Monday, January 7, 2013

Cynical Realist VS Dreamer Idealist

I know that there are many out there who think that making resolutions (or goals) for the New Year is a bit ridiculous but that doesn't stop me from doing it every year (and liking it). Take the last two years for instance 2011 Resolutions and for 2012 I was newly pregnant (and not happy) so I kept it simple with a status update on Facebook that said "Love more, judge less...listen more, talk less...give more, get more, watch less...outside more, lounge less...people more, computer less...others more, me less. That should do it for 2012" 

Each year the goals are very similar but I still love the idea of a fresh start (whenever that may be, mine just happens to be the New Year) and the opportunity each year to aspire to even more. I'd like to think that means the Dreamer Idealist in me is winning out over the Cynical Realist. (It also helps that I have an amazing husband who is willing to attempt all the crazy ideas I come up with.) 

But why share? For the obvious reason: accountability. I like to succeed at things if you haven't noticed (first born) so putting these out there for others to see makes it more likely that I will in fact succeed. It's hard to take it back once it's out there in the webosphere.

Enough explaining, 2013 in a nut shell...

Family goal- utilize our resources so that the use of them is more appropriately in line with our values

Translation for now: We will not be buying anything "new" this year other than consumables. We've done this on a shorter term basis in prior years and have really benefited from it. Our inspiration initially came from Sally, my cousin, who was challenged to do this one year. We will also only be frequenting local/individually owned restaurants/coffee shops if we choose to eat out (Starbucks has procured way more of our money in 2012 than was necessary, darn those addictive holiday drinks). We went slightly buck wild while I was on leave from work and it is time to reign it in. Hopefully this will help us see all the wiggle room we have and open it up for God to show us where we can be helpful.

Personal goal- work on shoring up my supportive community

Translation for now: honestly, there were a lot of changes in 2012 that led to my sense of community being reduced to somewhat of a pile of rubble. I am ready to start cleaning up and re-building and investing in the people I have, starting with my sweet nuclear family and spreading out from there. I'll be doing a lot of praying to have some clarity about who and how. I do know it's going to start by me being intentional in investing time and energy into these people and making it a priority say over watching Downton Abbey (which did not disappoint tonight) or spending countless hours on some sort of technological device. 

So that's it. Just a few to focus on, not too lofty but hopefully enough to keep the Dreamer Idealist alive for the years to come. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

My Top 12 Albums of 2012 (In Ten Words Or Less...)

As you will see from this list...I may not be as varied in my musical tastes as I once was but I think this is a good cross-section of what my listening ears are enjoying these days. Here are my Top 12 albums of 2012 (plus some honorable mentions thrown in at the end) in ten words or less.

If you are so inclined...I have created a public playlist on Spotify. Please listen and enjoy.

1. Some Nights - Fun.

 Simply that. Fun. that doesn't get old.

2. Babel - Mumford & Sons

Lyrical and percussive intrigue in every song.

3. Gossamer - Passion Pit

Sarcastic, cheeky, and will make you dance.

4. The Carpenter -  The Avett Brothers

Songs you can hang your hat on.

5. The Peace of Wild Things - Paper Route

Beautifully crafted electronic rock from another world. 

6. The Lumineers - The Lumineers

Just try NOT to sing along. 

7, The Temper Trap - The Temper Trap

Layered vocal styling and 80's beats combine for excellent listening. 

8. Port of Morrow - The Shins

As usual, they deliver intelligence via melody and harmony. 

9. Rooms Filled With Light - Fanfarlo

Slightly off the beaten path ala Beirut.

10. Battle Born - The Killers

Sweeping synths and anthems abound.

11. Bloom - Beach House

Ethereal ear candy that gets better each time you listen. 

12. Transitions - El Ten Eleven

Instrumental power duo...sounds like eleven.

Honorable Mentions: channel ORANGE - Frank Ocean, There's No Leaving Now - The Tallest Man On Earth, Blunderbuss - Jack White, Passion: White Flag - Passion

Thanks for your time and attention! Merry Christmas y'all!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Excellent Ending (a day late)

Jadyn has been learning about how to write stories at school and she has taught me that each story needs a bold beginning, a mighty middle and an excellent ending. So although the end of November has left me exhausted with very little reserve this is my attempt at an excellent ending. 

Since I dedicated a day of thanks earlier this month to our newest family member I thought these last few days should be about the rest of the members of my little nuclear family. I couldn't be more thankful for the people God has placed nearest to heart.  I also could never say enough of my love for them so these will just be the briefest mentions of one thing I have come to appreciate about each of them.

Day 27- A High Maintenance Son

A few months into Isaiah's little life we realized that we had gotten a little more than we had bargained for. (It didn't help that Jadyn had been a "non-baby") He didn't sleep for the first 18 months of his life. He was what I described as "needy". He needed to be held, rocked, talked to, sang to, etc constantly. And now that he is 3 years old, he still needs to be held, rocked, talked to, sang to, etc at times and I love it (but he sleeps now praise God). I hope that as he grows he will continue to need me to show him love.

Day 28- A Super Sensitive Daughter

Jadyn may not have inherited very many of my physical genes but she has definitely inherited my emotional genes. Although at times it can be rough I am so thankful that she cares so deeply. I believe it makes her a compassionate and passionate little lady. It also means that I "get her" in a way that others don't. I hope to help cultivate this precious part of her as time goes on and not stifle it.

Day 29- An "All-In" Husband

If you've met my husband you know he doesn't generally do things half way. When he is into something, he is into it. This means that he is able to have intense focus on certain things and really excel at them. The focus has evolved since we met, going from music to sports to politics to inclusive thinking, with many things in between. Right now he is passionate about inclusive education and raising awareness as well as providing resources. If you haven't checked out his website you need to, right now. Think Inclusive 

Day 30- Last List of Love
people that have read my posts, commented on them and encouraged me to keep going, that Tim still makes me laugh out loud, new co-workers, my welcome back banner at work, limited time ice creams (like the peppermint one I just ate), shopping on-line, Christmas cards coming in the mail, when friends know exactly what you need without you having to tell them (thanks Erin), funny new sitcoms, my nativity collection, the smells of the season like our cinnamon broom and fresh cut Christmas tree, Advent season, Friday and Saturday movie nights at work complete with movie theater popcorn, good books that don't make me think too hard, kisses, fresh food, hot showers, my boots from Nashville, healthcare, electricity, cute cloth diaper covers, being tired enough to fall asleep right after my head hits the pillow, coming home from work thinking that I did good work for the evening, laughter   

I'm glad I had the opportunity to see this month through. I've learned a lot about seeing the good in things I wouldn't normally see the good in. I hope the things I've learned stick. I am happy to report that our daily thankfulness seems to have affected our children in a positive manner. Isaiah approached Imogen the other day and kissed her on the forehead, looked her in the eyes and said ever so softly "I'm thankful for you". What more could I ask for? May I learn from his example and tell the people in my life I am thankful for them right then and there, every day throughout the year.

The Finished Product

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back to life, back to reality...

I started back to work this evening, so bitter sweet and so conflicting. But I'm not here to talk about that, only to mention it as an excuse for why this will be very brief and possibly incoherent at parts. I want to stay on track and finish out the month strong but I also want to get sleep. Being that it is 12:53 am, my goal is to be sound asleep by 1:30 am. So here goes.

Day 23- Mild Sickness

Thanksgiving night, the night before heading back from Nashville, Tim got sick. I call it a mild sickness because it wasn't lethal but I'm sure he wouldn't call it that. Why am I thankful my sweet husband got very ill? It reminded me how important he is. I depend on him for so many things. When he is out of commission I am at a loss. I was taught this right after Imogen was born and he came down with a mysterious virus but apparently I forgot the lesson quickly. I was reminded that I don't like this life all that much without him fully in it and I am far from super woman when he is not around. It also makes me so thankful for the women out there who do it alone all of the time, or much of the time like my friend Amy Johnson. They are rockstars and I don't hold a candle to them.

Day 24- My Home

I love vacations but I also love coming home. I sometimes have a love/hate relationship with owning my own home. It is a lot of work but there is nothing like coming home after a long drive to the familiar. I love how we've made it our own and used our spaces wisely and meaningfully. I love that we don't treasure it so much that we're afraid to paint words on our walls but that we also respect it enough to invest in major upkeep like our recent siding and gutter replacement. I love that after looking at houses all day back in May of 2008 we finally came to the last house on our list and it was the perfect fit. I hope to use our home even more in the New Year to benefit others, keep you posted on how that plays out.

Day 25- Family & Ancestry

I used to roll my eyes when my mom would try to tell me about my ancestry. Now, as I age and grow my family I am thankful for such an amazing heritage both Tim & I pass on to our children. I love the fact that we are adding to that. I love that I come from a long line of genius women and Jadyn is following right in those foot steps. I love that Tim has musicianship woven throughout his family history and Isaiah seems to have inherited that. I can't wait to see what parts of our lines Imogen manifests. I am thankful for our parents who have researched our family stories and have passed them on to us so we can pass them on to our little ones.

Day 26- Stretch Marks

Just the other day Jadyn was commenting on my stretch marks and I found myself not getting upset but instead telling her about them with pride (this is true). If you know me well you know this is no small feat. I explained to her that they went up to a certain point when I was pregnant with her and then grew a little more with Isaiah and even more with Imogen. (and yes, I tried magical cremes to no avail, it truly is in the genes). I remember the day clearly when I first realized I had stretch marks. Tim had been taking "belly shots" weekly through my pregnancy with Jadyn and it was about 39 weeks and I looked at the picture and yelled "when did those show up!". I had truly thought that I had made it through without stretch marks. Back then I was horrified, but now I'm just proud. And a bonus is that I have a great excuse never to wear a bikini again. The pressure is off.

And Nashville was a blast by the way, hopefully you got to see the pics from Facebook. If not, here are two of my favorite.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Confession Time

So I did not write this post today. I actually had the forethought to write it before we left on our trip knowing full well there was no way that I was going to be able to blog while on vacation and also knowing that I did not want to get too far behind as we finish out this month of Thankfulness. Go ahead, you can be impressed with me. I know I am.

Day 19- Consumerism
Since this is part of confession time, I have to admit I am really thankful for Target, the Mall (any one will do really), and shopping in general. I have a love/hate relationship with spending money that mostly comes from my inner struggles of what constitutes a real need and what is the most responsible way that need can be met. That being said I am a sucker for a great deal (not just a good deal mind you). I even like to window shop and "just look" a lot of the time. And as many other women (and some men I would guess) could attest to, there is something truly cathartic about shopping. I give thanks for the healing it brings during a tough week and for the jobs it provides.

Day 20- Another Stream (remember every 10 days I get to stop being Thankful for the hard things and just let loose)
Jadyn's artwork, Imogen's face when she sleeps, Imogen's face when she laughs, Isaiah's kisses (if you haven't had one you need to try it), backrubs from Tim, oversized hooded sweatshirts(usually Tim's), milkshakes with chunks of candy bars in them, Isaiah singing, a fresh haircut, health of myself, Tim and our children, electricity, freedom, egg nog, a good sitcom or drama on TV, rom-coms, being comfortable enough around someone to say most of what's on my mind, thoughtful and heartfelt gifts, dinners with neighbors, a full calendar, a not-so-full calendar, that I'm old enough to have nephews and nieces, friends who feel like family, our refrigerator magnet collection, clean water, pajamas, time away from home with family...more on the 30th

Day 21- Starbucks
I really should curse them since they end up with more of my money than I'd like. BUT, it does make my heart so happy when I get to drink a salted caramel mocha OR an egg nog latte OR a caramel apple cider OR....OK the list could truly go on and on. I know I shouldn't spend as much of our hard earned cash on such a trifle but I am thankful that I get to, especially during the wintry season when a delicious hot drink can change a day from hopeless to full of possibilities.

Day 22- Grocery Baggers & Checkers
Happy Thanksgiving!
I'm not sure if I just didn't pay attention before or if it is just different here in Georgia but my grocery shopping experiences are often the most pleasant experiences of my week. At the Publix grocery store right next to our house many of the checkers and baggers there know my family and I. They have seen Isaiah grow up and Imogen come into this world and they ask how the kids are doing. They notice when I change my hair color and they always ask if they can help me out to the car. And sometimes I let them. I understand that a lot of that they are required to do for the job, but it doesn't feel that way which means they are very good at what they do. When we first moved here it would drive me crazy how much small talk occured in the check out line but it has slowly become one of my favorite things.

We are having a blast on our trip. Hopefully you've been able to see some of the pics on Facebook. Wishing you all a Thanksgiving that fills your hearts with gladness and your bellies with goodness!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Eking It Out

As this month progresses it seems to become harder and harder to do this. This is not because there is nothing to be thankful for but because time has become very precious as we come to the end of my maternity leave. We head to Nashville tomorrow for the break and then I start back to work one week after that. It blows my mind and fills me with a sense of excitement and extreme sadness. So here are a few work related thanks.

Day 15- Evening Shift
I truly am thankful that I work the evening shift at my job. There is a whole lot that I don't like about it but that's not the point of this thankfulness exercise so here are the things I love about it.
-It's not night shift (3:15-11:45p is doable)
-It is my most alert and productive time of day
-There seem to be less politics and I feel I have more autonomy
-The people who work this shift tend to be the younger crowd, they keep me fresh
-I get to be home with my kids during the day when they are young
-A lot of the fun thunder storms happen at this time and we have an amazing "sky light" in our lobby
-I get to put my patients to bed and they look like angels when I'm leaving as they sleep
-Totally against traffic

Day 16- Arrangement
Tim & I have a working arrangement that may not be ideal but I believe is the absolute best for our family at this time. He works during the day at a job he loves, is gifted in and excels at while I stay home with the littlest of our little people. Then we do the "hand off" as we literally have 10 minutes to go over our days and then I pass the parenting torch off to him as I head in to work the evening shift. This is good for us in many ways especially in that we both get a chance to parent our kids 1:1 (or 1:2, 1:3). This set up also opens up our budget since we are not having to pay for childcare and those precious resources can be used elsewhere. Lastly, we both get to do what we feel called to alongside raising our sweet children. And yes, the time we have together just Tim & I is rare but it helps us to cherish it all the more for now and look forward to when that time will be abundant instead of scarce.

Day 17- The Brain
As I was coming towards the end of nursing school I thought I had made a huge mistake. It wasn't that I didn't feel competent doing the job, it's just that I didn't seem to like it all that much. That was until I hit my psychiatric rotation. As I watched a schizophrenic woman do the cha-cha for what was probably the hundredth time that day before she sat down (she was compelled to do it with any change in position) something woke up in my soul. I knew these were my kind of people and I loved them. As I've moved further into the world of mental health I continue to be fascinated with the mind and how mysterious it is. I love that God has made these people so special and that He allows me to see the potential that He sees. It is a privilege to be able to try to help those afflicted with mental illness in their times of crisis and if I can't help to just show them they are loved and cared for.

Day 18- Holiday Traveling
Many people would not have this on their lists of things to be thankful for but I guess I'm not those people. I love holiday traveling first and foremost because I rarely get to do it. When you work in certain fields, nursing being one of them, holidays are just another day to work. It is hard to get time off during the holidays and so, more often than not, we end up just staying close to home. Thanks to the birth of my 3rd being when it was I was able to stretch out my maternity leave to just past Thanksgiving. So of course we are headed out. We are taking a road trip to Nashville with my Mom and brother and sister. My sister is checking out Vanderbilt and we (as in Tim really) have been dying to go to Nashville. I have many a happy memory of family road trips despite all the craziness that went along with most of those trips. I love being able to create those kind of memories in my own family.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The First Quad

Up until this post I had been tackling three days at once but things were a little busy around here (and will be from here on out) so I've bumped it up to four. Here goes...

Day 11- Charity

Our church is ALWAYS asking for something and I am truly thankful that they do. I mentioned Northstar briefly in my day one post. Both Tim & I have been a part of and visited a wide array of churches (really great churches and some not so great) and we can honestly say that this church is the most "out reaching" church we have been a part of (if that makes sense). Almost every day they provide opportunities for you to give and serve. It might be time, money, diapers, food, backpacks, lunches for school kids, scarves and hats, baked goods and the list goes on and on. They are always practical things and more often than not benef those right here in our community.

There are many reasons we stay at this church rather than being a part of some of the other really great options in this area but this is the number one reason. The church functions to serve the community rather than itself and that feels right to us.

This last week we finished up our boxes for Operation Christmas Child and also our Thanksgiving dinner bags. We get the kids involved and they love it.

Day 12- Diego & Dora

I confess that I let my children watch more television than I believe to be ideal (especially Isaiah in recent weeks). I won't give my sob story of why I think this is necessary in my life at this point but only tell you that sometimes I need a nap.  So...Dora and Diego entertain my child(ren) while I rest (along with a smattering of other shows including but not limited to My Little Pony, Yo Gabba Gabba, Backyardigans, Wonder Pets, and Dinosaur Train ) I am thankful that since I feel the need to utilize the television that there are these wonderful and educational programs that I can opt for. My kids are constantly telling me about stuff that I know I didn't teach them but they have absorbed from these shows. I could be shamed by this but instead I choose to be grateful.

Day 13- In Laws

Yep, I'm thankful for my In-Laws...all of them. There have been some amazing people that have been added to my life through marriages. This has ranged from my own husbands family (Papa Mike, Nana Ivy & Raymond, Selena and all the extended Villegas and Murillo sides) to brothers and sisters in-law (Adam & Veronica), and even the aunts, uncles and cousins in-law if you can call them that (too many to list). I love the diversity it has added to my life and our families.  I love all the new things I learn from these people. I love how they become family in my heart even more and more as time passes.

Day 14- Being Stretched

Today I am thankful for opportunities that force me to "be stretched". Believe it or not I have a very small "comfort zone" generally speaking. I'm shy even though I try to present as out going. I'm often insecure though I try to present as self-assured. I don't like things that mess up my schedule. I don't like getting out of my pajamas before I'm ready and on and on and on.  But there are times when I go ahead and choose the uncomfortable route and more often than not I'm glad I did.

Tonight I'm thankful that we drove longer than we normally would have on a school night to go to the house of a couple we just met to be a part of a group to discuss intimate issues including family, marriage, God and other such things.

Since the end of our last group that we had been with for 3+ years I have been reluctant to be a part of something like that again. Having to start fresh, to be vulnerable and get to know people again has not sounded appealing to me. But my friend Liz encouraged us to come and I'm really glad she did.
I'd like to think that these times of validation will encourage me in the future to choose the uncomfortable and be stretched. How else can I truly grow?