Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Telling Stories

Last Sunday night Danny and I watched a movie on Amazon Prime titled, The Stories We Tell.  We had seen it before at the Kentucky Theater in 2012 (I love independent films).  It’s a documentary by a young woman that found out in her twenties that she was the result of an extra-marital affair and began looking for her biological father.  Here is the trailer.

What I really appreciated about the film was the way she approached the topic of her mother.  She gave everyone in the family the space to tell the story from their own perspective.  No single point of view dominated the story line.  You began to see that though everyone had their part in the narrative some remembered what happened differently or not at all.  It beautifully illustrated the role of storyteller as someone that comes to every story with their own bias and filter.

After I saw the film in 2012 I began to ask myself about my own story.  What are the stories I tell myself?  Are my stories true?  Did I remember things correctly or did I make things up?  This began an evaluation of my own bias and filters and how they were affecting my thoughts and feelings.  Who was it that said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”?  I think they maybe onto something.   

So this Tuesday, take a moment and ask yourself about YOUR story!  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

3 Habits That Keep Me Sane

Hey Guys!  Well it's Tuesday and I have another video for you.  Please comment and tell me what you do to stay sane during this busy season of life. BTW - this thumbnail pic is ridiculous ... I know. This is what I looked like when Danny told me he wanted to plan another trip. HA!

Your admiring fan,
Anna Lee

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Are you considering making some changes?

If not now … when?  

This is a question that I began asking myself regularly a few years ago.  Avery was getting older and becoming more independent and that afforded me time to look at the larger scope of my life (personal and family).  Moving closer to 40 has also intensified my desire to make things happen. 

In my early 30s I took time to evaluate exactly on what I was spending my time and money.  Did my choices reflect who I wanted to be and what I valued?   It was time to start editing and deleting.  We sold our home we built in Lexington and moved to my husband’s childhood hometown.   Our “new” home was $50K less and needed to be updated.  Sigh  

Was I excited about this move? No. 

Did I feel that in the larger scheme of things it was the right decision? Yes.  

We decided to spend our money on traveling and experiences (together as a family) instead of on our home.  Though it was quite an adjustment at first, I would do it again in a heartbeat.  

One of our favorite places to be... out west on a ski lift!

Around the time we moved Avery started elementary school.  We were moving into a new season of family life.  Danny and I began to talk about the direction we wanted to go now that I had more “free” time.  A traditional job was out because I wanted to take Avery to school and be home when she got off the bus.  Being both physically and emotionally available for Avery is one of my top priorities.  We only have this short window of time together (her childhood and adolescence) and I am not going to have any regrets.  With his encouragement I began to pursue my hobbies and work on cultivating an inner life that was positive and affirming.  Being an introvert I loved it!  I also started looking to expand my community of strong women.  I needed love and support that can only be found in other women.  It took a few years but I found them (you know who you are) and I couldn't be happier.  This blog is the result of their encouragement.  Thankfully, my family has benefited from all my “work”.  As a result I am a much better wife, mother, sister and friend.  

Dear Ocean, Why are you so far away?

Avery is starting junior high this fall and we are again moving into a new season of family life.  So my question for you (and me) today is where are we going?  Are we spending our time and money on what we value most?  I’m not suggesting any meaningful, long term change happens quickly.  The above things happened over the last 10 years.  However we need to ask ourselves every day -

If not now … when?

With my whole heart,
Anna Lee

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Some Tuesday LOVE ...

Happy Tuesday!  A video of my June Favorites just for you …

On my journey to change my skin and beauty products over to those with more natural ingredients I have found this deodorant that I love.  You can find it here

My current favorite store bought salsa is Salpica Tomato and Jalapeno.  While my recipe for homemade salsa (using canned tomatoes) can be found here.  I pretty much LOVE both of these salsas equally.

I just used my washi tape to hang up the article, “Life is a Lake of Memories to Swim in,” from the June Oprah magazine by Jane Smiley.  You can read the entire article here.

Your fan,

Anna Lee

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What is it about the ocean that is so soothing?  

I could relax and look the waves for hours …

Garden City Beach, SC - 2014

I’ve been sitting at my desk for over an hour trying to come up with something to write about.

It’s Monday morning, I need to have something to share tomorrow (Tuesday) and I have nothing.  Zero.  

Because nothing has been going on?  You may ask.

It’s exactly the opposite.  This summer has been one of my most challenging to date for a myriad of reasons.
Why am I telling you this?
To let you know that I’m struggling to manage everything, just like you.  And tell you “this too shall pass”.

Be kind to one another, we are all doing the best we can.

~ Anna Lee

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

3 Things I'm learning from Danny (one of the BEST fathers I know)!

In lieu of a video this week I'm doing a written post.  I hope you enjoy …

Danny is perfecting the art of the carload selfie! This was taken on vacation last week.

3 Things I'm learning from Danny (one of the BEST fathers I know)

1 Nothing says, "I love you" like showing up.  During the course of our marriage there have been many circumstances, situations and people that I wanted to run from. A few years ago a friend of mine died (we went to junior high together and Danny and I had hung out with her and her husband about 15 years ago) and though we were not close at the time of her death we did have a shared history.  I told Danny that I didn't know if I was going to go to the funeral or not.  He told me I needed to go.  I was afraid.  Since my brother's death, funerals are very difficult for me.  It was a mid-morning weekday funeral, I got dressed and went. Alone.  Afterward I was so glad I went.  On the picture board at the funeral was a photo of my friend and me.  I shed many tears that day and expressed my condolences to her family.  It was my privilege to be present.

Time and time again he has demonstrated to me that you don’t have to know what to say or what to do.  You just need to show up!  This is something that I have tried to incorporate in all the areas of my life. 

2 Being tenacious gets results.  If you know Danny very well he loves getting results. If you ask him (or sometimes if you don’t) to hold you accountable on anything he will call, text or email you until you do it.  This has been both beautiful and difficult to watch and hear.  He loves people and wants you to be at your best in every area of life. 

3 Laughter is the glue that keeps us connected.  Danny loves to have fun and laugh.  One of his favorite people to laugh at is himself.  This is one of his most endearing characteristics.  A few years ago I received a text message when I was with Avery.  She said, “Is that Dad?”  I responded that it was and asked how she knew.  She said, “ … you are laughing!” 

Love Always Wins,
Anna Lee

PS – Here is a link to a written post on my dad from a few years ago and here is a link to the Car Line Confession video where I interviewed my dad.