In the unexpectedly, delightfully simple Christmas celebrations we had, I actually had time to write a little ‘year end’ note to put in most of our holiday cards. (I don’t do “Christmas” cards, they need a more generic term in order to make it work for me since I usually end up still delivering them well into January.) As I shared in that note, part of my brain is apparently much too tired to remember a good portion of the year. But now that I started digging into those cavernous spaces, I find myself remembering some good things. It’s not that I only wanted to share good things in that note (as Nate and I both tend towards wanting to share the real rather than the sugar coated version of life) but the act of remembering the good things was one of the things I would have shared, if I had remembered. Ha.
Pows & Wows
During our summer vacation at Cannon Beach, Nate instigated a new family tradition that has actually stuck: Pows & Wows. He got the idea from some retreat he went to, and we adapted it for family dinner time conversation. Call it a game, call it an exercise, call it a kid-friendly version of some sort of spiritual discipline. Whatever it is, it’s been a good thing this year. Each person has the chance to share a “pow” and a “wow” from their day. A pow is something that was not fun, not good, a bummer, a negative part of the day. A wow is the positive, the good thing, a good experience. There has been something really meaningful in bringing this to our family dinner time. Especially because family dinner time is usually one of the biggest “pow” parts of my/our day. Whether it is the battle over the food, the manners and lack-thereof, the whining and arguing and having to sometimes shout our wows as we attempt to ignore it all…ugh. It can be un-enjoyable.
But one of the ways we try to make it enjoyable is this act of reflecting. We try to say our Pows first because usually those are what are so fresh on the mind and heart. And it makes way for celebrating the wows.
With that, the 2009 Pows (the short list):
1. I did not see my soul-sister friend Freya in person one time. Absolutely unacceptable. Explainable, yeah. Sickness during the planned visit. Hundreds of miles between us; young, dependent children; responsibilities and various roles that don’t necessarily leave a lot of time (or money) for traveling and leisure time with dear friends…but all the same, this is one serious POW that has to motivate change in 2010.
2. Which leads in to the time with community thing. This past week afforded the opportunity for us to have a few hours with some of our dearest friends in a couple of settings. These are Wows. But overall, I would say that I (we, actually) often find ourselves longing for more quality time with people that we are honored to call friends. In all honesty, Nate and I sometimes get caught thinking that people don’t like hanging out with us. I can try to wrap it up in a joke, but I think this is one of the hardest things that we go through individually and sometimes as a couple. This is a recurring Pow, because I sometimes lay in bed at night wondering if people actually like me or if they have to put up with me. Sometimes I don’t think that but still just long for time sharing both the meaningful and trivial parts of life together. Then I get caught into thinking that I should be grateful for what I have and then I start to spiral into feeling bad for feeling bad and it just gets messy. But I think that we (at least me and the husband) are wired for connection with people and are ultimately trying to figure out how 24 hours in a day are optimally used given this desire.
3. Which leads to accounting for the unexpected. Definite Pow for the year is having a loved one dealing with the darkness of depression and addiction, which is much like a Category 5 hurricane with its ability to completely level “normal” life. Without going total Debbie Downer, this actually brings me back to the point of Pows and Wows. As I’ve recently been reading on the disease of addiction, one of the aspects of healing and recovery has to do with “accepting life on life’s terms.” I had to stop and re-read the statements as this ties into control and self-will issues versus acceptance. By no means are people with addiction issues the only ones who face this battle. Accepting life on life’s terms resonates because there are some parts of life that are just plain awful, major Pows…there are tragedies, self-inflicted wounds, thoughtless mistakes and plenty of longed for do-overs. I’m not trying to trivialize pain, but recognize that the whole point of our almost daily Pow & Wow sessions have been to find the reasons for thankfulness, for hope, for laughter and lightness of spirit. I hope that if we can teach our boys to recognize that Pows & Wows can co-exist, than perhaps that battle for the necessary acceptance of life sometimes will be easier for them.
So yes, some days there are countless wows and some days it takes some serious effort to think of just one. But that’s especially part of why I like it so much. Because truly, at the end of the day, we all have a wow to share. Don’t you think?
E: “Calum, do this!”
Instead, he shrieks.
WOW = Cannon Beach
Speaking of Cannon Beach in July…which I was, about 5 paragraphs ago…. I love Cannon Beach and this year when I think of CB, I also think of my sister. She was able to join us for most of our two weeks there in July as well as for a few days in March. I’m so thankful to have an almost 20-year old sister who wants to hang out with me and my family. Sure, the house is a sweet hook-up for her but I’m so grateful that I have had such quality time with her in 2009. Definite Wow.
Being silly…on the roof.
And also about CB in July… it is a place of beauty. It can be breathtaking at times. I hope I never lose my awe for God’s creation and creativity. Who thinks up things like starfish, let alone two-toned starfish?
One of my favorite (repeated) times of life: Sunset at Cannon Beach
WOW = Coldplay concert
I love Coldplay and I love an artistic concert experience. I love that I got to see Coldplay and their return on the $100+ investment was such an incredible experience. And I especially love sharing that experience with good friends, sister and parents who also went. Oh, the bonus? The mini-stage about 20 rows ahead of us that I BOLTED to the moment they came towards it. (Yes, I used the stiff-arm a few times to get there. But who wouldn’t???)
Hello boys. So.Good.To.See.You.
WOW = Trying out for Wheel of Fortune
Does it count as a try out if you don’t even get called up on the stage? Sure, why not!?! This isn’t a huge, momentous “wow” like vacations and concerts, but it represents a part of life that I want to celebrate: being spontaneous, courageous, silly and willing to follow a dream no matter how absurd that dream might sound to some. I have always loved Wheel of Fortune. So has my sister. We trekked to Chinook Winds, along with a couple other thousand people and gave it a shot. Did we make it? No. (Sister got a call back though! I think it had to do with the form I filled out for her, I said some of her hobbies were sketchbooking and daydreaming. They were well stocked with thirtysomething moms of young children I found out quite quickly during the audition games.) Anyway, I am sure some people thought it was borderline ridiculous that I packed up little C after church and drove an hour and a half for a very long shot at something so random, but I did. And it was worth it. It serves as a fun memory and little spark of motivation as I hope to follow more dreams and not just rationalize life away to the confines of only practical and logical living.
I guess the reflection on Vanna is the giveaway that she’s made of cardboard.
WOW = Civil War with my Dad
I Love My Ducks. (Love them, love them, love them.) Prior to the 12/3/09 Civil War, I had been to two Duck games. One was with a friend during her freshmen year at UofO, and I wasn’t as avid a football fan as I have become in the last 10 years. The other one was the stinkbomb the 2002 team laid against WSU (the week after they beat Michigan.) The score was 35-2 at the half. Yes, that’s “2″ as in they only scored a safety. Anyway, back to this year. There was no stinkbomb at Autzen this time around from my Duckies. What a great game. (Seriously, the Rose Bowl loss is barely 24 hours old, and I can still get a warm fuzzy feeling from remembering the Civil War!) This was a “wow” for so many reasons. Yes, they won, it was dramatic (hello two fourth-quarter, fourth down conversions?), it was historic, hard fought and inspiring (hello Autzen crowd while the team is on D). It was an amazing finish to the regular season. And I got to go with my Dad because my Mom is so great and shared her ticket with me! I can’t remember the last time my Dad and I had time together doing something special. I know when I was in high-school he had to help me at the emergency room when I was quite sick…but that doesn’t count. When it comes to some of my passion for sports and especially those Oregon Ducks it’s easy to figure out where I get it from, so I am so glad that we have this memory to share.
Ducks 37 – Beavers 33. A bit excited.
And to close, a few more random WOWs, in picture form…
The boys like their books.
“Santa’s Superhero” – with the power to spread Christmas spirit
Day trip hike at Silver Falls
Celebrating the New Year, “Brazilian”-ish style.