Day 7 - The Little Things

I love to go deep, but sometimes it's the little things that sustain me through hard times - sparks of joy, simple things that remind me of how good it feels to be alive.

Most of these make me feel more feminine, more pulled together, which is something I need after a long period of struggling to get off the couch and put makeup on.

My favorite little things lately:

A mani-pedi with a friend - what a treat! Makes me feel instantly pulled together, pampered and glam.

A bold fashion choice - at least for me. I've had my eyes on these overalls for waaaay too long now. I just kept feeling nervous about buying them. Too trendy? Too young? Not figure flattering? I had all these hesitations. Well, I finally did it. And it feels good to be brave! And I love wearing them.

(Hey, if you comment below, will you tell me what fashion trend you've secretly been wanting to try lately, but haven't gotten the guts to yet? Come on, you can tell me!)

Lighting a candle from P.F. Candle Co. No. 4 Teakwood and Tobacco is my favorite.

Discovering a new tea I'm obsessed with. Comforting Tea from Aveda is so tasty, so naturally sweet tasting without sugar and caffeine.

Playing around with Korean skin care methods. Seven-skin method. Glass skin. Sheet masks. They are over the top and so fun I think! 

And super silly television. Sorry about the language here, but I love Schitt's Creek on Netflix. I never would tried it if I hadn't seen Alison from Brocante Home mention it. I watched one episode and was hooked. It's fluffy and ridiculous. The characters are narcissistic and pitiful while being likable at the same time. It's totally hilarious and for me its worth watching just for Moira's outfits and wigs.

Any little things you are loving lately? Do share, because I get the best ideas from friends!



Day 2 - The Saddest Roses

I wanted to start out optimistic and happy and positive, but I have to do this first, I have to get this off my chest. This is a journey I'm on and it won't make sense without sharing where I've just been.

Aren't these the saddest roses you've ever seen?

I've kept them around, petals wilting, dried out and brown at the edges, because they make me feel sad, and I want to be sad, I want to remember. I want something physical, a symbol of what I've been through, a physical manifestation of my love, my sadness.

I can't believe I'm writing about this publicly, but it's a form of catharsis. A way of saying to myself "this was real, it happened".  A memorial of sorts.

I had a miscarriage recently. I had another one a year and a half ago too, which I've never written about. But this one has hit me harder, in ways I don't understand and didn't expect.

I'll keep details to myself, but share a little, because I need to get it out, to write it down, to bare my soul, to carve this memorial stone.

When I found out (shockingly) I was pregnant, it took awhile to let myself be happy, to hope, and when I did, it was a beautiful thing, a rose colored bubble of joy, so delicate. It popped a month later at finding no heartbeat at our first doctor's visit. No reason why, no answers, just ache.

Even though I'd tried to prepare myself for the possibility of this, my emotions felt like an explosion of pain - negativity coming out of me in every direction, spewing all over everyone around me, the world around me, like dark sticky bile. I didn't want to talk to anyone for awhile, out of fear I would sound like a madwoman.

The intensity passed. And then it was the waiting. I waited another month to have a natural miscarriage. I waited through spring break and family visits and my son's birthday. And then it was over.

There was one last painful gasp of grief, followed by quiet exhaustion and withdrawal. And eventually, little spurts of energy and laughter returning.

Life goes on and I go on. At such a fast pace it goes on, and I run to keep up with it. All the while wishing I could shut myself away for a week, draw the curtains and lay in bed. But it is sunny spring and there is work to do, and an energetic boy to chase after, and so here I am, picking up the pieces and going on.

At times life seems so normal again. But then I see the roses and remember that baby I loved and wanted, who flew away.  It hurts to remember, but I don't want to forget.

I can't speak for everyone's miscarriage experiences. I know each is unique. But I know they are common and I know they hurt.

We are a sisterhood, those of us, who've walked this path. "Me too," we say. And "I know." It's a mystery, a deep and painful, one of life and death, we've been initiated into.

And it can feel so lonely. Even though I think it's not something to be ashamed of, it can be hard to talk about. So I'm talking about it, for all of you, like me, to know, you are not alone.

Coming out of the other side of this, I don't feel like the same person I was before, and I'm not sure what that means, and what the future holds. Everything seems cloudy. But I'm venturing on, hoping the clouds will part and I'll see my path clearly again. And I'm here, writing about it and blogging, because I'm alive and I'm ready to step into something new, even if I'm not sure what that is.

It's time to say goodbye to these sad roses. But I won't forget.


Day 1 of 365 Days of Change

I'm always intrigued by bloggers who undergo radical challenges - pushing themselves in a public forum to see how far they can go. Some examples of experimenters that have inspired me: 

I like to watch other people boldly strike out at something new and see what happens. There's something magical about experiments. And maybe there's a part of me that longs for that same boldness. 

Recently I was inspired me to come back to blogging when I stumbled across Dottie James talking about changing her life in one year on YouTube. She's in a different stage of life than mine, but I felt it keenly, her desire to shake up her life.

I feel that way right now. I need some pretty radical change, and I decided to boldly strike out myself by writing about it on my own blog. 

So here goes, my own 365 Days of Change. 

So... why do this?
  • I feel stuck in a rut. I’ve been wanting to change areas of my life, but I don’t get traction long enough to make it happen. 
  • I want to be in a radically different place a year from now. And I’m not going to get there if I just keep doing the same thing. 
  • I recently had a miscarriage. Maybe I’ll write more on this later, maybe I won’t. But I’m in a place where I am craving a fresh start and new hope.
  • I want to reinvigorate my creative side. Blogging was an outlet for that, so I'm bringing it back, baby!

What I want to change: 
  • Rebuild my health.
    • More stamina, strength and energy! 
    • Lose more weight by eating healthy keto and intermittent fasting. 
    • Get enough sleep consistently. 
    • Exercise often but gently, so I don't activate old injuries, amping it up so that a year from now I'm at a much better fitness level.
  • Align parenting to my core values
    • Make healthier choices for my son, even when they aren't so easy for me.
    • Less screen time and more independent play and outdoor play. 
    • Try new foods and give him healthier food to eat. No small feat with a picky eater!
  • Connect
    • It's been a challenging time and relationships have fallen by the wayside. I want to connect with a friend once a week, go to church on Sunday, and find a women's group or Bible study to be a part of.
  • Reinvigorate my creativity
    • Blog at least once a week. 
    • Maybe write some poetry. 
    • Ponder the possibility of self-publishing my novel. 
    • Do little things that make me feel sparkly inside. Paint my fingernails. Experiment with fashion. Write some book and movie reviews again.
  • Get offline
    • This is hard to admit for a once-avowed bookworm, but I need to rebuild my attention span and ability to enjoy life without glancing at my phone, browsing the internet or listening to a podcast. 
    • Spend more time outdoors.
    • Read more, actual old-fashioned books, on paper. 
    • See people, more often, in person
  • Business/career shifts
    • I do have some plans in this area, but it's still not clear yet, so for now, I'm keeping this one private.
I'm not going to tackle all of this immediately, but build a foundation and set new goals each month.
I'll use this blog to report on my progress and what I'm learning along the way.

365 days of change! Magical experiments! And blogging again! I'm kind of excited!

Want to come along?


Yep, I'm back

So, I’ve been gone from this blog a long time, but I’ve been keeping it, waiting to see if I’d want it again, waiting for that day. 

And it’s here.

I’m tempted to explain why I’ve been gone.
I’m tempted to tell you why I’m back.
I’m tempted to try to catch you up on where I’ve been.

But I’m not going to do all of that. Not all at once. I’m just going to let it roll and we’ll see what happens...


A long summer

"Where are you at with things now?" a few of you have asked about my writing. Well, since you asked... Right now I'm still on a break from all things writing and not sure when I'll go back.

I went on vacation in August. There was no more Mother's Day Out and I had Will full time. I had sent out all my query letters. The form rejection emails were rolling in like ocean waves.  And I decided to go on vacation from writing, from trying to get published and from worrying about all of those things. The break, the letting go, was good.

I feel SO proud of myself for all that I've done the last six months. I struggled with the question to traditional publish or self-publish. I struggled with my own inner turmoil, my perfectionism, my fear of rejection, my values, my beliefs, my dreams, my fears. I decided what I wanted to do and I went after it. I learned a lot as I went.

I learned QueryTracker is really an amazing web site. God bless whoever came up with it. Seriously. If you're a writer, get to know it, okay?

I learned that the hardest part, really, is getting ready to query. OMG, the query letter, the synopsis, are they ever right? Are they ever done? Are you ever really sure about them?

And the second hardest part is sending the first few emails. Actually, it was still hard to send every email. But I gained momentum as I went.

I learned that form rejection emails still hurt, no matter how softly they're worded. I learned that form rejection emails make me want to scream, because really, I have no real clue why it's getting rejected - bad query letter, bad hook, bad writing, wrong genre for the agent?

I learned that after getting a few form rejection emails they stopped hurting so much and I started toughening up.

I've experienced some heart ache, some heart break, lots of tears and phone calls to friends and late night conversations in bed with my husband.

Along the way I've learned more and more about publishing. Even with everything I already knew, I still feel I've been pretty naive with rosy daydreams of what being a writer would be like. I learned that the publishing industry is a pretty tough place to be, especially with the sea change that's been happening the last five years. I learned how much of a crap shoot being a writer is. I know that agents and successful writers and publishers will tell you it's not all about luck and true talent and hard work wins out. And I believe this is mostly true.

But it's the amount of hard work over a period of years. It's not just writing one novel and trying to get an agent for it. It's being willing to do that again, and again, and again, until it works. It's going to classes, conferences, reading books, staying in touch with social media and the industry, it's practicing your craft. It's going to writers groups, trying to find writing and critique partners. It's facing criticism and rejection. It's doing all this for years. Without any guaranteed pay off. And actually it's doing all of this for years when the odds are actually stacked against you succeeding.

You either have to be truly passionate and dogged, or you have to be... dumb... to do it.

So where am I now? Right now I'm unsure whether the risk/reward ratio of continuing to write and pursue publication is one I want to accept. I'm unsure whether I'm passionate enough to do all this for years with low odds of success. Right now I'm in a vacuum of uncertainty.

But strangely I'm at peace.

Because I am sure that I followed my dreams, that I worked really hard, that I overcame a lot of personal obstacles to do what I did. And if it didn't work out that's okay. I can say I tried! And dang it if that's not something.

Because I am sure that my number one priority is taking care of me, my family's needs, my husband, my son. And that's okay.

The door isn't closed yet.  I have another novel I could shop around. And then there's always self-publishing as a possibility. But right now I feel no pressure to do anything. And that feels blissfully good.

It feels blissfully good to let myself just be, to let go of the idea that I have to be striving and working for something all the time.

I'm living life, right here, right now, trusting that if this is something I want, the spark of passion will light again. Right now I'm still consuming books at a rapid pace, enjoying reading for reading's sake. I'm getting used to our new Fall schedule with Will back in school. I'm sleeping more, exercising more, relaxing more. I'm at peace. And it's good!


The thing about fear, the thing about faith

I’ve been dealing with fear a lot lately.

As I’m sending out query letters for my novel, I’m pushing into new territory, places that stretch me, that put me in that uncomfortable place. I like comfortable places. I like to be warm and cozy and safe, not lost and freezing and naked.

But as I’m moving through the fear I’m finding out things, interesting things. Yeah, I’m scared of being rejected - both personally and my writing. I knew that. And I thought that was it. I thought that was the BIG THING that terrified me. 

But as I’m looking at this head on and doing it anyway, I’m figuring out it’s not just that. What I’m most scared of is losing my “thing”. Writing has been my “thing” for awhile now. Something I love. A hobby. Not just a hobby, a passion. And an identity too. 

To be published is a long held dream. And the scary part is losing that dream. 

Imagine there’s this person you’ve been crushing on. For awhile. There’s something between you - you think,  you hope - but you don’t know for sure. 

The minute you say something “So what’s up with us? Do you dig me like I dig you?" Well, that’s the moment the dream comes true. Or the dream is over. Finished. Done.

It’s easier, it’s safer, to never open your mouth and risk it. If you keep it in the maybe position, there’s always a chance, at least in your own mind, that it might happen. But if you put it out there, well that chance might go away. And now you’ve got nothing. You’re at zero.

And that’s my biggest fear - not having my big dream as an option anymore. Being at zero. Being at “what now?” 

Because I don’t know “What now?” 

I’d like to say I’d troop on and write another novel and do it all over again. That sounds like the girl scout thing to say. But I don’t know. 

Let me get real here. There is a risk-reward equation to consider. Writing a novel (and re-writing it until it’s good) is a big time sink. And being a writer isn’t just the writing - it’s reading books about writing, taking writing classes, spending time with writing partners and the writing community, and reading lots of books and staying in touch with what’s going on in the publishing industry. To do all this, and then face the .05% chance of getting published? If I’m going to be a realist, I have to question whether I want to invest more of my life in it.

In spite of how much I love writing, I don’t know if I’d do this all over again. I don’t know yet. And so I’m a train going into a dark tunnel, not sure what’s on the other side of all this.

I’m scared of that darkness, that unknown, being stripped of a dream, of an identity. I’m scared of emptiness and uncertainty. 

I’ve always wanted to have something in my life that is “my thing” - a passion, a driving force, a creative spark, the thing that makes me, “me”. And as a mom, that’s become even more important to me. I adore my son, but I want to have my own life too. 

The possibility of losing that shakes me. So this is a year of my life where I need faith. 

I don't need unmerited optimism. I don't need to believe that my dreams will all come true. Just faith that it will all be okay no matter what. Faith that if I do end up at zero, that something new and good will grow out of that, even if I have no idea what it is.


Always believe something wonderful

Because pictures say things words cannot, because today I need to play, childlike and free, because I need to believe a little something wonderful.