30 Days of Thanks-Day 7 & Wordless Wednesday

30 Days of Thanks-Day 7

Since I was in an all day CLE (continuing legal education), I didn’t feel much like blogging last night. But then I thought how fortunate I am that I have a career that I enjoy. That I can help people buy houses, refinance, or get an equity line. When I set my sights on law school, I never envisioned a career in real estate. It was always the glamour of trying cases or the thrill of crafting a brief that blew away the other side that got my blood pumping. And now? Frankly, trial and appellate work don’t impress me much. I’ll take control over my schedule so I can balance work with being a mom over having to appear in court at the drop of a hat. And what thrills me now is writing for my blog instead of drafting a legal brief. I’m not abandoning those skills. On the contrary, I write, read and persuade daily.

So today I give thanks for having the ability to practice law AND still maintain quality time with family. For my career path, which has been paved with many wonderful mentors along the way. And did I mention how happy I am to have passed the Bar exam the first time?!

What are YOU thankful for today? I would love to hear…

Can You Help Me Out? Disney Dream Questions!!!

Photo by Disney

Disney Dreamin’ 2011 is a reality, people! In two short months, we head south to embark on our first ever cruise on the Dream. Yes, we have a countdown calendar going but I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to give too much specifics online (paranoid, I guess). So I’m moving into overdrive on the details. Excursions? Check. Brand spanking new 9th edition Passporter DCL book? Check. But I still have questions, and I need the advice of my “oh so knowledgeable” friends who are cruising experts. So PLEASE post comments to any and all of my queries. I would SO appreciate it!!!!

1. Seriously, what time should I register for check-in? Any advantages beyond the obvious to “getting in early” besides being able to gawk at everything and take tons of photos of the ship uninterrupted? (Yes, I am dorky like that!)

2. To spa or not to spa? Sounds crazy to question it but the price is really blowing me away because all I can think is how many treatments I can get back home for the same money! I know, it’s the Dream, live a little, but deep down, I’m a frugal gal, and it’s hard to get past that budget-conscious self.

3. Ok, we’re doing a 3 day cruise so do we stay onboard at Nassau, go ashore part of the day, or dive in and do stuff all day in Nassau? I’ve heard mixed reviews of this port of call, and am leaning towards doing the pool and Aquaduck while the masses head for the shore. Thoughts?

4. What souvenirs do you like to pick up? Or what have you gotten home and thought-shoot, I wish I had gotten that! I know Disney Store online is now carrying some DCL items, but would love a heads up on what are your hot-ticket items!

5. Castaway Cay-stingray encounter: yes or no? (Kiddos are 10 and 6.) And if not, what DO you recommend?

6. Have any of you done second seating for dinner? If so, how did the whole “pick the kids up at 9PM so grownups can linger over dinner” thing work out for you?

Thanks, everyone!

Strange times

Some life-altering things have been happening all around me, and some not so nearby but calling me to contemplate what is important. My father-in-law’s tumor and his surgery last week. A recent diagnosis of prostate cancer for a church friend. A newborn baby with Down’s. A dear friend’s impending divorce and the nastiness of it all. And the Cleveland Park train derailment in my hometown where tragically one 6 year old boy died and 28 mostly kids) were injured. That news hits any parent right in the gut, but somehow blew me away when I think of my sweet 6 year old boy. And then there is Japan. 18,000 people estimated dead or missing. I can’t make heads of everything swirling around me. It is almost too much to bear.

And yet…all around me are the signs of spring. New buds blooming, birds incessantly chirping, warmer temps, pollen (OK, can live without that one). Rebirth. How coincidental that all this soul searching and wondering what’s going on with the world just so happens to take place during Lent. After driving home from the gym two days ago, I just sat in my driveway and did nothing. For like 10 minutes (but it felt like much longer). Not long ago, I would have chastised myself for that time being “wasted.” Now, it counts as one of the most productive moments of my day. Or the time I carve out for reading during Taylor’s piano lesson while Jared plays on the playground. An impromptu walk with the dog. A catch-up phone call with a friend.

You know, we’re all so busy spinning our hamster wheels that we can’t even take a second to slow down and think. Pray. Give thanks. Put someone else’s needs ahead of our own. Try it. It’s amazing the peace and clarity that can come from those few minutes of stillness. Agreed, it works best if you aren’t in a crowd of strangers (a surefire way to get some strange looks) or trying to do this with the kids (heck, trying to do anything moderately productive with kids in tow is questionable, right?) But I am finding that my faith, my peace-heck, my very sanity- hinge on it.

I just started a new book called One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. What drew me to the book (besides the recommendation of a friend) was the subtitle: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are. I’ll admit, when given the choice between truth or dare, I usually chose truth. But boy, dares really get my attention. Because implicit in them is the notion that “you can’t do this.” Granted, I don’t believe that Voskamp is meaning that-but nevertheless, isn’t it human nature to want to rise up to the challenge of a dare? She writes, “How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?”  Finding a way to be grateful is hard, especially when we are reeling from the punches of life. So like Voskamp, I’m starting my own gratitude journal-a beginning on my journey to 1,000 gifts-which I hope to share with you from time to time. For now, I am grateful that I live in a country where I am free to write whatever comes to mind and put it out there in a blog and pretend that some people out there are interested in what I have to say. It’s empowering and thrilling.

So, dear friends, what are you grateful for?


Giving Thanks

Thank you, Lord for the gifts you have so freely given to me and my family. My children are healthy, and so is my marriage. We have a comfortable (albeit messy) home. My parents are enjoying life and the grandkids. And a Disney trip is on the horizon (single digits even!) And as we move into the chaotic, often whirlwindish time leading up to Christmas, I pray that I can slow down and focus on what is really important. The reason for the season. Spending time together. Homemade gifts. Creating memories. And by the way, I hope that for you, too.

Hello World 18 months later!

For those of you who don’t know me, most of my life-my passion-centers around family and music. You’ll hear much more about my kiddos, about my decision to leave lawyering behind in the wake of September 11 and become a full time mommy to my then 3 month old daughter (who is now 9). But I want to get beyond the labels that we put on what we do and talk about who we are. What am I about? And why would you want to read what I have to say? Hard questions to answer right out of the gate, right? Basically, I’m a thirtysomething who loves writing and music. Lately, the focus has been on music. Listening to it, making it, teaching kids at church about it. It moves me in ways that I cannot describe adequately here. So in my initial attempts to “name” my blog, I thought something musically oriented for sure. But I want my blog to reflect me in a nutshell. For those that know me well to say, yes, that is spot on. And for those that don’t know me, well, something that would make you interested in what I have to say.

A dear friend gave me some wise advice recently (albeit not about the blog but about my legal career): Poop or get off the pot. I needed to hear it. I’ll admit, I have been struggling lately here with identity, with my “purpose” if you will (apologies to Rick Warren). I am waiting to hear something that will catapult me in the right direction. You know, speak Lord in the stillness. But as a Type A, just as in the countless scrapbooking pages that remain left undone upstairs, I am falling into the TRAP. I can’t start now because it seems too daunting, too much to do at once, the finished product will not be up to snuff so why start at all? The common pitfalls that squelch creativity: fear and doubt. Well, doubt had taken up official residence here at my house and kept nagging at me. What if no one wants to hear what I have to say? Well, I’ve decided to heed my friend’s advice and, well, um, enough of the potty training metaphor. I’m simply going to put myself out there, so world, here I am and if you don’t like it, too bad.

So, before naming my blog (other than the narcissistic title it now bears), I thought I would ask for your thoughts. The blog will be about the triumphs and frustrations of a full-time mom (not going to say SAHM because let’s face it, we seldom are!). The cacophony of noise, chaos, energy, laughter, and tears that surrounds all kindred spirit moms (and dads). I’m hoping that divine intervention will strike, but for now, I am content to just leave it as my name. After all, it took us a whole year to officially name our golden retriever on her AKC papers. No, we didn’t have a no name dog for a year. We immediately knew she was Cali. But the fancy smancy name didn’t come until much later, and it broke a few rules in the process. So instead of choosing the normal triple word name, we went with one word: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. (And it even fit on the certificate!) We liked it because a) it had Cali in it; b) it’s from a Disney movie; and c) inspiration just hit us with it. I’m hoping the same goes for naming this blog-except for the waiting a whole year part.

Hello world!

This is my first post.

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