Friday, December 11, 2009

Eternal Sunshine

Watched an interesting movie a couple of nights ago. With a science fiction flair the film explores a relationship between two people who are dysfunctional at best. Within the film you get a sense that relationships can be tumultuous, yet loving and fulfilling in their own way. I suppose all relationships, at least the ones that matter, take work and acceptance of what is brought to the table. We are all so horribly and beautifully imperfect. This movie does a nice job of depicting this.

Here is what Wikipedia has to say:
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Emotionally withdrawn Joel Barish (Jim Carrey) and dysfunctional free spirit Clementine Kruczynski (Kate Winslet) strike up a relationship on a Long Island Rail Road train from Montauk. They are inexplicably drawn to each other, despite their radically different personalities."

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Call to Ponder

There are seven sins in the world:

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
and, politics without principle.

Mahatma Gandhi

Friday, November 27, 2009

My Aching Back! and Legs, and Arms!


Worked out the day before Thanksgiving and zealously participated in the festivities. Too much I am afraid. I have not been able to climb stairs or walk normally since. Who would have thought that a gazillion lunge/squats would do such a thing?


WAKE UP CALL!


For the first time I have a window into what it would be like to be in constant pain. Aching while moving, aching while staying still. Not my idea of fun or fulfilling. So, as my witness here, I pledge to make an effort in training my body toward peak function. I want to be as mobile and flexible as possible throughout my life. I think the key is using your body in many ways, stretching, playing, walking etc.


Today I have taken things easy--enjoyed a great Thanksgiving meal, put up the tree and played games (Twister was one of them). I was grateful when I toppled over, so I could rest the bones.


Tomorrow is a new day, may it be a day of motion.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Love Priciples


I came across The Love Principles in a stack of stuff I have saved from past research. Below, I have printed this in it's entirety. I am experiencing transformation lately and these principles ring true to this process for me; thought I would share.


THE LOVE PRINCIPLES
(as received in 1970)

  • Receive all persons as beautiful exactly as they are.

  • Be the change you want to see, instead of trying to change anyone else.

  • Create your own reality consciously.

  • Provide others with opportunities to give.

  • Have no expectations, but rather abundant expectancy.

  • Problems are opportunities.

~Arleen Lorrance

Choice is a life process. In every new moment of awareness, you are free to make a new choice.

This list is a good one and I find that for some of the items I have a natural inclination (seeing beauty, opportunities to give and a positive perspective on problems) but the others hold difficulty on some level. I am going to consciously meditate on these principles this week and see where that leads me-- care to join me?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Word of the Day from Kye

As Kye was helping cook the evening meal last night he said, "Mom, what a stench coming from the compost bin!"


I asked him what the word stench meant and he said, "a bad smell".


I later asked both Quinn and Alea if they knew what the word meant and both replied, "no". Kye then informed them.

Gotta love it when the youngest teaches us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Nick Vujicic

Inspiring Video:

Monday, October 26, 2009

DeStress

I am going to try to be more attentive to my blog. I went through a writer's block and life intervened.

Lately I have been scanning my life to determine where stress is originating. I then try to think of ways to eliminate the stress. This has made a significant difference in the quality of my life-- and surprisingly, it has been small changes that have had the most impact.
Here are some examples:
Sock sorting and matching:

I realized a few days ago that in the morning rush, that I am really stressed when it is time to find matching socks for all of us. We have so many different but similar socks, it drives me crazy! So I decided that this was a project worth investing in. We washed all dirty clothes and sat in front of the TV matching as many as possible.
We are sock rich! This little investment has yielded great results. Pure bliss I tell you! If sock sorting sounds like fun, you can play this game here.

Bath Tub Stop Up:
Another area of stress came from my bathtub being stopped up. I knew from experience that the drain was clogged with hair but the stopper would not unscrew to let me in there to pull the hair out. I was frustrated at my inability to fix the problem and avoided the situation -- for two months or so-- it seemed easier to take quick showers. But, each time I would take a shower, I felt a nagging about it. I would slosh through the water (knee deep) feeling a soap film remain on my legs as I left the tub. Ugh.


Recently, I decided that with all the tenacity I could muster, I would fix the problem --even if that meant I would break the stopper. Isn't it ironic that sometimes solving a problem requires us being willing to break something in the process. Anyway, using my trusty pliers, I used brute force and undid the stopper. This made it possible to remove that drain clogging hair.


At that moment, I experienced pure joy as I watched the water flow down the drain. I set about cleaning the tub, shower curtain and tiles and took a celebratory shower (even though I did not need one). Another stress gone. Yay! I celebrated for a week with glee on my face. It just doesn't take much.


I use these examples only to demonstrate the process I have decided to employ. I realize that there are many stressors little and big that I endure each day--some that I am not even be totally cognizant. So, I have made a commitment to myself to pay more attention and to take a stressor at a time and do something about it.
What is stressing you? Don't overlook the nagging little things. Ask yourself how you can take steps to change these. Sometimes I get stuck in auto pilot mode and lose sight of goals or lose awareness of stressors. These recent lessons have awakened me some and have gently guided me to pay attention.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Triathlon

One day I was having a lovely lunch with my friend Sarah. We were talking about the finer things in life like the debate of using baking soda as a deodorant alternative versus those salt rock deodorizers. My money is still on the baking soda. It is inexpensive and it has never let me down-but I digress.
Anyway, somehow we got on the subject of triathlons. I expressed that I have had a secret desire to participate in one. She asked, "why don't you do one?"

Crazy talk.
Later that week, she sent me a link to a race that was happening in Columbus. The race was considered a "mini"triathlon-- 250 meter swim, 7 mile bike and 2 mile run. I thought, "Is it possible? Can I actually get my body up to speed enough to survive?" Thinking it was a ways into the future, we pledged to work out together and signed up for the event that would take place in late September.

The race was on; so to speak.

The week before the race a series of occurrences happened that made me wonder if God was tempting me to not go. At the Night of 1000 Tacos, I rode for 20 miles on the bike and in the 19th mile, I toppled over my handlebars. Scraped and sore, I pondered whether my body would work at the race.

The Monday after, I took a swim at the YMCA. Breathless and slow I attempted to do 250 yards. My partner Sarah sailed past me--seemingly effortless, conversationally sharing she was just finishing up 800 yds (I was a few minutes late to the pool). My shoulder was hurting and my asthma was kicking in. This incident did not bode well.
I went to lunch with coworkers two days before the race. They were sniffling and coughing. Shortly after, I felt feverish and mucousy. At work we received an email warning us to go home if we had flu like symptoms, so I went home and slept a good while.

Meanwhile, caring individuals in my world were trying to encourage me to not go, worried that I may contract pneumonia. Emphatic may be describing their attitudes mildly. But, I had determined to go and at least try.

Sarah and I scoped out the race course the night before and dipped our toes in the cold water of the lake. Sarah kept saying, "The water is really warm..--...really." I looked at her with true doubt in my eyes. But, I gave her points for chipperness. They gave a race clinic so you can understand how to transition from one activity to another. It was exciting to hear and I secretly hoped that I would not come in last place.

We chattered all the way home, talking about what to eat, what to wear, how to prepare the bike etc. We got semi lost on the way home, but the company was good and we got directions to point us in the right direction. It was an advantage that we traveled there the night before--got our bearings. We did not have to worry about getting lost in the morning which was a helpful thing with all the excitement.

Race Day:

Sarah came over to my house and we loaded our bikes up. We ate an egg, toast and a banana ( I ended up with egg all over my leg since I was trying to drive and eat at the same time). The eggs came from my chickens and were delightfully runny --encased in an easy over pocket. Yum. Anyway, my leg was a little crunchy under my long johns from the yoke bleeding through. Speaking of bleeding through, my monthly visitor decided to arrive on this particular morning. What else could try to dissuade me?


We show up on the scene where women were gathered,-bikes and helmets in hand. Supporters were kissing their loved ones rooting them on as they prepared mentally for the task before them. Sarah and I looked at each other excitedly as we were greeted by race officials to get our chips that would track our times between events. Tagged like birds we walked around drinking in all the hype and energy.


It was 20 minutes before the race and we needed to make final preparations. We placed our bikes on the racks, put our clothes underneath and took a bite to eat before heading down to the lake. As we left the transition area a drizzle began. I was in a decorative swimsuit -you know the kind with flattering neckline, pokadots etc. and realized that everyone else (and I mean everyone) wore official athletic suits. Hmm, I wondered why I was getting looks. So, me in my girly suit and Sarah in her athletic suit headed down to the shore. Goose pimples protruded on my arms as the rain decided to come down in earnest.

I said a silent prayer of thanks to God, knowing that the water would warmer than my skin and I would easily welcome the opportunity to jump in. No toe dippin, inch forwarding for me, full throttle run!

We were asked to line up according to our speed times for the swim. Those who could swim in under 3 minutes up front and so on. I figured I definitely would need to be in back, but I did not want to be last. Even though I knew my time would start when I crossed the start line, I still believe their can be a psychologically negative funk that comes with the perception of being last. So I nestled comfortably in the middle back and found a partner. We were lined up 2x2 and pairs were released 5 seconds apart.

Sarah was in the 8th or so pair and did very well. It was fun to cheer her on and watch as she stroked passed others. That girl can swim!

My partner and I, after many pairs ahead of me, approached the start. The race official said the "Go" and I plunged into the water. It was warm! The objective was to pass 4 buoys to my left and exit the water. 250 yards is a lot farther than you may think. The water was over my head, so there was no stopping and to my surprise, I passed 2 people as I traveled the course. It was still slow going because my breathing was overactive and I was getting tired but I knew I would make it though and I reminded myself, "This is just a swim in the park". I was so happy.

The race official warned that going from horizontal to vertical after the swim can prove a challenge. As I exited the water I went slowly and took my time up the hill. My lungs were in overdrive and I needed the breather between. At the top of the hill, they had pans with water to wash your feet. One sand granule, can ruin your day, so you take the minute to wash.

In the transition area, I ate a bite, drank some water and put clothes on. Next I donned my helmet and walked my bike to the mount area. They do this so folks don't literally run into one another. I was off--second leg!

My breathing was still labored but it was a welcome thing that I was on the bike. It did not help that mucous seemed to be my friend. However, my legs were working well and the air was cool. I noticed Morning Glories intertwined with corn stalks along the road as I rode and happily welcomed each turn in the road that indicated I was successfully traversing the course. I was passed by other cyclists and found that I passed few as well. I wondered if I looked pitiful, everyone who passed me encouraged me-- you know things like, "Keep going, you can make it." I am not sure I liked the encouragement at that point. A simple wave or "hi" would have sufficed. But then I was faced with what to say when I passed others. I decided a smile and a "hi" was good. I hope they did not think I was being smug.

In the last stretch there was a steep decline and the bike and I were booking. The road was slick, so I felt the need to brake a bit, just to feel a sense of control. But, as I rounded the bend, there was an equally or maybe more drastically steep hill going up. (Oh, no!)I had to be in my last gear and I was worried that the bike might topple from lack of forward motion. I pressed on and was successful but my legs were burnt. It was then that I saw Sarah up on the ridge of the dam running her heart out. I waved and said, "You go girl!" She was sooo far ahead of me. I was beaming with pride. (Yep, that is my buddy up there!)

I dismounted the bike and hung it up on the rack and realized that I had to pee. Pee?? In the middle of a race??? Come on! By the way, if there was a race for peeing, I probably would be the winner --I'm just sayin'.

With that out of the way, it was time for the run. Now those of you out there who don't know me, I must confess that in all my years, I have not been able to run. My asthma has prohibited it. So, this is quite a feat for me. Since returning to Ohio, I have been on a new medicine (Advair) that has increased my lung capacity and has helped me to overcome physical hurtles like these. I never thought I could become a runner and here I was running.

Well, maybe I should admit-- fast walking/running. My legs after that last hill, felt like logs. Thankfully, my legs, after a 1/2 mile of robot walking, stretched and recovered and I was able to run in earnest. There were race supporters with water in cups and it was then that I realized that I am not capable of drinking water and walking. So, I pushed on. I saw Sarah again as she was returning and we did a high 5 in passing. She was almost home. I was headed to the dam. Once I made it to the dam, I would be halfway done with the run. As I approached, I saw 4 turkey vultures circling at eye level. They were not going to get the best of me. (Vultures eat carrion and I did not plan to change my status-- so I kept moving-- they kept circling).

Home stretch-- I was on the return trip--more water--passed others and could see the finish line in the distance. I decided to run hard. I lengthened my stride, picked up my pace and focused on crossing that line.

Sarah was on the sidelines screaming my name and the announcer welcomed "Erin Sprouse" to the finish. It was exhilarating. I really did it and of course, I cried. Sarah was ready with a hug and we went down to the pavilion to scarf down some pb&j.


What a great time! Thank you Sarah--for fostering crazy ideas!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Reunion Thoughts


Went to my high school class reunion- first one since I graduated not to long ago. It was a nice gathering. I hardly remembered anyone since my memories are very sparse from that time period. But, I was able to conjure up some memories including:

* Our class did not have a formal yearbook. We were somehow in trouble and bore that consequence. We did however decide to make our own memorybook and did so in rebellion. I was proud of our tenacity and willingness to make it happen.

* I was on the mime team- yeah, it is hard to believe that I can be quiet that long :-). I was actually good at it.

* Saw my math, language arts and choir teachers- all look healthy and had smiles on their faces-- life must be treating them good. Most of my teachers were nuns since I went to an all girls Catholic school. My favorite was Sr. Mary Sheila, my Latin teacher. When I shared this tidbit with others at the reunion they gave me funny looks. You see, she was strict! High expectations was a common thread at St. Joseph's Academy.

* St. Joe's was and is a great school. I took advanced chemistry and physics there, had an internship at NASA, and was prepared well for college. As I think about education for my children now, I am grateful for the experiences I had there.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Night of 1000 Tacos

On September 18th I participated in a wonderful evening of physical activity, friends and tacos! The Night of 1000 Tacos was well planned and fun was had by all. The event concept involves traveling from taco wagon to taco wagon by bike. Over the course of the evening we traveled a total of 20 miles.

I ate one taco at the taco wagon #1, drank a Mexican soda at #2, a sopas at taco wagon #3 and could eat no more by the time we got to taco wagon #4.

At the third taco wagon we were greeted by this poster and 65 cent tacos:


Here are the three amigos--Scott, myself and Sarah:



Also at the third taco wagon we had the privilege to eat cake interspersed with peaches that was especially made for us bikefarers. The cakes were adorned by miniature bikes as pictured below:


The food was fabulous and the ride enjoyable. We were able to chat the whole way. Folks waited for each other at intersections and made sure we all stayed together. It was so fun to have 30+ riders and take up whole lanes on busy roads. This form of travelling empowers the biker and the group. As seasoned bikers know, there are many times where driver have little tolerance for those who chose this method of travel.

In the 19th mile I had a bike accident. Sorry- no gruesome pictures. I have scrapes on my face, elbow and left leg. Unfortunately, I did not know that squeezing the front brake only, would propel my body over the handle bars and cause the bike to fall on top of me. Ok, I figured that one out.

All this in preparation for my mini triathlon on Saturday. Not only am I achey, but I am beautiful! (Wonder if I will be scarred?)

On October 9th there will be the Night of 1001 Tacos, followed by the movie: Three Amigos at Studio 35. I have spread the word far and wide and I expect several friends and family members will be joining me on this one. Come out and join in the fun!

Pictures taken by ride organizer: Ray George

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Olde Harbor Inn


A week after my birthday, I had the pleasure of eating and drinking with my sister Louie and her beau Brian in Akron. When asked where to eat, Brian suggested this gem. We sat at the upstairs bar, chatted in a relatively quiet room and covered topics like wine, anti-perspirants, t-rex, Young Frankenstein, and many other various interests.

The owners of the establishment were seated right next to me at the bar enjoying their delectable meal (made by chef Clayton). As I looked on with a bit of dribble on my mouth I secretly wished I had ordered food from upstairs instead of down--this restauraunt has several areas for eating. While pouring wine and eating their food, the owners and I had a nice conversation.
It is clear that these folks are down to earth and thoroughly enjoy living and working near the lake.
A couple of things that struck me, from a restaurant goer's perspective was their desire to have home grown foods like heirloom tomatoes, fresh eggs from a local farmer and creative menus that compliment their wine list.
Visiting them again, is definitely the plan, now what to have-- my favorite--scallops (they are the best seafood restaurant in North East Ohio) or the owner's choice of stuffed pork chops. I must admit, those pork chops were calling to me....yum!

Monday, September 14, 2009

6 ft. Submarine Sandwich

We were at Subway today trying to eat a healthy meal on the go. In line, we noticed a replica of a 6 ft. sub with all the fixins. Kye took one look at it and said, "There is no way you could eat THAT whole thing!!" Eyes wide.

A minute or so passed and he corrected himself by saying, "Nothing is impossible to God."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Quinn Runnin'

Here is Quinn, both feet off the ground running the race. Recently, he shaved 1 minute from his beginning race time. Putting his mind and body to the test; it is good to see him work on his goals.

My travel partner Russell, always ready with trivia, indicated that in the Olympic sport of speed walking, they have sensors to determine whether there are times when both of the athlete's feet are off the ground. If that is the case, the athlete is considered to be running and therefore, is disqualified. I did not realize until I captured this shot of Quinn that both feet end up off the ground when running. Hmmm....

Anyway, I am glad that Quinn is enjoying the sport of Cross Country and is able to focus and give his all.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

River Runnin'


I took a day off from work to go play on the river. Quinn and Alea were in a canoe and Kye was my faithful partner. All of them did great, but I was most impressed with Kye's ability to paddle the whole way. It was his first chance to canoe since he turned 6 this year.

I was willing to give Quinn a few tips about steering, but he declined the opportunity.

The river was high so there were a few riffles that were swift and fun to navigate. We saw many turtles, fishing birds and water skimmers. We stopped for a snack and munched on cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, crackers and hummus. We chowed down!

All in all, we spent about 2 hours on the river. Fun stuff.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lovely Day

I went to a jazz club last week with my dear friend Edna. It was nice to get dressed up and hang out with the girls. While we were groovin' to the music, an old favorite of mine came on. Enjoy:



Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Incredible Edible Egg

Look at that: Doesn't it make you feel for the chicken that laid it?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Calling all Cans

Hey world,
Anybody have any canning supplies that you can lend me? Or, maybe some canning jars that we may have?
I am sponsoring a canning class at the Columbus Catholic Worker and would like to keep costs down. The class will be on August 12th, so I would need to collect supplies before then.
Later in the season, we will be "processing" veggies at harvest to put in the house pantry for the winter. Any assistance you may want to offer is appreciated.
Let me know if you can help in any of these ways-- it is greatly appreciated!! E

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Introducing the Girls

Two of the three hens living in our coop

Our first egg

Shot of the coop with a metal door for a roof

Well, here is a dream realized. How lucky am I? A friend gave me the coop, another the hens while others gave much help with coop maintenance and materials. Thank you.
Aren't they beautiful creatures?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bad Boys

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend about how girls/women like bad boys rather than nice guys. I pondered this a bit and have come to some conclusions about this notion. I think it is true that if a man tries to woo a woman in the early stages of dating by going over the top (things like flowers, excessive compliments etc.) it can be a detraction. The woman will know that or at least feel like it is just a ploy to "win" her. This can feel manipulative and not very enticing. I know that the sentiment can be coming from a nice place, but it has the wrong effect.

It is also true that women like men with a sense of adventure. Men who are willing to speak their minds (while considering other opinions). And men, who are willing to take risks. These qualities can be placed in the bad boy category. It is not necessary for a man to be a bully, or unappreciative, callous or rude. However, a little mischievousness (while treating the woman like a queen) can really tickle the fancy. There are ways to be a bad boy without being a jerk.

A man with confidence is very appealing. This quality is not only reserved for men. I have experienced this myself. When I am confident and sure men seem to find me increasingly interesting.

I must admit that I do like shy guys too--especially when a guy knows he has something to offer but is a little hesitant in his approach. Nothing like knowing a guy is into you and you him--just needing a little nudge to bridge the gap. It can be fun to nudge.

Having said this, I really think that once you have established a relationship with someone, it is still important to cultivate your sense of adventure, express your confidence and take risks but it is also time to turn on the charm. Even though it is no longer necessary to woo your partner, any act of kindness will go a long way. It will be (with a sincere approach) a true gesture of your love. So many times, we get into a rut by worrying about attending to the things that "need" doing that we lose focus. Bring your focus on how to be your best self and express your true appreciation for those around you. I guarantee that you will benefit from this approach way more than staying in your rut.

So guys and gals, give that bouquet of flowers, write that little love note, whisper a tender notion your lover's way--take the risk and make it an adventure. Life is too short to not feel the goodness.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Zumba

I had the pleasure of attending a Zumba class at the downtown Y on Wednesday. The class was energetic, fast and involved a lot of hip movements. Whew!! The Latin music was lively and the instructors kept encouraging us to bring on the attitude. I walked away sweaty, tired and energized. I love being physical-- it is in my nature to move and this class did not disappoint.

It serves as a reminder that I need to keep a movin'.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Cosmic Synergy around Global Concerns

Something strange is going on. I recently met authors (Jim Hodge and Linda Cooper) of a book entitled, Disturbing the Peace: The Story of Father Roy Bourgeois and the Movement to Close the School of Americas. They visited the Columbus Catholic Worker House where I volunteer some of my time. They are lovely people and their book is an interesting tale which compells you think about the world and your place in it. Below I have included information for participation in the study based on this book. All are welcome. This meeting was the first circumstance that started the ball rolling for me regarding global justice issues.

So, I meet these authors, help develop a book study and share information with other churches, organizations and friends. In the course of visiting the Quaker Friends House on campus to talk up the study, a gentleman invited us to attend a Woody Guthrie-like concert that following Saturday. The opportunity sounded fun to me with a chance to meet new people, enjoy a concert within the intimate setting and jam to some folky music. We continued our advertising tour and went to my old church Maynard Avenue United Methodist Church, and talked with Pastor Patti -she indicated that she got arrested for crossing the line at the School of the Americas and that she was very aware of Fr. Roy and would be happy to to share the book study with others.

That Saturday, I attended the concert only to find that the musician (Tom Neilson) was wearing this t-shirt:

Hmmm....


Sunday at mass, we had a visiting priest from Rwanda. He shared the need expressed there since the Genocide took place. Not even three weeks ago my friend Kristy suggested that I read a book by a woman named, Immaculee Illibagiza. She survived this very genocide by hiding with 6 other women in a bathroom. The seven women were huddled in that bathroom measuring three feet by four feet, for 91 days. They took turns standing and stretching. You can read about her book here.

What is God calling me to? I don't really believe in coincidence. Why, am I, one of the more ignorant of world affairs, being invited to focus on this now? He seems to be knocking rather loudly. Now to remain open and keep my questioning heart.

Here is the information about the book study; it starts tonight, but, you can join in anytime:

The study begins July 12 and will meet for 4 sessions--every other week at 7:00-8:30 pm at the Catholic Worker House located at 1614 Oakland Park Avenue. Participants are asked to purchase their own book online or at a local bookstore and to read the first 4 chapters before the first meeting. We also have some copies of the book on site, so contact us (614-446-8714) to make arrangements.
The following synopsis is a description from the authors who will be leading the study with us:

Examine the life of a once gung-ho Navy Lt. who, after working with war orphans in Vietnam, abandoned his military career to become a missionary among the poor in Latin America where he saw grave human rights abuses. After learning that the United States Army had trained the killers of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero and four US churchwomen, two of whom were his friends, he set out to close the US Army School of the Americas that has trained hundreds of assassins and dictators. The larger story details how the SOA peace movement grew, drawing thousands of people from every faith and walk of life, including students, veterans, religious leaders, film stars like Martin Sheen and Susan Sarandon, death penalty foe Helen Prejean, and legendary musician Pete Seeger as well as the Indigo Girls.

It’s a movement that has challenged religious and government leaders much in the tradition of Dorothy Day. The movement prompted the Pentagon to close the school, only to find it re-opened under a new name.

Tamarack Tree

I went to a concert at the Quaker meeting here in Columbus. The musician/singer/songwriter who performed is named Tom Neilson. He sang many songs of resistance, Americanism, etc. He told stories and gave away prizes for correct answers to trivia questions. I won a peace necklace that I happily donned. The question I answered was about a horse named Bess. You can hear the story and song by clicking here.

All of his songs had messages and meanings; many were downright funny. A couple of the songs hit a cord with me on a personal level. One of them was called Tamarack Tree. He told of a time that he and a friend climbed a mountain, got stuck in a storm and huddled under the cover of a Tamarack tree. They were there for 3 days in a snow storm, keeping each other warm. He spoke about leaning up against the tree, and the woman with him leaning against him. The picture he painted was one of safety and warmth. It served as a larger metaphor for me.

The other song is called Courage and Faith. I was compelled to purchase the CD for this one. I think God sends messages through people and circumstances and this was no exception. I think courage and faith are themes for me. Now to actually live and act in that knowledge!

He will be in Cleveland today. If you are interested, you can contact the concert organizer to find out more details:

Sun July 12, Ohio City house concert, for reservations and directions
216-375-6888, july12neilson@yahoo.com 8 pm, $10 donation

Friday, June 19, 2009

We Hit the Jack Pot Mom!!!




Kye came running in with Quinn saying, "Mom! Mom! We hit the jackpot, you gotta see!!" Quinn encouraged me to come out too, saying "There are berries everywhere and we gotta make smoothies."
Sure enough, the mulberry bushes were filled with juicy, plump berries just ready for picking. We took some time picking one by one and eventually, I put an old sheet underneath the tree and gave it a good shake. This helped get the berries from the high branches fall down. We grabbed corners of the sheet and collected them together and brought the berries in to make wonderful smoothies--you know the kind of liquid refreshment that sticks to your upper lip as you feel the cool, fruity goodness go down. Yum! Lick those lips!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In the Field

The kids and I were attending our church's annual outdoor service and picnic at Jeffrey Park this past weekend. The kids were unusually fidgety and I was getting more and more irritated by the moment. After several reminders, I turned to look Kye straight in the eye and I said, with no uncertain terms, "If you don't act right, I will put you in the field!" With this, he had a quizzical look on his face and replied, "Which field Mom?"

Good to know my kids consider their options.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Coolest Mom

Here is Quinn and Alea with the band Days Difference. They were the opening band for the main act of Plain White T's -- a concert we went to last Friday. We won tickets on the radio for answering this question:

22% of men will do everything in their power to avoid this activity, what is it? Answer later on in the post.

We had a great time and the bands were fun and upbeat. The kids seemed to be genuinely excited to be there and felt even better knowing we won the tickets.

While at the concert, I wondered silently whether my kids would remember times like this and consider me a "cool mom". Since my memory is very poor, I am not certain what memories get stored in there. One can only hope that when they reflect, they will find appreciation and fondness of these times. Then again, they may need to spend time and money on therapy sessions just to decompress for all the unresolved issues I have put them through :-).

Anyway, about ten minutes after I pondered these things, a young guy came up to me and said, "I don't mean any offence, I am a teacher and I just wanted to come over here and tell you that you seem to be the coolest mom ever. You and your kids are clearly having a good time and it is great that you brought them here!"

This divine response has been happening a lot to me. I have a pondering and shortly there after, I get some specific message to answer my "question". What has been most surprising is that it is a direct response--not round about, not like I have to infer something-- crystal clear. In the example above it was the exact wording of "cool mom". Those were the words that I used to reflect upon and those were the words he used to describe me.

I think I am connected to my source. As I continue to put things into the universe, I continue to get great results. Now to give more of my anxiety up and entrust more in this process.

Oh, the answer to question: DANCE

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dr. Paul Farmer

From Jules Wandering Weblog:

"It’s the Dr. Paul Farmer story, Mountains Beyond Mountains. Basically, it’s the true, ongoing, yet-to-be-finished story of a man whose mission in life is cure the world. The phenomenal and wonderful thing about Dokte Paul is that he plans to do this one patient at a time, until all people are healed.

Here was a man who has accomplished miracles for the desperately ill and poor. He has changed whole systems through will power, faith, and trust in the goodness and need of those with whom he was working. He did this with creativity, dynamism, and admittedly the bending and breaking of many rules. He never said something was impossible, or stupid, or unrealistic, or that the resources were not enough. In fact, Paul often stated that the problem wasn’t lack of resources but their distribution. If we all really lived as though the only nation were humanity, the problems would not only have solutions, they would be moot. Rather than thinking outside the box, Dr. Farmer had decided that the box was no longer necessary at all in order to orient himself and his work. Operating from a position of confidence, optimism, and trust, rather than from their hateful twin – cynicism – , he had and continues to transform the world."

I think Jules wrote this so beautifully that I had to copy it here. It intrigues me how she and Tracy Kidder describe this man. Doesn't it make you want to meet him? I aspire to be as bold in belief and action. To approach the world with optimism, trust and confidence-- believing that things are possible and resources are plentiful -- ultimately living in faith.

What would it be like if we lived and believed the only nation were humanity? What would we do, or not do, or put energy toward?

We are all called to social justice, the question is whether we are listening. This is one example of a real man, addressing a real need and having an impact around the world:


Regarding social justice, I often find that I am distracted by everyday activities ~too busy with this and that. Immersed in my own troubles, that I forget how fortunate I am. I lose sight of the beauty around me. I take for granted the simple things. And, forget the ache and needs of my neighbors.

Tonight I say a prayer of thanks for my life of luxury. I ask for guidance in how I can be most useful to the world. I want to make a difference. When reflecting back I want to know that my existence has meant something to my community. I want to fully utilize my gifts. I want to give my gift of time, talent and treasure (now to find the talent and treasure-- where did I put them?) I will look under the couch-- most things are there.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Get Empowered

A friend of mine, after I was reminiscing about days gone by and my current troubles, said, "Get empowered!".

You see there was a time when I felt strong, lived life fully and stared fear in the eye. I walked around like life was designed for me and somehow, events and circumstances kindly obliged to offer me confidence and adventure. I had energy and umph. My smile was contagious. I was empowered.

Now, I am not an empty vessel by any means, but my self esteem has taken a few hits in the past few years--and things are different. So, my friend says, "Get empowered." How does one do that? What steps does one take toward empowerment? It sure sounds like it could be easy--kind of like the Nike saying of "Just do it".



Check out the Seven Simple Promises that will Change your Life

Saturday, May 30, 2009

To Stay or Not to Stay


What do you think?
On the topic of dating relationships:

One friend said that she stayed with her boyfriend even though she knew he was not right for her. They argued and she did not feel the energy was right but she decided to stay anyway-- until something better.

A guy I dated awhile back admitted to the same thing. He stayed with a woman that he had no intention of building a future with. She was unaware of this and was hopeful that they would one day get married. He was a bit of a loner so he knew it would be awhile before he would meet someone else so he decided to stay-- enjoying the benefits of companionship. The attitude that, "Something is better than nothing" was prevalent there.

A college buddy of mine, when I complimented him on his girlfriend's cuteness said, "She's OK'" either downplaying his affection for her or truly expressing the opposite of attraction- neither being complimentary.

I suppose there are many reasons we stay when we shouldn't. Sometimes we stay for commitment sake (which may be a good thing), or we stay because we are weak- afraid to be alone, want to be held or need a friend. Other times, we stay because we are lazy or get distracted by every day life. Sometimes we stay because we are hoping for something -- even though the other party is clear that they are not really with you. And sometimes, it may be as simple as recognizing that change is a hard thing to cope with at times--so we stay to keep status quo.

I guess my take on things is that if there is no real hope for a future, lack of commitment and/or an unwillingness to work on things, there is no need to tarry there.

I would not want to have someone settle for me. I wonder what the counterparts in my examples above would do if they knew their mates were just biding time with them?

I am a romantic and have hopes that my mate would be there because he chooses to be. I sincerely believe that if you are in a relationship you should either be in it for the long haul and actively choose your partner or get out. I suppose it is different if both parties are aware that they are settling for the time and decide together that they will pass time with one another. But, it seems that it is more likely that one party would express a desire to look around while keeping the security blanket while the other secretly hoped the other would come to their senses. Limbo is no fun- at least in that scenerio.

The other reality is that by staying this type of pseudo relationship it often blocks energy toward building another relationship. And if it doesn't, you may have to carry the eventual baggage that you betrayed someone while carrying a torch for another. Believe me, that is some heavy baggage.

Relationships are messy. There are times when I have been in a relationship where I had doubts of a future. And, it takes time to figure things out-still different though that I was willing to find out if the relationship was worth striving for. But, I would have to say that if you are not willing to fight for the relationship or invest in a solution to the problems blocking possibility, it probably means it is time to let go.

People who know me, know that I believe in working on relationships and giving things a real try. The main thing is being honest with yourself and the other person about where you stand, so they can make a decision for themselves. If you choose to stay on knowing that the person is not able to be faithful, it is probably on you.

Life is too short to settle, too short to live in agony, too short to feel less than or to compromise values.

Things don't always happen in the time frame we hope for and wisdom is not always present as we face these situations. But, I believe that when you have a knowing in your heart then a responsibility comes with that knowing. It takes bravery and resolve to take the right steps, but ultimately, I think you will be better for it.

On another note, here is one of the most disturbingly funny videos I have seen that pertains (albeit peripherally) to the subject at hand.

Letting Go:
video

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Cornhole Song

Found these guys on Youtube and I gotta tell you that I like all I have seen. They are funny, have musical talent and are creative. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Social Experiement



Doesn't it make you want to shake your groove thing?

Monday, May 18, 2009

First Communion and Baptism

Kids lined up for communion:


Kids watching the bread and wine being blessed:



Kye getting ready for his baptism:

Mom at home after the event getting food together:

Alea in her beautiousness:


Quinn --self portrait:


Kye getting baptized:

Proud/happy god mom's:

Friends who came to share the day:

Cheesy girl:

Quinn with pocket watch, given by Papa. The watch was his fathers and was willed to him. History passed down:


All in all, a beautiful, wonderful day. I was so proud of each of them.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Best Day

Today, I think, was one of the best days ever. Interestingly enough, it was not because it was a perfect day-- for perfection was not achieved, but the day held many pleasures for me. These pleasures were not thwarted by the late arrival to church, the bickering of children, the mower cutting out several times, an acquaintance calling for help when I did not want to leave my garden, or the shower head spraying water all over the bathroom floor as I attempted to enter the stall. I still remain blissful as I recount the day's events. I will try to share them here even though, you may not be able to relate to the wonderousness of it all.

1. Slept in today. I woke around 9:00 am. The sun was shining in the window and by some miracle, the kids decided to not awaken me. The kids surprise me at times at how they believe you are always alert and accessible. I don't get that. It is quite often that one of them will come in and start talking as if I am conscious and fully expect a lucid response.

2. Went to church (albeit late) and grooved to the music, listened to a homily about love, received hugs and kisses at peace time and shed a tear at "Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed". A church lady came up to us after the Mass and gave us the inside scoop that she made sandwiches to eat, next door. She knows I love her cooking and even though I know those sandwiches were for everyone, I could not help that she felt she was sharing a prize secret with me.

3. Went to Oakland Park Nursery. Purchased plants for a gift basket, a few vegetable plants and a couple of seed packets. One of the packets was a splurge-- a mixture of seeds to grow flowers that will pop up all growing season long. I say it is a splurge because it does not involve vegetables.

4. Put laundry on the line outside. Nothing better than the fresh feeling from line dried clothes. It saves energy and I get in a meditative state when I do this task. It is a relatively quiet time, my hands are busy and I can set my mind at ease.

5. Mowed the lawn. Quinn did the bulk of it, I raked up the grass clippings. My yard looks so good when the grass is short. It also feels rugged and unruly even when the grass is cut-- I am trying to think of ways to tame it a bit. I have ivy and brush piles and weeds gone wild in places. Even so, some of the weeds are gorgeous as they bloom.

6. Gardening. Put in cukes, onions and weeded around the broccoli, lettuce, peas and tomatoes. Added manure to the soil to add nutrients. Still a lot to do, but my garden is beginning to look like a real garden.

7. Fire. Burned brush that was in the back half of the yard; left by city workers who cut a couple of trees to clear the alley and wires on telephone poles. A mess was remained there and it made it hard to mow around. We started a fire and chipped away at the pile. The ashes from the fire make excellent compost. We probably burned through about 2/3rds of the pile. The day was crisp and a little chill was in the air, the fire was a nice addition both physically and mentally.

8. Linner. In between tasks, I stopped to make a meal. As I peeked in the refrigerator, I saw that I needed to cook up some pork chops that were waiting to be eaten. I debated whether to spend the time cooking and was tempted to eat out, when I just decided to go for it (knowing going out would cost more and would take time too). I poured a little olive oil in the pan, cut up some sweet onions and peppered the chops. I scrounged around a bit more for added sides and found some pesto pasta in the freezer and some green beans. Within 15 minutes we had a whole meal and to my surprise, the kids kept coming back for more- they can be finicky. So, I earned points for cooking, fixing something the kids would eat and eating the chops before they went bad.

There was much more that made my day great, but I will end with the fact that it is ending with a perfect cup of tea. I try often to achieve tea greatness and often fall short. Tonight, the tea is hot, just enough sugar, a dash of milk and goes down just right.

I hope you will have many a day like this, filled with simple joys and pleasures. Sometimes, I think it is just as important to experience a day like today as to reflect upon it. Many days get passed over in a rush or because we are too preoccupied with other thoughts to truly appreciate what is going well.

I think another reason today was special is that even though I was multitasking, I was able to stay very present with each task.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wolf Sword Story


I went to a retreat a couple of weeks ago through the Cum Christo movement. It is a neat opportunity to refocus on your spiritual path, meet neat people and feel love. It was a great time and I made several friends. While there, we heard speakers and had discussion groups. After one of the talks, I was talking to one of the guardian angels for the group. He was one of 3 guys on the retreat since this was a woman's retreat.


I asked him if the guys retreats were much different, and he said that they basically do the same things. And then, he said that he had a particularly vivid memory of a story that a speaker gave during one of these talks. I am sure I won't get it totally right, but I will do my best to portray it here.


He said that the speaker laid a sword on top of the podium and began to tell a story about a sword that was dipped in blood. This sword was dipped a few times and dried between each dipping. The sword was placed in the snow. A wolf approached attracted by the blood and began to lick, until he did not know if the blood he was tasting was on the sword or his own. The wolf in his attraction, lost sight of the fact that he was getting hurt in the process. The speaker said that this is how sin is with us. We are attracted to it or by it and as we interact with it, we end up getting hurt within the process.


I gotta say, guys are different. Even though, these thoughts were kind of gross, there was something poetic in the metaphor.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

He that lives in hope danceth without music.
- George Herbert

I read this quote recently and I realized there could be a couple of interpretations of this statement.

1. Those who hope(and are not content with what they have)are somehow missing music as they dance. How many times have we sat in hope for some other circumstance when right around us we have much to be joyful for?

And/or,

2. Those who hope, don't need music to dance--the music is in them.

I love to dance. I love music. I am holding out for it all but in the meantime, I will enjoy right here, right now.

I am sure George meant the second option, but this reminds me that a lot of what we experience is based on how we choose to see things and what hopes we hold.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Towel Anyone?



I laughed myself silly with this.
I am not sure it would actually happen. I think people are too worried about germs to do this, but I think some people could have fun with the concept.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Devil is Gonna Get Ya

Had a chat with Alea in the car the other day. We were talking about "bad" words and when it is ok to say them. There is a particular snappy song on the radio that features the word hell a lot-- so she wanted to know the official ruling on such things. Should she sing the lyric or not?

Usually, I dole out an official answer and we may talk a bit more about it but this time, I decided to share the why behind. I basically told her that words have power-- power for positive or power for negative impact. The guideline I suggested was to evaluate whether a word brings about good feelings or negative feelings and choose accordingly. She seemed to understand.

Then we started to talk about hell. Hell is an actual concept about a place. She sat there thinking for awhile and basically said. "Mom, I think that our souls go to God and that our skin and bones go to the devil." I asked her, "Why so?" and she responded, "That would only be fair-- that way they both get something."

Friday, May 1, 2009

video

Yes, your very own Erin Sprouse (not Sprouss) was on TV yesterday. This interview gives a snippet of what we are trying to do at the Ohio Benefit Bank.

Would it have killed me to wear a little color? Well, I guess we live and learn. I was soooo tired yesterday and surprised when the TV crew showed up.

Note to self:

1. Get some sleep!

2. Wear color!

3. Smile more!

Friday vs. Monday

video

I am sure we can all relate to this to some degree. Now I am hoping to look more like the penguin in the future--I have been so tired that even days off can be slow going.....

The good news is that I genuinely like going to work these days. I get to meet many people, do something good in the world and get quite a few perks. All good.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Last night I was listening to a speaker and she said something intriguing. She said that worry is a form of meditation. And, meditation is a way of creating things into fruition. Often times we focus on our worries and in so doing they are more likely to come true. This is true for positive meditations as well.

Generally I do not worry. I have the gift of knowing that everything will turn out OK. But lately and for quite awhile, I have been holding thoughts in a meditative way about a particular situation that have involved worry, insecurity and fear.

I am not certain why this has happened this way for me. Overall it has not served me well. It is even contrary to my nature and I realize I don't like the way this feels! I am wanting and ready to feel something different.

I have come to a few thoughts of approaches as I work on this dilemma. The first is changing my focus. Meditate consciously on other thoughts- positive, uplifting thoughts. This is easier said than done, but I am convinced that this is a part of the solution. The second is that I need to express and live into my faith. I have a belief that God will take care of things way better than I can imagine-- I just need to let him do his thing and me to follow. This will take trust and patience on my part. And thirdly, I need to let go of my desires and disappointments, let go of my expectations and hopes, let go of the pain and consternation.

Now, can I follow through?

Check out this link about the theory of worry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Things I like

I was reading old emails and I found this among them- thought I would post here. These items are in no particular order.


I enjoy eggs, with many toppings: the primary one being cheese, then tomatoes, onions etc.

I like mashed potatoes with gravy with a side of meatloaf.

I like experimenting with different recipies and treating my friends to dinner or a special treat. (No guarentee that it will turn out though).


I like perch, scallops and crab meat.


I like thinking about possibilities- whether it is about shopping for an apartment, being in relationship with someone or charting a direction at work etc.


Tea is wonderful- it reminds me of my Irish heritage and it is a good excuse to take a break.


I love sweets but I am feeling that I would be healthier if I did not indulge.


I love to read. I am a voracious reader- everything from non-fiction books on management, organizational development, quilting, taking care of yourself, to science books.


I love surprises- little and big.


I enjoy the sunshine -especially on potentially gloomy winter days.


I love snow- deep snow and the silence that comes with it.


I really like adventures; adventures in travel, in trying new things and taking risks with people.


I enjoy philisophical discussions.


I like to play games.


I love movies- at home, in the theatre etc.


I love the arts- music, drama, visual......


I really enjoy hearing peoples stories, figuring out what they are about and learning about thier dreams, aspirations and goals.


I get excited about projects.


I enjoy getting together with people. I enjoy deep conversations and conversely just hanging out.

If I am with someone I like I could do just about anything and be happy.


Variety and trying new things are key for me.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Watching the Needle Go In


I was talking to a friend the other day about how knowing what to expect or how having information is helpful to me when facing challenges.

An example of this is when I get a shot at the doctors. Many nurses/doctors will recommend that you turn you head so you don't get wigged out by seeing the needle go in.

For me I tend to wig out if I don't face the action. If I am not looking, I jump and jerk. One time, I actually ended up pulling the needle out of my arm-nearly giving the doctor a heart attack in the process. (It was an automatic reaction.)

So, I have learned to watch the needle, anticipate the pain, breathe through it. The effect is one of calming my fears, encouraging bravery and affirming my choices. In this "knowing" I can be my own best friend and talk myself through it. Doubt or unknowing, breed insecurity, fear and anxiety for me.

It is a lot less scary for me to know what is up- I feel empowered to make decisions and cope with circumstances. I think this is true for most situations we encounter.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Easter- a time of renewal

This season has been the best gift to me. It is hard to explain why but I will try-- since I try to share the Why Behind here.

  • It has been a time of reflection. Taking stock of my life, discerning where I want to go, who I want on the journey with me and what life experiences to pursue.
  • A time of connection. I have experienced dialog with God. I must admit that I don't always heed Him, but He is there and accessible in ways that I was too afraid to explore in the past. By the way He is kind, assuring and it is clear that He accepts me for who I am.
  • A time of small sacrifice. I have given up sugar this Lent. I had a sneaky suspicion that I may have a budding addiction there and this exercise proved this to be true. I have lost 12 lbs and still desire/think about sugar about every 15 minutes. Each time I am drawn to it, I remember my commitment and remind myself of my connection to God.
  • After 5 years of searching, I have found a church that I am really happy with. ~ The magnitude of this gift I cannot adequately express.

There have been many more gifts. I consider myself truly blessed.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Making Sense of Things

So, what's my problem?


Well, that is the problem--it (my problem) is undefined or undefinable. It leaves one pondering perpetually and actually promotes the idea that some situations are not figureoutable. Some things are just the way they are- not logical, workable, or rooted in things that make sense.

I was sharing a dilemma regarding my family treating me poorly with my past boss sometime ago. After hearing me say, "I guess God is teaching me something here (not sure what)." She said, "Erin, sometimes shit just happens. You don't deserve this or have not brought it on yourself."

My old boss is a member of the clergy and she has a relatively sane approach to life. So this perspective threw me for a loop. I have always been able to cope with things by saying this mantra-"God must want me to learn something here". Now what? Where do I put this dilemma-- how do I make sense of it. I can't just leave it there not making any sense-- can I?

How does one achieve alignment, a sense of direction, achieve hope in this barren abyss?


Well intuitively I know the answer--Let go of it- even though it doesn't make sense yet. Be kind to myself-even though others are judging or putting me down. Trust that God is with me and he loves me --even though...... Accept that things don't always make sense.

From a very young age we try to make sense of things. Our brains work hard to understand the world around us. We pull bits of information from different places and can logically connect the dots. It is in our nature. I think that is why it is hard for me to let go in these situations. My brain believes there is an explaination or a solution or a common sensical answer that will put my mental energy at ease upon the knowing. Letting go requires a stop to all this working and a real decision to put it aside-- not easy stuff.

Here is an example of how our brain seeks to make sense of things, can you read it?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe. ceehiro.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Alignment


I have been thinking a lot about my words and actions-- how they tumble out of me and what relationship they have to one another. I have found, that in my most recent past (years) my words and actions have been out of alignment. This of course, suggests some kind of conflict within me.

This circumstance both intrigues me and stymies me for I know that my happiness is directly related to how I manage this alignment.
So how do you align words and actions? At the time I say the words they seem good or actually are good but the follow through is hard.

It seems like either toning down the words to reflect the real deal or summoning up the will power to follow my inner wisdom is necessary.

I am tired of the exhaustion that comes from the constant back and forth. I want rest. I want to feel fulfilled.

Even though it is small, I have felt great alignment with my Lenten promise of giving up sugar. It has been difficult to keep this promise-- but each time I do, I feel good and feel like I have been true to myself. This is just one example. Now, I need to keep other promises I have made to myself. This is where I pray for strength.

The Concept of Should

There are days when I say I should do this or that and I just get depressed. I have this theory that if you say, "I should do that," it means you are not gonna do it. This communication style nudges me into a passive place. I also use this method when I need to beat myself up -- keeping me in a guilt cycle.

I have decided not to use that word while communication with myself. Luckily, I have a lick of sense and already learned not to use it with others :-)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Engaging Fun

I had the good fortune to be let out of work early to collect the kids while Barry is visiting family in South Carolina (his mom is in critical condition). Quinn, Kye and I were in wait mode anticipating the time to pick up Alea after tutoring. As I was looking around, noticing the turkey vulture up above, hearing birds singing songs and watching Kye swing, I decided to invite Kye to a jump on the trampoline. Kye was shocked that I was going to jump. He thought it was possible that I would watch him jump but exclaimed, "Your gonna jump Mom?!" as I straddled the netting to get in the inner net of the trampoline. I said, "Sure am!". Kye excitedly climbed up mischievously thinking that he was going to jump hard so it would make me go way high. We had a blast. Quinn joined in the fun adding gymnastics to his feats--doing things that I must admit, I dared not attempt.


As I pondered this experience afterward, I realized that I was engaging in play. For some of you, this may be an everyday occurrence, but for me it has been a long time coming. For the past couple of years, I have let my troubles carry me or weigh me down depending on the circumstances-- a sense of being on hold.

To be truthful, it has always been a bit of a challenge for me to truly play, I was given a lot of responsibility as a child and it has carried over into my adult life. Knowing this, I have purposely gotten jobs that require me to play as a matter of course. I also actively play with the kids, in addition to goofing off a little each day.

Now, I hope you don't get the wrong idea. I am a person who can have fun, tell silly jokes and relax. But somehow there has been a missing element. And today, I got a glimpse at what may be at the root of it.

You see, I am a very relationship oriented person. I enjoy and love people, and much of my happiness is derived by being with these folks-- doing whatever. But today, I got a taste of what it was like to do things motivated by me at my whim. I cannot even say that I would want to jump every day, but I wanted to jump, so I jumped today.

So, as I was doing dishes, I asked myself, "Erin, what would YOU do to have fun?". I came up with a short list of options and it is my hope to carry these out sometime soon:

1. Play games with adults-- love this-- everything from Win, Lose or Draw to Boggle, Murder Mystery parties to Mexican Train, card games to lawn bowling.

2. Go to the $1 movies (something light hearted).
3. See plays regularly.

4. Take walks downtown and bring camera.

5. Lay around on the hammock.

6. Play tennis with friends.

So if you are game for any of these items, let me know. I will be engaging in fun soon-- you could be there too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Found Job! Will Travel!


Well, I am among the employed again! This comes as a great relief and I am so excited about this new opportunity. My job will be to drive this van from place to place and connect with individuals that need benefit services- things like taxes, childcare, medical and other benefits.
.
I want to thank everyone who sent leads about jobs, treated to lunch in order to get me out of the house and gave opportunities to earn a little cash during this time. Each of these acts of kindness were not unnoticed. I know I am surrounded by friends and those who love me.
.
We will be living on less during this next phase in life and I am encouraged that we can do so.
Road trip anyone? Just kidding-- this van is for official purposes only. :-)


Sunday, March 15, 2009

I went to a lecture at the Columbus Mennonite Church here in Columbus. The lecture was given by David Kline, an Amish farmer from Holmes County here in Ohio. I was hoping to get some tidbits about how to garden better, simpler and more organically. David was a delightful speaker and very refreshing. I learned more about actual farming than gardening but it was still interesting.

As the lecture began, a member of the church was invited to come up and lead us in two songs. The first song was sung acapella and must have been in 5 part harmony. It was quite amazing and it did not appear that there were "special" singers in the group. In fact, when asked how many were not from the Amish/Mennonite tradition, most hands went up. Many folks came from the food co-op (Clintonville Community Market) or some other groups. The second song was Morning has Broken and I belted that one out (remembering my favorite artist-- Cat Stevens).

The lecture was interesting in terms of learning more about Amish culture. David had many jokes and many one liners that caught my attention. I could not capture them all but I wrote down a few:



  • Best health insurance is to eat food grown on fertile soil.


  • Plowing on a 75 degree day is pure pleasure-- it is almost sinful.


  • We grow the most wonderful oatmeal-- sometimes, I don't even cook it-- just eat it straight. If you want some, come by the farm -- I think it is 70 or 80 cents a pound.


  • Work is a privilege.


  • Always be careful about statistics. (Told a story about how it was reported in the paper that folks in Holmes county are less healthy. He knew that could not be true given that he knows that there is less incidence of heart attacks and other ailments. Turns out they said this in the paper because Holmes County has a low participation rate in health clubs).

David has written a book called (among others):

If interested you can read a review of the book here.

The big concept he shared at the lecture is that by having horses and cows that eat the hay, create manure, feed the soil -- all the while working the farm, you get the best yield and best product.