Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thoughts on a Fall Day

I am absolutely loving fall. Oh, I already mentioned that? Well, I'll say it again!  I love, love, love it. And fall in Oklahoma is so resplendent. It's cool and sunny and the trees are turning burnt orange- it's just perfect. And something about the way it all looks and feels takes me back 10+ years to Fall Break spent at my grandparents house in Oklahoma City. On days like today, I may as well be on a house off of May Avenue, playing mouse trap upstairs or running around on the turf in their backyard.

Fall is also a perfect time to read and write, in my opinion. OK, fine, for me- any time of year is perfect for reading or writing. But fall is the best time, I might argue. Because you can meet a friend at Barnes and Nobles in the morning for coffee and browsing and reading, and then a few hours later... brew a cup of Chai Latte and sit at your kitchen table to pontificate on life.

So, here's my pontificating for today.

Yesterday, I read two articles via Twitter that really sparked my interest. I find myself constantly drawn to articles on balancing wife-hood and motherhood and career.

Here's why: If I got married at 22 or 24, I would probably be at a very different place in my life. But God put me on a different path- and at 27, I am single and very career-oriented.

However, there will be a day- because I want it, and need it, and pray for it, and just know in my bones- that I will dive headfirst into the world of being a wife and mother.

So where will my job fit in then? I already feel like a mother, protecting my first born. This career I've worked so hard to nurture and grow- it can't just disappear because I have a ring on my finger or a baby on my hip.

Can it?  Some of you may argue, yes- it can.

Yesterday, I read this Forbes article by Samantha Ettus on keeping your foot in the door of your career, even if you take a time-out to raise a family.

Then I came across this article by Huffington Post.  Author Iris Krasnow argues that the most happily married women are those who have passion and purpose outside of the home.

This is all obviously just food for thought. I know the path of motherhood versus career is different for every woman- and requires a lot of discussion and prayer.  And I know some of the most career-oriented women find their greatest passion and joy in life in staying home to raise children.

Everyone finds their path, and I know I will, too. Another reminder to live in the present!  I will enjoy pouring my energy into my current marriage and firstborn child- work!  And 10 years from now? We'll see.

10 years ago... a backyard in Oklahoma City. 10 years from today?  Only time will tell.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Savoring The Present

Drum roll, please...

It's finally here...

My favorite season of all... Fall!

I absolutely, 100% adore fall. I love being comfy and cozy. I love hot coffee from Starbucks or from my very own kitchen. I love piling blankets on the bed at night and that delicious camp fire smell in the air that just seems to come with the fall season.

And I love that my electricity bill is low, but my heating bill hasn't kicked in yet.  It's true.

Fall in Oklahoma is a bit like whiplash. One minute you're sweltering in 100+ degree heat, and the next- it's a cool 70 degrees outside. Fall literally happens in an instant- and lasts about as long as it takes to snap your fingers. So fall really is a month to be savored.

I spent a lot of time breathing in the camp fire air this week, thinking how thankful I am. Thankful for my job, my family, two strong legs to run on. For good friendships, even good coffee. For Maizy and my house. 

I worked early and long days this week, my house is a mess, and I will likely spend this weekend cooped up indoors, recovering from the past two weeks.... but I'm thankful.

I always feel reflective when a new season arrives. And unlike years past, I no longer mourn the season that has passed. I'm ready to say goodbye to Summer- not because it wasn't wonderful (well, except those 112 degree days. I mean, seriously!) but because it's time to savor the present and look toward the future.

Yes, that applies to so, so many areas of my life.

Here's to savoring fall!

And maybe keeping winter and her ice storms at bay a few more months. :)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Four Seasons? Nah.

Well, today was a giant slap in the face.

As you recall from yesterday's post, I spent the past 5 days with a glass of wine in hand by 1pm (yikes, even typing that gives me a headache); being greeted by the friendly and efficient Four Seasons staff (they even tweeted me!); and holding a smiling baby in my arms with no greater challenge in a day than making sure she fell asleep comfortably in my arms.

Enter, Monday.

I awoke to my alarm at 4:45am. I arrived at work in the pitch dark. I left my yogurt in the car. I produced, wrote scripts, answered emails, attended meetings, processed invoices. I grumpily called my mom to inform her I hate being an adult and I have zero groceries. I bought groceries, unhappy that a magic fairy did not stock my pantry while I was away.  And I finally stumbled back through the door 12 hours later.

Where's that perky Four Seasons staff member when you really need them?!

But as I walked around my house, I got a whiff of something wonderful.

No, unfortunately, it wasn't a personal chef whipping up dinner in the kitchen.

It was the smell of my house, the same smell it had nearly a year ago when I first moved in.

I walked from room to room, turning on lamps, shutting blinds, my feisty little kitten chasing me every step of the way.

And like a fever waiting to break, my cranky spell subsided.

I thanked God for a job that kept me busy today- and seemed to miss me in my absence. 

I thanked God for the kitten biting my feet.

I thanked God for a mom who listens to me whine about my lack of groceries.

And I thanked God for the smell of my house.

Who needs the Four Seasons when you have home?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Day in the (Southern) Life

Heeeeey, ya'llllll!

Sorry, had to start the post like that- a long, drawn-out southern drawl.

It's because...

I just got home from 5 days in the deep south, the home of the one and only Paula Deen... Atlanta, Georgia!

 I spent most of my time with these little nuggets. My best friend Heather's brother got married in the Peach State last night, and so I got to go along with my "second family" to enjoy the festivities...

... and help wrangle a 2 and a half year old and a 10 month old!

 Let me tell you... I love these kids like my own. 

 Meanwhile, back in Tulsa, my furry baby spent some quality time with her Uncle Stephen and her nanny- my mom.

I don't think she missed me too much.

There's something about stepping outside of your life for a few days and into someone else's world that gives you a brand new perspective on life. 

As someone who works a lot- and takes a lot of pride in that fact- it's hard for me to take time off.  And this was not only time away from my every day grind- run, coffee, work, dinner, bed- it was a chance to see what my best friend's every day grind is like.

Ok, fine, we squeezed in a trip to the winery, did a little shopping. Not typical "every day grind" for either of us!

But I got to see what it's like to drive with a crying child in the car seat, entertain a toddler who only wants his mommy, and have a sweet baby fall asleep in your arms.  I got to hold hands with a precious little boy in the airport and feed mouthfuls of puffs to a teething little girl. 

That's one of the things I love the most about Heather.  We live very different lives- she is married with kids, I am single. She stays at home, I work. But we step into each other's lives daily. She listens to my stories about work, about relationships. I am there for her trials and tribulations as a mom and a wife.

I love her kids with the full knowledge she will one day love mine just as much.

Tomorrow, I go back to the grind. Up early, catch-up at work, dinner, fall into bed.

Even though this wasn't a typical "vacation" by definition- it gave me a chance to step away from my life for a few days. I may not arrive tomorrow completely rested, but I will be refreshed in a whole new way.

Walking in someone else's shoes. It not only helps us lift each other's burdens, celebrate each other with more sincerity- but it makes our shoes a little easier to walk in, too.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Here and Now

I've had a lot of quiet, reflective time lately. Mornings on my back patio, evenings to myself, car rides for thinking.

And singing. Lots of singing.

Sometimes I find myself so caught up in the future- anticipating what will be, how I'll get there.

And sometimes I find myself transported to the past- reflecting on what was, what will never be.

But in my quiet time, God is sending me a message, loud and clear: soak in the present.

It's not for me to know my future.

And it's not for me to change my past.

Not that I would have done it any differently; God's hand has been so evident in my life, every step of the way.

I took the above picture earlier this evening in the car (sorry, Dad- just a brief moment of texting & driving.) I think it perfectly sums up now, this moment in life.

The here and now is very, very good.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I'm heading out of town for a few days this week, and always before a big trip- a case of "Travel-Stress-Syndrome" sets in.

You all know what I'm talking about. I have a checklist of things I need to add to my master checklist. I am a week ahead at work just so I don't get behind.  My house is clean for my house-sitters, Maizy has enough food to last her a month.  Laundry is done, packing has begun.  Things are slowly but surely checked off of the master list.

The thing is- I love travel. I love the act of traveling, I love seeing new places. I often think my dream job would be to travel and write for a living. OK, not very original, I know- I mean, who wouldn't love to have coffee in Paris on Monday and wine in Barcelona on Friday and get paid to write about it?

The funny part is that in the days before I leave- I never want to leave. I spend a little extra loving time on the scripts I so carefully prepare for the broadcasts that will go on- just fine- without me.  I walk around my house, soaking in all of the nooks and crannies I love. I play with Maizy a little bit longer. I breathe the air a little more deeply, spend a little bit longer in the shower, cook myself dinner in my own kitchen.  I think to myself, I could never leave this house and be happy.  I already miss home- my work, my routine, my life- and I haven't even left yet.

When I used to travel a lot for work, this travel-stress-syndrome would come full circle the morning of my trip. I would wake up later than I wanted- not enough time for that long shower I craved. I would arrive at the airport and promptly cry in front of my coworkers. I could never explain why- I always told them I just felt rushed- but now I can spot it; that good ol' TSS rearing its ugly head.

The act of leaving home for somewhere else excites me and unsettles me all at once.

Because at the end of the day- no matter where my adventures take me...

... And oh, from the very bottom of my heart do I hope they take me far...

... No matter where I go...

... I always want to come home.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


We had a rough 12 hours around here Friday night leading into Saturday morning.

I'm trying to teach her not to bite. Biting is bad.

And things were progressing just fine...

Until, in a moment of play, she jumped up and bit my eye.

Oh yeah. It hurt.

Saturday morning while cleaning, I accidentally shut her foot in the bathroom door.

Oh yeah. It hurt.

She limped around all day, I iced my bruised eye. It was a red letter day in the O'Donnell household. But fortunately, nothing that will scar us for life.

This weekend in general has had me thinking a lot about scars- the ones we see, and the ones we don't.

On a large scale- there's the scar, the deep tissue scar of losing a loved one that fateful day ten years ago today, September 11th, 2001.  The scar that no one can see- but is always there, underneath the surface. The one that no matter how many anniversaries pass, will always hurt.

There's the scar that, in the grand scheme of life, doesn't amount to much. Except when you see them, huddled over lunch on a patio on a glorious fall day. That scar resurfaces for a time, making you feel vulnerable and sad and insignificant- just a momentary hurt-  before fading back into the shadows again.

And then there's a black eye; an obvious scar that will fade away completely. In a week's time, no one will ever know it existed.

We all have scars- obvious or underneath the surface- that define who we are at a moment in time. And if we're lucky, it defines where we're going, too. Scars remind us that life carries on long after the hurt. They give us hope moving into the future, and faith that God has a plan far greater than we can imagine.

Today, I pray those left scarred by the events of September 11th, 2001, will find peace on this tenth anniversary- and with every year, hope for what the future holds, too.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Have A Milkshake

Today was one of those days I constantly had to give myself a pep talk.

Think bigger.

Write better.

Push one more mile.

Do you ever have those days?

I spent a majority of my day wrestling with the words for a script- words that will be read out loud during a broadcast Friday night, my words, words that would come under scrutiny- and rightfully so. But you can understand the pressure, to say it right, to convey the right message.

Write better.

I came home from work and ran a mile- a tough mile- and felt ready to call it a day. My legs burned, my body was over it, and my head- and heart- just weren't in it.  After only one mile.

Run better.

But as I finished that first mile and passed my street- so easy to veer left, run home, be done with it- I kept going.

I didn't run the whole three miles- but some gear shifted in my head at that one mile point.

It's so easy to beat ourselves up about anything and everything! 

Sometimes, my writing is uninspired.

Sometimes, that second mile- or third- isn't going to come easily.

Sometimes, when the temperature is just right and winter is around the corner and the world smells like camfire and pumpkin spice latte- my heart might just hurt a tiny bit for what was, a long time ago.

It's easy to convince ourselves we have a lot of improving to do- whether it's matters of the brain, the body or the heart.

But then you push for that second mile- which turns out easier than you thought. You sit down to write a blog post, and your writer's block dissapates.

And you buy yourself a strawberry milkshake from Sonic- because, simply, you rock.

Monday, September 5, 2011

No Labor Day!

Happy Labor Day!

I just looked up the wiki definition of Labor Day- and it defines it as a holiday that "celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers."

So whether you're cooking out or watching a Dance Moms marathon on Lifetime...

I hope you're celebrating today!

I had a weekend full of celebrating....

 Family time with the sister and brother...

 An OU victory! (Sorry, hometown team....)

 Cool mornings with coffee on the back patio....

 The Pioneer Woman Mac & Cheese for lazy nights in...

... and being lazy, in general. :)

Happy Labor Day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Season of Fall, Of Football!

Ah, late summer.

Drinks on the patio, freshly cut grass.

Bug bites. Lots of bug bites.

Seriously- the bugs are angry right now; they know the first frost is coming.

But early fall?

And actually- ALL of fall?

Is my favorite... of all.

Yes, this is reading like a haiku.

Things I love about fall include:

*Hot drinks at Starbucks
*Cool morning runs
*Camping trips

HA!  Not that last one. Although somehow I've been talked into a camping trip mid-October. Oy.

*Early sunsets
*Late sunrises
*AND... college football!

This picture was taken at the OU/Tulsa game... four years ago.

The thing that disturbs me the most?  Other than the fact that my brother is still in high school and my sister is rocking the sorority-girl-pearls?

The thing that disturbs me most is that when this picture was taken... four years ago...

I was already out of college.  Done. Graduated.

Tomorrow, I'll return to my old college stomping grounds- a college graduate of five years. My sister will be there- sans the sorority girl pearls. My brother, four years ago a sweet high school junior, will now host us at his fraternity tailgate. 

Time has passed, but tomorrow- we'll cheer, once again, at the OU/Tulsa game.

And just like that, I'll be a freshman in college again- thrilled at the first excitement of a home game with a fresh fall- and all it's potential- laid out in front of me.

The dog days of late summer are ending. We're ushering in a new season.

Three cheers for fall! 

And four cheers for the SOONERS!
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