26 September 2011

I Am

When I was 12, having just moved to a new house, neighborhood, city, state, part of the country, I was horribly intimidated by the fact that I was going to have to find new people to be friends with. The very first person I met was Mary-Jane. She made the whole "becoming friends" feel like it was no big deal. All of the sudden I had a huge group of friends because she introduced me to them all and helped me be a part of them. And now, years later, she has traveled the world, been in I have no idea how many operas and become a truly inspiring woman. She is beautiful, glamorous, thoughtful, crazy talented, and crazy fun. Her blog archi loves mary-jane holds the pictures and words to prove it. Just knowing her makes me feel I have a little of that in me too. I wanted you to meet her and get to know a little of who she is. So, without further ado, meet Mary-Jane:

I am an opera singer.

It’s hard.

I love it.

I hate it.

I dream about it.

I practice hard.

I don’t practice at all.

I want to travel the world.

I want to stay inside.

I am a performer.

I am introverted.

I am settled.

I am confused.

I am realizing that my path to becoming an opera singer is getting harder and harder because I am faced with more important and challenging decisions.

When I was younger my path seemed easier, clearer. Go to college. Do well. Go to graduate school. Do well. Go to an apprentice program for an opera house. Do well. Now your life is set. It was all planned-out. So easy. So simple. Whoopsy. I’m finding it’s impossible for me to plan a perfect little path because something will change whether it’s me, my desires, my options, my location, or my loved ones. Nothing is finite. I am changing and my perfect little world and path that I’ve created is changing too.

I have a partner and best friend in life and what he wants and needs is just as important as my own personal desires. (A lesson I’m learning.) I want him to succeed and I want him to be able to follow his own dreams as well. Sometimes it gets tricky trying to meet each other on our various paths, but I think so far we’ve done pretty well. But it’s our next stage that is a little dubious.

Sometimes you have to live in middle-land for a while and not be sure quite what the next step is. It's kind of weird, but I'm trying to make the most of it. I need to remind myself everyday that middle-land is a beautiful place to be. We haven’t quite reached our ultimate career goals but we’re on the way. We have time to pause and notice what we are doing now and what it is we really want to be doing.

Whilst chasing my dreams of being an opera singer I sometimes forget that I have other interests and talents. Middle-land is teaching me that I can use all of my other resources and talents to make additional dreams and desires realties.

I am a dreamer.

I love being a dreamer.

I am a dancer. (in my living room or kitchen)

I am a wife.

I love my husband.

I like to sew.

I am a friend.

I am a traveler.

I laugh too hard.

I am a sister.

I can be a nerd.

I am a daughter.

I take too long to wash my hair.

I am an auntie.

I need family.

I am loud.

I want happiness.

I have it.

I am happy.

24 September 2011

"run and not be weary" part 1

Sister Koford and I, 19 September 2011

Sister Koford suffers from unexplainable migraines. Despite adequate nightly rest, I still have moments of intense exhaustion throughout the day. After a conversation with an incredible woman this morning, we have both decided that we definitely need to add more fruits and vegetables into our diets, and concentrate on raw foods.

The woman we spoke to has lupus, and while she once was constrained to a wheel chair, then a cane, she has been able to walk on her own for a year. Over the last 1.5 months, she has become a vegan, eating about 70% raw foods each day. She says that she has more strength, fewer migraines, and just feels overall healthier-- both physically and spiritually.

These things have been on our minds lately, and so when this woman just started sharing her insights with us this morning, we decided that now was the time to put these things into practice in our own lives. For the next four weeks (or thereabouts), check back regularly to this blog and Sister Koford's blog as we record our journeys toward optimum health!

Update: Green Smoothie Progress:
Day 1: No frozen anything to put in it. Abort plan to make smoothies.
Day 2: Prepared ice cubes! But peaches, spinach, and ice just didn't cut it, and we grimiced every time we took a sip.
Day 3: We bought frozen berries! Spinach + Berries + Ice was a little bit better, but it was still missing something.

...this may take a while to get down.

22 September 2011

'Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard times, hard times, come again no more.
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh, hard times, come again no more.
-Stephen Foster
(photo by allison) 

19 September 2011

Those Who Save Us

"Thee lift me, and I'll lift thee, and we'll both ascend together."

There is so much unkindness and selfishness in the world. It would be easy to think that no one cares for others anymore.

But I believe in kindness. I believe in the people who save our lives and our souls and our sanity. I believe in being kind to strangers and neighbors. I believe in kindness even when it doesn't always seem deserved.

I am grateful to the friend who brought me soup and conversation when my health and hope was at its lowest.

I am grateful for the man who, when I was a poor college student, left his change at the front desk for me, not knowing I had no money to buy my last textbook.

I am grateful to my friend from high school who, seeing a child drowning, pulled him from the water and revived him, saving his life and his parents from great grief.

I am grateful to the bystanders who saw a motorcyclists life in danger and stepped up, lifted the car that was on top of him and pulled him to safety.

I am grateful for the men and women who ran into the burning Twin Towers on that fateful September day to save the people left inside.

I believe in the greatness in everyday people. I believe in the kindness in you and me. We can save one another, in big ways and in small.

THANK YOU for the kindness you show those around you. You are someones savior. Never forget that worth (and responsibility) you hold.

Inspire us! Share your stories of kindness that you or others have shown.

15 September 2011

Life, believe, is not a dream

So dark as sages say:

Oft a little morning rain

Foretells a pleasant day.

~Charlotte Brontë, from the poem “Life”

09 September 2011

“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

~Mother Teresa

"...let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work."

~Mother Teresa

There are people in our lives who do amazing things. They travel the world, caring for the needy, fighting for the rights of those less fortunate.

Sometimes, I wonder, since I have not done those things, if my contribution to the world is of any worth.

But then I remind myself that I can and do make a contribution:

I can smile and be kind to the cashier at the grocery store.

I can make a dinner for the family in my neighborhood that just had a baby.

I can learn how to garden and make a space that emits beauty and peace (and be able to eat my own vegetables).

I can greet my husband after a long day of work with a sincere smile and kiss, letting him know what he means to me.

I can teach my daughter how to read and draw, to appreciate art and literature, and help her understand and feel the great worth that she has.

I can make a difference, even in this little corner of the earth that I live.

05 September 2011

"We thank Thee for every blessing
bestowed by Thy bounteous hand" (detail)
by Allison, 2 September 2011

01 September 2011

"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like hard work."

~Thomas Edison

Good luck to those who are going back to school, starting new projects, continuing with old ones, making your homes happy ones, and working hard at whatever you do.