Indisputable Proof

20160123122211_01I’ve been doing a lot of cleaning and reorganizing lately, some of it because I have a little bit of extra time on my hands and even more, because it’s way overdue. It’s easy to get in a rut maintaining a household, not making too many changes and yet as time goes by, there’s so much less that I need. What’s most amazing is no matter how much I clean and discard, there is still so much more to deal with – it’s incredible how much one accumulates over 30+ years with a family.

As part of the process, I’ve been cleaning out old photos, and coming across lots of slides. Early on, long before digital cameras, we took a ton of photos with a Minolta camera and generally shot slides since processing was so pricey. The best ones we made prints from and put them in albums, but all these years later, even the marginal shots are precious and worth saving. So, I’ve been scanning slides, saving them digitally and even introduced my mom to the effort to help. Sadly, there were many slides that haven’t withstood the years, which makes it even more important to capture what I have while I can.
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Just as I accumulated a ton of material items over the years, I have even more in the way of memories. Some have lain dormant until the visual reminder sparked those memories. Like many of the objects in the house, filed and boxed away for safekeeping or convenience, I did the same with many of the things that came my way – putting them in boxes to unwrap later, I guess, for when I had the detachment of time to take them all in.

I’ve grown so used to life as it now is that I sometimes forget what my life once was – and as I scanned slides and viewed many of the images with my mom this past weekend, so many memories came alive again.

I often tell myself that while my life had been pretty special when my kids were young, I also know that the distance from those years often lends a rosier vantage point than maybe it really was. But as I looked at pictures from my late teen years, from the early days when I was dating my one-day husband and the earliest years of our marriage, the proof is indisputable. It wasn’t just pretty special – it was extraordinary in so many ways.

20160113223300_01A truth I can’t dismiss is this: I had a genuine love story. So many happy times and so much love. It wasn’t perfect, but it was perfect for us. And out of that love, our story grew to encompass four kids that brought such joy to us – and we had so many adventures together for so many years.

I think I pushed some of this away for a while; it doesn’t hurt as much if you lessen the magnitude of the loss. I made up scenarios in my head that told me that had some of the heartbreaking stuff – illness, issues related to that, separation and more – not happened, it still didn’t mean that our lives would have continued to be as good as they once were. But it’s hard to know that, hard to guess what two people might have been like in the future based on whom they were once upon a time. So it was easier to second-guess who we had been, what we once had.

But there we were, once upon a time, in full color across my laptop screen. Pictures don’t always show the truth, but these have back-stories to corroborate what had been hidden away in boxes, in a dark closet at the end of the hall.

And as I remember it all, I can now smile as I do. Life seldom unfolds as we planned, but I am blessed to have all that I had and still do.

Buzzing Through Each Day

256px-Busy_beeIn spite of my best intentions, it’s been nearly two months since I last blogged. There’s been lots going on that I would have liked to have written about, but for one reason or another, I’ve been immersed in so many things that I haven’t had a chance to. And it’s been all good, but I’m just engaged in more things than I can even begin to fit in a single day.

I was talking to a good friend about this a few days ago. She switched jobs last year, and in her former job we had a chance to interact almost daily. We both have a lot going on and seem to be operating on conflicting schedules, making it hard to find the time to catch up. During our brief conversation, we marveled at just how busy our lives seem to be and how there always seems to be a need to catch our breath and find a bit of balance. The truth is, though, we like everything we’re doing. Actually, it might be safe to say that we love what we’re involved in. So when it comes to culling an activity or two, neither of us seem capable at this point because we don’t want to give any of it up.
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On the Road

photoFour hours into day four of my leg of SNHU’s #SeeYourselfSucceed cross-country journey and I already feel like I have been with this dedicated group of people for much longer than that. Actually, the last couple of months have had a one-long-day feel to it—mostly because it’s been such an intensive dive into this initiative encompassing so many different components. When I say one long day, I mean that entirely in a positive way.

There’s been a consistent flow to almost every bit of work that I’ve done over the past two months that easily transitions into my time away from work, too. Actually, there’s very little time away from work. I find myself drawn to the social media elements 24/7, wanting to follow up with every comment, every ‘like,’ every share and every question regardless of the time of day/night. It’s fascinating stuff and everyone is working extremely hard at this. As much effort as I’m putting in, there’s many others doing double that and more. This isn’t work—it’s passion for everyone.
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Embarking on a Great Adventure

photo-145I am about to embark on a great adventure—a journey, quite frankly, that could be described as life-altering (and I’m sure it will be described in just those words by me before the journey is over). It’s a trip already in progress, and I will enter into the second third of that journey, one which I’ve had the privilege to document in blog form and social media for the nonprofit university for which I am fortunate to work.

Southern New Hampshire University began a six-week, cross-country trip by bus–a branded SNHU.edu bus–eleven days ago, and has traveled down the east coast, meeting students and alumni, connecting them with advisors and faculty who have impacted them in some significant way, and most all, students are sharing their goals, along with their personal stories and how SNHU somehow fit into each. Every story told to date resonates strongly with me. We hear about the sacrifices made to obtain dreams, not just for or by the student, but his or her family as well; and we hear about what’s next. This is an opportunity to cheer on those still making gains in their degree programs and to applaud those who have completed theirs–and celebrate their success.
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