The deep mundane…

Last week I received a lovely direct message on Instagram from a fellow writer. We had crossed paths over the social media platform and she had been led to come follow my blog. Her message was heartfelt and encouraged me to write, within this space, more. Honestly, when I read her words I nodded and thought I couldn’t agree more. And yet…

And yet, another week went by of parenthood and exhaustive defiance. Another week of ridiculous traffic, appointments, stocking the fridge, preparing meals, folding laundry, friendship, etc. What would I write about? How I disliked folding laundry that sat overnight in the dryer? How it is flip-flop season and I am in desperate need of a pedicure. How graduation and an open house are approaching at rocket speed and not fast enough, all rolled into one. How I am packing to move out of this temporary apartment and I am beyond tired of transition and moving. How my puppy is the most stubborn potty trainer and how, with Fibro, I am as consistent as I can be but that every moment of every day feels like I simply am not doing good enough at anything. None of these things are blog worthy, dwell worthy, or really worth any thing at all. They are what they are. Some days are better than others. Some days full on blow, while others are exceptional. This is life for each of us, with our own details.

Writing, (something I haven’t been doing much of, beyond the occasional freelance piece) requires deeper than that. If my eyes are trained to see the mundane, the details, the nows and the this minutes, I am unable to plunge. And so, for a blog post you’ll get surface level stuff, unless I resort to the fake. Truthfully, I can’t take either of those options and so, best intentions cast aside for another day, this space remained silent.

Part of my problem, I’ll admit, is that I haven’t had a designated writing space. As I type this very collection of words, I am writing from my bed- my least favorite place to write. I do not have a dining table, as of right now, my bar to bar stool ratio is too much for my little t-rex arms to comfortable type and my living room is cluttered with boxes and mess. Every week I declare that I will take one to two days and go to the local coffee-house to spend a few hours writing from there. In theory, this is great. In reality I have an adult child who makes this idea hard, coupled with a stubborn and needy puppy- and so… So I tell myself a routine can be established later. (Later: tomorrow, next week, next month, next year) and I cope the best I can through the seconds turned to minutes, which link together, arms tight and unforgiving.

This morning I woke up, having survived the various elements of the three-day weekend, motivated. My to-do list was ready. I threw my collection of frozen and fresh fruit into the blender, along with some spinach and various additives to make my breakfast smoothie healthy and filling. By the time I got the blend point, however, parenting frustrations had already occurred (actually about half had carried over from the days of the last few months, hurtful and unyielding) and so when the first sip of my smoothie tasted like a cross between toilet cleaner and a thin mint cookie, I had to take pause. What was going on here? Why wasn’t I writing? Why didn’t I just sit down and do it? Why wasn’t I looking beyond the surface, beneath the BS and in between the lines? Why wasn’t I transparently sharing whatever came to mind? Why was I continuing to sip a smoothie which sort of burned my taste buds and reminded me of my short stint as a professional cleaner in a small hospital?

So many questions, (the “smoothie” is almost gone, by the way, in case you were curious. I’m thinking the Tumeric is where I went wrong- though that it has the power to transform EVERYTHING to such wickedness is a terrifying thought.) with no real answers. So I sit here, feet slightly numb at this elevated position. Stubborn puppy is crated for a two-hour stint of further attempts with project potty train. My stomach is currently unsure of how to digest the new market cleanser I seem to have whipped up, (All natural!) and my laundry sits folded beside me, begging to be put away. Today I will walk the dogs, take some photos of swans, pack a few boxes, list things on Ebay, drive Gen to work and return an insane amount of books to the library. This week I will wrap gifts and put a few last-minute details together for my mom’s 70th birthday, further progress on my daughter A’s birthday and Gen’s graduation open house. This week I will also, hopefully, know exactly where we are moving to. Let’s put it this way, I care a little- Mostly though, I am just excited to get out of this transition. It has been a year of transition. (and over paying for a dump, but that’s a whole other issue.)

The takeaway that I have from our three-day weekend is this: long weekends have a lot more room for the unexpected. While sleeping in and leisurely brunches are lovely, life still happens and stuff has to get done. I think, when I imagine the looming extra long weekend, I forget that part. Furthermore- date nights are so cathartic, and fun, but also sort of pricy. The new Pirates movie is seriously better than I expected, and late night John Cusack marathons might be a little too wild for this girl, as I slept through most of it. (#41isold #canistillcallmyselfagirlifimold) All in all, life is about balance. Sometimes, for various reasons, a fun adventure really can be a run to Sonic happy hour, an hour away. Sometimes a hard day really can be a result of an overcast sky and you feel sad. We are where we are. Period. I suspect I keep waiting for something else, looking for something a bit more to push me to that point where I can be a real writer. There is no point. This is it. The quest of the writer truly is to find the beauty and story within the mundane pile of laundry and accidentally abrasive smoothie. Message noted, and so I will try my best to do better, sweet Instagram friend.

Forty one…

When I was 23 I fell in love with the Dave Matthews Band. As a child and teenager I had often got caught up in the way music felt, and how it made me feel. I was led to believe this was a teen thing, and I’d grow out of it, so I did. In the years between 16 and 23, I followed music trends over content and struggled with the focal point areas of my life, such as marriage and my desperate need to have a baby when all that continued to happen was miscarriage.

Then, I really heard the DMB. Not the first couple of songs that hit the mainstream radio market, because let’s face it- that is NEVER the best tracks a band has to offer. I was given the cd of Crash, by a friend. It sat in my cd rack (that’s taking it WAY back) for months, and then one night I was sitting on the floor amidst my swirling, out-of-control life and I decided to pop the disc in.

It literally changed my life.

Nearly every song reached and then fed a place deep inside of me, which had been dormant for a long, long time. This album would walk beside me through my husband’s affair, through divorce, through an uncomfortable relationship (ie: catfish, BEFORE catfishing was a thing), becoming a mom, reconciliation in my marriage, and so much more. It would see me through the start of beautiful friendships, (it was our mutual love of Dave which first connected my beautiful friend Laura and I, and she is one of my most dear, going on 17 years!) and the necessary end of others. Whenever I still hear the song #41 my heart soars in a way that nothing else can cause. It is fair to say that, since I was 23, this has been my absolute favorite song, above all others. If my life were a movie, or tv show, this song would play a lot. In fact, I would imagine that the instrumental version would be known as Misty’s theme, on the soundtrack. (sidenote: if you have never, ever heard this song, do yourself a favor. Go listen to it. Take a quiet 6 min and 39 seconds and really listen, to the words, the music…) Fun little bunny trail, when I saw DMB the first time, I was so bummed they didn’t do #41, but it was such an awesome show and I had waited to long to finally see them, that the good outweighed the bad. When I saw them the second time, they again didn’t play it, and so I was a little more sad. When I saw them the third time, with my best friend and my husband it was an amazing experience. There I sat between two of my most dear, and DMB played my song. I literally sobbed, it was such a perfect moment. Also: this is the ONLY time I have sobbed at a show.

Yesterday I turned 41. I can say, without any question, that the last few years of the journey to this birthday have been the hardest. Since right before my birthday, 2012, my life has seemed to go downhill a little more with each passing month. For a good bit of those 5 years, I wasn’t really learning or absorbing anything. Instead I found myself praying that it would just get better, that peace could come for at least a little while, and then I simply pretended like everything was ok. My life fell completely apart when I was 39. I found myself in all of the bad places I had feared I would end up (homeless, alone, unwanted and unloveable by the people I desperately wanted to want and love me) and I was ok. I was finding a way that I didn’t know was possible, and though life was not quite what I wanted, i was ok. The bottom wasn’t as unbearable as I had always imagined. (that being said, I do not EVER want to go back to that place)

As a girl who has always struggled with her birthday, the absolute worst was my fortieth. It was a living nightmare and as yesterday came closer, I found myself worrying about it. Then I remembered what last year taught me, (well, one of the trillions of things) it really was up to me to spend my birthday how I wanted. One’s celebration is NOT a reflection of their worth in the eyes of others. Just because I love the birthdays of people I love and celebrate them as thoughtfully as I can, it DOES NOT mean anything if I have to plan my own. So I did.

I bought a birthday cupcake package of the classic illustration of Alice in Wonderland, because I love it so much. I then baked two types of cupcakes (vanilla filled with lemon curd and chocolate filled with blackberry buttercream) and then did not even eat one. Gen had a couple and the rest were delivered to others. I loved it! It was so much fun and something I plan on making an annual tradition! I opted for sparkling moscato with my birthday cake, over the traditional ice cream. I spent the morning having a fun little Twin Peaks inspired breakfast and then retreated to my favorite coffee place, with a book. In the afternoon Gen and I caught a movie (which turned out to be the very best movie for yesterday, The Last Word ) After that, I took Chw as my plus one, to a press screening in Detroit and we had a really great evening. Met some really cool people, were forced to interact with an unsavory few and had an amazing dinner of Indian food. All in all, it was a perfect day. It was busy, but simple, which was perfect! Honestly it may have been my best birthday ever and this was completely because of me.

This morning I woke in the same way I do every single morning. I laid there, grabbed my phone and looked around at various things. As I lay there I questioned if I could go back to sleep, or if I should get up. I really didn’t want to get up. Knightley whined a bit and I groaned. Apparently the first morning at 41 would be exactly like the mornings at 40. Before disappointment crept in I told myself that it didn’t have to be that way, and I got up. I played with the puppy after his breakfast, I broke out my macbook and wrote a little. I drank my coffee and opened a window. It’s chilly out, but a little perfect. I started some laundry and mapped out my day.

What does 41 look like? I don’t know, but it is up to me to decide. I can tell you one thing, #41 sounds even better today than ever before. Here’s to the year of my favorite song!

On Marching forth…

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Awhile ago I wrote about battling my own demons regarding what was happening last year, around this time, versus now. I think that maybe I had it all figured out, in my head, that by this point in my life, I would know more. (and let’s be honest, be more…) When I think of a 40 year old wife and mother, there are a series of things that I personally feel shouldn’t be in my plan. (in yours, or anyone else’s, its fine.) How after a 22 year long relationship, I we should not have separated. Sure, life would happen, and there for about a year it would happen BIG, but by that point shouldn’t we have it figured out? Or, how after losing 138 lbs, I shouldn’t gain 20. That doesn’t even make sense. What about how, after so many years, we shouldn’t be living in a tiny apartment crippled by debt.

While it would be true to say that I had other plans, the more accurate reality is that I had other expectations, for me.

Between you and I, I am trying so hard to work through those things and deal with life differently. I don’t want to live with the weight of the feelings that accompany the disappointment in my life and where it’s at. Have I made mistakes? Yes, of course I have. Have things happened which weren’t my fault? Again, of course. At the end of the day, however, it simply doesn’t (or shouldn’t) matter.

I feel like my head is a little clearer, and my heart is a little less muddled and stuck in the hauntings of the past year. This is due some to praying about it, some to talking with friends and Chw about it, and due to just realizing truths about myself. This life, until the day I no longer take breath, will be a journey. There will be peaks and there will be valleys. We expect and accept this within the boundaries of the shared stories from the lives and journeys of others, but when it comes to the way we perceive our own life adventures- our expectations are tremendously different.

This month I am journeying forth a little differently. March is always BIG for me, big with the sentiment and big with the pressure. March is my birth month and my birthdays and I have always been without peace. I wanted to share with you how I plan to take control of this journey (in a healthy way) and move forward, navigating through it, to something better…

Me:

  • Do a photo of the day challenge on Instagram.
  • Do a 31 day Scripture writing challenge.
  • Read a fiction book, a memoir and a nonfiction book.
  • Be a better breakfaster
  • REALLY celebrate my birthday, how I want to celebrate it.
  • Choose books or gentle creativity on those days when life (and fibromyalgia) make major functioning too difficult, instead of turning on the tv.
  • continue striving to be intentional in the relationships I hold most dear.
  • Journal. It doesn’t matter how, just that I do.

Home:

  • keep fresh flowers home, when I am home.
  • experiment more with essential oils.
  • keep wholesome and delicious things made so that my family always has something good and desirable to eat.
  • continue the journey of minimizing and striving for less.

Family:

  • celebrate my grandson’s 6th birthday.
  • spend quality time visiting my daughter.
  • celebrate my son’s birthday, though he is far-far away.
  • celebrate my youngest daughter’s crossing into adulthood.
  • make moments momentous, without the aid of stuff.

Create:

  • experiment more with photography.
  • make significant progress on a writing project I am doing.
  • Play around with baking, here and there.
  • Do more with my hands.

Health:

  • I reiterate: be a better breakfaster.
  • try, try, try to do the ACV thing.
  • experiment with DIY tooth polish.
  • Be more active.
  • Lose 10 lbs.
  • Be more intentional and deliberate with Yoga.

Spring is such an encouraging time of year. Already I am feeling motivated by it. What about you? What are you working on or looking forward to, this spring?

December uglies…

This has been a rough week, I am not going to lie. Monday was brutal in that I just couldn’t seem to be enough. Have you ever felt that? I have been doing a seasonal part-time job that I really enjoy, but Monday was off. The holiday crazy of customers did not really help or hinder the day, it just felt rough. Towards the end of the day I completed, what I believed to be, a task and it turned out I’d done it incorrectly. This sat with me in a not-so-great way. I had to rush home, grab Gen and take her right back to the same area of town for her work shift, and I simply could not shake that awful feeling that weighs you down when you have screwed up. I offered to come in, off the clock, and do the task right but my manager said it wasn’t that big of a deal. Still, it bothered me.

Psychologically, I don’t think it was that big of a deal. My manager is genuinely kind and did not seem to be upset. Whether it is a seasonal job or not, I try to give 100% at whatever I do and take pride in it. I felt like I failed. Talking to a friend, later that evening, I had to admit that this heavy feeling was being filtered through the perspective of a lot of December uglies right now. I get it… And so when Tuesday found me stiff and achy, with a migraine, I simply had grace for myself and acknowledged that the December uglies were probably affecting me and my fibromyalgia was flaring up. Wednesday became a tough day in this parental journey, coupled with still feeling stiff and achy, with a headache. There is NO COUNT to how many times I told my family yesterday, I really need to feel better because I work tomorrow.

Well, tomorrow is now today, and I am bundled in yoga pants and my Boise State sweatshirt, in front of my fireplace instead of being at work. After a fitful night of sleep, I woke around 6 with a 10-ton weight on my chest, complete sinus pressure and temple/mastoid throbbing to boot. My achyness had become an almost inability to move. My husband commented on how i didn’t seem well and maybe I shouldn’t go to work. I told him that I WAS going, and he offered up coffee as an aid. Coffee and a shower (I had really banked on the shower being my saving grace) did nothing but wear me out the final bit and make me want to die. (yes, I am sure we all know that feeling.) Turned out my temp was 101.2. No wonder the hot shower depleted me…

It’s the worst timing, really. Christmas wise, work wise, travel wise. I’m going to see my mother in her nursing home tomorrow and can’t go if I’m contagious. I’m spending the weekend with Amanda’s family and hate to spread sickness to them. My fibro makes car trips painful, but coupled with whatever achy nonsense I’ve got happening, it seems a cruel twist of holiday fate. Beyond all of that though, (because why stress about the things that haven’t happened yet? I’ll either be deathly ill or I won’t) It is how I was treated upon trying to openly communicate with my employer that seems the worst. That’s the part I can’t get over. I value, above all things, genuine kindness and love for others. I have always gone out of my way to make the lives (or days, or moments) for others, just a little bit brighter. I was treated like a piece of crap, pretty much told that I was selfish and manipulative and talked down to in a way which caught me off guard. I understand the holidays are stressful, management is exhausting, underpaid, overwhelming and that frustrations are high. I also understand that people are people. When one person treats another in such a way, it is dehumanizing and arrogant.

It is 6 hours later and I am still so bothered by it. Isn’t it enough that we simply do the best we can? Thankfully my temp is down, and maybe it is just that I’m sick and it made me feel more sensitive. I don’t know. I do not know this woman outside of work and while her personal opinion of me is of no value to me, professionally it bothers me far more than I would have expected. I find myself feeling crippled regarding ever stepping foot in there again, which I have to do. Tomorrow. Nearly a year of experiences within a company, that I love and felt such happiness from, is now an issue of disgusting conflict and that makes me angry. I am angry at this woman because, who does she think she is? Perhaps it is not fear of conflict that scares me… The past year has been complete and utter hell for me. I have somehow maintained dignity, grace and attempted to stay present and grow forward. I am afraid, within this hurt, appalled and angry place, that I would not be able to hold my tongue and would take out so much on her… And that, would be exactly what she did to me, which didn’t solve anything. Kindness and love… So I will steer clear of her, and that place, other than the 2 visits I have to make. Deep breaths and realizing it was just a seasonal job that would have been over today anyway, and that I don’t have any respect for her (after this morning) and don’t care what she thinks of me.

If I do ever cross paths with her I will simply smile and move on because people are people and it is on each of our consciences the type of people we choose to be…

Togetherness… {A giveaway}

 

Oh Christmas Tree...I’m going to be honest… I have really struggled with writing this post. I wanted to talk about what Christmas means to me and how my faith plays a part in that. This is a timely post and while I deeply love both Christmas and my faith, and for me personally the two are intertwined, I am still on the cusp of what has been an incredibly difficult leg of my life journey. To sit here and tell you how much I adore Christmas, and this is why and this is how my family celebrates, seems so fake and contrived. Sure, we have traditions and we somehow managed to continue those traditions (for the most part) when we were apart last Christmas… But truthfully, I still cringe with so many raw and broken emotions when I think about last Christmas. It is almost like I had loved the season so deeply, and then we had a terrible break up and I feel like I can never look at it the same again…

What I want, this Christmas, is for that feeling to go away and for the magic to be restored. Before the horrible holiday season of 2015, my youngest daughter and I loved cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies. We all loved our trips to the city to watch black and white Christmas movies on the big screen. We bought special outfits to dress up in for our annual “family date.” Last year we had tickets to Newsies. Chw and Gen went alone, of course. On my wall of Playbills, that one hangs there screaming at me of all the mistakes I have made, ways I have both wounded and been wounded, and all that was broken when adulthood just got too hard.

For me Christmas means so many things, different things than they did before last December, but possibly that is simply a part of growing up. Whenever life is hard, or hurts, it seems like the holidays accentuate that. Two Decembers ago, we sat in a New Jersey hospital, afraid that someone dear to us would not wake up. Last December I unpacked my life in the last place I wanted to be, going through the motions of what I felt like I was supposed to be doing, while dying more and more, and more on the inside. Having a faith in Jesus gives my heart reason to celebrate Christmas. Having a faith in Jesus is perhaps the only thing that stopped me from not ending my life last Christmas day when I finally woke up to the reality of life crashing down all around me. Today, in this season, I am not one hundred percent clear about how my faith and the holidays fit together. I could write up some plastic piece which sounds right, and is something I probably would have felt 14 months ago. I don’t want to be that person. Last Christmas looms, in my mind, like the boogeyman. I feel overwhelmed with this need to make up for it, to make it better, to be better and to never be there again. Gone is the magic or sentiment of any beautiful Christmas before, as the shadow of last Christmas hides them all. The Hallmark movies were unbearable for me to sit through, and I saw this play out in Gen as well, though we both tried to force it for a while. It only feels like Christmas because of the sparkly tree and gift wrap. Unspokenly, for me, it all feels so terrifying and like I don’t belong.

It is that last little bit, which has navigated me through. It has driven me as I focus on acts of kindness towards others. We’ve sponsored a family, bought gifts for a young girl and I have tried so very hard to spread genuine kindness and cheer to an increasing number of people who want no part of either. Perhaps this bleak and overwhelming fear I feel is closer to what many feel, where Christmas is concerned.

For me Christmas means Togetherness… Together, an honest connection between my faith and my action. Together with friends and family, wherever we’re at, no fakeness needed. Together within myself. Allowing me to be right where I am at, not drowning within the sea of my expectations and personal disappointment. Holding it together, keeping it together, reaching out, connecting and moving through this season together in every possible way the word can be… Together with God, together with loved ones. Slowly glueing my pieces back in place.

In what has been the absolute worst year of my life, I have had a few bright spots. Two of these come in the forms of really lovely films I’ve had the privilege of writing a bit about before. I loved both of these movies a great deal.

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise follows Hillsong United as they share a bit of their journey both as a band, and individually. It is a moving showcase in the dark days we face, coupled with how God can truly do the unexpected in our lives. As I have said here before, Hillsong has played such a vital part in my year and growth. I truly love this movie for its authenticity and relevance.

Greater is the inspiring true story of college football player Brandon Burlsworth. His journey is one that taught me so much about my own faith and how I live my life. There are not enough things I could say…

BOTH films are releasing on Blu-ray/DVD Tuesday December 20th, just in time for Christmas. I am giving away a movie night bundle to a reader, including copies of BOTH films. Simply comment on THIS POST by December 20th, at 12 a.m. with what Christmas means to you, to be entered.