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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Solitude and Leadership

Jim shared this with me and it is just a terrific piece, originally given as a speech to Freshman at West Point.  There is a lot to think about after reading this, though I must say I mostly agree with him.  I am bothered by how busy we are in our society and how much we do all the time and how little we take the time to just be and think and enjoy.  I see it in myself too and it is something I have to remain aware of.  Also, if Emma needs to have 10+ extra curricular activities, and honor roll and AP classes to get into an Ivy League or top level school then I don't think that going to one is all that important.  She hates to be too busy and is always reminding me to slow down, and I think she is right!  I encourage you to read all of this -- food for thought and maybe an in depth conversation like the ones he mentions toward the end of this piece?

Click on the link below to read the whole speech.

Solitude and Leadership

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Monday, April 19, 2010

I'm in! @aliedwards: 168 Hours : Welcome To A Week In The Life

Here's the post from Ali's blog -- I love the quotation, especially the part I highlighted.

168 Hours : Welcome To A Week In The Life: "
What do 168 consecutive hours of your life look like?
Here's one of my favorite quotes to send you on your way:
And while it takes courage to achieve greatness, it takes more courage
to find fulfillment in being ordinary. For the joys that last have
little relationship to achievement, to standing one step higher on the
victory platform. What is the adventure in being ordinary? It is daring
to love just for the pleasure of giving it away. It is venturing to give
new life and to nurture it to maturity. It is working hard for the pure
joy of being tired at the end of the day.
It is caring and sharing and
giving and loving…
I invite you to simply take a deep breath and enjoy the process. Capture those little things that you pass by everyday or those little bits of life that really do make up your everyday existence.
I also encourage you to approach this project with what I call the past perspective. Think about what you wish you knew about your parents, grandparents, etc and document those things - simple routines, thoughts, feelings, the hours of ordinary life. Let those thoughts be your guide this week as you document your own daily life.
Look for a very special giveaway post coming today at noon Pacific.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Stress is a perverted relationship with Time

 The title is something I just heard John O'Donohue say in an interview on the Minnesota Public radio show "Speaking of Faith".  He's was an Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic scholar. I downloaded their podcasts and was listening while weeding and spreading mulch.  He was talking about how we are all so busy all of the time.  Anyway, it struck me at the time, which was actually a few days ago now.  I didn't get around to writing this until today though the idea was to share the photos and my thoughts while they were fresh in my mind.  They are all from Tuesday, April 13th which was just the most beautiful Spring Day here and I spent as much time as possible outside gardening.  Emma was home sick and we also spent time cuddled on the couch together (you can see Chloe lying at our feet on the blanket below).  We watched a great movie from 2008 which is available on Netflix Watch Instantly called Lost in Austen.  A contemporary fan of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice changes places with the character Lizzie Bennett and is living in the world of the novel. Anyway, here are some photos from that day. 

Pile of mulch I had delivered:  7 cubic yards!
Daffodils I planted last Fall in the front bed.  Some of my favorites that I had in Athens, GA. Ordered from Brent and Becky's Bulbs of course.
BEFORE: Bed behind the house
AFTER: Bed behind out house

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter from Rhode Island

Happy Easter! We stayed home this year since no one had any time off.  We took it easy -- though I did a lot of singing with the choir -- on Maundy Thursday and at two services on Easter morning.  Because I was busy singing Easter morning we went to church together as a family on Saturday evening for the Easter Vigil Service.  It was great to sit together and worship as a family -- we don't get to do that often anymore since I am sitting with the choir.  This service started out in the dark and we all lit candles from the Pascal candle as it was brought up the aisle to the front of the church.  There were several readings and canticles before we started the actual Easter part of the service at which point the lights were turned up. 

After the service we went out for Easter Eve dinner at a local bistro in town since it was too late to make something at home and we all thought going out would be a nice Easter treat since we had no special plans for today.  The photo directly above this is of Emma dressed up for the Easter Vigil Service last night.

We have had fantastic weather all weekend with temperatures in the low 70s and lots of sunshine and breezes.  I've been doing a lot of garden clean up -- mostly getting all the leaves out of the beds and doing weeding and getting ready to mulch.  The back beds were pretty overgrown as I haven't paid much attention to them for a couple of years so this was a big project. It was so satisfying and fun though. 

Yesterday morning Emma hosted an Easter Egg lunch party for several friends.  She did all the egg stuffing and I hid the eggs.  The girls had fun finding them and then had Pizza and lemonade outside for lunch.  Chloe has been having the absolute BEST time spending all day outside with us and running around chasing kids or my rake.  She's crashed right now!

The two photos at the top are of our back yard with our new umbrella and the other is my lilac bush.  Last year it only had 3 blooms.  I pruned it according to a garden book I have that Dad recommended and this year it just had TONS of buds -- I am waiting with baited breath for them to open.

I hope all of you had a great time time this Easter.

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Friday, April 2, 2010

"Dealing": Terrific post from a fellow scrapbooker and Army wife

I read this earlier this year, but just re-read it and wanted to share it with you all.  I was moved to let her the following comment:

 "Thank you. This is so so beautiful and meaningful. My husband was deployed in what we call now "The First Gulf War". He was in the Navy on the USS Wisconsin and while I felt pretty sure he was physically safe on that huge Battleship with 16 inch steel plated hulls and still thought often about what he was seeing and how he felt about firing his big guns at actual people and not just target practice. I know I had a box like you did/do and it did take awhile to come out. I wish I could give you a real hug, but am sending a virtual one. I'm also going to pass this on to my husband."

Here's her post: 

"Dealing: "
it's funny how we deal with things, isn't it?
for example...we spend a year being scared for our husband's life. for what he is seeing. we cry for the men lost. for their families at home. we watch them on the news, with white knuckles and tears in our eyes. we see them in the papers...we hear about how they are in "death valley".
we go to eight memorial services over that year. each time, losing a little piece of our heart.we hear them call that soldier's name, and we know that that boy will never be able to answer back. we hear amazing grace and we wonder if that will be us standing there without a husband next time.
and then he was home.
and i treasured it. but felt guilty that so many weren't.
and then i pushed it in a little box in a back of my heart and smiled.
didn't think much about that year i spend with the blinds always open in my living room. you see, i didn't want to be surprised when they pulled up and told me J was gone.
i wanted to be ready.
nothing prepared any of us for this year. nothing. not all of our previous deployments, not our strength or our faith. nothing could have prepared us for this.
but i put it in a box with a yellow bow in it. and pushed the box into the back of my heart.
and then a couple of months ago, we had our very first FRG meeting here at fort benning. the commander started talking about casualty notifications, and protocol..
and i came the closest i'd ever come to a panic attack.
i had to make myself breathe. i had to count. pray.
and then i thought "where in the world did that come from???".
it was remnants of that year. they will be there for a long time.
i've allowed myself to slowly start looking at photos from that year.

all photos by adam ferguson.
and my heart broke in a million little pieces. and that box with the yellow bow came out of my heart, and opened up.
for what all of those guys did that year in the valley. they are the strongest men i will ever have the privilege of knowing. and for the ones that didn't make it home...my heart will mourn and remember them always.
i think we need to not grow numb and immune to things that are happening this very moment. this is going on every day.
it's like life is a bubble. and if you don't have a loved one serving, it's hard to "get it". i know that. i know that it's a whole different way of life that is foreign to many people.i understand sometimes it's easier just not to think about certain things, especially things that don't really enter your inner circle...
but please
please pray for these guys/women and their families.
support them in any way you can.
don't just say "i support the troops"...do something to prove it. write a letter. send a package. say thank you to someone you see in uniform.
b/c what they go through, though it is "what they signed up for", is harder and more vivid than you could ever imagine.
even when they come home. especially when they come home.
as for me...i'm going to stop trying to forget that year, and start remembering it instead. it made me a better person, a better believer. and it happened. trying to forget it won't help.
sorry for the serious post, it was just something that was on my heart.
hope you all have a beautiful Tuesday. xo