Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Learning to fly

Today is my 31st birthday. Overalll, I am amazed at where my life is, the experiences I have had. I wanted to make some sort of list of 31 things. I have decided on 31 events that have taught me how to fly. Some have helped me to soar, others I've stumbled to the ground. It's all there and that's what life is all about. (These are in no particular order of importance.)

1. April 11th, 1995- I met my husband at Ground Zero club in Minneapolis. He was throwing a rave there that night. The rest is history:)
2. White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Joe and I took a trip there for my golden birthday. I found it stunningly beautiful and intriguing. This trip was pre-kids. So I always remember it as a time when it was just Joe and I, footloose and fancy free!
3. Joe and I took a trip to Alaska summer of 2001. Saying I *loved* it is an understatement. I was ready to move there! The scenery was breathtaking and the time warp feeling of being so remote and wild made me more fully alive.
4. Going to a workshop with Mike Port and Natalie Goldberg at the University of St. Thomas (where I was in school) on Buddhism. Joe and I then started going to Clouds in Water Zen Center in St. Paul where Mike was the lead teacher. I have found Buddhism to be a perfect match for my beliefs and gives me a grounding when dealing with the messy things in life. I feel so fortunate that Joe and I are on the same spiritual path together.
5. I was a competitive swimmer as a child. When I was about 10 years old, I was doing the 100 butterfly and simply gave up in the middle of the race- stopped in the middle of the pool and sobbed. That event was extraordinarily humbling and truly taught me to never give up and I haven't ever since!
6. My labor and delivery of my son, Lowell, taught me how to endure unimagniable pain and was very eye opening about what my body can handle. Chloe being born was such a different birth experience and the "ease" of her birth helped me realize what a beautiful thing birth can be.
7. Being a parent has taught me how to soar and to stumble with grace. Each day has its celebrations and struggles and to just remember that it's all going to be ok!
8. Getting involved in the world of altered books when Lowell was just a few months old. The very first thing I made was altered fabric baby book for him.
9. Lowell getting a diagnosis of Autism one year ago turned our world upside down.
10. Going to Italy, alone, when I was 19 years old for a photography workshop in Tuscany with Harvey Stein.
11. Starting this ArtsyMama blog and discovering the amazing online blogging community (Michelle was my mentor-thank you!).
12. Finding the book A Reason to Live by Melody Beattie when I was 16 years old and nothing else seemed to give me hope.
13. Halloween parties at my neighbors house every year as a kid. It ignited my inner passion for all things Halloween!
14. Working at HANC, as a naturalist, and the amazing women that I met there and the friendships that we still all have.
15. All the traveling I did as a child. We took many, many family trips that helped educate, shape and broaden my perspective on the world.
16. Having Lowell start his Autism Day Treatment program at St. David's has given me hope.
17. November 21st, 1998- our wedding day. Being a wife has taught me love beyond love.
18. Growing up doing gymnastics all summer in our living room with my sister, Laura. We became such close friends and I've always treasured our relationship.
19. The car accident I was in this past summer really made me realize that your life can change in an instant.
20. Listening to Rebecca Walker speak made me feel so powerful and so happy to be female.
21. Going to library school, finding a path that fits me so well and the wondeful friends that I made.
22. The relationship I have with my parents. They are such an amazing help with my kids and *wonderful* support for me. I value the realationship we've developed as adults.
23. Starting work again very part time, as a librarian. It's great to have something just for me:)
24. Rhonna's first 21 day challenge. I worked on mindfulness and gained so much confidence in my artwork. It truly was from the heart.
25. Buying a house. It's been so wonderful to be homeowners. Feeling a sense of place.
26. Going to Green Lake, Wisconsin with my family, my grandparents and cousins each year growing up. My grandmother was an amazing artist and she really helped foster my artistic mind. We did many fun craft projects.
27. Going to raves with Joe when we first met. It was so much fun to loosen up and feel the music thumping through my body.
28. My creative writing class in college. This is where I found out about the workshop to Italy that I attended. I also got a chance to write through my depression story. That was very theraputic for me.
29. Being a competitive swimmer for 9 years has really shaped the person I am today. I learned so much about discipline, hard work and strength.
30. All the art events I have coming up in the next year that I know I'll be so inspired and rejuvenated by!
31. Nurturing my creative side. Have the support of my husband, my family and friends to pursue my dreams and live my life to the fullest. THANK YOU!


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday! I, too swam. I, too, had an experience at 20 in France and Europe that changed my life. I,too, love reading. We've more in common.

The challenge of a child with special needs -- my heart goes out to you and I feel we, as a society, are lacking in the support that parents of autistic children need.

Lovely photo.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, SweetPea!

Lilli in Vancouver said...

Happy Birthday! What a thoughtful post this is :)

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to us!!! :-) What a wonderful and thoughtful list. You really have lived a very full 31 years and have much to be proud of. Here's to you!!

MNScrapbookmom said...

Great post Kari...Wishing you a very Happy 31st Birthday..:)

Jeanne said...

Happy Birthday. I love the post. It is something we all should do...look back and reflect on where we have been. I especially enjoyed looking at your Mindfulness Journal...beautiful!

Sharon Tomlinson said...

Happy Birthday. I never dreamed you are half my age this year.
Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Great list, great blog, great and inspiring lady!

Happy happy birthday to you!

Andrew McAllister said...

how to ... stumble with grace.

That says it all, doesn't it, because life will throw curve balls at all of us. Good for you!

And Happy Birthday!

To Love, Honor and Dismay

Fiona said...

Happy birthday to you!!!Loved your list and the positive attitude behind it. I could learn from that.

Darlene said...

So nice to meet you :)

I have been reading you and found out about you from Michelle (en vie).

What a great list and such a good idea for really understanding part of our internal strengths.

hope your Birthday was fabulous!
Happy belated Birthday sweetie

B-Day cake love,
xo Darlene

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday My Dear!!!!
LOVE this post!!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday! AT a rave...? YOU!? I cannot imagine meeting you at a rave of all places...maybe at Abercrombie and Fitch...but a rave?LOL! I heart all of the gifts you received but want to let you know that you give so much more to all of us!