seek them out. They look like us, dress like us, behave like us…We’re smart like that. How convenient. How typical. How boring.

Why do we stay in our comfort zone? Why are we afraid to dip our toe in the water of unknown?

And then there’s THEM…you know…people who aren’t like US. (At least that’s what we think) Are we afraid that the tattoos and piercings covering the young man in line 13 are going to rub off on us? Surely, we know they aren’t contagious, but still WE stand back a couple of feet. Not to pick on tatts and piercings…I’ve got a kid with a tatt, and I’m sure it won’t be his last. Ladies, we have all given that Mom the “look” at the grocery store. You know the one pushing the cart with a shirtless diaper clad baby in the front swigging on a juice box; followed closely by a snotty nosed toddler with no shoes on…with his face buried in a cereal box. Maybe instead of judging this poor exhausted Momma we should be saying, “Sister, I feel your pain! How can I help you?”. (Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago that I WAS that Momma). How about the person on the corner? Store clerks? The new kid at school or Church?  Someone with skin a different color?   A person who loves differently? You see them everyday.

I was reading Bob Goff’s essay: 10 Ways To An Extraordinary Life last night, and this really struck me…

Goff suggests making friendship intentional and, moreover, risky. Because sometimes you can learn more from friends who stand just left of center than those with whom you share everything in common.

What if we got rid of THEM, and included everyone in US? How cool would that be? Step out of your comfort zone and you will be amazed who you meet. Just start looking at people as humans…not as races, tattoos, piercings, homeless, exhausted Mommas, store clerks, straights or gays.

Humans. Us instead of THEM.

 

You Will Never Regret Being Kind

Kindness…what a wonderful virtue to have. And, honestly talk about an easy gift to give….it’s actually free. Kindness can be given to others by simply smiling when you pass, reaching out to friends, stepping out of your comfort zone to ask a stranger if they need help. But, I watch people and I wonder why they guard it like their most coveted treasure…almost as if they have a finite amount. You know your not going to run out, right? Your heart is overflowing…the more you giveaway the kinder you become. I promise, you won’t be able to help yourself. You will never regret being kind.

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I will warn you though; kindness is contagious. All of the little eyes that watch you will soon pick up on this trend. I guarantee your kiddos, those little sponges, will jump on the kindness train and it will be fabulous. I’ve seen it. They will start holding doors open for strangers, returning baskets for people in parking lots, reaching out to the new kid in class. Without even realizing it…they too are spreading kindness.

So, as you head out today approach others with kindness; remember that it’s free and that you have an abundance. You won’t regret it.

Open Your Hands

Open your hands

Do you ever find yourself retreating…closing yourself off from the people you love, the people you need? I’m not just talking about our spouses or our partners. If your like me you do it from your Friends…without even realizing it. Life gets in the way. Kids, jobs, families, sports, life gets in the way and these valuable nurturing relationships get pushed to the side.

So often I end up hunkering down (who says that?), focusing on my day to day stress, and I cutoff all contact with the outside world. In the precise moment when I need it most I sever all ties to my most valuable support system. And, the crappy thing is; I’ll actually think to myself, “Hmpf! Sure would be nice if so and so called or texted!” When the reality is I’m the one that closed my fists, crossed my arms, shut down…assumed the fetal position. Do you do that?? It sucks!!!

My friend, Glennon (I’m reaching…I just adore her, though. She will make you laugh, cry, spit your coffee, and feel absolutely normal) @momastery, wrote a blog about this “ICKY” feeling. She figured out that this “ickiness” was really loneliness, and that she needed her “girlfriends”…she was lonely for the kind of love and support that only they could provide. I totally get that!! I need that!! Why do I shut my friends out first? Why do I close my hands? Why is that so easy to do?

You get what you give, right? So, by taking that first step, reaching out, opening our heart, opening our hands hopefully we can open someone else’s.

xoxo,

Amy

A Love Worth Waiting For

love worth waiting for

Good things come to those who wait!
When I first heard John’s laugh 28 years ago in college I fell, and I fell hard. (I’m a sucker for laughter. If you can make me laugh…I want to be near you.). We met two weeks after arriving as freshman at SFA and quickly became inseparable.

I knew he was the one….I was in love. Right then as a freshman in college…I knew. But, he knew differently. Damn it! He knew he didn’t have time for me, and had the world to see, and something about being young. Blech! And, just like that it ended…with me heartbroken in a pool of tears.  He moved to a different school. I was absolutely devastated. I missed his laughter. His smile. His generosity. His love. We didn’t speak again.

We didn’t speak again for 12 years!! That’s when I decided to look him up on this thing called the “internet”, and give him a call. And, Hot Damn….he was single!!! After some long “catching up” conversations, we started dating again. And, by we I mean John started dating Me and My 3 Boys. Everything I loved about him came rushing back. The laughter, the sensitivity, the kindness. I fell right back in love. And, the good news…so did he!!!
Fourteen years ago today I married the Love of my life, actually He married Me and My 3!

 

Listen To The Stories

Isn’t it easy to take everyone/everything at face value.  We all fall into this trap of casting judgements based on a person’s “cover”.  Think about your own story; your own truth…What does it say about you?  I promise it is so much deeper than what you show on the surface…often times so many of us hide behind the safety of our “covers”.  The faces and friends you encounter in everyday life are no different than you.  Listen to the stories waiting to be told…help them turn the page.