At the Pumpkin Patch, version 2014

Last year I posted pics from our visit to the local pumpkin patch, and I have enjoyed going back to that post many times over the past twelve months!  I’m at it again, if for no other reason than to keep my gorgeous, yet still so-very-silly, teenagers right at my fingertips and front and center on my computer screen…

Just a few months after our 2013 trip to the pumpkin patch, I discovered yoga.  This post is not about how significantly that discovery has changed me, so I must force myself to stay on task, but suffice it to say that yoga now trickles into all facets of my world, even pumpkin patch pics.

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First up is a very willing big brother, serving as a leaning post to Angel Girl’s Hollowback Handstand.  Next up came crazy ol’ Mom, attempting a Forearm Stand Stag:

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From there, we abandoned yoga practice and opted for plain, simple fun.IMG_3816IMG_3835 IMG_3848 IMG_3862IMG_3850 IMG_3857

And finally, a few with Mom…

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To say I adore these two is a grievous understatement.  We often have this conversation:

Me: I love you!

Babies: I love you more…

Me: I love you the most!!

Babies:  You always say that.

Me: That’s because you can not possibly understand how full my heart is of love for you.  One day you will look at your own babies, your eyes will tear, your voice will be thick, and your heart will threaten to burst.  And you’ll call me and say, “You were right, Mom, you loved us the most.”

Because no one can love as much as a mom.  Or a dad.  Coach agrees: these two are the purpose for which we live, the greatest gifts we could ever receive, and they have our all.  They are by far our very best accomplishment, and, beyond our marriage and dedication to each other, they are our greatest source of pride.  We will be by their sides forever and always, revealing reason, encouraging effort, offering opinions, giving guidance, and looking on with love.

“His father said to him, ‘Look, dear son, you have always stayed by me, and everything I have is yours.'” – Luke 15:31

The afternoon’s icing on the cake was The Runaway Pumpkin, our very-favorite-of-all-time-Halloween story:

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It is a priceless (to us, anyways) picture book written by Kevin Lewis and illustrated by S.D. Schindler that SonShine received in a kindergarten book exchange back in 2005.  Every year since then, the three of us make sure to sit down and read The Runaway Pumpkin together leading up to Halloween.  It’s a tradition that makes me smile and one I fully intend on continuing long after these two are out of the house, out of their teens, and out on their own beyond college.  Some moments are simply worth it!!

And now for the photo outtakes…oh my!!

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Bless you, Sneezy, I mean SonShine, and thank you for the spot 😉

I am an owl; WHO WHO WHO are you?

I stopped blogging several months ago…we are inundated with text, words, stories, and digital images, and I did not feel that my contribution was adding quality to the world.  Not that it wasn’t enjoyable or fun, just that it wasn’t necessary.  So, I decided to only post if I have something that I think is truly worth hearing, only share stories or ideas that I think are useful, meaningful, and valuable to others.

And now, after 6+ months, I would like to share with you that I am an owl.

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This fall and winter I am participating in a cohort called Leadership Plenty Institute.  Our first session occurred this week and centered around finding “The Leader Within.”  That meant a lot of inner reflection, putting into words our strengths and gifts, and identifying what we hope to accomplish, both in the cohort experience and within ourselves.

One activity we used to define ourselves is called, “What Animal Are You?”  I was asked to think beyond the surface-level attributes of animals and dig past the standard stereotypes of animals to select the animal that best represents me.  You can see from my notes below that I began the task by writing down a characteristic that I see as a strength: big vision, and I immediately thought that the animal’s eyes must be prominent.  Then I wrote/admitted that that I am a better thinker than doer, so my animal needs to be still.  By this point, the image of an owl in a tree popped into my brain.  I went on to write down traits that I exhibit and how those might look in an owl:

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The next portion of the activity was to draw your animal, so I Googled “owl characteristics” thinking I would find a nice coloring book drawing that I could copy.  Instead, the first record returned was the owl entry on a website called The Animal In You Personality Test, and I really loved what I saw:

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I want to be ELOQUENT, SINCERE, and CONSERVATIVE, so I made a squiggly line, and I wrote down those three strong, yet beautiful, words.

Intrigued, I scrolled down to find a few quick facts:

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And then I scrolled even further down to read what I hope is an accurate description of me:  owlpersonality

A few of the keywords and phrases that jumped out at me:

  • great integrity and quiet demeanor
  • always well groomed, noble, elegant
  • a reputation for intelligence with a deeply philosophical bent
  • deep spiritual senses that guide
  • calm, an astute observer of human nature
  • trustworthy and dependable
  • takes responsibility serious with an enormous capacity for hard work

Those SOOOO describe a person I want to be!  Of course, some of the other characteristics that are listed are also spot on:

  • not very playful
  • not hesitant to use razor-sharp tongue
  • has a (huge, in my case) need to impart wisdom to others

But, you know, every rose has its thorn, and if I can be an owl, I am willing to be an owl all the way…and I really, truly wish to be this owl!

This silly, yet surprisingly insightful, exercise has been truly beneficial for me.  I share it with you today because it prompted me to take a focused look at myself, it helped me process what I found when I took that look, and, most importantly, it allowed me to like what I saw.

So, now I have to ask:  What animal are you?