Ode to Garage Sales—Mom Life


This week my friends and I hosted that glorious thing that is a garage sale—where folks paw through my abundance of junk priceless treasures to add to their homes.

It’s key to excelling in Mom Life to both host and attend one of these circuses for a bonanza of deals. So to all of you out there who pack an extra $20 bill in your purse just in case you spot a sign on the street, I give you:

Ode to Garage Sales

Continue reading “Ode to Garage Sales—Mom Life”

Unstuck

Unless you’ve been living in Antarctica, under a rock, 100 feet under the ocean, you know it’s January.

Most folks out there are blogging about their goals for 2017 or their review of 2016.

But somehow, I got stuck in November.

My mom has been having some health issues, I’m having some health issues, my good friend has had more loss than anyone should have in a handful of months, work has sent me a few difficult projects, and I’m pulled between two of my own book worlds: One that I semi-finished about a year ago, and now I’m knee deep in edits. And I started the other by writing 50,000 words during November.

In the last few weeks, every time I sit down to write, my brain freezes. It’s terrifying. I have no words. I’ve started a host of articles, blogs, letters, and left a ream of blank paper, hours of blank screens in my wake. Continue reading “Unstuck”

Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping

footholdThere’s an enormous rock that thrusts into the creek behind my childhood home. I remember lying on my back, stretching fingers and toes long and not even touching the edges. Above it, the sky hung endless blue with the tips of the trees a dark parenthesis on either side.

The rock was my younger brother and my pretend house when we played castaways, our kitchen table when we played house, and my refuge when I was escaping the terrors held inside my real home.

I’ve always been a collector of stories so I know that my “real” story is better and worse than everyone else’s. It isn’t in me to compare anymore. My past made me who I am.

It isn’t my past that scares me. I’ve moved beyond it…mostly.

I have this random file of character sketches, snippets of scenes. In my file there’s pages and pages of a character I’ve resisted for years now. She scares me because I recognize her. She’s trying to pull back from the edge of insanity and her feet are slipping. The hot breath of evil tickles her neck. She needs a rock, a refuge and I don’t know if she’ll find one in time. And I’m afraid of what that means for me, for my kids, and my marriage. Continue reading “Finding a Foothold When Life Is Slipping”

Life Between the Snapshots

Between SnapshotsThere are a stack beautiful picture books nestled into a tray on my coffee table. They’re my kids favorite books. Probably because the books are actually family albums and full of reminders of the fun times we’ve had together. There’s the rare picture they hate (like the one of my son crying because he’s covered head-to-toe in permanent marker) or prefer the world not to see (like the one with the goofy expression).

Mostly the family albums portray me and my world the way I wish they were–Picture Perfect.

But there’s more to the story. There’s life between the snapshots. Continue reading “Life Between the Snapshots”

Calling Mommy Back-Up

Mommy Back-UpA friend of mine emailed me the other day. She’s pregnant, her job is going haywire, her husband is in full-time school, and just that day, her son figured out how to climb out of his crib . . . and forgot how to sleep.

Yeah. One of those times.

And I was her about 5 years ago when my son (then 2-years-old) climbed out of his crib and promptly refused his nap, bedtime, and every other structure we had in place at the time. Did I mention that I work from home? And the only time I had to work was during nap time. Um. Problem.

So I identify with my friend. I emailed her back giving her a few hints, ideas, and thoughts. And she’s been on my mind ever since. I dropped her a line a few days later wondering if there’s something I can do to help—bring a meal, babysit, conjure sanity from thin air.

I hope she takes me up on it. I’d be happy to help, and she could use the Mommy back-up.

But I’m afraid she won’t. Because let’s face it.

When I was there I didn’t want to ask for help. It felt too, well, needy.

In fact I didn’t want to take help or in any way look like I couldn’t handle it. I should be able to do it on my own. Right? Right?! I can still see my hands shaking from too much caffeine and not enough sleep. I was so tired, I literally walked into walls.

While I’m not walking into walls these days, I am overwhelmed. Partly because I stupidly said yes to too many things. And partly because my oldest is entering teenhood, trying to figure out life, and she needs her mom (and I refuse to be anywhere else).

I hope I learned something in the last 5 years–learned to ask for help and receive it when someone offers. I know I’ve shuffled my kids to friend’s houses, ordered pizza, and broken down and let them have more screen time than I’d like. It’s what I need to do for right now. And that’s okay.

What are the things that other people have done for you that have made your life easier? What are things you wish someone would do to give you Mommy Back-Up?

There’s Something About Deadlines

It’s time for one of the two Thursdays of every month where I give a nod to the things that make us stop and say, “There’s something about . . . ”

Deadlines Twitter

It’s spring break week here in Michigan.

I’m joining my friends, neighbors, and family in the water. Theirs is of the Florida-like, warm water beach variety and mine is, unfortunately, strictly metaphorical.

My fabulous kids are home and doing a great job of entertaining themselves while I work. So it isn’t their fault that I’m near drowning and the sharks are circling.

I have an overloaded schedule.

We’ve all been there. We’re happily going through life and we think, “Yes, I can take that project on . . . and that one . . . ” and then suddenly: Continue reading “There’s Something About Deadlines”

Get Your Wallow On

Get Your Wallow On

I’ll admit there are times when I get tired of looking for beauty in all the first-world ugly I see. I just want to wallow for a minute or two . . . or a week.

Just so we’re clear, to wallow is a verb meaning to roll about in the mud for refreshment.

Yep. Rolling in the mud for refreshment. Get out me out some tunes and get a little pig wallow on.

I don’t know about you but I’m not sure rolling in the ugly is refreshing. I know it isn’t pretty for anyone to watch and it makes me downright sticky and stinky. And yet I do it.

I find myself failing again and getting stuck there, burying myself in the ugly. Counting the ways life is hard:

Continue reading “Get Your Wallow On”

There’s Something about Thursday: Two Ways to a Better Home Life

There’s Something about Thursday: Two Ways to a Better Home Life

Changing the way you look at your daily life, because there’s something about the way you think.

It’s Thursday, the day we stop and wonder, giving a nod to the things that make us stop and say, “There’s something about . . . “

 

2 Ways to a Better LifeA quick trip through the medical research in cyberspace will have you convinced that your brain is an amazing creation. Extremely powerful.

In addition to keeping your body functioning, there is research that proves a correlation between positive thinking and lower stress, healthier bodies, etc. All done with your brain. Who knew?

But positive thinking is a little easier said than done when you try and bring it home. Continue reading “There’s Something about Thursday: Two Ways to a Better Home Life”

There’s Something About Accountability

AccountabilityI didn’t want to write today. The last two posts were a little hard for me to write. I was walking lines, trying to step carefully, not sure if I had crossed over or not. That feeling of insecurity, combined with the busyness of the holidays and starting the first round of edits for my novel, has left me a little done in.

But I made a promise to you and myself that I would purposefully look for, see, and celebrate the good things. And that promise forced me to look today.

To see the gorgeous sunrise and watch in wonder as the sun’s spark slowly spread from a tiny spot to flames spreading from horizon to horizon.

To hear the laughter in my sister’s voice despite the hard things she endures.

To feel the heat in my home and good food filling my stomach.

So today, I thank you. Whether you know it or not, you are my accountability, my outside-myself-reason to keep finding beauty, to keep writing, and frankly, to not play it safe.

Today you helped me find the beauty in the world so filled with amazing things, I often miss the overflowing and take it for granted.

So if you took my challenge earlier this week and decided to not play it safe, what are you doing to be sure you will actually take that step? If you’re willing, I would love to know what your dreams and hopes are for the coming year. Maybe we can help keep each other accountable.

When Fine Isn’t Fine

IMG_4106I sat in church the other day and listened to folks talk to the brand new mom behind me.

“How is it going?” “Fine.” “She looks like such a good baby.” No response, but a small smile from the mom.

And when they left she breathed to her husband, “What else am I supposed to say?”

Tears filled my eyes. I hate the word fine.
Fine says nothing.
It’s neither here . . .
Nor there.

Fine makes it easy to hide.

How are you doing? Fine. When life is slipping through your fingers. Fine. When you’re barely keeping panic from exploding your chest. Fine. I look fine. Feel fine. The day is fine, thank you very much.
Continue reading “When Fine Isn’t Fine”