Monthly Archive: July 2017

#blessed

Originally published as a TinyLetter

boxes

I feel as if I’ve been run over by a truck. Really, by a whole fleet of trucks, which keep flattening me each time I try to stumble to my feet.

We moved into our new house a couple of weeks ago and love it. There’s much more space for the kids and pets to coexist, and the open floor plan lets the family spend quality time together even while Darren and I are cooking or cleaning.

But there’s no way around it — moving is just plain stressful, and moving with a baby and a spirited toddler is nearly impossible. How can you be interrupted six times while attempting to pack a single box?

Even though the new place is exactly what we wanted, the transition hasn’t been easy. My four-year-old is acting out because he needs more attention than we can give him right now. One of the cats is peeing on the furniture, including the guest room mattress and the living room couch that’s our home base. The dog is eating some kind of leaf growing in the backyard and vomiting all over the floor (why does she insist on eating that damn plant?!).

This week the baby had a high fever for three days straight, poor girl, and I was trying to work from home because I don’t have much time off accrued yet at my new job. She wouldn’t let me put her down, so I found myself cleaning up dog puke from the rug — having stepped in the cold, slimy mess with my bare feet — while balancing the little fuss-face on my hip.

#blessed, I thought.

But really, though. Even in that tough moment, I reminded myself that all of this chaos results from good things, from creating the family that Darren and I envisioned and moving into a house we adore. (And, of course, these are first-world problems that we are lucky to have, and I don’t take that for granted.)

Last night, after I had scrubbed the cat pee from the couch and went on to tackle the dirty dishes, I stopped for a moment to take a photo of Darren and the baby napping in his recliner.

recliner

Then, when she woke up and crawled over to see what big brother was doing, I snapped this one.

kiddos

It’s a good practice, to pause just for a second in the frenzy of daily life and acknowledge the ways in which we are truly and non-ironically #blessed, to really let them sink in. The house so lovely that I can’t believe I get to live here. The tiny humans that didn’t exist before my husband and I brought them into the world. The new job that is pushing me to develop a whole new skill set.

Each time you expand your life, it adds a layer of complexity. It stretches you to your limit, forcing you to grow into an experience that’s fuller, richer, and totally worth the trouble in the end.


what’s fueling me

 

Darren found a couple of boxes of books in the attic, ones that I’d read as a kid. Evan is loving the collection of Disney’s Little Golden Books, especially the Three Little Pigs. We sing “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” together, and he plays an imaginary flute when I sing “Tra la la la la.”

Darren and I are watching the first season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and it brightens my day.

kimmy

We saw Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires in concert for the third time, and the creative energy between them is palpable. It’s beautiful to watch him sing “Cover Me Up” to her and still seem to mean every word after all these years.

Also, I’ve been stress-eating Cheetos and chocolate at my desk. It helps.


 

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Image via markgranitz

Giving Up or Pressing On

Originally published as a TinyLetter

lockandchain

It’s 4:38 a.m. on a weekday morning, and I can’t sleep. The baby started fussing a few minutes ago, but I’d already woken up a half hour before with too much on my mind. I’ve been struggling with this question: Do I keep pushing forward with the Reschool Yourself book, or let it go?

It’s like when I had a paper due in school, and every time a spare moment opened up, I felt as if I should be working on it instead of relaxing or having fun. The book weighs me down. It puts a computer screen between me and my family. It makes me tired all the time because I wake up early every morning to chip away at it. Some days I wish I’d never had the idea for the project, which I’ve turned into the ultimate school assignment, one that has dragged on for years.

I know in my core that I want to put the book out into the world, whether I end up with a mainstream publisher or publish it myself. I have a story to share. It matters. But some days I just want to give up, move on, and have a normal life.


what I’m working toward

 

magazines
I’m a bit of an information hoarder, especially when it comes to magazines. I have issues of Real Simple and O, the Oprah Magazine from 2012 that I’ve piled in bookshelves, waiting to be read when I have time. It’s as if by possessing the publication, I possess its knowledge, and I don’t want to let it go. Another issue will arrive in the mail, and I’ll think, “Aah, not another one! I haven’t even read last month’s yet!” And into the stack it goes. I found an issue of Portico Jackson magazine whose cover story is Jackson Now. “Let’s see what Jackson was like five years ago,” I told Darren, flipping through the pages. There could be some good stuff in there that I don’t want to miss!

My family and I are moving to a bigger house in our neighborhood tomorrow, and I’m making that day my deadline to process and recycle all of these old magazines. I’m pulling out a few recipes from Food Network Magazine that I might actually cook, as well as any columns by my ladies Elizabeth Gilbert, Brené Brown, and Martha Beck, then tossing the rest. It feels like a little victory each time I throw another issue into the recycling bin and see the stacks on my shelf dwindle. I feel lighter without so much stuff in the queue.

Collectively, the few dozen pages I’ve pulled could form a whole other magazine (one that’s full of just the stuff I like!). I know that I’m still hoarding information, and who knows when I’ll make time to process it, but at least it’s contained to one file folder in our new house instead of a whole bookshelf. Progress!


what’s fueling me

 

photos

I’ve been at my new job for four months now, and only last week did I decorate my office walls. Hanging up framed pictures always seems so daunting. Before I put holes in the walls, I feel like I need to recruit someone to help me measure the distance between the picture frames, and to hold them up while I stand back and look at the spacing. And then there are so many possible ways to hang them. All in a row or staggered heights? In which order? It’s easier to do nothing, leaving the walls blank and full of possibilities.

But with a couple new staff joining my team last week, I wanted an office that looked more established and not like a transient was just passing through. I’d already brought in a couple of framed prints from my happy times at Visit Mississippi: a colorful painting of a blues musician and a poster from a concert tour that my team worked on. I’d also framed the certificate from my business program (oddly, my undergrad degree is small and not very attractive, with red lettering in Old English font, so it’s boxed away somewhere).

I borrowed a hammer and picture hanging hardware from the storage room and eyeballed three spots on the wall. I penciled in the dots, hammered in the nails, and placed the frames. It took less than a minute to do each one. They’re not precisely spaced, but they’re fine. And looking at them every day gives me a little happiness boost, because the office finally feels like it’s mine.

Like I always say, “Don’t overthink it.” :)

beforesunrise


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Header image by Art Purée