Sunday, August 28, 2011

Rollin on the River...

I will be the first to admit I did not feel like going.

As the sunlight poured through the slats in the window shutters, I was cozy and comfortable and reveling in my lazy Saturday morning slumber. Keith had proposed that we take a family canoe trip down the Duck River and had even gone so far as making reservations. Ugghh....I thought to myself as I pondered a day in the heat rowing a canoe with two whiny children in tow. But up I bounded, located bathing suits, towels and sunglasses and off we went.

After checking in at the canoeing company, we drove down a gravel road with dust flying. I was still in full doubt mode that this outing was going to end up well. That is, until I saw the excitement on my youngest son's face when he realized he would be riding a big, yellow school bus down to our drop-off point. The sheer joy he exhibited brought a glimmer of hope that this might have been a good idea after all.

Boy, was it ever.

As the bus made its way down to the water, I realized this was exactly what I needed... what WE as a family needed. The laid-back feel of the whole process set the tone for the day as nothing felt rushed or scheduled. It was truly an "at-your-own-pace" experience which fit us to a "T." We selected a canoe, got the boys secured into their life jackets, got settled into our boat and off we went. The minute we pushed off I knew it was going to be a good day.

The sun was warm and the breeze cool as we slowly rowed down the first stretch of the river. Keith was in the back to steer and I was up front with the boys sitting on the floor in the middle of the canoe. They took delight in pointing out every butterfly, dragonfly or stick in the water that they were sure was an alligator or snake. We rowed past large outcroppings of rock and under trees with bent branches drooping over the water creating canopies of refreshing shade along the way.

At one point, I challenged the boys to be completely still and quiet to see how many different sounds they could take in as we floated. Surprisingly, they accepted the challenge and we all soaked in the sounds of nature around us. Cicadas buzzed in the distance as the gentle breeze brushed through the branches of the trees above us. The gentle lapping of the water on the rocks mingled with the sound of our oars gliding through the water. It was, without doubt, one of the most peaceful experiences I have ever had. Sure, I have had quiet times alone that were "peaceful"...but this rare moment of solitude with boys that are normally going at mach-10 was special to say the least.

And to think, if I had had my way, I woulda missed it all...Jacob's school bus excitement, the colorful canoes lined up by the shore and feeling of freedom as we pushed off at the start. I woulda missed picking out the perfect swimming hole, tossing the boys through the air, the laughter that always followed as soon as they returned to the surface, and the feeling of contentment that washed over me as I floated on my back staring up at a cloudless blue sky.

I woulda missed it all... but I didn't. And as we made our way back up that same dusty gravel road to head home, I was thankful I gave up a lazy Saturday morning and took the road, or in this case the river, less traveled.

It indeed made all the difference.

"Everyone must believe in something. I believe I'll go canoeing." ~ Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Finding a New Rhythm...

The sound of the organ music fills the air as the sunshine pours in, dancing on the dust particles floating about. I sit here, laptop open, tap tap tap.... pondering the interesting twists and turns my life has taken recently.

For so many years, I had become complacent with my career...completely saturated in the familiar, the comfortable...planning events from start to finish for groups with whom I was utterly familiar. My job had almost become second nature. A pattern developed in the cycle of my year and I floated from month to month knowing exactly what to expect day to day.

Boy how times change.

As I sit in an office of the Downtown Presbyterian Church here in Nashville, I am suddenly aware of how interesting my career--and subsequently, my life--has become. As part-time event planner and volunteer coordinator for Nashville's street newspaper, The Contributor, I am not only coming in contact with all sorts of fascinating people but I am marinating in an environment of creativity and relaxed productivity that has long been missing from my life. The cadence of this work is so unlike what I have grown accustomed to and that is refreshing. My day has been filled with meetings, laughter, touring an old bank-building turned home/event space as well as digging through intriguing art studio spaces which I would give up a leg to inhabit.

This new position will also allow me to explore other income opportunities such as the catering company I met with this morning. It is another avenue with an entirely different set of interesting people where I would put my skill set to work through networking, meeting with clients, artistic name it. I could not be more excited.

A few months ago I was in tears at the thought of my job situation coming to an end by no fault of my own and how I would never find anything comparable to replace it. Now I see that the opportunities unfolding for me are possibly much bigger and better than I dreamed.

I'm liking this road I'm on. And as I watch the dust dance on the drops of sunlight I suddenly feel like dancing, too. The tune I dance to may be changing but I will just find a new rhythm.

Look out folks, they're playing my song.....

Friday, August 12, 2011

Runnin' Off the Tracks in a Good Sorta Way

The alarm was set for 5:30am and I had the best of intentions. Rather than prop my eyelids open with toothpicks to finish a report the night before, I would wake up early and utilize the quiet early-morning hours of solitude to accomplish the task. Nothing could derail me on My Track of Productivity. Nothing....until I heard the pitter patter of Spider-man-sock-clad feet turning the corner in the hallway.

"I need a snuggle, Momma."

Derailment of train.

He hopped up next to me in bed, the warmth of his little boy body a soothing heating pad for my chilled-by-the-ceiling-fan arms. He did his characteristic move of inching back until he hit the cradle of my arms just perfectly...wiggling and nuzzling until the spot felt just right. His chest let out a deep exhale signaling that he was just about as content as a person could was I.

We lay there, our in and out breaths in perfect rhythm as I gently grasped his tiny hand in mine. Each one of his fingertips was a wonder to me. Those tiny baby hands had transformed into strong little boy hands--usually covered in dirt or splatters of his favorite strawberry milk. I soaked in this time of stillness, inactivity...such a rarity where a three year old boy is concerned.

That's when I realized that reports can wait. Showers can wait. Making the bed and getting breakfast ready can wait. What cannot wait is getting unsolicited snuggles from a three year old sandy-haired little boy clad in froggy pajamas and spider man socks.

You see, this window of opportunity doesn't open for long. But when it does, it's worth running the train off its tracks every time.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Flying Solo, Uno, One...Me, Myself and I

No man is an island.

Is it not good for man (or Katie) to be alone. the loneliest number that you'll every do...

All by myself....don't wanna be...all by myself.............ANYMOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Have you ever taken the Myers-Briggs personality test? Well the first indicator is extrovert vs. introvert and, as you might have guessed, I am an EXTROVERT off the charts. That does not simply mean you are outgoing or like people. It's actually an indicator of where you draw your energy from--others or from within. After traveling alone all week and then coming home to an empty house since Keith and the boys are in Alabama, I can most assuredly confirm that I am an "E" on the Myers-Briggs scale.

Now don't misunderstand me, I like a little alone time just like the next person. But waking up to total silence this morning, I almost felt like I wanted to climb the walls. I showered, met my friend at the farmer's market, snapped pics, ate a turkey panini, bought lots of produce, got my boys a couple of surprises, watched the rain, listened to music, colored with crayons, baked ooey gooey bars and watched a movie. I then offered to bring some handmade pasta and a salad to my friend Heather's house (aka an inventive way to invite yourself over for supper) so that I DO NOT HAVE TO EAT ALONE AGAIN. A people person can alone take so much quiet, folks.

I do know that I am more than ready to see the fellas. And, from what I've heard, the feeling is mutual. But, for now, I revel in my solitude. Guess I could get off my ka-tonkus and do some laundry or straighten the boys' rooms. But that might actually be productive.

Can't have that now, can we?