books, entertainment, gratitude, home, journey, list

A hodgepodge dabble…

From this Side of the Pond
I decided to dabble in a little something new, so today I am participating in a fun little Wednesday thing, over here… Basically, 6 questions are asked, and I’ll answer. Pretty easy, right?

1. What would you say is your biggest day to day challenge?

time management is easily my biggest day-to-day challenge. I have truly important (and sometimes admirable) to-do lists, where everything really matters, to some degree… But I struggle most often with managing the time and not losing myself in the tasks. Often what gets cut is my writing time…

2. May 16th is National Biographers Day. What’s a biography you really enjoyed reading? Is this a genre you read regularly?

While it isn’t actually a biography, anyone who reads here or listens to the podcast must be so sick of hearing about this, but I am full-on OBSESSED with Chrissy Metz autobiography/memoir. OBSESSED. (I have also enjoyed biographies written about Zelda Fitzgerald quite a bit!) I love memoirs, personal essay collections and really solid literary novels.

3. How important is keeping a clean house? Do you need to de-clutter your life?

I have a “lived in” home, but it stays pretty clean and organized, for the most part. I have a couple of seasons a year where I’ll do a big declutter, but do honestly try to stay on top of it because I firmly believe that only surround myself with things I either love or need is the best way to a quality and peace filled life.

4. You’re the 8th dwarf. What’s your name?

Ha! Snarky… (but only if I’m super close and comfortable with the 7 others.)

5. What’s surprised you the most about your life or life in general?

I think being able to look back and see direct trails (like connect-the-dots) leading from one bit to the next. Also, that, at 42, I still feel like that 22-year-old in my head. I don’t have it together, I’m not much wiser than then, I still have dreams and discover new passions. At 22, I always thought by now I’d be wise and stable, so mature in my brain, but I am just not…

This came about in a conversation with my husband, over the weekend. He, soft voiced and hesitant, confessed this very thing, and I had to laugh as reassuringly as possible. I wonder what it is that makes us believe we won’t still be us in 20-30 years? It gives me an all new perspective on my grandparents, before they passed, and on the elderly people I interact with regularly at my mother’s memory care facility.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Sometimes I watch the Great British Bake-off and I’m blown away by so many elements of it. I think about how it’s probably the wisest and best “entertainment” to help us become better people… Other times, I watch it and while I love it, I admit that I had NO CLUE what I was thinking…

You asked for random.

I’m also wondering how one goes about getting a summer intern. I’m also unable to think about little beyond if I am going to be moving soon. I want to move. I totally DO NOT want to move. Adulthood is complicated, no?

(also… Don’t forget to read my CRAZY little story, and then enter to win a $50 Target gift card!)

Advertisements
books, entertainment, family, food, friendship, gratitude, journey, list, marriage

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

This was one of those weeks where the good things were really good, and the less than great things were pretty low. As I’m typing this I am on a post recording high, from an episode very near and dear to me. Every single time I sit down to do an episode, it feels like the world opens up a bit wider and it somehow makes a little more sense. It is almost as though there are these full circle moments coming into clear focus, and leaving me in awe. In and of itself, the show is a very technically flawed free app. Beneath that though, where the gooey, glorious heart of it lives, there is something so much bigger than anything I could orchestrate and I am so grateful to be a part of it. This show is a humble little blip in the deep and ravenous sea of podcasters, sponsors and expense sheets. We are an every growing community of women, filled with a fire to make something better simply by being real and supporting one another. It is so odd to think, but that really does make the world better for someone.

If I am never a part of anything else, I think this podcast will never stop being my favorite.

Beyond that, it was a week which included cupcakes, coffee & sharing with women, family dinners, sunshine, pulling the summer clothes out of storage, packing the winter ones away, so much criticism, breaking pointes/boundaries, changes, possibilities, acceptance, so much tension dissipating into true peace and some of the most raw and transparent conversations i’ve had in ages… This blissful Thursday night/Friday morning finds me filled with gratitude and trust.

Beyond that:

  • Boise Boys. If you haven’t watched this, you should. It likely won’t evoke longings for home, like it does for us, but it is honestly just so fascinating. We don’t know either one of them, but we have about a thousand personal/real-life connections to Luke Caldwell, so we practically know him. Right?!?!
  • Goat Milk lotion. Have you used it? I am a constant hand cream user, and the problem isn’t the cream but it’s my skin. Super thirsty, I guess. Anyway, we were out of town on Sunday and I found a sample bottle of this soft scented goat milk lotion on a shop counter. I put a small dab on my hands and probably didn’t use lotion again until Monday. It was amazing and now, now I must acquire some. (note: adding to list of reasons why I need goats in my life.)
  • On Saturday I made Blackberry Cobbler. I totally want to claim that I made it for my cousin, and I really want to claim it is because I am so thoughtful and remembered that it was her favorite and that my grandmother always used to make it for her. Truth is, I didn’t remember that… (At least not consciously) also, I have never made blackberry cobbler before. My grandmother’s peach cobbler has been a stable in our summers, forever, but blackberry has never crossed my mind. Then I made it, and it was heaven. This summer we will not have cobbler- this summer will become the Summer of Cobbler. You’ll see…
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society Trailer. It appears that Netflix will have it in August and honestly, I cannot wait. I loved this book and am loving the trailer so much. (PLUS it’s like a Downton reunion!)
  • I have developed this odd little bad habit of setting beverages on the back of my couch. Where we are currently living happens to be the very first living room where my couch is flush against a wall. I eventually began to utilize the very convenient “shelf” that is the its back. It’s not a big deal really, no spills… But, my swell bottle and coffee cups sometimes scuff the paint on the wall. There have been times my husband has come home from a business trip to a few forgotten (empty) coke zero cans planted there. My husband found a few pieces of reclaimed wood and he put together a humble little “sofa table”. We didn’t need much, basically just a holder for Misty’s pluthera of beverages. (#drymouth) It was the sweetest thing and I LOVE it. As if the gesture wasn’t sweet enough, he also built an outlet, complete with USB plugs, right into it. Seriously, this guy is the coolest…
books, chronic illness, journey, list, marriage, self care

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

You guys…

You guys, you guys, YOU GUYS! April has been wild! I can’t even believe what has happened, and how quickly things have just BLOWN UP! And by blown up, I mean it so many variations… Good, not-so-great, awesome, stressful… I am (SO) excited about things ahead, and trying to remain every thankful. And you make it easy! I am so grateful for my readers here, in this little space. I am grateful for your likes and love, your comments and the notes you send! I have said this so much this week, but your support is AWESOME and I love you guys! (And in case you missed it, Episode 2 of the Collective podcast is live now! Episode details, notes and how to listen are all available here!)

YOU Are my number one favorite thing!

And these:

  • This awesome little notepad has made this list before. It is just THAT Awesome! But really, I love the little games and notes Chw and I leave one another!
  • Speaking of showers… Being a skin care enthusiast and all, I stick with shower products which are free of parabens and sulfates. I really like that options are increasing, and this little bottle of magical scented wonder is my new obsession. The description of scent had me thinking NO WAY, but I love it! Intoxicating!
  • It is NO SECRET that I adore Shauna Niequist. In fact, if you’ve known me for over fifteen minutes, I have probably mentioned her once or twice already. (ADORE, ADORE and love her!) I am slowly making my way through her book Bread & Wine. It is the only book of her that I’ve not read, and the truth is I pre-bought it forever ago. I kept it beautifully sat aside, waiting on a special time to read it. I’ve packed it for three trips, naively thinking I’d have time to lose myself in it. Instead I was encouraged to crack it open now, in the season of stress and anxiety… So slowly, I read on. While I stand by my theory that it deserved a special time where I could devote myself to it, I am really glad to be reading it now.
  • I am obsessed with this song! I’ll be honest, I am all together mesmerized and creeped out by the video. On my third observation I had to admit the eyes are my favorite… The lyrics though, I love them!

I’ve got to be honest, it’s been a hard week. I’ve had a lot of work stuff, the weather has been brutal, my mom was in the hospital (hence the not posting a friday post, last week), tensions are high, sleep is rare and I’ve managed to transition from one sick dog to another. As I am typing this, it is 1 A.M. and I am in the gloriousness (*sarcasm*) that is a Fibro-flare. I hurt terribly and, living in a second story condo, each and every time my poor pups need to be sick, it’s up and down the stairs. I have made that trip today well over fifty times, and there is no end in site. I am super discouraged about a lot of things… Like spring. WHEN WILL SPRING BE REAL? Is spring like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny? Is it something we tell kids to manipulate them into being good?

Wednesday night I went to an event in “Detroit” (which was not actually anywhere near Detroit. They ALWAYS do that with events here, it’s like people might just be a bit terrified to go into the city. Detroit is AWESOME, world, GO!) where I was assaulted with pellets of hail as I travelled from vehicle to venue door. (I think it was like a 47 mile walk, though it could have been less. The welting balls of ice may have had a way of distorting my perception of the distance.) As I was walking, stinging in the exact same way Macauley Culkin’s sweet little My Girl character must have felt when he died*, I thought to myself THIS! This is exactly what the past 4 years have felt like. This… I’m ready for spring. Life spring, of new growth and blossoming, of warmth and ease. And also real spring…

My husband was supposed to be out town this weekend, but he’s going to be home so I am thrilled. Last weekend was terrible for us and I’m happy for the chance to redo it. (and also, happy to tag team the dog sickness situation because- TIRED…) Also, super happy to see I Feel Pretty and grill some steak. And sit in a coffee shop and read my book. These are my weekend wish list items. How about yours?

books, chronic illness, entertainment, food, gifts, gratitude, home, journey, marriage, self care, travel

It’s Friday, I’m in love…

It’s just not possible…

I look outside my large Michigan window and curse life as I know it. The warmth that was Tennessee this time last week, while here, today, it is snow and bitter cold.  Again. So over it…

I am also battling a cold, and intensely sore from wild and crazy things like caving beneath the Smokey Mountains and a new workout routine, back here in the land of frigid. I am achy and congested, frozen-finger typing while I am bundled up in an oversized sweatshirt, scarf and yoga pants. Emma, my seven year old Aussie, is corralled in the bathroom due to some sort of doggy sickness that I honestly feel like I cannot muster the energy for and I am nursing my second Coke zero of the day (yes, I do realize it is only ten in the morning) because my throat is swollen and on fire and it just feels better to drink that over razor sharp water… My box of tissues sits to my left, stack of books to my right. Atop the stack, naturally, is my Let Go journal…

I feel miserable and terrible, and really pretty awful too.

Let it go, Misty

And maybe it is possible. Possible to feel all of the sad, bad, sickly things and still be a ray of shining something inside. Let’s try that, anyway.

Sharing the love, with you-

  • The husband and I went to Tennessee to celebrate twenty-four years since we first said I Do. The trip was wonderful! It was so great to take adventures together, just focus on BE-ing, and make new memories while investing in Us. The only really unplanned inconvenience was the traffic down, where we crawled at a snail’s pace along with EVERY SINGLE PERSON heading to Florida for spring break. Never would’ve thought, but now we know for next time… Among the AMAZING things we did in Tennessee, my favorite things to list (without making this an entire Knoxville area edition of the standard Friday post) would all involve Market Square, in Knoxville. Not only is trendy and yet somehow timeless, but it has an adorable little dog park right in the middle, and we got to meet lots of great little dogs! (It is safe to say that this part is not going to make Chw’s BEST list.) My favorite shop in the Square was the Knoxville Chocolate Company, not for what seems like the obvious reasons, however. The chocolate parts were more  earning of my husband’s adoration. For me, it was the artwork and gifts. They were featuring works from local artist Milk Moon House, and I fell head over heals for several of the pieces displayed!  It was a sad reality that they were pretty far out of my budget, and so with deep sadness I walked away… (also, shout out to the Blue Coast Bar & Grill for miraculously making the best french toast I have ever put in my mouth!)
  • When we first decided on Knoxville being our destination, a friend recommended a visit to McKay’s books. (If you’ve never had the overwhelmingly sensory experience of visiting this entertainment haven, you might want to consider a trip to Knoxville.) Nothing I can say would ever do it justice, and the place itself isn’t my second item here anyway. It is something I discovered while digging through their Vinyl. This album/movie is so fundamental to my childhood. You would have thought I’d dug and found a trove filled with gold and diamonds, for all of the enthusiasm I still have over this record.

The dark side’s callin’ now, nothin’ is real
She’ll never know just how I feel
From out of the shadows she walks like a dream
Make me feel crazy, make me feel so mean…

Moving on…

  • Because we love them and it’s what we do- the husband and I caught a movie at the local cineplex our last night in town. Him, (quite eagerly), and me (significantly less so) nestled in with popcorn to see Ready Player One. We had spent a pretty big chunk of the day adventuring through underground caves and I was feeling pretty tired. On occasion my inner grandma has been known to come out and nap through movies, and I was pretty certain this would be one of those naps. It was not. By principal and taste I pride myself on not being much of a Sci-Fi lover, but this movie… So crazy good.
  • I love to read. I don’t always have the time, but I am trying to be more intentional about picking up books. One thing I cannot do is read in the car. I just can’t. And my husband loves to listen to audiobooks, but the one thing he cannot do is read physical books. Something about holding a book just inspires his inner grandpa to pop right out and drift to snoozeland. Neither one of us can justify the regular cost of purchasing Audio books because… well, they are ridiculous. (and yes, he listens through the library, but the wait list is often unbearable.) Enter Otto. Maybe you’ve seen it pop up in various social media ads, promising to be the Netflix of audio books. That’s how I first heard of it, and skeptically, I looked into it. You guys, it IS the Netflix of audiobooks! We listened to a couple of great books, on our trip. Our favorite was The Woman in Cabin 10. (sidenote: I am surprised the consumer reader reviews aren’t stronger because this book HAD IT ALL…) Feeling super crummy this week (as I mentioned), and not playing entirely by-the-book with my Dirty Keto life, I have been self caring by some more reading. (We all need some self nurturing…) Am absolutely loving listening to This Is Me and recommend it to every woman/girl/person.)
  • I don’t usually watch New, midseason TV shows. (They aren’t usually very good and they also stand a greater chance of getting cancelled, so why commit?) I am a major fan of Zach Braff though, and as an Office lover, also adore Jenna Fischer. Their new shows Alex Inc. and Splitting Up Together are actually really good. I don’t know that they will get renewed because these are pretty smart and not the normal trendy types that do well… Fingers crossed! (Plus Emily Kapnek is bringing us Splitting Up Together and she was the brilliance behind Selfie– a show I deeply loved, that was gruesomely cancelled even though the internet went to war to save it! So you could say I’m a little jaded.)

What have you been loving lately? PLEASE share- I need all the joy I can get right now!

adoption, books, chronic illness, family, friendship, gratitude

This is forty-two…

Yesterday my youngest daughter turned nineteen. At nineteen she represents herself, to us anyway, as the authority of all things, and that’s pretty normal. At nineteen, lifetimes ago, I am sure I did the same thing. Adulthood is still new, the real complexities and woes of it are yet to really hit home. In most cases, the biggest “grown up” problems you’ve had to face are pretty nominal in comparison. At nineteen we know more than we’ve ever known so naturally we feel pretty wise…

Forty-two is completely different. I woke up this new age, and yet don’t feel very different. While nineteen seems so long ago, (and in a galaxy far, far away) with it is that feeling of knowing or understanding anything at all. I literally have nothing figured out.

Nothing…

One year ago yesterday felt like a car accident. One that I should have seen coming, but didn’t. While an adoptively rocky relationship with my daughter had always been so much, it wasn’t until that day, last year, when it really hit me- we will likely never have a real relationship. It was devastating to finally acknowledge that this child whom I had given up so much for, and invested so much of myself in, wasn’t genuinely invested in me at all. I know there are so many friends saying Misty, come on… You should have known. But I didn’t. I feared it. I worried about it. I honestly believed that if I loved her enough, forgave enough, did enough that one day it would be enough. And then I had to realize- that day wasn’t going to come.

This is forty-two… waking up, one year later, having seen the fruition of that. Having to come to terms with it, grieving the loss of what I spent my motherhood lifetime hoping would be the family I ached to have. Pushing aside the this is not fair feelings that bombard me when holidays, milestones (and yes, even this birthday), come around… It is no coincidence that Let Go chose to be my mantra for this year of my life. I am brutally learning to let go.

Letting go of the dreams of my home filled with my children and my grandkids. Letting go of that next phase it seems like everyone else experiences, of whole-healthy families coming together for the important moments… One year ago today I still dreamed this fantasy (for me) possible, today I know it is not. This is forty-two.

I do not know a single person who fought as hard to be a mother. I have three amazing kids whom I love INCREDIBLY, and not one of those relationships came easily. In each situation it was like I had to push against the world, just to make it so. Somewhere in the back of my (human and needy) mind I knew that I was fighting to bring together the family that I had spent my own youth begging for. And I tried. I did do my best, despite the vile stories floating around that someone wants people to believe about my motherhood- I do know I did my best… But it wasn’t enough. Not enough to have that family I thought I was making. Not in the way I so deeply wanted anyway.

And there in lies the miracle of it all. I wanted… I didn’t need it, even though it felt like I did, (and still honestly feels like I do). I deeply, desperately, cravingly ached for it- but it was never vital. Letting go… This is forty-two.

Looking back at the opportunities I set aside and sacrificed and feeling like now I am so far behind, but not too far behind. It may be harder now, but still possible. This is forty-two.

The journey from forty-one to forty-two has been perhaps the most brutal of them all. I am tired, weary and emotionally feel done. This added challenge of letting go is trimming my heart in ways which I was both  unprepared and are long over due. With the good-bye to forty-one, I send with it the tiny fragments of innocence which had remained.

Just because we desire something, that does not mean it will happen.

Just because we love sacrificially, with everything we have- does not mean they will love us back.

I could fill this list with a thousand lessons learned throughout this year, but the most important one (for me) is that I am ok. I do not need the things I thought I needed. I will also no longer accept the things I might have then. Someone is either all in, and willing to make effort or they aren’t. These things are not my responsibility and there is nothing I can do to motivate them for more. I do not need to prove myself to motivate anyone to find me of value, and those people I value have had me demonstrate such in infinite volumes.

Having feelings for someone does not equate to love. love requires selfless action, intent, honesty and vulnerability.

Apologies are nothing without the actions of love.

The age limit on achieving anything is societal and not reality based at all.

Those dreams and desires our hearts are built on, aren’t real either. Gravitating towards them will not make them so. Sometimes things are just really impossible, and being real about that isn’t pessimistic. Lying to ourselves (or anyone else) “optimistically” is still lying. It isn’t encouraging. It isn’t comforting. Well, maybe it is comforting in that way that you feel super sad so you eat an entire pan of brownies and a pint of ice cream. As the sugar-drug soothes, you might feel balmed… Not too long later though, you’ll either be crouched over a toiled puking your brains out, or wish you were. Not better at all. False hope, the little lies we tell ourselves because the truth is to bleak- this is the very same thing. The outcome of such dishonesty only makes us all worse off.

I am done dreaming about my future. I am done imagining a full life, of a house filled with love and laughter and the people I care about. Dreaming up the vacations, holidays and the dinner parties and all of the things I was so certain this stage of my life would be filled to the brim with. These things belong to so many other mothers and grandmothers, but not this one. Not this time. Thousands of tears have been shed over such things, but nothing ever assured me that was the place in which my motherhood journey was headed, and it’s time I let go of the emotional energy holding on to that and just move on. Whether I was not enough, did not do enough, or whatever the reasoning- it does not matter… This is forty-two.

I walk through life in a near constant headache, with a chronic illness on my back. I love some of the songs and films I have loved before, and many I do not. I enjoy doing a lot of things that I seem to never do. I live a daily life that resembles nothing I ever thought it would- and that’s ok too. This is forty-two.

I have to admit I am closer to the end, than the beginning, and there are days when I question if the end is significantly closer than I’d like it to be. That is grim, and maybe where the thoughts of this age tend to drift. I don’t know, I’m new here…

I am drawing closer those good things & people who reciprocate my time and effort, and releasing my grasp on those which don’t. It seems cold to the ones released, but I just don’t have enough strength to be the majority any more. This is forty-two.

It is honest, it is different. It is ugly and motivational. It is lonely and self-assured. It is lessons learned and ignorance with a whole lot in-between.

To celebrate this birthday I will run a few errands, drink another cup of coffee, turn my phone to silent and keep my eyes looking forward. At what, I do not know. Where I will be at forth-three I have no clue. I have hopes, but they are like clouds which change shape and drift away. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, and I will finally admit that I have no guarantees. I spent forty-one years of my life crippled by the fear of isolation and a solo journey, and now I see that I’ve been riding this horse alone and I am ok after all. This is forty-two.

None of my favorite bands have songs named for this age, unlike 41. None of the books I am drawn to offer solace for this stage. This stage, for me, isn’t the same as it is for others. We each have our own stories and I can no longer hide my eyes from my shaping tale, simply because I had hoped and prayed for something different…

This is forty-two, and that is ok. I am ok. All false (destructive) optimism aside, I am moving forward and each lesson is a stepping stone for something real, and real is far better than an imaginary bliss any day.

I am ok.

I am not sure any birthday before had me sitting deep in the saddle of that knowledge.