Monthly Archives: September 2011

Changing the Landscape = Commitment


A husband with a day off, beautiful weather and no agenda is a dangerous combination in our house.  Our to-do list of home projects has included “redo the dilapidated retaining wall and front steps” for more years than I want to admit. Cost, timing, decisions to DYI vs hire a contractor, all those and more have kept us frozen and unable to make it happen.  Monday, we committed.  We didn’t sign a contract or purchase materials.  No, my husband just announced “I’m tearing out the bushes”, headed for the front door and began tearing out the three overgrown bushes lining the steps and wall.  And with that, we were committed.

No time-table, no contract signed, no blueprint but he took action.  Action he paid for later in a sore back, tired muscles and the realization that tearing out overgrown bushes and three corresponding stumps is work meant for those much younger than he.  We took the first step forward which seems to be the hardest one to take, we he took action.  And more importantly he changed the landscape.  Permanently. Boy, did he change the landscape.  It’s a mess. There is no turning back, no rewind, no other recourse but to move forward.  We are committed.

I often think, dream and imagine new projects, plans or changes in my life.  As long as they stay in my head, unspoken and unknown to anyone I am safe.  I can back out at any time without feeling I have failed by not actually accomplishing what I had hoped to do.  No one else knows so I’m safe.  Around January I heard a friend say that verbalizing your New Year’s resolution can help you achieve it.  Within a few days I read that saying your New Year’s resolution out loud can cause you to think you’ve already done it and can actually erode your resolve.  Hmmm, conflicting opinions.  Which one do I find to be true in my life?

Taking a step, tearing out the bushes and changing the landscape, does it for me.  Just saying it out loud does not propel me to do anything and it doesn’t really make me feel like I did it either.  It’s the no-going-back action, burning the bridge as they say, that moves me forward. Picking up the shovel, ax, electric saw, tow rope to pull the stump out with the car, whatever it takes, to make that first step that means I can’t go back to the way it was.  Action leads me to commitment.

Last year I took action and committed to meet weekly with a few women and share how we have been impacted by reading the scriptures the previous week.  It was the action I needed to commit to something that I wanted to do but didn’t always have the resolve to do.  These women would expect me to be there and ‘let me know about it’ if I didn’t show up.  It was the committment to these women, the weekly meeting, that did it for me.  And it has changed the landscape of my life this past year.  Just like our front lawn now, it is messy and unfinished but it is evident that something is changing.  And that something that is changing is me.

How about you?  Are you committed by saying it out loud?  Or do you need to take action, change the landscape and tear out the bushes? What project or plan are you committed to?

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Vegetarian Gluten-Free and Delicious?

Call me a nay sayer. Or a meat and wheat snob. But I was skeptical about eating vegetarian gluten-free meals with my daughter. Tonight she convinced me otherwise with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen, one of her favorite food blogs.

Charred Corn Tacos with Zucchini-Radish Slaw

These corn tacos were delicious. And always the artist, she said the colors were beautiful as well. I was too busy eating to notice the colors. This is the same child that was far from a vegetarian. When she was younger her idea of variety was plain spaghetti noodles with parmesan cheese instead of without. A bagel with cream cheese instead of butter. Cheese pizza with parmesan cheese instead of without. You get the idea.

But our children change and mature sometimes with the help of our parenting and sometimes in spite of it. My cousin was of the parenting variety that pressed the issue of eating everything on your plate. And if you didn’t finish it at dinner you had another opportunity at breakfast. My friend allowed her children to eat round the clock, whatever you want, wherever you want, with no expectations that even resembled manners. We chose somewhere between those two for our meal times. Eating was done at the table, you tried what was served but didn’t have to finish it. But if the cook couldn’t eat it, you were off the hook. There are vegetables I don’t like so I wasn’t going to ask my kids to eat them. But now, all three of them enjoy a wide variety of foods far beyond what I ever exposed them to at our table. And they are more health conscious in their choices than they ever learned from me. In spite of my influence they have become dessert in moderation, vegetable loving, nutrition conscious food connoisseurs.

I hope food is not the only area where this applies.

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The Royal and Ancient Dream

Before I put my bags away in the basement and begin to make the transition to fall I want to highlight one more aspect of our trip to Scotland this summer.  One that can not be forgotten.  The golf.

If you are not a golfer you may not understand the significance of Scotland, St. Andrews and the Old Course.  It is where golf began, the birth place, the homeland.  And there is a certain reverence and respect you feel while you play. Maybe I feel that way because my husband loves the history and story of the game as much as he loves to play and all that has not been lost on me.  But I sensed it from the cashier at the starters building and the caddy to the fellow players and shop keepers in town.  Each round of golf was special and meant to be savored, shared through stories at the 19th hole and relived in the retelling the following days and weeks.

The Old Course at St. Andrews is “the home of golf” and has seen play for over 500 years.  It is ancient.  It is “sacred” in the golfing world. And yet played on every day.  Except Sunday and then it is open to everyone as a park to walk and enjoy.   Most ancient historical sites and venues are kept in view but untouchable to the masses.  The average person might get a view, a guided tour or limited access to a treasured historical site.  Not here.  You are welcomed and encouraged to participate and contribute to the rich history of The Old Course. That alone brings a certain magic to it.

Now add playing the same course where the Open has been held (the British open for most of us, but not so in Scotland.  It is THE Open Championship) multiple times, with memorable shots, historical finishes and each hole has a name, not just a number.  This brings a sense of personality to the course.  And not just The Old Course, all the courses we played had names for the holes.  A little like naming your children I suppose.  Golf is that personal in Scotland.

And then add the caddies.  My favorite part, playing golf with a caddy.  A Scotsman who was rolling his own cigarettes, sharing his sharp wit and humor and had my game sized up by the second hole.  Not only did he help me enjoy the round, he helped me keep perspective on the experience instead of my struggling swing that day.  Ok, my swing struggles most days, you’re right.  We were a team, together we were playing, enjoying and challenging the Old Course and it’s 112 bunkers, massive double greens with Himalayan like peaks and valleys, wind and gorse.  I could get used to playing with a caddy.

And lastly, watching my husband fulfill a life long dream.  He played golf as a boy, began to caddy at 12 years old, loves the history of the game and players and has made the game his profession.  His delight and enjoyment of the day was palpable.  There is a rich satisfaction in watching someone you love enjoying a long-awaited gift or experience.  Felt a little like Christmas morning, I was more excited for him to open the gift than for my own.  I think when you love someone you care more about their happiness than your own.  That’s what the day was like for me.  It really had nothing to do with golf.

A few pictures to remember the golfing holiday.

And a few more if you want to live vicariously through my photos :)  here.

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