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Complex Simplicities

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Remember those long summer days? When July seemed to drag on forever? Between riding bikes, climbing trees, swimming, playing at the park, watching summer movies, and enjoying family vacations, it seemed like we were able to do it all and still watch time move slowly. We lived in the moment, with Kool-Aid mustaches and drips of mustard on our shirts.  Those days were nothing short of fantastic!tree climbing

Summer isn’t what it used to be. There is too much to juggle. Not enough simplicity to slow it down.

I was really taken back this summer at the pace in which life can happen. I often was left feeling like I had been sucked through a time warp, uncertain of the date, still juggling away projects, responsibilities, and life events. It takes a certain kind of effort to slow it down and enjoy summer for what it is. That effort I could not employ through June or July. But maybe…

Maybe that is what August is for.

After our family endured a long month that included project deadlines, two birthdays, loss of an extended family member, a surgery, a train wreck, and a resulting 12 hour delay on Amtrak… maybe we can be grateful that July is over.

Maybe we can be grateful that we still have August to enjoy. Maybe we don’t have to be sucked into the “Back-to-School” frenzy. Maybe we can just keep on living our life and be grateful that the sun is still warm, that the days are still long, and we are together.

Maybe summer isn’t what it used to be.

Maybe it can be something different.

Maybe it can be what we make it.

a shift in perspective

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a shift in perspective

I had a dramatic realization the other day.

I am exactly where I am supposed to be. Not waiting on the future. Not haunted by the past. Just here, now, in the present. Being.

And being what I am being (rather than doing what I am doing). Is weaving itself into my future. Opportunities arise.

I have time to volunteer, participate, be engaged. And in a way that supports the variety of interests (and strengths) that comprise myself.

In the weeks ahead, I am dabbling in projects. Building my networks. Honoring who I am.

I will be serving as a judge for the North Dakota Junior Duck Stamp Competition at the Audubon National Wildlife Refuge next week.

The week after that, I will be working on the final installations of for the Grand Opening of the DPRCA Upstage Gallery.

And in mid-April, I will be attending the Dakota Grown Local Foods Conference and participating as an onsite blogger.

Each of these projects do not feel as though they are work. They are part of my being and I have a feeling that each will lead me to meet even more wonderful people who will be part of my journey, in some way. But, now is now. I trust that I am where I am, because I am where I am supposed to be.

That little shift in perspective changes everything. How I view myself, my family, my friends, and the world. It isn’t about what I chose to do. It’s about how I choose to be.  How grateful I am! 301787_10100240738380527_2023361090_n

calm and quiet

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It is a quiet kind of day. I sent off the final documents that wrap up a project I was working on. It is hard to accept the quiet that follows as a good or peaceful thing. It is hard to accept it at all. Instead it feels haunting. Like I forgot something. Like I’ve been neglecting something.
It feels foreign and yet familiar. Open and yet closed. When disconnections like this occur, it feels nearly impossible to be in the moment. To choose to embrace spontaneity. And yet, I know if I stay here too long I will get stuck.
It almost feels like I did something wrong. I broke the rules. I did something different and it seems so strange. I crammed 25 hours of grant writing into 4 days– but I wasn’t attached. I wasn’t involved. The reality of the project never became my own reality. There were boundaries in place. There was respect and understanding. I could put the project away and rest easy at night. But now that it is done, I can tell the part of me that relied on the highs of working under pressure is disappointed. Perhaps feels the same as if an alcoholic went out one night and barely caught a buzz. It would feel like something was amiss. There is a term for this feeling. I know there is.

It is change. It is recovering. It is life. I’m just not aware of how big it is, yet.

“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Leo Tolstoy


looking ahead

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looking ahead

Sometimes life is like a puzzle. But being as tricky as life is, it is just as we think that we’ve got it figured out that we realize something is amiss. Some piece is out of place. It becomes the time to start rearranging. Sometimes this rearranging can be so overwhelming that it feels like complete meltdown. I’ve been told that its better to call it profound insight.

In that case, 2012 has been a year abounding with profound insight. My universe has rearranged more than once and in so many dimensions. When it felt like the floor was pulled out from underneath me, the only thing I could do was find something to hold onto. In the desperate grasp to keep from falling, I managed to drop all those puzzle pieces on the floor. All I was left with was one. The one piece that likely needed the most attention.Slide1

I had neglected myself. Ignored my own needs wants and desires. This wasn’t new. It was an ongoing pattern, that I was just beginning to uncover. I had made a habit of making decisions based on what I thought like I was supposed to do. I had all but silenced my inner being. I took the time to start listening. I began to find and sort the puzzle pieces and identify the cornerstones of my foundation: without a doubt, my husband, children, home, and health.Slide2

Each of these aspects of my life are what make it real. This is what I encounter on a daily basis. It is what is left when everything else is stripped away. I could not asked for a better mate in life, but our relationship needed nurturing. My children are amazing gifts, but I needed to learn how to experience joy with them. My home is my haven, but I needed to learn how to function within it. Even though I am young and always considered myself healthy, my health was in need of immediate attention and care.

As I worked (and continue to work) on these aspects, I gained a sense of what I appreciated most in the relationships. My inner core was speaking, giving me the tools I needed to branch out a little further. To embrace the beauty of interacting with others and the world.

What I bring to my relationships with myself, my husband, my children, my home, and my health are so common in my own being that I often forgot to value them. We’ve all heard communication is key. It is what I value so much in my marriage. My husband and I knew each other for several years before we became interested and involved. I was his waitress and he was my customer. I served him coffee nearly every morning during the summer in a little Rocky Mountain cafe. At one point I said to myself, I would just like to have a serious conversation with that guy. Well, once we started talking we never stopped.

Nature has been the highlight in my life for as long as I can remember. I know the names of trees, the feathers of birds, the bones of mammals, and the seeds of vegetables. Growth and beauty is in every sunrise and every stone that has not yet been overturned. I share that with my family as nature permeates our lives.

Creativity is the root of my connection to others. I believe we all have the aptitude to create something beautiful in our lives. In this paradigm, I believe in so many people. This year, I took the time to believe in myself. My creative self now, my creative self when I was nineteen, and my creative self when I was twelve.

Food- we all eat, right. But, what about those meals that are so good they are intoxicating? That’s the kind of food I am talking about, all natural goodness in flavor and texture and imbedded in culture.


These elements are my bread in butter in life. They are what makes me. This is my foundation for happiness.

What comes next is what I do to connect with the world. In a sense, this is the skin of my core. My buffer.

It is the point at which what is near and dear to me becomes part of the larger world.

This is the interface is what I have been exploring through this blog. It is what I have been nurturing each day to become more fluent in my daily life. Writing, drawing, exploring, and cooking. These are words of doing, words of experience. Engagements I’d like to embrace everyday of my life. Elements of play that I am learning to allow myself to celebrate.


This layer also provides the opportunity to branch out. To use my talents. To nourish my core. To reach the world. To live. To be alive. Each of these areas are in need of attention of me. Or perhaps I am in need of attention to them. They are my goals. They are my vision as to what my life can be– lively. Call it a web. Call it a medicine wheel. Call it a conceptual model.

In sorts it is all of these.

There is no distinct lines of connection. All the aspects are related to the core. More that anything, it is a portrait. My hopeful portrait of the year ahead. I hope to share aspects of each of these branches in 2013. May the new year ahead bring you much joy and happiness.