Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mid-day Strong Life thoughts

Let's start out with a great big PTL (Praise the Lord) for nap time.  I love this sweet boy and I equally love the few hours of peace and quiet I get every afternoon.  Sometimes I run errands, sometimes I clean, sometimes I nap myself, sometimes I do relaxing things like blogging, and I usually do a combo of those things.  And please know my husband works from home.  I'm not putting Dekker down and running to Target while he's alone in his crib.  I promise.

Well I am nearly obsessed with living my strongest life.  Aannndd apparently I'm not alone.  There is an entire culture out there of people doing the same thing and I know this because they featured this blog!!  How cool is that!?!  I'm trying to act like I've been there before, but I just can't shake my giddiness.  

Anyway, in his book Marcus encourages us to "sweat the small stuff" as we search for "strong moments".  It's only by "catching and cradling" our strong moments, and looking into the details of them, that we can better identify them, learn about ourselves from them, and consider how that impacts our success-- in my case finding a job or rearranging my job so that it is more fulfilling and less draining.

Please note that the definition of a strong moment (and/or life) is this: Not what you do, but how you feel.  And you are searching for moments that help you feel effective and capable, hopeful, excited, joyful (a genuine "looking forward to tomorrow"), a sense of growth and focus ("time just flew by"), and knowing that your needs are being fulfilled.  Well, that's kinda several chapters into two small paragraphs but seriously, just by the book by Marcus Buckingham.

ANYWAY... I've been trying to think of strong moments in my life.  I took the Strong Life Test and my results came back as a "Weaver" and a "Teacher."  What are your results?  (Seriously, go take the test and post your results-- I'm super curious.)  Taking the test did help me narrow my thoughts and frankly, I think the test was spot on even though it very much surprised me.  The weaver is someone who likes to connect people and loves a web of relationships.  Well, this has me thinking.  I do love to connect people.  Like-- oh, you're traveling to Tampa where my cousin lives-- here, let me suggest a friend on facebook.  Or-- I know someone you should go on a date with.  (I seriously have long considered my gift of matchmaking a spiritual gift.)  So this fits me.  And it is part of what I love about counseling (I think... ...).

But as I have "sweated the small stuff" and tried to really think about things that I love doing, things that don't feel like work, things that energize me, I am certain that it is in the weaver-like things in me.  My sister-in-law Becky once told me I was a great "researcher."  She said to me, "I knew you were the right person to ask."  She was looking for something for her daughter, Ryleigh, who was in Kindergarten and is also diabetic.  I found an adorable little watch with a vibrating function which would remind her to tell her teacher she needed her blood tested.  Because the school nurse had 150 students to look after, you know.  (Don't even get me started!)  I looked and looked for that little watch.  It didn't feel like work, and I didn't mind the time I put into doing it.  I love this stuff!  That's a strong moment, right?  That's weaver-ish, right? PTL.  I need a beer.

Dear Marcus,
Are you reading this blog???  Can I be a weaver and connect people to people, but also to information, products, books, etc.  Can I make a living doing that?  Where??  Anyone?  Anyone?
Thanks, Stef

My secondary function was a teacher.  And, again, I know that is part of what drew me into the world of counseling and also why I loved the one credit I taught at Grace University this fall.  I intend to apply for some adjunct positions.  Teaching was a good fit for public speaking, another gift I love and feel energized doing.  Another love?  Writing.  Did you know my first declared major at UNL was Journalism?  I was on staff with the Daily Nebraskan for about a month and even had a few stories published.  But I hated the "beat."  I wanted to do feature stories.  Overwhelmed, I quit.  Those people slept under their desks.  Weird.

I am so overwhelmed by living my strongest life.  I'd like to say "forget IT!" and throw in the towel but that would be hurting only myself.  Like I said above, if even a few adjustments to my current job would help-- what's to lose? Maybe I do need to consider a new job, too.

In other news, the electrical inspector just came by and presto-- Dave passed!  So thrilled for him.  Another inspection for framing tomorrow and he might get to start insulation and drywall on the new office in the basement.  Soon he'll be able to work without wearing his winter coat... like he may or may not be doing today. :)

On the (strong) journey,

Monday, December 6, 2010

Random Ramblings

I have been away from this blog for so long now that I don't know how to get back.  It's like when you haven't talked to a good friend for awhile and resist calling her because you don't have four days to catch up.  But then my cousin Tisha sent me a sweet text asking about the ol blog, and my friend Kara offered a comment asking about it tonight, and my friend who answered the phone at NCC today mentioned it, and my friend Sara loves reading this and is literally waiting day-by-day for her baby boy to arrive.  Sara, if I can help the wait in any way, I will!  So to you four and the other three who read this, here is a little update. 

I have high-hopes for some regular posting here soon-- maybe even a little look back over some events the last several months.

For now we'll go with my fav style, the very complicated "bullet" look:

* I am having a crisis of career.  I work Tues/Thurs at a private counseling office as an independent contractor.  I don't talk about work on this blog hardly ever, and that is a conscious and ethical decision on my part.  But for the record let me say that I do love my job, but the hours are getting really hard.  I work with a lot of kids and families (which I love, love, love), which means a lot of after school and evening appointments.  Most days when I drop Dekker off at daycare at 9:30AM my parting words are "see you tomorrow, honey." That's because Dave picks him up from daycare in the evening and he is in bed when I get home at 8PM or later.  During the day I do see clients here and there and I try to stay very current on my paperwork.  Sometimes I have a little extra time and I take Dekker in late after we play for awhile.  Anyway, it's hard.  I once heard someone say that a person spends their 20's searching out what they want to do and enjoys their 30's doing it.  Well crap, I just turned 29 and it's not looking so hot folks.  Then again, 30 is the new 20.  So maybe in my 40's I'll have this figured out.

* My crisis of career can largely be blamed on this years Women of Faith conference and Marcus Buckingham's book "Find your strongest life."  I highly recommend you read this book.  It is totally worth the $12.  But don't read it late into the night.  Or you might-- just might-- stay up all night worrying about not finding your strongest life and stifling back tears.  Trust me, it's a long and lonely night. 

* I have a few fun Saturday nights planned.  This Saturday night my bestie Beth and I are going to Nebraska Christian College's Colors of Christmas program.  Should be fun.  The following Saturday I am going to "Roommate Reunion" with Beth, Kara and Natalie.  These are the girls I lived in "Big Blue" with in Lincoln-- truly the "glory days" of college.  Can't wait to get together with them.  How God arranged our schedules so that Kara from Utica, Natalie from Holdrege, Beth from Omaha who manages retail (and it's the holiday season!!) and myself could all be available and in Lincoln together is beyond me but amazing.  I think God knows what he's doing and I need this.  Thanks, Dave, for parenting alone two Saturday nights in a row.  I am so blessed by you.

* I had more bloodwork done before Thanksgiving.  Turns out mono takes awhile to get over :)  I knew this, but didn't fully understand what it means in the real life.  I feel much better, but my immune system is shot so I constantly feel like I have a cold and feel run down, tired, etc.  And I am battling pink eye round 412 as I type.   This does not help the career crisis mentioned above.  Actually, I think the career crisis might be part to blame for a low grade depression, feeling worn out and frazzled, etc which can lead to medical issues such as mono.   Or at least Marcus thinks so.

* I finished up an incredible Bible study a few Sunday's ago.  We tackled the sin of an undisciplined thought life and examined how our self talk can have lasting impact. 

* I am in bootcamp round 2 and fully intend to do round 3.  I feel great and love the resistance training emphasis.  The mornings are getting easier and I am almost to the place where I don't mind getting up.  I also am encouraged by a running book and am considering a half-marathon late spring. Though I feel stronger, my clothes fit well, but the scale ain't budging.  I need a little self discipline in what goes in my mouth.  Super hard this time of the year so I better start running!

* Finally, though I haven't written on this blog lately, I think about it often.  Like in a "when I feel well enough to be caught up but to not nap during nap time and maybe if I ever get caught up at work and write a blog post I will write about that" way.  So the other day the fb status of several friends without children caught my attention.  I had my "glasses" on where one only sees what they want to see.  You know them-- you have a pair too.  Anyway, people were writing about the lovely, relaxing day they were having watching TV, movies, putting up Christmas decorations, baking, shopping... what-have-you.  I had a twinge of jealousy as I literally chased Dekker around and tried to keep him out of everything non-stop.  I try not to be bitter, but its hard sometimes.  Just as this blog post was forming in my mind... we went to Lincoln and watched the nieces and nephews in their fantastic Christmas production.  It's a full scale 90 minute dramatic musical.  Awesome.  We took Dekker and he sat on our laps.  Risky.  But can I just say that he is the CUTEST kid.  Oh my goodness my heart overflows.  He broke out in enthusiastic clapping and cheering at the end of EVERY song.  He also cheered and clapped during dramatic pauses in the speaking, which wasn't as cute to everyone else but made my heart sing.  When the huge tractor came in at the end of the production, I didn't see a thing because I couldn't take my eyes off Dekker and the little "o" his mouth was making.   For me and my life right now, this was a reminder of God's goodness as if He was saying, "Enjoy this season of life."  Not that I wouldn't enjoy a season of  my DVR, but you know.  Mercy.

I have at least 30 minutes to find my strongest life here before I try and wind down for the night. 

Good to be back.
On the journey,

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Welcome Home

Hello Friends.
I have so much to tell you about my trip to Colorado.  The retreat center really was a "sacred space" that I very much enjoyed.  The view was beautiful-- mountains to the west and plains to the east, and Horsetooth Reservoir visible from the "Eagles Nest."  Gorgeous.  It was a time of professional growth and a renewal of counseling skills combined with a new understanding of helping people who grieve.  And it was a time of personal growth, as I mourned with my new friends several losses and transitions in my life.  I can't wait to go back.  More on that soon when I have more time to debrief it myself.  For now, I can't wait to tell you about my trip home so far.

The retreat got over at 2:30 Mountain Time.  That's 3:30 Omaha time, so I knew I probably wouldn't make it all the way home.  I am exhausted, physically and especially emotionally and mentally.  So I came 1/2 way to McCook tonight, where I just had dinner with my sweet friend Amanda and have a breakfast date with my aunts and uncle.  It was a 4.5 hour drive to here, and it was white-knuckle driving for the last 3 hours.  I should first note that the first hour was delightful, and I called my sister-in-law Becky during the busiest time of her day to simply tell her that I think she should go on a Disney Cruise.  God love you Becky, that I was so out of the kid-day-routine that I did this and that you put up with it, even entertained me on my drive for awhile!

Back to the drive... I seriously contemplated stopping several times, but there was not a town big enough for a hotel the entire way, I swear.  It's a whole lotta nothing.  I wanted so badly to call Dave, but I knew I would burst into tears.  I prayed.  I sang.  I repeated positive statements to myself  ("It's not freezing.  You have some visibility.  You can do this.") I planned my own funeral and I only wish I was kidding about that.  I saw SEVERAL deer on the shoulder of the road.  It wasn't icy, but it was snowing, and that is like a blanket of white coming at your face in the headlights.  If you've ever drove in this you know it almost has a hypnotic feeling.  At one point, in a small town of Wauneeta, I almost called my dad and asked if he had a farmer friend I could just call up.  I was that scared, and just stressed.  Well, it cleared about 30 min outside of town  (PTL my prayers were seriously answered) and I am alive.  Thankfully, it was above freezing and eventually the snow turned to rain, so I could have some visibility again.  I had a bad feeling about the weather today.  I had been watching the forecast and knew it would be close.  I even told Dave on my way to the retreat today that this is not what I want to die wearing.  A whole week of death talk, you have to have some honesty and humor, right.

I got to Aunt Pats about 9:00.  I had the wrong garage code saved in my phone so I called my mom, standing in the driveway in the rain, and she still had it from 7 years ago when they lived in McCook.  Welp, lucky for me.  I get in and I heard a voice.  So I called out, "Hello.  Aunt Pat."  She has a gorgeous house that almost feels as good as home to me but I couldn't figure out where she was, why she was home, and what she was saying... Wasn't she suppose to be playing Bridge?  I kept my mom on the line.

"Garage Door.  Motion Detected.  Garage Door.  Motion Detected."
"Um, Mom, hang on a minute."
* Huge High Pitch Siren*
"What in the dickens is that?" (If you know Lynette that just made you laugh)
*Huge High Pitch Siren*
"Mom, she has an alarm."
"Just go push OFF honey."
"I'm trying."
"I can't hear you."
"Mom, what am I going to do?"
*Huge High Pitch Siren*
"Call Aunt Pat"
"I did, before I called you."
*Ring, Ring*
"Hello, this is Suzie with the alarm system.  There is a bulgary alarm going off.  Can you tell me the password?"
"No, I can't.  I am her niece.  Stefanie Rowe.  That's R O W E.  Um, her name is Pat.  Yes, I have her number right here.  I don't know who else is on her list.  Probably my uncle Ron and aunt Kelly.  No, I don't know their number off hand."
"Okay, thank you Mrs. Rowe.  Just keep trying to get a hold of her."
*Huge High Pitch Siren*
"Honey, go the garage, I can't hear you." (I love you Mom)

So I went to the garage and my mom got me my other aunt and uncle's number.  They live across town in an alarm free home.  They know the password.  And code.  After several tries and nearly bursting my uncle's eardrum, I got the alarm off.  Thank you, Ron.  But not before the neighbor called.

*Ring, Ring*
"This is Stefanie."
"This is Sandy next door.  Are you Pat's niece?  I thought so.  The police are out front."
(I wasn't avoiding them, I was in the garage!)

I had a friendly chat with the skeptical police officers.  I still had my uncle on the phone and I was so thankful that the alarm was finally off.  I think it was blaring every 4 seconds for a good 40 minutes.  I explained my story, which they made me tell twice--which I could with all the details because it was the truth.  They looked familiar and I thought about asking them what year they graduated but I thought better of myself.  As they were walking back to the now two police cars parked in front of my Aunts home, I said...

"I'm glad it works.  The alarm system.  It makes me feel safe for my Aunt Pat.  Thanks for your service." 

I think they laughed at me.  I stood in the driveway in the spitting rain talking to the sweet neighbor in her red shoes and sweat pants.  Nice lady, and apparently the other emergency contact who was called when I couldn't produce the password.  She called Aunt Pat.  So did I.  So did the alarm company and I'm sure the police.  She hasn't answered or called us back...yet.  She must be having a good time!

I think this will be a bridge game she never forgets.
I won't either.

On the journey,

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thoughts on Thoughts

This begins week two without boot-camp.  I have been walking/jogging on my days off and even made it to the gym once.  Whatever progress I am making I am losing with this bag of Halloween candy sitting next to me.  At least I'm staying ahead of the curve.  And seriously my jeans have a little saggy butt going on, and they're not just dirty :)  It's amazing to me how quickly I have gotten OUT of the habit of working out.  Dangerous.  I have not once thought to myself, "I missed my workout today" or "I feel like I need to go to the gym."  Maybe that comes after awhile, but for me without that class to get up and go to I have almost no motivation.  This is just good for me to know about myself.  On the other hand, I don't feel much better sleeping more so I might as well get up and work out.

Boot-camp starts again next week.  I won't be there.   I will be at a week long training in Fort Collins, Co at the Center for Loss and Life Transition.   Though this might not look like a lot of fun to you, it sounds thrilling for me.  The training groups are super small, less than 20 people, and the teacher is Dr. Wolfeldt, a renowned researcher, therapist, teacher and author on the subject of bereavement.  I feel very lucky that I got picked to attend this training (I think that is code for "I was willing to pay for it") and hope to bring some new stuff back to my work.  I am staying with some family in Fort Collins, which I am looking forward to about as much as I am not looking forward to the drive.  And... I leave Saturday and get home Friday!  That's a long time away from my boys!!  I am trying to really guard my thinking and focus on the positives and not dwell on the drive and being "away."  I'm thankful for a free place to stay, for the means to pay for the training, for the tax deduction it is, for some time away to chill out in the car, maybe even some time to read and relax in the evenings.

Speaking of my thought life, I have been loving the book Self Talk, Soul Talk by Rothschild.  It has been a fantastic refresher for taking my thoughts captive and changing how I feel by changing how I think.  I had an "ah-ha" moment when we discussed in group that saying untrue or hurtful things to ourselves ("I'm worthless," "No one loves me,") is SIN.  Let's call a spade a spade people.  The Bible is really clear that we are worth so much, incredibly loved, and forgiven.  Now sometimes our thought life can be somewhat of a reflection of truth-- though usually distorted in some way-- but is not helpful and is in fact damaging when we say it in such hurtful ways to ourselves ("I'm lazy," "I'm fat.").  So even if what we are saying is true, when we say it so awfully to ourselves we're not treating ourselves with the grace and respect that the Bible talks about.  We all know how to treat our neighbors, and that our mouths were made to encourage and build one another up-- and this truth needs to be turned INWARD, too.

Finally, we had a great time at the trunk or treat.  Dekker went as our dog, Josie, who he loves.  He refused to wear his costume all week.  Just the night before I put it on him and the only picture I could get he was tugging it off!  Suddenly, at the Trunk or Treat, he put it on and loved it!  Adorable.  We had a great night with our church family and do love this tradition.   Over 1200 people were there!  Wow.  Here is a picture to close this post.

On the journey,

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Random Saturday Ramblings & Bootcamp Results

My Saturday's typically look a little something like this: Get up 'early' with Dekker knowing that I will get to sleep in on Sunday.  Breakfast, playtime, what-have-you, lunch, errands, nap time, Husker football, food, playtime with the neighbors, dinner, bed.  Or something of that nature.  Then there is this window between Dekker's 7:30 bedtime and sushi and SNL at 10:30 that I fill writing out random things on this blog.  Hahaha.  I think I have yet to put together a "well-written" cohesive blog on a Saturday night.  Probably b/c I'm so hungry because I'm "saving" all my calories for sushi.  Anyway... ... 

So here are a few of the Random Ramblings I've thought about tonight--
* I love cold weather because it THRILLS me that people bring their dogs inside and they don't bark their heads off all evening long.  Nights like tonight when I am sitting around with windows opened and getting serenaded by the neighbor dogs does not do my blood pressure well.  I also like cold weather because it forces some of my chatty neighbors to move the chatty party INSIDE.  And I love fires in the fireplace but I'm not sure how that will work out with a toddler.

* I love Husker football about as much as I love my little Husker in his red track suit.  Tonight we taught him the "touch-down" sign, which he proudly did all night long while trying to say the word.  In case I don't say it enough, I love that kid and being his mama.

* I found a steal of a deal on a winter coat for Dekker the other night.  I didn't buy it b/c the hood doesn't come off.  Then I tell Dave this and show him the coat and he thinks it's no problem and I guess I don't either so we buy it.  Pewter color.  Originally  $70 at LandsEnd and on sale for $19.99 (free shipping) on their Overstock page.  It's going to look great with a red Husker stocking cap :)

* I sat down and had coffee with my bestie, Beth for an hour and a half this week.  It was great to catch up-- even though we talk almost everyday for a few minutes-- we needed that talk-it-all-out-and-get-totally-caught-up-time.  I contemplated that with my relationship with God this week.

* We went to the Brookside "Married Live" event Friday night after having some great Mexican.  Thanks to our friends Kelly and Chad for sharing two tickets-- we met some awesome peeps at our table and heard a very interesting speaker, Michael Franzese, a former Mob Captain.  He and his wife talked about sticking it out no matter what and I was uncomfortable for anybody in that arena in an physical or emotionally abusive relationship.  I read wwaayyyy too much into these things, and my job jades me somewhat, but I worry about women who stay in super unhealthy relationships because they can't bear the shame of being a divorced Christian.  But it was good and I want to read his book.  Anyway...

* I have been slower at work lately, giving me some time to think about Christmas.  Soden Family Christmas is over Thanksgiving, so I have been trying to get a start on my shopping.  And, I have 11 beautiful nieces and nephews to buy for in some capacity.  I have made great progress.  And I like spreading the cost over a few months.

*My scale broke.  I couldn't be happier...

... this brings me to my "bootcamp" results...

Bootcamp Results:
Pre-Test (Sept 13): Cardio-- 13 laps in 12 minutes; 38 sit-ups; 19 push-ups; 39" flexibility
Post-Test (Oct 22): Cardio-- 17.75 laps; 45 sit-ups; 30 push-ups; 43" flexibility

Things I loved about bootcamp:
* Accountability
* Consistency
* Meeting sweet women
* Feeling stronger and having the results to prove it
* "Pushing through the pain" on our final run on Friday and learning more about my body and how to push it.
* Increasing my hand weights from 5lb, to 8lb and even some 10lbs at times.
* Signing up to do it all again!

I have said before that it's not the perfect work-out BY FAR.  But it is for sure more than I probably would be doing-- especially in the way of weight lifting.  I didn't lose a lot of weight, maybe a lb or two, but I feel fantastic and I do think we are doing more toning than we think.   And my clothes feel good, and I have ate (very, very) well and haven't gained.  I'd be crazy not to do it again, especially for the price (compared to other 'bootcamps' in town).  I feel so much better about myself when I am consistently working out.  I will get a new scale, but it might be awhile :)

Well, enough for tonight.  Hope you are all doing well, too.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Imitation = Flattery

Nothing makes me watch what I am doing and saying quite like a little Toddler who is starting to repeat everything he sees and hears...

This is Dekker's mobile office, with his Blackberry and keyboard.

He is a pretty good typer!

Well, I do not sit on the rug and eat.  However, I found it so
cute that he got these out all by himself!  Then marched over
to the rug and sat himself down and started eating!!
Some kids stack blocks.  Dekker stacks spices.
And is quite proud of himself!
Dekker wants to mulch leaves!  Just wait kiddo.  Your
day will come.  I promise!
He is actually quite helpful with the broom!
My favorite!
On the journey,

Fall Falls

When Dave and I were first looking for a house, there were several "must-have's."  We ended up finding a property with most of them, too.  Well, one of them was "an established neighborhood."  In other terms, we wanted a place with big trees that had been around for awhile.  Which we found, and love, until every fall.  This is what our place looked like last week at this time--

Seriously two to three inches of leaves.  Dave had to rake the
driveway before small group so people didn't park in the grass!

So what do we do?  Why not just mow?  Too many leaves.  It would just take forever, even with a mulching mower.  Sooooo... it has taken a few years of trial and error, but I do say we have a pretty good system.  And we have a leaf mulcher-- so it sucks up the leaves and mulches them, helping us contain about 12 bags of leaves into four.  Pretty sweet.

First, rake into long lines, pull away from the edges, etc.
Then, Dave sucks up the lines with the mulcher.
Sometimes he has some extra help from Dekker and the
neighbor boys who we love dearly.
Toys from our sweet neighbors.  Dekker LOVES their garage,
and all the fun things they have in it.  He runs right over to it,
whether it's open or closed or even if they are out or not!

At the end of the day the yard looked great...
And the neighborhood fun just never stops!

We finally go inside when the sun goes down!

Today we trimmed that big tree we insisted we have, then bundled up all the sticks.  We'll still have to mow at least once and I'd love to get the flower beds trimmed back and cleaned out.  It's harder to do those, because the mulch makes it much harder to use the leaf mulcher (weird to use that word twice in one sentence).  Anyway, we love our house, even though we bought it in the dead of winter and had NO IDEA what we were getting ourselves into!  But for every ounce of yard work that we under-estimated, is by how much we love our neighbors and neighborhood.  Seriously sweet people who love God and love their kids and just welcome us and Dekker all around.  My neighbor once told me that his yard looked so good (I asked) because it was something productive he could do while his kids played outside for hours!  Now I completely understand.  

Maybe one day our yard will take shape!

On the journey,

Sunday, October 17, 2010

There is... No. Place. Like. Nebraska

This Saturday Dave and I had the opportunity to go to the Husker vs Texas game.  Tickets were selling for $350 a seat, but we got ours for free through my dad and his work.  We had a great day Saturday-- we left about 10AM and traffic was horrible.  We were still 4.5 hours from game time and I-80 was already bottle-necked.  It was nuts!  We met my folks and took one car to campus, where we got a sweet parking deal.  Our seats were 96 rows up in the North end-zone.  Our backs were to the old press boxes, and even though it was a long ways up, I loved having the extra space behind us and standing up on my seat.

Mom & Dad Soden and Dave and I at the Husker Nation tailgate.
Skeeter Barns restaurant catered in and it was delish.

This is what we look like 96 rows up!

My mom tripped in the masses of people going into the stadium.
She was such a trooper but her foot was mega swollen by the end of the day.

The Sea of Red.

Finally getting to release balloons when we finally scored!

This is how we found Steve and Suz after an 11 hour day with Dekker!

Well, clearly the game didn't go our way, but it was still fun.  It was fun to look forward to, fun to spend the day with Dave and my folks, and made me squeeze our little boy just that much more this morning after missing him all day yesterday!

On the journey,

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Tonight I am breaking the "Here's To..." series to go back to my irregular, sporadic, sometimes sarcastic blogging style that is, frankly, a little easier for me.  Maybe you don't like "random thoughts" as much as I do, but I think it might be a reflection of how I think!  Tonight's randomness is inspired by my friend Becky's post (by the way who are Dave and Karen?) and by my Sunday night women's Bible study.

On Sunday nights I am studying "He Speaks To Me" by Priscilla Shirer. I was somewhat skeptical about the topic, but I think that's what drew me in.  The study has taught me so much, and one thing I am really taking away is the power of gratitude.  Then today at work I had a really good conversation with a friend about the true power of perspective.

Here are just 5 of the things I am thankful for, in no particular order-- knowing that I am obviously omitting several fantastic things for the sake of brevity and my early bedtime.

1.  That Sunday Night Bible Study.  We are an eclectic group of women and we are a small group of women.  But dog-gone-it I believe God had an awesome purpose bringing us together and knew exactly what He was doing.  And thank you Beth for stepping out to lead and in doing so, offering us all the opportunity to get to know one another and join in the adventure of positioning ourselves to hear from God.  This study has impacted my daily life and my everyday thinking in pretty cool ways.

2.. Our family.  I am so thankful for Dave and Dekker, and that we have such awesome family to go through life with.  We love our Monday night dinners and trips to Aurora and random texts and phone calls and fb chats and getting spoiled at The Cheesecake Factory by Lao and Pao.  I know the saying is that "you can't pick family" but I honestly don't think I could have picked better!  Thank you God for this blessing in my life!
I think Josie looks a little tortured here. 
She is not.  I promise!

3.  Our friends and small group.  That they are there for the hard times and the great times.  That they are so much fun and have this type of influence on me.  Do I look like I'm having a ball or what?  That's because I was.  We had an awesome Girls afternoon celebrating with our friend Micaela. Cari, you are truly an awesome hostess!

4.  The absolute beautiful weather we are having.  And that my allergies aren't totally awful and that I am finally feeling some true relief from the mono.  I'm still having  a hard time "bouncing back" from big events, but the day-to-day is sooo much better.  Like other things, I really didn't realize how "bad" it was until I was feeling better.  Next week my mom is visiting Sun-Mon and Beth and I are taking a girls trip Tues-Wed.  Then Thursday I work a looooooooong day and teach at Grace that night (Glory, another blessing).  We have tickets to the Texas game Sat (Go Big Red, can I call this a blessing, too?) so I am hoping I'm not a total mess by Sunday.  What a fab problem to have-- so many fun things in one week!  One day at a time, take care of myself, rest when I'm tired.  I can manage.

Big thanks to my friend Katie for this awesome pic of Dekker. 
We were enjoying this weather at the nearby park.
Dekker, Quinn and Max.  I love these boys and their Mama's!
Dekker has a squint.  Not just in this picture either.  I think it's
a learned look from me.  That, or he needs glasses.

 5.  Our daycare friend, Laura.  I was just beside myself when Leigh quit.  And I still miss Leigh and seeing her regularly.  But our new friend, Laura, is wonderful, too!  Today she helped Dekker through a rough day of teething and she hasn't reneged on our agreement yet  :)  She puts up with my "checking in" texts and my loooong good-byes.   God Love You, Laura!  What a blessing.

Even as I type I have more things to be thankful for-- like Dave's work from home job, the sweet girls I have met at bootcamp, my awesome water bottle, open communication with Dave/laying in bed laughing, facebook, my counseling mentor, the guy I work with at Grace... ...

Speaking of Grace... I was suppose to "teach" tonight at Grace.  I texted the professor I work with about 3:30 and suggested maybe we cancel class for the game.  I'm pretty sure he laughed out loud but he did insist I stay home.  Didn't have to tell me twice!  I'm 6 hours into my 10 hour commitment there.  As long as we're done by finals!  And the Huskers look awesome tonight!

On the journey,

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Here's To... Productivity

Here's To... Productivity

Awhile back I decided that I wanted to start simplifying my space.  And when I say awhile back, I am in deed referring to the "Simplicity Party" I went to in March.  I cringe thinking that was seven months ago.  Well anyway, onward and upward, right?  Initially, I started by re-evaluating my closet (and the hearth room, which turned out terrific).  I had a lot of clothes that I didn't wear anymore-- and remember-- the motto of the party wasn't just clutter free living.  It was also about giving out of our abundance.  I thought about other women who would wear the clothes that didn't fit my post-baby body all the time.  Suddenly, keeping them "just in case" seemed really selfish.  I also had lots of clothes I was holding onto that I didn't particularly like and that I didn't find a style that flattered me.  So I bagged them up.  Then I went through them again.  And again.  I kept asking myself, "Have I worn this in a year?"  and "Even if I lost 10 lbs would I really wear this?"  In the end, I took seven large kitchen trash bags to our church last week to donate to a terrific organization called FGCI.

This got me motivated, and as I have said before, productivity comes in streaks.  So I decided that I would "strike while the iron is hot" and start cleaning out my guest room/office.  This has been a work in progress and just this summer I switched out the double bed for a daybed with trundle off Craigslist.  That helped un-cram the space a lot.  I also have been going through this closet with some real honesty, as a lot of it was clothes I no longer wore.  So the closet and bed were getting clearer and clearer.  I even took a nap time and purged through my filing cabinet one afternoon.  However, the desk and bookshelf area were still awful!

This is a before picture of the bookshelf/desk area.  What a pit.
A better look at everything that had gotten tossed into this area.
It was the equivalent of a storage shed!
No wonder I hadn't used the new computer Dave had bought me!

Not to mention that this is my "guest" room.  Every time my Mom and Dad came to visit I apologized up and down that the room was such a mess.  And do you see how the clock was strung up on the bookshelf.  Seriously.  First, you can't see it from the bed.  Second, it was never set and third, that cord was a serious hazard with an 18 month old running around.  

I moved the books into three piles.  Keep Pile, 1/2 Price Books Pile, Church Pile.  When I got through all the personal (non-school/work) books, this is what I had condensed to:

Welp, then I tackled that pile of stuff on the floor.  Let me tell you that when you have a baby you get so many packets, papers, magazines, etc.  That's what this pile basically was.  A lot of it went into the newly formed "recycling" pile.  Remember from earlier in the summer I already had a "shredding" pile.  I took that pile in to UPS this week and had them shred it for $13.00.  I will not pay that again but it was great to have the 26lbs of paper out of my office!  Back to the present, I made it through the pile of stuff and purged a lot of textbooks, emptied out 10 three-ring binders (any takers??) of old classwork/handouts, and made yet another Goodwill bag.  In the end, I had three BOXES of recycling, two laundry baskets of books (more how I make out at 1/2 price books later), and one Kohls sack for Goodwill.  My friend from church was in the neighborhood and stopped and took the few books he wanted for the church library.  Good Grief I have a lot of stuff from that room.  But it looks and feels awesome!

I've always discovered that when I simplify and de-clutter, that the things I love get brought forward.  And I love that.  I love that Dekker's "baby box" (the big yellow thing) has a home, and that I got to display my special Vegas frame (it was still in the wrapping), and that the picture of my Grandpa that my cousin drew has a prominent spot.  This is so much more the "home" I want to live in.  This room went from the last on my list, to toward the top.  I love having a lamp, a working clock, a shredder, and a great space to work/blog/photo 'edit'/organize.  I might even figure out iTunes and fill up the iPod I begged Dave for on Mother's Day.  The bookshelf is still somewhat cluttered.  I probably could go another round on it, and I will someday.  But for now I am loving my new work area, and my new computer.  Last night I just kept flipping on the light and admiring my space.  "I love the guest room!" I hollered out to Dave.  To which he laughed at me.  And... I called my mom today and can't wait for her visit.  I think she'll feel a lot more at home with space in the closet for her stuff and an all around lovely room to sleep in.  If she's lucky, I might even get a painting hung!

Am I nesting?  Well, no.  I have no need to.  But we're finishing the office in the basement and I hope to take a corner of it with my stuff, which certainly does free this room up much more for baby #2, come the day.  The work now saves me big time down the road!

On the journey,

Friday, October 1, 2010

Here's To..."Bootcamp"

Here it is October 1st already.  What in the world?!?!  How did September fly by so fast?  We are loving fall here in the Rowe house.  Every part of me loves fall except for my allergies, which I try to just ignore as much as I possibly can.  I love this weather, having the doors open, and going on walks.  We haven't gotten to all the fall stuff we had hoped, like Vala's and the zoo, but there's still time.  And if we miss out we will survive and probably be at a better age to enjoy it next year anyway.  We continue to work on the basement office, too.  Dave has made awesome progress so we're spending a lot of free time working on that, too.

Last weekend we went to Aurora where we were totally spoiled.  I love my mom and dad-- and their great food, Husker football on Pay-Per-View, the way they change Dekker's smelly diapers and spoil him while I nap.  They are INCREDIBLE grandparents, which doesn't surprise me because they are incredible parents.

Well, this blog post is dedicated to a little adventure I am on called "bootcamp."  Awhile back I went to Women of Faith with some friends and we talked a lot about working-out.  My friend Jackie challenged me that I can keep doing what I'm doing (which was lots of excuses for nothing) or I could make a change.  Well I really pondered on that.  I really focused on the choice I had.  I switched my thinking so that working out was no longer something I "should" do, to something I "could" do.  So I started searching for options.

My first thought was our gym.  Okay back up.  I love organized fitness classes.  They are a great workout for me, and I love the beginning and the end and sticking to an hour.  Different things work for different people and this really works for me.  So I started contemplating the 9:15 classes at our gym (they have a pretty good, inexpensive daycare), and the 12:00 classes over nap-time.  But neither.  Call it an excuse or whatever you want.  But on my days off I wasn't interested in hauling Dekker out and putting him in daycare again.  And I knew he would be my excuse... when it's cold, when he's sick, etc, etc.  And I knew I wouldn't sacrifice my nap time consistently with a work-out and shower.  By that time in the day all motivation has passed.  So this left mornings.

I am not a morning person but I kept thinking about Jackie's encouragement.  And I remembered that this is a choice.  It's not something I HAVE to do, but it is something I WANT to do.  So 6:30AM it is, at a nearby community center that charges a fraction of the other bootcamps in town.  I'm not so sure it's really "bootcamp."  The work-outs are pretty moderate and sometimes super hard and sometimes pretty easy.  It is a great group of girls and two very nice, skinny, young leaders fresh out of undergrad.  I laughed on my first day there-- I wasn't sure if I was at the right place until I saw all the mini-vans.  Yep, all the participants are just like me-- Mom's, some work and some don't, just trying to get in better shape.  There are no models, no body builders, and frankly, no one cares.  Recently, I got dressed in the dark and wore my work-out pants inside out.  They gave me a little joking about all the literature across my butt, and seriously no one said another word because... who cares?  I honestly don't even comb my hair before I go!

Today was the end of week three.  It is a six week commitment so we are half way through.  And today I moved from 5lb hand-weights to 8lbs.  That was excellent.  AND I did all my push-ups without my knees.  The instructor said I had "great form," which made me super happy.  Sometimes we run on the treadmill, sometimes in the indoor track, even outside in the parking lot-- I caught my breath about noon that day.  Today we did a circuit.  The intensity is really increasing as the learning curve gets smaller.  They have already announced a second 6 week commitment and you bet I am in!

I have lost 1 lb.  Yep, one.  Totally sucks.  But I am reminded that weight often comes last.  And in the mean time I'm not gaining :)  And I am getting stronger.  And I am consistently working out, which feels great!  And, I'm learning that early morning work-outs have lots of fab benefits-- like one shower for the day, getting it done first thing, still having nap time to myself, etc.  If you are considering how to fit a regular work-out plan to your lifestyle, you might consider getting up earlier to do it.  I am more tired at night, and go to bed before Dave, which stinks.  But in general I have more energy throughout the day and am waaaayyyy more productive on the days I work out.

Welp, that's it.  It's not the best bootcamp ever made, but it's great for me right now!  Here are a few pics, not associated with bootcamp in any fashion (no one needs to see that), that I thought might be fun to share.  Enjoy.

On the Journey,

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Here's To... My Mobile Camera

Here's To... My Mobile Camera

A big shout out here to my mobile camera (as if my phone cares), which I love for moments like these:

1.  My sweet boy and I at the park on Friday.  It was beautiful, and since I'm up before the sun on M,W,F these days to work out, 9:30 didn't seem so early to get a little running around in.  Dekker is so big, he showed himself all around the park, and particularly enjoyed the stairs on the jungle gym.  He got so far up that he just went right down a slide, for the first time, and all by himself.  He landed in a puddle of water and I rushed off the jungle gym and ran around just in time to "catch" him, which he didn't need anyway.  He also enjoyed the swings much more than he has in the past, thank goodness.

2.  My sweet dog Josie at the park.  She is a much (much, much, much) better "family dog" than I ever envisioned and loves walks.  So Dekker and I took her with us to the park, where I just dropped the leash and let her explore around.  She is fantastic, and comes running every time I call her name.  She never got too far away from us and had a fun morning, too. 

3.  The Shellac manicure I am loving.  I love it so much that I could create an entire post just to it.  Finally, a tasteful manicure on my real nails, that looks great and doesn't chip, doesn't damage the nail or nail bed and lasts for at least 14 days.  I feel professional and put together!  I get mine at Blonde Salon, in case you're wondering, and it comes in several colors including the "neutral" that I got.

Welp, that's enough for a random Saturday night.  My lover-boy just got home with sushi so I am signing off!!

On the journey,