Moments

Photograph by Nickelback

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I watch my kids whirl around me as if I’m in the center of a tornado, standing still. I watch them growing and circling me in an upward spiral going faster and faster and I simply cannot keep up.

I spend so much time not missing events: packing football pads, muddy cleats, backpacks that I can barely lift, now basketballs, building animal cells out of Styrofoam, “trying” to help with common core math, who needs new shoes, new math binders, conferences; there is so much “stuff” that kids need, use, and want but when it comes right down to it – the best thing I can give them is my love, my heart, teach them to be kind, polite, and well-mannered young men.  Beyond that, simply being with them in all their moments. My hope is that by loving them, it teaches them how to reciprocate love to others.

I realize now and can see clearly what was happening in my idea of a beautiful childhood.  I was loved and cared for in such a way, I was sheltered from the monsters under the bed. I couldn’t have asked for or been blessed with better parents, I love my siblings and I know whatever the status of our relationship is, in any day – everyone in my family would show up and I have NO doubt about that.  This gives me an incredible amount of courage and strength.

I am able to see life in a different way now.  A beautifully complicated mess of opportunities.  Living in the moments we have, today, tomorrow, and what happens in the next two hours or this evening.  We have choices to make and in those choices we choose to live in those moments or sit complacent and think about what they could’ve been like.   In my strongest and weakest moments, I strive to master perfection in these choices.  But this is where I have begun to see life and myself differently.  We all have these moments that can have an impact on our lives, that we will remember forever or maybe just an ember that blows from the campfire and disappears into the night. But I write to keep my moments, insignificant or not, alive.  I feel alive everyday through my moments and how I choose to use them!!

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When the twins were born, I can remember Cole’s entire hand holding the tip of my pinkie and being too afraid to even touch Austin.  Their chests concave, literally skin and bones, and the ventilators helping them to breathe. I was terrified, so terrified if they would live of die in those moments.

In nearly a month my twins will be 13 and damn, I am so proud and have been blessed by God that these two miracles are in my life. And seriously, where the hell have the years gone??

This morning, the house was in shambles, Christmas lights reflecting in windows, I was doing laundry, writing checks for the next sport (basketball), lacing new shoes, feeding the dog, loading the dishwasher, and like every morning trying to get Cole out of the shower (he never fails to take every ounce of hot water) and my heart was full.  Yes, this happens mostly every morning sometimes the tasks change but the basic idea is always the same.

Life can change from day to day. What you choose to do with your day is up to you but somewhere remember there are people out there who in their current state cannot control what is happening. Everyone needs time to digest, make a plan, and decide what is best for them and their families.

Go after what you want, remember where you came from and who helped you get there, don’t look back because we cannot change the past, if you want something different – something you feel compelled to do or change from your history – change it now, if you need a kick in ass to get you moving, I am sure you know someone who is ready and willing! And maybe if something or someone catches you off guard in a moment and you let yourself be with whatever it is; you may learn more than you ever thought you could. It could possibly change your entire perspective on life.

It’s Been Awhile

0bbf3c536ed968a7be8fa69315951ec7It’s been awhile.  Harvest is always a terribly busy time.  Every year I tell myself, “I got this” and every year near the end of harvest, I am trying to keep my head just above water for me to breath and the statement “I thought, I had this” always comes rushing back.  After nine years, I still feel this. I write things down every year in my own secret “diary” so to speak, of ways I think I can prepare for the next year, what I could have done different this season, and I honestly have not perfected it yet.  I don’t know if I ever will but I wasn’t raised to be a quitter. There is always hope for next year and I have eight months give or take, to make a new plan.

Inevitably everyone can apply this feeling, this sense of drowning– in their lives, careers, next chapters, finances, and relationships, etc. At some point, I believe most adults have felt this way in their lives. But it is up to each of us to decide whether we will sink or float.  Sometimes it can be an agonizingly long process because the decisions need to be weighed equally, both sides need to be looked at and mentally calculated with precision and the time comes when we have to un-tie the cement blocks around our ankles and kick like hell to get our heads above water.

And as the tip of our nose, lips, chin, eyes open and we gasp for that first breath…that is the moment our decision has been made (take the leap, shit or get off the pot, or whatever reference works for you) is where instinctively, we know which decision we are going with…of course, there will be an adjustment period but moving forward with our gut feelings is what we all should pay a little more attention too.

Once we take that first step, we may be knee deep in the dark unchartered waters pulling those cement blocks forward again but our heads are above water.  We have chosen and in that choice we all begin to create a different and new sense of comfort.

There is an infinite amount of decisions and choices we can make in our lives, they will affect the people around us and that is always something to consider but in my last days I would hope that my decisions were unselfishly chosen, my family always felt love from me, that I never intentionally tried to hurt someone, and most of all, that I was proud of the way I lived.

Pay Attention

2012-02-09manual-typewriter-0209stockHow do we talk about the the things we need to say without breaking down?  So, many think tears directly relate to weakness or being broken.  Sometimes this is true but for me I can try to hold them back but everyone who is close to me knows that my eyes well up when I am happy when I am laughing, and also through the difficult heartbreaking shit too.  Sometimes I cry out of joy, and other times to put it simply – I have an extremely tender heart and I usually underestimate my strength. Letting the tears fall is a release for me – some have told me they can’t talk to me because they don’t want to see me cry.  If we are going to split hairs about it – I will suck it up and not cry but also stop yelling at me and talking down to me in ultimatums.

I have trained myself to deal with many things by hiding and digging deeper to bury the things that have become patterns in my life.  I have spoken up but it is always when I have reached my explosive point.  I carry on and keep moving forward but at the cost to myself and who I am. I can fundamentally disagree with some and just sit there and listen to them but in the last five to six months I have started to voice my opinion – not to disagree or cause an argument but to get into the habit of speaking up for myself.

There are two sides to everything, every relationship, and every choice we make.  We need to be conscious of this and the people around us, we need to build each other up instead of tearing them down.  Give back when you can and live on a little less that day.  Don’t buy that cup of coffee for yourself but give it expecting nothing in return from the shivering person sitting against the building outside covered in a trash bag trying to stay dry.

I used to write with a pen and any piece of paper I could get my hands on, I have notebooks full of words, love letters, poetry, and stories.  Now, I stare at a screen when I write – the passion I had for my pen and paper fades because typing seems so easy and more efficient.  As a child I remember my grandfather typing on a typewriter – pushing back and forth as he would reach one side of the paper or the other, the ding when he hit the return key, and when he would manually feed a new sheet of paper in the machine – and the hunting and pecking of his typing skills.  I hardly ever hear that sound any more but when I do it brings tears to my eyes – it brings back a heartfelt memory back and a reminder that life used to be very different.

 

 

 

 

We All Have Scars

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I have scars that remind me of old stories.  Some happened so long again I can barely remember; I know if I asked my parents about them, they would surely know some of the answers of were my external scars came from.

I have two scars on my right hand from trying to do hand stands when my friend and I challenged each other to how many we could do each and when we collapsed to the ground, she scratched me.

Another scar, on the inside of my right knee where the corner of the screen door ripped through my skin after my father had repeatedly told me that was going to happen if I didn’t move from where I was sitting.  I didn’t move and I now have a six-inch scar on the inside of my knee.

I have a scar just under my belly button about 10 inches long from a C-section running from left to right and just beneath this scar…there is a scar I can’t see which runs up and down about 10 inches due to my C-section being an emergency.

I am sure if we all thought about our scars we could list them.  I have created scars on my body…self expression…designs and patterns that I want to be remembered.  They are all apart of my body now and on my skin for all to see.  I chose each of them for a very specific reason and they will forever be on me.  Would I do this again…yes.  Am I currently planning too, yes.

Scars are easy to spot or see on most of our bodies somewhere. There is an entirely different type of scar that may scar us so deeply they we see the world different because of these scars.  These scars strip us down to core, make us define our ourselves and create an entirely new way of looking at the world.

These deep scars flip our lives from the inside out. They break our hearts, tear us apart, and make us wonder if we will ever survive.  These scars, I believe are more than one sided…there is a cause and effect to everything and there are always two different ways to look at everything.  I believe that these scars require conscious decisions…backed by some type of faith.

I have made a handful of these types of scars inside of myself and because I have made them, they in turn have effected others around me…and scarred them as well. We cannot change any of our scars but we all can make the conscious decision as to how they will affect the rest of our lives and how we look at them in our current lives.  We can change how we react to them in the here and now. If they happened years ago, we can still learn from them. We can allow ourselves to keep them close but at bay as long as we keep moving forward.

Do not dwell on things of the past, we will never get those moments back and who wants to move forward constantly looking over their shoulders?

 

Don’t Hold Back, Give Back

 

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Sometimes it takes a new perspective to slap you across the face and wake you up.  I don’t mean…a strong cup of coffee-type wake up, I mean…running into a brick wall at full speed ahead-wake up.

The same things happen day in and day out, there are seasons in everyone’s lives whether they are farmers, teachers, real estate agents, the list could go on and on.  Everyone has a busy time and every one has a slower time.  I can appreciate everyone’s busy and slow times-its about what you choose to do in those extra minutes that makes up the surprises in your life.  The sparks, the twinkle you see in someone’s eye, the way someone smiles, or doing something for someone else expecting nothing in return.

Pay attention, people!  We are surrounded every week by hundreds of people if you take the time to pay attention to others.  Yesterday I was in the grocery store and I notice an older woman in a wheelchair putting back groceries as she added her items up with her coupons.  I could see she was trying to figure out what she “wanted” and what she “needed”. My heart ached for her, I wanted to say something but I didn’t.  I didn’t want her to feel embarrassed or offended by my reaching out to her.  Or was it that I was projecting those feelings of mine onto her.  My observation was she was was struggling.

As I continued to fill my cart with things that I needed and things that were not a necessity, I continued up and down the aisles, I passed the woman two more times. As I walked up and down the fourth aisle, I realized there was absolutely nothing in my cart that I or my family had to have in that exact moment.  Maybe, the milk, the eggs but I knew none of those things were something that my family needed to survive for the next few days.

Selfishly, I walked to the checkout and started unloading my cart as I stood there waiting for my total, I saw the woman waiting three people behind me in line.  Something in my gut told me to do something, it was instinctive.  The guilt I was feeling walking around the store slapped me in the face. I decided, there is nothing I can do to change her life but I can at least help her pay for her groceries.  I bought a gift card and asked the employee helping me to please give it to the women waiting in the line.  The employee smiled and thanked me.

I left the store feeling pretty good, feeling blessed that I am able to provide for my family, and that we all can probably live on a lot less than we do.  I am challenging myself to do something like this every week for someone…it doesn’t have to involve money…sometimes it’s as simple as picking up the phone and reaching out to someone you know is struggling, or stopping and smiling at someone.

Take time, pay attention, be present in the moments we have, and if you’re drowning where you are, if you are losing parts of the person you thought you were…find a way to climb out of that hole…swim like hell to find something that will keep you afloat, we are the ones who hold our own selves back. Its all on us!

Be courageous! Be strong!  We all have this one life!