Friday, March 21, 2014

Small Courage

                Last summer we went to Portland for a weekend getaway.  We have a favorite hotel on the riverfront that we always stay at which provides perfect scenery for my runs and is directly next to a street car stop.  We love hopping onto the street car and being deposited right into the heart of downtown where our shenanigans begin.

                On our first day in Portland we did just that.  As we walked, we began to understand that our little people were weary and would have much more fun in the hotel pool than they were having walking with us.  This dawned on us just one block shy of Powell’s Books, my most favorite place in Portland.  But the needs of many very much outweigh the wants of one and so back to the hotel we went.  While on the elevator my husband offered to take the kids swimming alone so that I could go back to the bookstore. 

The thought of going out into the city on my own scared me a little.  Then the idea that it scared me a little made me very scared.  Twelve years ago I would not have been frightened to go into a large city by myself, I know this because I used to do just that once a week.  Often after a long day of classes I would throw my backpack into my jeep, jump onto the freeway and head for Seattle.  Once there I would head into a coffee shop and study there until I couldn’t make heads or tails of one more nursing diagnosis.  

That day in the hotel elevator I realized that somehow, without realizing it, that this small part of my courage had quietly slipped away.  There are very good reasons why this occurred, one being that in the last 12 years I have been working on other larger forms of courage.  Like the courage to stand at the bedside during a code blue and calmly draw and administer medications in an attempt to save a life, or the courage to kiss my children good bye on their first day of school.  If I was ever made to choose between my old courage and my new, I would gladly pick the new.  The beauty is though, that I don’t have to choose; I can have them both.

So I helped Alan wrestle the children into their suits, kissed them all and headed back out.  On the street car I looked around at my fellow passengers and shook my nerves away.  Once inside Powell’s, I wandered through the aisles, picked up books for each person that I had left behind in the hotel, and then sat with a pile of my own to explore.  Thumbing through the pages, I felt my old courage introduce itself to my new, then we sat there all together and enjoyed the day.

Thursday, March 13, 2014


This fall after finishing a quilt top I asked my kids at the dinner table, who wanted the next one?  Max spoke first and asked if I would make another for him.  I said of course and what would he like it too look like?  His answer startled me with its sweetness, he said, "make it look like the night sky."

I don't know what I thought he would say, Max is my first close study of a little boy, but the night sky was not one of the options that ran through my mind. What did, in the seconds after he said it was along the lines of, "you, little man, are so amazing and beautiful that I alone could not have dreamt you into being."

Max's request of the night sky has something to do with his love for space, and likely for Star Wars.  My adoration of his choice has to do with something entirely different.  I love running at night, always have.  In the dark with only street lamps and the expansive sky filling with stars,  I make my way.  At the end of a busy day these runs are my quiet retreat.  My time in my own head, to think about the little people that I have been given to love, to dream for them, pray for them, be thankful for them. 

I finished Max's quilt top two weeks ago.  It was a long,meticulous haul.  I realized that I needed to make it not only for Max right now but also for Max five or ten years from now, so I doubled the size and kept working.  It will soon be sent off to be quilted, and then I will bind it by hand.  Before long, Max will be sleeping with his stars and his mom will keep running under them.  

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tuesday Sewing Nights

          Every Tuesday evening my friend Amy packs up her sewing machine, sewing box and whatever project she is working on and comes over to my house for dinner.  After we tuck the children in for the night we turn the kitchen into a sewing room, put on some tunes and sew until we are too tired to do another stitch.  

I have wanted to write this post forever, but was having trouble finding the words.  Then last fall I had a conversation with a patient that helped me find my way here.  I asked her if I could share her wisdom and she said that I could.  Through the course of our day we found ourselves talking about crafts.  I freely admit that this is a common source of conversation for me.  At one point Amy who was acting as our charge nurse that day came in to help me with this patient and we told her about our Tuesday Sewing Nights, and this is what my colorful patient had to say on the matter,

“You know what? That is what is wrong with women these days.  We used to get together, to do blankity whatever, can, sew, knit, quilt.  And now we don’t.  You know what was important about those times?  It wasn’t the blankity that we were making, it was being together.  It was figuring out this blankity life with one another, it was supporting each other through the blankity-blankity stuff that gets thrown at us. It was our time to celebrate joy.  If women started making those times a priority again, I think we could deal with all of the blankity in this world much better.”

I have found everything that my patient said that day to be true.  We are not only exercising the artistic parts of our brains, we are figuring this life out.  In the middle of deciding if this fabric goes with that fabric, we are tackling life’s obstacles together.  Trying to find away to keep a calm, clear head in the midst of a storm, and having a good cry while we are at it.  We decide how to use our lessons, and if we are going to let our scars dictate our future.  We have learned that Amy’s ability to navigate tasks after 10:30pm is greatly diminished.  Also we have recognized and embraced the fact that I am not the tidiest person (think stacks of fabric, papers and books, not vermin). There is a lot of laughing, especially when discussing the shenanigans of our little ones, and we celebrate the people that we see them becoming. 

I am so thankful that we stumbled onto Tuesday Sewing Nights.  I don’t think that either one of us realized what we were creating for ourselves, but I know that we both understand how much it has helped us continue to grow into the women that we are supposed to be and also we get to make cool things. You couldn’t ask for more than that.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thank you!

I love watching as parents say goodbye to their children while I drop my own at school each day.  Big burly men blow countless kisses to little girls barely bigger than the backpacks they carry.  Mamas hug and nuzzle their babes before letting them go.  The air hangs so heavy with love that you can breathe it in and let it's gentle power circulate through your own heart. Beautiful.

I wrote here for two years before I was brave enough to share this place.  As usual my hesitation was unwarranted.  Everyone has been so kind, people close and far away.  All I can say is

Monday, November 25, 2013

Time for 34


Around the time of my 30th birthday I realized something that irritated me.  I have mentioned before that I am a lover of lists. Sadly, this philosophy of setting goals and then crossing them off has spilled into areas where it is not applicable. For instance, somewhere in my late teens I decided that by the time I was thirty that I would REALLY know myself, and that I would be able to check this off the "list" and move on to bigger and better things.

When I woke up to the fact that this was not (and should not) be the case I talked it over with my friends, all of whom are much wiser than I.  After telling me in the sweetest and most gentle way possible that I can be an idiot sometimes (it's true), they gave me their own stories of growth. They listed examples of truths learned at varied ages, most of these startling discoveries happening well past my 30 year deadline. Today, I heartily agree with my confidants and am excited to know that I will continue to challenge myself, my ways of thinking, and that I could wake up at 58 or 88 and find something new to be passionate about.

34 happens for me next week. I am so excited because 33 was wonderful. This year I discovered that I love to garden, that I deeply want to be outside.  I made more time for my girlfriends than I have since becoming a mom and had more fun than I knew was possible.  I also made time to grow my relationship with God.  I discovered that homemade chicken noodle soup is worth every second of effort that I put into it.  I realized that I am so fortunate to be a nurse, that getting to work along side people that heard the same call is a gift, and that I am grateful for every patient that I have ever cared for.

I don't know what the next year will bring.  I do know that if it is built on the foundation of learning that I have gained so far and that if I stay open to new experiences, it will be a great one.


Thursday, September 5, 2013


I don't even open my eyes in the morning until I have formulated some kind of list or plan to tackle the day ahead of me.  If you were to thumb through any notebook ever owned by me, you would find lists upon lists, all kinds; things to do, make, cook, dreams, gifts to give.

Ten years ago I had some serious plans.  I was to finish LPN school, move to Boise, work and get my baccalaureate degree in nursing.  Then I would pack up my jeep, my dog and move to McCall, Idaho.  There I would work in the ER, play in the lake and hike all summer and snow board through the Winter.  This plan was perfect, it had everything that my 23 year old heart thought it needed.  

What do they say about making plans?  Mine changed before the moving truck pulled out of my parents driveway.  Shortly before I finished LPN school I had randomly asked a boy out on a date, the dating bloomed into something more.  I was still convinced of my plan though so we decided to give the long distance relationship a go.  I moved, I started school, we talked on the phone. Then one day he called me from the road, I assumed that he was on his way home from work, he wasn't.  He was on his way to me, to make me his home, forever.

My plan was no longer my plan, it was our plan, and it continued its metamorphosis until it contained the needs, hopes and dreams of one more person, then two more people and finally our third little one. I forgot completely about the original plan at all, until last weekend.

We spent Labor Day weekend in McCall, and we finally got to give paddle boarding a whirl.  It was while I was cautiously making my way from shore, feet planted, paddle dipping into the water that I remembered my plan.  I looked out across that gorgeous lake, stared into the tree covered hills surrounding it while listening to the giggles of my family on the beach behind me, and knew that the most amazing plan was the one that was given to me and had never involved paper or pen at all.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Summer Love

This has been the best summer of my entire life.  I was a little worn out at the end of the school year, and missing my little people terribly.  Thankfully vacation came just in time to rest and refresh us all.

My baby is still in need of her afternoon naps, so we kept close to home most days.  In the mornings we would make the best of the coolest part of the day and head out to explore a little.  We had wonderful times at city parks, or in the downtown fountain.  Then we would retreat to home and put Willa down for her rest.

Being a mom to kids ages 1-7 is wonderful.  Their dreams are small, easy to bring to life.  Make telephones out of tin cans? Done! Want to go get an ice cream cone? Yes! Run through the sprinkler! Great idea!  You need a hooded cape? Of course you do!  A chocolate chip cookie would make your afternoon? Mine too! Do I want to go for a bike ride? Absolutely!!

I always tell my kids to look for everyday magic, to find something to wonder at, to be amazed by.  Their excitement and curiosity always makes short work of this and because of them, I rarely have to be awake longer than 10 minutes to find mine.