The kids got an early release today from school and I decided to take advantage of it and the absolutely gorgeous weather, here in Phoenix, Arizona. It was windy and a little cooler than usual, but that means I was wearing my favorite jeans and a jersey sweatshirt. This is code for Happy Jenny.
Sam and I read an animal book every night and she always talks about wanting to feed the “Raffies”. I did some research and then remembered the Wildlife World Zoo. It’s about 40 minutes from my home and I had been once before with Emily’s Kindergarten class field trip. I was very pregnant with Sam, so I didn’t climb the tower to feed the giraffes.
It was amazing how close we got to the giraffes. The giraffes loved being fed and would let you touch their leathery tongues, but gently moved if you tried to touch their faces. They are truly magnificent animals. And on a side note, I loved how their house/enclosure had a tall, skinny “doggie door” cut out for them. The kids really got a kick out of that.
I have been flooded with emails from people seeking advice on writing their life lists or trying to get back on the road to living a passion filled, intentional life.
I’ve heard many reasons:
I no longer know what excites me.
My identity has been completely isolated to my roles as a mom and wife.
I’ve been told all my life what I should do. And I don’t know what I’m capable of because I’m on the path that I’m told I’m supposed to be on.
I’m terrified of my dream not coming true. If I don’t do anything, at least I still have my dream inside my head. No one can say, “No” if I don’t speak my dream out loud and it just stays inside my head.
I could relate to each of those comments. As I have replied to these emails, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on why my journey is working for me at this stage in my life. Why is it working for me now at 38 years old? Why did it not work for me right after my cancer treatment 7 years ago?
I started writing down everything I thought made it finally click for me. And after seeing the 20+ reasons I came up with, I think they all relate back to one simple statement…
I said, “Yes” to all of the possibilities.
I put away all fear, doubts, and obstacles and said, “Yes! I will find a way.” There is tremendous power and possibilities in the word, “Yes”. (more…)
When I started this blog, I had lost a part of my identity. I was consumed with full time work and being Jeff’s wife. I was referred to as Rebecca’s mom for almost 2 years by one lady at our school, before I finally said, “You can call me Jenny.” I’m sure every wife and mom can relate to this at some point in their journey. I had to sit down and remind myself what I liked and what excited me that wasn’t related to Jeff or the kids.
But in my planning for 2012, I went to the opposite extreme of planning without taking into consideration what the dreams of the other 5 people in my family wanted. Don’t get me wrong, most of my items include them, but looking back I don’t know if I really asked them.
I’m thrilled to be Jeff’s wife and a mom to Rebecca, Ben, Emily, and Samantha. I want to see my dreams come true, but I also want to encourage Jeff and the kids to chase their dreams as well. I want to make sure they see that I seek to find that balance between holding onto my self identity and my cherished roles as their wife and mom.
In making my life list, we have started talking a lot more about dreams in our house. And this weekend at their big 3 day swim meet, we have been talking about our dreams. When we started sharing, I found myself a tad shell shocked. I learned so much in just getting Jeff and the kids to tell me 5 life list items. Just 5.
I found out that Jeff misses golf and regrets not trying to pursue professional golf longer. I learned that Rebecca wants to meet Foster the People. I had no clue who this group was, let alone that she liked them enough for them to be #1 on her life list. Emily wants to learn how to play lacrosse, Ben wants to go whale watching in Hawaii, and to no surprise, Miss Samantha wants to go see Mickey Mouse again.
Around here, we are hurrying around to get to a 3 day swim meet with the girls and a basketball tournament for Ben.
Around here, we are surrounded by lots of family. My sister and family are here along with Jeff’s parents. We have a big cheering section ready for our little athletes.
Around here, Samantha is starting to talk so much more since having tubes put in her ears. Her preschool teacher said she talked more on Thursday than she has the entire year.
Around here, I’m just feeling good that I fixed a large spaghetti dinner for the whole crew. It felt great to be back in the kitchen. And even better that the kids inhaled their dinners.
Around here, Julie and I are exhausted from staying up late after finding some treasures on our craft and vintage shopping spree yesterday. After Julie organized her project life supplies, I was wanting a new system. See her organization here.
Vintage bread loaf pan
Antique letterpress tray
Wire basket from Container Store
My work station (love having everything at my fingertips)
Around here, Jeff is yelling for me to get into the car. Gotta go!
Blessings sweet friends – Jenny
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Before we left for Disneyland, I sat down and watched my two favorite Disney movies while working on my Project Life post. I know… I am a huge nerd. That’s ok. Anyway, I watched Swiss Family Robinson and Pollyanna. My favorite quote from Pollyanna is from the inscription written inside her locket, which states…
“When you look for the bad expecting to find it, you surely will.”
Tremendous power in such a tiny statement.
I was determined to look for the positive in people while on vacation. Just as the statement says above, I could have chosen to look for the bad in people and I am sure I could have seen people angry while waiting in lines, parents yelling at their children, or perhaps children throwing temper tantrums. But I didn’t notice those things.
As I wrote in my post yesterday, this past week has been one of the best of my life. It’s hard not to be happy when you have 4 kids enjoying life at the Happiest Place on Earth. But this trip was different. This trip I consciously worked at my goal of looking for the best in people.
Adults were smiling and living with child like joy. It was contagious. Perhaps one would say it was because it wasn’t super busy or because the weather was wonderful. But I sincerely believe that is was because I intentionally chose to look for the good.
Interesting…the more I looked for the good, the more I found. The joy was palpable in the air at times.
I’m sure we will visit Disneyland many more times, but I will always treasure the memories from this trip and my attitude to intentionally look for the good in people. I will also remember…
The joy of meeting new friends
The sweet treats of Disney
My gratitude for this miracle after cancer
And our family just enjoying one another, dancing, and living life to the fullest…
If you are having difficulty viewing this on Youtube, then go here to see the video on Vimeo.
My favorite life list item remains my dancing video in Washington D.C. It’s hard to video and dance as much, when chasing after a toddler. We still had a great time.
If you are new to this site, welcome! If you like what you see, I would love for you follow along on this crazy adventure of mine by subscribing to my blog above and joining me on facebook, twitter, and pinterest. I’m working hard to complete my life list of 1300+ items after surviving a battle with cancer. Specifically, this was one of the 39 items I want to complete before I turn 39 in November 2012.
I was a competitive swimmer and used to swim twice a day. My mom woke up every morning at 4 AM to make me scrambled eggs and 2 pieces of toast before the carpool would arrive at 4:20. Mom did this for me every morning Monday through Friday. Dedication. It still amazes me.
But every Saturday morning my dad bought us cinnamon rolls. Julie and I woke up every Saturday to an impending sugar rush, and our mom got a little more shut eye. It is a wonderful memory.
Fast forward 25 years later and my kids love donuts. Perhaps it is genetic?
I have always wanted to learn how to make donuts and this past month I bought my first deep fryer. I originally bought the fryer to make donuts for Hanukah. My mother-in-law told me that jelly filled donuts are often enjoyed in Israel during Hanukah. So I’ve decided to adopt that tradition for our donut loving family.
Today the kids and I made 2 types of donuts – vanilla glazed donuts and devil’s food donuts with chocolate glaze. The recipes came from this cookbook by Elinor Klivans. And if you don’t like the recipes (don’t worry, you will), then the pictures are pretty enough to be left out on a coffee table.
If these shoes could speak, they would say how happy they are that December has arrived.
If these shoes could speak, they would say that they love how much mom makes cupcakes and how they volunteered her to make them for teacher appreciation day and Ben’s class as guest reader. 72 cupcakes! Busy oven.
If these shoes could speak, they would say how active you are and how they are thankful that you are healthy and athletic. Blessed.
If these shoes could speak, they would say how much you love your school at Madison Traditional Academy.
If these shoes could speak, they would say how awesome it was that Rebecca got inducted into the National Junior Honor Society.
If these shoes could speak, they would say that it is great to have a little sister, but hard sometimes too.
If these shoes could speak, they would say that life is good.
This journaling was taken from my entry on Day #2 in my December Daily Journal. You can see that here.
Two weeks ago, Sam’s preschool teacher sent all parents an email update about the happenings in Room #1. Included in the letter, was a note that the kids had just started Yoga on Monday mornings with Miss Barbie. It further explained that they had learned to form a candle, hold it close to their hearts, and say Namaste.
When I got home from work, I asked Samantha about her candle and she quickly held her hands together, put them close to her face as if she was praying, and stated, “Not today”. Needless to say, we now ask her to say Namaste aka “Not today” 10 times a day. It is so stinking cute.
This morning, I got to visit her class and get pictures and video of her yoga experience. I love how she is being introduced to the importance of meditation and flexibility at such a young age. I love to learn and I love it ten times more that she is learning too.
I challenge you to do one thing today. Take some pictures of your family and/or of your surroundings. Or better yet, download the million pictures you have sitting on your digital camera right now. I guarantee you no matter what is going on in your life, you will feel grateful for something.
Here are just some glimpses of what I am feeling grateful for right now…