Writing Without a Why.

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I miss writing. Somewhere in the busy-ness of life, the long days of toddler-hood and mommy-hood and working and being tired and being lazy and using my time for better things and using my time for worse things…I never write anymore. I lost myself in this weird, internet-y, blogging world. Too much “what do I want to say” and “what is my voice” and “what’s my story” and I forgot to just…write. Not to write because I want to change the world, or because it’s fun to get comments, or even because there’s something I want to say. Writing just to write–just to see the words fill the page, just to forced to put feelings into words, whether they make sense or not. Writing just because it’s good to stop for a minute. Writing because maybe then I’ll notice things more–I’ll remember to listen to those litte thoughts in my mind that I push away because I’m tired or lazy or busy. I’ll need to think about those little fears in the middle of the night, the things that make me smile most during the day. To put words to how sweet this life is with these little people, and words to those days that I’m sure I won’t survive raising them.

These months of not writing have been so full–full of friendships and growing (physically AND emotionally!) full of heartache and loss, full of laughter and tears, and I wish I’d written. I wish I’d written about seeing God’s grace when my friend lost her baby and seeing her strength. Seeing his provision in protecting a very sick baby of another friend. Dealing with the guilt of wondering why my own baby seems to be growing healthy and strong while other people deal with such great loss. Wondering which part of those losses is part of MY story, a story of grace God is entwining into my own pregnancy. These months have been letting go and making room–trying to let go of things that get in the way of pursuing Him. Trying to get my heart (and more recently, our home) ready to welcome in another son, wondering practical things like “How in the world will I ever leave the house with all of these little people attached to me??” and less practical things like “How much hair will he have?” These months have been filled with conversations and goals and new jobs and more new jobs and trying to figure out current jobs and finances.

And so my new goal is to write. Not with an introduction and a body and a conclusion; not with a knowing why. But writing just because I can, and because I love it, and because I need it. And because somewhere along the way, I am sure I have a story to tell. Sometimes it’s comedy and sometimes it’s tragedy and sometimes its poetry. And sometimes, it might be the word vomit of a frazzled working mama who just needs to spill her guts. But conclusion or not, I know the journey is not mine, it’s His. And it is He who writes my story. So for now, I’m just thankful–for the little people I get to call mine, for the family, the friends, and the precious gift of words to remember these moments.

Influence: Pre Conference Meet & Greet

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So, in about 5 weeks, I’m going to wake up, drive to the airport, fly to Indiana, stay in a hotel with 2 girls I’ve never met (and 1 that I have, so I don’t have to worry too much about being killed in my sleep…) and meet about 150 new ladies. This sounds crazy when I say it, crazy when I type it, and crazy when I think it. I’m leaving my family for 3 days so I can go meet internet friends. (I guess this really shouldn’t surprise anyone at this point, since the last time I decided to go meet internet friends, I also decided to go run 13 miles with them….) But so far, my blog meetups have served me well, and I love the friends that I’ve made through this crazy little world. So when Raechel posted on her blog about the Influence Conference, I immediately knew I wanted to go. So, my husband agreed to yet another one of my crazy schemes, even though it meant a pretty hefty financial investment for us, as well as me being gone for 4 days. I was excited and anxious for October to arrive and felt SO blessed to be part of this awesome adventure. Making much of Jesus, with a bunch of amazing women who have formed a community online. How awesome is that?

Except here we are, 5 weeks out, and I have a little secret.

I’m scared. 

But, my ticket is nonrefundable and so is my flight. So I’m going. And I’m guessing there’s a reason for it, since most times the things I’m scared of end up being the most awesome. So, I’m joining up in the little linky party pre-conference meet & greet.

3 things about me:

1) I’m long winded. If you send me a 2 sentence e-mail, I’m going to send you a 5 paragraph reply. Twitter is really challenging for me, because it can take me 10+ minutes to figure out how to get my thoughts down to 140 characters. I’m a talker, and I’m an over-thinker. My roomies are luuuuucky.

2) I’m hardcore addicted to coffee. I’ve worked at sbux for nearly 9 years, and on my days off, it’s still almost always the first place I go in the morning. But lately I’ve been learning that I don’ t think I’m addicted to the coffee nearly as much as the experience. When I’m in Indiana, I’ll need to find the nearest sbux to make me feel like I’m home.

3) I don’t have a type-A bone in my entire body. I’m not organized, I’m messy, there’s always clutter everywhere in my house. I can’t for the life of me keep my laundry from exploding. I’m not good at things that involve charts, or graphs, or anything that needs to be precise. I prefer cooking to baking, and even when I bake, I often guess. I dislike this about myself, because the older I get, the more the dysfunction drives me up.the.wall. When I lose things for the 87th time, I start to lose my mind a little. I keep thinking one day I’ll grow up and it’ll be better, but so far, not so much.

2 Things I’m looking forward to:

1) My roomies!! I’m rooming with a friend from home, along with 2 strangers and I’m just so excited to be in a hotel and get to stay up late for girly chats and chocolate binges and getting to sleeeeeeep!

2. Is it inappropriate to say yummy food? If it is, then pretend I said the workshops or sessions. But honestly, the food.

1 thing I can’t leave home without:

1) Something to tame my beast, aka my hair. It either needs to be straightened or diffused if I want to resemble a human.   Also, a hoodie.

Our {belated} Sesame Adventure!

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Sooo, I started writing this post the day we got home…a month ago. But, I still wanted to get it up to save the memories!

We spent the past few days at Sesame Place–our first vacation with the kids! Their first hotel experience and first amusement park adventure. As with any activity I plan for the kids, I have to spend the days (or in this case, weeks!) leading up to the excursion tempering my excitement with realistic expectations. Since Sam has been born, I’ve gone into things day dreaming about the fun we’d have, how excited he’d be, how perfect everything would go. This is starting to work a little better, but doesn’t work as well when you’re taking a 4 month old to see a firetruck (Note: he won’t care.) So this time, I was trying to keep things in mind like, my kids have never slept in a hotel. This could go very badly. My kids really, really, desperately need nighttime sleep AND naps to be functioning, human people so I knew at some point each day they would NEED to sleep. Neither of them is the best eater where fast food is concerned (not for lack of trying. It’s not because we’re above fast food, it’s really because I just can’t get them to eat it no matter what. This includes Chick.Fila, which is leading to some serious questions about whether or not they are indeed our spawn.) So I knew that for as much magic as these days could hold, it was a calculated risk that we could also end up with some very sad, hot, tired, hungry, grumpy kids.

It was wise to be realistic about these days. Because indeed it was hot, and there were lines, and the kids got hungry, and booooy oh boy did they get tired. But what I’ll remember from these days is pure magic.

The kids LOVED it. Sammy especially was crazy about the rides, even the tower-of-doom style Elmo ride that went up and down and made our tummies flip! He did the giant swings, the teacups, the spinning bug…you name it, he rode it, he laughed on it, and he yelled, “Again! Again! Again!” He loved the nets and climbing up the jungle gyms, and he loved the slides. He also loved the huge water slide that we all got to go down together. Piper was a trooper and put up with all of our ride riding and Sammy chasing like a champ. She was happiest in the tidal wave pool, where she happily splashed and giggled and soaked up some sweet daddy time.

The most magical part? Seeing the characters in real life. Hearing them squeal, “Cookie!!!” as CookieMonster walked by, seeing Abby CaDabby lean in to give my baby girl a kiss while she giggled. But the real joy of the trip was the parade. We lined up and got the kids ready to see all their Sesame Street favorites. The music started and I looked ahead and there was Big Bird–I took one look at Sam’s face when he saw him, and kid you not, I started to cry. I am 27 years old, and Big Bird made me bawl. My heart felt like it was just going to burst from happiness and from how blessed we are to be able to show things like this to our kids. I just kept thinking how many kids in the world want for so many things, and my kids are just getting to experience so much. It is my prayer that I’m raising them to appreciate these blessings as gifts, and not take a moment for granted.

It’s taken a few days to recover (we’re still recovering) and we have a big dent in our savings account, but it was worth every single bit of it. There is nothing that compares to seeing my kids so happy and being ablue to share such sweet family time. And the best news?? It rained on our second day, so we got Sunny Day passes to come back again for FREE!! Sunnay days, indeed!

Ten Things about Triple Digits

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So, we headed South this weekend! We=me, my husband, and my bloggy-buddy-turned-BFF, Ashley & her husband Ryan. We had wanted to take a trip together, and decided to meet in a new city for all of us–Nashville! Ashley and I had seen a little bit of Nashville when we went to Tennessee to run our half marathon (yes, I do try to work that tidbit of info into every conversation possible. I try to make it all nonchalant, as if running 13 miles wasn’t that big of a deal. It makes me look more awesome. Unfortunately, I’m usually surrounded by someone who then says, “oh yeah! I ran a full.” They always win, and then I look less awesome.) Things that should be noted from our trip:

1) Nashville is hot: triple digits hot. Record breaking hot. Can’t-hardly-breathe-outside hot. I wasn’t the pregnant one of the bunch (though my frequent request for bathroom breaks led some to believe otherwise, *ahem….) and I still felt it.  We spent a lot of our day trying to duck into air conditioned places and drinking iced Sbux drinks like it was our job (ha. get it? Like it was my job? I got jokes.)

 

2) I actually do possess the ability to wear stylish clothes. This ability only presents itself when someone else packs me clothes & accessories and comes to the store with me, watches me try on clothes, and then tells me what to buy. Otherwise, I wear jean shorts and tank tops and call it my “nice clothes.” Both of these things happened this weekend. (See above picture for clothes that are not mine. My exact words were “Where exactly does this belt even go?”)

3) Monopoly Deal is my favorite game of all time. It’s more difficult to play when it’s late at night, 6 hours past my usual bedtime, and I may or may not have been dominated. I also may or may not have learned that coke mixed with amaretto tastes exactly like Dr. Pepper, with the added bonus of making me giggly. Win win.

 

4) I like bacon. I like bacon sundaes. They are yummy and salty-sweet and you should stop judging me and take yourself to Burger King. If you can’t get there, might I interest you in a bacon bandaid? (True story. Huge candy store in Nashville, some of the weirdest stuff I’ve ever seen.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5) My  husband got skinny. Have I mentioned that? He’s lost 83 pounds and I’m SO proud of him! We bought him some fancy pants new clothes and he looked so dapper on our journey.

Also, he likes me, and I like him.

6) Raechel is as sweet and kind and delightful as you’d expect from her blog. Additionally, she says adorable things like, “These fajitas are ministering to my soul” that make me love her even more than I thought I did and she is one of the funniest people in the world. There is a whole lot of Rachel packed into a teeny tiny person, and I’m thrilled to know her in real life (even if sometimes I still call her “Raechel Meyers dot com.”)

Hanging in Frank-town, which apparently shut down for a our visit. Sadness that we never saw the shops!

7) Embassy Suites likes to have animals in their lobby area. This was lovely in Memphis when it was ducks. In Nashville, it was birds. Loud, chirping, wake-up-at-6am birds and I would really like to know whose idea that was. Because it’s not a good one. Fail.

8) I don’t like grits. Even if they are creamy dreamy, and come from places with flying biscuits. I do love grilled mac & cheese, and I DEFINITELY love Keight, who shared both her time and her kids with us while we stayed in Atlanta a bit visiting Geoff’s sister. Keight is real, and hilarious, and I got to know allllll sorts of new things about her. And by that, I mean see all sorts of things about her. The end.

9) I want to move south. I mostly want to move south into a house that is affordable and nice and have a golf cart to drive around everywhere. No joke–Geoff’s sister lives right next to a town that has golf cart trails EVERYWHERE. That is my new dream.

10) I love, love, love my sweet friend. She is lovely and funny and she listens when I whine and pushed through the heat even though she was incubating life, and we had the best time. She helped me shop and we ate tons of food and talked each other’s ears off and I’m so super thankful. I can’t believe next time I see her, she’s going to have a little baby!! I’m constantly amazed at how awesome God is to give us friendships in ways we wouldn’t have expected.

So, this week: settling in, celebrating the 4th, some meeting-ish things, and trying to keep cool. How bout everyone

#shereadstruth

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So, generally speaking, I’m different than most people. I think about things differently, I handle things differently, I’m just kind of a weirdo. Sometimes this is because I’m just weird, sometimes it’s because I’m probably just more sinful than a lot of other people. (Most people, even.)

A little over a month ago, a whirlwind came through Twitter and I watched as hundreds of women joined together to do a massive “group devotion” together. What started as 2, and then 4 girls, turned into HUNDREDS of people who were following the same devotional plan, posting pictures of their notes, tweeting, emailing, facebooking and sharing this journey. This is great, right?

Sure. Unless you’re me, because I have to first be all cynical and sarcastic and negative about it first. So, I watched and I  got annoyed and I got uncomfortable. And I thought, “Look at all these girls, posting all these pictures of their perfectly manicured nails and pretty journals and pretty backyards and pretty pools and pretty decks. Look at them bragging about how good of Christians they are and how pretty they can make their notes.” And I thought, “I’m certainly not doing that. That’s just a bunch of girls wanting to jump on the latest bandwagon and be “cool” like all the big time bloggers, and I’m not falling into that trap.” (In addition to being cynical, sarcastic, and negative, I’m also judgey. Do you want to be my friend yet?)

So, I was better than #shereadstruth. But, I wasn’t actually doing devotions or getting into the word. I told myself I was going to do it, on my own, and of course I was going to do it better because I wasn’t going to be all caught up in appearances like all these other girls. I had another friend who shared similar concerns and feelings, so we decided we’d do something together. us:1, #shereadstruth: 0. There were only a few problems.

Problem 1: One of the founders of #shereadstruth is someone that I love, and ISN’T conceited, and ISN’T fake, and isn’t all the things I was wanting to think about all the participants. I had to deal with the fact that maybe, just maybe, it was possible that all of these girls were genuine–because if she is, why can’t they all be? Maybe they don’t set up perfect pictures before they post their notes on insta.gram, maybe they just *actually* have nice handwriting. Maybe the reason I think all of them care so much about what everyone else thinks is because I care so much about what everyone thinks.

Problem 2: God likes to work in ways we don’t expect.

Problem 3: It actually looked cool. The community they were building, the growth they were experiencing…it all started to look a little intriguing. But, I’m also stubborn (seriously? How do I have any friends, and more importantly, how did I get someone to marry me???) so once I committed to not liking it, I couldn’t possibly admit I was wrong. That would just be silly.

Then I was chatting with my friend one day, and we were discussing the growth of the #shereadstruth website, and as we were talking, we realized that God was doing something in both of our hearts–that he was making us wonder if maybe THEY weren’t the problem, maybe WE were the problem. And maybe we were missing out on something great He could do in us, simply because we were being stubborn. So we agreed to start the same plan as they were–Soul Detox. 35 days of figuring out what are the toxins in our lives and in our hearts–what they are, how they play out in our lives, why they are so hard to get rid of, how to get rid of them. Being that I’m negative, and stubborn, and selfish, and judgey, you probably already realize that this is right up my sinful little ally. And it was. God started working in my heart, and still is. I’m only halfway through the plan, and I never tweeted anything about it or wrote on the site, though I have faithfully read it, because I was too prideful to do it.

But, let me just say…I was wrong. And it. is. awesome. I really am thankful for this. I am thankful that God chose to work in me in a way I didn’t want him to, but that I needed him to. I am thankful for a community of women rising up together, committing to make a change. I am thankful for the motivation to make spending time with Him a priority. He is moving in this. He is. I have seen it and I have felt it, and tomorrow when they start the new plan, I’m going to be an active part of it. I have to think that there might be others out there who felt similarly or felt weird about jumping in–tomorrow is a super time to start. What a chance we have to take the social media world and use it for good! I am quite certain that if MY heart can be touched by this, anyone’s can.

To find out more, check out http://shereadstruth.com/ or on Twitter, @shereadstruth

This time? We’re doing it together🙂

on loneliness.

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This is kind of a hard post to write. Not because it’s difficult for me to get out these thoughts, but because it takes a certain amount of bravery to post something that you’re pretty sure will make you sound like a pathetic loser. (Do I have everyone’s attention yet? I know everyone loves a good “I’m a loser” blog, right?)

The thing is, I don’t even mean to make it sound like I’m pathetic or that I cry myself to sleep at night or that I’m depressed and sad all the time. But the thing is: I struggle with loneliness.

I’m hoping there are lots of other girls out there who feel (or have felt)very similarly. But maybe not. Because see, the thing is, I have lots of friends. I don’t mean that in a show-offy, I-bet-I-have-more-friends-than-you sort of way, just that I’ve been blessed with having a lot of friends in a similar phase of life as me that I get along with really well and live close by. On any given day, there’s more than a handful of people I could call to schedule a play date with. I have friends I could call for shopping or coffee or if I’m having a bad day. I have girls nights and dinners and get out plenty.

Soooo why am I posting theft loneliness, then? If you have friends, you aren’t allowed to be lonely, right? That seems to be the general message that girls give and receive–your feelings can’t be validated if it looks like you’re popular, or if you’ve hung out with too many people recently. You just aren’t allowed to be lonely, because that’s only for girls who have zero friendships and lots of cats and no family. Then it’s ok. Otherwise, you shouldn’t talk about it.

I think this isn’t true though. (Or else it is true, and I’m about to get a bunch of negative comments.) See, my whole entire life, I have had a best friend. For my entire pre-college life, it was the same friend and we were inseparable. It wasn’t a question of IF we would hang out, it was how many nights we could convince our moms to let us spend together. Our friends knew that you didn’t save just one seat for us, you saved two, because we would always be together. Our names pretty much just ran together, and we lived our lives together. During school, after school, weekends, holidays–nothing off limits. When we weren’t together, we were probably talking on the phone. Then life happened and things happened and when we went to separate colleges and grew apart. Thankfully at that moment, I was blessed with the best college roomie E.V.E.R. And immediately, I had a best friend again. And again–we lived life together. We talked all the time, we didn’t have to make plans because we just assumed our plans were hanging out together. And we talked all the time and we shared all our stories and it was one of the best times in my life. She is, to this day, at the top of my list if you asked me to list out my friends. After college, I moved home and we were still best friends, and I also had another friend that I talked to AND worked with basically every single day. And she made me mixed tapes of music to make me cooler. It was true love.

But things happen and life happened again and we all have jobs and husbands and friends and churches and babies (or babies that are being grown :)) and of course things have to change. No one is at fault when these things happen, it’s just the stretching and growing that is life, but it’s still sad for me.

I guess I got used to having that best friend. Not the kind of friend you have to coordinate with for playdates through facebook after it had been 3 weeks, though those friends are wonderful blessings. Not the kind of friend you keep having to catch up on a months worth of information, even though that’s most of my friendships and I wouldn’t change them for the world. Not the kind of friends who live far away, though they are some of the most important people in my life. I just miss that we-talk-every-single-day, I-can-stop-by-unannounced-just-because-I’m-having-a-bad-day, first-person-I-tell-everything-to kind of friend. And sometimes it’s hard. And sometimes I feel sad that even though I have a lot of friends, almost all of them have a better friend, or friends, and sometimes I feel a little forgotten.

I’m not writing this so that my friends read it and feel bad, or feel like bad friends, because that isn’t true. My friends are amazing, funny, sweet, women that I LOVE and I know they love me, and they’ve all been there for me through millions of times when I’ve needed them, and provide me with so much support (and hopefully I do the same…) I’m mostly writing it because I have a hunch that a lot of people feel like this, but are scared to admit it, because it seems silly. And maybe it is, and maybe I should just be grateful. And mostly I am! But sometimes I just feel lonely. And I think that’s ok. And I think it’s ok to let each other feel these things. I had a brief conversation with one of my close friends about this, but then I said, “But I guess you wouldn’t understand, because you have so many friends.” And her jaw dropped and she said, “No! I feel EXACTLY the same way! But I feel dumb saying it!”

So, here’s hoping I’m not just making myself look like a loser, because goodness knows I obviously don’t need less friends. Also, I’ll be taking BFF applications for the next few weeks, so just go ahead and drop off essays and presents at my door. (Maybe more presents, less essays.)

Ordinary Fun

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Today was an ordinary day. We woke up, we did a few errands before Daddy had to go to work, we had naptime and playtime and movie time and lunch time. And we were juuust entering that “how many more hours of entertainment are there to provide before bedtime” stretch of the day when my phone buzzed and I read this:

Free Menchies today from 2-4. Going there soon if you want to come.”

That, my friends, is my love language. Free yogurt, friends, and an activity. So I loaded the troops, manuevered my giant double stroller through the teeny tiny yogurt shop (at least 4 people offered to help me. This makes me realize 2 things. a) there are still good people in the world & b) i do not make parenting two small children look easy.)

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I met a few friends there, and we let the kids run wild along the sidewalk and eat messy yogurt with messy toppings and have a blast. Someone else brought wipes, because I don’t remember things like that, and a stranger brought Sam back to me after he ran too far away and I was chasing Piper in the opposite direction. I got the stroller stuck in the doorway while I was carrying 3 cups of yogurt (1 cup was help by my teeth, because I am simply that awesome.) Generally speaking, I’m not the mom who has things “together.” Only one of my children actually had shoes on during this adventure, and they weren’t even real shoes, they were water shoes.

One of the girls there had her brand new baby there, and in a phenomonon known as Baby Fever and which I have to believe was created by God to encourage procreation, I felt my uterus flutter a little bit, I completely forgot how 30 seconds earlier I had been mumbling something under my breath about “too few hands…too many children…can’t stay in the same place for a freaking second…why is yogurt so messy…” and I squealed “eeeeee! I WANT ONE!!”

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At least a hundred times I day I think to myself, “this is hard!” And I think about all the moms I know who make it look easy–the ones who remember diaper bags and cook nice dinners and have clean houses and have taken a shower since Sunday (wait, too much? is that too much information?) But, despite my forgetfulness and my disorganization, I freaking love this life. I love that they squeal about ice cream; I love that it dribbles down their faces and they don’t notice. I love that they think it’s funny to tickle each other, and I love that they’re becoming friends. I love free frozen yogurt, and I love friends that I get to share this crazy parenting adventure with.

An ordinary day, with ordinary fun. So thankful for this sweet life!

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