“Practice kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.”
“You can run after satisfaction, but satisfaction must come from within.”
“The art of longing and the art of belonging must be felt in this world.”
If you stand in front of my kitchen sink facing north, you will see these words scattered on the window sill. Yogi tea quotations litter my wallet, workspace, and mind. Some serve as gentle reminders of the lessons I have already learned, while others, remind me of how much further I still must come.
Cornfields and gravel roads are the backdrop for my childhood. As a good midwesterner, I smiled often and didn’t approach conflict directly. Perhaps as a result, books and journals became constant companions.
My older siblings–my first true friends–and I sat on the couch to hear the news that my parents were getting a divorce. Why were they all crying I wondered? At six years of age, I was oblivious to the way that set-up would rock my world. In the intermission of marriages, my mom took on the role of hero to me, and still plays that role. She supported three children on a salary based nearly entirely on commission. From her, I learned the lessons of perseverance, courage, and determination. My biological father would spend his every-other-weekend visits with us to take us to bookstores and to view sunsets from country roads. I credit those experiences to setting the foundation for a lifelong love of reading and nature. When my mom told us she was remarrying, I was the first to run up and give my stepdad a hug; I loved him already.
The summer before my freshman year at college, I traveled to Europe. The other teenagers I was with called home frequently. I did not call home once. Greedily, I did not want anything to pull me away from my experiences. Three years later, I returned and lived in Trier, Germany for five months. After nearly 24 hours of traveling, I called my boyfriend and mom in frantic tears. Five months later, I cried harder when I had to come home.
Through college, I wrote frantically. Essays. In journals. For the college newspaper. When I graduated, I could not even imagine living a life as a journalist. I wanted to connect with people, not merely get a quote and move on. So, after a year-long stint as an admissions counselor in Seattle, I moved to Denver with my future fiancé, Ben. I began work as a public school English teacher. I aim to instill a passion for reading and writing, but sometimes feel like I am drowning in paperwork and the exhausting emotions of teenagers.
I married my husband, Ben after eight years of courting. Eight months after we were married, we were surprised to learn we were expecting our first child. Linnea Elizabeth was born on October 12, 2011 and my life has never been the same. The day I returned to teaching from a three month blissful maternity leave, a dear friend brought me a coffee mug and a tag with the yogi quotation, “The art of belonging and the art of longing must be felt in this world.” I sobbed and missed my baby.
Although I would spend every, single waking moment with Linnea if I could, I know that is not necessarily healthy for either one of us. I work now because I love what I do, and because I want to set an example to my very impressionable daughter. By pursuing my own passions–professionally and personally–I hope to give her permission to always do the same.
I wake up each day with a sense of gratitude and hope. Gratitude for the love surrounding me. Hope for my life to further reflect those yogi quotations.
The stories and thoughts behind pursuing that goal–being more present–will be chronicled on this blog. Welcome!