red-rimmed, clear eyes + broken, full hearts {part 2}

{If you missed Part 1, you can read it here!}

My mom flew out the final week to help me move on and wrap up my Indiana life. Three years before, she had driven out to West Lafayette with me and helped me move into my first solo apartment. There was a kind of poetry to her presence, at the end of my time there, just as she had been there with me for the beginning. So much had changed, and yet the important things were still the same. There she was, my mom, still helping me arrange the pieces, still helping make the mess manageable.

When things need to get done, my mom goes into hyper-drive. She made lists and made phone calls. With kindness and gentleness, she listened to me and dried my tears, and she also kept me moving forward, checking things off the to-do list. We dropped carloads of items off at Goodwill. We sold my furniture. We sold my car. We packed and shipped home two huge boxes of my possessions.

{At the Indianapolis airport, ready to fly home}

When the late spring sun would plunge down below the horizon, it was our signal that our work was done for the day. I would throw together something random for dinner out of the remaining ingredients in my pantry. We would open a bottle of wine. Then we’d collapse on the couch, exhausted, and select the “Play All” option on the disk of Friday Night Lights. We binge-watched the entirety of season five together over a couple days. At the end of the last episode, we both got a little teary. To be honest, that was a time in my life when I cried easily; after so long of holding my emotions in, it was like I had no control anymore and tears came storming out of my eyes at every opportunity. I remember sobbing as I watched the Katy Perry biography on HBO later that summer, during the part when she and Russell Brand broke up, and she sang, “Hey Jude.”

But I digress.

I think there were a lot of reasons I got teary during the final episode of Friday Night Lights. I think, when Allyn and I watch it soon, I will probably get teary again. There’s something about the end of a story that makes us want to grasp on tighter, that makes us sad to let go. Even when we know it is time for us to move on. We’re like little kids riding our bikes around the neighborhood cul-de-sac at dusk, begging the sunlight to linger for a few more minutes. We lean towards the TV screen, soaking in the familiar settings and faces, wanting to sit with the characters for just a little while longer. The final music swells, and our hearts break a little. We just can’t believe that it’s over already. It all went by so fast! So many episodes we took for granted, and now all of a sudden it’s done.

TV shows are like life that way. I think we could live for a thousand years and we’d still never be quite ready to let go of this gorgeous, impossible, imperfectly perfect humanness.

{photo from Chagall’s America Windows at the Art Institute of Chicago: http://www.artic.edu/exhibition/Chagall}

 

Watching that final season of Friday Night Lights with my mom on the lumpy couch of that temporary subleased apartment, I smiled to myself. I realized that the show had been shouting out a message to me all along. For all of those weeks and months when I was studying the episodes, searching for meaning in the characters’ whispers and confessions and relationships, there was a line of recurring wisdom that I kept missing and missing. It’s a line that Coach Taylor says to his players throughout all five seasons. His motto. His way of life.

CLEAR EYES, FULL HEARTS, CAN’T LOSE.

For so long, my eyes had been clouded. For so long, my heart had been empty. Sitting on that couch beside my mom, my belongings packed up to move back to California, my Facebook status newly changed to “Single,” I didn’t know what the future would hold. But my vision was clear, for the first time in a long time. My life was mine again. And even though my heart was breaking, and even though it was hard to imagine ever being strong enough to be vulnerable enough to fall in love again, I knew that my heart was also more full than it had been in a long time. Ending my unhealthy relationship had been a radical act of love for myself.

It would be a while yet before I met Allyn, but I like to think that the day I ended my unhealthy relationship was the day I stepped onto the path that would lead me to him. I chose him—and our amazing, wonderful, beautiful partnership—when I chose the pain of listening to my gut. I remember thinking, “This is for you, Future Dallas. This sucks for me right now, but I’m doing it for you. Please don’t waste this. Please never settle.”

If I could reach back through time and talk to Past Dallas, that terrified and terribly brave young woman who stepped into her truth, this is what I would tell her:

Thank you for doing what you knew was right. Thank you for taking the hard path. Thank you for believing in me, your future self. Thank you for planting the seeds of this life. Hang in there. It’s going to be so worth it. More than worth it. I can’t wait for you to see what happens next.

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer, and use the following questions as jumping-off points for some freewriting:

  • What are your all-time favorite TV shows? What lessons or impacts have they had on your life?
  • Write about a time in your life that was both terrible and beautiful.
  • When have you listened to that clear inner voice and stepped into your truth, even when it was painful? Write about what that experience was like for you.
  • What would you tell your Past Self if you could reach back through time?

mid-week meditation #3

And just like that, it’s already Wednesday! You know what that means: it’s time for my new blog series mid-week meditations! Each week, I’ll try to post a quote or question to think about as you go about your busy day. I hope it brings you solace and gratitude as it does for me!

This week’s meditation comes from my dad, who sent me this quote in an email:

thoreau quote.jpg

If you’re looking for a beautiful guided meditation relating to this topic, I love this one by Heather Waxman on radiance and transformation.

Questions of the morning:

  • What disappointments have you faced in your life lately?
  • What compensations might you find amidst the pain, frustration and sadness?

saturday upsides: the small, ordinary pleasures of home

Happy weekend, everyone! It’s time to celebrate Saturday Upsides!

saturdayupsidesbutton

Yesterday, I was reading a lovely collection of short stories, Who’s Irish? by Gish Jen, and I came across this quote about life as a mother and homemaker that really struck a chord with me. Maybe it will for you, too!

whos irish cover
“It was absurd to be made happy by this small shared anticipation. Before the table actually got set, there had to be an argument about whose turn it was. How could this make Pammie happy? But it did, even as it drove her batty. She liked her busy boredom, too, if only because it readied her for the moment when Adam presented Inka with a rattle shaped like a football, or when Phoebe invented her own version of Duck, Duck, Goose: House, House, Home, this was called. You had to be a little bored to have those moments break over you the way they could. But if you sat waiting in a good dark night, they opened and opened like a brand of newfangled fireworks that lit the clouds, and the ground below, too, and all the faces turned upward, then fell with a sparkling rush right into your hands.”

– an excerpt from the story “House, House, Home” from the collection Who’s Irish by Gish Jen

I treasure the small, ordinary moments of life at home with those I love!

What are your upsides this weekend?

saturday upsides & healthy apple oatmeal muffins

Hi everyone! Hope you had a wonderful week and are gearing up for a lovely autumn weekend. I am pretty much over my nasty head cold, but am still feeling a little low-energy. As mentioned, I was {un}kind enough to share my cold germs with Mike, who has been battling the bug as well this week. I took him to the doctor yesterday, which was a good thing because he had a build-up of fluid in his ears that easily could have turned into a bad ear infection! He is currently on a regimen of steroids & antibiotics to clear up any infection and woke up this morning feeling much better.  It will be nice for both of us to get some rest this weekend and {fingers crossed} I will be feeling all better and will have an energetic Marvelous Monday post for you in a couple of days!

In the meantime, I was inspired by my blogging friend Bonnie over at Recipes Happen who has created a series called Saturday Upsides in which she posts each Saturday about looking at the bright side of things. {Check out her post today about the upsides of a busy Saturday!}

My Saturday Upsides today are numerous: both Mike and I are feeling on the mend; we get to see his family this weekend; fun pumpkin carving and Halloween activities are planned. And one bright side of struggling through a few miserable days while your body is battling a cold or flu bug is that it makes you more aware of what a blessing it is to normally be feeling healthy!

Before I sign off for the day, I wanted to share this recipe that I made earlier this week for healthy apple oatmeal muffins. I made a big batch of these on Tuesday evening and ate them for breakfast and snacks all week long. They are full of fiber and heart-healthy oats, plus double-apple goodness thanks to the apple pieces and applesauce. A perfect autumn treat! And they are easy to whip up {which was a requirement for me this week! This cold has seriously knocked me flat!}

I adapted this recipe from one I found on Frugal Homemaking for oatmeal chocolate-chip muffins. Hope you enjoy!

healthy apple oatmeal muffins

– 3/4 cup oatmeal
– 1 and 1/3) cups whole-wheat flour
– 1/3 cup brown sugar
– 1 tsp. baking powder
– 1 tsp. baking soda
– 1/4 tsp. salt
– 2 tsps cinnamon
– 1 egg, beaten
– 3/4 cup milk {I used nonfat}
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
– 1 large apple, peeled and cut into pieces {I used a honeycrisp, my all-time favorite apple, but you could use any kind you want}

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with paper cups.

2. Blend together dry ingredients: oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients: egg, milk, applesauce, and vanilla.

4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix together.

5. Stir in the apple pieces. Batter will be lumpy and thick.

6. Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way to the top.

7. Bake for 16-18 minutes, until golden brown and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.

And that’s it! These muffins are like apple-cinnamon oatmeal in baked form. Warm, filling, healthy comfort food.

What are your plans for this weekend? Any autumn-inspired recipes you’re trying out?

Stay happy & healthy,
Dallas

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– Time spent: 40 minutes {including bake time}
– Cost: less than $5.00