Monday, December 28, 2015

Expectations or Hope?

Since Christmas break began, I have taken a yoga class every day that Yoga Pod has been open. It has been so enjoyable to take a class in the middle of the day instead of always having to find the time to get back to the Pod after a full day of work and getting dinner on the table at a semi-healthy time. I do love ending my day with yoga, but wow.... I have LOVED nestling my practice into my mid-morning or my mid-afternoon time...

Most yoga instructors will ask you to set an intention for your practice before you begin each class. Setting an intention really helps you to actually focus during those 60-75 minutes, rather than having to argue with yourself about what things you will or won't think about during each pose. I try to faithfully do this each class; sometimes I am more successful than others. But this last week, on Dec. 24, I finally found the real POWER in this simple focusing activity.

Mia, our instructor, started our class with acknowledging how frenetic the coming hours were going to be for us. No matter what our role was in our family's Christmas Eve & Christmas Day activities, the days had the potential to be crazy and perhaps even draining. She asked us to all set the same intention that morning-- to consider whether we were entering the holiday with EXPECTATIONS or with HOPE. I am sure that her challenge was, to most, just a typical focus task, but because of the way I am wired, it really resonated with me. 

Because I EXPECT a LOT.

I set high expectations for myself, for my family, for those I work with, and even for the way I think things are supposed to go. I set expectations for my schedule, for my day, and for each event of which I am a part. 
And needless to say, I am often the point that I actually experience PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS of discomfort when my expectations are not met.

Mia challenged us to NOT enter Christmas 2015 with expectations, but instead with HOPE. She reminded us that many of our expectations will most likely meet disappointment, but hope...well, hope never disappoints.

As the mom/wife/host/professional who overplans and overschedules and overexpects, I took her words to the point that I found tears running down my face several times during those 60 minutes in class. It was as if the tears represented the relief I was feeling about potentially NOT being disappointed on Dec. 24 and 25 when my expectations might not be met. 


I thanked Mia at the end of class for her challenge, and then I headed home to begin the Christmas Eve preparations.

Most things went just as I had planned...a few did not. 
I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of our Christmas this year.
I did not worry about details or minutiae. 
I did not fret about clocks or deadlines. 
I was simply PRESENT for my family and it was absolutely amazing....
No stress.
No worries.
Just joy.

I am so appreciative of what yoga has done for my life. 
It is not just strengthening me physically. 
                             I believe that it truly is transforming me.                                    

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Reflections

As I sit here with my morning coffee in the quiet pre-Macy's Parade hours, I am pausing to reflect on the real meaning of today. Yes, we are thankful all 365 days of the year for many different things and for many different reasons, but there is something magical and extra special about THIS day. It definitely comes with its own TO DO list based on where you live and the role you play in your family, but even in the midst of the very long and labor-intensive Thanksgiving Dinner Preparation list, I still hold to the belief that today is shrouded in some kind of wonderful "magic". 

Even just looking at my own list for this morning, I feel the magic...
  • The turkey is in the oven, slathered with SYM infused butter. 
  • The table is set using our "good" Rosendal dishes from Denmark.
  • The cornbread is crumbled and waiting to be assembled into traditional cornbread dressing (because stuffing is for pillows). 
  • The eggs are boiling, which is the first step to getting them deviled. 
  • All the sides are just waiting to be assembled at exactly the right time and with exactly the right ingredients.
  • The list is made with precisely scheduled times of when I will take what from the oven and when I will put what in.
  • And each member of the family is tucked away in their beds, not really knowing what all goes into making this meal all come together at exactly 1:00pm. (And I would not have it any other way!)
These things may not be magical for you, but they are reminders to me of the investment that I WILLINGLY make in my family every single day. Some days I do better than others and some days, I just want to ask for a do-over, but MOST nights I can put my head on the pillow, knowing that everything I did was for them. I want what I do in my life to make their lives a little richer, a little fuller, and yes, even a little easier. 

I play many different roles on a daily basis-- from wife to mom to MoMo to mother-in-law (still figuring that one out with my SPURS-loving SIL) to daughter to sister. Each role is so important and so defining of my inner character. But regardless of which role my crew sees me in most often, I hope and pray that they would attest to the fact that within that role I GIVE. I don't want to be remembered for anything other than that-- I want them to know that I exist to GIVE to them. Sometimes the giving is tangible --just like today's meal-- but most days it's invisible. Sometimes what I think I am giving and what they are receiving (or wanting to receive) are not always the same, so we wake up the next day and try a little harder. Sometimes that giving comes as simple encouragement. Sometimes it has the face of accountability. Sometimes it comes in a bleacher or in a text message or in a plate of leftovers. And sometimes it is just a presence. Being quiet and not saying a word--just being. And while that one is the hardest for this advice-giving/world-problem-fixing mom, that one just might be the most important type of all.

So honestly, my hope today on this special Thanksgiving Day 2015 is for Mads, Jess, Jacob, Corrie, Jeff, Dad, and Jennifer to know that I want to give of myself to them and for them every single day.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's just a nose....Right?

I had another post-op follow-up this past week.
First of all, I need to affirm my doctor once again. Dr. Cooks-Norris from The Woodlands Skin Surgery Center is just amazing. Not only is he highly competent, but he is so personable and really takes the time to get to know his patients on an individual level.

He said that he is really happy with my progress. 
I am about 100 days out from my surgery and from his perspective, I am right where I should be in my healing.

Of course, I still have no feeling in the right side of my nose (which he said could last for 6 or 7 months), so when I am really cold and my nose is chilled, it's actually only 50% chilled. 

He did say that two pieces of my scars are in need of a little extra therapy. Yes, I do therapy on my nose-- twice a day, in fact. (Can you picture what nose therapy looks like?!)

Well, one section is rocking with the therapy, but 2 spots need a little more of my focus and intention. Dr. Cooks-Norris said that anyone just meeting me would never know the trauma my nose had been through, but he does validate that THIS IS MY FACE, so he taught me how to really get those scars doing what we want them to do so that my face is returned (as much as possible) to how it "used to be".

He then said that after my next post-op appt. in January, we could make the decision that if I am not satisfied with the progress, he could go back in and tweak those 2 spots. Yes, another surgery. And yes, more anesthesia, so more months of a numb nose. 

I just cocked my head looked at him when he said that.
And remember when I affirmed how much he KNOWS his patients?
He immediately responded with:
    "Kelli, you have never been one of those patients that is concerned with vanity or restoring things to 'how they were before the cancer', so another surgery is most likely not what you would want."

Uh, YEAH. He nailed it.

My response was pretty simple:
    "Even with the 2 not-so-perfect-scars, my nose is cancer-free and that is all I am concerned about. So I will work a little harder on those 2 areas and then the nose I get is the nose I get."

He smiled and nodded and said he already knew before he offered the second surgery what my response would be.

After all, it's just a nose, right?