Learning to Live Now

Life is one of those things that we measure by the way it fills.  I once had a supervisor who told me, “Everyone knows what YOU should be doing next.  Family. House. Babies. And they will tell you.  No matter what stage you are in, they will tell you what the next one is. Ignore them.”

This advise has been echoing in my ears for 2 years now and has become resoundingly strong as I live in this summer of Indiana sunshine.

When I booked my flight to come home I gave a little whine about my trip being so long. We’re talking 8 long weeks away from the city I love and the life that I know!  My biggest complaint about coming home is always the paradigm between 1. I’m on vacation and want to hang out with people and enjoy my time off and 2. My life isn’t going forward because I’m not doing anything ‘productive.’  I’m sure this stems from years of viewing life from a deadline/means to ends perspective with a bit of the unsettledness that is the stage of life I’m in.

These whines were cut short by my family.  I was reminded that no one wants to hear me whine on vacation (valid point).  And that my whining takes away from the joy of being home.

And I was struck with the reality of these truths.  So.  I thought about this summer.  What it was and could be and what I wanted it to be.  And I decided to choose joy.  To measure my days not by how they fill my life- but- by how they are filled.

So. I don’t always know what I’m going to do when I wake up.  But I’ve gotten really good at loving this ‘now’ living.  I think it’s called ‘grace.’  (Grace- the power to do what you know is right.)   And there is a certain peace that comes from living in the grace of gratefulness and patience.  I know this is a lesson I’ll probably learn a thousand times.  But, the first baby step of success in it has been fun.

Plus.  Along the way I’ve discovered some things that I like about Indiana!

Things that I like about Indiana:
1. If I don’t have any plans for my day when I wake up, my day still fills up with good things.  And I don’t even have time to be bored in-between.  I might have time for a nap.  Or a long talk with my sister. But not to be bored.  Just the perfect balance I’d say.

2. Everyone has air conditioning.  I spend more time being cold than hot.  That’s a lot to say when it’s 90 degrees outside and you are currently experiencing the medical phenomenon of heat induced hives.

3. Mennos abound.  Yes.  ‘Mennos’ is slang for ‘Mennonite.’  And here we have them in every strip and (almost every) color. Now. I don’t ALWAYS like to drown in a sea of mennos (ba dum- shhh) but- since I see so few of them in my ‘regular’ life- it has been a real pleasure.  Partially because children in little homemade dresses are adorable (and yes, I do stare and smile as I drive by their homes) and partially because as much as I self identify as this urban, educated snob- I am also Mennonite.  It is my first culture.  My fundamental world view.  And connects me in real ways to a community of family and strangers.

4. The food. Specifically- the food at “The Baker’s Nook Bakery and Cafe.” More specifically, my mom’s food.  It’s probably for the best I don’t live here anymore as I am a weakling compared to baked sugars and carbs.  That said, I’m lovin’ these homemade breads, cinnamon rolls, cakes and cookies.  (Not to say I haven’t lodged a formal complaint regarding our lack of green leafy vegetables in the home.)

5. Memory lane.  I always say that Indiana is a great place to be from.  And, when I’m here I get to hang out with my best friends from first grade and youth group and camp and we reminisce and realize that some friendships are lucky enough to last a life time. I also like that these friends know all my people, my stories, my dreams, and remember to ask me about them.  It’s fantastic.

6. Family time.  Living so far from my family usually means that my family time is a little wedge in a Venn diagram.  I have family and I have time, but they rarely overlap.  Well.  This summer they overlap nearly every day.  Sometimes for 5 minutes when we’re doing our hair in the bathroom or when I’m nagging for someone to help dust before our guests arrive.  But sometimes it’s spontaneous dinners at local hot spots and 3 mile walks around ponds.  And I like this the most.

So. Here’s to living Now.

That Family Time

This summer I have the inexplicable privilege of spending several weeks with my family.  At first I wasn’t so sure about this all. I mean, I’m not very good a living in the moment and ‘without a purpose’ (aka- too much free time- if there is such a thing).  So, I made a (functional) nerdy choice and decided to make my goal for the summer to live in the moment and spend time with people I love.  Reverse psychology.  But it’s mostly working.

It helps that I really do love spending time with my family.  And, Indiana is actually beautiful right now (due to the extra green plant life following some intense rains we’ve been having) which makes it easier to love this big sky place.

Also. I’ve been going on walks.  With my sisters.  win win win

Here are some pictures!

(Excuse me for posting so many animal pictures.  But, when we walked by, they just came charging up to the road to greet us.  So.  It really couldn’t be helped.)

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Aside from all the walking, I’ve worked just a little bit for my mother.  It’s been very amusing to see what my brain remembers going back to my old job (like, where to find the twist-ties for example).  And, I’ve been hanging out with other people and doing a wee bit of speech therapy on the side.  Just for one kiddo.  Just enough for me to love it without feeling like I’m actually working over summer break.

Also.  A week ago I missed a step on a dark staircase and fell and scrapped my knee.  This story has some other pathetic details but it has proven to be an excellent conversation piece for me – telling the story, acting out the story, talking about my residual injuries.  I will say, this is the longest I’ve ever had a mostly open wound.  And since it’s this dull pain all the time… I bring it up, like, every 30 minutes.  Like I said, excellent conversation piece.

My sisters try to tell me that no one cares.  That this little knee scrape is of no consequence to others.  But, when you are on break mode like me and the nerves in your knee are telling you brain every 3 seconds about the pain therein- there is no completing information in my brain to mute these nerve announcements.  So, instead of talking about funny things my kids said today or obnoxious people on the train… I just say, “Do you think I should put more salve on my knee Vanessa?”  What can I say, older sisters have a very important job- to pick on their younger sisters.  And well.  For once, I have the time and energy to do just that!

So.. here’s to more walks on country roads and conversations about my knee cap. #summerhappy #happysummer

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