Tuesday, April 30, 2013

searching

I have many friends at different points of a spiritual spectrum. Some say "no thanks- not for me" and they've really thought that through, and continue to think about spirituality while saying that God, or a God-like figure doesn't fit in to their view of the world. And that's okay, because that's where their journey has led them. Others are searching, searching, searching, and feel very unsettled and like they will never find a place in any kind of spiritual practice or religion. I think this is actually a great place to be, because, while it's a struggle, it means a person is really thinking, really assessing their own convictions, and really wondering about an aspect of life that is often ignored. This leads to growth and a more understanding world view. Many are very content with where they are spiritually, with the knowing and the not-knowing, and just sitting with whatever comes.

What I respect the most about people is when they are fluid. When they say "never say never" and have solid ideas about what they believe, but are completely open to learning new things. I think that's beautiful, because there is just no way we can live in a box of "this is right and this is wrong" (I say this in terms of spirituality, not in terms of philosophy where rights and wrongs can be clearly debated and defined, as in "it is right to feed a hungry child" or "it is wrong to murder another person") It's healthiest to stay in a place of openness to what life will teach you, I think. I can have solid convictions of what I believe, and also be excited to learn from others' experiences and paths. I may not change what I believe, but I can certainly be blessed and my views enhanced by what others believe.

One thing that I NEED spiritually is nature. I feel the most content, the most joyful, the most settled, when I'm outside. Hiking a mountain or walking on a beach or running through a park brings me closest to Peace. I do believe in God, and I believe I'm closest to God when I'm outside. I can't remember a time when I haven't felt this way.

This is a no-point post, spurred on by a friend. Here's what she posted. It so perfectly speaks to my heart: 


I don't know who God is exactly.
But I'll tell you this.
I was sitting in the river named Clarion, on a
water splashed stone
and all afternoon I listened to the voices
of the river talking....

And slowly, very slowly, it became clear to me
what they were saying.
Said the river I am part of holiness.
And I too, said the stone. And I too, whispered
the moss beneath the water.

{Mary Oliver}

Sunday, April 28, 2013

busy busy

this poor neglected blog.
we ARE running around and hanging out and living life to the fullest, which makes me completely forget about this little old space. Zach finished his semester and will begin the next in a week. We dealt with ANOTHER round of illness that involved high fevers and puke. Awesome. I have never been more ready for the hot summer sun and chlorine and the beach. Can't wait!!! School is almost over for me, thank goodness. The kids have just a few weeks left (they're on a bit of a different schedule). We have end-of-grade tests coming up, dance rehearsal/recital, exams, wedding showers, a little 5k, and good family/friend time coming up. We've had a blast the last few weeks (in between feeling like crap) going out with friends and grilling out in the spring weather. Here's a photo dump. Cheers!
evidence of yummy grilling

visiting dear friends

miss living near this mama

sunset over saxapahaw and the haw river- at the eddie, an awesome place down the road from us

dining at the eddie (I do not have a gray streak in my hair. not sure why the picture looks like that. I  have massive amounts of brown hair dye to prevent that...)

having a coffee ceremony with friends 

Leah at a cheerleading camp

lots of ballet rehearsal! 

hangin' with our people

my cuties in ET clothing! Pete only had underwear on for some odd reason... so he couldn't be in the picture... crazy kid :)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

what to say?

The last week has been personally hard and globally harrowing. It may sound trite, but I've been really sick on and off for the last four months, and I'm about to lose my mind dealing with it. I've kept everything going here- kids happy, fed, house sorta clean, classes attended, projects done, etc, etc, but in the background this illness of mine ebbs and flows. Some days I feel great, others I can't breath and deal with pain and fever and fatigue. Bloodwork fine, fourth round of antibiotics on board, and wishing I was on an episode of "House" so that they could find the infection site, zero in on what is making me sick, and neutralize it.

That leads me to what I haven't been able to do as much as I like: Run. Remember last year when I ran my first race, a half-marathon? And how I came to love running so much? It's hard when I feel so weak that running is placed on the back-burner- and turns into something my body simply cannot tolerate as I rest and get well. Unfortunately the not-running affects a lot. I'm already feeling yucky, and then not-running leads me to feeling depressed, which creates this cycle of blah.

So now you know that I've been sitting on my ass, feeling sorry for myself, waiting for meds to work, not running, AND: watching runners and their families and friends get attacked at the most beloved race in the world. Close to where many of my family members live, and exactly where several friends were running on Monday. Perfect emotional storm.

The reactions are many, but I think it's safe to say that most of us, especially runners, are 100% completely shocked and terrified by what just transpired. At the same time, it's just one more example of darkness to add to the pile of darkness that we continually fold up and put in our pockets, carrying around our collection, wondering when it will stop growing.

I was so relieved to find out that everyone I personally know up in Boston was safe and okay, although emotionally shaken up. But as the reports came in of the carnage and the three dead, and now a young officer dead, it was hard to find any relief at all. Oh the suffering!

And the kids responsible. Yes, kids. Their brains hijacked by evil. Its source? doesn't matter. The talk of this religion or that ethnicity... doesn't matter. Two humans made the choice to hurt and maim and kill a group of other humans. It happens rarely on US soil compared to, say, Syria. Have you seen the picture of a group of Syrians sending condolences to the people of Boston, and letting them know that they truly understand, because it happens to them Every. Single. Day? The point is, it shouldn't happen. It sucks. It's pointless. It shouldn't happen in Boston, and it shouldn't happen in Syria.

Evil is evil no matter how it's dressed. My kids and I were talking, once again, about how we do not have the ability to stop it, but we do have the ability to control how we react to it and how we act on a daily basis. All we can do is claim goodness and grace and be light every day to every person we encounter for as long as we live. We can all take part it fighting the shadow.

Watching the crowds in Boston last night as they cheered for the cops and firefighters was evidence enough that we're in this for the long-haul. Humanity will not surrender to evil and, by the grace of God, will never have to- we will always have a way to fight the shadow.

Today I think I've turned a corner- I'm incredibly thankful for those in Boston who did everything they could to help- what heros! And I'm thankful for this latest round of medicine that will hopefully restore my health.

Holding up a candle for all the lives lost this week- in Boston, in Texas, in China, after so many tragic events. Keep looking for the helpers. Thank you, helpers.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Asheville!

We headed west for Easter weekend, for a nice break from reality. North Carolina is a beautiful state, and we live smack in the middle. Three hours to the mountains, 3 hours to the beach. This time of year is perfect for a mountain trip, and we scored some tickets to the Biltmore Estate, which is somewhere you should try to visit someday if you haven't! Zach and I explored Asheville last year for our anniversary, and LOVED taking the kids to the house and gardens. They were shocked by all of it and had a great time! Here is a photo dump of our trip.
Driving in to Asheville. See? NC has some big(ish) mountains. 

Pretty

I'm not good at photography, but that gives you an idea of where we hiked :)


they wanted to climb up this rock

brothers hiking

snow! 

Lunch at the top

pretty girl and the Blue Ridge Mountains

nice view! 

I think you can see why it's called the Blue Ridge

It was a fabulous day to hike! 
Easter Sunday is when we toured the Biltmore House. We couldn't take pictures inside. but it is stunning. They were having an easter egg hunt on the lawn! 

They wondered why we couldn't build a castle like that  :)

view from the side of the house



We walked all around the gardens too. Nothing much has bloomed due to the cold winter. I have more pics on my phone that I'll share soon! 

Love this view!!! 
Hopefully I'll be able to add more pictures soon. Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Gah!

Geez! Sorry! Need to update!
Hope you all had a fabulous Easter. We went to Asheville with the kids and had a blast! Need to upload pictures and then I'll share our weekend with you. This week the kids are out of school, so we went and visited friends in our old town and then I dropped the kiddos off with my mom. Zach and I still have class this week (I had a lab practical today, yuck), so we needed a place for the kids to hang out. Thanks parents! When not in class/studying, I've been doing some work and getting things ready for nursing school. Lots to do on that front (not to mention finding loans. Anyone out there want to win the lottery and give me $50,000? That would be great).
Here's something to make you smile:
He had his pictures done for pre-K graduation. WHAT??? Cutest kid ever??? 
 And then there's this, by one of my favorite writers (Madeleine L'Engle). My friend Kim posted this picture of what she was reading the other day. This captures exactly what I believe, right now:


Life is grand when it's crazy. No need to understand! Just live. Have a great Thursday!