Undone.

Like so many other things in my life, this wall is still undone.

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I’m sure I’m not the only one with things left undone.

But it’s not that piece that gets me; it’s the voice in my head that in order to do a project well and good and lovely, it needs to be done in a certain way and time frame.

“Do it perfect,” it whispers.

“Not right,” the voice reminds me in my thoughts before bed.

Most days I wonder why I listen to this voice – this little naggy, uptight voice – at all.

So a little something for all of us to remember when the voice of perfection gets too loud:

 

You can have it all, just not all at the same time. Or, in my wall scenario here, for me, not within in a day, maybe. Unless you bring in lots of help.

For you with little ones: Hold tight. The years go quickly, but the moments last forever.

And one day (this story I’m preaching to myself) you’ll have shiny clean floors, new carpet, and well, perhaps a freshly painted house.

But right now?

Time to rejoice in the life here. Fingerprints everywhere. Toys on floors. Chortles of laughter through the hallways with the terrible carpets.

And a real-life reminder that contentment and fulfillment never mentioned anything about perfection.

#truth

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Mom of the Year

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Mom of the Year

Let her kids eat a dinner of Cheetos and fruit, blessed it, and called it good.

Mom of the Year

Forgot to put sunscreen on the children on at least a handful of visits to the pool.

Mom of the Year

Almost drove home with an extra kid in her car (carpool works well when you remember to drop that last kid off at their own home.)

Mom of the Year

Lost her patience with her family this season more times than she can count.

Mom of the Year

Decided one night to paint her toenails instead of reading that last, final story and of course instead of doing the long piled-up dishes.

Mom of the Year

Was sure her children would be shoeless wherever they went, as the shoes went on slow as molasses EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Mom of the Year

Gave into every whim of hers, including losing her cool and letting all the kids have all her energy and forgot to save any for her husband. And proceeded to sigh more than once when all he wanted was just some time with her.

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Mom of the Year 

Listened to that story that she’d her already a hundred times and nodded politely, made eye contact and in an instant, made her three-year-old feel valued.

Mom of the Year

Withheld judgement (and cuss words) about the state of how many diaper changes she did that day and just did them without complaint, without fanfare, and certainly without pay.

Mom of the Year

Waited patiently while someone learned to put on their shoes, pour their own cereal out, complete with milk spills.

Mom of the Year

Chose the extra story and snuggles one night.

Mom of the Year

Infused her car with music, laughter, and a bit of magic when she sensed the carpool friend was feeling a little down.

Mom of the Year

Cleared her schedule, reset her heart, and let the laundry go and listened to her husband’s day and with him, just spent time. 

Mom of the Year

Made a proper dinner, complete with vegetables, all the food groups, and carried on with a smile despite all the complaints about said vegetables.

Mom of the Year

Is wise enough to know that her mothering is the sum of all of her days, not just one, not just a season. And knows that she is doing alright, despite life not being always okay. She knows, deep within, that mothering neither lies in the accolades nor the failures, but showing up for her family day after day.

Bucket list – check.

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How long I’ve waited for this: published. 

And no, I haven’t written a book yet (parts are still swimming, loose in my head; not in any logical order yet.)

But, since I have started writing (at 15, if we’re being precise) I have always wanted to be just exactly this.

Published.

And here I am, years (and years!) later.

Exactly that.

Published.

My good friends call my bluff on the notion of being published.

“But didn’t I read a devotional on some blog by you?” they ask, confused.

“Or what about that bio in Dallas Baby?” they wonder aloud, looking at me perplexed, as if I don’t remember parts of my own journey.

Yes, I’ve been published before, several places actually. Five different blogs and magazines have published my work.

Which yes, counts for something. Counts for a lot, actually.

But me, the competitive, bar-can-never-be-quite-high-enough me, well, one of my bucket list items is to be published by a publication that doesn’t know who I am. That has no stock in me. That is not invested in the outcome or cares about my feelings.

Because as much I love my friends and family dearly and trust them and what they say about my writing, I need to know (it’s an insane need, I realize) that my words can stretch and resonate with someone else “out there.” Someone else that could care less as to who I am. Someone who doesn’t know me, just knows they like the words I’ve written, that these words have hit the right note somewhere in their soul.

After years of being known for other talents (the ones that keep you in a steady job and productive, and get you glowing reviews from your supervisors) I want to know one thing. One thing about what I truly feel is my calling, what I am here for.

Do I have any talent?

The big challenge with my writing (for me, personally) has always been what do other people think? Perhaps I put too much stock in what others think. Or, perhaps I don’t, as I write only what resonates with me; I don’t give much headspace to the critics. But I’ve always wondered (and yes, I’ve always overthink things a bit too.)

Would my writing resonate? Get published?

Well. Yes.

Bucket list number one item checked off.

http://bit.ly/coltpiece

colt MAW

Summer is here.

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It’s summer, isn’t it?

Don’t know about you, but here it’s full-on summer: hot, muggy and well, the sorts of days you either hang out in damp bathing suits. Or take long afternoon naps followed by fresh corn for dinner. The season of simple, earthly delights.

We’re in the thick of it now; no one is dreaming in anxious anticipation about popsicles and trips anymore. We’ve already gone through several boxes of those around here.

And, we’re packing and unpacking; looking forward with delight, back with contentment. Or, well, sometimes, depending upon how the vacation/trip/family visit went, just glad to be home.

I don’t know about you, but like this time of year. These days after the sheen of the newness and excitement of the new season has worn off a little. You just settle into things for a bit.

The moments where you’re focused on enjoyment rather than anticipation.  Sitting and drinking iced tea as opposed to planning out the next weekend to manage your family’s calendar and/or sanity levels for the rest of the month. Summer: the lovely, in-between season of not rushing from one event or holiday celebration to another. Winter–looking at you. You’re suspect, as always.

No, this time of year we’re in that sweet spot: comfortable. Easing into our daily routines without the crazy-making that is May and December.

Summer. Long heated days with sometimes a swim afternoon (or day) here and there.

And a great deal of the very best days: the days too-hot or too-rainy, full of Legos, ice cream, projects and a fresh set of books to get lost in.

 

 

 

I’m still here

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I’m still here, yes, despite what I imagine feels like a lot of silence.

Blog posting: Clearly a discipline I have to still work on. Sigh. Along, clearly, with the laundry.

In the meantime, though I haven’t been consistent on this medium (and apologies about that! If you want more of my writing, I suggest you follow me here and here, to ahem, hear from me more often) I have been writing.

Lately, I’m flexing all sorts of different writing muscles – speech writing (I’ve written four, and working on several more for fall,) children’s stories (many still in draft form, but with a goal of sending them off in winter, and one piece with Highlights, eagerly awaiting an answer) and still writing my heart: non-fiction writing, which happens to focus on parenthood/motherhood and a life among children.

And that last category, the non-fiction parenthood/motherhood stories–I’ve received an acceptance from one of my favorite websites on one of my pieces. Hooray!

So, just a note that I am still here. Just writing, mostly, but not so much talking about it. Just writing. And laundry.

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On purpose

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Some days I wonder my purpose, my reason for being here. (Not those dark thoughts; I’m talking about those other thoughts I take out for a spin on the constant merry-go-round of my mind.) I find it mostly happens mostly when I’m doing something menial like dishes or laundry and wondering about grand lives and people and the big things they’ve done in life.

My purpose was so clear when I was working full-time, out of the house: earn money, maybe enjoy yourself a little, keep the family alive.

Which of course meant more chaos than I believe I can handle: late-night grocery runs or weekend grocery runs during nap time, emailing and calling all the people–schools, plumbers, exterminators, husband, my writing group friends and committee co-chairs. I frequently remember -not sure if this was the turning point for me or not- 11p nightly, finally starting up the washer and going to bed. Knowing when I got up around 5a, I would move it into to the dryer while rubbing my eyes, grateful for coffee and the quiet. Looking back, perhaps I could have been a bit more organized. Looking back though you see sometimes a lot more of what you could see in front of you at the moment.

I wonder about those days sometimes. Did those days, busy and full of things constantly, have more purpose than these days?

I had a sense of purpose working, and I have one here, in this new role too. Though it’s much milder and more easily manipulated — one day, purpose is getting the house clean; the next, it’s returning all those forms signed to school and making sure that everyone gets out the door on time and dressed. Which seems simple and well, a lowly thing until one doesn’t want to get dressed and the other is having a breakdown about what to bring and the other is in the bathroom and I’m still working on trying to take deep breaths and be patient. Some days, the purpose, the end goal of being on time is about all I can handle.

But that’s not my sole purpose; to make sure everyone leaves the house on time with shoes on. That’s not the only reason I’m here I know. But of course, I question this deeply on the days this and other minor things go badly. On those days I also question a great deal of other things too, like how can we read and write but not know where we left our shoes?

I don’t remember where I read it, but it was a blog post somewhere on the kinds of purposes (yes, many) that women have. The theory was that there are many purposes, both big and small, and most running parallel to each other. For example – mother and doctor. You can be both; both are probably Big P purposes. Mostly, purpose–with a small p is mainly your roles (mom, parent, aunt, etc–though, those are no small things!) and your big P purpose is your life calling–what you were meant to do; what you were put here to do.

I’ve been mulling that one over for a while.

And then I wonder if my opinion of what I feel about my purpose even matters.

But our work matters very much so more than the opinion of what we think of that work itself.

But the work–the act of doing it, and the act of putting it out there in the world, most of the time matters so much more than we think it does. Whether that be your Big P like motherhood and writing, or your little P like being a good aunt and planting a garden.

But we base it upon how we personally feel about it, as opposed to maybe, perhaps what God is doing with it. Which is far greater. And stranger. And lovelier than we can imagine.

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Part of Esther 4:14 comes to mind:

“…Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created.”

So much potential in those words.

And truth in those words. Knowing all the while, that is full to the brim of moments to feel this. To wonder if this, in fact, is the moment we’ve been created for.

Tightrope

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She hands me a flower, still, at almost seven, plucked straight from the garden that isn’t ours.

I smile as I receive it; conflicted about how I feel – is six too old to still be doing this? Haven’t I harped on her enough about what is and isn’t ours? I wonder. Wow, that’s so kind and sweet; I think remembering that just this morning we were making grumpy faces at each other and exchanging frustrated words on the way to school.

This is seemingly how it is with our relationship–a bunch of emotions all running together, gooey and sticky, and completely blurred lines like when you use too much water for watercolors. It all runs together and all you see are impressions, moments of bold color and pale pinks dripping down the page when all you had hoped for was to paint inside the lines, nicely.

I wonder if it’s like this for all mother-daughter duos.

My son, on the other hand, is still relatively sweet, uncomplicated. He likes what he likes and that’s jumping in puddles, fish, and tickles. Any of those things at any time are okay.

Stormy clouds lurking ahead aren’t gathering under the surface like I see in my daughter and in myself. I see them at once in his voice, actions; meaning clear. He hands me flowers too, but he is little. He is clueless as to what flower belongs to him as I haven’t gotten him out of the impulse move of seeing a flower and immediately picking it. Just like his nose.

Is she old enough, is she too old, is the constant question I bat around numerous times these days like a cat with a mouse toy. Too young still for movies with high drama or is it being still for long periods of time, I wonder. But definitely too old for the naivety of flowers from someone else’s yard, I know now, firm in that opinion. But too young, I determine for all things bikini and the Justice clothing line.

But too old for rocking or comforting night time routines? While I don’t question myself on what she’s too young for as that’s relatively easy for me to detect, what she’s told old for is a different ball of wax entirely. It’s a tight wire rope I frequently fall off of, wanting to not hold her back from growing up, while not forcing her to grow up because the world around her will soon hold so much weight. It so heavy already.

If anyone asks me what’s so hard about the school-aged years, that’s it. The push-pull of letting go but staying close, being shifted from the seat of CEO of All Things You Should Know. Going from the vocal CEO with opinions and the know-how of how to do things, like tying shoes, to becoming the coach, watchful and intent but getting out of the huddle (and out of the way) through the game that is life is the most challenging I’m finding.

The watching and waiting, but not always in the game.

These are the tightropes that are being constructed in this phase of parenthood. And I’m not a tightrope walker. But I’m certainly learning.