75 Hours Until What ! ?

Modeling my hiking backpack, my 70 liter dry-bag duffel, and my hula hoops which are my carry on item (they will be coiled down for the flight). My bags each weigh about 35 pounds- well under the 50 pound weight limit!My niece, Jody, has made an appearance on my blog before with her poem Yo Soy (I Am). And now she’s off to Panama to join the Peace Corps. I’m reblogging her post because I’m so proud of her!

The Journeys of Jodiva

Hello my dear blog followers!

I figured I would write one last blog post before I depart for Panama! Since my last post I have experienced a whole series of “lasts.” I had my last day of babysitting, my last day volunteering at ESL as well as Citizenship Literacy class, my last Zumba class, and my last time seeing a lot of family members and friends. Crazy to think that in less than a week I will be experiencing a whole new series of “firsts!” Pretty exciting.  With some of my free time lately I have been packing as well as having a couple going away parties. Thanks to everyone who came to my parties!!!

So on Monday, Feb 23 I am flying from STL to Miami. Peace Corps is putting us up in a hotel near the airport. On Tuesday, we have staging (orientation) almost all day. On Wednesday, we have to be ready…

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Transform #tinyhearts

photo-66

When I saw this heart, I immediately knew I would share something about the magical process of a becoming a butterfly. In searching, I found this poignant poem. The author wrote, “I wrote this for me…but it feels like it was meant for you too. If you know someone else who needs this, please pass it on.”  How generous! Please visit her blog Spirit Moves Dance or find her on Facebook.

Transformation

by Meg Goodmanson

It will not always feel good,
This growing.
This stretching beyond the boundaries of the known,
The comfortable.

It will not always feel safe,
This learning and relearning of your own abilities
This reexamining of beliefs
This pushing of envelopes
This breaking through enclosing walls.

You will shiver.

You will doubt.

You will want to run home.

Back behind walls of safety.

This walk to the edge will not
Feel good, safe, or comfortable,
But there is no faster way to learn.
There is no other way to grow.

So step out.
Leave your home base
Your comfort zone
Your cocoon

Acknowledge the fear and discomfort

But step out all the same.

With each step you take,
Your world expands
Your caterpillar mind will
Strain to comprehend the unbounded vastness of the sky.

Step out.

Step…step…step.

Unfurl your wings.

Fly.

 photo by Greg Markway

photo by Greg Markway

A Tidbit of Truth from Around Here Lately

I don’t buy that we should face our fears just for the heck of it. People are always posting quotes on Facebook about overcoming fear and how you should never let fear hold you back. Sometimes I get sick of those quotes (even though I have posted some of them myself).

What is true for me is that I will do things that scare me if it’s for a reason I believe in, or for someone I love. To paraphrase Victor Frankl:

Those who have a WHY can bear almost any HOW.

Yesterday I drove to St. Louis to be at an important doctor’s appointment with a loved one. I used to live and drive in St. Louis every day, but since we’ve lived in Jefferson City for 15+ years, I rarely drive more images-8than a five miles at a time and never in heavy traffic. Unfortunately, I’ve let myself develop quite the phobia of driving over bridges, getting sandwiched between big trucks, driving next to a median, passing other cars, etc. It wasn’t easy–there was snow earlier in the day and the schools had even been closed. The road conditions were okay, but what freaked me out was that the snow had blown on all the highway signs, and I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to find my exits. I was very tense, but I made it. It was worth the stress–not because of some abstract reason of facing my fear, but because I did something important for someone I love. And by the way, the doctor’s appointment went well.

The Courage to Be Ordinary

my_collage_by_Fuzel-3It’s the end of the year. People are blogging about their favorite memories, their biggest challenges, and their hopes and plans for the new year. I haven’t had the energy for introspection. And I’m okay with that.

Instead, I’m making a simple plan: embrace being ordinary, even average. In our culture of striving for excellence, this plan is going to take courage.

Here are some gems I found to inspire me, and maybe you, too…

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“Often we take for granted just being ordinary. We feel the constant pressure to compete, to excel, and to be special. The fact is most people are average with respect to any particular human characteristic. That is the definition of average. And yet many are not satisfied with the average or ordinary and tend to be discontent and always striving. It is a great relief and healing when you realize that just being ordinary and your ordinary life are wonderful gifts.”

Healing Zen, by Ellen Birx

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“Now I see that the journey was never meant to lead to some new and improved version of me; that it has always been about coming home to who I already am.”

Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment, by Katrina Kenison

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Perhaps most tragically, when we work so hard to be special, there is no time to be alive! No time to open our arms to the simple, the average, the everyday. Which is where 99.9% of the life happens and where we get to be who we are!

In Celebration of Being Ordinary, by Jennifer Louden

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“I’m sick of not having the courage to be an absolute nobody.”

Franny and Zooey, by J.D. Salinger