Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Narnia Forever...

The girls and I decided to pick up Prince Caspian for a bed time reading this time around. It's book 4 in the C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and it has become one of my favorite of the series. This particular quote captured my heart last night:

"...Caspian, though tears had come into his eyes at saying good-bye to Doctor Cornelius, felt brave and, in a way, happy, to think that he was King Caspian riding to seek adventures, with his sword on his left hip and Queen Susan's magic horn on his right. But when day came, with a sprinkle of rain, and he looked about him and saw on every side unknown woods, wild heaths, and blue mountains, he thought how large and strange the world was and felt frightened and small."

Here's how I've translated it to reflect my own heart's struggle:

Shauna, though tears had come into her eyes and an ache took over just beneath the surface of her chest at saying good-bye to those she came to know at MHGS, felt hopeful and, in a way, excited to think that she was a Therapist on her way to seek adventures, with her copy of Buber's I and Thou in her left hand, O'Donnell and Steve's voices in her right ear, and Dan's pardon of shame written on her heart. But when day came, with not a speck of rain in the sky, and she looked about her and saw on every side unknown faces, unexpected obstacles, and no place to call home, she thought how large and strange the world was and felt frightened and small.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I heart Peter Rollins

Belfast Dividing Wall, July 2010
I recently listened to Rob Bell's interview with Peter Rollins. You can download it or listen to it here. I love this guy. After listening to this interview I heard his voice in my head all night while I was sleeping. He stirs something within...a part of me that is not so easily stirred these days - a part of me that linked intricately with the desire for community, for relationship, for church.

He speaks briefly about Belfast and the Troubles which he linked to the human propensity to cling to an identity of beliefs rather than an identity rooted in the totality of who we truly are. Beautiful...and painfully true.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Convos with my kids

Bailey: Mommy, why does Taylor Swift always sing about boys?

Me: I know, B, it's a bit ridiculous isn't it?

Bailey: Doesn't she know there are more important things in the world than boys?!

Me: (In my head) I can't wait to remind you of this statement when you're 16.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

32 before 32

It seems that the days of the week continue to escape and I'm left wondering when it will feel like we are actually building a life once more. So far, most of our time out here has been consumed with trying to help the girls with the transition as much as possible - getting them into school, joining a soccer league, trying to develop a rhythmic routine on school nights, and leaving space for adventure and rest on the weekends.

It's when I'm not focusing solely on my role as a mother that the sense of sorrow, frustration or self-doubt begin to make their way into my thoughts. Brian and I have been wrestling with a host of ideas about what we want for our life together in this next season. It has been a difficult process - one that often feels like a roller-coaster filled with more screams of terror than squeals of delight. As we've been attempting to sift the wheat from the chaff, I have found it relatively soothing to write lists for each week. I wouldn't say that I've always been a list person - I mean I have definitely written my share of to-do lists...but most of them were abandoned before I ever experienced the sheer joy of crossing every item off. Something has shifted, however, because now it feels like these weekly lists are part of my psychological survival strategy amidst this sea of chaos and questioning.

And tonight I decided to take it one step further...or maybe a hundred steps further. I decided to come up with a list of things that I hope to do before my 32nd birthday on June 8, 2011. I'll post it here and then each time I'm able to cross something off the list, I'll document the experience in some form or fashion in this space as well.

32. Open up my own private practice
31. Write at last 100 pages of a memoir
30. Complete the p90x program
29. Buy a piece of furniture from a garage sale and turn it into something beautiful
28. Cook 10 recipe from Molly Wizenberg’s book A Homemade Life
27. Paint a picture
26. Learn to like my own body
25. Take my husband on a memorable date
24. Read another Jane Austen novel
23. Send someone an unexpected gift
22. Complete Bailey’s 0-5 years Scrapbook (yes...I’m very behind)
21. Purchase a new pair of amazing boots
20. Begin to read the Bible again
19. Make a snowman
18. Go on a road trip
17. Learn to bake scones
16. Become and Auntie AGAIN...twice!
15. Get a camera
14. Go to a museum
13. Take the family skiing
12. Go on three artist dates
11. Sew bedding for my new niece or nephew
10. Visit an art gallery
9. Watch a lot of Oprah
8. Learn to knit
7. Get pregnant???
6. Go on a bike ride with Bri-Daddy
5. Re-watch the entire Lord of the Rings DVD set
4. Attend a dance production or musical
3. Spend an entire day by myself in silence
2. Read a history book
1. Make new friends

Friday, September 10, 2010

Another Eve Ensler clip

Thoughts on mothering...

"We can't know or be or do everything; we can only listen, notice, and feel our way into who our children are, who we are, and what each of us needs in order to become fully realized as who we are. Mothering is partly about improvisation, creativity, and an openness to discovering what is emergent." - Daphne de Marneffe in Maternal Desire: On Children, Love and the Inner Life

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I've been wondering lately if we made the "right" choice in moving back here to colorful Colorado. This morning as this annoying question found it's way to the surface of my mind for about the 100th time, it dawned on me that the question is a set-up in and of itself. The question is framed in such a way that one choice is elevated as "good" and one as "bad"...or at least "not as good". Maybe there isn't such a things as the right or wrong choice, good or not-so-good choice. Maybe there is just choice. It just is...and we just need to work with the choices we make.

Our lives are made up, in large part, by the choices we make. And If I'm the one with the power to make choices...then the choice itself can no longer hoard the power. Instead, it exists because of me. For some reason, this shifting of power feels comforting to me. Maybe it's because by remembering this existential tenet, I became empowered. I (or we - Brian and I - in this particular case) made a choice. And we made it for a whole host of reasons. And we can make other choices moving forward. We have the power to keep choosing. This one choice has not trapped us, it has not defined us or necessarily determined our future. The question is not whether or not we can live with our choices, it's rather how will we continue to live with choice.

Monday, September 6, 2010

page after page

With no paper deadlines or assigned reading on the daily agenda, I have finally been able to make a small dent in my amazon wish list of books. A Thousand Splendid Suns was the first book I picked up and cried my way through in about a day and a half. Brilliant. Perhaps even better than Kite Runner. If any of you have not given this book a read at this point, I highly recommend it. Hosseini offers a glimpse into the history of Afghanistan in all its glory and its heartache. This book highlights the oppression of women through a fictional, yet realistic, tale filled with gut-wrenching trauma and profound courage, strength and love.

Sticking with the theme of female oppression and realistic fiction (with a bit of history and cultural exploration), I was drawn to this Oprah's Book Club reader. The form of oppression is different, though no less tormenting, in this story of a Haitian woman. It is a difficult book to read because it explores the complexities of cultural practices that are sexually abusive and the impact upon the lives of those victimized. The perspective is cross-generational and cross-cultural and does not settle for simplified or reductionistic conclusions.

My earliest memory of Dr. Dave was when I was in the sixth grade. I had been taken to a neighbor's house after a freak snowboarding accident that resulted in a whopping 72 stitches in my knee. Dr. Dave was the first to inspect my knee to determine if I needed to be taken to the ER. My mom had dropped the four of us kids off at a sledding hill to entertain ourselves for a bit while she finished up her Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve. Upon the removal of my light-washed jeans (we were barely into the nineties) I was able to see the damage done and I nearly passed out, but Dr. Dave remained calm and reassured me that everything would be alright. I just remember feeling safe in his presence.

Later on I would become a frequent babysitter of his four blonde kids, one of whom went on to become the first female football player to play in the College football league. My babysitting days were over by the time he became a regular medical commentator on the local news station. I recently learned that Dr. Dave, the safe and gentle man whose family I was once extremely fond of, had voluntarily served 2 tours of duty for the US Army...and that he had written a book about how this experienced had changed him.

This book broke my heart into many little pieces. It also restored a sense of hope in the men and women who choose to follow their hearts, face their doubts, and struggle with questions of meaning relating to our individual and collective lives. This book was eye-opening, as it offers an inside glimpse into at least one medical facility located in the grueling desert of Iraq.

I just received another pile of used books in the mail...and I can't wait to crack them open!