Day 139 – The meaning in the chaos

I suppose you could view being human as both a blessing and curse. We’re here on this earth experiencing all the challenges and wonder and uncertainties alongside all the other living creatures, yet we’re different. We were given this extraordinary ability to ask “Why?” We search for meaning in the chaos. It’s an ability that has the potential to both inspire and destroy us. It’s a heavy load to lift–to question one’s existence and search for greater meaning. And it’s an immense responsibility to do something about it, to follow a path of purpose once we recognize it stretching out in front of us.

I think we spend a lot of time not trusting ourselves, second-guessing our choices, worrying over the what-if’s instead of appreciating the journey. There’s a lot to learn from our bad decisions, from the detours we’re forced to take in pursuit of our goals. And there are times when what we thought was the “right” path doesn’t even scratch the surface of our potential.

I think a lot of people get tripped up thinking there is only value in setting and achieving lofty, long-term goals. We end up measuring our value as humans and the quality of our lives by our ability to compete with others–to do bigger, better things than someone else. The side effect of this is that we miss out on the wonderful experiences and the small victories right in front of us. We start living for the future, focusing our time and energy on things that may never happen, while the very real and fleeting present moment passes us by. We start measuring ourselves and our self-worth by someone else’s standards.

It’s hard to live in the now because, frankly, the now isn’t always a great place to be. Maybe you’re stuck in an abusive relationship. Maybe you’re struggling to pay your bills. Maybe you’re battling an illness. Maybe you just lost someone you love. Maybe you’re stuck in a job you hate with a tyrant of a boss who takes credit when things go right, shifts blame when things go wrong, and thinks repeatedly telling rape jokes is funny.

Yeah, the present can fucking suck sometimes.

But it’s all we’ve really got, isn’t it? Life gives no guarantees. Life doesn’t even promise the next moment, so how do we keep deluding ourselves that it’s going to promise us next week, next year, or even the next item on our endless To-Do lists?

Maybe some people feel like that’s a pretty grim worldview. I don’t. I think it’s the most powerful move a person can make–to learn how to live in the present moment, to learn how to navigate and appreciate moments as they come instead of ignoring them to obsess over a future that doesn’t even really exist (and may never come).

So, it’s our burden and our blessing to be here now and to make the very best of it. And yes, it can be hard, but it can be beautiful too. And what I’ve discovered is that the good moments, the really magical moments, far outnumber the bad ones. We live in a world and on a planet built for growth. The default design is for us to continuously evolve, to move and grow along a positive trajectory in such a way that even the challenges and setbacks we face serve to propel us forward.

All we have to do is hold on and learn to appreciate the ride.

Day 133 – Why?

Yep, this looks about right…

Day 113 – Stevie and his cats

Whoever decided to prank my husband by attaching this lovely decal to the back of his car absolutely won the day.

He admitted that he must have looked like a fool, walking out into the parking lot and having to stop and stare at his own car for a few minutes wondering why someone else with that ridiculous cat family sticker was in the spot where he swore he remembered parking that morning. And then it dawned on him that it was HIS car and someone at work decided to play a little joke.

The part that cracked me up was that his co-workers were probably watching him out the office windows and cracking up at his confusion.

So next time you see Stevie out driving around, make sure you compliment him on his adorable cats. 🙂

Art

I always sort of wished I could be a painter. There’s something about the way the colors mix and mingle on canvas that reaches in and squeezes my soul. But painting was just never my forte. Sure I can manage here and there, and the perfectionist in me can do a decent job when I need to, but it was always very clear that my gift was words not painting, and so I will gladly take my place amongst the amateurs and enthusiasts and leave the beauty-making to those who have the creative vision and a paint palette running through their veins.

Even so, it’s fun to dig out my old paint brushes every now and then, especially now that Miss C is a budding artist who has still not yet reached an age where she has begun to question her talent.

Shortly after we moved into this house, I flexed my creative muscles painting both kids’ murals after we moved in–Henry got a skyline and Cadence requested pink and purple flowers.

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I was really happy with the way both rooms turned out, but still thought it would be fun for the kids to have some original artwork to hang on the walls. On a whim, I bought a pair of 16×20 canvases when I saw them on sale at Hobby Lobby, thinking it would be fun to do some sort of art project with Miss C and create something for her and Henry’s rooms.

Today, we finally had the time to sit down and begin. All I really new is that I wanted to bring a little color to H-man’s room, and do something with his initials or a monogram. Other than that, I was flying blind. And Miss Cadence, well, she just let the creative juices flow as she usually does and got right down to business.

I finished today, but Miss C is still working on her project. I can’t wait to see how her’s turns out, and mine…well, I may not be an artist, but I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Not a bad way to spend a Monday if you ask me.

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Got Eggs?

Cadence has been counting down the days to our annual Easter Egg Dyeing Extravaganza, so when H-man finally settled down for his morning nap, it took her all of 1.6 seconds to tear open the decorating kit and get down to business.

She picked out some sort of super-extra-bonus-deluxe-giganto-kit this year that had just about everything a kid could possibly want for crafting some truly awesome Easter eggs. There were dye tablets, paint, brushes, sponges, a clear crayon to draw invisible designs that would reveal themselves later when the eggs were dyed or painted, glue, glitter, sequins, little shiny green plastic bits, stickers, stretchy bands that fit snug around the egg so you could drop them in the dye and leave a perfect strip of pure white egg shell between the two halves of color.

And you know that Cadence wouldn’t be satisfied until she tried every last bit. The girl definitely has her own unique artistic flair, and we had a blast making this year’s batch of beautiful eggs.

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Henry woke up from his nap about three-quarters of the way through the whole process, and didn’t quite know what to think. He sat and watched for awhile, his brow furrowed as he tried to decide whether he was interested in what we were doing, or pissed that we weren’t allowing him to participate. It didn’t take long for us to win him over with our laughing and joking and singing along to the music we were blaring as we worked.

I even managed to get a few pics of my two little maniacs together. And I love that I managed to catch a couple pics of Cadence harassing Henry with her over-zealous kissing (which happens around here on a daily basis), because his faces are always priceless.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a Friday. Bring on the Easter Bunny. We’re ready for you.

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Snail Mail Smile

So, my friend Morgan is pretty amazing. She’s fun, gorgeous, sweet, and smart. She’s got a wicked sense of humor and one of those laughs that can catch your attention from across a crowded room and before you know it, you’re laughing along, even if you’re not quite sure why. She’s got a big ol’ heart, a flair for the dramatic, and a creative streak that runs deep. She’s the sort of girl who can make your day better just by walking in the room and flashing that million dollar smile.

Morgan is the type of girl who sees beauty that might otherwise get overlooked, and she has a knack for finding humor in even the most mundane situations. She has the soul of an artist coupled with something of a…well…an interesting sense of humor and somehow that has developed into her own little line of honest (and hilarious) greeting cards that are guaranteed to make you smile. Check her out on Instagram @snailmailsmile and her Etsy shop etsy.com/shop/SnailMailSmile1

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I got my first card in the mail just when I needed it the most. Love you Morgan!!