31
Jul

Five Minute Friday - drive

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 drive.

Go.

For as long as I can remember, I had a strong drive. I'm gritty, scrappy, I'm determined, I'm stubborn as hell, I'm self-motivated and I'm focused. I have goals, I have a vision, I see my end game, I work hard...damn hard, I have drive.

I have so much drive that at times, it's concerning and too much. I don't drop balls and when things get overwhelming, I take MORE on...I do more. I plan more. I schedule more. I have drive.

It took me YEARS no, DECADES to understand that this is a me thing. A me and other self-motivated, internally driven people thing. This is not universal. It took me even longer to accept that, learn from those that are slower, kinder, calmer. It took me even longer to realize that this is why I am always and forever attracted to my balance. I look for and ache for those that are not like me. I am hungry for those that make me slow down a bit, calm the hell down a bit. Put that drive in park for a beat and take it a little easy.

And I cannot say that I am a good balance for my balance. I cannot say that I make them better people like they make me better, but I can say that they too find me, they keep me. So maybe they too need a little of my drive. Even if it's for a reminder of what they do not want their life and goals to be?

I have drive, I am driven, I am determined. I am stubborn as hell, I have grit, and I'm scrappy. I don't give up and I do not quit. People like this, we get shit done...no joke get it done. But this is why we also surround ourselves with balance.

And so I found the loves of my life that will put a book in my hand and beg me for a reading date. I have babies that ask for a walk instead of a run today. I have a puppy that wants to be snuggled with me. I have always loved a nap and always and forever will. I married calmer and made him a little more driven. I have framily that is kind and forgiving. I have accepted how different we all are and I have realized how much I need those help me find the parking brake.

Stop.

25
Jul

Heavy

Do you ever feel so heavy that your heart feels like a rock? Like it sinks down to your belly and then tries to fight its way back to its place in your chest but can't? I do.

Do you ever feel like there is an unbearable ache? You ache for those you love, you ache for their pain? You see it in their eyes and you hear it, when their voice cracks, you break along with them? I do.

Do you ever feel things too much, you cannot breathe, you cannot stand it all? I do.

Do you ever miss parts of your past that you know is not what you want your life to end up, but wonder if you could go back, what would you change? And if you changed any of it, would any outcome have been different? I do.

Do you realize you are missing now, even as you are missing it? Because when you feel this heavy, you know you are not here, you are not present. You know that your mind is in so many different places and as much as you yell at yourself to be thankful, watch what is happening in front of you...you know you're missing it? I do.

The past several months have been a lot. And although there have been moments of such deep sadness, I have been ok. I have been really ok. People ask why or how and I just don't know. I don't understand it either. I am not one to put things into compartments. I am not one to think logically only, I feel too much. I am too much.

But then, the last two weeks, I arrived in a place my family and I have been dreaming about. Planning and dreaming. I do none of the planning. My husband is in charge of everything to get us here and get us back. He does all the research, he figures it all out and we all just go with it.

From the moment I stepped on this island of paradise, I have felt a heavy feeling that could not go away. I woke up the very first morning to unbearable news from a friend. News that will forever change her, change her course, change her everything. And I hung on to hope with her and I let go of hope with her and I listened to her cry and try to laugh. I listened to her talk and we also sat in silence.

Life can be so cruel and at the same time, so giving and beautiful. I do not understand.

I watch another friend struggle with pain. Actual pain that is debilitating and no matter what they try on her, none of it works. It hurts her, physically yes, but mentally and her family. It hurts her family. All I can do is check-in, offer to help, and watch from afar. I do not understand.

I have watched the real strength of women hold their families together even when they cannot hold themselves up. And all I feel is heavy.

I know that in times like these, there are no words, no deeds, nothing that will make any of it better. All you can do is sit with them, allow time not to heal, but to make the pain liveable.

A friend told me that this time here isn't the universe telling me that I should not be here, but telling me to rest up myself. That when I return, I will be needed. But the problem is, I feel needed now, even though I know there is absolutely nothing I can do.

To those in my life that are hurting, that are scared, worried, heavy...I promise I will try with all that I have to lighten your load. My heavy is because you are not okay and you being okay again one day is all that matters to me.

Do you ever wonder how to get out of the heavy and then realize it just on its own lifts and it is when you feel the washing over of joy that you realize you can feel joy again? I do.

24
Jul

Five Minute Friday - Order

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 order.

Go.

There's a peace to order isn't there? There's a balance and a calm. At least for this highly scheduled, regulated, tasked, desperate for order and calm mama. There's a beautiful peace with it.

So what happens when that mama marries messy? What happens when kids are introduced and your pre-teen keeps reminding you that it's her room, not yours. So, I can keep it how I want it, not you. What happens when all over her home there are piles. Just piles that "I'm going to take care of". Piles that need homes, piles that need to be moved out. Piles on top of piles.

This mama panics and goes nuts. She loses all energy and can't function. She shuts down.

Order is how I manage, it's how I cope and function. It's how I move through life.

But, I've also gotten really comfortable with legos all over my home. I actually love seeing them. I've gotten comfortable with the books that she has so many of that she can't find room. I actually love seeing those too. I've gotten comfortable with the toys that he loves, because little by little, his little is fading.

So, although the piles and the messy sinks and bathrooms and clothes all over make me itch and squirm, there's something loving about parts of the mess too.

One day very soon, I will have all the order I want back.

Stop.

17
Jul

Five Minute Friday - strong

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 strong.

Go.

When I had you, I met an amazing photographer that put into words everything I wanted to teach you...#StrongIsTheNewPretty.

I feel that at times I can move mountains and other times, I feel like a mouse that hides away from bullies. I feel like I would push a bus out of the way for you, and I also feel like there is so little I can do. I feel like I push to prove that I am strong, I try to scream it from rooftops. But it is when I listen that I show you the strength we all carry.

Sweet Anna James, you too carry strength you don't know. It's right behind your fear. You have to trust me on this, it is right behind your fear. You can do hard things, you can push through a little bit of pain. You can do hard things. You do not need to be rescued, you can make your own way. You have all of it in you.

And when you feel like you need a break, come home and rest your bones. Come back to comfort and care. But not because you have to, but because you want a break. There will be times as a woman walking this earth, you will feel the weight of family, and responsibility, and home, and career, and babies, and friendships. But trust me, you will figure it out. Find family and framily and you will carry the weight. Fight through the fog of life and remember how gorgeous it really can be.

#StrongIsTheNewPretty my girl and you are stunning.

Stop.

11
Jul

Five Minute Friday - summer

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 summer.

Go.

It's the epitome of childhood.

Long long days, warm nights.

A ton of ice cream. Ice cream all of the time.

Late nights.

Lots of TV. Movies on top of movies.

So much outside time. Walks with our puppy. Sitting out. So much swimming.

Vacations and so much time away. We decided to make this summer our summer of getaways.

A lot of books and so so many reading dates.

Legos on top of Legos. Legos all over the house. Legos in every corner.

So summer is your favorite season. Summer is your time to not have to do much. There are a lot of have tos. Summer is our time to unwind a little. Be bored a little.

I know how much you adore this. I know how much you love to wake up when you want to. I know how much you love your childhood. And my forever promise is to protect it. Protect and stand by it for as long as you let me.

Squeal, jump, run, play, fight like crazy siblings that make us beyond crazy.

Summer is all about your childhood and my second chance.

Stop.

4
Jul

Tomorrow

As we round the corner, we are staring down a pretty important milestone. This anniversary isn't just a typical one. This one marks something pretty special.

July 8th 2021 means we have been together for 21 years. Twenty-one years of us. And there has been so much sharing in those 21 years.

From the couple that so easily fell in love. You were the easiest decision of my life. You were so joyful, so full of pure heart and I fell so hard.

To the couple that heard the news that would change their lives forever. And just when I thought it would only change mine, you reminded me there is no just you and me anymore. We're in this. You stood by me, you held me together.

To the couple that moved and moved and moved and moved. Until they found home, but a forever home. We fell in love with our surroundings, our town. We fell so in love with our home and we grew it to exactly what we wanted. We fell in love with the lives we were creating.

To the couple that got engaged. The night you got down on one knee was a story written just for us. Proposing in front of our Mia, making sure she was right there, a scared boy asked me to walk by his side forever.

To the couple that got married. And had a WEDDING. A wedding that was full of people and things and glitter and gold. I know this day is all you wanted and I'm so happy it was the magic it was.

To the couple that saw little blue lines that made them whole. I know how much you see and want from them. I can feel your pull for their future, just remember to hold on to the today that they are there and when you can, remember the joy. Remember how Cole is you, your pure heart. Remember that Anna wants us. Remember that both want us. Remember that time with you is all that little man asks for. Remember that our window with her is closing. Remember that we are going to blink and empty nest will be here.

To the couple that lost their first puppy. The loss of Mia was a moment I will never forget. You and me, in a room with her. You begging me to take her home, me trying to hold it together long enough to make the decision that she needed to go. She was our reason and we felt so lost without her for so long.

To the couple that opened their homes, lives and love to their second puppy. Pearl Rose is exactly who we needed, exactly what we all needed. She is not our dog, she is the family dog. She loves her entire pack. She loves her kiddos, she loves her mom and dad, she is shared. She is the lover of love we all needed.

Job and big career changes and address changes and adding kids and puppies and illness and really living hard to really living. We are a couple of 21 years.

But it's July 9th that means something. July 9th is 21 years plus one day. The day that marks us being together longer than we've been apart. The day that marks knowing you, having you, loving you, building with you, longer than I've done it on my own. I will officially close my eyes knowing that you have been with me longer than you haven't. I knew this day would come Coach. I knew that there would come a time when it would happen and July 9th is that day.

So, for this anniversary, we will be in Hawaii. We will be sharing our every other year trip with our kiddos. We will be in paradise, but lovey, you have already given me paradise.

You gave me babies I didn't know I even wanted. You gave me motherhood and I cannot believe how much I adore it. You gave me your smile your heart and then, you gave it to your little man.

You gave me years of taking care of me, giving me shots that made me so sick. You fought through my tears and my pain, you held me altogether.

You were always fine with my training, my races, my goals. You tackled a lot with me and you let me do some alone.

You stuck by me during the move and my career. You have taken on so much to make sure my career pushes forward. You truly get how important work is to me and you allow it to happen. You pick it all up.

You have taught me about true partners. Partners that just show up. No matter what...I drop, you pick up. You drop, I pick up. You do it better, you've always done it better.

You gave me all of the trips we take. You set up every vacation and each one is better than the last. I am so happy we are doing this for our babies and I'm so happy we found a way to make it happen.

You said yes to Pearl. You could see and feel how much I needed her and you showed up...again. You said yes to a puppy we never met and you never looked back. You realize how important she is to us and you love her as much as we all do.

You are all over our house. Every inch is you. Your design, your hard work, you built me a home after we just bought a house.

You bring me wine anytime I ask. You get up of the couch and get me anything I need. You ask me if I want/need anything just as we settle in.

You take walks with me at 11pm. Even if you're sore from working out. You know that I'm scared of the dark and you come with.

We have both changed so much. I've gotten softer, you've gotten harder. You've become a harder worker, I've wanted to take a step back. We both have grayed. We both look different. We both act differently. But, I remembered the secret that I figured out...grow together. Just keep growing together. It's going to be tough, the dark years filled with fog will really really make you question it all. And, they are years, not days, not weeks, but years of fog. But, keep growing together. Get through the hard, it gets hard, and keep growing.

So tomorrow I will remember that 21 years plus one day is really important, really special. We will wake up with our babies, the ones you always knew would be here. We will wake up in paradise and have a day that you planned for us. Tomorrow, I will know you longer than I haven't and that means something.

I love you Coach, alottle.

Olive juice always.

26
Jun

Five Minute Friday - quiet

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 quiet.

Go.

The quiet is my favorite thing. It's my favorite place. I live in a very loud world. Two kids, always at each other's throats. A hubby that is very loud. A little boy that stomps instead of walks. A doggy that barks. Lots of meetings with lots and lots of talking. It's always very loud.

This summer, once again, every member of my family will be home. I adore our summers, I love and really wrap myself around their childhood. But damn, it is so loud all of the time.

So I really protect the quiet. I protect the time I get to sit and write. I protect the warm coffee and silence. I protect the time I get alone. I very much love the school year of sending them off and getting to be and think. I love my two days a week of no meetings, those are so so quiet. I love love love the quiet.

I will not be having a quiet little summer. It will be insanely busy. We will always be going. We are doing so much traveling, but that's okay too. It will be a summer of memories and time I will forever remember. There will be a lot of us time. A lot of the four of us all in one place and very little alone time. That's ok too. I know it won't always be like this and I also know how insanely privileged I am to be able to do any of the things we are doing. I realize that one day, the quiet might be too much...I say might and I mean might. So, I will love our summer of crazy and too much.

I will also very much love this fall. When both of my babies climb back on a bus. When my husband heads back to a classroom and the quiet settles in.

Stop.

11
Jun

Five Minute Friday - disagree

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 disagree.

Go.

It's been a couple years of disagreements hasn't it? It's been a lot of back and forth and not listening. And there was a definite line drawn in the sand of you're either on one side or the other.

I am 100% in this camp. History is happening, right here and now, and I will not be on the wrong side. I'm so unforgiving that I won't even listen. I don't care what the reasons are, we've been stuck here too long and it's a mess. The world is on actual fire because we can't agree on decent human rights. So, we disagree.

I spent my whole life disagreeing. I spent my whole life telling those who told me no, oh hell yes. I spent a lifetime proving what I thought was my worth.

Quite a few years ago, I thought I put my fighting gloves away. But it took a pandemic for me to realize I was still holding on to so much. And then it took more and more moments of intensity for me to realize there is a time and a place.

There are things I will not back down from, they include a community and life I want for all humans. There are things I will stand up for and I will be loud and disagree. But, believe it or not, I am backing away from others. I just don't have the time, energy, or space to care. They are no longer a priority. In some ways, this is wonderful. In others, I just get quiet and don't want to engage. I guess it's up to me to decide.

Stop.

6
Jun

Isn't it strange?

Is this not enough
This blessed sip of life, is it not enough?

It's certainly not just you, but it's so obvious in you. You seem to shout it from the rooftops, how you feel like it's all not enough and not worth it. How you keep begging, bargaining for more. And because of this, I feel like you take advantage of the time we have here, worrying about things that don't matter. I feel like your priorities aren't straight. I feel like you make things, life, this life, our life, harder.

You can't get out of your own way. But like with all things with you, I try and accept and move on. I try. And I also learn. I learn from you when you are not even realizing it. And you are teaching me, even if you are not trying.

Because the truth is, this blessed sip of life, it is enough. There are so many reasons I have been thinking about this very thought these days. This life we are given, there is a lot of heartache and things to worry about in this life. But there is also so much to be thankful and grateful for.

Isn't it strange...how we move our lives for another day?

Since always, since before always, I have lived for another day. I finally stopped to look at myself. There is something really special about finally doing that. Stopping, taking stock of what you have, what you love. REALLY looking around, there is something moving and special when you can.

I will always have goals and dreams. I will always be planning ahead. Always. But for the last year and a half, I have also slowed down and planted my feet. And that's why I do feel I've had a really good and loving life. I'm not waiting for the best to come, I'm living the best years, each year.

Wash out this tired notion
Oh, that the best is yet to come

And I stopped burning the day.

...this love will open our world
From the dark side we can see the glow of something bright

Isn't it strange...

how it takes a pandemic

or the world to stop spinning

or your life to be ripped away from you

or your real priorities screaming at you

or when you have space,

to finally realize who you are, what you have, what you want?

Isn't is strange?

I'm able to inhale and exhale a little more each and every day. I'm having some really difficult conversations, but I'm also able to realize, love lived here. And I want to thank whoever or whatever gave me this blessed sip of life.

The person I get to spend my life with makes me happy. It's hard but he makes me happy.

My children are loving and kind and able. Parenting is really really hard, but it makes me happy.

My first puppy raised me. She loved me until she said goodnight and she lived her purpose. Losing her was a heartache I didn't realize I could feel, but if losing a puppy is my worse heartache, that's a really good and happy life.

The puppy I currently get to love is full of love and light. She wiggles her bum when she sees me. She hugs me, she smiles. She walks and runs with me. She snuggles into naps with me. She loves my babies. Her dad is her favorite but she makes me so so happy.

I left an agency that taught me so much more than leadership and running a business. They taught me about the importance of childhood and little. They taught me to believe in me and how capable I was. It was hard and exhausting and at times, painful and the stress was debilitating, but I am so happy I found them.

I have a disease. One that is unknown when and what it will take from me. But, for 19 years, I have kept on. Not out of luck, but out of a fight in me. I didn't ask for you, but I'm not going to let you quiet who I am. So yes, I don't know what it will look like in another 19 years, but I am happy with how I dealt with it. I'm proud of the marathon I ran, and the half marathons I ran and ran and ran. I'm proud of the solo races I did and the ones surrounded by hundreds of people. I'm proud of the tris I did and the hard work I put into learning how to swim. I'm proud and happy that it happened to me.

My home is filled with love and memories and every corner has a special moment. It is too big and too messy, and too much, but it makes me so happy to come home.

'Cause we need the light of love in here
Don't beat your head, dry your eyes
Let the love in there
There's bad times but that's OK
Just look for love in it
And don't burn the day away

And I stopped burning the day.

31
May

What it is like to be nine.

He came into this world on his own terms. Determined to be different from his sister. He was a scheduled birth, not an emergency. He was always fighting "something"...a tied tongue, a low birth weight, gross motor skills, milestones, and ER visit turned hospital trip. This one had us, well me, always a little on my toes.

He was also special...always. He lights up a room, his heart is so pure, his words so kind, his hugs so real, his smooches so sweet, his love of love...so natural.

So, what is nine like with you monkey?

It's a tornado with plenty of sunshine.

It's a little boy that cannot and will not sit still.

Playing, watching anything, sleeping, it does not matter, you do not sit still.

It's a little boy that still thinks we are his whole world.

It's a little boy that still has bad dreams that only crawling into bed with mom and dad can make right.

It's a little boy that crawls into bed at 3am but doesn't forget to whisper an "I love you" and grab your hand to hold it all night.

It's a little boy that plays Legos for hours and hour by himself...but still asks "will you play with me?"

It's a little boy that wants nothing more than your time. He will do anything you want as long as you get to do it together. He will always tag along and wants to help because all he wants is to be with you, always.

It's a little boy that thinks he will never get married because he doesn't ever want to leave his home.

It's a little boy that loves loves loves food. Favorite place to be, a grocery store, where all the food lives. His favorite food...anything that isn't tofu and rice. Truly anything.

It's a little boy that pushes back tears that make your heart ache. It is how he will get away with murder.

It's a little boy that asks so many questions, has so many what ifs, so many different scenarios to lay out.

It's a little boy that loves to be outside. And a little boy that will really be with you.

A little boy that cries when you've been gone all day and didn't get to spend any time together.

It's a little boy that loves praise. He loves to know when he has done a good job and definitely shuts way down when he is being criticized.

Nine is a lot of emotions, a lot of fun, a lot.

Nine is still believing in magic, and Santa, and fairies that take your teeth and leave money.

Nine is still believing that your family is your whole world. They are everything you have. They protect you, they are always there.

Nine full of love and heart. It's loud and messy. It's tornadoes and sunshine. But that heart, that is a heart of a boy right there.

Welcome to nine, your last single digit age. You picked the right circus to join monkey. We needed you to shake things up, keep us moving and on our toes. We needed you specifically.

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