Category Archives: goals

Paradise.

I have been working and (sometimes) running a lot recently.

I find myself working out common hormone, stress and life change ailments in the duration of a run.  Sport fascinates me. Elite athletes amaze me. I’m amazed and terribly humbled by many things daily.  I’m taking this as a suggestion that my spirit is growing and the universe sees fit to continue to drop me to my knees enough to pray and say thank you.

Some people take offense to my belief that the universe, or more specifically the creator, humbles us.  I am not bothered by that. I understand the conflict. I believe for me, as a human, it is my nature to suffer to some extent. Without this challenge I would struggle with my own sense of purpose. Believe me, I’d love it if there were not the case. But, I’m not a holy creature, God or a divine one.  I’m just an aging chick with some challenges. For now this works for me. Years ago I would have felt differently I’m sure.  Years ago I blogged about dating, my father’s alcoholism, being Indian and learning.  Those things are still important, but they are not everything.

By no means do I think or believe the creator does not love me. Nor do I believe that there is an anvil waiting for me to pass under her slippery face.

I think a lot about what I want my son to know about me, to see, to believe.  I want him to learn kindness, courage, when to be brave,patience, and ways to practice kindness.  I feel like the world I live in has much kindness but could use more.  I see reactionary behaviors everyday, people making excuses for shit behavior. I have to walk away sometimes, I’m not a fucking saint. But, the collective hurt, it hurts me. I don’t know understand it. I suppose now is not the time to ponder this, but I’m sharing as an observation.

Anyhow, I digress, I just thought I’d share & say I’m still here, growing, changing, laughing. 

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The charge of loss.

I wrote this the other day, and it made me cry:

I met someone in a professional setting recently and he asked me how I felt about the Navajo Nation and it’s problems. It seemed like the beginning of a conversation but turned into a mini lecture.  I thought he wanted to talk about the basics: addiction, poverty, low educational attainment.  Instead he offered up modernism.  According to him all the problems with the youth on the Navajo reservation are due to modernism and “being lost.”

He said modernism has overtaken the reservation and the current generation has lost its way.  He told me that the elders spoke our language, but noted that the children did not.  There’s a gap he said, a generation gap.  Some reference to tv.  Not enough time sitting under trees.  He wondered if I was willing (and able) to sway the youth back to their rightful place as keepers of our culture.

I think I may have chuckled a loud both confused and surprised to find myself the middle of the conversation with the expectation that I say something clever, yet oh-so-Indian to convince him I am not in fact modern myself. (Drats, for I am.)

I think he meant it as both a challenge and an attack.  He then went on to discuss how with all “our” (mine) education and “fancy” certifications that we don’t know what’s therapeutic for our children.  (The Navajo children, the children on the reservation.) There was more about “us” not being able to think outside our educated box.  Us being me.

I wanted to ask him about trauma and how he felt that affected these lost children.  I had statistics and research at the ready.  There was no pause to interject.  I wanted to talk about psychotherapy and it’s benefits.  I wanted to ask how he felt about doing therapy in Navajo and how he documented such exchanges.  But, since the children don’t speak Navajo I realized I had an answer.  I began to suspect my educated, experienced and evidenced-based version of psychotherapy was not seen as helpful because it represented the enemy.  An enemy had he named but had not yet slain.

I think he wanted me to pick a side, to state my intentions, to say something:  the White world is terrible!  To shout, ” Navajo Nation is king!” or something equally masculine and heroic. I did not.  I don’t recall how we changed subjects, but we did and we talked about play therapy.  I never put my flag in the ground.

This battle is not new.  I suspect many urban Indians have debated, defended, argued for and clarified modernism.  We’re well aware of our unofficial status as apples (red on the outside, White on the inside) for our decision(s) to move off the reservation.

Our families on the reservation (including mine) do not let us forget we have moved and have left the ways of our people.  Every holiday, every weekend spent off our ancestral home is a reminder that we have abandoned the flock. (Or so I’ve been told.)

Saving the reservation seems wonderful.  It’s a dream I’ve had too.  And the older I get, the more I realize maybe it is just that-a dream.  There are massive barriers and little support.

When I go home I meet tribal members who are quick to judge me.  Who would rather argue and try to slice me up than talk about the social issues, the high teen pregnancy rates, the high suicide rates and come up with a plan.  They insinuate and tell me that I’ve led the charge of loss because I left the reservation and therefore must have left my culture there too.  Fortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

I’m a different Indian having left.  Yes, I’m one that likes Angry Birds and cooking Chinese food, but I’m not bad, just different.

Christmas Ornament swap.

I’ve always wanted to get involved in a swap. For a while now I’ve lurked around craftland and watching all these great swaps. By chance there was an ornament swap starting so I jumped in.

I crafted 10 tree ornaments. I used green felt, embroidery thread, buttons, ric rack, some ribbon and a few odds and ends. The felt I used is made from recycled plastic bottles, I love that!  The ornaments came out pretty great.  I originally wanted to machine sew and stuff them but after a few of those I revisited my design and decided to make the rest of them flat.  Making them flat gave me a few more options in terms of decoration.  I machine stitched some parts and closed them up by hand with embroidery thread.  I bought some packing material, it’s not often that I mail ten packages. What’s fun is this swap is also international so I sent a package to Estonia. I’m hopeful that package reaches its intended owner, but to be safe I made a couple of extra trees.

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I’m excited to see what I get in exchange; it will be an exciting month with ornaments coming in the mail (for the swap you mail 10 ornaments and should get 10 back from different people).

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Dog days.

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I was on call last week for two clinics, mine & one an hour away. Fortunately it went by quickly. I’ve got a bit of paperwork to finish and I’m feeling pretty grateful that it’s over.

My mom wrote & encouraged I take care of myself, she’s worried I work too much. I probably do but work needs to be done & the boys & I have to eat. So, cheers to balance-that sometimes elusive period.

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Quilting

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I finished my first lap quilt this weekend. I stitched in the ditch & did my first binding, I think I need more practice on the corners but overall was pretty happy with the outcome.

I’m on double call this week so the boys went to CA. Left with a free day this weekend I stitched, ate lemon cake & watched Grays Anatomy. I can’t wait to ship this to my nieces in New Mexico.

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Expanding.

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I’ve been excited all week to tinker with my new sewing machine. Today I finally tackled
an ottoman update -I’m pretty happy with the results. I got a bit of Amy Butler home fabric, took the old material apart (used that as the template) & reused the zipper/velcro. I experimented with some fancy elastic supporting stitches. It’s great to have a machine with a variety of stitches, I feel like this whole world has opened up to me. The last photo is of the ottoman.

Last week we attended (and had a great time) at Minis in the Mountains. I got travel sick during one of the runs but nobody wants that racket so I’ll just pretend it didn’t happen. I also discovered a new beer. Photos posted.

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Balance

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I love when I stumble upon a clean, honest & inspiring blog. The posts about balance are especially well explained.

Kale is 2 and a half, balancing my desires to be a good mother & have a career that is fulfilling & provides for our family isn’t easy.

There are days I envy stay at home mothers and romanticize all the things they get to do & see. Days I wish I had chosen a less demanding career & when frustrated second guessed my ability to do all things well. Some days I don’t feel that I’ve gotten everything I wanted accomplished. Some days I feel other people want too much & offer very little in return.

Fortunately, that’s not the case most days. I’m blessed with quality time with my son & rejoice in his laughter & cherish the chalk drawing, Iron-man-pretending moments that fade like water on a farm.

I won’t even go into balancing a marriage, my husband is often the last person in our family who gets what he wants. He’s the most patient & always the first to step up when the chips are down. Without him, none of it would work.

Insert awesome paragraph about how it takes a village to raise a child & in that village you will find our families & our friends.

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Thinking about home.

Fun fact:  Indian tribes control 3 percent of the total national oil and gas reserves and 7 to 13 percent of the US coal deposits. We also control extensive amounts of the uranium deposits and fishing rights in Washington and Oregon.

I’m reviewing Silko’s Yellow Woman and a Beauty of the Spirit.  It’s harder to read about injustice as a young adult.  When I was in college I had so much teen angst and personal confusion about that world that learning about it didn’t inspire much more than simple  furious contempt.  These days with a young son and a family I worry about Indians.  I worry about our “rights” and how long we’ll have them.  I worry about social issues.  I worry about our high rates of suicide, alcoholism and diabetes.

I’ve begun to appreciate the small and powerful group of Natives who actively protest injustices; I sing silence praises for their ability to speak up and put themselves out there to make our causes known.  I say our because I believe we are all connected.  My tribal rights are connected to the rights of other tribes.  There’s a nasty domino effect that could happen if congress is feeling especially testy or greedy.

As a child I was outspoken and curious.  My parents teased that I’d be an “AIM Indian.”  I didn’t know what that meant but their tone insinuated it was something terrible, it was akin to marrying outside the tribe or being thrown in the drunk tank.  I’ve never been thrown in the drunk tank, or any tank for that matter.  And I’m not an AIM Indian, I may never be one.  But there are days I seriously consider taking up a cause.  After all, if I don’t speak up-who will?  Who’s going to make things better for Kale? Who’s going to advocate for better (and local) mental health services for Indian nations?

On growing.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted and I’m a bit sorry about that.  Despite my wish to post on a more regular basis, it hasn’t happened.  What has happened is a lot of other good things: work, driving, more work, time with Kale, time with the BC‘s and just general exploration of this beautiful Kansas landscape. 

Driving to work (ok, it’s the getting up part) has been both a blessing and a challenge for me.  I drive 82.2 miles one-way to work.  Mind you in Phoenix I drove about .5 miles (including a Starbucks stop in the opposite direction) to get to work.  It’s taken some pep talks to get up and get into the car.  Once I’m in the car I’m fine. 

Don’t get me wrong, I really love the place I work and the people I work with are kind, caring and inspirational.  I think my boss is one of- if not (so far) the best boss I’ve ever had.  That alone speaks volumes because I’ve had some pretty amazing bosses and supervisors. There are some wonderful opportunities in the works that would both increase my skills as a therapist but also as a human being.

Despite the wonderfulness, it hasn’t been an easy transition.  I miss my old team.  I miss the Arizona sun.  I miss hiking, walking, running and all things outside.  I miss our big old house.  I miss the smell of concrete (that surprises me).  I miss the different types of food.  I miss availability: I could think of or learn about something and go get it.

However, there’s so much to love here.  The beef is amazing.  You might think I’m crazy but Kansas has produce and meat that  would make your organic grocer wet his pants.  The people are kind.  Some of them are odd, but for the most part they really seem to care about things.  My employer and peers are family oriented, so is this area.  The sunrise and sunsets are marvelous.  Most importantly, the BC’s are here.  They melt my heart.  Kale has grown so much.  He’s so joyful when it comes to his aunt, uncles, cousins and his grandmother.  Every according to him-everyone personally belongs to him.

I found this quote the other day and it resonated with me: There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense and the wise counsel of people we trust. But we lean forward nonetheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do. We refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead.
Howard Schultz-Starbucks CE

I’m not exactly where all these little (and big) actions will lead, but I’m hopeful that something amazing will come of it. Some things already have. 🙂