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.

Open to the Possibilities

256px-The_Path_through_the_IrisesThe new year is off and running, and I suspect at a faster speed than I am thus far. In spite of some of my best intentions with nearly two weeks off, far less was accomplished than I had hoped for and mostly because I ended up sick and with two additional days off from work as a result. At least I think I had two additional days off, but they passed in mostly sleep-induced blurs—I know there was a huge snowstorm and I even made a brief call-in for a meeting, but the rest seems far removed from any conscious activity. So here I am, four days into January, four doses of antibiotic in my body and starting to feel almost human once again. Almost.

I’m revving up for what I know will be a busy week ahead. You can’t be out of the office, even during the holiday season, for two weeks and not have a whirlwind of activity just waiting for you to step back into—and we have a new baby heading our way within the next two weeks, too. Everyone’s been sick in the family, including the mom-to-be, and my plan is to jump back into work, have everything ready to lend support to the new family in whatever way they need, and off we’ll go. . . Continue reading “Open to the Possibilities”

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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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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The Beauty of Words

imagesI used to write a lot of poetry, but I really don’t all that often anymore. Occasionally something comes to me and I feel the need to write it down, but more often it remains nothing more than scraps of paper littered with words, some interconnected, some just random thoughts, and that’s okay. While the poetry I wrote was not half-bad at times, I never harbored illusions of where it might go beyond satisfying my own needs in getting the words out and occasionally reaching someone else as well with those words. While I don’t much miss the writing, I do miss the connectedness at times of those days with other writers also exploring the craft.

Continue reading “The Beauty of Words”