The Heart of the Matter: MTH2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Friday night I spent the night alone with Isaac, as Tony had already left earlier in the day for hunting. Sleeping by myself can sometimes be nerve racking for me, but I knew it would pale in comparison to the events of the next few days.

Saturday, at around 12:30 I packed by myself, while wrangling Isaac, and managed to remember everything! This included pajamas, my cell phone charger and my hair brush. I seem to forget these items notoriously and was certain that without Tony’s reminders that I would forget. I could feel my momentum building as I left the house.

When I saw my Mom though, the momentum faded, speaking with an adult allowed all of my fears to begin creeping in, starting with apprehension that I somehow ordered my plane ticket for the incorrect date or wrong destination. This continued as we drove to the airport, but I took a few minutes to praise God in directing me to purchase a direct flight! I can't imagine my anxiety if I'd been trying to traverse unknown airports by myself on a tight schedule!

Saying goodbye to Isaac was brutal. He was tired though and the more I kissed him, the more he resisted. In order to not have a fully fledged temper tantrum throwing boy on my Mom's hands for the ride home, I pulled back, hugged my Mom, squared my shoulders and walked away.

My worst worries immediately dissolved once I found my gate and opened my camera bag to find Tony's final note.20101106_0016a

I was early, but wouldn't have it any other way. I used the time to be reflective. And camera happy.20101106_0009a

I mean who doesn't take a self portrait at the airport with their super heavy dslr + zoom lens?20101106_0010a

I was pretty much a nervous wreck during take off and landing, both times, without Tony's hand to hold. Being that this was only my forth trip involving an airplane, and first time ever flying alone, you could say that I'm still pretty inexperienced. I was convinced every twinge of the plane or shudder of the wing spelled doom. I kept envisioning this wing disintegrating before my eyes.


Thankfully there was WiFi and wine. Before long, I was calm and introspective.20101106_0033a

The flight there was a breeze, and the flight attendant was hilarious! I flew Southwest for the first time and was literally laughing out loud during the announcements, here are some snippets of her ad lib directions:

"Please fasten your seat belt low and snug across your hips, just like our pilot likes his speedo."

"We do not anticipate a change in cabin pressure, otherwise we wouldn't have shown up for work today, but if we do . . . Please breathe the air through the mask normally. If you don't normally breathe normal, breathe as normal as you normally do."

"If you don't like our jokes, there are six exits here, here, and here . . . "

" . . . compliance with FAA regulations, you will be subject to a $2,000 fine. And we know you don't have $2,000 or you would have flown Delta."

Seriously, hilarious and perfectly timed! Loved it!

I took a quick 3 minute and $20 taxi ride to the Aloft Hotel in Phoenix, where I waited a few minutes for my roommate, the fabulous Melissa to arrive.20101106_0039

Melissa and I are both friends of Gina and have been electronic supporters via facebook and blog comments, but haven't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. That completely changed this weekend. I'm very much the same in person, as I am in this blog. I have an open heart, am extremely trusting and have a habit of oversharing. Within 20 minutes Melissa and I were sharing like we were gradeschool girlfriends.

Sleep that night was evasive for both of us. I missed my family, as did Melissa. The room was too sterile for both of us, but the next morning, after some slight time change confusion on my part [AZ doesn't observe daylight saving time, but is still an hour behind Central and my blackberry doesn't automatically update like my previous phone did when I left MN] we were as prepared as we ever could be to walk into that room.

That room wasn't left for hours at a time. Cell phones and all outside contact were eliminated early when we were instructed to turn our phones off. There were a total of 13 women including myself, although most groups have a mix of men and women. One was my best friend, three were basically internet friends and 8 were complete strangers. It changed very quickly.

We began by sharing our stories. As simple or as complex as we wanted them to be. Those who went simple later shared to make up ground to complex. Within five minutes I think we all knew in our hearts that there was no turning back, nor would surface level contribution be accepted.

Break through. What an odd phrase. What a lacking phrase to describe realizations with life changing impacts. God moved through 13 women to project greatness onto the attendees. For 10 hours we laughed, cried and shared, of ourselves, about each other, offering encouragement.

Ten hours were spent in reflection, writing, meditation and encouragement. Ten hours. The only indication of time was the sun quickly moving through it's positions throughout the day lengthening the shadows until there were none, but darkness. Every single attendee was committed, whole heartedly, for themselves and for each other.

Going into the intensive, I thought I'd figured it out for myself and to some extent I had. I'm not one to spend massive amounts of time dwelling on myself; making selfish decisions as a human being, sure. That's human nature. But the only amount of self reflection I take is usually spent composing a blog post. Once written, it's as good as fact in my heart, and I'm already on the move to some other realization.

Through talking with Melissa the night before, I had a revelation I thought would hinder my involvement in the intensive: Photography is not my passion in life. It's . . . just not. My passion is cultivating family, from the natural birth movement, to birth photography, loosely attachment parenting, family hugs, children bowing their heads to say amen, family traditions, etc. I could just keep going. Photography is my joy. It is what I choose to do in my spare time, even when I have no spare time and yet it is not my passion in life.

MTH2010 did not allow me to sit on this. It challenged my assumptions, ordered that I dig deeper and then tilted yet even that new found world on it's head. I walked away with new fears acknowledged, new strengths identified, and an identified life purpose:

To be a godly, loving wife and mother, whose family glorifies God authentically, husband is supported to be the man he was created to be, and who provides photography to clients who need to meet with me, according to God's will.

Making Things Happen has never been intended as a strictly business workshop. As primarily sole proprietor's almost all attendees know that their personal life is projected onto their businesses, which is why the two can hardly be separated. We all had our junk to sort through and in the end the burdens were lifted. Through tears, sympathy and encouragement, they were lifted.

This was right before I opened my mouth and became a basketcase. I couldn't get the tears under control.73599_460366089343_236493009343_5298907_462740_n

Image by Gina Zeidler.

By the end of those 10 hours, I wanted to have a huge slumber party and run away screaming at the same time. We were so intense together for such a long period of time, on such a level that you felt such bonding that I couldn't help but want it to continue. To literally spend a day with each every one of my new friends, but on that same token all I wanted was to get away. To decompress and allow my thoughts some freedom.

Primarily I walked away with my purpose, at this time, a renewal of my commitment to be a work from home mom and that, while I feel stuck without any action, that I can grow my role in supporting Tony.

I am not a supportive wife. Somedays I am not a loving wife, this is why early in my blog writing I maintained that Tony seemed to love me more than I loved him. While I know that this is not true, I do know that Tony expresses his love more readily than I show to him. I want to change that. By eliminating my negativity, freely providing support and ultimately praying for him to be the head of the household, as I believe God intends for our family, we will change our family.

And that was my Making Things Happen experience.

And then I ate a Ruby Tuesday Turkey Burger.

ps:: You guys will see a lot more of this to come. At least you better.76068_460100999343_236493009343_5294713_979267_n


Marie said...

Sounds like a really cool experience! Good for you. :-)

Sarah said...

So glad you had that experience! It sounds like you have made great strides in articulating your true desires and calling. And your hair looks awesome :-)

Leslie G said...

Wow- sounds like you had a great experience and had some great revelations. Who doesn't need that?
I seriously love the reflective photo of what looks to be you looking out at the city lights- with the desk lamp... I seriously kept looking again and again at it, wondering how you composed such a shot. SO beautiful! REALLY.
Also, had to LOL at some of those jokes by the flight attendants- too funny!

Randi said...

wow Leah! that sounded so great. I loved this post. You are such a sweet and great person. It came through in the whole message!

good luck with everything!

Molly said...

Wow, Leah. What an amazing weekend that must have been. I would LOVE to do something like that. I feel like I could truly benefit from it.

Actually, I'd love to do something like that WITH my husband.

I'm glad you had such an amazing opportunity and took so much away from it.

abby said...

Sounds like an intense experience! Glad you found some clarity and a Ruby Tuesday Turkey Burger :)

I also love the shot of you in the window, so cool!

Erin said...

Add me to the list of those who love that shot of you in the window - really beautiful!

As you may have guessed from my last blog post, I'm going through a similar "finding my purpose" process right now. I really loved reading your experience!

Sarah Louise said...

First: I LOVE the humor of the flight attendants. How funny!!!!

Second: PRAISE GOD! It sounds like you had such an awesome weekend. I love that your passion is your family, and God...and that photography is your joy. What a powerful thing to acknowledge.

When you write about your relationship with Tony, I have to smile because I think that you & I, and Tony & Jared are such similar people. I'll be keeping you and Tony in my prayers- I anticipate there will be a lot changes taking place in your family over the next year or so ;)

Sky said...

I also almost died laughing on our last Southwest flight. I wonder what their interview process is like and if it includes stand up.

Your experience sounds amazing, I am so happy for you. I think we all need opportunities for renewal and reflection.

Meredith said...

First of all, I LOVE your hair. The low lights are awesome, and I totally want them. Second, I also LOVE that reflection picture. Amazing.

Third, please go order this book right now:

If you don't, I just may break all of our rules and mail it to you myself. It is that important.

It is an incredible book, along with journal prompts. Paradigm shifting (for me anyway) in terms of how I strive to support Justin in our marriage. We have commented over and over how similar we are in a lot of different ways, and this book directly deals with some of those issues that we both deal with (i.e. control). I KNOW this book would be as much of a blessing to you as it was to me...

Jill said...

Looks like an amazing trip! I'm so proud of you!

melissa o said...

I love you and am so incredibly thankful for you.


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