6
Oct

It's always darkest before the dawn

It's one of life's little secrets. Something that when you are going through it, it's impossible to remember. And having anyone remind you doesn't help, trusting that it's true doesn't help, but eventually seeing the sun on the horizon, you'll always get that.

It was last year when I heard this line in a song that I adore and out of nowhere, I started to cry. 2018 was really hard for your mom lovies. Really really hard and really really trying and really really out there for me. My mind stopped working and I couldn't get a grip and I was drowning. Everything felt dark and then, something happened. Something woke me up and I realized that I can see the sun and the light and I can be okay. But, I had to hit the darkest hour first. It's always darkest before the dawn.

In 2019, I decided to really embrace change. Really lean into all the changes that I was trying to make happen around me and instead, I called changed into every area of my life and I felt like I was going to crumble. Since change feels like a loss to me, and everything was changing, I felt like I was losing it all. My head hurt, my body was aching, my exhaustion really took over. Once again, it all felt so dark and so lonely and so scary. See, as true as this line is and as much as it really represents life, it is so hard to remember it when you are in your darkest hour, or to try and figure out when you have reached it. It's really hard to figure out if you are moments away from sunrise or if the night is just starting to settle in. Because when you are feeling this lost, sullen, alone, scared, empty, exhausted, shaky, unsure, nothing is clear. Expressions like, tomorrow is another day, or you did the best you could, or even it's always darkest before the dawn...they don't help. It's so difficult to imagine the dawn and the sun rising and the light and warmth hitting your face.

Until it does.

Because eventually, the sun does rise again, things start to shake out. Obstacles are overcome, problems are figured out, or they aren't. No matter what, time moves us forward and the world keeps going. And then, out of nowhere, joy finds its way back home to you. And you realize it's morning again, it's time to remember who you are and get back to being you.

So, it happens lovies. There are days that bleed into weeks and sometimes months when it seems so dark. I will hold your hand through it, I will allow you to sit with it and eventually you will see on your own that tomorrow does come. But it's always darkest before the dawn.

29
Sep

41

Come and see
I swear by now I'm playing time
I against my troubles
I'm coming slow but speeding

I am growing more and more comfortable in my skin and more and more comfortable with celebrating a day that for 39 years made me so sad, so lonely, so sullen, so so blue.

So, this year, I once again celebrated. I celebrated me and I allowed myself to be grateful for my year. A year that has been really hard for me. A year that has been full of change and embracing change. A year that I set forth a huge goal and got there. A year that I decided to walk away from something that has defined me, given me worth and purpose. And I did it. A year that was so emotional because of my decisions and my choices. A year in which I reflected on 2 decades of work, 2 decades of dedication, 2 decades of opportunities and a full heart. A year in which I made a decision to be more present and slower with you. A year in which you taught me how gorgeous it is to walk slow. A year in which I have learned that I want to stop running hard and start running freely. A year in which I have learned how much we all mean to each other.

So, I celebrated me. I took the day off. I went to be pampered. I sat in silence and I watched the rain. I got a massage, I fell so much in love with massages. I laughed, I read, I slept. I sat in heat. I took the best shower. I bought a lovely coffee. And then I came home to family and framily. I read cards, I read gorgeous words, I was showered with love, I was hugged so tight, I was told you were happy I was born.

Do you wish a dance and while I'm
In the front
The play on time is won
But the difficulty is coming here

I will go in this way
And find my own way out

This is my decade, the one I was born as. And I am moving into a phase in my life in which I will be heading a new project. One I hope I get to ride out into the sunset of my career. One in which will bring me as much joy and love. One in which I still feel helpful and dedicated and determined. One in which scares me, because change scares me and because change worries me and because change makes me so sad. But I have done what I wanted to do and it is time for me to take this significant step in this direction.

41, you started out so strong. You went off the rails already with an emotional rollercoaster of hell on earth, because that is what life is. It's a wash and repeat of wonderful and awful and boring. And I am ready for all this year and this entire decade has in store.

I'm begging slow I'm coming here

2
Sep

One hell of a summer in 2019

It was one hell of a ride this summer. We got so much in, we lingered, we were lazy, we did, we accomplished, we traveled, we stayed, we built, we did nothing. We swam, we read, we beached, we (I) napped and napped and napped. We loved, we spent time around love, with love, with loved ones. We ate great food, we got alone time, we got family time, we got framily time, we got us time.

I surrendered, I changed, I laughed, I cried, I got worried, I slept and slept and slept and slept. I trained, I went for really long runs, I am getting ready to hang up my training shoes, I made some really hard decisions, I shared those decisions. I drank so much coffee, and so many bloody marys, I danced, I planned, I did and I did nothing.

We had ice cream and long talks. We had snuggles and movie time. We had so many people here, we opened our arms. We watched the sun come up and go down. We spent time with those we love and some time alone. We read, the kids read, they built, they played, the did camps, they saw friends, they saw us, they got time, they were busy, it was all-consuming.

We got every last drop of summer out of this summer. We really put our arms around it and squeezed and we hugged and hugged it tighter and tighter. We love summer, all of us. But, after all this time, we are also all ready for structure and routine and a little more clarity on the days. We are ready for time tables and the flow we all fall into. As this year progresses, I need to remind myself that your foundation continues to build, the stakes are so low right now and you can make millions of mistakes because that is how you learn, become independent and how you stand on your own two feet. There are some major shifts coming our way this fall. You will have more responsibility, I will do much less reminding, natural consequences will take place. I have to embrace the crazy that is about to hit me and prepare for it being just me in a few short months.

But in the meantime, I want us all to remember, we had a summer. One hell of a summer. We are lucky, we are privileged, we are beyond. We won't always spend summer like this, it won't always embody childhood like this one did, but that's going to be okay too. I promise I will walk with you because you are choosing to walk slow. I can't promise I will be ready and happy about how we change and mold and grow, but I promise to walk with you.

One hell of a summer is the only way to describe this one guys. We really loved the hell out of it!

9
Aug

Five Minute Friday - again

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 again.

Go.

I spent a week with love, and the sound of water, and the feeling of sand on my feet, and warmth from the inside out. And then I came home and it started all over...again. I felt the tension, I wasn't sleeping as well, I started to feel tighter, more concerned. I was at it...again.

I kept trying to find the feelings that were there just days ago. The ones that were light and happy. The feeling of comfort, the feeling of being surrounded by family and framily, the feeling of joy, the feeling of childhood. But the more I tried, the further away it all seemed. My littles faces felt it, my body felt it, my joy was fading and slipping away and it was being replaced with worry and being shut down...all over again.

So in my last few months of this year, I have a lot I still need to do. I am finishing my year of change and I still have a lot to complete. A lot to work on, a lot to change. And it will be tough, at times, it will be brutal. And that is why I really need to remember that I have to put down the things that are too heavy. The things I cannot carry. The things that are too much for me and I need to be an example to you. We are not responsible for everything and everyone. We are not responsible for every reaction and every decision. It is time I take a hold of my life...again.

Stop.

5
Jul

Five Minute Friday - take

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 take.

Go.

As a parent, sometimes it feels that all we do is give give give to little takers. Little faces that say, can I have, can you give me, can you get me, can you do this, can you carry that, can you drive me, can I go to, can I do this, can you bring me, can you make this happen, will be you there, can you read to me, what's for dinner, can I have dessert, can you get carry me?

Can you and will you to little takers. And we give and give and give and teach and teach and teach and at the end of each day, we wonder why our bones are tired. We wonder why we feel so empty. We wonder why our minds can't shut off and we wonder why we are so foggy.

It all starts at birth, however you birthed a person. Whether that was in a hospital, clinic, home, court room, it all starts with giving up of yourself to make room for a new one to enter your soul. You take over our hearts, our bodies, our being. You start on the inside and it pours out into the outer limits of our fingers and toes. You hold on to our hands and take our love, our devotion, or attention, and at times, our actual mind.

You, you're not to blame. You didn't ask to be here, we asked for you to find us. And part of the exhausting task of this exhausting part of parenting is teaching you to do for yourself. It is teaching you to get your own thing, to contribute to the family, to do it on your own little by little, part by part.

But in the meantime, yes, I can help you reach that snack. Yes, I can pour you something to drink. Yes, I can help you make your bed. Yes, I can take you to see your friend. Yes lovies, I can help. You can take and I will give because in the end, although I am empty, there is a fullness to my world, my heart that you give that replenishes my love, my ability and me. You give too.

Stop.


23
Jun

The year

I just read one of the most amazing articles of all time that put this whole school gig into the most amazing perspective. It's on the average kid, the one that doesn't make the team, isn't in every single thing, isn't straight As in all the subjects, isn't killing it since birth in an area of their life, isn't already headed for college at 10, hasn't already created something, invented something.

But the kid with heart, the one that loves to read, the shy kid, or the kid that can be friends with anyone, the kid that loves animals, or loves to color still, the one that still wants to play and just be a kid. That kid, the average kid, the one we all lost sight of, the one we are all trying to push, the one that doesn't need pushing because they are so content. And good, and kind, and smart at their thing, and thinking, and being little.

" School is the only place in the world where you’re expected to excel at everything, and all at the same time. In real life, you’ll excel at what you do best and let others excel at what they do best."

I made a promise that I would protect your childhood. Not a promise to protect you because you've got this, but your childhood. I made a promise you would get to be little, and kids, and not be over scheduled or overdone. I made a promise that it would be about being kids while I had kids because damn does that window close fast.

I don't know when or why it happened. I wasn't part of much when I was in school but I found my own way. Dad, he was part of the team, any team, but he still got to be a kid. He didn't have to start specializing at the age of 6 and somewhere along the way, parents lost their way and started down this really scary path.

And I just want you to know, my 4th and 1st grader, my little tiny faces, I am proud of the year you have had. Because you always tried, because you worked hard, because of your hearts.

Anna, I am so proud of you for knowing that all of your closest friends were all in one classroom together and instead of being upset, or sad, or even bringing it up, you made new friends. Good friend. Friends that you really love and laugh with and have so much fun with. Friends you have story after story after story about. Friends that you write notes to. Friends that you want to be around. Friends that make you feel good. You did something that has always been so hard for mom and you just put yourself out there and you connected. I am most proud that you befriended a new kid, one that you could tell was feeling shy and worried. You made the first connection and you brought her into your heart. I am proud of you for opening your arms and your heart out and as you get older, it will be harder but I hope you always remember how easy and natural it is for you to make friends.

Anna, I am proud of you for always trying, for giving your best. For putting your mind to something. Not because you are perfect at it, not even because school just comes easy to you, not because you don't get any mistakes or do everything right, but because you just keep going. When spelling was hard for you, you worked at it. You found solutions. You listened to tutors, you practiced. When things are hard, you do not give up, you do not get frustrated, you take the help and you learn and you cope and you do.

Anna, I am proud of you for really giving it your all. For leading with your heart, for being a social butterfly and loving to be around people. Anna, I love that you fell even harder for reading this year. I love that I find you all over the house reading. I love that you use the car to read. I love that you are covered in books and always have one near by. I love your love of stories. I love that you are starting to write your own and I love that you are still silly, and little and not at all growing up too fast.

Cole, I, and everyone that comes into contact with you, falls hard and heavy for your heart. I am proud of the person you are Monkey. I love that you make everyone around you feel loved. I love that everyone thinks and feels like you are their friend because you are. I love that there is nothing malicious about you. I love that there is nothing fake. I love that you just love people. I love that all the grownups in your life see that too. I love that you come in, get your homework done and just want to play play play. I love that you spend so many quiet hours with legos. I love that you make people feel loved and cared for. I love that people can always count on you. I love that you have a smile that can melt, and I love love love how funny you are.

Cole, I am proud that you wear your emotions on your sleeve. I love that you are emotional. I love that you put it all out there. I love that although sitting and listening are not your thing, you do it so well for your teachers. I love that you know what is right and what is wrong. I love that you look to them to confirm you have to step back. I love that you get excited, I love that you think most days are the best days of your life. I love that you would move heaven and earth to be with your dad. I love that you love hugs, I love that you love little guy kisses.

Kiddos, I am proud of you because you are good people. And I love you because you both love love. And that does not make you average, that makes you special. You receive what you put out and you always put out love and kindness. You put your best foot forward and you always try. You are not average, you are exceptional because you know and realize what really matters in this world. All of this other stuff, it does not matter, you have the real world figured out. Love, kindness, friendship, caring humans.

31
May

Five Minute Friday - name

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 name.

Mine fits me, is important to me, it's one of the things given to me that I am so proud of, in love with even. Dad's too, not only does his fit perfectly, even the spelling is him. Simple, not complex, nothing added as a buffer, just there, the real him. And together, our names now fit like they are supposed to. Not in a blended way, but just balance each other, compliment one another.

So, when it came time, we thought and thought and thought about the perfect names for you both. One, after so many women in our family, the other deeply attached to the family too. One, important to me, the other important to dad, both, fitting you. One meaning grace, the other a short name that embodies a lot of richness and depth. Names that needed to sound right together, apart, with our last name, without it. Names that felt like the right extension, addition to us. Both timeless.

And once settled, we felt so good, so right about our decisions. You didn't grow into them, you were them. You were born feeling like them and you continue to live right up to them. You embody them. I love calling you by your names, I love that this is what we picked for you. I love knowing that you too love your name. I love that you too realize it makes you special, to us, to you. I love knowing you are in love with all the nicknames that come with them, I just love you.

Until this reminder, I had almost forgotten how important naming you was to me. I had almost forgotten how much thought and emphasis I put on it. I had forgotten how much I loved mine, how much I wanted you to feel that way about yours. I almost forgot that I really wanted to get this right and I love that we did.


17
May

Five Minute Friday - promise

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 promise.

Dear Cory, when I met you, I made a promise to my heart. You would be a part of my family. You would be in my life, no matter what, we became connected, instant and immediate. I found home.

Dear Mia, when I met your furry little face, I was at the end of a life goal I had set. I was so young, so old, so ready for love and snuggles. And I met a little old soul puppy that had so much life and love to give. We made a promise to each other, we would raise one another, and we did.

Dear Anna, when I met you, I became a mom. I held this intense responsibility and for the first time in my life, believed in happily ever after. I met a little face that was so serious, so trusting, reaching for us, and so observant. I realized that little is so big and you were my dream. I realized that I now carry a heart in a very real way and I promised to love and hold and let go. I promised to forever carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart.

Dear Cole, when I met you, I knew what love at first sight meant. I learned that people are so attracted to you, I learned that they are drawn to you. I learned that love is attractive and that kindness is something that doesn't always need to be taught. I learned that people are loving and I made a promise, to be more like you. To learn from your natural love and light. To fall in love with love.

Dear Pearl, when I met you, I was ready. I had mourned the loss of my first puppy and I was ready for my home to be filled with puppy kisses and snuggles. What I quickly learned is that if you ask for things, they come and what I got was a lover of love. I got hugs, actual hugs and smooches and a puppy that needs to be held, needs to be noticed. I got love and I made a promise to always and forever embrace. I made a promise to stop and hug and pay attention and slow down and remember that if you live life without these connections, it's just not worth it.

I made a promise to take advantage of this second chance. I made a promise to love you as hard as I can and not regret out time together. I made a promise to not look back and wish I did it differently. Even though I mess up, I promise that I am always trying. I made a promise to you, to me, to all of us.

3
May

Five Minute Friday - opportunity

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 opportunity.

Go.

Your dad worries about this one more than I do, at least in different ways than I do. He worries more about offering enough choices, activities, chances at doing better. He sees what you will become, he already sees all of the potential and he strongly feels it is up to us to nourish that, push you, have you be your best you. I worry about it in the sense of different choices. Do you have the opportunity to voice your concerns, do you have the opportunity to feel really heard, the opportunity to have us available to you, when you need and want us around?

Do you have the opportunity to feel what it means to be a part of a team, not just out there, but a team at home. Are we giving you an opportunity to see what that means, how much we rely on each other, how much we need each other? How we don't work without each other? Do you have the opportunity to see us fight and make up? Do you have the opportunity to see us hug and smooch and the opportunity to see what healthy relationships are, not perfect, there is no such thing, but loving. Do you have enough responsibilities, and the opportunity to grow beyond what you have done?

Do you have the opportunity to see how privileged you are? How privileged we all are? Do you have the opportunity to see that when you want something, you go get it, but that of course means sacrifice. That of course means something taking priority and something else not. Do we give you the opportunity to experience joy enough? Childhood enough? Are you living the childhood you want to be living? The opportunity to have enough down time, enough play time, enough time to just be and be you.

Those are the opportunities I want to present. One isn't more important or more precious. I get and understand where you dad is coming from. But, I do know that you will be your best you, I know you will turn out just great. I worry more that if you don't look back and see this time, this little window of just us, this very small stretch of cozy and family and little as simple childhood, I will feel as though an opportunity was lost.

Stop.

28
Apr

Dear joy

It's been a while for you and I. I think I finally figured out that in my chase to secure happiness, I forgot about our relationship and how important we are to each other. I forgot that you creep in, that you live in a moment, not in an idea, or a lifetime, or in the future. You are right here, you spring up now and again and it is just as much up to me to keep our relationship going, to keep it strong, to keep it fed. I forgot to keep our relationship flourishing and to keep us connected. I forgot how much I need you.

Happiness is what we desire, it's what we tell our kids to be, but I am starting to realize that happiness brings with it a lot of anxiety and a hunt. I am also realizing if you make happiness the ultimate goal that means you are looking for a life void of other feelings. Like feeling blue, down, sad, pained, mournful. All of those emotions are just as important, they allow you to grow, they allow you to move on, the allow you to feel, they allow all of life in. But if all you care about is being happy, you then feel like a failure when life inevitably happens and the other emotions have to come through. I think I always knew that of course, you would feel other things, but overall, you want to lead a happy life. That's what I always believed, you want to lead an overall happy life.

Unfortunately, you will go through days, weeks, months, years of just not being happy. You will go through stretches of things being hard. You will go through stretches of not loving your job, or not being on the same page as your person, or not seeing eye to eye with your kids, or trying to figure things out. If you continue to search and hunt for happiness, you are likely to think you have to just walk away. And sometimes, you do, but sometimes, you have to realize you might be in a season in your life where happiness is more difficult than you though.

But joy, joy can enter at any time. Joy can be found at a funeral when telling a funny story, joy can be found in your darkest hour, joy can be found while folded into yourself. Joy comes and goes, it dances with you. Joy is something you can actually bring into your world. You can surround yourself with reminders of joy. You can do it in the littlest ways. You can find joy in a song, or a quick dance party, you can find it in cleaning up and getting your house decluttered, you can find it by painting something fun, you can find it by going for a walk, petting your dog, you can find it in a smile, you can find it, I promise you that. You can always find it and you can be the joy for others too.

But, here's the funny thing about joy. Even if you're not looking for her, even if you're not ready to let her light shine, she finds you, she can't help it. She won't let you sit and wallow for too long, she finds her way in and she makes your heart lighter, she makes you feel better, even if it's for a moment. Here's the other thing about joy, you do need her so when she pokes her way back in, you have to remember that feeling and you have to remember that you need more reminders of her. You have to remember to welcome her in more, it's too heavy otherwise. You can't carry all the weight forever and ever, you need to lighten the load, and that is her job. She lightens the load and makes you feel like you can take on this minute, this hour, this day.

Dear joy, I am sorry I forgot about you. I'm sorry I neglected you. Thank you for reminding me that you are never far away. Thank you for calling my name and asking me if you can come over to play. I'm so sorry my door was closed for so long. I'm sorry I allowed my darkest hour to take completely over and I'm sorry that I forgot that I have the ability to make room for you. I can give you a call and ask you for a quick cup of coffee because I need you today, I need you and I will allow you in.

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