Category Archives: me and my thoughts

Wanna Hear a Secret?

So it’s not really a secret exactly…lots of you will read this and think, “Uh, yeah, already knew that.” I just haven’t written about it here, probably because it makes it feel so official, and I wasn’t ready for that yet. Vulnerability and all that jazz.

I blogged a couple of times earlier this year about being brave and making some decisions about finding a job, but I left one little thing out, and it’s this: I wrote a book.

Like a whole entire book.

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For a long, long time I’ve thought about writing a book. However, I was never very sure what I wanted to write about. And clearly, that is a problem when you want to write a book.

The one idea I always kind of thought of writing about was my mom, and how cancer impacted her and how she still chose to be grateful despite her circumstances, etc. However, there were a lot of factors surrounding this idea that I wasn’t sure about:

Is it entirely my story to tell?

Do I want to go there, and relive all of this myself? I mean, that sounds kind of painful, and in general, I like to avoid pain.

Is there enough story to write an entire book?

The more I thought about it late last fall, the more the idea grew in my head. {Cue the insomnia I’ve mentioned before.} It started to feel like there was no way I could NOT write this. I finally got brave enough to talk to my siblings and dad about this idea, and since no one objected – I feel so much like it’s our story – by around the beginning of January, I started writing.

I committed myself to writing regularly – several mornings a week, and sometimes, late at night, when I couldn’t sleep. The whole book concept was still a complete mess; I wasn’t exactly sure what to make of it yet, but I just kept writing. The one thing I knew I wanted to do was excerpt relevant blog posts from around the time of my mom’s illness and death; those posts were written in the moment, and they were far more emotionally-charged than what I could write (or details I could remember) at this point. So I was also reading my own blog posts from years ago, and making lists of what I could use. It was totally, beautifully, horribly, consuming.

Remember that time I went on that blissful overnight retreat by myself? Yeah. That was so I could write.

Also…psst…um, I got another tattoo that day of my retreat. It’s the word courage, in my mom’s handwriting, on my ribcage. Kelli went with me and held my hand because mercy, this one hurt a little more than my wrist.

 But I digress.

Back to the book stuff: I had written quite a bit, and checked the word count. It was somewhere near 15,000. A quick google search told me that most memoirs are around 50,000 at least.

Ooohhhkay. So then I was thinking maybe I’m writing a bookLET. Or a pamplet. Because I didn’t know if there was that much more story left in me. But, after asking a couple of dear friends to read what I had so far, and taking their feedback to heart, I knew what else I could write about.

I decided to go back and add chapters to the beginning, telling about my mom and who she was as she grew up, and then about my own little family. Then, the cancer story, and its impact: grief, legacy, all of that. I’m currently rewriting the ending and editing it from a hard copy (which is totally different than editing on the computer screen, I’m finding, and absolutely exhilarating to see all of my words printed out!).

I honestly don’t know what will come of this yet. Obviously, I would LOVE to have it published, and I’m researching and exploring my options for this.

Here’s what I know, though: I LOVE WRITING. I feel like a writer now. I would love to somehow make this my job. While on vacation in Siesta Key (I swear, I’m still going to blog about our amazing trip), I came up with a second book idea, which I’ll talk about in an another post because a) this post is getting super long and b) I’m going to need your help, dear readers, with this next idea I have.

So there you have it! My last several months in a nutshell. More on this to come, I’m sure.

For the Love

You guys. I got invited to Jen Hatmaker‘s house for a huge party. HER HOUSE. This is not a dream I had, it’s real life. Unfortunately, I can’t go and meet 200 of my newest friends, who will be there for the party.

Are you confused yet?

Five-ish months ago, I was chosen to be part of a group of 496 women+4 men (we call them the #bandoffour) who got the privilege of helping Jen launch her newest book, For the Love. The launch team has its own Facebook page, and the craziest thing has happened, far beyond what I ever imagined (and from what Jen has said, far beyond what she could have imagined, either)…this absolutely incredible community has formed. I mean, true, amazing friendships have developed, and the idea of a launch party at Jen’s house came about. So literally, she invited the whole launch team to her house, and around 200 are attending. Isn’t that just so cool?

And how much do I wish I lived closer to Austin, TX, so I could go???

So here’s where I tell you about this book. And why you absolutely must read it. I feel like I won’t be able to do it justice in this one post, but I’m going to try. Some of my favorite quotes have been turned into cute graphics, so I’m going to just stick them in here between paragraphs so you get an extra little sampling of this gem.

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(Here’s where I’m totally struggling and have restarted this paragraph several times. I don’t even know where to begin.) This book is for anyone who has ever felt overwhelmed by life and what you think is expected of you. It’s for someone who has lived in church and community well, and for those who have been burned by their church and community. It’s for people who want to love others better, parent more effectively, and live out what it means to show Jesus (not religion – and to that end, this quote: “If it isn’t also true for a poor single Christian mom in Haiti, it isn’t true.” Curious? You need to read this.) to the world and our families.

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There are sections that have been a huge inspiration to me as I figure out this tricky transition from SAHM to wife-and-mom-with-some-kind-of-a-job. (More on that here and here if you’re new here.) It’s been an interesting year for me, and I’ll be writing more about that soon, but in the meantime, know that this quote from the book lodged itself very deeply in my brain:

I don’t like when people minimize their gifts. There is a difference between humility and insecurity, and self-effacement does no one any favors. We teach our watching children to doubt and excuse and diminish themselves. Do we want our kids to reflect on their mothers and have absolutely no idea what we loved? What we were good at? What got our pulses racing and minds spinning? Don’t we want them to see us doing what we do best?

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Oh, and it is FREAKING HILARIOUS. If you follow Jen on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you already know how funny she is. This book will make you laugh until you cry several times. She’s invented new words (horsecrappery) and phrases (you’ll be saying “that’s off the beam!” after reading this). There is an entire chapter on fashion concerns (tights are not pants, the whole underwear-with-workout pants debacle, high-waisted jeans…).

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And several short Jimmy-Fallon-style Thank You Note chapters.

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Have I convinced you yet? Buy this book. You’ll love it and want to share with your friends. Promise.

School. Day 2. 

#fightingoverthebathroom #punchesthrown #areyouserious
#morefightingoverbreakfast #noteven7am #whereismycoffee
#parentingissuchadelight #somedaythiswillbefunny #butreallyonthecoffee

Mid-summer Recap

Mmmkay. So here’s when I go, “oh, yeah, I still have a blog…”

The last few weeks have been eventful and honestly, each of these things could have been their own blog post. And let’s face it, at one point in time, they would have been. However, at this point, a quick-and-dirty recap is what is going to happen. Because these things are important! But, I also can’t sit here at the counter on the laptop all day drinking coffee, as nice as that sounds.

1. Out of approximately a billion scheduled baseball games, we played around half a billion. It has been a rainy, rainy summer, and it seriously impacted our baseball schedule (particularly weekend tournaments). So here’s the recap: my boys all won some and lost some, made some amazing, awesome defensive plays and made some errors, got some clutch hits and struck out a bunch of times, pitched some killer innings and gave up lots of hits. I know that’s incredibly specific and descriptive, but it’s the best I can do at this point in the season. For details, talk to any of them, as they remember virtually every play and at-bat ever.

1b. There are very, very few precious moments in a house full of boys, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. I mean, let’s face it…a group of brothers just doesn’t exactly scream precious, and it shouldn’t. However, this morning, without prompting, Luke brought up Jack Henry’s amazing catch in centerfield last night and told him how great it was. And then Bennett piped up with, “Yeah! I saw that catch and thought it was awesome, and then realized it was Jack!” And I almost died from the sweetness.

  
2. You guys. Matt turned 40. I threw a surprise party for his 30th, and he’d been telling me for several years that he did not want a surprise party for his 40th…and I get it. It’s totally not him. (We could not be more different in this regard. I’d freak out and be like, “A PARTY FOR ME?? YES!!”) So, instead, I told him we were going out for dinner, and our small group friends surprised him by being at the restaurant when we got there. That kind of surprise he can live with, though it cracked me up that on the way to the restaurant, he reiterated that he didn’t like not knowing where we were going. :)

  
3. And, I turned 38. But really, getting older doesn’t bother me. We ate some really good BBQ, laid by the pool for a few hours, and I read a book. It was a great day.

  
3b. Our family has passed around pinkeye, and I spent the week after my birthday with it. Lovely. It’s cool that as I’m nearing 40, I spent a week with a school-age kid’s illness.

4. 4th of July fun had by all when we got together with our friends the Swinigans! Love our tradition. Our kids don’t see each other very often but they just pick right up where they left off when they do get to hang out. And just a couple of days earlier, Heather and I made gallons and gallons of applesauce like we do every summer.

   
 5. The boys and I took a little day trip to Elephant Rocks for some hiking and rock-climbing on a non-rainy day. Super fun. I was SORE the next day. They were not. 

   
 Ok…I think this paints a good picture so far, for the sake of me being able to someday remember this summer.

Vacation coming soon!

Pool Day

This boy, who I’m spending the afternoon with (his brothers are at a day camp), invited me to the pool. 

  
I think he knows his mama is never happier than when she’s in the sunshine. :)

  
I hope, friends, that you’re soaking up every single minute of summer that you can. And doing things like eating a watermelon-only lunch and drinking copious amounts of QT unsweet mango tea and never doing your hair (thank you, beachy, wavy hair for being in right now) and enjoying not wearing much makeup because you have a little bit of a tan that hides a lot of stuff. Tell me it’s not just me who’s doing these things?

Summer. :)

Donating the Dress

5 years ago, I unsealed my wedding gown box so that I could try on my dress. I was thrilled it zipped, even if it didn’t quite fit like it had on my wedding day.

I mentioned in that post that I was thinking of getting rid of the dress, because I am just not terribly sentimental about things. Everyone in the comments (and there are a TON of them!) freaked out and insisted I keep the dress. Go read it…lots of great ideas about what I could do with it.

So I kept it.

And then we moved across town, and 5 more years went by, and during that time I lost 30+ pounds (I’m still so happy about this!). I got the gown out again in January to try it on while going through some things in the basement. Obviously, it’s way too big now.

And 5 years later, I’ve found that I am still not sentimental about keeping it. So really. Why is it still here?

The decision has officially been made: I am donating the dress…like it’s literally boxed up and going to the post office today. And I’m donating it while I still can: there is only one wedding gown charity that will take it because, you know, it’s ancient in terms of wedding fashion. (For the record: I still think it’s really pretty.)

I’m sending it to Adorned in Grace in Portland, where the proceeds will go towards eliminating sex trafficking in their city. I love that my dress will make another bride happy AND do good.

Here’s a list of several wedding gown charities, in case you might be ready to let your dress go do some good for someone else, too. If your dress is 5 years old or less, there are lots of different options for you to choose from!

I put it on one last time last week and had Matt take a picture…

um, once upon a time i, uh, filled out this dress a little better :/  it’s sad that we can’t choose WHICH part of our bodies to lose weight from.

On Running.

I am about to say words that I literally never, ever in a million years thought would come out of my mouth.

I like running.

Crazy, right? I know. There are probably ten blog posts in existence where I tell you how much I hate it (I don’t currently have the energy or desire to track that down, but trust me…it’s there). But I really don’t hate it anymore.

Two springs ago, after I was a few months into healthier living/eating, I started walking and eventually added a little jogging just to get my heart rate up. Well, as we all know, jogging burns more calories than walking, so I started doing a little more of it, JUST for the calorie burn.

For the next year and some change, that was my approach to running: I didn’t like it, but it torched calories, and I was a fan of that. So I did it.

Last June, my foot started hurting, and eventually, I had to stop running altogether, and then stop all high-impact exercise, and then, have surgery when it was evident this wasn’t going to clear up on its own. Throughout that time, I kept thinking about how much I wanted to be able to jog again.

It took several months of taking it easy to let my foot heal most of the way, but I’ve been out running on the few warm days we’ve had, and I.LOVE.IT. All the months of heavier weight training at home (in place of as much cardio/circuit training as I used to do) have totally made a difference in my endurance, and I can already run 3/4 of my usual 3.6 mile route. The times I’ve been out, I’ve run faster than I ever have as an adult.

(I still have some foot pain, generally for a day or two post-run. I’m not sure what to think of this…I think I could still see some improvement in the months to come, but I may just have to deal with a small amount of heel pain. Whatever. I can deal.)

I had to share…because this something I never, ever thought could happen. Additionally, I’ve started drinking coffee (with a ton of milk) or lattes, which previously grossed me out.

So apparently, you can teach an old dog new tricks :)