Archive for family

Moving

Posted in Present with tags , , , , , , , on February 23, 2011 by Shea Atkin

We are moving in 2 days.  Moving has always created anxiety for me.  In the past 7 years, Matt and I have never stayed in the same residence for more than a year.  And here we go again.  This time, I am thoroughly feeling it.  I’m tired of having to go through the same routine, but at the same time, thankful that things are finally starting to fall into place–slowly.

Mostly all of my stuff is in boxes.  I am looking for things to no avail.  So I decided to sit down and blog about it instead of going crazy in my head.  Over the past year in our current apartment, we have gone through some major changes.  I very much look forward to starting over (again), but I appreciate the times that we have spent here.  I know that moving isn’t going to change everything, but it will lend the opportunity to make positive changes.  Ollie can’t wait to play in the “big yard”.  It’s the little things that I am excited about.  Like the fact that we can finally have a grill again.  And I can sit outside in a hammock with beautiful trees to shade from the hot sun.  We can get a slip-n-slide for the ridiculously excruciating summer months instead of being cooped up in a top floor apartment.  We will have wood floors and a big tile kitchen that Matt finally gets to decorate in London theme.  We will have Crystal living with us to hang out with Ollie.  The list could go on forever.

I go into this new move with much gratitude.  The first time I walked onto the premises, I felt healing.  This will be a healing home.  I don’t know what that means exactly, but I know that it will be a safe place to just ‘be’.

Moving means a lot of different things, but this time it will be on purpose.  It’s time to say goodbye to certain aspects of the past and move forward with a positive direction.  This year is going to be special and unique.

Instead of stressing about where my toenail clippers are, I will just take a deep breath and know that everything will fall into place eventually.  I’d rather enjoy the last couple of days here rather than fight it.  I’m so tired of fighting.

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Prejudice

Posted in Life, Present with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 28, 2011 by Shea Atkin

 

It’s not just about color.  What if we decided to just banish preconceived notions altogether?

 

PREJUDICE–

1.  An unfavorable opinion or feeling formed beforehand or without knowledge, thought or reason.

2. Any preconceived opinion or feeling, either favorable or unfavorable.

3. Unreasonable feelings, opinions or attitudes, especially of a hostile nature, regarding a racial, religious or national group.

4.  Damage or injury; detriment

http://www.dictionary.com

As I read these definitions, I think about how many times I have been guilty of it.  This hits home on a variety of levels.  I think of all the times I have prejudged an instance before it even took place–most of the time resulting in a one-sided approach on my part (because I have already decided the outcome).  Whether good or bad, this means that I was not currently living in the present.  It means that I already had judgement.

How different it would be if I arrived with an open mind.

Learning to see past my pre-judgements, if truly embraced, changes the course of my life.

Instead of assuming, I would listen for commonalities.

I would be able to love with no strings attached.

I would wake up each day without fear of what lies ahead.

We would all be able to share in the fact that we are, in fact, all in the human race–TOGETHER.

My adversaries would become my partners.

There would be no war.

 

Utopia?  Perhaps.  But I don’t think it’s too far fetched if we just allowed understanding and decency into our worlds.

I’m not naive to our current condition.  However, this concept is needed more now than ever.  If we continue to live in ‘life bubbles’, the world around us crumbles and we remain isolated and destruction takes place without knowledge.  It takes hard work and pushing our own buttons (and ego) to purge the inactivity.  Most of the time, we aren’t even aware that we possess a certain prejudice.  It surfaces when least expected and then is pushed back down because of shame or unwillingness to address it.

I choose to start each day with the willingness to admit if I’m wrong.  This doesn’t mean I become a doormat, it means that the weight of the world on my shoulders, lifts.  If I am upset about something (or someone), I pull out a notebook and start writing what area of my life this affects.  From there I can trace it back to the root.  I write out a gratitude list when I’m not feeling particularly grateful for anything.  These steps get me out of myself and into service for others, and in turn, shifts my perspective.

Adhering to the way I always did things is just pure insanity.  If I want change, guess what?  I have to initiate it.  No one can do it for me.  I have to accept the responsibility, follow through, and persevere.  Thank God I’m not in it alone.  There is no way I could do it by myself.  It takes a village and thankfully I’ve got some pretty amazing neighbors in mine.

I pray peace, understanding and willingness to the reader.  I’m in the same boat.  We all are.  Let’s make it a better and richer existence by listening, accepting and loving.

 

 

 

 

It’s okay to feel good.

Posted in Present with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 2, 2010 by Shea Atkin

Today has been incredibly needed.

I woke up with the intention of being fully present–so I was (and am).

My husband and I took our 2 year old son to the plantation that we were married.  What a different appreciation and perspective that was!  6 years ago, we were looking for perfect photo opportunities–this time, we had a camera, but it was all about the moment.  Ollie was running free, so uninhibited and happy.  He had his parents at a safe enough distance that he felt independent–yet engaged in the roaming and adventuring.  Matt and I were reminiscing about how it looked with all of our decorations years ago, and how it looks now.  The cell phones were off–the outside world was at a distance–it was just the 3 of us, in our own little world.  We were out there for roughly an hour, but it felt like we were lost in time.  Nothing else mattered except for the time were were spending together, being present. Even though it was only 60 minutes (give or take), the quality of that time far surpassed the hours of time spent being somewhere else mentally even though we could all be sitting in the same room together.

Quality time feels good to the soul.  It is what was intended before technology came to town.  It’s all about relearning the basics.  I get so lost in trying to keep up with culture, I forget that what I have is truly what I want.  I have a husband and son who love me, friends that are there for me in good times and bad, a roof over my head, a job that I love and a city that makes me feel at home.  The list could go on and on of things I am grateful for.

Being “actively present” does not come naturally to me.  It’s something that I have to work at.  My mind defaults to working on the past or the future, and the present disappears from the radar.  I learned today, that by being present–sometimes those things naturally clear by themselves.

I will continue the day by nourishing my soul.  Doing things that made me feel good.  Cultivating relationships, being nice, being present.  Not thinking anyone expects anything from me.   It is very empowering.  I feel loved, worthy and fortunate (not something that I normally feel)–so I will continue to savor every second of it.

Family Matters

Posted in Present with tags , , on October 18, 2010 by Shea Atkin

Sometimes my water seems just as thick as blood.

A good friend of mine has always said “my friends are the family that I get to choose.”

Recently, I have undergone a major reconciliation phase–for lack of a better description.

What I have encountered is an indescribable amount grace, acceptance and unconditional love from water and blood.

In no way am I discrediting family–but for me–my family that I chose (or rather, graciously chose me), have been the model of family structure.

Gracious when I make mistakes, and quick to forgive me.

Acceptance of my character defects–

And love that surpasses knowledge of why.

As the years go by, I have often tried to wrap my heart around the concept of grace–particularly in reference to God’s.  As defined:

“Grace-

A disposition to be generous or helpful; goodwill.
b. Mercy; clemency.
5. A favor rendered by one who need not do so; indulgence.
6. A temporary immunity or exemption; a reprieve.
a. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.”
To me, it’s beyond human comprehension–a matter of spiritual proportions.
It has nothing to do with the thickness of a certain element–it has to do with the condition of the heart.
In essence–I love my friends as if they are family.  Because they are.
The real challenge is to love my family as if they were friends.
That is where the journey of grace truly begins.