Meet My Mess Monday — March 23rd

My current mess, at least the one that I’m tackling at this moment, is my dining room table. My whole dining room, really. It seems to be spreading.

untitled-1230

But I have a good reason for the mess. We’re taking a trip this week to New York City to see Georgia. We are so excited to see her school and take photos in the city and just have a nice vacation. And truthfully, I LOVE New York City. I love it like some old boyfriend that you just never quite get over.

So this is why my dining room table became command central for the seeds I’m planting and the wash I’m folding and the bags I’m packing. It’s nuts around here. But after I wade through all I feel obliged to bring, we’ll be heading to NYC!

As always, feel free to post and share your own messes, so that I don’t feel so alone in my own. Cause we all have messes, one way or another. 

Advertisements

I Am Here

I am here.

print-0594-2

I suppose we all have a place that we wanted to get to. A goal we wanted attained or a dream we wanted fulfilled. We have lots of these over our lives, I’m sure. Some come to fruition, some fall by the wayside for something more important. We wander varying paths in our lives, for sure.

But my life, right here, right now? This was my dream.

untitled-0772

An amazing old house with it’s own stories and history. A quarter acre plot of my very own land to plant tomatoes and tulips and sunflowers. A place to raise my children and be safe and warm with those I love the most. To write books and magazine articles and take photos of what I love. And have this be my job. To no longer worry about paying for groceries or rent or basic necessities like I did for so many years.That was my dream.

And I’m here now. When I stop and look around my life for a moment, I realize this and it startles me every time. IT startles me because I get caught up in laundry and dishes and messes and life. I have to pause long enough to see it.

untitled-9542

I stand in my lovely kitchen or to chase the kids around the house or get the sweetest texts or notes from my husband and I feel as though I brought this life here with my own wishing on stars. As if by changing my attention from my fears and worries to my brightest shining dreams, I brought them to life. And here I am, where I dreamed for years that I would be.

And the thing is, there will always be more dreams. To finish my second book. To watch my words flow out into the world and do some good, I hope. To see my kids grow and see their dreams come into fruition. It keeps us dreaming, this wish for more.

But this here and now? Even on the hardest of times with preschooler tantrums and carpets tracked with mud and cheerios, this is my dream come true. I am living in the midst of my very own fairy tale.

Meet My Mess Monday — March 9th

We moved into our house this fall, and even with working in the yard every spare minute, we only got a fraction done. The yard was ignored for years and needs some love. An inherited mess. Or one we bought. Either way, ours now.

The warmer temps are melting the snow, freeing what lies beneath. Turns out what lies beneath is a layer of wet, dead leaves and piles of extracted bushes covering half of our backyard.

untitled-9728

untitled-9731

It’s exciting, to take this yard and make it ours, even with a muddy layer of wet slop all over it. I’ve never owned a home before. But this progress I’m seeking won’t happen today, or tomorrow or this weekend. No matter how much I want it to. I can’t cross it off a list, and that makes me slightly nuts. I love the satisfaction of done. But if it was supposed to be crossed off the list already, it would be. Not being able to means there is more to learn there.

Which brings me to my boiler room. It’s filled to the brim with bins and bags of clothes, tools and picture frames. And on top of all that?  A pile of stuff from my mom’s apartment. Things we had to sort through fast only to be tucked off to be dealt with in time.

untitled-9741

And my garage. Full of cardboard boxes from the move. Full of extra stuff with no home yet from the move. But also my mom’s last belongings that got tossed out of the van in the shuffle of her death, then into the garage to make seating for family who came to town.

untitled-9751

Messes. Because this is life and life is messy sometimes. And one of the hardest parts, for me, is being okay with that. Not letting the messes stop me from living, or more importantly enjoying and loving my life. To not be so fixated on what needs to be done that I miss all the great things going on now.

There is also a right time to cleanse and take back our space. In our lives. In our heads. To shed the weight of our problems and see what lies beneath.

So the snow is melting, making space to clean up. The garage is getting warm enough to work in. Spring cleaning, I think they call it.

That’s what I’m starting today.

In the spirit of Meet My Mess Monday, feel free to share pictures or photos of your own unique messes. Cause it’s good to share and know that our daily struggles are not merely our own.

So long, Winter!

891963_10200353447772312_1976624540_o

It’s 3 degrees outside at 8AM on March 6th. “Feels like” -12. It’s cold. Stupid cold. Air-hurts-my-face cold. And I am over it.

But that cold wind is blowing the spring in. I’m sure of this. There are 30’s and 40’s and even 50’s in the forecast. This makes me want to dance.

I’m really a warm weather person. Winter makes me perpetually cold and my hands are always chapped. I need blankets and ridiculous amounts of clothing just to get through. So I always long for spring. I get anxious for warm summer days and skirts and swimming and lush green, growing things.

But this particular winter, holding on so tightly right now on the bright sunny morning, it feels particularly long and cold. This is the winter that took my mother. And I’m ready for it to ride out of here with the wind and make space for spring. I’m ready to sit out on our new porches and play in our new yard and see the tulips we planted come up.

An act of faith. That is what planting tulips is.

I’m ready to see them come to fruition.

What Fills My Days

My days are full of plain blueberry waffles.

Shopping. Feeding. Cleaning. Changing. Washing. Drying.

All the time.

Life with little kids.

I nearly forgot about the tornado of life with little kids.

And what a shame that would’ve been.

But my days are also filled with these.

Lincoln, the frog. Kid four to wear the frog suit for a winter.

Lincoln in the frog suit. All four of my kids wore this snowsuit when they were babies. 

There are photos to edit and emails to return and books to write and blog posts. More feeding and wiping.

And then it’s 9pm somehow and I’m exhausted. I have no idea where they day went most times.

But there is also this.

Brice, growing so fast. Where did nearly 5 years go?

Brice. Where did nearly 5 years go?

And there is this.

Worlds best puppy.

Worlds best puppy.

If there were an award at the first puppy class for best puppy, she would’ve gotten it. She’s smart and sweet and lovely.

Having a family of six (plus critters) means there is always someone needing something. It would be easy to worry about all that gets lost in the shuffle. Yet everything magically gets done.

All that bustle of all of us coming and going? The babies and puppies and cats and a 4 year old underfoot? That IS my life. Here is where I am,

And I truly wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Little Voice

There is a little voice inside me. She whispers things like,

“Slow down.”

“Take it in.”

“Be thankful.”

Sweet and gentle, like a mother would speak to a young child. Some small encouragement in tough moments, or to remind me that I’ve done a good thing. It’s a great little voice. She says to be patient with my 4-year-old because he has no concept of time. It tells me that his dawdling pace is a good thing, as he will grow fast. He already has.

untitled-9744

“Slow down and look around. And listen.”

I try to listen.

But her voice gets buried underneath the craziness of my day. Her quiet whisper gets lost in the din of Paw Patrol episodes in full color through the TV. A squealing baby. The thunderous hooves of my horse-like puppy chasing the cat through the house. And the “to do lists” on the counter and in my head, adding items all day long, no matter how fast I cross them off. The cat with his paws under the bathroom door, or the baby with everything in his mouth, or a kid yelling for applesauce. Not five minutes of peace, at least not until Steve is home to help wrangle them.

untitled-9536

The alarms and calls for assistance, butts to be wiped and dogs to be taken out. They keep my day going, breathing me in and out like tides from dishwasher to the email to nurse the baby before nap. The day and weeks and months disappears with these moments, and I chase them all, once in a great while stopping to hear the soft voice tell me to be present where I am. Trying to remind me that chasing never got anyone anywhere.

This is hard to do. I am once again overwhelmed by the ride that is a couple small kids in the house. I do remember from my girls that it passes. I will wake up one day, just like that, and I will wonder where the hell a few years went. And I will sigh with relief, realizing that I can speak in full sentences or even paragraphs again without being interrupted. I can sleep through the night. Hallelujah! Everyone can wipe their own everything! The ride will slow and the kids will start growing up. Just as we grew up. Just as our parents grow old and die. Stop and notice or not, life marches on.

“We are but links in the chain,” whispers the gentle voice.

It’s a work in progress, this journey. Maybe we circle through over and over, the same battles and dreams, and that’s why they seem so familiar. We ebb and flow like a tide. Sometimes strong and bold and authentic and present, and other times curled up, bobbing along, just trying to make it through. It depends on the day, the part of life. As for me, I listen better some days than others.

“We are all doing the best we can.” She whispers calmly.

I believe this.

Right in this moment, where we are at today, we’re doing our best…

The lady who cut you off and then gave you the finger when you had the audacity to squeal your brakes as you swerved to miss her. She’s actually trying her best, too. She may very well be doing it badly, but I think she’s doing her best.

When I stop for 10 seconds and take real breaths in and out and make time to be still and be quiet and do yoga and be right here and now, then I remember that. And the world is a remarkably nicer place.

I hear her little voice and I remember that.

I have to choose to listen. She refuses to scream over the crazy.

She will patiently wait until I’m ready to listen.