Wednesday, March 18, 2015

of wrestling

In wrestling you have many opponents but the toughest opponent you will face is yourself.

It is amazing to watch my son wrestle.  He exhibits great control over not only his own movements but also over his opponent.  I liken it to watching a constrictor snake and it's prey.  The movements are sometimes slow and steady but always purposeful.

I've gained great respect for the sport of wrestling over the last five years as I've watched my son grow as a wrestler.  It's not a game.  It's not even a show of dominance over another person.  It's learning to overcome your own weaknesses.  It's learning patience with yourself.  It's building tenacity.

While wrestling is a very individual sport, it builds camaraderie between athletes.  Blake has built lasting relationships with his teammates.  They practice together.  The condition together.  They suffer losses together.  They celebrate victories together.  And the bond is tight.

Yesterday, at the last wrestling meet of the regular season, Blake wrestled two matches.  The second of the two had him wrestling one of his own teammates.  His opponent, "Z", is also his friend.  Before the match they were together, smiling and joking.  When it came time to step on the mat both got serious.  And they wrestled hard all three rounds.  Blake won by points.  The ref raised Blake's hand in victory then the boys smiled and hugged.  They continued to congratulate each other as they walked off the mat, giving high-fives, and hugging again.  That is camaraderie.

Anyway, to say I'm so proud of my boy is an understatement.  His strength and skill astound me.  The confidence he has gained is balanced by a true humility.  And he's handsome.  Maybe that's the mom in me talking.

Thursday, March 12, 2015


listening... depending on the hour I get up in the morning (ranging from 5:30 - 7:30), I hear either a chorus of frogs or a chorus of birds.  Either chorus is just as mesmerizing and it always feels like not another soul is listening and it is a chorus for me alone.

outside...  the garden has been expanded which leads to working the soil, removing the rocks and tilling it.  Still adding chicken manure as it is available (daily!).  The chickens are happy as clams to wander the yard all day, dust bathing or hunting insects.  They are giving us 3 eggs a day.

kitchen stuff...
Oven Stew
Cube 1 1/2 pounds of beef (or a meat of your choice) and coat in a mixture of flour, pepper, and paprika.  Brown in a large, oven safe pot (I use an enamelware stock pot). Splash a tablespoon or two of red wine or balsamic vinegar to the pot, stirring to scrape the bits off the bottom.  Pour a cup of broth (vegetable or beef or just water) and an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce into pot and stir well.  Cover with a lid and place in a 300 degree oven for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

This can be served over buttered egg noodles or with a crusty bread, or with a nice big green salad.

thinking...  about my sons and all they are accomplishing and learning. 

Blake had two wrestling meets this week (one match at each meet).  He's undefeated for the season.  I all at once love and hate watching him wrestle.  He's so good, so impressive and strong but my pulse quickens and I have trouble breathing the entire time he's on the mat.  And I yell.  I hoot and holler and cheer him on.  And people look at me like, "well, there's his mom". 

Austin's headed to a competition in Olympia this weekend and off to Ohio next week.  He's been getting some practice driving.  Sometimes I can be really chill and relaxed in the passenger seat but not always.  Not yet.  Ever?

thankful...  You know you have found a good friend when you can get deep into conversation about a chicken's nether regions, details and hand gestures included, and she's doesn't shy away.  Can I keep you friend?


Where She Went by Gayle Forman.  The sequel to If I Stay.

The Curve of Time by M. Wylie Blanchet

favorite thing... This blog post by Katie Davis, author of Kisses From Katie.  What she says, what her heart speaks, reverberates in my soul.  I dare you to read and not be changed.

quote for today... 

"A strong woman knows she has strength enough for the journey,
but a woman of strength knows that it is in the journey where she will become strong."

Saturday, March 7, 2015


No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.  Charles Dickens


I've lived my whole life thinking that compassion was the sad feeling you get in your heart when someone is suffering, when your very soul cracks a little at the hardships of another.  Ah, what a caring soul you are, to feel so deeply the heartaches not your own.

Honestly though, that's just barely scratching the surface of what compassion actually is.

The kind of compassion I described, the sad feeling, that's not even compassion, it's a sad feeling.  Anyone can have a sad feeling.  Sad feelings are a dime a dozen.  But sad feelings don't get things done.  Compassion does.

Compassion is a verb.  The dictionary doesn't know this.  But the dictionary also doesn't know that love is a verb as well.  To the dictionary these are nouns.  Flat, basic, things.  But a verb is movement.  Action.  Just as much as love is not love without action, compassion is not compassion without action.

Compassion demands action.  To have compassion is to be moved with compassion.

In the Bible, God is the first to show compassion.  His people, those people that he loves, turned from Him (as we tend to do).  As creator of their very lives He could have just wiped them out.  He breathed life into man, He could very well breathe it right back out.  But God had compassion on them and he showed them mercy.

And He continues to show mercy.  Day by day.  Hour by hour.  Minute by minute.  The only reason you or I are breathing at this very moment is because God is filling our lungs with breathe.  Your heart beats at God's command.  That is compassion.

Jesus was a master of compassion.  Compassion was his jam.  And it was a standard he modeled for us to follow.

As a lover of people Jesus noticed things.  He noticed brokenness whether it be an ailment or a heart matter.  He would see a need, compassion would stir inside of him, and he would take action.  He healed blindness, lameness, and disease.  He cleansed people of demon possessions.  He brought the dead back to life.  That is compassion, my friend. That is getting something done.

God showed us compassion, Jesus modeled it in his life, and we are told to continue it.

"My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
I John 3:18
"And of some have compassion, making a difference."  Jude 22
I have read Jude 22 before but I never got it till know.  Make a difference.  Allow your heart to be moved.  And do something.

                                    Do something.

                                                 Do s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g.

When you are moved with compassion, it is an opportunity to do something .  It is an invitation to make a difference.  Be so moved by compassion that you can't rest until something changes.

"By compassion we make others' misery our own, and so,
by relieving them, we relieve ourselves also." 
-Thomas Brown Sr.

Anytime you are moved with compassion, pray that you will know how to be a blessing in that particular circumstance.

So long as you can sweeten another's pain, life is not in vain.
-Helen Keller

Thursday, March 5, 2015

living well in my skin

I can be critical.  Sizing someone up, passing judgment, and moving on.  Women can be quite competitive with each other, if you didn't already know that.  Maybe it's our animalistic nature.  Maybe it's just ugliness in our hearts.

As we compare ourselves to those around us we can either measure up or we can fall short.  But whose measuring stick are we using?  Who are we to decide if we're better or worse, prettier or uglier, more successful or not? 

As my years progress I learn this lesson more deeply.  I've become a woman comfortable in my own skin.  Some days this is easier than others.  Some days I can accept my flaws and imperfections as beautiful and unique and wonderful and other days I just can't.  It is a daily journey, this one of accepting.

In learning to accept myself, I learn to accept those around me.  It's not ok to view the women in my life as competition.  Rather, they are to be viewed as beautiful human beings that have beautiful things to offer.  They have shadows much like myself, strengths and weaknesses, but we can come alongside each other and learn from each other.

So in thinking about this topic I listed in my notebook all the beautiful women I know and the qualities they possess that I admire, that make them stand out in my mind.  I feel so blessed that I get to intermingle with individuals such as this.

Here are some of the qualities that I get to be surrounded by:
  1. genuine compassion
  2. calm serenity
  3. enthusiasm for life
  4. great value in friendships
  5. quiet strength
  6. confidence
  7. bravery
  8. serenity
  9. strong
  10. fervor
  11. passion
  12. hospitality
  13. love for others
  14. grace
  15. wisdom
  16. love for God
  17. using talents for God
  18. timeless beauty
  19. childlike enthusiasm
  20. honesty
  21. purity
Are you jealous of the greatness in my life?  Don't be.  You might be one of them.  Chances are, you are.

To live well in your own skin there are some things that are important to take note of.  And because I love myself some lists, I have a list to share.  I came across a list somewhere in the depths of Pinterest.  It was my recipe when making the list I'm sharing here.  A dash of this, a sprinkle of that, it's my blog, I get to do that.

Live Well

~Become comfortable with silence.  Every quiet void does not have to be filled with conversation or noise.  Just accept the silence.

~Become comfortable in your own company (without the crutch of technology).  Just be you, with you.  You can be pretty cool if you give yourself a chance.

~Treat yourself with respect.

~Speak with confidence.  Sometimes this means not speaking at all.  But knowing when to speak and doing so with confidence, speaks volumes.

~Tactfully walk away from conversations that are going nowhere.

~Celebrate each year you are given rather than hating getting older.  Revel in your wiser self.

~Find a career or a passion that you fall madly in love with.

~Stop trying to impress others.  Let them love you for what you have to offer naturally or let them not.

~Be an insatiable sponge for knowledge.  Read, watch documentaries, study, observe.

~Never speak negatively about yourself to others.

~Give of your time and talents, not to gain recognition, but because you have something to contribute.

~Maintain an air of mystery.  It is important to be open and honest but there are some details that it's ok to keep private.

~Revel in imperfection.  Confidence comes in owning your unique look, talent, age, and personality.

~Stop apologizing.  While if, indeed, you wish to apologize, do so then move forward.

~Feed the fire of passion that fuels action.  Strive toward excellence.

When you are comfortable in your own skin you are free to live wonderful moments, see opportunities, and experience relationships that were stifled before.  You will have a self built on authenticity and that's a beautiful possession.

Live with intention, and awareness. Anytime a behavior becomes habit, question its nature. If you are conscious of the behavior patterns you are setting, they are more likely to be good ones. :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

live well

"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

The sun is warming my head.  I can't see the computer screen for the glare but to sit here in the warmth makes it worth it.  My Charlie dog is laying beside me, soaking up his own patch of sunshine.  It really is turning spring here.  Many trees are in full pink bloom and the daffodils have returned.  It's still too early to plant the garden as we are still getting frost in the early mornings.

My husband was able to go crabbing yesterday with the owner of the restaurant where I work.  He had a great day on the water, in the sunshine, doing a stinky, messy job.  He brought home some crab and cooked them up last night.  We'll eat them tomorrow along with some fresh mussels.

I'm so thankful for the people in our life.  The good ones have a way of proving themselves over time with consistency, perseverance, and honesty.  I love that.  I love friends and family that will tell it like it is, never veiling their heart, and not shying away from my shadows.  They make me want to be better, live better, do better.

My love affair with coffee has been very strained since my coffee fast a couple weeks back.  The taste has changed for me.  Do I dare say I almost prefer the taste of unsweetened green tea to that of my beloved Folgers?  One coffee drink I have been able to drink is the delicious Honey Latte that my husband has made for me (organic clover honey, steamed milk, espresso shots).  I look forward to trying this with some locally made lavender honey.  Doesn't that just sound yummy?

While this sunshine is tempting me to curl up and take a nap in it's warm rays, I have things to do.  Schoolwork correcting, chicken salad making, dishwasher emptying.  Later, I'm riding my bike down to Starbucks for a date with myself.  I'm going to take along my Bible and spend some time studying.  After that, I'll ride over to the middle school where my Blake has a wrestling meet.  And this evening we have church (I will not be riding there as it is 20 miles away).

Enjoy the day!