Sunday, January 01, 2012

A New Year

The start of a new year. The day when so many people make New Year's Resolutions. I love that this year there seems to be a theme that it's not necessary to make resolutions, that every moment is a new moment and a time to make changes. I'm not a huge fan of resolutions but I do set some intentions every year. And every year I seem to fall short of all those great intentions. I have some intentions and goals for 2012 but I also, more importantly, want to live fully in each moment. I just want to be PRESENT, to JUST BE. To be with whatever arises in each moment and feel and experience it fully. I've lived most of my life feeling as if everything will be right "when......" or "if.......". This year I will strive to accomplish my goals and work through challenges all while being PRESENT and letting go of expectations.

This past five years has been very challenging for me. It started with having to face the fact that my dream of traveling and living in our RV full-time did not line up with the rest of my family's dreams. We've faced financial challenges that we've never experienced-- not for lack of finances but because of choices we've made that, looking back, weren't the best choices for our family. We are beginning a new stage of our parenting journey as our children begin to transition into adulthood. Because of this transition I've had to face myself, outside of my life as a mother, and reflect on where I want my life to be when my children are all grown. I've had to reflect on my marriage quite a bit as well, as it is so easy to settle into this comfortable rhythm that isn't necessarily serving me or my marriage very well. In short, there has been a lot of "discomfort".  Recently someone mentioned that when we are comfortable we aren't growing. I haven't experienced that feeling of being comfortable for quite some time. There has been some kind of burr in my side for a while. As I've been reflecting this week on some of the lessons that have come my way I realize that I'm not really welcoming them with open arms and learning from them. I'm constantly resisting them. 2012 is my year to take all those "lessons" that I've learned and put them to good use. If I don't like something then it's up to me to change that! I can't constantly make the same choices and expect my life to be any different. It's time to embrace some major changes in my life!

I made a big decision (for me) to go to college full-time this year. I'm working on a dietetics degree. I've always been very passionate about health and nutrition and the thought of helping people and getting paid for it is awesome! I've had a lot of ups and downs this semester, along with lots and lots of tears. I've had to really weigh in on this decision and decide whether to go all the way. When I weigh out the pros and cons the decision to get the degree always wins out. That means that I have to take all the challenges that come along with it and ride the waves, and there are a lot of waves. I finished this last semester with a 4.0 and I've been on a natural high ever since the grades came out. It's not the grades that mean so much to me, not really. What is really meaning the most to me is that I faced one of my biggest fears head-on and I won! I broke through old, yucky labels that I've either placed on myself or ones that I took on from childhood --I knocked them on the ground and stomped on them. I feel like some major breakthroughs were accomplished through this last semester of school. And I'm really enjoying school. I enjoy the entire process and I've learned a lot.

This is my starting block for all the other things that I want to accomplish this year. I want to take that same energy, the same determination, the same hard work and put it into all the other things in my life that are important. This is MY year! This is the year of being debt free, of getting health insurance, of re-igniting my marriage, and "re-arranging" my dreams rather than abandoning them. It's time to start living a passionate life again. So here is to 2012-- what is going to be a FABULOUS year full of amazing changes and growth, all while being fully aware and present in each moment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blogging Again!!

It's been quite a long time since I've blogged!

Calista has been browsing the blog and asked me to please blog again because she likes reading back on things she's said and things we've done. At this moment there are so many things swirling in my head that I really don't know where to start so, I think I will blog about the gist of what has been going on this last year and start fresh from hereafter.

Last fall I decided to take an Anatomy/Physiology class, mostly to just get a little extra education for my much-rewarding job as a yoga instructor, but also because it's a subject of much interest to me. I started the class with no intention of doing anything more than that but ended up really enjoying it and deciding to go for a degree.

In the last year there have been shifts happening in our house: Kevin deciding to go to school for the last four years and graduating this last spring, and the kids all growing up and heading off on their own adventures. I have been left alone, or with just Calista, more often than not over the last year. I started feeling like it was time to pursue some of my own things. I've always been very passionate about health and wellness and a dietetics/nutrition degree was the natural direction for me. So, in the spring semester I continued with the Anatomy/Physiology class and added a History class as well. I ended the semester with two A's. I know, sounds so strange coming from an unschooling mom's mouth, right? The field happens to be a bit competitive, to get into the upper division classes, so it is paramount for me to keep the grades up. I have to admit, I was pretty proud of myself:P

This year, beginning on the 29th, I will be taking on 12 credits. At this rate it will take me four years to finish but I'm not on any particular race with time so I will just chug along at a comfortable pace. I already have 17 credits but because I have to take 6 credits this year which will not apply to my degree, it will take me a bit longer than the average person.

Tristan and Calista have continued to swim competitively. Tristan was planning on swimming with the high school again this year but the association that controls the high school sports does not allow independent homeschoolers to swim with the high schools. He is unwilling to jump through the hoops and play the system's games so he will not be swimming with Wasilla High this year. He is still swimming club and has some pretty amazing goals that he is going for. He also has an appointment to get his driver's license on Sept. 6. He really wants to learn Spanish, as well, this year, so we are working on that:)

Calista has really gotten into hooping. We found a group that she can hoop with and learn new tricks so that should be something fun for her this winter. She wants to learn Spanish as well, as do me and Martin, so there will probably be lots of broken Spanish being spoken around this house:P

Kevin is still working at the pool, as a lifeguard. He is going to try and find a job on a boat in the Keys and plans on leaving by middle of November. His ultimate dream is to learn how to sail. I'm so excited for him! It's just the best thing ever, as a mom, to see our kids pursue THEIR dreams and not the expectations that society has of them. He has quite the busy social life so I don't see him very often. I guess this is preparation for him not being here at all:( At 20 I was so ready to be a mom and he was a very planned baby, but at 39 I'm not really ready for my kids to be flying the nest. It just creeps up on you!!

We had an exciting summer this year. Kevin graduated from high school on May 20, and on May 21 we loaded up the Flex and headed down the Alaska-Canada Hwy. Our first stop was Life is Good Conference, in Vancouver, WA. Actually, our first stop was at the Cerullo's, where we enjoyed an awesome dinner and very comfortable beds after driving 47 straight hours:) Then, it was LIG. We had a fantastic time!! It was incredible for me to catch up with people that I hadn't seen in years, including my soul sista, Karen Buxcel, and all her awesome kids!! I can't explain what it's like to spend four days with 700 people who mostly all treat kids with dignity and respect, who are gentle parents, and who treat children as equals and with tons of happy, creative, inspirational children. It's just good for my soul!

From Vancouver we headed south, stopping at both my sil's houses, Lizz and Becky, in Colorado, eventually landing in TN, where my sister, Ren, lives. We spent three weeks in Tennessee and had a blast. We got lots of hot weather, lots of days at the river, and just special time with family. My sister divorced her husband of 21 years this last year but she also found another someone special:) Keith and his daughter, Trinity, had moved in the day before I got there so it was a little chaotic but we all did pretty well. It was really special to get to know them and to see my sister launching into this new, wonderful life of hers.

My nephew, Trevor, had called a few weeks before we left Alaska, and asked if there was any way he could come back to Alaska with us. Of course!! was my answer:) He was just needing a change and has always loved Alaska. We had his brother, Jared, for five months two years ago. I've missed so much of their childhood, with us living so far apart, so it's nice to get to know them this way.

From Tennessee we drove up to Davis, IL and spent a couple nights with the Endres. Fun, fun time! And then to Iowa to spend a couple nights with yet another sil (yes, I have a lot of them), who just got married to a farmer and has moved from the Palm Springs area to a farm in Iowa. Talk about culture shock! Luckily, she still gets to live in the California house during the winter months:) It was so much fun to see her new life and get to know what life is like on a farm. Kevin even got to drive the semi-truck, loaded with soybeans! The next stop was Rapid City, SD, to spend two nights with my good friend, Karen Buxcel. YES! I got to see her twice on this trip!! Another fun time!! Spent the day at the lake and just hanging out and chit chatting.

After we left Karen's it was a beeline for home. We did the first 30 hours straight, from Rapid City all the way to Watson Lake, Canada. We spent the night in Watson Lake and then another 18 hr stretch home. We were gone six weeks in all. As much as it is good to be home, I'm a gypsy and I CRAVE being on the road. I'm choosing to be content, right where I'm at, but I will not give up the dream of someday, soon, being on the road full-time. I would even settle for winters on the road and summers in Alaska if we could figure out a way to make a living that way. Ideas?? I even told Martin this morning that I would give up school temporarily to be on the road. Anyone that knows me well, knows that is huge!!

So, here we are settling back into a schedule. Trevor is here to stay. He went back to TN for a couple of weeks because he was committed to East TN Unschooling Camp, as a counselor, but will be back on the 24th to stay. Fall is approaching and the rainy season has begun. I'm excited to see what this next year brings us!! Bring it on!!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Calista shared a conversation she had with her friends today about religion.  She was a little confused that her friends got so upset when she told them she doesn't believe in heaven or hell, and she was somewhat taken back by the place of fear that they were coming from.  She told me she didn't think 10, 11, and 12 year olds should have to worry about such things.  She feels like everyone thinks they know everything and they REALLY don't and no matter how much you contemplate such things you will not KNOW the answers.  She feels like everyone should just stop trying so hard to find the answers and just LIVE.  I listened with open ears and an open heart.  One thing that struck me is that her beliefs on religion and God are somewhat different than mine and that's what really started me contemplating tonight.

Most children who come from a Christian background believe what they believe because that is what they have been taught to believe.  They don't even know how to make their own opinions about their beliefs because they've never been given that option.  I was told by a pastor one time that 80% of Christians became Christians as children.  80%!!!  What that tells me is that 80% of Christians don't hold their own beliefs but rather have been brainwashed to believe that.  That's just astounding to me!  And it always seems to come back to this thing they call hell, and the fear of it.  I lived most of my life, well into adulthood, living in that same fear and I'm so thankful to be free from it!!  I'm even more thankful that I'm raising my own children with that sense of freedom and that they will never have some of the same silly hang-ups that I have spent the last 8 years releasing myself from.

I have my own spiritual practices and they are different than every single one of my children, for my children hold their own opinions and have come to their separate beliefs on their own.  I would never dream of getting in their way or trying to sway them to believe one way or the other.

At the end of the conversation she said, "Mom, if I was going to be any religion I would be Pagan because it makes me feel good and I love doing rituals."  It made my heart smile that she is being authentic to who she is and what is speaking to her.  That is what I want for my children in all aspects of their life, that is my goal as I continue to raise my children in freedom; that they will be completely authentic and true to themselves.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Summer "Bucket List"

I have started a "Bucket List" for my summer.  I'm sure it will grow over the next month as I think of more things I want to add to it but this is a start:

Finish at least two triathalons.

Visit Homer.

Visit Seward.

Visit Talkeetna.

White water rafting in Denali.

Hike Crow Creek Pass.

Hike Pioneer Peak.

Go to the Forest Fair.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wine Down Wednesday

I think Martin and I have found our new Wednesday tradition!  Before we went on our motorhome trip we went to Sabai (Thai food) every Wednesday; it was our date night.  I love traditions and rituals and miss this one in particular.  Last night, one of our favorite places, The Grape Tap, started a Wine Down Wednesday, in which they give you a small glass of wine paired with an amazing appetizer for $10.  Usually when we go to The Grape Tap we leave with a $100 bill so we were thrilled to pop in before dinner, have an appetizer and a little wine and leave with only a $20 bill:)

I think with this tradition we will invite other couples to join us every week.  A nice hour of small talk over a glass of wine:)  Check them out on Facebook:

Monday, April 05, 2010

With spring in the air I'm on a constant high these days.  I don't realize how hard winter is on me until spring comes.  It's been a wonderful couple of weeks; seems like my days are filled with fun and surrounded by people that inspire and lift me up. 

I've chosen friends wisely.  I don't have tons of friends but the ones I have enhance my life in so many wonderful ways!  I look forward to each day and the life I'm creating for myself.

The kids are continuing with their swimming.  Kev has Junior Olympics in a couple of weeks.  Tristan did a time trial on Saturday, to see if he could make some times for JO's, since he has only done one meet and only raced the 50 Free.  He tried for the 50 Free and the 100 Free.  He only missed the 50 by .2 of a sec. and the 100 by .4.  So close!!  For someone who has only been swimming since November that's awesome!  He is going to be on fire by the time high school swimming starts!

I've been teaching yoga a LOT!  A couple of our teachers have been gone so I've been subbing like crazy. I've slowly begun to creep my Sunday and Thursday class to a level II and students have rose to the challenge.  It's been a lot of fun.  It was also great to get my paycheck, especially after thousands of dollars of dental bills in the last couple of months:)  My trip to India has been confirmed; there were enough people that signed up and paid their deposit to make it a go.  I'm so excited!!  A few of the people going are on that list of people that I was speaking of in the second paragraph of this post, which is going to make it that much more enjoyable. 

Well, I know it is a quick post, just didn't want everyone to abandon my blog:)  I'm still here, just busy living life.  Will post more when I have the chance to sit for a longer period of time.

Hope everyone has as beautiful of a day as I'm going to have today.  Off to the pool for my swim......

Hiking season is about to begin for us.  Some of us have some lofty goals, such as Pioneer Peak and possibly (for me) Crow Pass, which is a 26 mile hike that takes two days.  We also have a family coming to visit us for the entire summer so we have a lot of little hikes that we want to do with them, not to mention the fishing trips, road trips, lake days, etc.  I'm really looking forward to this summer!! 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Whew, what a month! I feel like I have barely been keeping my nose above the water. It seems like things are happening, one after another, that makes me feel like I am cursed with bad karma. I've not had a very good attitude about it either. I set aside a certain amount of money that I knew we needed for dental bills. None of us had been to the dentist in a very long time; Calista never has been. Martin and the kids have all had their cleaning and check-ups and it is bleak. The amount of our dentail bills are 5x what I had planned on and I haven't even gone in yet. We also had some medical bills- my scoliosis, Martin's degeneration in his neck and his hip (which he's getting a hip replacement for), and Kev has kidney stones. Our car has broke down twice this month, with a total of $2400 in repairs, and our bathroom has a very bad leak (down into the entry way) and we have to rip it out. Uuugh!

What I really wanted to blog about though was gratitude. I have just been in a dark, dark place this last month and I think it's partly because we are at the tailend of winter, the light is just starting to come back and it's just that February funk. The last couple of days the fog has started to lift. The light is getting more obvious, the days are warmer AND I just made the decision to be happy. This afternoon I took out a book that my Stepmom bought me a few years back: Attitudes of Gratitude. I just needed to be reminded that being grateful is a choice.

It's interesting that I teach yoga and try to live a yogic life, I eat healthy, I meditate but I still fight these human conditions (imagine that:) In the first page of the book she mentions that so often people teach what they most need to learn.......................BINGO! She says, "I do not set myself up as an "expert", but rather a person on a path like the rest of us, each of us becoming the fullness of who he or she is meant to be." That just says it all! Now I understand why I teach yoga. I've always felt a little "inferior" when it comes to teaching, because I don't have the same amount of knowledge as some of my own yoga teachers, but I get so much positive feedback from my classes and students follow me from studio to studio so I've never been able to give it up. I understand now that the reason they may like me so much as a teacher is that I've allowed myself to be vulnerable and they see me as a fellow human being having the same experiences and struggles as they are having. It's easy to see our yoga teachers as something above us, someone who has attained this perfect inner peace that we are trying to attain as students, but all teachers are just fellow travelers wanting to share something amazing. So I keep teaching because I'm getting as much, or more, out of my classes as my students are.

If you look to others for fulfillment,
you will never truly be fulfilled.
If your happiness depends on money,
you will never be happy with yourself.
Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.
~ Lao Tzu

So...................I took a walk today so that I could reconnect with nature- I think that's inherent to human beings, whether we realize it or not. It made me feel so much better! Thursday I will head into Anchorage to do a little seed shopping to prepare for my garden this summer. I also need to repair the E string on my guitar so I can get back to practicing. I need to reconnect with those things that I am passionate about.

Today I am grateful because I have EVERYTHING I need and I have the ability to pay all my bills. I have an amazing life that I so often take for granted! I have this incredible relationship with my three children. I have so much!!!

Inside yourself or outside, you never have to change what you see, only the way you see it. ~Thaddeus Golas