Sunday, September 19, 2010

Glenwood Triathlon

Well, I did it. I am a triathlete.

On September 11, Adam and I spent the day in Glenwood Springs looking at the route. Adam repaired the brakes on his road bike. We drove up I-70 along the bike route and we biked the run route. We went to the hot springs pool and swam some laps. And this is where Adam learned that I have never learned to dive.

In Adam's opinion, I am not to be considered as a potential mate unless I know how to dive. So... he taught me. It seriously was difficult to get comfortable with the idea of toppling upside down as my body hurtles through the air. I don't care if I AM landing in water. It didn't feel right. Anyway, after twenty or so various jumps, leaps, and falls into the water, I did it.

The next morning, we got up early and ate peanut butter and banana wraps, drank coffee, made sure we pooped (this is very important to do, which is why it's worth mentioning) and got our bags packed up to head to our transition. My start time was 7:45 and Adam's was 8:35.

We entered transition, set our bikes up and laid out our towels below. I set out my clothes for the transitions and made sure I taped some nutrition to my bike. We checked in and got our body markings and it was time to start! I awkwardly put on my swim cap and found my start position in the pool.

The swim was exciting! I didn't get kicked and punched as much as I thought I would. The swim was pretty smooth. I found out later that I was in a huge pack of swimmers... our heat didn't spread out as much as it probably should have. The first half lap was rough. I was trying to get used to the feeling of being in a big pack of people. I tried to maximize my stroke, but I didn't feel like I was getting the output that I was getting when I practiced alone in a lane. Before I knew it, I was on the seventh length of the 100+ meter pool. I momentarily freaked out, not remembering if I was on the last length, so I yelled for Adam and at first, he told me to go another lap. But he chased me down and let me know that it really was my last length.

The transition was ok. I wanted to get dried off so I could put my bike/run tank on, but it still got all twisted. I think I will probably just swim in it next time. Although, it was pretty cold that morning. I had some water and rinsed the mineral water off my face and arms. The day before, we had noticed how itchy it was, so I was glad to get it off my skin before the bike. The bike was awesome. Besides almost falling over when I got on it, it was smooth. We biked up I-70 for 7.5 miles. I got to the turn-around 20 minutes after I started, which was WAY faster than I thought it should have been. I remember seeing the exit for the turn-around and thinking how nice it would be to have the wind at my back for the return ride. I don't know what I was thinking because as soon as I turned around, the wind was crazy in my face. The entire way back, there was no rest from the wind. And as Adam had decided from our car ride the day before - the bike was uphill on the way back to Glenwood. I came within about a mile of the exit and saw Adam starting his bike portion. I have to admit, I had thought of messing with his back brake to slow him down, but decided against it. Tee-hee. I'm no cheater. That's for sure.

As I came into transition two, I realized I couldn't feel my toes and my legs were a little shaky. But I changed quickly into my running shoes and headed out. I had tried to eat while on the bike, but the gummy things I had were too chewy, so I really didn't end up eating much of anything at all during the race. The first third of a mile was all uphill and it certainly felt weird after having gotten off the bike. I ran over the bridge over I-70, circled the block of the Hotel Denver, getting a quick look at the finish line. I ran fairly well. There were two times I stopped to walk for one minute, but other than that, I felt fantastic. The run went so well. I was so excited coming into the finish.

a>This was the culmination of months of hard work. Of learning to use powerful strokes in the swim. Of practicing how to hold my body on the bike. Of mile after mile of forcing myself to run. Of learning to hold my hips higher in the water and to breathe and to streamline my body position. And this right here was it. I thought back to the last two hours and 14 minutes of the race and it seemed like I had only just started. I was energetic and excited. And I knew then that if I could, I would go back and push a little harder. I would try to get out of that pack of swimmers. I would get that first transition faster. And I would push it a little more on the run. But the overwhelming feeling was that I had worked hard. It had nothing to do with anyone else. Just my own drive and my own motivation to learn something new and to do well. And here I was. I did it.

I have never felt like that. I am extremely proud of all the hard work I put into achieving such an unfamiliar goal. And now I can't stop. I am thrilled to do my next one. I ended up 91st out of 140-some women. And out of 28 first-timers, I was 14th. Not bad. I was fairly competitive with some of my times. I know I can get every leg faster. I'm hoping to get within the top 33% next time. I will do it. That's for sure.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Being Alone

Being alone has its benefits and its setbacks. That's for certain. But it's recently become clear to me how some people are seriously unable to function in alone-ity. Maybe it's their personality or a way of living they've developed that works for them. To me, though, being alone is a fact of life. It's a great opportunity to challenge yourself... to learn something new... to really get to know more about what it is that makes you tick. It takes a long time to get to know yourself, I think. And when we cloud that up with being with other people non-stop, we miss out on great opportunities to grow.

I'm not saying I'm a recluse. I love being around other people. Being alone too much isn't great for me. But neither is being with people all the time. What makes me tick is a healthy balance of the two.

What it comes down to for me is this: we simply aren't guaranteed that anyone will be by our side at any point in our lives. Any person I hold dear can be taken from me in an instant. It's happened before. It will happen again. It's just how life is. So, it's important to establish a healthy independence. To be alone. And present in the moment. To stretch outside of our comfort zones.

This weekend a friend of Adam's went camping by herself. Maybe there were moments of excitement or peace or fear. But there is nothing else that can teach her what this weekend may have taught her. Three cheers for Miss Reeves. Setting out to be alone and independent and to enjoy the day for what it brings. It's a lesson that I believe every female needs. A girl needs to know that even if she loses everything... she will still be just fine.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Adam's Homecoming!

I can't believe it. The day is almost here. I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Living far, far, far away from someone you love isn't easy in some ways, but it's also not hard. It's not fun having to rely on Skype and mailing packages and talking on the phone to maintain a relationship. But it's a WHOLE lot better than just scrapping the whole relationship. I am so happy that we are almost together again.

I guess I've sort of gotten used to having him gone. Right before he left, I wondered what it would be like with him gone and I wasn't sure I knew how to DO that kind of a relationship. And now here we are on the other side and sometimes I wonder what it will be like with him back. Every now and then I wonder if I will know how to do that kind of relationship. This new, "hey, he lives in my same city", thing.

We've handled these transitions so well and I am super proud to be his lady. We've been planning 100 things to do with each other. All the things we missed out on during his deployment. It's catch-up time. One of the first things... cliff jumping. ;)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Deep Thoughts from a Bum

I was walking downtown with my dog today. As I passed a man with a scraggly beard and a knit cap...

HIM - "That dog looks better than me."
ME - giggle
HIM - "It's not funny."

The end.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm A Real Swimmer

So, you know when you finally get recognized for doing something that up to a certain point you'd never been recognized for before? For example, you've trained to be a teacher for years and you get your first job. People start to take you seriously and at some point, they begin to believe that you know what you are doing.

Some guy at the gym recognized me as... a swimmer. He came over while I was doing laps and asked to share a lane with me. He asked me about my form and I gave him some drills to run and told him about rolling his body to the side to streamline his form. WHAT?!???! Three months ago, I nearly had a heart attack doggie-paddling my way across the pool. And today I just gave someone swimming tips. How does that happen? It feels great... I have to say.

It's the same feeling I got when I began developing confidence on skis. The whole realization that, no, I am not the most terrible skier on the mountain today. Lucky me. It's that contradiction your mind encounters when someone else's reality doesn't quite line up with your own. For my whole life, I have NOT been a swimmer, but for whatever reason, in his reality I AM a swimmer.

It's a good day.

Dear Burger King:

Please do not put creepy pictures of stupid Robert Patterson (or whoever he is - vampire boy) on my cup. He has a gross look on his face and it makes me want to run away. I would prefer pictures of Jude Law or Jake Gyllenhall. Thank you.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wow. Statue.

Dear Church That Just Erected a Statue:

Here's what I think about you: you wasted a bunch of money. Honestly, I think as long as people have need, a church has no business wasting money on stupid stuff like statues or stained glass windows. It's one thing if it was donated, but if you bought that thing... what a shame. The only thing God cares anything about is our hearts. He would rather have the love of one person than a ridiculous piece of metal.

Maybe somebody created it as an act of worship or to show gratitude. I get that. That makes sense. So, please tell me that's where it came from. Please tell me someone created it out of love and to honor the freedom God has brought to their lives. Please tell me it was donated. Just please don't tell me that you took money from some family to purchase this disturbingly gigantic statue. Unnecessary.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Imaginary Conversations: Part II

You know, when I go to a pool to sit in the sunshine and splash around in the water, I don't want to be around overly-excited children. It is my job to be around children and sometimes I want a no-kid zone of sanity and serenity. So, I went to the pool with Hailee today. This pool was the epitome of adult time: peace. and. quiet.

That was until Mr. Important Pants came. Hailee and I had been sitting for maybe two minutes when he approached us to ask if the seat next to us was taken. Now, let me set the scene. There are probably at least 100 chairs around this pool of which 14 were filled with coconut-smelling soft-tushied human beings.

If he wanted to sit there, I wasn't going to shoo him away. Until I discovered his terribly annoying habit. He sat down and called someone - a short conversation. Meanwhile I am reading RtI From All Sides, by Mary Howard. Good summer reading, I know. I really was attempting to concentrate. He hangs up with the first person and calls a second, this time talking about how he saw his brother on a commercial. He's not just talking in a regular voice: It's irritatingly loud. After a few minutes on that phone call, lucky him... his brother calls.

Guy - "Dude, were you on a commercial recently? I totally just saw you on a commercial. You were golfing and then there was one shot of you with a woman. Awesome, dude."

Me - "Shut up, please."

Guy - "That's so crazy. So when did you shoot that commercial?"

Me - "Please shut up."

Guy - "Yeah. So weird to see my brother on a commercial. Have you been shooting a lot of commercials?"

Me - "It is rude to have loud conversations when you are 1)in a restaurant, 2)in an airplane, 3)sitting next to people trying to relax near a pool. Shut up."

Guy - "You were golfing. And then with a woman."

Me - "I think he knows what he was doing in his commercial, numbskull."

It goes on like this for a while. Then he gets off the phone and immediately turns to me talking about how his brother was on a commercial. He was assuming I had overheard his conversation, WHICH I HAD. How much of that conversation was him really sharing with his brother how excited he was to see the commercial and how much of it was him trying to make sure I heard that his brother was on a commercial?

Me - "OHHHHhhhh, Stranger! You are SO IMPRESSIVE. COME HERE AND LET ME SIT ON YOUR LAP WHILE YOU TELL ME ABOUT YOUR AMAZING BROTHER WHO WAS GOLFING AND WITH A WOMAN IN A COMMERCIAL!!!! What do you THINK I am going to think after overhearing your obnoxiously LOUD conversation? Do I really care your brother is in a commercial? No. Will I want to start up a conversation with you about it after being obligated to listening to you talk about it for twenty minutes? No. I want you to go jump in a lake. In fact, give me that cell phone (chuck cell phone). Perfect. Go away."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Community, Family, and the FBI

Eric has been talking in church about community and the importance of investing in three different layers of relationships: the close, intimate relationships such as family and very close friends; the typical friendships or acquaintances; and the chance meetings. I am so bad at being intentional about building and maintaining relationships. I let important events slide by without giving them the honor due.

Last weekend, I went out to lunch with my grandparents. I am so lucky to have them near. They have gone to lengths to help raise me and to support me and Rob when he was sick. I am so grateful for their influence in my life. Yet, I don’t really communicate or spend the time I want to spend with them. It takes intention, doesn’t it? It takes not letting a thought pass by without a phone call. I really value my family. My parents and grandparents. My wonderful aunts and uncles and the cousins spread halfway across the country that I’ve known since I was born. Those are special relationships.

I was just in the coffee shop reading and preparing for a paper I am about to write. A man came in with his daughter, who was in her early teens. They shared some cold coffee drinks and sat and talked about life. They had Bibles and were talking about the importance of knowing scripture and letting it resonate and sink into their minds and hearts. Then they sat and played board games together. It was beautiful. It wasn’t quick. It was intentional. His mentorship in her life will make a difference. It impressed me so much and it stuck with me. This girl will remember these precious times her dad set aside for the two of them.

We are tricked into believing that the people we love will always be around. But truly, we know deep down they won’t. The present time is the time we’ve been given. I want to be more intentional about honoring my love for my family by spending time with them and communicating with them more.

When I was at lunch with my grandparents, they told me stories about when Granddad was in graduate school. They lived in St. Louis. I loved to hear about their living situations the first year there. The first apartment was about 10x12 with a restroom that also had a clothes washer. There was a door from this room that went straight outside. They shared this with a family who lived on the other side of a cardboard divider. Grams decorated with paper curtains. A man moved in a few months later that liked to cook with garlic all the time, so they moved to a new apartment. I didn’t hear too much about this second apartment. The third one, though, was on Cabanne street in St. Louis. It was a big mansion divided into a number of apartments. It was a far cry from the tiny space they occupied earlier in the year. It had a Murphy bed that folded out of the wall and a separate dressing room and nice kitchen. Their apartment had previously been the library of the mansion. It had big, beautiful windows that looked out to the front lawn. The story went on to talk about them learning that the rest of the occupants of the house were supporters of communism. The KKK would light crosses on their front lawn and the FBI moved in to their apartment after they left so they could overhear communist radio broadcasts coming from the apartment next door.

This was the highlight of my week.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Imaginary Conversations Part I

I constantly have imaginary conversations. Like this morning, I pulled up to fill up my car with gas. Across the lane was a man filling up his white Hummer.

Me: Excuse me.
Guy: Uhhh... yeah.
Me: Two questions. One, is that your Hummer? And, if it is, what made you decide to buy it?
Guy: Uh... well... YEAH. IT IS MY HUMMER. And... I WANT IT, so get out of here before I shove your nosy little self into the exit only side of this gas pump.
Me: You're a freak.

When I see someone who drives a Hummer, I automatically assume that he (because 90% of the time, it's going to be a 'he') is a chach. I honestly do not understand the thought process that goes into buying a Hummer. Everything about that vehicle screams "UNNECESSARY!!!!"

I get it. If you work hard and you have a lot of money, it's your choice what you do with it. But truly, I view Hummer drivers as some of the most selfish, thoughtless, pea-brained individuals of our era.

That's all I've got to say about that.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Finish Line In View

I almost cried. I could feel the excitement. Coming into the stadium, with everyone yelling... the finish line in view... it all welled up in me. But it didn't quite overflow. That's a good thing.

I ran the Bolder Boulder yesterday. My first race - 10 kilometers at about 5,400 feet above sea level. I knew it would be a challenge and I was determined to make it in the range that I'd set for myself. I had spent the last few weeks getting ready by pushing my distance higher. Truly, I've never known myself as a 'runner'. Just like I'd never known myself as a skiier. But this has been the year to push that boundary a little bit and to see where I get.

I had 6.2 miles to run. I ran the first mile in 9 minutes. A minute faster than I was used to running on the treadmill. Whoops. Pace setting. Shortly after that first mile, my stomach cramped up and I felt like I was going to throw up. Maybe it was that stupid first mile, but for the next two miles, I felt pretty awful. I took some energy gel, and chugged some gatorade and shortly, I felt better. In fact, I felt so much better. My pace was set. My music had picked up tempo and I was able to match it with my own steps. The people around me were so much fun, too. There were three painted green - one of which I crashed into, leaving my arm the shade of the Jolly Green Giant. In one of the neighborhoods I passed by, a lady yelled out, "You got it! Don't give up. Just set your pace and keep at it." That echoed in my thoughts for the rest of the race.

At one point, I had slowed to a walk. Someone ran by shouting, "Go, Adam!!" I realized he was yelling that for me. I had posted a sign on my back that said, "I am running in honor of CPT Adam Brink, who is running the BB 7,000 miles away". Immediately, I remembered Adam was running along with me that very second half-way across the world. A huge smile came over me and I picked up my pace again. It was so wonderful to know that he was there, too.

I maintained a run all the way up that final hill and into the stadium. It was awesome. At no point did I ever think I wasn't going to make it. I ended up missing my goal time by 30 seconds, but I was still super excited. It was my first race. I had a rough start, but ended up setting a solid pace. I only wish I could remember it with more detail. I get so focused on the task at hand. I have different things I fill my thoughts with so that I can finish strong, but I lose out on my surroundings and on the details of the race. But I raced up the final hill and as I came into the stadium, I came around to the finish line at full speed. Exhilarating.

It was an awesome experience. Really, just knowing that I can do something that before in my life I thought was out of my reach. So, on to the next goal... a triathlon in September and a half-marathon in October. Then I think I'll take it easy and stick to skiing and regular distances like 5Ks. But who really knows?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Gone Again

It was a whirlwind. Seemed like only a few short days. He came and he left. But it was so wonderful. I came home to Wyatt. No Adam to pick me up from school. Part of it feels very back-to-normal. I've been on a roll the last five months that he's been gone. So when he left this afternoon, my little heart broke and I wasn't ready to let him out of that comfortable feels-like-home last hug, but a few miles down the road - back to the normalcy of school and it felt just like it should, I suppose. A sense that everything was back to the 'normal' that I knew while he was gone.

But I step back into my quiet house and the only warm fuzzy man here is my wonderful dog... and it starts to get to me again. He left from my house to pick me up so we could go to the airport today... his shaving cream sitting on my counter. He left me one of his favorite shirts. A chair scooted out from the table where we had lunch. His footsteps still pressed into the carpet. The seat in my car still sitting far from the wheel just like he drives it.

That is how it should be. You wish that your time together would be well-spent and that you have such a great time that when he leaves, you are sad about all the things you will miss sharing. I already miss sharing this moment with him. Hearing him talk on the phone in the other room. I think it all comes down to knowing that you COULD do it all without him... the waking up, the enjoying the day, the big highs and lows and beautiful moments of the day... but you just don't want to.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Six Days

Just six days. That's all! I get to see Adam again in six days. I'm really excited to see him. I miss him so much. Sometimes it seems like the time has flown by... I've certainly not wasted it. That's for sure. Relationships, though, make me nervous. I think I'm past that "everything is perfect" phase. I am just not inclined to believe that any relationship can be perfect. Truly, I think that's a good spot to be in. There's not alot to be nervous about with us, though. It is what we make it. And we have a really wonderful relationship.

I think what I might be a little jittery about is just the fact that we have two weeks and that's it. All we've got is two tiny little weeks in the middle of nine months. I want everything to go well, of course, but I know that the best way to do it is just to enjoy every moment and milk every bit of joy out of what time we have rather than to force all kinds of fun into every second. I adore Adam.

The whole idea of not being able to look into the future has been echoing through my thoughts lately - both with work and with our relationship. It's scary not knowing what is coming around the corner. You get comfortable with where things are at. You see all the joy that you already have and it gets scary knowing that at some point things change - maybe for the better and maybe not. But I love what Adam told me earlier - that you just focus on the positive parts of the change.

I can't wait, though. He is the vanilla ice cream in my root beer float.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

World Wide Open

There's no better way to be thankful for your life than to live it fully. This January, I started Master's classes, training for a triathalon, and learning to ski. Everything about these three pursuits has challenged me and has caused me to change my perspective on who I am and what I can do. It's been an inspiring three months and it's not over.

I was having dinner with a friend last night. She is starting a new chapter in her life, or maybe not a new chapter, but a new journey. She and I are in similar situations - I will be starting a new job in August. One that I have a passion for, but very little formal training. It's always scary starting something new. Adam had excellent advice on this. He said - you can not read the future so you have to focus on the exciting part of the change and not the scary part. That's true about anything. We get so caught up into defining ourselves with what we HAVE been that we forget to open our minds up to new possibilities.

I have NEVER been a runner. I hated it. It would be a miracle for me to run a continuous mile. In January, I started running, and now I'm up to four miles for a regular workout. Now, I'm a runner.

I have NEVER been a skiier. I thought I was terrible and I didn't want to spend money on something I was terrible at. My first time skiing this season was December 31. I miserably and awkwardly and terribly struggled my way down green runs before I painfully surrendered for the day. Yesterday, I took my first black diamond. I'm confident and successful with it. I'm a skiier!!

I've never seen myself as a principal. A leader, yes. A principal, no. But there have been a number of people that I admire that have repeatedly suggested to me that I need to pursue that option. So here I am. Who knows where it will take me?

I am completely excited for the journey. There are scary parts. But I am hopeful. I feel now that I haven't truly used my body or my life to its utmost. I am so thankful that my legs can do what they can do and that my mind can do what it can do. It's an inspiring chapter in my life. The world is wide open. I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Giving It Everything

I tell my students all the time: You have to take advantage of your education. They know they will only get out of it what they put into it. I don't tolerate kids remaining distracted. Everyone has got to dig in and do what they can to make the most of the opportunity to learn.

This is no different with my own education. I just started my Master's program. I am super excited to be back in school... digging into everything new that I have to learn. Well, I've been less than enthused with the instructors so far. Perhaps I'm making my judgement prematurely. But I expect alot. I bust my butt to get all the reading done and to turn in quality projects. So I expect my instructors to have excellent lessons and to facilitate conversation in a way that we will be able to have a working understanding of the material.

Because of this, I've found it vital to develop a strong work ethic in my studies. I want to know as I move into a new career, that I am intellectually prepared to address issues with my colleagues. I feel like there may be students in my program that are content with the minimum. But that's just not acceptable to me. I will be highly prepared, confident, and ready to take on the tasks before me without the regret that I didn't put EVERYTHING into my education.

Valentine's No-Surprise

Valentine's Day is tomorrow and there really is only one thing that I want... for Adam to be here. But 7,000 miles away is a little far for that and I'm not going to get my wish. Today, he told me that he had gone out to dinner with his soldiers. They had all sent something home for their sweeties. Oops. Adam hadn't.

Now, a week ago or so, I thought to myself... if Adam doesn't take this chance to do something special to let me know that he cares about me... I'm going to be upset! He's so far away. Surely he thought of me, right?

This isn't the first time this has happened. That's just how Adam is. And frankly, I understand it. The obligation to buy somebody something on a specific day is a little obnoxious. Wouldn't it mean more if I just bought him a gift because I wanted to and not because there was some sort of obligation to do so? I get it.

Well, I told myself I was going to be upset about it. So, I tried to stir myself up. To get all bothered and annoyed. But it hasn't worked. I would just like to get huffy and impatient. But all I can think of is how good he is to me. How he loves me. And how wonderful he is. There's nothing to BE upset about.

So, Happy Valentine's Day to me. I have a fantastic man.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Ahhh... The Light

Is it true that darkness makes the presence of light that much more beautiful?

I recently met one of the most pompous, close-minded, irreverent, and demeaning people I've ever known in my life. He seethes arrogance. It disgusts me to be near him.

This meeting is not by chance. I know that this is an important marker for me in learning what effect we have on the people around us. I want to be someone that people feel comfortable approaching. I want to be someone that people breathe easy around. I want to communicate well. I want to honor the people around me. I want to have respectful and perspective-minded disagreements. I want to remember that I do not ever have all the answers and that I have much to learn from those around me. I want to serve those around me - not to behave entitled as though I own them. I want to be gentle with people. I want to make wise, informed decisions. Above all, I want to be genuine.

The future is bright.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Better Changes

There is no better way to be thankful for your body than to use it.

I have always hated running, but I've gradually worked my way into it. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I love it. But at least now I don't dread it as I did. This week, I completed three workouts. This particular day was a one-half hour session on a treadmill. I had just bumped my speed up by 1/2 mile an hour. When I finished, I felt fantastic. I had maintained a solid pace: one that allowed me to push myself but was comfortable enough that I didn't feel like I was about to throw up. I only slowed my pace so I could stay hydrated.

It's amazing what we can do if we just decide to do it. Although my routine seems somewhat mediocre to more intense runners, I have come a long, long way. I am so proud of this change in my lifestyle. And I'm excited to be aiming for a bigger goal: my first triathalon. My goal is to do it well.

The last month has seen a number of changes in the way that I've functioned. I am proud of every single one of them. I'm not just becoming a better person because of the situations I encounter, but now better changes are coming because I am deciding to live my life in a new way. I love it. I'm not scrambling to keep up with my life anymore. This is in fact the only year that New Year's resolutions have truly changed the way I function. I am overwhelmingly proud of my progress this month and I'm looking forward to celebrating two months of wonderful change at the end of February.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Year Ago

It's about that time of year. I remember hearing on New Year's Eve 2008 that Rob had been moved to hospice. For the rest of the night, that's just about all I could think about.

The days went by. I went up to visit him. And one day, he died. As I read back through my blog at that time, I recall my grief and my relief - simultaneous, as strange as that may seem. I remember thinking that I could count on one dear friend in particular for consolation, but that turned out not to be true. That sunk very deep.

I barely knew Adam. We had just begun dating. Yet he held me in his arms and asked about Rob. He asked for me to tell him stories. He let me cry. He let me tell him all the things I missed about Rob. What he did that evening has stuck with me and I think that's the first time I realized how truly good Adam is.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Adam has been gone for just over a month. I miss him lots, of course. But truly, this month has been quite good. Skype is a relationship-saver, in my opinion. All that body language goes unsaid over the phone. The way he smiles. What he is wearing. What his house looks like. The way it's almost like we are making eye-contact. It's all important when it's all you have.

I hit a road bump and got all insecure yesterday. I couldn't sleep. I freaked out a bit. I think it's normal in any relationship. The whole "what if" game. I hate that.

Tristan Prettyman sings a song - Simple As It Should Be. It's the title of my blog because it puts me in a good frame of mind. It takes me from that place of insecurity to a place of contentment.

"I don't think that we should ever feel the need to worry. Ever get ourselves in a hurry." And suddenly I can breathe a little deeper and a little slower. I had to remind myself of these things. The song, Steady As We Go by Dave Matthews is another anchor song. It re-routes my perspective, pulling me back to the right frame of mind.

It's not easy having him gone. But it's building a new dimension to our relationship. For that, I'm grateful.

He's the chocolate sauce to my bowl of vanilla.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Perspective of the Very Last

It’s interesting to think about the very last. Do I remember the last time I sailed on a boat? Or the last time I laid in the warm sunshine? Do I remember the last time I drew my fingers across guitar strings? What about the last time I smiled at a particular person I know? Or bought macaroni and cheese? Some of these things are monumental memories. And some are just daily occurrences. Some are memorable and others just melt into that mush of experiences I can vaguely recall.

I think about every little opportunity that comes my way during a typical day. In the life of a teacher, there are thousands every HOUR. Thousands of opportunities to make a tiny impact to hundreds of little minds and hearts every day… every hour… every minute. How is it that these opportunities sliiiiiiiiiiide by and I find myself at the end of the day having taken advantage of one or two of those opportunities?

I have a quote framed by my desk. It is from the noted author, Henry David Thoreau: “To affect the quality of the day… That is the highest of the arts.” Every single person who has touched my life in a memorable way has aligned with this philosophy. This is the ideal that I strive for… and fall short of.

I remember the very last time I saw one of my students before he passed away later that day. He was wearing a knight’s clothing. Breastplate, helmet, sword, and carried a shield. Halloween is a time of celebration in an elementary school. He was the first to have his turn in a game that day. I remember being really glad I had started with him that day in the game. It’s the little things that soothe us when we lose someone. I remember sitting at my desk with tears splashing across my plan book. “At least he had his turn in the game,” I thought.

I wonder if this was my last semester of teaching, how would I do it? What would I change? I would smile every student into the room and tell them how glad I was that they had come to visit me and to learn with me that day. I have a great friend who is a wonderful musician. One day he gave me the best advice – “When you sing, sing as though it’s the last time you will ever sing.”

When I teach, teach as though it’s the last time I will ever teach. When I listen, listen as though it’s the last time I will ever listen. When I love, love as though it’s the last time I will ever love.

THAT is how I will live this day.