Project Life 365 – Day 123 – Quirky

One of the perks of being a photographer and getting random assignments for a local magazine–you get to hang out with the quirky cast of characters like this at their Thursday night dress rehearsal…

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Described on their Facebook page as, “Political incorrectness. Roasting of self-important jackballs. Drunken – and sober- inappropriateness. Grand songs making fun of pompous asses. Questionable taste in skit selection. These are Gridiron,” the local Gridiron Show is a must-see. If tonight’s performance at the Howell Theatre here in Lincoln was half as good as what I got to watch in dress rehearsal, the audience was in for a real treat. Look them up. Follow them. And don’t miss another performance. Laughter is good for the soul, you know.

Project Life 365 – Day 121 – You Today

As you have probably deduced by the lack of regular posting lately, life around here has shifted into high gear. I gotta say, it’s been one helluva ride.

Yet, unlike other frantic-paced times in my life when everything was spinning out of control and I was doing everything I could just to hold on, this time I feel more like I’m standing comfortably in the eye of the hurricane. I can feel myself being pushed along by the momentum, and yet somehow I am completely unfazed and unharmed by the storm.

It’s funny how the day-to-day chaos of life seems so much more manageable once you find your balance.

The more time I spend here on this earth, the more I realize that is what life is really all about–finding your balance. See, I believe that we are all here for a reason. I believe we were put on this earth to learn, to teach, to connect with our fellow human beings, and to do the absolute best we can with the life and the circumstances we’ve been given. We all have so much to offer…if we can just get out of our own damn way.

There are so many things in this world that can hold us back, so many obstacles we encounter. Yet, the biggest, the one that is always the hardest to overcome, is ourselves. The human mind, with all its capacity for brilliance and innovation, also has the ability to cripple us with fear. It has a way of holding onto negativity, focusing too much attention on trivial things, and trapping us in sluggish, complacent mediocrity.

Just think of what we could do, all the things we could accomplish, if we could just find a way to silence that negative, nay-saying voice in our heads that tells us we’re not good enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not creative enough, not athletic enough, not pretty enough, not artistic enough. On and on and on and on.

Aren’t you getting dizzy?

I’m not perfect. Nowhere near. But if there’s one thing I think I do have going for me, it’s the fact that I have finally found my balance. I’m finally in a place where I can see the bigger picture, where I can look out with keen perspective and make some sort of sense of the chaos.

It wasn’t easy getting here. It wasn’t easy climbing out of the rut I’d spent so much time burying (and barricading) myself in. It took a whole lot of work, a whole lot of soul searching, a whole lot of time and honesty and honestly letting go. It took a conscious decision to be more mindful, to focus on the myriad of blessings that always accompany the hardships. It took a conscious decision to start living in the present moment instead of allowing myself to be completely consumed and preoccupied by what has been and what has yet to be. It took almost dying for me to finally start living, really living, not just walking around on auto-pilot and going through the motions. It took a whole lot of pain and hardship and misery for me to finally begin to understand (and really appreciate) joy.

Life is a two-way street. And it’s up to you to decide which direction you will go.

I’ve always believed that there are situations in life that you are supposed to experience, lessons in life you are supposed to learn, and people in life you’re meant to connect with on a deeper level. Somehow, some way, things happen the way they are supposed to. The universe has a way of nudging us in the direction we need to go, if we are mindful enough to look around and see the signs.

The truth is, we are and always will be our own biggest critics and oftentimes our own worst enemies. But when you’re finally able to strip away all the nagging negativity and the penny ante bullshit, what you’re left with is a deep, unwavering, undeniable and absolute knowing that you are doing exactly what you were born on this earth to do, and that alone can drive and fulfill you in a way that very few people are able to understand.

What we do need at times, though, (to borrow a term from the show LOST) is a “constant”. We need something to tether us, to center us, something that can remind us to pause in the midst of the chaos and just breathe. Sure, we have friends and loved ones who can do that, and our kiddos are really great at getting our attention and redirecting it to the the little things in life that are really the most important. But sometimes when we’re feeling a little lost and overwhelmed and it’s three in the morning and it’s been a long crazy week and that annoying little negative tape starts playing over and over in our heads, making us question ourselves, our work, and our decisions, we need something that can cut through the fog and remind us of what we already know–that this is real, and it’s awesome, and that we’re here to enjoy the ride.

So, here I am today, content in the knowledge that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, surrounded by the people and the things that I love most. I’m tapped in, tethered, connected to something that is so much bigger than myself.

Good and bad, ups and downs, plans and surprises–bring it on. I’m here to enjoy the ride.

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Project Life 365 – Day 115 – Homemade

On tonight’s menu, rotini with herbed lemon chicken in a garlic cream cheese sauce. Yeah, that’s some yummy homemade goodness thanks to the crock pot this week. Can I get a hell yeah?

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Project Life 365 – Day 114 – Heart

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Project Life 365 – Day 113 – Hands

The hardest part of going back to work after being a work-at-home mom for the last 3 years was trying to wrap my head around leaving my little girl in someone else’s care for the majority of the day. Well, that and actually have to get up, change out of my pajamas, and be both sociable and productive before 8:00 a.m.. Productive? Sure, I can handle that. No biggie. But being sociable in the morning, five days a week, before the caffeine has kicked in? You’re pushing your luck, friend.

Luckily for us, the transtion from two-day-a-week morning preschool to full-time preschool was pretty painless. Sure the first couple weeks we were all worn out, and Steven and I spent some time harassing each other about the lack of hot water for whomever was last to shower.

But overall, we really can’t conplain, because just three and a half weeks into our new lives, we’re getting the kinks worked out and we’re all feeling pretty satisfied.

And, best of all, it’s clear that we made the right decision for Cadence. She hops out of bed every morning ready to start the day, and comes home each afternoon excited to share all the new things she learned in school. And tonight, as I sit, listening to my baby girl giving her Daddy and me a lesson on the alphabet and the sounds each letter makes, I know, without a doubt, that my girl is in very good hands.

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God bless the beautiful souls that take such great care of her while we’re away.

Project Life 365 – Day 112 – Eyes

If she can just learn to consistently keep her eyes open when she hits, the kid is going to be one helluva ball player.
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