Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Springtime exclamations

I love spring. Fall is a close(ish) second. I don't mind winter and prefer it to summer. But spring? Ah, spring.

The air warms, the breeze in the windchimes, the birds chirping. Okay, I admit in the early morning hours I do not always love the chirping birds. Still, they keep chirping and coax me out of bed. The light lingers in the evenings, and the sun begins greeting me a little earlier. Trees and flowers bud and bloom while it seems people come out of hiding. Strolling. People stroll. I have even witnessed a bit of frolicking. Farmers markets re-open and windows open. You can wear shorts, short-sleeves, pants, or long-sleeves. The grass greens; the trees fill out as leaves appear again. It seems puppies are being born, chicks hatching, lambs are being lambed. I exclaim when I see tulips have bloomed seemingly overnight, my favorite pear trees are full and beautiful for the very few days, and daffodils poke out of the ground. Everything seems to be jellybeans and rainbows. I LOVE IT.

And I have to remind myself that spring always means rose-colored glasses to me. EVERYTHING seems wonderful and amazing. I could probably get punched in the face daily and feel positively about it. It is really good that I have become more self-aware over the years and know how spring affects me so I do not get carried away in the delight of new life and wonder. Still, much of life lately seems to be exaggerated exclamation marks. So here I am trying to enjoy the beauty of what I have been given, while keeping a right and rational perspective. What a lovely and odd place to be.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

On living for now

Lately I have been thinking a lot about the brevity of life. It is so quick, and here we are just absorbed in our schedules and to-dos. Or maybe that was just me? 

Folks I know with late-stage cancer. Babies who never get to cry and wriggle in their mamas arms. Vibrant lives interrupted or seemingly cut short. Poverty, genocide, betrayal, corruption. It is enough to perpetually make one's head slump in the weight of sadness. But we can't stay here or we'll die without living, and then what's really the point of it all anyway?

I have missed my mentor-friend this week. As I got my grades for my first quarter back, I thought how proud he would be of me. Really, he wouldn't have cared as much about the grades as he would have wanted to read my papers and then schedule a few lunches to go and talk about my ideas, research, and opinions. That's how he was. Our very first conversation started that way. He told me to pull up a seat, and when I thought he was going to shoot questions at me, he leaned back in his chair, put his hands behind his head in his easy way, and started asking me all about my thesis from grad school. My sociology thesis...sociology of the family...not physiology or even science at all. I do not even recall real "interview" questions but just him getting a feel for who I am, what I was/am passionate about, my personal and professional goals, and then piecing together how he could be involved in helping me get there and thrive while doing so. 

Thinking about death and what I would want others to think or remember, puts much into perspective. I shared my perfectionist tendencies a few weeks ago, and I think it's natural to want your home to be tidy, clutter- and mess-free when someone has to go through your things after you are gone. But I don't want people to think, "Gee, Andrea had it all together. Her place was always clean, and it looks like a lot has barely been touched. It looks like her placemats, fancy shoes, etc were never even used. Look at these dishes she must have been saving for a special occasion." 

No. I want people to think, "Now THAT was a life LIVED! She found people and places as treasures. Her stuff does not appear to be collectible condition; it looks used!" (Well, that might not be all I want them to think, but for this post, you get the idea.) I want them to empty my cabinet of dishes and wonder why there are not an even number of nice plates or crystal glasses. I want them to picture me sitting around the living room sipping tap water, knocking my Waterford off the table accidentally, and having to toss a a broken glass out.

Death and lament wait for no one. Life is for living, and we should celebrate each day for the gift that it is. Timely post. I have also been pondering through many situations, "God, may my day (or situation or fill-in-the-black) honor you." This is not a general thought but in specific situations, which has made me more present and much more in tune with how I can honor God. 

Today I could have rushed back to town after a work meeting just outside of Charlottesville, but I considered the goodness given to me right here, right now. It was a beautiful day. I thanked God for the sunroof I never really wanted, and the time and wonder He also graced me with. I slowed my pace to celebrate today in its glory. Then I headed to a park to sit, read for classes, and embrace more of the beauty. When the end of my life comes, I want others to think, "She really celebrated moments and each day. She had hope, wonder, and love for others. And I want to know Who gave her that."


Monday, April 7, 2014

easily amused by Fitbit

I like my little Fitbit. It makes funny and encouraging faces at me, tracks steps and distance and all to keep me motivated and moving, and I get emails when I do something great like:


LOL! What a great line for today's email (arrow added). The only downfall is I have the small one I often forget or worse yet, lose. I typically never lose things, but I misplace this, leave it in pants' and coats' pockets, accidentally put it in the washer. I couldn't find it yesterday and finally found it buried in my sheets. I had tossed it on my bed the night before to sync with my laptop and must have forgotten, not seen it, and then it got tossed about while I slept. So, when they fix the material for the Force, I'm definitely going to upgrade to one I can always wear! With that said, I am going to head out to work on the next 500 miles...