6.14.2017

the heart of a father







Parenthood is many things.

It's choosing to get on the floor and play their game rather than sitting and indulging in a quietly unfolding Saturday morning. It’s reading the same books over and over because it’s just what she wants (even when you can repeat Brown Bear, Brown Bear in your sleep). It’s Lego building, video game playing, running sprints and soccer drills, all because he asked you to (please) do it with him.

It's putting in 8+ hour work days then coming home to a different kind of work (more fulfilling but just as, if not more, exhausting). It’s negotiating bottoms (not knees) on the chair at dinner, forks in the mouth (not the cup of milk) at the table. It’s the mundane task of scrubbing stacks of dirty dishes (while mediating sibling chaos), and then calling for bath time, teeth brushing, pajamas, then (the battle for) bed.

It's lying down at night and wondering if maybe you spoke a little too harshly when he kept asking for one more drink, one more book, just lay here a little longer with me, please. It’s feeling their soft, limber little bodies fold into you in the middle of the night when you can barely open your eyes but they just want to feel safe from whatever fear nighttime brings.

It's sharing your fries when you'd rather they eat their apples. Or jumping in the (frigid) swimming pool because they ask you to.

It's watching with delight as they develop an interest in your favorite childhood past time or beg for you to take them to that special place that means so much to you.

It's crouching down to receive a gleeful hug as soon as you arrive home, and listening to excited, words barely forming, breaths coming quickly explanations of the day they just had. The day they cannot wait to share with you.

It’s all these things.

And it’s so much more. More than words can capture. 

And I want you to know--I see you. I see how lovingly you respond to them.

I know how exhausting each day is. And I know the heart you have for living in the mess and delight of fatherhood. I see how they look at you, how they look for you as the afternoon becomes evening and dinner simmers on the stove. I know when you are abandoning what your pragmatic side really wants to do (That stack of mail that's piled up all week? Those baskets full of folded laundry that I am content to never put away?) to answer their calls to play. I see that. I know that's your heart responding.

You were made for them. And they for you. For us. You are the man Colin will model in fatherhood. You are the man from who Addison will learn mutual love and respect.

You are the father God created for our children. For you, on this day and everyday, I am forever grateful. It’s because of you that our children will always be able to live life abundantly, knowing,
without question, that your (our) love for them is eternal and unbound.

Happy Fathers Day, Christopher. The kids really are alright.

Our family, Easter Sunday 2017. 

Daddy and Colin special moments.

Lounging.

Colin's first boat ride.

Colin's first swim.

Louisville Slugger 

Silly noses
Their favorite past time--Legos!


Baking together.

Two peas. Looking at their St. Louis Zoo maps.

Daddy and Addison special moments.

One day old.

Napping.

Addison's baptism.

Addison's first Christmas.

Two of my favorites in Mercer orange.

Reading together.

These moments are just that...moments. In our living we cannot capture them all. I (we) look forward to living and creating more moments with you.

Happiest of days to you, Love.

XOXO.














3.08.2017

reflections on working today/international women's day

I worked today for the woman who cannot afford to take a day off. For the woman scared to leave her abuser because she lacks the financial freedom to take care of herself and her children. Then I made a donation to the Julian Center.

I ran today for the girl who thinks she can't because she's too fat, too slow, too awkward. For all the girls who look in the mirror and wish for smaller thighs, straighter noses, smoother hair. For all the girls who think they can't...because they've never seen a woman do that very thing they want to do (or because they've been told that a woman's "place" is elsewhere). I ran today for girls, then I made a donation to Girls on the Run Central Indiana and Girls Inc. Greater Indianapolis.

I made dinner for my family tonight and gave thanks for the abundance of food in my kitchen. I thought about the mother skipping dinner so her children can eat tonight. I stood still in reflection of the bare pantries and refrigerators in houses just a few miles from my own. Then, I made a donation to Open Doors of Westfield and Gleaner's Food Bank of Indiana.

I worked and I ran and I cooked today in honor of women. In honor of girls. I stand in solidarity with all those standing for women on this International Women's Day.  In the spirit of the values of this day, for the values of Justice, Dignity, Hope, Equality, Collaboration, Tenacity, Appreciation, Respect, Empathy, Forgiveness, I stand. And I give thanks for the women who came before me and the women who will follow.

My donations are not change agents. But they are something. My next bold step for change will begin in April as I start my journey as a program leader for Girls Inc--a journey I know will bring more opportunities for answering a bold call for women and girls. In the mean time, I will continue to support organizations who support women, girls, and equal rights for ALL people, no matter their gender identity. I will continue to contact my representatives and ask them to reject legislation that strips people of their fundamental rights, of the right to a healthy, safe, abundant life, and puts women, children, and families in harms way.

I will  #beboldforchange in whatever ways I can.

This is what I did (and will continue to do) for International Women's Day.


1.30.2017

action steps. baby steps.

Actions thus far:

1. Postcards to my reps denouncing immigration ban; speaking out for women's reproductive healthcare and rights; denouncing defunding of Planned Parentood.
2. Calls to my reps asking my state and my nation to welcome refugees.
3. Will be attending orientation to become Girls Inc mentor and curriculum leader to help all forms feel smart, bold, and strong.

I was nervous writing postcards (joining a group at a local pub to do this) as I feared writing the "wrong" thing or not quite the "right" thing to really make a difference. My voice shook as I made calls because of the same fear- what if my words aren't quite "right?" What of the responder is short with me or unkind?

But the responders were kind. The words I wrote were well thought out.

Baby steps towards radical action. Baby steps but steps nonetheless.

1.25.2017

a work in progress.


As a full-time working outside the home momma of two littles (4.5 year old son, 1.5 year old daughter) and wife to a kind and gracious husband, I am constantly wondering if I am making even the tiniest of differences in this world. My days are filled with pouring bowls of Cheerios, sopping up spilt milk, scrambling to toss bags, shoes, coats, hats (and kids—not tossed, gently placed) into the car, driving to work, dropping kids off, sitting, typing, talking, emailing, picking kids up, hurrying home, prepping and cooking dinner…The list continues well into the evening. My head hits my pillow and most nights I think about all the things that still didn’t get done (the laundry, the workout, the next day’s lunch prep, the dust bunny removal, the scrubbing of the bathroom sinks).
Recently, a woman in one of my mom’s groups on Facebook asked a question about the ways in which we are trying to make an impact in our world. My response? “Honestly, I am just trying my darndest to raise my kids to be kind.” Because, honestly, that feels like all I can fit into my life right now.
Then came my friend Jessie’s Facebook call for women to share about their passions and how they (we) are trying to make the world a better place. And I started thinking about my own passions, lamenting for a bit how I used to volunteer; I used to be “involved”. I used to. And then I realized, I still have passions. I still want to make the world a better place. So I messaged her. And I said, “If you’ll accept a work in progress, I’ll be happy to share.”
And so here I am, a work in progress. I (alongside my husband) am starting at home, raising my children to be kind, respectful, and confident. I am also working on integrating my passion for girls, specifically helping girls know themselves as smart, strong, brave, dignified human beings, back into my life. I recently signed up to volunteer as a mentor with Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis and look forward to training and serving as a program leader this Spring. I continue to donate to Girls on the Run of Central Indiana and look forward to someday committing time to that group again (having stepped down from their board of directors before having my son nearly 5 years ago).
In my professional life, I am the Director of Faculty and Community Resources with the IUPUI Center for Service and Learning (Indianapolis).  I work as a bridge between faculty and community, helping to develop and support meaningful community-based learning opportunities for students. At its core, this work allows me to play one tiny part in seeing partnerships start and grow; new ideas and projects emerge;  students discover and deepen their own passions; faculty create new opportunities for learning and tackling important social justice issues.  I am lucky that my day-to-day work shows me glimpses of the good that others are doing in this world.
I am grateful for the opportunity to share my story. It’s not radical. It’s not making big waves or toppling oppressive structures. I want to do more. I will do more. I plan to do more. But for now, this is my story. I am a work in progress.
***************************
I am renewing my commitment to philanthropy and civic action this year. I want to use this blog as a way to document the journey I am taking, what I am learning, and helping others discover ways they can take action to affect change, too.
For more information on Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis, visit their website. You can help all girls feel STRONG, SMART, and BOLD through mentoring opportunities.
For more information on Girls on the Run Central Indiana, visit their website. You can help inspire girls to be "joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running." There are many ways to support GOTR, from coaching girls in the program to helping at a 5K event, or even running a race of your choice as a Sole Mate.
Throwback: I have been involved with GOTR since its inception in Hamilton County. I wrote about my commitment to this organization when I first started with it.  I continue to embrace the concept of simply "moving forward."
It is my hope that 2017 can be a bold year. A radical year. A year of positive impact from my little corner of the world. My steps may be small but they add up. I am walking. I am marching. I am speaking. I am sharing. This is where I am starting (continuing). If you're reading, I hope you'll join me in whatever way you are so moved.








1.22.2017

action.

Join me on my journey in the next 100 days. I'll journal here; my thoughts, my actions, my struggles, my hope.


10.30.2015

change

I hate winter. I despise it. It's cold and gray and stale. 

Getting out of the house with two children in tow, bundled up, bundled down for car seats, then bundled up again. 

It's the stuff of nightmares.

Snow is only sparkly and beautiful and romantic when it's swirling around Christmas lights or tacky lawn decorations. Mittens and scarves and boots are only fun accessories the first few times you put them on. After a while I feel like I need more room to breathe, more fresh air to inhale, more sunshine to warm my skin.

This is why I hate winter. 

But oh how I love that the seasons change. Fall is upon us and it has been gorgeous this year! Ribbons of gold, red, orange and purple have painted our walks and drives and sunset viewings. 

But all of that is quickly changing.

Those rich hues are starting to fade as the leaves fall, the sky turns gray, and the bare branches remind me that winter is coming. 

And (see above) I hate winter.

But there is just something about this time of year- this precise time of year- this fading, and graying, and chilling time of year. It is, most ironically, one of my most favorite times of year.

The changing of the seasons teaches us something, something about change and renewal and how things never stay the same. Sure Spring always feels more hopeful as green leaves and colorful buds peek through brown grass and cracked side walks, reminding us of the life that begins anew after a cold, tough winter. But this time of year, as a deepening cold moves in and the life giving green goes dormant, I am reminded of the need to step back, take a deep breath, and just slow down. 

The days are shorter. Night falls quickly. Our homes beg us inside far sooner than those long, hazy summer nights. 

With these early evenings my penchant to be productive wanes. It's a lovely excuse to be ok with the undone. To cuddle up inside the warmth and plan low key evenings with those I love the most. To take those dark mornings slowly and find new ways to play before the sun wakes and seems to beckon me to start checking off the ever growing to do list. Sure modern electricity affords us light by which to remain productive even as the moon is high in the sky. But something about the world's darkness tells me it's ok to take my time, to be as lazy as the sun and wake a little more slowly.

I'll soon come to long for the light again. I'll soon despise the frigid temperatures still to come. I'll long for long, warm sunny days and green and white and yellow and pink blossoms on the trees.

I will still despise winter.

But I love the changing of the seasons. 

I love the change of pace.

I am leaning in to this time of year, slowing down, and finding peace in the darkness.

3.18.2015

reflections as a new mom of two

I am sitting in stillness this morning. The toddler has gone to "school" for the day. The baby is still sleeping after her 5:30 am feeding. The sun is rising in my backyard. I've spent some time in prayer, praying for my children, praying over us as parents.

I've made a list. A list of two things. Two things I want to accomplish in addition to baby rearing today. In the midst of snuggles and feedings and naps (I need one too) and spit ups and burps. In the midst of other list making as we prepare for Easter and a birthday. In the midst of recovery from a difficult delivery. In the midst of reminiscing, what was he like at this age?

I read this most beautiful piece by Sarah Bessey this week: here we are again @ www.sarahbessey.com.

Yes, here we are again. I am trying my best to soak it all in, to mother without (in spite of?) fear. To hold my baby without fear of spoiling. To nurse my baby, on demand, without fear of feeding her too much or creating bad eating habits. To comfort my crying baby without fear of preventing self soothing.  To sit in moments of silence without fear of the "unproductive."

I am grateful the toddler has daycare in these days of post partum recovery. I am grateful for alone time to bond with our newest one. I am grateful for evenings spent playing with our toddler, watching his imagination run wild, witnessing his sincere love for his new sister, remaining in our routine of stories and snuggles before bed. 

And so, yes, here we are again. The days feel so different and yet so much feels the same as though this is how it's always been. 

This. This love.