Monday, June 1, 2015

Embracing My Reputation

I have this reputation that I like to drink. More specifically, I like to drink wine. My family gives me a hard time about it..."oh we better stock up on wine, Kate is coming". My college small group girls gave me a large wine glass as a thank you gift. I offer wine when people come over and usually fill my glass first. Basically, if you know me, you know how much I enjoy my beverages.

A couple of months ago this really started to bother me.  I wondered if I have a serious problem. I worried that this reputation would be the only way people know me or remember me. Even my brother in law made a joke about how the only way I would go to cross fit is if they served wine and cheese (although it's very true, it did sting a bit).  I was starting to get offended by this reputation that preceded me.

I told my sister this and how much her husband's comment about cross fit and wine and cheese made me feel shallow and frankly like a boozer. She actually saw it a different way.

She told me that they love that I always want to celebrate and that I enjoy food and wine and being with people. And that it's not a shallow reputation, but a call to the important things in life.  Wine isn't the important thing, but raising a glass with someone you love and haven't seen in awhile is the important thing. Raising a glass on a sunny afternoon in the PNW is a cause for celebration. I began to think about her words and they really shifted my fears and concerns. I don't have a problem.  I can stop drinking wine if I want to.  But I don't want to.

Currently, I am reading a book about finding God in everything - "The Jesuit Guide to (almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life" by James Martin SJ.  This passage really stood out to me:

"For Ignatius many things - no matter how seemingly inconsequential - are occasions for gratitude. You recall them and you "relish" or "savor" them, as he would say. Savoring is an antidote to our increasingly rushed lives...savoring slows us down."

I don't want to have a reputation for drinking too much or needing wine to celebrate, but if my reputation speaks to my longing to savor and to celebrate the simple pleasures in life, well bring on the wine! To pause, to remember, to savor those moments that deserve gratitude takes intention and slowing down. If my reputation is more about celebrating and savoring and less about the wine or other beverage in the glass, then I fully embrace my reputation. It isn't what is the glass or on the plate that matters.  What matters is the heart to savor, to appreciate, to taste and to celebrate.  I think we could use more of that in our rushed, busy, duty-filled lives.

So I embrace my reputation! I like to drink wine, celebrate those I love, taste delicious food and relish simple moments. I will raise a glass to that!  Cheers.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How was your summer?

Now that we are back in school and life is returning to routine, we are bumping into more people and we often ask this of each other - how was your summer?  The most common answer is: it went by way too fast. I agree. It was a bit of a blur.

Our summer included a couple of camping trips and a 14 year anniversary celebration which lasted for about one week - happy hour one night, a surprise kayak trip on another day, and friends over another evening.  If anything we know how to celebrate well!  And I am realizing that marriage deserves to be celebrated frequently because it is hard.
 Probably my favorite part of the summer was our road trip to Colorado.  It was so wonderful to spend time with family.  My brother, Mason, got married and now we have an awesome sis-in-law! Aaron officiated the wedding. Montana and my niece were the flower girls and Amos and my nephew were ring "bears" complete with bear costumes.  We partied and danced all night...well until 10pm.  Amos kept asking to go home because he was so tired, but Aaron and I were not quitting that party early.  It was a blast. And now my bro is a married man.  Kind of crazy.

The very next day the bi-annual Pluimer family reunion began.  I started the weekend tired and left the weekend exhausted.  I stayed up late every night because I didn't want to miss a thing and to be honest, the best conversations are usually after midnight. I am so grateful for this family tradition and I am already looking forward to the next one!

Our little family of 5 headed home, but we weren't quite ready to face reality, so we took a small detour and spent a night in Bend, OR.  That was so fun and it was the perfect way to transition back into life after spending 10 solid days with Aaron's family and my family.

Once we got home it felt like summer was almost over.  Berries had to be picked, beaches and splash parks visited, and more camping to do. Before we knew it, it was time for school shopping and finding a preschool for Amos.  The weather has remained glorious, so I feel like summer has been extended despite a new routine.

I worked 2 days a week this summer and I think that contributed to the blur.  My kids each probably grew a couple of inches.  Montana and especially Amos experienced new freedoms at cohousing and played outside less supervised.  Silas started walking and running and asserting his will. All in all - another fantastic summer. My heart is full just thinking about it.

Monday, August 11, 2014

There will be days like this...

Today I sat on the porch reading a book and sipping a cool beverage. In The Middle Of The Afternoon!  The kids are all recovering from our long road trip and were resting. There were dishes to be done, dinner to be prepped, emails to write, but it all waited. I basked in the quiet sunshine.


I sat outside while the boys entertained themselves in the kiddie pool for almost one hour.  Silas did poop in the grass, but nothing was taking away the good feeling from this girl.


I made a nutritious and very delicious (if I do say so myself) dinner.  And if I had any lipstick I may have put it on before my husband came home.  I felt that good by the time dinner rolled around.

The kids went to bed amazingly. And now I sit reflecting on the glorious day we had and two things come to mind.

First, it felt so good to be completely present in my day.  I didn't worry about cleaning or the other millions of things that can so easily consume my mind.  After studying Ecclesiastes at the Table, I was mindful of enjoying life (Ecclesiastes 3:13-14) today.  It is truly a gift from God.  All things apart from Him are meaningless.  He gave me today and I fully enjoyed it.  I rarely do that...normally I just get through to the end of the day when I can collapse on the couch before dragging myself to bed.

Second, I feel that in this season of motherhood I am learning when to push and when to let go. I had grand plans for us today.  Berry picking, making jam, maybe walking to the splash park.  The kids woke up and just wanted to be home. They literally just hung out and and when I tried to get them going they resisted. I wanted to push them.  I wanted blueberries.  I tried to compromise with a nature walk to go buy berries instead and they just shrugged and said, "maybe later."  It was at that point, I decided to let go of my agenda and as I did something in me released too.  Instead of DO and GO, my children forced me to BE. And it was more wonderful and restful than I could have ever planned.  I read a novel in the middle of the afternoon for goodness sake.

There are some days when I will need to push them.  There are things that need to be done. But sometimes the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy this day. This moment.

My heart is full of gratitude.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Good-bye backpacking, Hello family camping

Aaron and I used to backpack.  Nothing hard core, the most was a backpacking trip for 3 days on our honeymoon.  But then we went to graduate school. And had kids.  We have definitely done some tent camping in the meantime, squeezing our growing family into our 3 person backpacking tent and cooking oatmeal and boiling hot dogs on a backpacking stove.

This year we decided to accept the reality of our season of life. 

As we prepared for our first camping trip of this summer we fully embraced camping as a family of five:  We bought a coleman stove.  We purchased camp chairs for each person in the family. We borrowed a HUGE tent from our neighbors.  We even packed the portable crib.  Everyone had a pillow and extra blankets and a suitcase of clothes and toys.  And we loaded all of this into, yes, you guessed it, our MINI VAN.

We were going to camp in comfort.  Say good-bye to backpacking and minimalist car camping, we brought out the big guns.

It took us 3 days to pack. Maybe 2 hours to load the car. 6 hours to drive to the coast. Another couple of hours to pitch a huge tent and set up camp.  We did it.

Day 2 it poured rain.  It is the Pacific Northwest, we should have been more prepared.  The borrowed tent was collecting gallons of rain. Aaron feared it would collapse on us and our children in the middle of the night.  So, we abandoned the comforts of a large tent for the confined space of the van. Yes, we all slept in the van and I confess we slept quite comfortably.  But then we got up and had to pack everything back up into our mini van.  That was no small feat especially since everything was now muddy and wet, including the 3 children. 

So after 2-3 hours of packing the van, 6 hours of driving back home, an entire evening of unpacking the camping gear, and 8 loads of laundry later everything was put away...and we started planning the next camping trip...which included the purchase of our very own 8 person tent with a rain fly.

Our friends, Aime and Ash (and their super dog Seamus) get major props for participating in this inaugural camping trip and for being totally awesome to camp with.

Friday, June 13, 2014

More than art...

One thing that is important to our little church is being involved in the community.  So many people have been burned by the church or by other Christians and will never step into a church building.  Our hope is to take a bit of church and Jesus to them.  That is why we do service projects once a month and why Aaron worked for over a year to paint an intersection.  Plus, we just really love our neighbors and love to get people together!

On June 7, we finally got to paint the intersection.  It was such an amazing day!  The weather was flawless, lots of people came out and met one another, there was good music.  I just love the way a shared project brings people together.  I am also really proud of my husband.  He and another guy did a lot of leg work to see this project to completion.  They visited city council, rallied neighbors, knocked on countless doors, obtained permits, on and on.  Aaron's heart for this community never ceases to inspire me.

Here are just a few of the photos from that day taken by another talented neighbor - Nolan.

I love the colors.  You can see the mural from several blocks away.

Emily was the artist who drew the mural on the pavement, mixed colors, and was generally just awesome.

Two handsome guys I had to include!

This project brought people together who would normally never cross paths.

Willow was the 12 yr old who designed the mural.
We ran out of paint before we were able to finish the painting, so stay tuned for the final project!!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Happy 1st Birthday

Wow. Has it really been one year? It feels like yesterday he was born, but it also feels like Silas has always been here.  I love the way that he has completed our family.

What a difference one year makes in a baby!  He has grown and changed so much.  We got to have a few little celebrations the past few days, including one in CO with extended family.  Silas Wisdom, you continue to be such a joy to us.  We all love you so much.

Monday, May 26, 2014

All in a day's work

The day started off with "Holy Shoot!" from the 3 year old.  And then an explanation why we shouldn't say that.  And then the question, "well then is it okay to say Holy Cow?"

Well, crap, I thought to myself, is it okay?  I landed on yes it is okay to say, but reminded my children that nothing is holy except God.  So maybe it's not okay to say, "holy cow" or "holy moly" or...?

Up next was the almost 1 year old climbing the ladder of the bunk bed unassisted and I must say quite skillfully. Great, now I have to eliminate another hazard.  I am beginning to remember why I love babies and have a love/hate relationship with toddlers.

Then the 6 year old lost her front tooth at supper.  She asked the tooth fairy to bring fairy dust.  Some white sugar mixed with purple and pink sprinkles left over from some birthday party and...Voila! Pixie dust.  The tooth fairy also added 2 quarters for good measure, but the fairy pixie dust was a hit and the quarters may still be under the pillow. Next time, I think the tooth fairy will get herself a coffee instead of giving money.

I write these things to remind my present self what a sweet time we are in with the kids and so my future self does not forget these little moments.  Sometimes the yelling or whining or exhaustion is all I can remember.