A different perspective…

This photo is from a recent evening, right in my front yard. I heard there would be auroras visible, so we went outside. At first, it just seemed like lighter cloud streaks in the sky. Then I took my phone out to take a picture, and the magic dancing lights appeared. I’ve tried to take pictures of the moon before and those rarely turn out. For some reason, the northern lights like to have their picture taken. The greens and purples showed up on my phone just like I remembered them.

My husband and I started dating the summer after my freshman year in college. I was home for the summer near Fargo, ND and we started dating after a 4-H conference. When fall came, I went back to college in Grand Forks (80 miles north). I was a resident assistant my sophomore year. We continued dating, but that meant quite a few trips back and forth for both of us. Some of those trips back to Grand Forks were pretty late at night. It was common to see the auroras dancing across the sky as I drove back to my dorm. The greens and purples would ebb and flow like waves across the night sky. There was no city lights to get in the way.

The reason why the aurora looked brighter on my phone than in real life recently, is because the human eye cannot see faint colors at night. So last year, when my sister and I were driving all over trying to see them, we might have been able to if we took out our phones. It’s a different perspective. It got me thinking about how sometimes we need to change our perspective in our lives also. Taking a step back and looking at things through a different lens might reveal something beautiful.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. May your “different perspective” bring you clarity and beauty.

Evening fears…

“Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I die before I awake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.” This hung in my room when I was little. I said the prayer every night, but was always scared of dying in my sleep. It wasn’t until we had our first son that I learned of an alternate ending. Instead of dying, the stuffed bunny he got for a baby gift said, “The angels watch me through the night until I wake in morning light.” That sure was as a much better ending! This isn’t an isolated thing though. Several nursery rhymes and children’s stories are actually about death or something you probably wouldn’t want your baby or child to go through.

I tried to research why they are so dark, but couldn’t find one common answer. It ranged from “wanting to keep children compliant,” to “hidden meaning tied to historical events.” If fear was one of the reasons, they were successful, at least for me. I feel like fear is either a motivator or it’s something that causes you to grind to a halt. Kind of like cilantro or beets – one way or the other. (I’ve never met someone who kind of likes either of those things… either you like them, or you think cilantro tastes like soap and beets taste like dirt.)

It got me thinking about fear, and how many times I’ve been stuck in a loop. Usually, fear of failure is a recurring one for me. I’m not sure why. I’m sure a few therapy sessions might uncover that, but I know I’m not alone. Fear of failure has kept me from moving forward many times. I have pushed through fear and done things anyway, so you would think that would show me I can do hard things. I survived cancer (scary), I’ve moved my family to a new city & state (also scary), I’ve been published in a book… I’m sure there are more examples of things I’ve done that were wrapped in fear.

I’m not a medical professional or psychiatrist, so perhaps this is just a pep talk for myself as I embark on something scary. I graduate from my evening copywriting class next week. It’s a new skill in my toolbox, but it’s scary. As someone who is sensitive to rejection, there is an additional layer of fear associated with this new thing. “May your faith be bigger than your fear,” although I’m not sure I believe it’s a matter of size of faith that squashes fear. You’ve probably seen the motivational saying, “But what if you fly?” Instead of worrying about the fear of failure, I’m going to welcome in the paradise of possibility. Maybe I’ll move that unicorn over to joy.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. I encourage you to listen to Francesca Battistelli’s song, “The Breakup Song.” She breaks up with fear. It’s a good one.

The City that Never Sleeps?

NYC from Staten Island Ferry

I took last week off from writing since we were traveling. What started out as a request to go to Scranton, PA (due to The Office TV show) turned into a trip to NYC. I’m not sure the city never sleeps, but they are pretty quiet before 6am. We went to MSP early due to snow & ice storms. We got delayed due to weather going out there, but we made it. Luckily I didn’t have reservations for anything the day we arrived. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel near Times Square (thanks to IHG points!) It was a great location & allowed us to walk to most of the things we wanted to see. Our two Broadway shows happened to be next to & across the street from the hotel.

I chronicled our trip on Facebook. I felt a little bad about posting so many pics, but I knew my family would want to see what we were up to. Turns out that a friend from NYC liked to see it from a tourist perspective. One friend liked to see what tips we had for their upcoming trip. And, some liked to see it since they hadn’t been there before. Of course there are always comments of, “You sure do take a lot of trips,” but I’ve learned to not let that bother me as much. Time with kids at home goes quickly and it’s something you don’t get back. The trip was relatively inexpensive and we packed a TON of stuff into the time we were there.

Highlight of the trip? It’s hard to narrow down. Being on the Today show plaza, seeing the Tonight Show and Late Night in person, spending an afternoon in Chinatown & Little Italy with friends, doing a day trip to see all of the places referenced in The Office, freezing on the top deck of the bus tour, Broadway shows, and of course the food… hard to pick a favorite. My most favorite of all was getting to spend the time together. We navigated subways, taxis, Times Square, the Ferry and more. We went to a lighthouse museum and got a (long) personal tour from the light house museum guy. We didn’t get mugged or see rats (ha ha). It was cooler temps than we had planned, but we made it work. My husband, who is not a fan of musicals, was a good sport when we ended up in the FRONT ROW of the Chicago musical. We did a lot of walking, but I’m so glad we didn’t rent a car (other than the day trip to PA). I would not have liked to drive in the city and parking is expensive and tight. Plus, 20k steps per day burns off NYC cheesecake!

Since our youngest son modeled his show partly after Jimmy Fallon, it was cool to get to see it in person. The tickets to the shows are free, but they don’t release them until the month before. It’s quite a process of waiting to find out if you got tickets, then waiting to get checked in & waiting in the Peacock lounge before the show. Of course there are no pictures allowed in the studios, but they were much smaller in person than they seem on TV.

SNL tickets are more difficult to get, so we didn’t see it this time.

We (Cam) found the bridge from the movie Elf where they have a snowball fight in Central Park.

We didn’t take a horse/carriage ride, see the FAO toy store, the Intrepid or Botanical Gardens, but we did get to a lot of things on our list. It had been over 30 years since I was in NYC, and this was the first time for my husband & son. I was a little reluctant to go back, but I’m so glad we did. My feet were sore but my heart was full.

Peace be with you on your journey of enough. Life is short, I took the trip & will continue to do so.