5.11.22 Dear Me … I Have Some Advice for You

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Dear Me,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you for awhile now. In fact, I think we are long overdue for a bit of truth. Lately, you’re a bit scattered, and I believe the time has come for some truth. Be open to it … trust me … it’s necessary.

  1. If you: a) fall asleep every time you start a movie, b) shave one leg twice and accidentally forget the other because you can’t remember which leg was which, c) repeat yourself to the same person more often than you’d like to admit, or d) wake up imagining ways you could sneak a nap, YOU MIGHT NEED MORE SLEEP!
  2. You are not, nor can you ever be EVERYONE’S cup of tea. Let’s face it girl … for some you’re more like a shaken spray of soda pop in the face than a soothing sip. It’s okay. Be you: fizzy, bubbly, and too much. Who else can you be? Don’t apologize for your extra, but don’t expect everyone to reach for a second cup either!
  3. Don’t try to save the world every six minutes. You’re not an Avenger and I don’t believe you’re likely close to being recruited anytime soon. Make peace with it. Instead of trying to solve everything, attempt to make things better in your own circle of influence. It might not be blockbuster-monumental movements, but in their own small way, your actions will still matter.
  4. You have some wrinkles. Sweet people around you (like your husband) will try to tell you otherwise. Don’t believe him. There is no such thing as, “smile lines,” and the “natural curves of your face,” don’t get deeper with age. It’s okay. You’ve earned them. Embrace your face and move on.
  5. It might be time to back off of coffee a little. I know, I know. You only drink decaf. And you only add cocoa powder to get that chocolate flavor which is organic and practically calorie-free. And yes, sometimes you add peppermint oil which, I agree, is good for you … but we both know the truth. You don’t like coffee. You like creamer … and … you know you’re a little too generous with it. A lot too generous if we are being honest. So, yeah. How about we both agree that one cup a day is MORE than plenty.
  6. Make the time to read. And write. And read some more. And write some more. There is no fulfillment of dreams for you without both, and what kind of example do you want to send your children if they don’t actively see you pursuing your dreams? Don’t make excuses, make time. Period.
  7. Did I mention you’re tired and you need to go to bed?
  8. Give your pets a little more attention. They wait for you, quite literally. Don’t make them wait. Sit on the floor when you read. Snuggle up. Never mind the fur, the slobbery kisses, or the bruises you endure from their 110+ pounds sitting atop instead of beside you. They need love and cuddles, and they’ve been patient all day. It’s their turn.
  9. Give it to God once in awhile. You know what I’m talking about. All the little thoughts that nag you. All the worries you’re too attached to to let go of. You and your kite-string prayers are annoying. You say the right words, but you keep yourself connected to them, pulling them this way and that with you against the wind instead of releasing them to the universe. I’ve got news for you sister, you cannot (and never could) control everything, so stop trying. If you say you believe, then believe.
  10. Be grateful. Always. You have SO much to be thankful for, and while you’re a generally peppy person, I don’t think you always recognize just how menial your day-to-day inconveniences really are. Yes, you’re busy … but who isn’t. And I hate to break it to you, but you put a whole lot of that busy on yourself. Take a breather, and with each one of those breaths, breathe a silent prayer to the universe of gratitude for just how good you’ve got it. If you have love, you have everything you need.

I am certain there are many, many more things we could talk about, but I know that you’re tired, so we will save those for another day. I’m proud of you, for listening … well … as good as I know you can listen while also planning and brainstorming and thinking about everything else you’re still hoping to do before your head hits that pillow. Do me a favor though yeah? Dream a little dream for me?

Always in your corner,

Me (again)

4.27.22 Permission Requested

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When you were little,

I could have sworn that I always knew what to do 

to make you feel better

(almost always)

Now

sometimes,

I feel like I can’t even guarantee that I won’t make you feel worse

And it leads me to question if I ever really had it all figured out

or, 

more

likely,

if I was fooling myself all along,

the Queen of Misplaced Confidence.

Regardless

I wanted so much for it to be true –

for us to be closer than close

always

But maybe that was wrong too . . . 

maybe freedom was the point all along.

I’m not good at it,

it would seem.

I apologize.

I’m not a fan of realizing that what you might need 

is   s  p  a  c  e 

instead of a hug

or quiet

instead of conversation.

So here it is – the dreaded truth . . . 

don’t

know 

what

I’m 

doing.

But I love you the same.

More, in fact –

and I guess I’m asking your permission for that to be okay.

4.13.22 Even If

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Everyone keeps telling me how big you are

how old you look

how grown up …

And I know they’re right

I do.

But sometimes it’s inconvenient for a heart to acknowledge truth

because it hurts.

I see the things you’re expected to learn

and I hear what you already know,

but then there is this moment between us …

just a moment,

where your eyes tell me you wish you didn’t have to,

and mine apologize for the world’s introductions

though apologies aren’t enough.

You know my tangled heart.

You know my too-loud mind.

You know I’d do anything to give you more

of less expectation

But precious,

that is not the way of time,

or of truth.

I cannot fix it.

I cannot change it.

Nevertheless,

I will love you through it –

Your imagination is a powerful reprieve,

so use it.

And I’ll do the same every time someone tells me how big you are,

or how old you look …

how grown up.

They’re right,

but if you need a place to be young again,

I’m ready to play pretend.

I’m here to hold your hand through it all –

even if mine is now the small one.

4.3.22 So Small

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Sometimes … okay, most times, I feel SO small. Like a single drop of rainwater in the ocean. I feel minute and indistinguishable among the waters and waves of others’ influences, words, and wisdom. But then, I think about the incredible journey even one little element of water wan travel. From the emotional pilgrimage of a tear, to the migration of a vapor amidst the clouds. There is no course, way-fare, or voyage unimportant to the progression of human connection. I need to remind myself of that from time to time – or all the time, when life feels so much bigger than me.

The map above is a generated report of all of the places my blog has been read. And though it might’ve been a sideways glance, a momentary mis-click, or even a single read, it gave me pause. Just knowing my thoughts have traveled around the world, caught on an imaginary current … whisked along on an unintentional digital breeze means a great deal. While “I” may not have been there, a piece of me was. A tiny, molecular word or two have reached and been read by another spirit. And maybe, just maybe if I dare, I can imagine that that “single drop” of water my words were, was exactly what someone’s heart thirsted for.

So, yes. I still feel small. But small doesn’t mean unimportant. I hope you recognize the density of influence even a single smile of yours can and will have on the person waiting to see it. I pray you cherish the reality that YOU ARE, and the truth that someone else is better because of it.

“Put your heart into even the smallest seemingly insignificant acts possible. Then be patient enough for the universe to give back to you what you reap.” Matthew Donnelly

Go. Be brilliant. Go quench the world one drop at a time.

3.27.22 Perfection

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There are a great deal of things worth keeping

even when they’re broken

In a bizarre twist of fate

Some things might even be better that way

Clocks

Plans

People 

Fractured hearts shine like fragmented mirrors, reflective of their inner depths

Bent perspectives allow malleable thoughts to grow, and hopefully, change

Discarded dreams scatter golden remnants,

glittering choices to either sweep up,

dwell in,

or press into

Perfect things can be lovely,

but brokenness is often beautiful

in a way perfection just can’t compete with

3.12.22 Invitation

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Come gently darling

and let me fold you into safety

Piece by piece,

let’s take off all of your armor,

that which you’ve picked up and fortified yourself with …

every time you had to be strong for someone else

There may be a time for you to pick it up again

but for now

just lean in

and hold on

as you let go

3.7.22 Winks and Wishes

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Sometimes, every inch of my five foot three and a half (that half is important to me) frame is tired. I am so tired that my feet tingle and my eyelashes feel heavy. Anyone else? Everyone else? I hope I’m not alone because if I am, I’m doing something wrong!

This weekend was of the Alexander sort, you know the charming children’s book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day? Yep, that one. After a longer than long Friday with a double-morning drop off, run-to-the-store-before-work, work, run Creative Writing Club, come home, host a movie night late just to wake up early … I woke up sick. A double-whammy combination of sinuses and Celiac’s flare up, I felt headache, bellyache, top-to-toes ill, but my daughter had a dance competition. So, that was that.

After a few trips to the bathroom (or a few more than a few) we were off. The entire way there, I was either trying not to focus on the nausea or trying to focus on where the next quickest exit was for yet two more fabulous restroom trips. All the while, my sweet girl was a bundle of grace and nerves so I held her hand and tried to encourage her with a smile that required a lot more energy than it should have. My husband and I knew we were in for a long day. Her first dance was at 10:49 (yes, not 10:50 …10:49, you heard me right) and her last was after 3:00. Holding it together on rice crackers and a prayer, I’m sure you can imagine our surprise when we were told the awards ceremony would begin promptly at 8:55. I could have cried.

But instead, my husband and I walked. Then drove a half-hour away to try to get me something gluten free, only to see the line was out-the-door at Chipotle … a fundraiser was in full-swing. At this point, we laughed until my husband tried to tell me, “We still have four hours. Maybe you could drive me an hour home and then come back?” My look must’ve been response enough because he gave me a sheepish grin and tried for a half-hearted, “just kidding.”

Indeed!

On the up side, our daughter was the loveliest sight on the stage and we couldn’t be prouder. Thank God for ginger chews; I made it through the day and we got home by 11:30 to wake up and volunteer by 8:30 Sunday morning. Then, I had to work. Then, edit a piece. Followed by dinner, and making lunches, and laundry, and yoga with my daughter, and the list goes on and on.

The thing is … that’s just life. It’s a messy, exhausting array of commitments and even now, after working until two AM just to be prepped for the week ahead, I don’t regret it. I would go to the twelve hour show sick again, just to see her three minute routine. I would volunteer at church again just to witness the beauty of human connection. I would sort groups and lessons and pages and paragraphs until dawn so that my students get the education they deserve, and my readers get a good tale.

So my feet tingle and my typing is slowing to a crawl … so I’ve slow-blinked ten times as I’ve written this last paragraph. At least I’ve got a full-to-the-brim opportunity to do it better tomorrow. Hopefully with a few more winks and wishes in store.

2.22.22 Tracing Lines

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Some sights ache for the beauty they hold

for the unearthly swell of spirit – of heart

they inspire

In moments such as these

when your pulse quickens

and your breathing stills

you recognize the magic that exists

e v e r y w h e r e

if only we take the time to feel it

This is the wonder that traces the line between heaven and earth

between divinity and reality

Tiptoe across the threshold of majesty

Taste test the possibility that you were meant for other

Trust that the beauty beheld did not find you on accident,

but on mission

What will you do with this sight?

With this light?

How will you make your next breath count longer?

Swell and expand with ripening hope …

that the world you knew is only starting to awaken,

that the life you once recognized is beginning anew

2.9.22 Just Like This

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Today was one of those days

the kind where you decide to live it better for some reason you didn’t consciously decide

but lean into nevertheless

It was an eat-dessert-first day

and then one more helping because why not?

It was a call someone just to make them smile day

and then laugh and linger on the conversation

It was a day to take a long walk and go uphill both ways

because you were grateful for the strength to stand

It was a notice the beauty in ordinary things day …

the way his hair curls, always at the left temple

the way her eyes go a little bit dreamy, every time she dances

the way God hung the stars like ornaments on the bare branches of the trees

the way my heart beats, and stutters, and skips at the thought

that there might be another day

just like this

1.29.22 Creating a Mental Studio

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Hello Creative Daydreamers …

I know you’re out there! I refuse to believe it is just me creating imagined places that inspire me to make more meaning out of my day-to-day. I came across a fantastic quote by Elsie de Wolfe, “I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life.” Isn’t that fantastic? What if we committed to that one promise, that whatever we made or did we intentionally tried to make beautiful? Even our thoughts! I think it’s a game changer.

I know there are so many times in a given day when I am reduced to waiting in a carline, or folding laundry, or minutes away from a meeting, and I find myself drifting to a mental studio … a place I invented where I am instantly at home with my creative-self. The piece I wrote about it, “Creating a Mental Studio,” was recently published on Somerset Place, the official Blog of Stampington & Company (the parent of Bella Grace Magazine). I do SO hope you will check it out and tell me … what does your mental studio look like? Can I visit it with you!?!