Tuesday, October 7, 2008

You Don't Grow on the Mountaintop...

As I struggle through the first month of a new routine with my daughter's school, and attempt to find the TIME to do all that I aspire to do, I'm reminded that these frustrating times are often the birthplace of greatness. I so desperately want to read, write, run, do yoga, meditate, and shower each day!!! But the truth is, I just can't fit it all in and still manage to be a mother to my two small children. I struggle to find balance, and find it nearly impossible to prioritize. Still, I persevere, and wake each day, excited to give myself any amount of attention I can. I choose to view my circumstances not through the lens of frustration, but through the lens of hopeful expectation. I do not expect that I will create peace and harmony in my inner and outer lives overnight, but I do expect it to happen. I make small choices every day, and I believe that every little bit adds up.

Some days are more "growth" focused than others, but I grow every day. I have stopped worrying if the cup is half full or half empty. Today, I am just so grateful for the cup! I love my life. I love my family. And I approach each day with a spirit of growth. It's easy to forget that I can't really expect too much more from myself.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Pregnant people everywhere

What is up with me being jealous of the pregnant women in my life? One of my close friends is trying to get pregnant. An old friend is pregnant with her first, another good friend is trying to adopt, and my cousin just found out she is pregnant with her third. When I called my husband to tell him, he said that his best friend’s wife was pregnant too. So why am I jealous? I hate being pregnant. I hate every pound of pregnancy! And I am finally at a place (two years post Brady) that I’m content with my physical appearance. I’m totally surprised by my reaction, and yet I have a longing to feel what these women are feeling. It’s not like I don’t think about maybe one day having a third, or that the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy might be fun, it’s just that I thought I was finally happy in the here and now. I thought I was in a “good place” and now, suddenly, I find myself feeling envious. Weird!

I wonder what’s up with that. Maybe it is the whole miracle of life thing. After all, I am on this growth journey, and one of my (up until this point) unconscious intentions is to create miracles (yes, I realize how arrogant that sounds). What more tangible miracle is there? And the idea of a “surprise” pregnancy is even more appealing because it has the touch of the Divine. A baby conceived despite the best efforts to avoid pregnancy is truly “meant to be”. Both of my children were planned (and yet still completely totally meant to be). I wanted them, and felt that their timing was appropriate for what my life could handle. Quinn was conceived shortly after Jim and I got married, and Brady shortly after we bought our three bedroom house with a yard. But the idea of life handing me a baby is so delicious right now. Being forced to surrender to what is, and trust that everything happens for a reason is exactly what I'm trying to accomplish this month. What better way to resign oneself to the flow of life then to allow it to grow inside you, nurturing it while at the same time trusting the process and treasuring every moment of it? And the idea of another child means that life has to change, to grow, to expand, ready or not, because it’s supposed to. Because it was meant to. The idea of it is so enticing, but my practical mind knows better.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Friends are Like Mirrors

So, when I really think about it, I am totally likable, but I have very few real friends. I’ve convinced myself that this is fairly common among women my age. About a year ago, I heard a speaker who talked about how most of us only have three close friends. The point was that we have our number One (God, or our higher self, or whatever you believe), then our “top three” (the people in your inner circle with whom you allow yourself to be truly, or at least relatively, transparent). I remember being a bit scared because I didn’t have a number One, but we’ll get back to that later. I think the point of the speech then went on to talk about our circles of trust or something; I can’t remember. It’s not important now. What I do remember is that it took me no time at all to identify my three “inner circle” friends, and I was a bit surprised at who they were because they are not the three people that I spend the most time with. In fact, I rarely see each of them, and have separate relationships with all three. Yet each helps to shape, guide, encourage, and empower me. They ask the right questions, and gently help to pull back the layers, shed the excuses, and reveal the true and beautiful self dying to emerge. But perhaps the most precious gift that they give, is a patient space to simply be. They reflect me to myself and remind me that no one can show Me to me but Me.

Holiday (that’s her name)

About three and a half years ago, I re-connected with an old college teammate who has been a huge influence on my journey of growth, self discovery, and self empowerment. Holiday is my “God Squad” (That’s what Jim and I call religious people) friend. I don’t consider myself religious, at least not in the conventional “go to church and believe what they tell you” kind of way, but Holiday has been a major influence on me and knowing that she prays for me brings me great comfort. I would not be sitting here writing, and certainly not committing myself to a year of devoted self love and growth if it were not for Holiday. She is one of the few “religious” people who I’ve encountered who is real, honest, vulnerable, sincere, raw, and unafraid to get angry with God, question everything, but continue to grow in faith and enjoy every step of the bumpy ride. I admire her so much for her unyielding faith and conviction and am truly honored that she is willing to share her journey with me. Holiday and I meet most Saturdays for a 6:30 AM run along the beach at Corona del Mar when we talk about everything from religious philosophy to potty-training. We meet each other right where we are, talk, debate, relate, and never judge. I totally love her! And I know she adores my sweet ass too!


Jamie is my bestset bestest friend!!! But she lives in Colorado, so we do most of our connecting over the phone. I love her sarcastic sense of humor and her total acceptance of me and all my weirdness. Jamie and I were also college teammates, but our relationship as friends is unique because our husbands are also BFFs. Jamie and German (her husband) are our only couple friends where Jim and I come into the friendship from the same place. He and German were friends, Jamie and I were friends, and it just worked out that we all married each other. I love my friendship with Jamie because it is so, so real. We know all of each other’s shit… even the really personal and gross stuff (don’t get me started!). I am grateful to have someone in her who loves me, loves Jim, and offers honest and fair advice from a place of non-judgment. I also love that she lives in another state, and that she is a working mom. She offers a perspective outside of my day-to-day world, and often gives me the kick in the ass that I need and deserve. Jamie is the person that I can call to talk to about absolutely anything or absolutely nothing. She accepts me as I am and I love her for it. Plus, she laughs at me and at life. That just might be her best quality.


Angela is someone who I know from high school. I was a senior when she was a freshman, but we ran cross country together, and I kind of took her under my wing. I love her because she is the best listener I have ever met. She is wise beyond her years and yet completely naive. Angela used to come to me for advice when we were younger, but now we come to each other for a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. She recently made a huge life decision to quit her comfortable job in the television industry to go back to school and work in her church. It was a huge risk, and a scary move, but I so admire her courage. She was living a stagnant life that was comfortable and predictable. She gave up her security to follow her heart. Angela is soft spoken, timid, but incredibly brave. She inspires me through her example and willingness to continually work on herself. We meet with another friend once a month at Soupplantation and solve all of each other’s problems over soup, salad, and lots of soft serve! We eat the same things in the same order every time, and have been since high school. That is probably not norma

Friday, August 29, 2008

My Wedding Vows

Just came across them. Still mean every word!

Carrie’s Vows to Jim

Jim, there are no words to describe the depth of my love for you. It amazes me daily and gives me strength in ways that I could never have imagined. But as I stand here today, promising myself to you forever, I’ll attempt to give words to the scope of my love.

Jim, I love you from the tips of your dark, spiky hair, to the ends of your calloused runner’s toes. I love everything that makes you you…the way you can make me smile when I’m angry, the way you laugh too loud in the move theater, your irresistible smile, and all of the idiosyncratic behaviors that make you quirky and weird! I love that you love my family, and that you delight in napping on my parents couch, or torturing Hanna. I love that you don’t let me take myself too seriously, and that you hardly ever know the right thing to say, but you usually know the right thing to do. Jim, I love, admire and respect who you are, and what you bring to our relationship. But most of all, I love “us”. We have fun, and we make a great team. You and I have always been teammates; first at UCI, then at Edison, and now in life. Jim, I promise to always be your teammate.

Do you remember UCI cross country camp in Mammoth the year we first met? We played a team game of truth or dare, and when asked who I thought was the cutest boy on the team, I said you! Then, a few years later, we were best friends. We shared everything; we knew each other’s secret crushes and secret fears. We confided in each other, and trusted in each other. Things did get complicated, when we tried to date, but through it all, we remained good friends. We both knew that our friendship was special, and worth working for and holding on to. Jim, I promise to always be your friend.

It was our friendship that finally brought us together for good. Do you remember that we both got dumped on the same day? You called me, hoping that I would make you feel better, only to discover that I needed your support as much as you needed mine, but we were there for each other. We helped each other to heal. We supported each other. Jim, I promise to always support you.

Soon we found ourselves in a relationship like none we’d ever been in before. We had nothing to hide because we already knew each other’s secrets. Falling in love with you was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, because I guess I’ve always loved you. Sharing my life with you for the past few years has been amazing. You’ve taught me so much. I’ve learned to listen, and I’ve learned that I’m not always right…usually, but not always. J But mostly you’ve taught me the true meaning of commitment. You stood behind me even when you didn’t agree with me. You’ve been honest with me, telling me what I needed to hear, even when it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. And you changed your whole life, your job, where you live, your future plans, so that I could be a part of it. Thank you Jim. Thank you for loving me so much. Thank you for being my committed partner. Jim, I promise to always be your partner.

You are my heart Jimmy, and as I look at the road ahead of us, I know that there will be bumps, but when I look back at the road behind, I see that we’ve already scaled mountains. We can overcome anything if we have each other, and I know that I want to have you forever. I love you so much Jim, and I look forward to growing old with you.

I promise so many things to you today Jim. I promise my undying and unconditional love to you from this moment until forever. I promise to be honest with you and to respect you, to stand by you and to give you strength when times are tough, and to be faithful to you always. Most importantly, I promise to inspire you Jim, to always believe in you, and to give you the support you need to believe in yourself. I will love you, honor you, and cherish you for all the days of my life.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The "Should" List

One of the things suggested in You Can Heal Your Life is to make a list of five or six things (the first few that come to mind) you should do. Here goes:

I should eat fewer sweets.
I should feed my family only organic foods.
I should contribute financially to my household.
I should be more patient with my children.
I should feel happier.
I should let go of my irrational fears about money.
I should write a book.

Okay, so that is seven. Truthfully, I could go on and on… The fact that I could probably continue writing my should list for days tells me that I’m pretty darn judgmental of myself. After all, the word “should” implies that whatever the current situation is, it’s not okay. That’s why I should change it, right? The fact that I can easily think of hundreds of things that I should do, tells me that I might be more of a perfectionist than I’d like to believe. I hate the idea of being a perfectionist. I’m so above that (wink). Shit! Am I really a perfectionist? Am I not as perfect as I thought? Crap!

Louise Hay suggests in You Can Heal Your Life that I replace all of the should statements with “If I really wanted to, I could…”. Here goes:

If I really wanted to I could eat less sweets. But I do really want to. They’re just so good. And that voice in my head is a seductress when it comes to dessert! Okay, if I really wanted to, I could choose not to listen to her. Got it!

If I really wanted to, I could feed my family only organic foods. This may be true, but I don’t want to believe it yet. My current belief is that while I may really want to, there are circumstances preventing it. I can’t afford to buy all organic, and planting a garden is too big a job for me to take on. CRAP! I guess I don’t really want to! I’m disappointed in myself for not wanting to do this. Because I want to want to do it, I just don’t want to go through the hassles of gardening, and I have real issues about spending money (more on this later, I'm sure).

If I really wanted to I could contribute financially to my household. Currently, I don’t really want to. I think being home with my children is more important, but I struggle to meld this idea with my sense of worth tied so strongly to “what I do”. Truth be told, I don’t really want to ever go back to work as I knew it before children. This issue is a huge reason for this year of growth. I want to learn how to live in my strengths, and finance my life from a place of creative passion. Brady is almost two, and I know that I will need to start earning money when he goes to kindergarten. I’m determined to do this without going to “work” in the conventional sense.

If I really wanted to, I could be more patient with my children. I do really want to.

If I really wanted to, I could feel happier. True. I know I choose my attitude, my thoughts, and therefore the accompanying feelings. But some of my old patterns are so conditioned, that I’m not even aware that I’m doing it. Still, I think I am already getting better at this. And I do really want to, or I wouldn’t be going through all of this trouble.

If I really wanted to, I could let go of my irrational fears about money. I know! Ugh! That is what makes this issue so hard for me. I know my fears are irrational. I know I am a weirdo about money, but my issues are such a part of who I think I am. I’m afraid to just let go. I’m afraid to trust that there will always be enough… so there never seems to be enough.

If I really wanted to, I could write a book. I do really want to.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Repressing Passion

Like many middle class Americans, I was raised with the idea that I could become anything I wanted to become. But as the years passed, I picked up on clues that perhaps that wasn’t true. In the third grade, I realized that I had a talent for writing, and thought that I might someday become an author, but as life went on, that seemed to fade into the background as I started to make safer, more stable and secure choices. In other words, I settled. But it wasn’t like I realized that I was doing it. Making a career out of writing seemed like a kind of hard road with no guarantees. People in my life lovingly suggested that I should have a backup plan. Writing is a creative pursuit, but a career must be productive, right? My mom was a nurse, and encouraged me to get my teaching credential (which, incidentally, I never finished) so that I, to use her words “would always have something to fall back on.” That seems like good advice, but unfortunately my subconscious heard “you’ll never be good enough, just settle.” My mom only wanted for my happiness, and I’m sure she felt that security was a big part of that. I took the safer path, becoming a teacher and followed my passion for coaching. I don’t regret those choices because I truly enjoyed those years, but this month has completely reignited my early dreams, and I wonder now, why I didn’t persist. Deep down, I know. I didn’t have the unyielding faith in myself necessary. I wilted at the thought of rejection, without even trying. The vision I hold of myself is not one of a person who settles, and definitely not of someone who quits. It sucks to realize that I chose not to do what I really wanted to, and more importantly, that I have not acted like the person I thought I was.
Most days, I’m grateful that I became a stay-at-home mom. I mean, how many women in America even have that choice? But I certainly didn’t expect to disappear the way that I have. And I fully admit that I use my children as an excuse not to be and do what I truly want. I choose unhappiness and stagnation and then blame it on “what’s best for my kids” knowing fully that what’s best for them is a mom who lives as an example. I hope that they grow up to be healthy, whole, confident, secure in their sense of self, passionate and joyful about life, and certain about their roles in it. They will learn how to be from me and Jim, and it is my duty to learn how to exemplify this for their sakes as much as my own.
I guess I just had no idea how much of my sense of worth was tied up in what I did for a living. But when I chose motherhood as a full time vocation, my self-esteem plummeted. I felt like such a victim. Of course, I loved my sweet baby, but I felt so important to her, yet so utterly useless to the rest of the world, and like a huge (not to mention, smelly, leaky, and out of shape) burden on Jim. I had no idea where to find a sense of approval, and yet I was angry at myself for feeling that I even needed it. And of course there is the dreaded question “…and what do you do?” How can I possibly answer? “Stay at home mom” sounds so dependant. “Domestic Engineer” is just trying too hard. “Just a mom” is a bit demeaning. So, I don’t know what to say. It seems impossible to reduce my role to a catch phrase. And while we’re on the subject, how do I really feel about my role anyways? Now that I’m here (trapped in my house with my kids), I have time (between 5:00 and 6:30 AM, and after 8:00 PM) to re-evaluate the path that I’m on.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Holy Crap, I'm a Blogger!

I can't believe this! I don't do the internet! Sure, I check my email frequently, and my myspace occasionally, but I don't spend time on the internet. Not the way my husband does. He spends hours checking out what's new in cyberspace. He visits his favorite message boards and gets his news from the internet. Not me. I love to read, but reading off a screen has never worked for me. I'm a pen and paper kind of gal. Nonetheless, Here I am.

Almost two months ago, I made a personal commitment to a year of dedicated self-growth. It was kind of like a new year's resolution, only it happened in July. This blog chronicle's the journey!