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!

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….

sometimes, silence

For weeks now, I’ve felt like there’ve been a million words racing through my mind. And yet, not a moment to write.

You see, at the beginning of March, I was writing up my February Twitteratures and my phone rang. It was my dad. Come to find out, a surprise birthday party was in the works for my only grandmother and being there was really important. But the catch was…the birthday party was going to be at the end of March.  In Washington State.  A few thousand miles away.

Well, what would life be if it weren’t for some spontaneity  once in a while, right? Two and a half weeks before The Date, we found ourselves some reasonable (given the circumstances) tickets, got travel documents for the Piglet, kicked work into high gear, ( I finished my final deadline the day we left!)  and made a mad dash from East to West courtesy of South West Airlines. 

Traveling with a 7 month old was both more exciting and less scary than I thought it was. Showing up on both Scott’s parents and my grandparents doors over the course of the one week  was epic and a lot of fun. We saw our old hometown, Sandpoint. We saw cousins and siblings and drove a thousand miles between the day we arrived and the day we flew home.

It was fun, exhausting,  but worth all the craziness.

We’ve been home for two weeks and I’m still catching my breath. I haven’t read a lick since March, and I am still digging out from under the laundry piles.

I have watched spring unfolding, planted some in my garden and had too much fun with our now mobile munchkin who loves spring and especially garden dirt.

So…yes. Sometimes, there’s a lot of silence here. Not because there are no words, but sometimes because there are too many. Too many and not enough time left over from living to actually put them into something sensible.

I’ll pick up with Twitteratures and the Reading Challenge at the end of the month. And here’s to hoping that maybe, just maybe….I can sneak in a few moments to write again soon.

<3

The Beauty of Broken—a book review

m4s0n501

_240_360_Book.935.cover

“There’s no such thing as a perfect family.” If I’m honest,  I don’t like that sentence even a tiny bit. If I’m still honest, I’ll admit that it is true.

We’re all a little broken. Either by our choices, by our parents’ or grandparents’ choices, or sometimes just because life is broken. It’s ugly. It’s messy.

It can be hard to lift up your face and look the world in the eye and admit that you don’t have it all together. It is for me. 

But, the good thing about being broken? It is the perfect thing for finding The Source of inner strength. It’s the perfect thing for finding what true beauty really is—something that shines out in spite of the less-than-perfect way our live story often goes.

In Beauty of Broken, Elisa Morgan shares her story. And how brokenness shaped her story—and ultimately, how God used it to create a kind of beauty in her life.

I appreciated Elisa’s honesty, and the encouragement she gave to not be ashamed of our stories, even if they are broken. It could be that the brokenness that Satan meant to destroy us is the very thing that God will override and use to be one of our greatest blessings.  And that, I think, is really beautiful.

*I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Book Sneeze. The opinions are mine entirely.*

Checkpoint January + Twitterature

Well, it’s February.  You know what that means: Checkpoint time!

I’ve written a lot of drab Reading Challenge updates in the past few years. I’ve felt like a boring Professor droning on and on about interesting things in the most uninteresting way.

I’m a kind of book blogger. I love books. I’m going to write about books. But there’s no need to drone on about every book I read or tried to read, right? So I’m trying something new.

One of my friends and co-writers for Kindred Grace, Emily Gardner, writes a lot about books too. Last year she did something called Twittature as a way to share her reading piles, and I like the idea. A lot. So, thanks to Emily and the Modern Mrs. Darcy, I’d like to .welcome you to Checkpoint January, Twitterature Style.

What I’ve Read

(This post may contain affiliate links.)

A Real Mother: Stumbling Through Motherhood—by Denise Malloy

The story, as told over the years through her column, about her motherhood journey as a woman who never really thought she’d want to be a mother. Some of it was hilarious! Even though I also don’t necessarily agree with certain family planning methods, I did have a problem with the somewhat downgrading way in which she poked fun at large families. It sort of tainted the fun parts of the book for me.

Packing Light: Thoughts on Living Life with Less Baggage—by Allison Vesterfelt

Imagine stepping away from your entire life and career and packing across the entire US in a Subaru in chase of your dream. Sound’s crazy, and Allison’s story was. Didn’t agree with some of her philosophy, but fascinating and inspiring story of doing whatever it takes to discover and follow your dreams and realize your calling—even if it means doing something a little bit crazy. Loved the open, honest way she takes us on her personal journey, emotionally and physically across the country and back again.

Current Books in Progress

Here’s what I’m currently pouring through. Check back for more in depth reviews on both of these in the near future!

My Listen Through the Bible Goal

I mentioned in my Goals for 2014 post that I wanted to listen to the Bible through at least once this year. Status check on that? I’m taking it slowly this first time. I’ve listened to the first 35 chapters of Genesis at least once. It’s been so good for me on the days I’ve done this to keep my focus where it belongs—even when I’m super tired! Looking forward to being more consistent and intentional about this in February.

Your Turn!

What are you reading this year?

a tradition is born

It’s been a while since it’s looked like Christmas here.

Last year we were in California. I had only just dragged in the Christmas Boxes when we got our tickets and I had to drag them back out to the shed again. The year before that I had worked a super stressful job and was too exhausted to feel much Christmas energy.

But this year…this year was different. It’s Charlotte’s first Christmas. We don’t celebrate in all the same ways that a lot of people do. But there’s something about lights and sparkling things that make winter much less dreary.  Scott loves Christmastime.  I love creating memories and looking forward to our little traditions. That’s what makes it so special.

We hauled in the Christmas boxes last Sunday and decked our little halls with lights and christmas cheer. It takes a long time to unwind the lights and hang the sparkles on the tree, even if it is small.

When the l ast the last candy cane is hung, and the last bit of garland is wrapped around the tree, THE moment of the evening arrives: we light the tree for the first time and put the gold star at the top to remind us of the Angels who sang at Jesus’ birth.

Charlotte gets to do the topper, Scott says. He took her in his arms and helped her tiny (grabby) fingers hold the gold star for a minute and then they put it on the highest little twig right at the top. She likes the sparkle and babbles in approval.

tradition

Our tree is done. It’s beautiful. And just like that, a tradition is born.

three months of charlotte

photo

Today at 11:29 pm, Charlotte will officially be 3 months old.

Becoming parents is a huge adjustment. It is one of the most amazing adjustments of my life. I’ve alternately thrilled over new accomplishments, and inwardly been amazed that we made it three months without any giant mishaps.

We’ve weathered the first cold, We’ve gotten going to town down a little better. We have found and lost night time routine at least a dozen times.

Charlotte weighs in at 14 lbs, and is officially wearing 3–6 mo clothes. I never get tired of the snuggles, and the smiles.  The 1200 pictures on my iPhone chronincal  the gradual change from squishy infant into wriggling, chubby babyhood. My heart begs for time to slow down. My sleep deprived body looks forward to the first night of more than three hours of sleep at a time.

Without a doubt, motherhood is the most time consuming thing I’ve ever attempted. I’ve floundered through days after sleepless nights. I’ve come face to face to to the reality of a true never ending laundry pile and the monster of the perpetually unmade bed.

I’ve gained new awe for work at home moms who keep a whole family fed, clothed and somewhat on track while bringing in an income as I’ve battled my way to deadlines these last three months.
I’ve found first hand that there are few rules in mothering. What works for one, won’t work for another. Instinct, prayer, and precious advice to just do what works for us, regardless of what the books say have helped to keep me sane.

But in spite of the crazy days, the sleepless nights, the never ending laundry and the house that doesn’t get vacuumed as often as I wish there is no doubt in my mind that these last three months have been some of the greatest moments of our life.

Being a parent isn’t easy. We’re learning as we go. But there is nothing we’d trade for these moments.

And today, we’re thanking God for three months with our girl.

great words about gratitude

I collect quotes. I have files of them on my computer, boards of them on pinterest, and I even subscribe to a daily quote by email just because I like them that much. One of my quote collections is titled “Gratitude”. I had a lot of fun creating a few graphics out of some of my favorites and wanted to share them with you.

Feel free to pin, share on FB or retweet your favorites, too!SONY DSCblessings Rose Bush on a Street Corner, pink Petals fallen on Ground

 

what I love about autumn

For most of my life, I didn’t like autumn.

I didn’t like anything about it–not the cooler nights, or the frosty mornings, or the single day in which most of the leaves fell. It was depressing. The abbreviated intro into yet another long, dark, cold Alaskan winter. It felt like I was watching Summer’s dying breath and it always made me sad. Snow quickly followed, and Alaskan winters aren’t always really that much fun.

Well, four years ago, I moved just about as far away from Alaska as I can get and still have autumn. For the first time in my life, I think I’m starting to learn to love it. Here’s a few of the reasons why.

  • The air gets this delicious autumn scent and feel to it. Not too cold, but just cool enough for you to know that it’s not summer anymore.
  • The sky is so blue. I don’t know if it is scientific or just my imagination, but it feels more vividly blue in the autumn. Pair that with a few puffs of white clouds and the hills on fire with color below and you have something so breathtaking it is impossible to capture on camera.
  • The hills are alive…with color. The leaves turn gold. And red. And orange. And yellow. All at once. I sometimes can hardly bear to drive because I just want to look at the hills and try to soak in the beauty of the autumn moment. If you haven’t seen the Appalachians in the Autumn, you need to put it on your bucket list.
  • Apples and pumpkins. Well, mostly the apples. But pumpkins are everywhere this time of year and it really seems to add just the right touch of autumn to the landscape.
  • Thanksgiving is coming! I feel like everything about autumn here makes you feel festive. It’s like it is gearing you up to celebrate the goodness and beauty of the entire year up to that point, and making you feel more aware of how much you have to be grateful for.

What’s your favorite thing about Autumn?

making new friends

I’ve never been really good at making new friends. I love people, but I’m introverted. It’s enough that I often feel like I come off as awkward and distant in real life while I’m trying to get use to new people. I struggle with small talk and sometimes it is hard for me to figure out how to fit in. Sometimes that can end up being a bit lonely in the local friend category.

Well, last year one of Scott’s coworkers invited us over for dinner. They invited another couple over as well who was near our age. You know those times when it just seems like you are meant to be friends? That’s what happened.

We had so much fun together–both of us expecting our first child. Both of us having girls. But the bad thing about living in a university town is that most people don’t come here to stay. They moved to Michigan in July. They’ll be back–but it’ll be 2 more years!

Lately, we’ve been getting to know another couple who recently married. It’s been so fun to have someone to call and say “Wanna go walking this evening?” Or  “Want to hop over for breakfast this morning?”

Making friends might not be my greatest talent, but I am pretty sure it is one of the Great Things about life. I know it’s one thing I’m really grateful for this year.