A week gone wrong

IMG_0012.JPG

My week went all wrong.

Monday morning dawned with the extermination team knocking on my door giving me five whole minutes to grab our stuff and leave again. This time I had to be gone for 6 hours at least.

Well, I grabbed everything I needed for Charlotte and me to spend the day at Scott’s work.

I could work there. It would be an adventure. But not how I expected.

I grabbed the wrong cord for my computer. It’s old and won’t hold a charge.

I forgot a lunch or snacks for either of us.

Charlotte nose dived off a chair and bit her chin and lip. It bled a lot and she was mostly hysterical for the rest of the day.

I was exhausted. Behind on work. And the day felt way too long.

The week finished out with more interruptions, and disappearing Internet.

And the toilet flooded the bathroom. It took every towel in the house to dry it up.

But ultimately that week gone wrong was still filled with good things.

1.Time at the park with Papa for Charlotte.

2. A coworker of Scott who ” just happened” to have the same computer type as me and loaned me her cord.

3. Charlotte’s fall did no permanent damage.

4. Gorgeous fall leaves that I had time to enjoy.

5. And the bathroom floor needed to be mopped anyway.

Sometimes gratitude is all about your perspective.

IMG_0201.JPG

Which side of today are you going to try to see?

Just for rest

IMG_0012.JPG

It was one of those days. The kind that start our by lingering in bed late, staying in pajamas all day and sipping “coffee” curled up on the couch together.

We’ve had crazy weeks. Weeks low on sleep, higher on stress and busy. And I’ve been tired. So tired.

But today, we loaded up on resting. We enjoyed doing nothing. We read books ( and more books!). We watched nature videos. Played. Napped. Ate soup.

It wasn’t productive. It might have been a little lazy.

But I’m so glad that at the end of crazy weeks, there is a day just for rest and worship. It’s always exactly what I need.

IMG_0526.JPG

IMG_0537.JPG

IMG_0530.JPG

Join us in sharing your GreaThings! Click here to find out more.

Morning turned beautiful

IMG_0012.JPG

I woke up to the sound of rain drizzling down. I sighed.

Our landlady and the bug guy decided that early morning was a good time to treat our house. Early enough that the baby would still be asleep.

And then? He showed up even earlier than scheduled. I wasn’t thrilled.

After all, one of THE rules of motherhood is you don’t wake up a sleeping toddler. And today, I had to get her up an hour early. I didn’t have a chance to do anything but grab her shoes and go outside.

But here is where it gets good.

Somewhere between the early morning drizzles and me rushing around trying to pull things away from the walls and then rushing my baby awake, the sun had come out. The last of autumn was glowing in all glory. It was warm. It was beautiful. I felt like I had stepped into something magical.

What I feared would be one of the worst mornings of my crazy week ended up being one of the best.

IMG_0455.JPG

Charlotte had a blast. I walked around trying to soak in the joy and the glory and feeling awed at each new glimpse of beauty.

Thank you, Lord for redeeming ordinary and even annoying inconvenient moments and making them beautiful.

 

IMG_0470.JPG IMG_0473.JPG IMG_0472.JPG

Join in and share your #GreaThings! Click here to find out more.

GreaThings 2014

IMG_7123.JPG

For years now, I’ve filled November with one theme: gratitude. I’ve shared thankfulness with you all and I’ve been blessed by your words and stories of your Great Things. Of all the things I look forward to on my blog, this has always been up at the top.

But this year, I almost decided to opt out.

There are so many words that often fill my mind. But right now, not that many make it past the fleeting moment they occupied my thoughts. It’s not a season for being prolific with blogging. And I’ve started more than I’ve finished lately. That gets embarrassing after a while.

And this year? I was afraid that GreaThings would be another bite I couldn’t quite chew. I didn’t want to not be able to give taking time out for gratitude the honor and time it deserves.

There are a hundred reasons why I could just skip it this year. Not the least of which is my own internal struggles to refind the voice I still feel is pretty rusty right now.

But I couldn’t do it. In the end I couldn’t let November go by without taking time to recount a few great things from 2014. I need to do this. Even if it isn’t perfect, polished and put together how I’ve always done it before.

So here I am. Days late and typing away on a tiny phone screen way past bedtime.

I don’t have an awesome plan this year. I actually don’t have any plans and that scares me a little. But I’m here to invite you to join me for 21 days of thanksgiving. If be honored if you wanted to take time to share, however you wish, some of the beautiful ways God had blessed you. I want to see what you are thankful for. I want to rejoice with you over your great things!

Me? I’ll blog as much as I can. And I’ll be using the hashtag #GreaThings on social media to share glimpses into some of the little things about my ordinary days that I am grateful for.

Nothing fancy. We’ll keep it simple this year.

Hope you will join me next week to kick it off!

when words get knocked out of you

MW-Chantel-829x1024

For a long time, I felt like I had the words knocked out of me.

Not because of motherhood,  but because  what was going on in my life was either so incredibly special, I didn’t know how to share it, or so painful and private for some of my family that I couldn’t talk about it.

I felt like I lost my focus, and so…I just didn’t really write anything for a very long time. Recently, the words have come back again. It’s a good feeling.

I had the honor of participating in a series by fellow mother and writer, Emily Gardner last week. Click on over and read the full post. Be sure to check out the rest of the series!

what’s on our table

kabobbruschetta

zucspizza

Art comes in many different forms. For me, making a pretty plate with local food is one of the ways I unwind. When I try something new, and it looks appetizing on the plate, it makes something in my heart feel alive. Here’s what’s been on the table at the Brankshire home this summer. Best part? Most of the vegetables came from a tiny little patch right outside of my door. Can’t beat the flavor of food that was picked 10 seconds before it hit your table.

What’s been cooking for you guys this summer?

blog while the baby sleeps

Before I became a mama, I heard all kinds of things about the glorious naptime moments when your hands would be free to do a little work, a little sleep, a little reading, or a little writing. It was the common knowledge among all motherhood that naptime was for getting things done.  I thought it’d be like that for me too.

Well, eleven plus months ago, I became a mama too. For the first three or four months, I was in survival mode.  Everything felt a little blurry behind recovery from surgery as well as labor, and adjustment to motherhood. My baby cried. A lot.  She had reflux. She had colic. I don’t know if one caused the other or if it was just bad luck. But she slept best…and often only…snuggled up in mama’s arms. I can’t say that I minded at all.  Baby days pass so quickly. I knew that all too well.

But,  the colic went away finally. The crying didn’t happen as much. There were smiles and giggles and sweet baby talk. It has been a wonderful 11 months.

Naptime and getting things done? Well…that’s been something else.

I can easily count the number of times my arms are free during naptime.  Baby girl still sleeps best snuggled up against mama. She still rarely sleeps more than 45 minutes at a time. No matter what I’ve tried, it is what it is. And honestly, I still can’t say that I mind too very much that her favorite place to fall asleep is tucked into my arms, or leaning against my chest. It won’t be long before she doesn’t nap anymore. I want to treasure these snuggles as long as I can.

But dishes, laundry, and blogging while the baby sleeps? Those happen once in a blue moon. Most often on work days,  I work with one hand while cradling her sleepy self with the other. With naptimes that short, it’s only just enough time for my leg and arm to fall asleep before she’s up and ready to play again anyway.

Then of course, there’s that one rare day when for some reason, the little miss decides it’s a good day to take a really long nap. Like one that  lasts for an entire hour or maybe a little more! On her own, snuggled in bed.

And even more rare, it lands on a day like today . The dishes are done. The floors are clean.  My hands are free.  So what do I do?

Go sneak back to the bedroom every 10 seconds to watch my baby sleep.

m4s0n501

Getting Alaska

Even though I have lived down South for a whopping four years now, I still haven’t perfected my “southern” apparently.

I’m a Washington Born, Alaska Grown Transplant. I’m pretty sure everyone  here knows that by now.  But down here? I like to fancy that I look just about like a normal Southern girl.  And probably that’s all in my head.

The truth is, when you grow up in Alaska, you just have a different perspective on a lot of things like temperature, and distance, day light and what a mountain looks like, for example.  You aren’t necessarily stronger, but maybe you’ve had to be tougher. After all, there’s not necessarily a Publix or a Dollar Tree or Walmart five minutes away up North. And the mention of snow isn’t going to get you out of School. 

But that’s all beside the point. I really love my new Southern roots. I have fallen in love with the novelty of four seasons, seven foot tomato plants, humidity (I’m serious.) and fireflies.

And after four years, almost no one asks me about where I’m from anymore. Maybe I look like I’ve settled in.

But now and then, I get busted for the Northern girl I grew up. Usually this is  when I say things about  flags, bags or rags. And sometimes when I try to talk about berms.

And every once in a great while, I bump into someone who gets it. Someone who has been where I’ve been. Who knows “my” mountains. Who understands how cold and dark and long Alaskan winters are, and also how absolutely indescribably beautiful the Aurora Borealis is. Someone who knows why Fourth of July isn’t about fireworks up there. And can understand what it’s like to dodge a moose.

Because just like these new Southern friends who talk about childhood down south, unless you’ve lived there, it’s hard to really get it.

It’s crazy to realize how much cultural differences that there are in our own nation. And as much as I love my new home, sometimes it’s really good to bump into someone who can share survival stories from the days we roughed it up North.

And thank goodness for me, no one here has any reason to know or talk about berms because I’ve seen and shoveled through enough of those to last me for the rest of my life. I don’t miss my old home state as much as I thought I might. I think I may be a Southerner at heart in a lot of ways. But sometimes the memories are best shared with someone who understands it.

So to the new  people who I had fun talking with recently, thanks for getting Alaska with me. It was a blast.

putting two sentences together

I’m a writer. I dream words. I think about beautiful paragraphs when I’m washing the dishes. I hear lines of poetry, or compose entire posts in my mind while I’m doing other things.

A pitiful few find their way into even a scrap of paper.

Because, while my brain may have the workings of a writer, it’s also the brain of a mommy.

And by the end of the day, I’ve also put books back on the shelf, picked up toys, rescued the kitchen and bathroom cupboards, and saved the plants at least two dozen times before lunch. (I’m trying to be conservative, but it could be upwards of 10 dozen times most days.)

I’ve fed a hungry munchkin 6 or 10 times. I’ve changed enough diapers that you just don’t count anymore. I’ve probably been peed on, and likely have held a sad baby who is learning about balance and has hit her head probably almost as many times as there are hours.

Add the fact that I have a wonderful opportunity to work for myself from my own home.

By the end of the day, those beautiful words and thoughts are interspersed with random things like “pat-a-cake”, “stinky diapers” and “Let’s not tear the books”.  “If you’re happy and you know it” tries to weave it’s way into the lines of my  poetry.  Toss in a few work related topics to the mix and you have fonts and lines of short codes tripping happily into what was once going to be a blog post.

And when you sit on the couch after supper by your hubby, you know you’ve got a case of parenthood when you randomly reach over and push his nose and say “beep”. 

I absolutely love this season of life. I love working from home so I can watch our munchkin. I love ever tired, messy minute of taking care of our baby. It is hard, beautiful life.

But when it comes to putting profound sentences together?  It’s a rare moment when that happens.

And then I wonder why I don’t blog as often as I use to. 

Oh, got to go rescue the family bible from an over zealous book lover….

this is how the garden grows

After a miserably wet (cold, moldy…) 2013 in which my garden washed away twice and drowned the rest of the year, 2014 is feeling good.

I may have had to plant an  entire month late due to a colder-than-normal spring. I may have planted another month late because our tiller broke down and we had been trying to hand dig a new plot in a less likely to flood area. But…I have a garden, and it is growing. It makes me happy every time I go  out and take care of it to see flowers and fruit forming.

Oh, it’s not perfect. I haven’t figured out how to keep all the blight away. But I’m still pretty happy about what I see.

Today, Charlotte and I picked a pile of Anaheim peppers.  It’s our first harvest, and we’re excited!

What’s growing in your neck of the world right now?

Rule # 1 of gardening: as soon as it’s picked, you gotta taste it.

10489841_10152591908090628_2185252312262865192_n