Vol.#34: “Thank God For North Carolina”

This is absolutely ridiculous…I knew it was bad when I was teaching there but I never saw it in numbers like this. It’s just so sad.

Teaching Speaks Volumes

I assume many of you saw the scathing editorial in the NY Times titled “The Decline of North Carolina” about the Moral Monday protests, or at least, the political decision-making fueling them. You may have also read Governor McCrory’s response in which he asserts the wisdom of the decisions. As with the protests, he dismisses the concerns.

However, he should be concerned.

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We Live and We Die Like Fireworks

“In The Embers”

We live and we die
Like fireworks
Our legacies hide
In the embers
May our stories catch fire
And burn bright enough
To catch God’s eye

We live and we die

Like fireworks
We pull apart the dark
Compete against the stars
With all of our hearts
Till our temporary brilliance turns to ash
We pull apart the darkness while we can

May we live and we die
A valorous life
May we write it all down
In cursive light
So we pray we were made
In the image of a figure eight

May we live and die

Like fireworks
We pull apart the dark
Compete against the stars
With all of our hearts
Till our temporary brilliance turns to ash
We pull apart the darkness while we can

Like fireworks
We pull apart the dark
Compete against the stars
With all of our hearts
Till our temporary brilliance turns to ash
We pull apart the darkness while we can

www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCrkrC-uTGM

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Tradition

For the longest time I was the girl who desperately wanted out. I couldn’t wait to graduate high school so I could get as far away from Amherst as possible. And I couldn’t wait to graduate college so I could get the hell out of Ohio. I was running as far away from my past and my roots as I could. I was determined not to be the person who stays in the same place their whole life. I don’t know why but I wanted to be rid of my small town hometown.

But I did come home. The time away gave me the perspective to appreciate all of the things that I had disliked in my childhood. I now smile at something as simple as a muddy drop of water from the railroad bridge uptown, or the line that forms beneath the green and gold tents of Hastee Tastee or the countless sports team pictures and memorabilia that grace the walls of Hot Dog Heaven. The pride when I hear green and gold. The list could go on.

All of the traditions of my past serve to remind me of the kind of childhood you only hope your kids will experience. The kind of All American way of life that is the stuff of dreams. As I get older I find myself to be a nostalgic traditional sap who longs for the way we were, prays that that world isn’t just a fleeting memory and hopes that we will be able to return to the places we long ago ran from.

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Live in the Moment

Last week was the week from hell. An emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. I experienced every emotion on the spectrum and beyond. Every time I visit Charlotte it’s extremely difficult. I ask myself “Will being here ever become less painful?” and at the present moment I doubt it. I look at my house, my circle of friends and their children, my cheerleaders, our life there and everything we had. I don’t know how we lived as we’ll as we did. But it seems like the minute we made the choice to move home our lives have steadily declined.

It seems so unfair to compare our life here to our life there. We haven’t had the chance to see life from a positive perspective here yet. From financial troubles, to job loss, to a huge pay cut, to a large beautiful home v. a 600 sq. ft. Duplex apartment. You name it we are fighting through it. Life has thrown us many obstacles to overcome in our marriage. It’s hard to believe we are still standing. I do think given the opportunity that I could be really, I mean blissfully, happy here. I just have to stay strong and pray that things will begin to finally fall into place.

I have to stop reaching for the past, it’s gone and it can’t be changed or returned. We made our choice and we have to say good-bye to our life in NC and move forward here in Ohio. I have to consciously make the choice to live in the moment, the here and now and appreciate what I have instead of wishing I could go back.

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Running Releases

Tonight I registered for my third half marathon. I am beyond excited that I will be running # 3 in the CLE. I ran RNRLV and RNRSAV as my first and second, but I always wondered why, being that Cleveland is the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, the RNR series didn’t have a tour stop in my hometown. My prayers were answered when they announced they would be adding it to the list!! It’s the inaugural RNRCLE and what makes it even more exciting is that my husband will be joining me this time for his first half!!! I am just ecstatic to be a part of it all and am feeling blessed and ready to start training again. Can’t wait for October 6th!!

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It’s time to get back on track and take control of my life again. There is no greater feeling than returning to race shape. It gives you a sense of power and allows you to more easily find peace in your day to day life. To me running is a lot like life. You put one foot in front of the other, look ahead, appreciate what is around you and focus on the goal. You might stumble, you might fall but you pick yourself up and keep going. There are highs and lows hills and valleys but you shuffle through the pain and come out stronger on the other side, better than you were before. That’s why I think running is so healing for me. If I can get through this I can get through the rough patches life throws my way. I need running like I need oxygen. It keeps me human and it keeps me grounded and it keeps me sane.

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Stuck

It’s been far too long since my last post. You can measure my happiness or rather lack of happiness by the frequency of my posts. The less I post the more unhappy I am. It’s inevitable, if I am in a down swing I draw into myself, become a recluse and shut out the world. And it’s been a rough couple of weeks. Life likes to keep throwing me unexpected curveballs and it just makes me feel like I am stuck. We can’t dig ourselves out when we just keep getting beat down.

This made me think: some people spend their entire lives angry and unhappy without bothering to pursue the reasons why. How have we as human beings become so content and complacent with unhappiness? Do we feel guilty? Do we deserve it? What drives us to allow our lives to be saturated with grief and anger and what’s more to be okay with it?

While reading yesterday the phrase “finding your right life” (Rubin) moved me. Not only do we spend much of our lives angry, bitter or jealous but we also spend them with people who bring us negativity (in some cases like mine that person is you), or in jobs that we hate or with significant others who abuse us. Luckily I only have one of these problems, but for many others these situations are a daily occurrence. So why do we settle for anything less than the best? We (no one else) have the power and strength to change our lives. But yet we choose to stay stuck.

For me there are multiple reasons I stay stuck. First I allow the circumstances of our life to govern my moods. I need to learn to step back and realize that there are some things I can change and if so I need to change them, but when I can’t I need to have patience and allow them to work themselves out. I also stay stuck simply for comfort. I’m so scared of trying something new because I am terrified of the possibility of failure. I had dreams that I refused to pursue for fear of the unknown. I must learn to unstuck myself, open up the path to try new things and risk rejection and failure. But if I do this journey will create a whole new world of opportunity that will enhance the quality of my life and increase my happiness.

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Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

In my quest for patience one lesson remains at the forefront: live in the moment, believe that this too shall pass and have faith that it will all work out. When we are going through hard times we believe that in that moment it is never going to end. I once wrote in my journal “When you haven’t seen a rainbow in a long time it’s hard to believe in its existence.” For those of you who don’t know my husband and I have been struggling for quite some time. He lost his job, got a job in Cleveland, we left our big beautiful home in Carolina and have seriously downgraded in size and now live in 600 sq. foot duplex apartment. At times it is still very difficult to even pay the necessary bills and we often run out of money at the end of every month. It’s extremely frustrating and disheartening that we have been struggling this much for so long (almost 2 years now) and that still there isn’t really an end in sight. So at times it’s very difficult to employ that patience and believe that there is a light at the end of this tunnel. To believe that we won’t always be struggling.

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Photo Cred: blogsandblabber.wordpress.com

A few key quotes from “The Power of Patience” have really helped me to keep perspective and come to terms with our current situation.

*Patience gives us self-control, the capacity to stop and be in the present moment…patience helps us be more at ease with the present circumstances of our lives, and more able to get what we want.

*Patience also gives us the ability to put up graciously with obstacles in our path, to respond to life’s challenges with courage, strength and optimism.

*When we practice patience, we come more into alignment with the natural rhythms of life. We remember that ‘to everything there is a season’ and we stop pushing for life to be different than it is.

*Sometimes no amount of dynamic energy will get us what we want. At those times, all we can do is stop and wait patiently for the future to unfold.

*The trials they faced, as difficult, painful and grueling as they were have been the vehicles by which they have grown into more awake and aware human beings.

*Each life has its measure of sorrow–we have two choices: to rail endlessly against what is happening or to experience our feelings of sorrow, fear and anger, then engage our patience and allow the challenge to grow our souls.

*When it comes to practicing patience, it helps to remember that things always change. Even if they don’t change as quickly as we want or in the ways we would like, what we can count on is that they will change.

*This too shall pass. This profound truth is a great comfort when times are tough, for it gives us the strength and hope-and patience- to hang in there with what is.

(The Power of Patience, M.J. Ryan, Conari Press, 2013)

And finally in the wise words of Gary Allen, every storm runs out of rain…eventually. And someday we will find our rainbow.

I saw you standing in the middle of the thunder and lightning
I know you’re feeling like you just can’t win, but you’re trying
It’s hard to keep on keepin’ on, when you’re being pushed around
Don’t even know which way is up, you just keep spinning down, ’round, down…

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

So hold your head up and tell yourself that there’s something more
And walk out that door,
Go find a new rose, don’t be afraid of the thorns
‘Cause we all have thorns
Just put your feet up to the edge, put your face in the wind
And when you fall back down, keep on rememberin’

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It’s gonna run out of pain
It’s gonna run out of sting
It’s gonna leave you alone
It’s gonna set you free
Set you free

Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain

It’s gonna set you free,
It’s gonna run out of pain,
It’s gonna set you free

A Bit of Me Time

Let me start by saying if you don’t have The Power of Patience by M.J. Ryan in your personal library run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore and buy it. This book is a must read for anyone who struggles with unhappiness and impatience. After reading this text I realize just how closely happiness and patience go hand in hand and I will be keeping this one on the top of my read over and over again pile. Charm, wit, and honesty combined with brief chapters make this book a breeze to read. And for me could be a life changer.

“With patience, we are in the drivers seat of our lives. Patience plants us firmly in the ground of our being, content with who and where we are. Patience makes us happier, it leads us to success and it gives us greater peace of mind every day (Ryan p. 15).

I will be sharing other wonderful tid bits from her book, but today I wanted to focus on one important piece of advice that really stood out to me: Tune into yourself in the morning. I interpreted this as taking a little me time right when you wake up to center yourself, evaluate your feelings and prepare for the day ahead. The tone that is set in the morning affects what happens for the rest of the day.

Ryan writes that “…part of our lack of patience comes from the fact that we are pulled in so many directions that we don’t have time to pay attention to ourselves” (126). Therefore if we spend even just 10 minutes in the morning for ourselves, we will have more resilience throughout the day.

I decided to try it out. I was looking down the beginning of an eleven hour work day, so I wanted to get a little me time in the morning. I woke up, made some coffee, took my brand new Adirondack chair and a book out to the back yard. I simply sat there sipping my coffee, read a little, thought a little and took some time to wake up slowly. I realized that that little bit of me time allowed me to live in the moment rather than worrying about the pressure of the day ahead. I took precious time out of my day to simply sit and watch the newly green grass blowing in the cool breeze, the clouds floating across a perfect blue sky and the lazy circular flight of a bird. Time to breathe and feel the warmth of golden sunlight behind closed eyelids.

Wouldn’t you know it, that eleven hour day didn’t turn out to be as stressful or as long as I thought it would be. I was able to better handle the daily mundane irritations with just a little more peace and a little more patience. I have already begun to feel a shift in my balance and power after reading this book. It simply brought to my attention the importance of letting life happen, in its own time and at its own pace. Like I said its not rocket science but I do think its life changing.

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Books, Books, Books

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I have always been a book lover. For as long as I can remember reading has always been one of my happy places. I love all books…I don’t discriminate. I love a good romance novel that makes you feel like love is possible even in the darkest moments. I love history that teaches us where we came from. I love children’s books for the simple beautiful words and illustrations. I love non-fiction books for helping me to learn and discover new ideas every day. I simply love books because they take us to another place and help us to transcend reality for a little while. Often that is the respite my mind needs to recover from a particularly bad day.

When I was a little girl you would never see me without a book in my hand. My uncle once stated that I read so much he wouldn’t be surprised if I walked down the aisle on my wedding day with my nose in a book. My love of reading was fostered early by both of my grandmothers and later on in school. Library day was my favorite day of the week and as I got older you could often find me spending summers riding my bike up to our public library and spending all day there. I even turned down a ride on a jet ski because I had plans to be at the library. Even now if I go into a bookstore the minimum amount of time I will spend browsing every aisle is two hours. I just love everything about it.

The introduction of e-readers sparked an intense rage in me. Sure they are convenient and your library is confined to one easy to handle object rather than taking up every nook and cranny in your closet bookshelf nightstand or any other place I will shove my books, but the pure essence of reading comes from the physical holding of the book, the turning of the pages. That is a valuable part of the experience. And e-readers simply cannot replace that. I have always seen reading as a metaphor for life. The turning of the pages is like time passing. And time passes to reveal extraordinary wonders. Every page is filled with twists and turns of plot, some days better than others some pages better than others. E-readers take the meaning out of reading and thus a little bit out of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I own an e-reader and even use it, but the whole time I steam inside about the injustice and every once in a while I imagine myself throwing it out the window and running like hell to the nearest bookstore and buying up every book I can. I don’t think I will ever stop purchasing the real deal. I hate that it is cheaper to buy the books on an e-reader and I understand why. After all I did just explain the value of being able to physically touch and turn the pages of a well bound book, which is not free. But I hear so many people say oh well I can buy this on my Nook for five dollars cheaper so why would I buy it here. And it reminds me that real books are losing the war.

I know there are others like me who would still prefer the real thing. To be able to flip the pages, write in the margins, turn down the corner of a page is like nothing else. So we will continue to fight on. Fight on book lovers fight on.