Showing posts from 2016

December 16, 2016: Joy

Talking with a friend, he lamented to me on his frustrations with his child's lack of showing selflessness in decision-making. The story he told definitely had the tone of a spoiled child thinking only of himself.

As we talked through how to best parent through this situation, I asked the question that instantly came to my mind.

"Does he find joy in bringing happiness to others? Can you think of an example that he can relate to?"

Parenting on selfishness most times comes across as a lecture. Using specific examples of past acts of selflessness can get the point across better. We all have episodes of selfishness, whether we are older or under the age of 13. Being reminded of those moments of finding joy in the happiness of others always brings me back to reality.

A simple story of joy comes to mind to me each time I reminisce on my own youthful days. Although I remember enjoying the happiness in making gifts for my cousins over Christmas and my grandma's smiling face…

December 7, 2015: Not an Ordinary Day

Today was not an ordinary day.

In Dr. Seuss' language, my thoughts on the day would go something like this...

"You have a brain in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. Unless someone truly cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Well, I will just sum it up by saying that today certainly wasn't an ordinary day, but I will accept that. Life is full of changes, good and bad.

Sometimes the toughest part is figuring out if life shake-ups are truly a good or a bad thing. Personally, I have found my biggest life challenges have turned into opportunities. Doors opened to new people and adventures. A new chapter in life.

I am bullish in my view that this will be the case once again.

When the unexpected creeps into the door of normalcy, the best response is not one of self-doubt, anger, or fear. The best response is gaining perspective and self-awareness.

As of late, I had been thinking a lot about…

November 20, 2016: A New View

I took this picture through the lens of my new set of eyes. The hike was this Saturday at Horsetooth Reservoir outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. In the company of my husband, son, step-son, and friend, we were taking in God's beauty through the final walk of the trail. I was purposely poking behind.

"Sandy, why are you so far back?" Garrett called out to me shortly after this picture was taken. My absence from the pack was noticed.

But I was in my own world, taking it all in.

"Coming!" I hollered back, picking it up a bit. Free of contacts and glasses, my vision was sharp and the color of nature seemed full of a clarity that I had not noticed before.

The beauty of Colorado, mountains, and nature are not new to me. My life has been full of many adventures and aesthetic sights. What was different was my new personal view. Wearing some form of glasses or contacts since junior high, I had never experienced this heightened awareness through my own lenses. I had un…

November 6, 2016: A Change of Seasons

Today Grant and I raked leaves. A yard full of nature's colorful palette. And a sign of the change of seasons.

The changing seasons is one of my favorite things about living in the midwest, with summer-to-fall as my all-time favorite. Each year I delight in putting out my Halloween decorations. Football, hoodies, and bonfires fill our nights. Trading in the petunias for the peonies and mums, while preparing the autumn foliage for frost. An annual rite of passage.

With a 70 degree Sunday, today was a perfect day to do yard work. It was also an excellent time to reflect. Sharing sweat labor with my 16-year-old was frosting on the cake. Physical labor in the great outdoors builds character.

I was also reminded of the changes in the seasons of life.

Fast forward two years and all Lane boys will be out of the house. I must now confess that I have never mowed my own lawn. There have always been plenty of able men around to perform this task. I am now finding myself looking ahead at a l…

October 17, 2016: A Boy and His Dog

A boy and his dog.

I have thought of this phrase often observing Zach and his brothers with their dog, Jimi (the Hedrix version of the name). Although I have always loved this sweet dog, he was not mine. The boys' dad added Jimi to their family shortly after we divorced. But it didn't take long to fall in love with this amiable canine personality.

Introduced in the stands of a grade school baseball game, I instantly knew why my boys were so drawn to this sweet pup. An epitome of the lovable lab from the movie, Marley and Me, Jimi never met a stranger and affectionately welcomed everyone he encountered. Those eyes would look at you for acceptance and affirmation in the form of a quick pet and rub under the ear. That's all it took and you had a friend for life.

Jim was a good dog.

I distinctly remember texting my sister-in-law, Robbie, asking how the boys were doing shortly after beginning our 'every other weekend' divorced parent schedule. I was feeling angst, empt…

October 8, 2016: Running Through Life

Garrett refers to my running friends as my gal pals. We wake at the crack of dawn to run, cutting it up through the morning darkness. 5:30 is our meet time. And depending on the meeting point and travel time involved, our average alarm wake-up call is 5:15 a.m.

"So what did you and your gal pals talk about this morning?" is a typical Garrett question.

I then brief my curious husband on our specific subjects over the approximate 55 minutes of run time together. They generally include analysis of our life while rehashing events from our last run and humor in our daily musings.

We certainly don't take ourselves too seriously. But we equally take very seriously our role in being each other's accountability partners; the most influential personal board of directors.

Today we ran both lakes of Zorinsky. Not only had it been a while since we ran this route, it had been a while since we collectively ran this distance of 7.5 miles. Back in the day, not only did we run this r…

September 11, 2016: Reputational Value

This blog topic has been on my mind for some time. I have wanted to write about it, but left it 'parked' for later. My thought was that the subject matter revolved only on a recent work experience with a story told of days past.

Instead, I have found this attribute of personal goodwill to come up in daily conversation with my kids and friends as well. Reputational value revolves around the person; regardless of whether it's displayed at work, at home, or at play. It's a value we should hold close to our chest and one we look for in those who surround us.

I tend to struggle with this one as it relates to my first blush impression of others. In my quest to not judge and to give the benefit of the doubt, I lean on the side of looking the other way during the courting period of relationships.

The key is knowing at what time to walk away when reputation is in question.

Reputation is an asset that takes years to built. Typically over a lifetime. And then with the slip of th…

August 27, 2016: School Spirit

I love this time of year. Hoodies and fleece blankets are officially pulled out, ready for football games and bonfires that fill our weekend nights. Kids and parents have now nestled into a new school year. School spirit fills the air.

My youngest son is now a junior at Skutt Catholic High School. His road to completing high school is becoming shorter. Past the halfway point of his high school journey, the days tick away as my journey through these fun years is coming to an end as well.

My oldest, Zach, began as a fresh-faced freshman in the fall of 2007. Since then, not a year has passed that I haven't had a son walking through the halls of Skutt. Living one mile from the school, door to door, I have been blessed with a home brewing with constant activity as an extension of the school. From pasta feeds in the backyard to a meeting place for kids before and after school events, I have enjoyed every minute of the teenage chaos years.

Times have changed over these nine years. Buzz …

August 20, 2016: Barefoot in the Summer

We went to the zoo yesterday. Although cloudy and overcast, the crowds were low and many of the exhibits new to us. Garrett had warned of impending rain throughout our excursion.

Our local weatherman was right. As we walked out of the Orangutan Forest, the sprinkles began.

Quickly moving on to our last stop, the indoor Kingdoms of the Night, the sprinkles turned into a light shower and our collective pace quickened as we sought shelter. Garrett guided us to the nearest Kingdom door, which was clearly marked 'Exit'.

Our entourage of me, sons (Ben and Jake), and cousin (Stefano) followed Garrett's lead toward the exit doors.

"We can't go in through the exit!" was my immediate response.

Garrett likely predicted my comment with his own response of questioning why I ALWAYS had to follow the rules. My further argument of how an exhibit walked through backwards would likely not have the same enjoyment of following protocol convinced our crew to take the additional …

August 13, 2016: The Perfect Morning

My mom has been in town this week. The last time I saw her was on a visit to Arizona while I was taking a time off from my work life. Now months later and with me fully back on the work treadmill, I found myself making a comment to her on more than one occasion.

"Mom, I am so busy. How did I let this happen again?"

I swore myself to a more serene lifestyle after smelling the roses during my months off of work. Instead I have found myself shuffling calendar entries and running from back-to-back engagements and meetings. Although I have been wildly successful in my quest to work with the right people on the right projects, I've somehow left out the balance of leaving some time for myself.

Sometimes ones self is the best study of human nature. I have come to realize that what was good for me 20 years ago is different now. What I desire for daily personal time and replenishment of energy is much different today. I will rack that up to age and human experience.

What I know n…

July 29, 2016: He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother

Purportedly I'm bossy. But that's coming from my brother. So what if I like the car at optimal temperature while we travel across Nebraska? It's not my fault that his car doesn't have a good temperature between really cold and really hot.

If you feel it, say it. So when I was cold, I told him. And when I was hot, I did the same. It's his car, so climate control is his responsibility.

But he just gave me the stink eye as we traveled west across Nebraska on Interstate 80. Acting like we annoy each other, but loving every minute of our time together on the road.

Eight hours. Three comfort stops. Two thunderstorms. And his daughter (my niece), Ky, sleeping in the back seat through it all. Matt and I just bantered in the front. Just like old times.

I love road trips. Especially with family. When Matt and Ky decided to visit us in Denver for the weekend and Matt asked that I join them for the drive out, I was all in. With my oldest brother, we typically laugh most of th…

July 10, 2016: Continued Genuine Support

Today Robbie and I ran a 5K.

At 7:00 a.m.

In Council Bluffs.

And our husbands joined us. "Continuous genuine support" Robbie posted on our adventure. A true statement, although a little tongue
in cheek.

Truth be told, neither husband had planned on joining us for our little escapade. But I think they are both glad they did, as are their spousal runners.

It all started last week with some text interchanges between me and Robbie. We felt like we needed a race on the calendar. Something to keep us motivated and an excuse to run together. After some Google searching, we decided on the Beat the Heat 5K this morning. With a quick on-line sign-up, we were committed.

My next logical step was to add this event to my Outlook calendar and invite Garrett. Truth be told again, my sending the invitation is more of a placeholder to keep my husband in the loop and our calendars in sync. His acceptance of this invitation traditionally does not automatically mean he is bound to attend.

But he…

July 7, 2016: Vulnerability

I had a friend once tell me to never trust a person who is afraid to show their vulnerability. The comment resonated with me. I had never thought of this before.

We were brainstorming on how to help another friend who was recently displaced from their work. Both of us wanted to help this mutual friend, helping him get back on his feet. I questioned his alliances. I was leery of their intentions.

My friend stated it best.

"I don't fully trust some of his friends. One I have known for over 20 years, but I really don't don't know him. Through all of his own trials and tribulations, he has never shared or shown his vulnerability. Never trust someone who is afraid to show their vulnerability."

Point made.

I spun over this one in my mind. This friend in question had shown the same stoic face to me as well. When things went bad, he clammed up. All was good. Never to be seen in a negative light.

How unrealistic. Human existence is the replica of imperfection.

Trying to …

June 23, 2016: Get Over Yourself

A week ago I met with an attorney friend of mine. We were discussing a recent case he was working on involving a divorce. As he talked about the family, it was clear that the mother had no respect for the father or the father's role as one of the children's parents. She saw herself as the savior. The only. No plural in parenting in their case. It was an 'either - or'.

As we conversed, the attorney who was both married and a father, looked at me and asked me a very pointed question.

"Sandy, what do you think about this as a mom? Did you feel like you were the better parent and that your kids only needed you?"

Taken off guard by his candidness, I initially wanted to spotlight my ways of being a great co-parent and my ex and I being outside the norm of divorced parents. A pat on the back lingered in my mind.

But instead I spoke the truth.

"Initially I definitely thought I was the better parent. That my kids couldn't survive without me. And then I decide…

June 6, 2016: The Power of Nine

We had a little girls weekend/mini family reunion in Denver this last weekend. Our foursome included my cousins, Angela and Angelina. And my aunt, Kathy. Who is also Angelina's mother.

Kathy is always easy for me to explain. Most of my friends just see her as my friend. Which she is and is evident by our frequent excursions and togetherness over the years. I was fortunate enough to have Kathy live in Omaha again for a few years recently. My son, Ben, described Kathy as my 'go-to friend'.

After asking Ben to join me for a play (I had an extra ticket that was going to go unused), he politely declined and then made a keen observation.

"I bet you miss Aunt Kathy. She was your go-to friend for extra tickets and random events, wasn't she?"

Yes, Ben, I do miss my go-to friend.

Kathy now lives in Boise. Although our random adventure are fewer, we make up for it with our many smiles and laughs when we do get together.

To those who don't know my Aunt Kathy, I intr…

May 29, 2016: Sunday Mass and More

Summer break is official now for both of my kids still in school. With this annual reprieve comes the balancing act around fun vs. responsibility. As you can surmise, I lean on the side of responsibility while the kids lean on the side of fun. A battle at times, but usually with some resulting balance.

At age twenty, Ben is becoming an old pro at this feat. He started his forty-hour-a-week labor job last week. Up at seven, he knows that improper balancing of fun and responsibility lead to long work days. Needless to say, he is taking full advantage of this long Memorial Day weekend, knowing his Tuesday 6:30 a.m. wake up call will be here soon enough.

But it does typically take about a week for Ben to make the full adjustment. Grant is in that one week zone right now. With finals completed last Thursday at noon and a week off before summer football begins, I can hardly hold him down.

"But, Mom, it's my first day of summer!" (response to my request to help move a relative…

May 19, 2016: BIG Mistake

These boots were made for walking...

But what about the stilettos?

I am back to work. And with this leap, the yoga pants and gym shorts (with my corresponding accessories of piggy tails) have much less made their way into my dirty clothes basket. Instead, my many fancy heels and closet full of dress-up wardrobe choices have been unleashed.

Matched with the many work opportunities that are raining in on me, I do feel a bit like the clip out of the movie, Pretty Woman.

Julia Roberts plays the naive, but authentic character, Vivian. After meeting the illustrious Richard Gere character, Edward, she is trying to make her way in the world. A favorite scene in the the movie is Vivian trying her hand at shopping on Rodeo Drive.

Every woman or man over the the age of 40 knows this scene and can connect with the feeling in that moment of the movie.

(first shopping scene of the movie) Julia walks in the store wearing the wrong clothes and carrying herself as a 'misfit' in the high rent …