6
Oct

Five Minute Friday - story

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on story.
Go.

My story is one of fear.
Always scared.
Looking over my shoulder, noticing those I pass.
Searching for monsters.
Looking for a feeling of safety.

At each turn, each new challenge, each thing I try, there is fear.
Every time the day turns to night, there is fear.
Taking a run in my neighborhood, there is fear.
Being alone in my house, there is fear.
Noises scare me.
Getting promoted terrified me.
Starting my own business made me stay up for months with panic.
Each new client I take on, fear.
Getting married was a blur of emotions, but the one that stands out is worry.
Buying a home scared me.
In parenting, there is too much fear to put in a box.
My blog fear of the raw and nakedness of my life.
Doing a race, trying a new yoga class, learning something new, at every single turn, there is fear.

So, when my little faces are scared, I remind them, mom is scared every day of her life.
Every single day kiddos, but I do it anyway.
I learn to swim so I can do a triathlon.
I take the promotion anyway.
I sleep with the lights on when alone.
I still go for that run.
I did marry dad, and we did have you and I am so happy I did.
And every decision I make, I am scared that I am messing it up but I make them anyway.
Because that's my actual story, even though I am scared, I do it anyway.
And I do it better because I use the fear to drive and motivate me, not stop me.
Never to stop me.

Yes, I wake up scared, yes I go to sleep scared.
Yes, I am scared most of the day.
Yes, this cannot be good for my health, but I am living.
I have a life and one that I built from the ground up.

Because it's true...being brave doesn't mean living without fear
it means being scared and doing it anyway.

My story is about walking through fear to get to what I need
what I have been looking for
and that is family.

My story is about walking through fear to find all of you on the other side and finding myself in the process.

Stop.

22
Sep

Five Minute Friday - accept

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on accept.
Go.

My daughter and I are reading a new book together, Wonder.
It's been all over every bookstore and elementary school but it's about a strong and dedicated family who has two children, one was born with many obstacles.
August was born with genes and gene mutations that caused his face to look deformed.
He has undergone so many surgeries, so many life-saving procedures and was for a very long time just living in a hospital.
He has been homeschooled for most of his life and in middle school, his family decided that it was time they stop.
Stop treating him as delicate.
Stop treating him differently.
Stop treating him as breakable.
And start him on the path to normal.

He has an older sister, she is in high school and she too has grown up quick.
Not because the home isn't loving and supportive and full of grace
but because so much attention has been focused on sick.

It's a story of acceptance.

As I read to my eight-year-old, there so many questions and topics we have to cover.
That's the point of the book.
She's 8 so she doesn't yet comprehend that not everyone is a friend.
She doesn't realize that friendly doesn't equal friend.
She doesn't know that you create a circle and who you choose to spend time with.
She doesn't know that circle is a reflection of who you are.
She doesn't know about mean.
She doesn't know about looks and how important they are because she's right, they're not.
She doesn't know about clicks and hurt.
She doesn't know about singling out, talking behind backs, making people feel bad...on purpose.
She doesn't know that accepting yourself will one day be hard.
She doesn't know that there will be a time she will question everything good about her.
She doesn't know that there will be a time she will have to decide if she is accepting of this behavior, this outcome, this person.
She doesn't know.

And as we dive deeper and deeper, there are moments I feel I am taking away her innocence.
I am taking away some sweet parts of the world this child holds.
The parts she sees through the eyes of a child.
Because even though she has an old soul, she doesn't believe in darkness.
Not yet.

And so, sweet Anna...
it starts with accepting who you are.
Your good, your bad, your limitations, your point of no return, yourself.

It then means bringing people into your fold that accept you, all of you, as you are.
They laugh at your crazy with you.
They help you to see the humor in life.
They too accept your good, your bad, your limitations, your point of no return, they accept you.

That also means you accept them.
You surround yourself with people that talk about ideas, not people.
You hold each other to standards of kindness and affection.
You realize that none of this matters.
That beauty has nothing to do with how you look.

But the start of all of this, is you.
I have always surrounded myself with those that accept me.
Not because I am enlightened, because as an introvert, big and popular are never important.
Small circles of connection matter most.
I have always accepted them, because I have loved them and what they have meant to me down to my toes.
But, it took me over 30 years to accept me.
It took looking into the eyes of a daughter I put here and saying
acceptance starts with me.

Stop.

15
Sep

Five Minute Friday - support

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on support.
Go.

It actually means to bear the weight of something, to hold it up and enable it to function.
That's the actual definition of the word.
And that's our role, this entire time with you.
That's why the weight of family is so heavy because we are bearing your weight, we are holding you up.
We are your support.

It starts from day one, we can feel how heavy something, someone, so small is.
We felt it when you were pressed up against us, kicking your way into the world.
We felt it when you were here, and you would lay on our chest.
We felt it when we fed you, realizing how delicate you were, but at the same time, full of force.
We felt it with each milestone you had, the ones that made you more independent but still caused us work.
We felt it when you would propel forward, and we had to follow.
We are your support, here to bear your weight and hold you up.
We are your foundation, your rock.
We are your home-base.

Which is why, we too need support, now more than ever.
Because while we hold you up, we too need others to lean on.
We need comfort and someone that enables us to function.
We need support too.
Because we feel weighted down when we don't.
We no longer feel graceful, instead, we feel the heavy pressed on our chest.
Unable to breathe, unable to think, unable to function.
We need people who love and accept and propel us too.
We need comfort and the ability to unleash our crazy and someone that gets us.

We are always and will always be there for you.
We will keep you upright, we will ground you to rise.
And we thank and love our support systems for their comfort, their calm, their ability to carry us.

Stop.

8
Sep

Five Minute Friday - work

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on work.
Go.

It's what I am best at.
No, really, I am a good worker.
I put my head down, I work my fingers to the bone, I get it done.
I am a hard worker, I don't give up on the assignment, I don't turn anything in late, I stay staring at it until I figure out how to make it work.
And when you are good at something, you gravitate to it, it keeps giving you a feeling of success so you keep showing up.
So, the better I got, the more I worked.
The more I worked, the better I got.
And the cycle kept going and going and going.
I added a child, I didn't break my stride.
I added a second and folded him in too.
I kept showing up for what I was good at.
I once heard someone who felt overworked talk about work like it was a hum.
There was a hum to my day, I've got this part of my life.
I could work my way out of a situation.
I could work harder and get a little more done.
And the hum was so loud in my head, I felt light, I felt like this was the one place in my life that I knew the answers.
And the hum grew stronger and stronger.

"Mom, I know you're probably going to say no to this, but can you play with me?"

Until one day, I didn't feel light.
I didn't feel strong and able.
I was tired.
I felt heavy.
I was sad.
I was stressed.
I was anxious.
I was worried all of the time and
I lost my hum.

"Mom, why don't you get time off with us like dad?"

And, instead of taking a step back, regrouping, taking a much-needed break, stepping away and finding my breath, I doubled down.
I worked harder, searching for my hum.
I stayed up later.
I got up earlier.
I worked from dark till dark.
I kept at it, thinking, somewhere in the work, I would find my purpose again.
I would find how I have defined me.
I would find me and my strength,
I would find my hum.

"Mom, are you done yet? Can we have a reading date now?"

It's what I should have done three years ago now,
I should have given myself an opportunity to grow differently.
I should have opened up opportunities.
I should have used what I learned to my advantage.
But, they say it's never too late.
So here I am, starting and trying to not focus on the should have, could have, would have.
I am starting new.
I am finding a new path,
I am finding me.
I am finding my hum.

Stop.

1
Sep

Five Minute Friday - neighbor

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on neighbor.
Go.

How are we taking care of one another?
How are we lending a hand, an ear, a shoulder?
How are we listening?
How are we coming together?
How are we taking care of each other?
What do we do for our neighbor?

We build homes with fences to protect privacy.
We move into neighborhoods and hardly know those around us.
We build walls instead of welcoming those we live with in.
We wave across yards instead of opening doors.
We put up barricades instead of welcome signs.
How are we taking care of each other?
What do we do for our neighbor?

We look inward, careful to take care of those close to us.
We are untrusting, looking for motives.
We are ending gatherings, always too busy.
How are we taking care of each other?
What do we do for our neighbor?

We are quick to look away if it doesn't concern us.
We are quick to turn around, not look in the direction of someone in need.
We justify with statements like, that's not my concern, not my problem, not my decisions.
We forget all the help we received along the way, the priveledges we were afforded.
We forget that most parents make it because of community, and circles of trust.
How are we taking care of each other?
What do we do for our neighbor?

But the ripple effect is real.
And just as much as it can turn us in, the ripple effect can also create closeness and kindness.
Like how one person pays for another in a drive through line and the chain continues.
Like how one person helps a stranger and that love is carried on.
Like how we create love is contagious and so is community.
How are we taking care of each other?
What do we do for our neighbor?

If we want to build kindness and love and generosity in our kids, lead by example.
Let them catch you helping a stranger.
Let them see you feed someone in need.
Let them watch you talk someone up, not down.
Let them be a part of their community.
Teach them the importance of framily.
Show them love, not just for them, but for people.

It is time, we are at a pivotal point in our history and when you look back at this time of need and crisis, what will your story be?
Did you retrieve inward or did you open your heart?
Did you write a book of love or of fear and hate?
Now is our time, we are raising a generation, we are setting their path.
Remind them that it is up to all of us to take care of one another.
Be a good neighbor.

Stop.

25
Aug

Five Minute Friday - guide

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on guide.
Go.

Eyes wide open, that's how I explain to people that I went into parenting.
I did not have misconceptions about the diaper commercials and thinking it would calm and full of nothing but love.
I knew parenting would be hard.
I knew it would be messy.
I knew it would change me, I knew it would hurt me.
I knew that I wouldn't recognize myself.
I knew that it would make me lose sleep, and money and patience.
So, you would think someone that is that aware, would have a guide.
You would think she knew a thing or two about what to do, how to handle a situation, how to not buckle under pressure, how to measure up, how to stay calm during the chaos, how to not yell, how to only love, how to keep her marriage unrattled by the changes parenting brings, how to keep up with it all, how to balance it all, how to live the life I want, how to accept the challenges, how to handle the breakdowns, how to motivate, how to ask, how to raise you, how to not be upset, how to not shatter, how to build, how to guide.
You would think she would know how to guide, she would have the book in her back pocket and she would pull it out whenever needed.
Because my eyes were wide open and I didn't for one second think it would be easy, I knew better.

But someone who knows better knows there is no guide.
There is no book.
There is no one size fits all.
There is no way of knowing what is ahead, what challenges will come.
There is no way of knowing how to answer all of the questions.
There is no way of knowing what is the right way to handle every situation.
There is no way of replicating the situation.
There is no way of seeing what tomorrow brings.
Someone who knows better realizes how frustrating parenting is.
Realizes that is is all so much hard work.
Someone who knows better is not confident.
She is shaky because parenting rattles you.
She realizes there are no answers.
There is no right vs wrong.
There is no making up for time lost.
Someone who knows better knows that it's not just you that changes, everything changes.
And at times, that can feel so humbling, so out of control.
Everything is changing all of the time.
Someone who knows better knows it's not just money and sleep and patience you lose, you also lose control.
You lose yourself.
You lose who you were, your identity, how you define you
and so does your partner and so do your kids, everyone and everything is changing all of the time.
Someone who knows better knows that rough patches come and laughter and time heal.
Someone who knows better knows that all you can do is hold on
and come out the other side someone different and a bit weathered, but you are still there.
Someone who knows better knows you can't just become their mom and lose all of you.
Someone who knows better knows there is no guide.
And so she takes it day by day.

Stop.

4
Aug

Five Minute Friday - try take 2

Every Friday we unite for five minutes. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on try.
Go.

The last time I wrote about this word, I wrote all about our fire.
I wrote about how you need to keep going, keep trying, keep giving it your all.
This week, I want to tell you that what I love most about you Anna is that you are willing to try anything.
You always try.

Anything we throw your way, you give it your all.
You really put your best foot forward, you never say no to a new challenge or option.
Actually, it excites you.
And so when I hear you say "yes!" to something new, it warms me up because you always try.

As you get older, I don't know if this will stay with you.
I don't know when the world will grab hold of you and tell you that you aren't good enough for something.
I don't know when fear will stop you.
I don't know if those two things will ever happen
because right now, in front of me, is a girl that accepts challenges and new.
A girl that always tries.

I wasn't like that until I was much older.
When I was a kid, I always scared to try.
Until I got older and realized that I needed to try new things to open up new opportunities for me
and now? Now I try to prove to just me that I can.
Most times, I am trying too hard.
At proving myself
at my job
at my health
at my everything.
You? You try because you just always try.
There is no question, there is no fear, there is just you and your willingness
to try.

Stop.

28
Jul

Five Minute Friday - inspire

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on inspire.
Go.

I find it in the quiet.
The time alone in the shower just the sound of water.
The time alone on a run, just the sound of my feet and the road.
I find it in the morning, just the dimmest light on and my thoughts, my work.
I find it on the rainy days that curl me up
I find it in a lit candle a moment of peace.
I find it when the noise stops around me, the noise in me too.

I find it when I write, when the words finally come.
The words I struggle to put together and the ones I want you to carry with you always.
I find it in my desire to keep you in the know of what this journey meant to me
how much these years with you changed me and how I will never be who I once was.

I found my inspiration for a forever, one full of happy, when you first smiled at me.
I found my inspiration to exhale and be as you made your way over to me.
I found my smile in yours.

I find it in love.
The love I am trying to spread the one I am learning to receive.
I find it the warmth and comfort we have created, the family I never knew I always wanted.

I find it at night when I peek in and see the rise and fall of your chest as you breathe.
I find it in the knowledge of the good we put forth that day
the love we shared.
I find it when you whisper to me from your dreams
the love letters you write directly to my heart.
I find it in your whispers.

I find it in beauty, in clean and in our home.
I no longer want a house but a warm and loving home.
I find it in the walls that have your eyes and smiles and laughter staring back.
I find it in the toys you love, the little that has exploded.
I find it in your childhood, my second chance.

It is in the quiet that I come alive
I find it in the stillness I need
the silence I desire.

Stop.

14
Jul

Five Minute Friday - comfort

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on comfort.
Go.

I find comfort in the closeness.
In the love and projection of family.
I find it in the small and in the simple.
I find it in the whispers of love.
And I find it in you, the ones that gave me my second chance.
I find it in our traditions, big and small.
I find it when I can clearly see family time is important to you too.
And so, I created a life that celebrates our family and underlines the importance of us.
I created comfort.

I created second chances
I created little arms around my neck
I created little hands cradled in mine
I created time
I created comfort in us.

I created traditions
and I have so many of them.
Traditions are my parenting strength.
They are so important to me, but even better, they are so important to you.
You have no idea how much you fill my soul when you say "it's Friday...it's our family movie night!"
or as I am kissing you goodnight on a Saturday and you say, "tomorrow is pancake Sunday and we have a reading date!"
The smile and excitement that comes across your face.
The actual joy and comfort it brings you.
How much you look forward to all the small ways that we make you feel that this is important to us.
I created comfort in us.

And that's why I did this.
I wanted something that tied us together, even as you grow and want more and more independence.
I wanted something that made you feel that this time together is important to all of us, because we are important to all of us.
I wanted you to feel that this loved, in the smallest of ways, because you are loved from top to bottom.
I wanted something that reminded all of us how simple parenting is, how all they need is us, the rest is extra.
How little stress there is in this time, how loving it is to just be together.
How my worries melt.
How our childhood comes out.
How close we all get.
I wanted to define family for you,
in its purest form.
I created comfort in us.

I find comfort in the simple
in the love
in the gathering
in the close
in the second chances
in the quiet
in the cozy
I find comfort in us.

Stop.

23
Jun

Five Minute Friday - steady

Every Friday we unite for five minutes to write on one word. Only five minutes, that's all we get, that's all we have. And then, right where we are, no edits or second-thoughts, we publish those words. This week, we write on steady.
Go.

I am not the steady one of the group.
I am not the rock.
That's your job.
You were my joy, my constant, my always and forever.
Still now, as the waves of life crash down on us and make us nauseous
you are steady.
You are the calm in our storm.
You are the one that keeps us steady.

The push and pull of life has me very unsteady these days.
The stress and worry has me shaking and unstable.
I am a tightly wound ball of nerves and balls are not steady, balls wobble, balls roll.
You are my steady.
You are my reminder that this too shall pass and more crazy will come.
You are my whisper of find us, we are here.
You are my fixer of all things, you are my steady.

And the attraction started because of your constant joy.
The natural joy that lived in you.
I didn't realize someone could feel that way, all of the time.
You were so thrilled to be.
Happy to be doing anything, as long as we were together.
Which is why dating me is still your favorite.
Which is why you look forward to just us two.

Kids knock you down.
Jobs, careers, business, they drag you through the mud.
Homes offer retreat and worry.
Life is full of the swinging back and forth
it is what makes life worth living.
And every person that gets lost in the whirl
every person that almost gets hurt from the spinning needs a steady rock.
A place to steady their thoughts.
A place to steady their mind.
A place to steady.
You, you are my steady.
You are my always and forever.

Stop.

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