As some of you know, I love making mixes. Like a lot. So recently I decided to make a mix honoring the versitality...
Exactly a year ago I packed up a suitcase, a backpack, and a yoga mat, and moved out of my apartment in East Garfield...
Friends and family, I canNOT believe it’s almost March! I made a goal for myself that I would blog at least once a month in 2014. Well, since we celebrated the new year in another state (with my family in Indiana) that equals roughly a month of recovering from the holidays and getting our heads in the game for 2014, so I get a pass for January. Glad you understand.
February marks the onslaught of birthdays for our family, 3 in the course of 6 weeks! We celebrated Will’s third birthday a couple weekends ago (his is February 11th), and it was such a blast! Mike’s boss let us use the fitness center for the party, so we let our inner child come out and decided to build a really bad A obstacle course for the kiddos. It included balance beams, tunnel crawling, even a rope swing that ended with landing in a pit of stuffed animals. Seriously, it was so cool. A bit chaotic trying to lead a dozen 3-6 yr olds through, imagine those little dollar store games where you try to get the tiny metal ball to go through the maze- only this game had 12 metal balls that didn’t understand the idea of “wait your turn” and only wanted to do the rope-swing part landing on top of each other…. you get the picture. But not an injury to boot, so all in all it was an awesome day. Oh and in following tradition, Mike made the cake himself with a Seahawks logo on it that looked awesome and Will loved! (We won’t talk about the fact that we were up til midnight the night before using unimaginable amounts of icing to get various pieces of too-soft cake to stick together to resemble a two-layered cake.) I wish we had a picture of before the icing overhaul, it would redeem our efforts even that much more…. anyways, GO HAWKS!
(Now remember, imagine 2 inches of icing on this bad boy…)
(I think he liked it! The icing paid off.)
(Part of the obstacle course before the madness.)
(A big room full of balloons was a hit for the cruisers.)
(A big, nearly IMPOSSIBLE foam puzzle was a hit for the grown-ups.)
(We ended with Will distributing gold medals to all his little buddies.)
*****I would have liked to end this segment sharing an adorable video of the kids doing the obstacle course here, but somehow after viewing it 57 times Will deleted it off my phone, which the NEVER happens…..of course….********
My birthday month has never snuck up so quickly, and since I’m turning the big 3-0 I feel like I need to do something edgy. I’m hoping to plan a big trip somewhere warm sans kids with some of my girl friends this summer, but in the meantime, maybe I’ll get my nose pierced again. That should do it, right? Actually, Mike got a couple days off work so we’re trying for a weekend trip up to Vancouver! My first time across the northern border, that will definitely do! This year I have Shepherd’s birthday to prepare for this month too! He’ll turn one on the 14th and it’s just starting to hit me that I’m probably going to lose my baby to toddler-hood much sooner than I thought. He’s been walking since he was 9 months so it shouldn’t be a surprise to me, but now that he’s showing progress in the sleep department (just the past few days he’s finally slept through the night!) I’m letting myself mourn (just a little) the small days left behind. If you’re a mom, you know what I mean… Anyways, here’s some video of this kid in action…he’s got serious wheels….
Mike continues to love his work at Rainier Health & Fitness, leading spin and group strength classes, offering personal training and now he has a new found passion for working with seniors! Yes, it’s true! Can you just imagine with me Mike sitting on a chair leading a dozen or so seniors through silver sneakers class? Melts your heart doesn’t it? Well, it does mine. He’s realized he really enjoys working with them, improving the golden years of their lives with increased mobility and energy. And the seniors receive him such warm rapport, I had one woman come up to me and say he’s just the most respectful young man she’s met! It is so awesome to see him shine in all his new roles.
As for me, I supported my first birth as a doula at the end of January and it confirmed for me that this is absolutely something I could see myself pursuing. It was long, but it was electric and powerful and almost as transformative as my own births, if that’s even possible. It was such an honor to walk alongside my sister and brother-in-law in this sacred time, and I am beyond grateful to them for the opportunity. The timing of it all couldn’t have been more perfect, happening over the weekend so Mike could watch the boys and even drive Shep over so I sneak away to nurse him. Their midwife was such a supportive person to both them and me in my first-time role as doula. I couldn’t have asked for a better first-time experience (not exactly sure my sister-in-law would say the same after 40+ hrs of labor….)
It’s a bit daunting to think about offering that kind of support to couples I’ve only just met, but knowing the powerful effects of having a doula at a birth are enough to push me through those doubts. I am excited to start taking steps forward with this, but it will be a slow start as I still have little ones myself that require a good amount of hands-on momma love. I mean who wouldn’t want as much time as possible with these snuggies?
Thanks for taking the time to check in on us, we are currently in full-swing with house-hunting on the South side so hopefully you will see an update with positive news on that front soon. Be well!
Here’s a few things we’ve been thinking about lately….
1. A rare interview with Wendell Berry, so incredibly poignant on the relationship between us, God and the earth, he is likened to a modern-day prophet.
2. Learning How to Die in the Anthropocene, a bone-chilling analysis of the affects of global climate change
3. Nelson Mandela, his inspiring legacy and timeless encouraging words:
Sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.
"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings."
….We are experiencing a birth of some sort.
For most of our adult lives, both Mike and I have been exploring career paths while also striving to cultivate a lifestyle of caring for the poor, advocating justice for the marginalized, celebrating cultural and racial diversity. Sometimes our jobs have allowed us to live out those values through our work, and sometimes our jobs involved simply promoting them. Other times we were just working a J-O-B. From student to speech therapist, sales associate to general manager, social worker to office assistant, recruiter to financial development, these roles have allowed us invaluable experiences discovering our passions and skills.
But through it all, we hadn’t found that sweet spot. That place where our ‘job’ involves us doing what we believe in and value. I like to think of it as when our giftings overlap our passions which overlap our experience. That life-giving work that many call vocation. As I’ve struggled with the zealous desire to positively “change the world”, I’ve often guilted myself for not going into nursing or starting a non-profit against human-trafficking or becoming a teacher educating urban teens Dangerous Minds-style…. and on and on and on. Without considering the value of my own personal experience and skill set, I’ve wanted so badly to believe that if your heart is big enough, anything is possible and you can change the world! Naive, boy do I know it. (Or maybe not?! Have you heard of KissesfromKatie or Jackie Pullinger?) For Mike, he’s struggled with similar tensions along with the cultural pressures to choose work that provides a secure, comfortable lifestyle. (Think white picket fences.) Thankfully, there is a quote that has slowly worked its way through the mess of the “should have’s”, “could be’s” and our zealous, confusing yet necessary twenties. It’s this:
"Where your talents and the needs of the world cross, therein lies your vocation." ~Aristotle
This brings me back to the idea of birth. You see, we are finding a sense of new-ness, the birth of a new path in our lives. With the transition of the move, we have opened ourselves to asking what we really want to do with our lives, what we love, what we DREAM about doing. (If you’re a mom reading this right now, READ THIS on pursuing vocation….like just skip the rest of my blog, it’s worthless compared to this!) Mike began exploring mentoring young dads and all things physical fitness (the dude is a beast in the gym or on the field, I’ll just say it). He was pursuing a certification in personal training (which he passed with flying colors!) when God lead him to the incredible opportunity to be a personal trainer at Rainier Health and Fitness, where they see fitness as the doorway to building community. It has been so freeing for both Mike and I, to see how finding that “sweet spot” can impact every area of your life.
For me, my journey through both pregnancies has completely opened my eyes to the passion I have for empowering women during pregnancy and birth, and as mothers. As I read and researched, then experienced giving birth naturally firsthand, I felt a level of vitality and strength I’ve never known. It was completely life changing. So, in the essence of exploring this thing called vocation, I decided to go through a birth doula training through the Simkin Center at Bastyr University to learn the skills and tools to help other mothers experience a healthy, supported birth. Penny Simkin, the founder of the Simkin Center, is considered the mother of modern childbirth education so I think I chose the right place. (Btw, Bastyr is one of the coolest college campuses I’ve seen, courses in natural medicine, midwifery, permaculture, acupuncture…) I completed the training last weekend, and it was completely intoxicating being in a roomful of so many other women geeked out on birth. I mean, it’s IN-CRED-I-BLE what we women can do for mankind, and maybe bearing witness to birth can make us EVEN STRONGER! I, for one, am eager to find out. So, if you read my last post, this is where the babies part comes in. I’m not having a baby and I’m not even sure I will officially become a professional birth doula. I’m just trusting my passion and experience as my guide to see if my giftings can meet these mother’s needs. But I’m sure excited to think about helping other pregnant mothers welcome their new babies into their family. And who knows, maybe doing this doula thing will lead me to a big announcement sooner than I think. Stay tuned :)
What are your thoughts on vocation? Have you found that “sweet spot”? Or do you even believe in the idea of a “calling”?