“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Martin Buber
Have you ever looked in the mirror and wished that the person looking back would just look away. As I work through this journey of improvement and change I’m finding that it requires a great deal of grace and forgiveness. For others, yes, but for myself as well. Today I had to give myself a little grace and remember that mistakes happen, even when we have the best of intentions. An appointment that I was really excited and prepared for took an unfortunate turn when I allowed my insecurities to get the best of me. While it was not a complete failure I still knew that I had let myself down.
As I drove home feeling sorry for myself I remembered that I had not taken my picture for today. Fortunately, I drive by a state park every day and was getting close. As I glanced in the direction of the park I caught a glimpse of sunshine darting in and out of the trees and I noticed an instant lift in my spirit and could not wait to get the entrance of the park. I barely made it inside the park when I saw my shot. Forgetting my desire to wallow in self pity, I took several pictures, drove all the way though the park (took me all of five minutes), turned around and came back to this spot.
Surrounded by beautiful silence and the dazzling sun, I reminded myself that a journey is not about the destination. It’s the steps we take along the way. Slowly but surely, one baby step at a time, I’m finding my way.
We hear it all the time, I’ve even said it myself. These young people have no respect, they are entitled and they just have no idea how good they have it. Recently I witnessed a moment that gave me a renewed hope in our younger generations.
My son plays basketball. He has only played one other time on a Park league so his skill level is simply not up to par with many of the other players. However, basketball seems to be doing double duty for him (and for me, if I’m being honest). This past year we finally bought a home out in the country. The location meant that he would have to change schools. A much smaller school than he or I were use to, as it turns out. To say that it has been an adjustment is an understatement. I have many concerns and based on comments that my son has made and the drastic change in his grades and attitude, I was becoming even more worried that we might be needing to rethink this whole thing.
Along came basketball season. Now, before you think this is one of those…his grades improved and he became an overnight star…I will stop and tell you that is not the case at all. His grades are still not at all what they should or could be but his attitude has done a complete 180 and that means a lot to a concerned mother. He seems much happier and definitely more excited about going to school and despite his lack of motivation for the classroom itself, basketball has given him a little push because, as he has learned the hard way, he has to maintain the grades in order to play.
The real moment, however, came during a recent game that I attended. His team is quite good and his coach seems very conscientious about making sure that everyone gets to play. (A rarity, based on my observations.) As I watched I was very impressed with the improvements that my boy seemed to be making but I was even more impressed by the other players and their overall good sportsmanship. I noticed one of the players, who is especially good, talking to my son on the bench. The next time they were rotated in, the boy made a special effort to get the ball to my son on two different occasions. On the ride home I asked about the conversation on the bench and was told that the other boy explained a couple of plays and said, “when I pass you the ball, turn around and shoot.” And that’s exactly what happened. While he did not make either shot, having played myself, I know the importance of getting past the nerves and taking the shot. You do it enough, you eventually make it!
So kudos to my son for putting himself out there and a giant high five to the young man who is mature beyond his years and took the time to share his talents to help another. Bravo!!
Baby it’s cold outside! Woke up this morning to below freezing temperatures and a cold water faucet that would not run. I walked out into our garage and the cold air stole my breathe away. My first thought is the same every year at this time…Why do I live here?
Of course living in Iowa is more than just cold winters. Like a lot of people I don’t think I ever truly appreciated this place I call home until I left it. As a kid I dreamed of moving away to places that had anything but corn fields, gravel roads and small towns. I have since lived in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Chicago and Kansas City. All great places but funny enough, they all had their own short-comings. Minneapolis is beautiful but man is it cold there! Phoenix is definitely warmer but I’m really not a fan of year round sand. Chicago…I adore Chicago and I miss it from time to time but it’s just as cold as Iowa and it’s big, maybe too big for me. Kansas City was another great city but just never felt like home.
There are many other places I would love to see and would consider living but I know now that this will always be home to me. This is where I grew up. This is where I enjoyed the freedom of playing with neighborhood friends until the street lights came on. Where I fell in love for the first time and where I experienced my first broken heart. This is where my babies were born and it’s a place I would recommend for any growing family. So for now, I look forward to these winter days when I can stay in my pajamas and slippers and enjoy this place I call home.
Before you think I’ve gone off the deep end or lost my vision, I’m posting this picture because it is a perfect representation of this past week…a little chaotic and blurry.
I started my New Year with a resolution to not only do this blog and do more with my photography, it also included wanting to improve other areas of my life. The hard part of making resolutions is that change does not just happen. It requires determination, hard work and unfortunately, living with the here and now. I know anything worth having is worth waiting for and that in the waiting we discover who we are. The challenge is that we may not always like what we find.
Thankfully I have a beautiful family to go home to each night and some wonderful friends who make me laugh until I cry and remind me that a bad day or a rotten week does not hold a candle to an evening spent with people we love and respect.
As you’re leaving your driveway have you ever considered the roads that you travel and all the places they can take you? Ever think about all the roads you don’t take and what might be down them?
One of my favorite things is discovering a new way to work or the grocery store. I know people who are perfectly happy taking the exact same route every time, to every place they go but I wonder if they know what they’re missing. Some might say…they’re missing stop lights and extra traffic. I say they’re missing the guy on the corner, standing on his little ladder, waving flyers and preaching with all his heart the love of God. Or the charming little brick-a-brack shop with plastic vines strung around the windows and odd shaped glass bottles lining the sill. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea but these are the people and places that make life interesting and add a little color to our world.
Every road I take may not always lead to some cool discovery, and plenty of them have led me to dead ends and heartbreak but each one is a new possibility. If you’re a creature of efficiency and habit, I commend you. I know I could use a little more practical in my life. But consider, if you will, taking a new road just once. I can almost guarantee that it won’t lead to anything earth shattering but if you open your mind, turn on your favorite music, roll down your windows and look around, it could make you smile.
Spaghetti squash is quite good! Just do not be afraid to season it. I think maybe can I understand why some people are so passionate about their cooking. It’s not that I don’t enjoy cooking, it’s more the fact that I’m just not very good at it. And by not very good, I mean I stink at it. I ruin more meals than I get right and I’m forever shocked that I have not yet burned the kitchen to the ground. I once tried to make macaroni with the macaroni still in the strainer.
After a very long, and very difficult day of being pleasant to people who were anything but pleasant to me, I honestly had hoped to come home, eat whatever had hopefully already been cooked and crawl into bed. Instead I walked in the door right at dinner time to find my husband and my son working on math homework. Yuck!! No cooking going on there, aside from perhaps a little smoke rolling out my frustrated sons ears. (Poor thing inherited my non-mathematical ability.)
So, I did what any mother would do. I threw a little tizzy-fit, in my head of course, and then set about coming up with the quickest thing I could make that required little to no skill. As I stood staring into our refrigerating hoping for inspiration or a microwave pizza to appear, the bright yellow squash that I bought in a moment of weakness caught my eye from the counter. Uughh…I’ve never made spaghetti squash before and while it did not seem over complicated it felt like it might be a stretch for my limited patience. Eyes back into the refrigerator…man, there’s the salmon I thawed out…that really needs to be eaten soon before it goes bad. Then again, with me cooking, letting it rot might be the more humane thing. Again I see the squash and the brightness of it makes me smile a little. Okay, fine…I settle on lemon peppered salmon and garlic & butter spaghetti squash.
At some point in between mincing onions and tossing the successfully roasted squash with butter and garlic, I found myself humming and actually enjoying the slight chaos that was my stove. I over-cooked the fish but the flavor of the seasoning was delicious and despite the fact that it could have used more salt or something, I discovered that I really liked the squash. So here’s to one successful meal down and hoping that the next one is not too far off.
Life is full of disappointments. I have heard and witnessed the truth of this statement since I was old enough to understand words. It is a simple fact and the fact is, it does not get any easier to accept. It just becomes more…familiar, less surprising.
Tonight I was early for an appointment and decided my time was best spent working on a shot for my blog. As I meandered around my favorite part of downtown I could feel the stress of my day melt away with each click of my camera. With my time running out I began walking faster but was stopped short as I passed in front of this window. I instantly had a shot in my mind that I thought would be perfect. After getting permission, I took several quick shots and hoped that I was able to get the one I wanted. I headed off to my appointment, smiling to myself and lost in a familiar day dream of wishing that I could just walk around all day taking pictures.
I did not get the shot I had hoped for. Far from it. While I still am grateful for those magical few moments that I was able to get caught up the world inside my lens, I was sadly disappointed in the results. This is not what I had hoped to share with you but as I sat here looking at it I began to look closer, and as I looked closer I was able to see things that I did like and started separating out the parts that needed to be fixed. I was reminded that though we might have disappointments in our life, it’s how we recover and what we learn that really matters.
Whether disappointed by others or by my own self, I never look forward to these moments, or lessons in life. But I do appreciate the opportunity for growth that they bring. I also appreciate that they make we want to try harder and be better. I’ll make it back to this charming restaurant and I will get the shot I imagined. I just need to have faith and practice a little more.