Navigation & Contemplation

Forsynthia from my front yard.

Navigating middle school. Simon will be heading to middle school in the fall. The school district will place him in a middle school that they think will be a good fit for him and the services he needs but we (Chris and I) are also touring schools and talking with administrators and teachers and considering options for him. He is excited. Open. Willing. I want to bottle that up.

Navigating meetings with my CPA and attorneys. Work stuff. Life stuff. Tax time. Listening. Receiving advice. Making decisions. The business stuff of business. There are days I feel very alone in these decisions. Sitting with the fear of the unknown, sitting with the fear of making the wrong decisions, educating myself, practicing bravery. Out of my element but wanting to be a "grown-up" and make the best possible decisions for myself and my kids.

Navigating office floors. If you are taking One Little Word you probably heard me talking about my action item for this month which is to make a decision about new floors for my office and re-arrange the space again. Katie and I will be cleaning out my office this week - removing everything in preparation for the floor guys to come in next Monday.

Navigating soul-searching. Finding a home for myself between independence and need. Between "I can do it all myself" and "I really want to be sharing this journey." Between control and letting go. It will likely be one of my greatest struggles throughout the course of my life.

Navigating the everyday. Last week I had the best dinner table experience with Anna and Simon. It wasn't one thing in particular but the entire experience in general. There was back and forth conversation. Everyone stayed seated at the table. There was minimal complaining about the food that was served. It was all these things in conjunction with one another that seemed so awesome. It might have had something to do with the new chart set up - I'm not sure. Whatever it was, I noticed it and my heart was happy.

Navigating towards open. All of this navigation results in a lot of contemplation. Sometimes I feel frozen and literally have to will myself to take the next step (or be pushed over the edge). Other times it all feels fluid and smooth and easy.

Navigating time. Those of you that get my newsletter might have read about how I'm changing up how I approach my work schedule. This past week I spent time assessing how long some of my tasks actually take. Now it's time to take action. I'm noticing that I'm thinking way too much and not implementing (and adjusting as I make progress vs. living it out in my head without any forward movement).

Life is a constant series of navigations. Figuring out what makes sense, directing, recovering from mistakes, celebrating success, opening vs. closing, riding the waves, surviving the lows, listening, learning, choosing, taking action.

62 thoughts

  1. Patti L

    2013-03-19 13:01:02 -0400

    A good reminder that I need to write down all that is happening in my mind sometimes. Thanks for sharing. It feels good to know that people like myself (& like you, i think?) are not alone in their quest to just sort their lives out and make it better.

  2. JosieK

    2013-03-19 13:01:10 -0400

    Thank you Ali..I needed to read this..As parents, partners, women...we are constantly "navigating" and keeping everyone safe from harm..make sure everyone is having a good time and enjoying the experience. Sometimes, getting all those things noticed by us..the navigators, is exceptionally hard. I commend you and bless you.

  3. Ruth G

    2013-03-19 13:03:51 -0400

    I think it's awesome that you're taking a good hard look at what schools Simon might be attending. I hope that you have success when you've made your decision! Change will probably always be challenging for Simon, but if everything else is working for him the transition will be easier.
    I know what you mean about enjoying those little victories when everything just seems to fall into place! I think it's in those moments that the true joy of parenting mesh with the idea that you are doing the right thing - loving, caring and being there for your family.
    Thanks for sharing!!!!

  4. Natalie Murphy

    2013-03-19 13:23:25 -0400

    thanks for sharing - you make me think more about my life and I appreciate the gift you give us by sharing your life. You always make me want to better myself. You are so much more than a scrapbooking inspiration - you are a life inspirator.

  5. Brenda Grubbs

    2013-03-19 14:01:04 -0400

    Ali ~

    I have been meaning to write to you before, but I just can't delay any longer. I found you several months ago, and fell in love with your handwriting, you stamps, your blogs, and your struggles have touched my heart. I am much older than you, but I know what you are going through and the jobs you are experiencing with Simon. My daughter has a son who is Autistic, and just recently had another son with a physical disability. She spent the first 9 years of her first son's life was spent as a single mom. Without even meeting you, I know your strength and admire your courage.

    I was so touched this morning when I read your piece on "navigation". My husband and I are at retirement age, but I recently lost my job. I have just had back surgery, and we're trying to sell our house (out of necessity). I don't know where we will live, but the comforting part is that God knows. I also know that my husband has been and will be by my side the whole way.

    I've decided to take a huge risk (for me)...start a blog with the intention of becoming part of a design team. I don't know if I will be successful, but you have so inspired me to go to the edge.

    Ali, thank you so much for your openness and sharing of yourself with us. You have no idea how many people you have inspired.

    Prayers will be lifted up for your struggles and the jobs of success.

    ~ Brenda

  6. slmnontec

    2013-03-19 14:54:14 -0400

    Dear Ali, You have inspired me to write a list of what I'm navigating right now. Number One is the recent death of my father (only 8 days ago) and helping my mother navigate without him.

  7. Abby

    2013-03-19 15:31:39 -0400

    I've been an avid reader of your blog for years, and from what I "know" of you from reading, all I can say (with total confidence) is: Ali, you got this!

  8. Jocelyn

    2013-03-19 15:59:27 -0400

    I have too navigated a similar road once upon a time. I sincerely pray for you and your family. I truly appreciate your honesty and the way you navigate through life and still share it with us in such a refreshing way. OPEN and honest. I am (and I am sure many more of your fans) are pulling for you! You truly are inspiring to me. Your creativity is what drew me in but your strength to persevere through the daily struggles that life sometimes throws at us is what keeps me coming back! Keep going! One phrase that keeps me going through some of the roughest times is "it came to pass, not to stay".
    Thank you for sharing your life with us through your art and your awesome blog!

  9. Deirdre

    2013-03-19 16:22:04 -0400

    love this voice. I've missed hearing more of your personal voice in this space, I realize. I love your work and your products, but it is your shared journey that keeps me coming back.

    Along the lines of your journaling above, I want to recommend a movie rental: Safety Not Guaranteed. It's a B-movie without big names and it's not polished, but I found it so moving in its own quirky way. I think you'd like it---the final line of the movie is one I've had to say over and over to myself as I navigate life & my desire for independence and self-sufficiency with my desire for companionship and inter-dependence.

  10. Raylene

    2013-03-19 17:02:57 -0400

    Thanks for a superb post! I have recently fallen into a new path in life and really needed to hear your words! Thanks for being OPEN . . . it is really making a difference for me too!

  11. Sherry

    2013-03-19 17:06:20 -0400

    If you need help making decisions check out the desire!

  12. Tona

    2013-03-19 18:14:59 -0400

    I think if i had to give one word to describe you it would be aware. You seem to always be aware of what needs to happen & why, what is happening & why... A very admirable quality!

  13. Jenni Hufford

    2013-03-19 18:42:56 -0400

    i love your heart ali!!!

  14. Nita K.

    2013-03-19 21:32:08 -0400

    This really touched me today. Thanks for sharing.

  15. KimP

    2013-03-19 21:32:10 -0400

    I am so pleased to hear that Simon is excited & open about middle school. It is such an enormous transition, chaotic but wonderful.
    We are looking forward but nervous to be sending Ethan off to college in the fall (not sure if you remember meeting him in CT after CKU so many years ago.) I have to say middle school and high school simply flew by.

  16. Kara

    2013-03-19 21:40:20 -0400

    Thanks for your words today. Somedays you just need to know you are not the only one out there that feels like this.

  17. Brooke

    2013-03-19 22:25:37 -0400

    You continue to be such an inspiration for me and for my life, not just with paper! I've been doing less thinking and more implementing lately. There is certainly a balance because I'm finding I still need that calm thinking time. I kind of miss it.

  18. J3SS1C4

    2013-03-19 22:47:24 -0400

    I love this post, Ali! Sharing this is very brave and open of you! It really is a reminder that no matter how things seem on the outside, everyone really is navigating things in their own lives, even if it's not always obvious on the outside! Goodluck with the school decisions with Simon, I'm glad to hear he's excited about it!

  19. Jamie

    2013-03-19 23:24:43 -0400

    Thank you so much for your honesty and your openness. It means more than you know. Often (more like always) I look at myself & what I'm doing, and then I look at people like you and I feel like such an under-achiever, like I'm just missing the boat. Thank you for letting me know that it's not always easy for you; that your life & your process isn't the fine-tuned seemingly naturally effortless, confident final product we all sometimes see. You are awesome!

  20. Beth

    2013-03-20 01:29:24 -0400

    Felt your heart-wrenching decisions, particularly Simon! We made the wrong decision when our son moved to middle school. We didn't know how important that IEP was. The District saw our son differently than we did. I commend you for looking at your options and those schools outside the District.

  21. Tammy

    2013-03-20 15:59:51 -0400

    Ali, I heard a quote a few weeks back that really struck a cord with me regarding action and perfection and making decisions.

    "Imperfect action beats perfect inaction every time".

    It was actually something I wrote down for myself for OLW and really even just a daily reminder for me for life. I am sure you have heard it before, but if not, I hope it helps.

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  23. Ingvild

    2013-03-21 09:21:59 -0400

    Thank you for sharing and for always beeing so open. You are a big inspiration, in many different ways. Both creativity and life. You have a big heart - and we all love you for that.

  24. Michelle

    2013-03-21 21:45:50 -0400

    Thank you for sharing, I can relate to you in many ways and it is nice to hear from other who have challenges but keep NAVIGATING.

  25. Tinka

    2013-03-21 22:15:47 -0400

    WOW, this statement really hit home: "I’m noticing that I’m thinking way too much and not implementing (and adjusting as I make progress vs. living it out in my head without any forward movement)." Living it out in my head is exactly what I recently realized I have been doing, instead of achieving (my OLW for 2013) all the things I want and need to accomplish, particularly those tasks I really need to get done!! Thanks for the added reinforcement!

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