Faith · Family · Love · Parenting · Perspective

Tempo

Life here is slowly returning to a more normal pace. Lentando.

grayscale piano keys
Photo by Pixabay

The kids and I fell asleep on our couch last night. We read Llama Llama Red Pajama. That Llama sounds an awful lot like my 6yr old.

We prayed together. Each of us took turns praising for something we are thankful for and praying for someone who might be sick, sad, hungry or mad. May our eyes be opened and our hands ready to humbly serve those around us.

I woke an hour later and carried my children to their beds. I’m still able to lug my 75 pounder, but I’m not sure how much longer. I’ve got him by about 60 pounds and 12 inches. He’ll outgrow me in the coming 5 years.

Two hours later my husband walked in, finally home from a work trip. Sleepily I told him how nice it was to have him home. I don’t communicate exceptionally well at midnight.

Today will bring about the hustle and bustle of shuttling between swim lessons, basketball camp, a trip to the dentist and work responsibilities. Even this isn’t consistent with our lives 6 weeks ago, but we are getting closer.

Our cadence is slowing from affrettando. Too vigorous. Too chaotic. Like that flurry in the middle of a song, we are over the peak of summer.

We are falling into a new, more comfortable rhythm.

Faith · Family · Health · Parenting · Perspective

Heart Check – Thursday

A podcast I listen to starts out with a few questions from one host to another. They call it a “heart check.”

What’s in your ear?

What’s pulling at your heart?

What book is in your hand?

I’ll also add for this post (because I like food)…

What’s in your mouth?

So, Jen, what’s in your ear lately?

–Yesterday, it was my Pandora thumbprint station. I was solo in the office for most of the day, thus almost a completely uninterrupted soundtrack for the day. Eclectic, as is my taste in music, songs range from the last 6 decades and a wide variety of genres. A personal favorite is Ashokan Farewell, but that might be followed up by Rump Shaker (Wreckx’n’Effect), a song from Ray LaMontagne, the Avett Brothers, Meghan Trainor, Amos Lee, Lee Brice, George Strait, or Casting Crowns (among many, many others).

What’s pulling at your heart?

–Of course my kids and family. Anxiety. Worldwide events that are completely beyond my realm of physical connection. How can I contribute to those around me? How can I be a more patient mother, wife, and friend? After a meeting last night…. when will I ever stop being socially awkward?!!!! 30 years of socializing hasn’t made me a social butterfly. Still inept at the art of surface-style conversation.

What book is in your hand?

–I truly love my 5:30am quiet reading time. I am awake to see the sun rise quietly and peacefully. The past month, I’ve reread three Anne of Green Gables books: 1, 3, & 4. Apparently somewhere in the last 25 years, book #2 disappeared. My devotions in my study Bible are out of Psalms. This morning, I finished “365 Thank You’s” by John Kralik. Focusing on gratitude, he turned his life around one thank you note at a time. Inspiring!

What’s in your mouth?

–Like all people vainly trying to shed the winter carb-fest padding,  focusing on better food choices, I’ve been packing a bountiful amount of fruits and veggies in my daily lunches at the office. Due to my MS med, I have to hit the carbs first thing in the morning to settle my stomach. Therefore, I make my lunch vegetable based instead of building it up from bread or pasta. Almost all my veggie-based meals feature the previous night’s protein choice, aka leftovers. Makes for a lot of variety! Yesterday’s masterpiece:
salad

Mixed baby greens (thank you husband for buying a super large container of these at an amazing discounted price!)
Fresh Mushrooms
Leftover BBQ Chicken
A handful of French fried onions (the ones without whey)
Balsamic Viniagrette (I only use vinaigrettes, no dairy! But if you go this route, be sure to make your own or read the labels.)
I wash and re-use this Subway salad container daily. It’s the perfect size for my lunch bag.

That sums up my Thursday morning heart check. What does your heart check look like today?

Much love — Jen

Creativity · Family · Perspective

Grasp – Free Fall

via Daily Prompt: Grasp

Some mornings just need a moment to fall into place. I’m not grasping life by the horns today. That was yesterday’s chaos. Let the chips fall where they may!

My desk is fully visible, sans the mountains tackled yesterday. My to-do list is relatively short.

Instead, I’m choosing to sit back in my desk chair and listen to some acoustic John Mayer.

 

Free Fallin' Acoustic
Tom Petty original was a favorite song to sing along to in the car on the way to high school with my sister.

 

Early morning devotions. Kids dressed and off to school. Connection with my husband. 10min FitSugar abs workout. My gallon jug of water and a bag of snap peas prepped for snacking at my desk. Mascara and lip gloss applied. Quick drive to work.

Ready. Set. Go.

Grasping life as it comes, but taking a moment to sing a classic.

Isn’t it all about balance? The push vs. the pull? Catch and release? The firm hold and the free falling moment?

Grasp. Free Fall.

 

Perspective · Uncategorized

Carpool playlist

Yesterday’s carpool playlist. Short and eclectic with my personalized commentary.

Number 1.

image

This song has mad bongo skills and is one of my personal favorites for kitchen dancing. Also a dance song at the end of “Despicable Me.”

Number 2.

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I just want to celebrate… Another day of living! Generally speaking, this is my personal motto. I know how fragile life is and that the faultiness of the human body is inevitable. So celebrate today and that your heart is beating. You have a purpose today!

Number 3.

image2.jpeg

No amazing message here. I just enjoy Panic! At the Disco and his amazing vocals.

Number 4.

imageI enjoy singing to this one. My parents thought her voice was like fingernails on a chalkboard when I was in high school.

Number 5.

image

Come on Patty. Get it together…  Classic country with a great beat. Seriously can’t beat Prime Country if you’re a fan of country music.

Yesterday I had about 90 miles in carpool driving with school drop off, then preschool pickup at 11, followed by the 3:15 1st grade crew and being the drop-off for CLASH youth group. And of course, my job in between all these jaunts to the school and back out again to the office, occasionally grabbing filters or a part for the guys in the shop. I get to do almost the exact same thing today!

You may have noticed KIDZBOP on the menu. KIDZBOP makes my ears bleed… but occasionally I’ll click on it as a distraction for my littles. If the song is terrible and has a bad message, I turn it off again.

I introduced the kids to Scott Joplin a few days ago in the form of the Entertainer. It’s such a fun song to play on the piano! They weren’t quite sure about its entertainment value… Guess I’ll just have to keep introducing them to new – read it: old – music!

Family · Perspective

Daily Prompt: Vanish

via Daily Prompt: Vanish

 

Two immediate thoughts on this word.

  1. It’s been a ridiculously stressful day at work. On top of normal, typical work stuff it was an inservice day at our school and my 4yr old has a terrible cold coupled with a terrible feeling-awful temper. Both my precious littles were at work with me today. All day. Mostly good. Some tear my own hair out moments. And I’m currently wrapping up my desk to make it to the 5:30 PTO mtg. In terms of work stuff – I’d appreciate if the items on my list this week would VANISH and of course, be done. I don’t want less work. I just wish they were already done.
  2. If I’m not careful, I might go home and make a whole bag of marshmallows VANISH. That’s fairly self-explanatory. Stress eating. Not cool.

Here’s to tomorrow being smoother. It was still a wonderful day. My frustrations are petty compared to many other’s concerns and I will humbly put them down where they belong.

As a positive, I did purchase a few new piano books. I look forward to testing the waters on them tomorrow. My kids would also like a ukulele and to learn how to play. Can’t beat that for randomness, right?

Creativity · Fitness

Music.

Music is a piece of my life’s puzzle. I hear it in the sounds outside, in my own mind’s orchestra, and of course when others are creating it. I feel it. It changes the way I breathe. It changes the way I think. It calms, inspires, pushes me, brings joys, deepens emotions. I enjoy singing, piano, and once upon a time played the tenor saxophone. I prefer to enjoy these talents without an audience. No feedback necessary… just the uplifting soothe that comes from harmonizing with the radio or sitting at the piano playing old sheet music.

I decided to take a hiatus from the social media world. People are attacking each other for exercising their Constitutional right to vote. I voted too. These people are not acting with maturity, but rather with snide comments, snarky quips, whiny memes, and gloating hashtags. It screams of Junior High mean girls or playground rumbles. The election is over. It is done. And in 4 years we get to do this again. The vitriol between people is too much when they are faceless and hiding behind a screen. They drink up whatever they’ve been told by the opinion biased, ratings driven news – political party – peer group.

I put my foot down and will not drink any longer. I’m turning on the music. The sounds of nature. The sounds of those who hear the music too and then create it.

Today’s Playlist Included:

Classical Gas – Mason Williams – performed by Tommy Emmanuel

Cheap Thrills – Sia

Killing Me Softly – Fugees

10,000 Reasons – Gateway Worship

Titanium – Madilyn Bailey

Can’t Stop the Feeling – J Timberlake

Add in a trill of classical piano, a sprinkle of country, and a nice run down a dirt road. I’ll be enjoying the music.

Family

Eclectic.

I have been called eclectic. Not short green hair eclectic, but eclectic in my tastes. Honestly, I’m not brave enough to go green or any non-traditional color. Sometimes I’m not sure whether to blame (negative) or attribute (positive) my tastes to my upbringing. My music playlists raise some eyebrows…

I am from the Midwest. No, not Chicago-style Midwest. I always shudder when I hear a news anchor refer to Chicago as being in the Midwest. Maybe geographically, but definitely not when speaking lifestyle. I am from the rural Midwest – population of our nearest small town – 45. Population of our nearest large town  ~3000.

ru·ral

adjective \ˈru̇r-əl\

: of or relating to the country and the people who live there instead of the city

Around here, farming is the basis for EVERYTHING. Not small garden farming. Actual 100’s if not 1000’s of acres per family. I grew up driving a tractor, delivering piglets for a penny each, digging musk thistles, feeding cattle, picking fruit in the orchard, canning tomatoes, swimming in the pond, etc. Church on Sunday – no excuses. How old am I? No, not 80. Try 31.

I didn’t realize that my tastes or my upbringing were so different from the norm until I reached college. All my friends growing up did all the same things I did. Strange thing, when I started at my alma mater, I realized that not everyone listened to country music, sang gospel songs, could feel the swells of emotion in the crescendos of the orchestra, but also pretended to rap on the 2 hr drive to and from college. Not everybody could sing all the words to a song by Three Dog Night but also lip-sync a mean Pink.

Many of the students were from large cities (Kansas City, Lincoln NE, Denver CO, Dallas TX, Las Vegas NV) When I told people where I was from, they would refer to me as from “Western Kansas.” Not so much. I only live halfway across the state. They were intrigued at the idea of farm-work and starting such work at a young age. “It isn’t called work” according to my mother. It is called “Contributing to the family.” (this is a whole new blog entry!)

Now that I have my own children, I read articles about parenting. I realize that I am still considered “eclectic” in how I apply my traditional views. Do we attend church every Sunday? Yes, we try to. Am I freakish about washing hands and germs in the house? Usually, but I do realize that a really good roll in the mud is healthy for my children. My son enjoys hunting with his dad and cooking with me. He likes to sing “My God Is So Big” and LMFAO’s “Party Rock.” He does a mean break-dance. My daughter can grunt like a buck – impressively. She also charms people with her truly tiny frame and high pitched voice, then wraps them up and tackles them with strikingly athletic form.

I’d like to think that “eclectic” can also mean well-rounded in my experiences and how I am raising my kids. I hope they absorb at least some of the eclectic tastes that my upbringing instilled in me through the way we are raising them. The world takes all-kinds-of-kinds to go around.