Sedona, AZ.

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We spent a week in Sedona in a single wide trailer, slightly reminiscent of an old folks trailer park with a rustic Spanish feel.  Inside the gated area was everything we needed.  The walk way through the entirety of the trailer was one person wide. It was a cool place to stay.  Pool, a breakfast cafe on site, and daily art classes.

We were lucky enough to get signed up for an art classes at a nominal fee.  We were thrilled to do a water color painting class.  Now, for my sister this was second nature for her.  She is an amazing artist.  Everything that one needs to be, to be called an artist: creative, thoughtful, and paints as if each brush stroke is preplanned for the the next one as if she sees the finished piece of art in her mind.  It is actually a beautiful thing to watch someone be with their art, in the moment… creating it.

I have a friend who is an architect.  I have seen her drawings on paper, on a computer screen, and even more impressive the buildings she has designed. She is an artist also.  She gets that same look my sister has when she paints and the same ease and grace when she speaks about her designs.

The first full day we had, we were both nursing our way down the hill to a little building.  Putting one step in front of the other-a bit too much fun the night before and our inability to stop talking is often difficult on our trips. Conversations go on and on, unconsciously fighting over the last word, the last laugh, and soon 2am rolls around.

We signed in with a skinny man wearing a beret, small build, no hair with a gentle voice and the sheer sight of this man gave us a little chuckle.  I am not sure if it was his demeanor, the way he spoke and looked perfectly like someone in an 80’s comedy about a painter…a complete stereotype on my part, but he was fun to be with for a few hours. The icing on the cake, his name. Art Gecko.  I think that his name was the kicker to our whispering giggles. Still to this day, I wonder if that was his real name??

I had a surprise for the next day but turns out, not actually a surprise because I told her. I am so bad at keeping surprises. We were headed for a Jeep Adventure.  Alone, she and I would go off road with a penciled paper map in a brand new Cherry Red Rubicon.  This still is one of my favorite adventures.

I started driving through town as we made it to the dirt roads and I remember us looking at each other like we were entering a wonderland of excitment.  The red rocks towered around us, brush and tumble weeds wiped the sides of this awesome toy.  A rather expensive toy but it was SO SWEET! We drove for what seemed like a few miles before our surroundings started to change, the roads narrowed, we began to drive over  uneven ground and rock. My stomach seemed to flutter with nerves or it could have just been sore from all the laughter from the day before and laughter that was happening inside that open-topped jeep of joy.

The terrain again changed drastically after a few S curves and the dirt underneath us started to disappear, we were driving and climbing rocks. At this point, I knew it wasn’t sore stomach muscles, it was fluttering nerves. Another jeep approaches as we sweep by each other nearly hitting mirrors, they warn us of what is ahead.  We climbed the large hill and came around the left bend in the path. About 20 feet in front of us, was solid rock on a 45-degree incline and it sharpened off about ½ way up probably to a 75-degree incline.  After some discussion, about putting the Rubicon in 4-wheel drive manually, my sister says, “now once you start driving you have to make it to the top, there is no stopping half way.” The incline didn’t seem that scary from the flat path we addressed in front of us. I decisively decide… I got this.

I start to accelerate slowly and my sister urges more gas, more gas, and I know my facial expression right then, and my laugh turned to a terrified nervous giggle.  My sister is holding on for dear life, leaned forward as if that would help move us forward faster. Her urgency for me to give it more gas grew quickly and my weightless numb foot couldn’t push any harder.

I started babbling, “oh shit, oh shit. I can’t, I can’t.” I use both feet to slam the break into the floor board and in that exact position, at that angle my entire upper body felt as though I couldn’t lean forward even if it was life or death.  My sister yells, “what the hell,” and looks like she is going to punch me in the face. We both looked forward and all we saw was the sky.  In a split second, I decided I was done driving, at that moment, at that angle, and I was done. I absolutely pictured that if I went up any further the Jeep would somehow tip over backwards and flip end over end down the hill.

I needed my sister to drive.  She decided we were not exactly in the right place to do a Chinese fire drill and switch drivers. I slowly let off the brake which allowed us to roll backwards to where the incline began. Emergency brake engaged, we switch places by me sliding in the passenger seat inside the Jeep and her passing in front of the Jeep to get in the driver’s side.

She took over and charged the climb.  Up slowly we went and once that incline hit 75 degrees I swear those tires had suction cups on them to keep us attached to the rock.  We drove a bit further, another climb or two and we finally reached the top. Red rock towered on one side of us. We stopped in the center of the rock.  Our laughter echoed for miles, I’m sure of it.  We replayed my abort mission mid rock climb and couldn’t catch our breath. We explored a bit, tried to take selfies in the middle of nowhere, yelled to see if voices would echo, talked and relished in the hot humid afternoon drinking water and celebrating with trail mix.

Our journey in the Rubicon was not over.  We had to find our way back and together we decided we were loosing too much daylight. We headed forward off the grid where the map just ended and figured we would make it back just fine.

 

 

 

Work Hard, Play Hard

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I wake each morning in the same ritualistic way, coffee, writing, a load of laundry from the dryer to fold, kitchen needs to be tidy, and all the other repeated tasks to follow suit throughout the day.  I repeat this day in and day out. The same beginning and the same ending.  In the last years, I have been putting some of these tasks in my boys’ hands.

I know these tasks need to be done or the house will fall in shambles but can I find a way to enjoy every day tasks? It’s robotic, it’s a mental list I drudge my way through just to get them done because no one else does. They need to be done.  For some sick reason, it would drive me crazy if I just let them go. Am I the only person who feels this way?  Is it something women, mothers, and wives force ourselves to do?  Lump ourselves in this dated way of thinking that all the “home” things must be done by us because it is our duty as women?  Can I change this way of thinking in my boys as they grow?

Now, I am not attempting to know anything that other women don’t but why can’t my 12-year-old boys rinse and put their dishes in the dishwasher, after all they used them?  Why can’t my sons fold laundry or set the dinner table?  And if I have to clean my room and make my bed, why can’t they do the same in their own rooms? Heaven forbid they ever learn how to push a vacuum around. I am behind this stereotype of what men do and what women should do.  I want my children to be an example and accept to this stereotype.  I believe they will be better for it as adults.

For as much as my children, love the outdoors and would spend every waking minute outside if they could, why can’t they learn to help out inside? Last week my boys and I spread 15 yards of bark dust together with shovels and wheel barrels.  They mowed, weeded and used the tractors to help on the farm.  I do not think I am working my kids to hard, they play hard everyday although often watering turns into water fights just like last night. This is joyful to watch.

I would like to say I am guiding them to be the best little men they can be. Also, I convince myself that later on in life whoever they choose to spend their lives with will be grateful they know how to wash dishes, do laundry, and vacuum, along with all the other outside tasks we are required to do to keep our home well kept.  This is preparing them for the real world.  We work to play harder!

My children are loved, happy, and enjoy life. Even after putting in some hard hours of working by the end of it, they are always smiling and laughing when they come in the house. So, how can we possibly be working them too hard? They are full of joy, filled with life, and excited about what comes next.  What else could I ask for?

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I have seen this quote before or different forms of it. It sends a slight nervous feeling down my spine, an uneasy feeling in my stomach, and a quietness in my mind.  Memories flood back. Something flawed and something I regret, something that would probably cause people to judge me. I know I could make a difference…even if only, to one person.  Raise awareness…

I am considering speaking about something in my life that happened. I am so worried about what people will think if they hear me speak…maybe, not that I am worried but worried about what it will make my family feel.  I don’t want to embarrass  anyone or have this be a reflection of others around me.

I know I have something to share, a point of view, something that will “split me open” and I don’t know if I am ready for it.  It often floods in and out of my mind, my writing and I always erase or delete it…I keep telling myself, let it go.

I wonder if speaking would set me free?

 

 

They Call Me Athlete

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They Call Me Athlete

I run, I lift, I walk, I squat-

I swim, I spin, I paddle, I peddle-

I give, I try, I win, I lose-

I push, I pull, I am fast, I am strong

I jump, I shoot, I hit, I catch-

I listen, I question, I decide, I move-

I sweat, I bruise, I bleed, I sprain-

I ice, I elevate, I stretch, I recover-

I study, I learn, I watch, I hear-

I encourage, I help, I cheer, I strategize-

I do not QUIT-

They Call Me Athlete.

Making Your Pieces Fit…

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Do you have missing pieces that just don’t fit anywhere except inside of you? In a secret place that only you know about. Perhaps there is no secret too big or too small to explain why you buried them in the first place. However, they still exist just the same, in the corners of your mind, in a familiar smell, lyrics in a song, a quick glance from someone and your eyes meet, a single touch, laughter, and the memory of what another was like year’s ago…sometimes, just a feeling one gets, when one senses another human being…unexplainable except to those who feel it.

We, as beings have “this” sixth sense and I have learned that I need to listen and let myself feel that sense.

It can be as simply put as mind over matter or allowing yourself to push past the pain and let your muscle take you further, to give in when you don’t need to pick “that” battle at “that” specific moment, to trust that sense when you feel like giving up and you know it isn’t the end…for some of us, it’s to suck it up and face the fear, to guide your children in the way you believe to be right, to know when to speak up and when to back off  but remember your words can hurt, so say sorry over and over in this life–because whatever comes next, you will only wish that you had said it, when it could have made a difference.

I want be of one voice with my spouse, to not hide behind others judgements to stand up and disagree or walk away, to know when enough is “your” enough, and to take back your power and simply speak up…speak out…and always remember to stay out of someone else’s battle, fight, or business and only then, is it okay to give advice, when you are asked.

These pieces and your “sixth” sense are connected. Listen to them.  Be strong in the face of adversity (remember not to give up), this is difficult as we often know that anger comes with these challenges. Be gracious, forgiving, and somehow, in some way, WE all need to let go to move forward. Does anyone really want to be standing in a stagnant pool in a swarm of mosquitoes but we can’t move because we are surrounded by alligators, I don’t think anyone would want that.

We, as beings want to make things better, fix what is broken. If one needs help ask for it, talk to someone about that piece of you that doesn’t quite fit-someone probably very close to you has been there.  They will hold on to you, care for you, and love you in just the way you need. We all strive to move on, to love, to live, to experience, to learn and to enjoy every day with the beautiful sun and the storms that will come. Whether it be, in the sun or the storm, we will learn to let go of some of those pieces.