Midlife Diary Entry
The whir of the wall heater lulls me to sleep.
I’m in seventh grade again, at my friend’s house, dreaming of my life as an adult. We just watched Dirty Dancing and inhaled a bag of Doritos with a 2L of Dr Pepper and no one considered the carbohydrates involved.
In reality, I am an adult. With children. And two husbands by now.
And a whole lot of disappointments and triumphs along the way.
I still feel like that awkward seventh grader when, I’m actually the mother of a seventh grader.
How did this happen?
I’m typing this in a cottage in the woods.
A writer’s weekend, that’s what I claimed it to be.
And in late 2022, I am stuck trying to decide how much of my life to share on social media and how many posts are “enough” to promote my writing.
The internet connection is poor here and it’s a blessing and a curse.
When did we become so tied to people we’ve never met and numbers oft generated by bots?
Do I measure the importance of my work by likes, shares, and follows or by actual lives impacted?
And let’s be honest, we rarely know when we impact a life because the Enneagram and Myers-Briggs tells us that a certain % of folks are introverts and would never tell us if we helped them, to no fault of our own.
And the trauma we have all endured. I am not joking. The real actual trauma and pain I have seen my fellow GenXers and patients and friends endure. We all go to therapy and spend countless hours trying to right some of the wrongs between scrolling and TikToking, working our regular jobs, raising tiny to full-sized humans, and trying to eat whole foods.
In this world of 2-4 second attention spans, I feel lost.
I feel lonely.
I feel drained.
Am I the only one?
And so I sit. In Midlife. In the Southeast. In middle school bleachers and while planning a wedding for the oldest. I sit at baseball tournaments and in my car traveling to see my patients. I sit at kitchen tables discussing hospice the same morning I sit with my fifth grader studying vocabulary.
I know I’m not alone. The Middle is weird. It’s not the beginning, like I am reminded of with my oldest and his fiancé. The furniture shopping and the bedspread and dishes selections. It’s not the end either. The disbursement of family heirlooms and quiet days sparsely populated by visiting friends or family. It’s not the days of toddler-parent-survival where bath time and nap time ruled the schedule. But it’s not the days where everyone can drive yet either.
And oh yeah a pandemic happened. School shootings. A nation so divided I can’t even recognize it. But just keep on going folks. Keep on posting and hashtagging and hustling.
I will take this Middle. I will take the Menopause and the investment planning and the figuring out how to parent adult children. I will take it and try to learn from it and admit that it’s uncomfortable. See, we are too old to fake stuff in this Middle. We have seen too much.
I think my writing will continue to be what it is. Real. Raw. With a flimsy filter and a side of sarcasm. It will grow as I do. I hope you join me. If anything in this little diary entry stirred your insides, then know that we are in this together. Let’s go. Awkward but not alone.
I love interacting with my readers. Follow me on TikTok or IG as I share there the most.
Leave a comment below if you wish.
I am trudging along with you. Just waiting for a good conversation.
November 2022 Favorites
Here are my FAVORITE things for November 2022:
I hope these gave you some good gift or snack or entertainment ideas!
Life is short, so have fun!
Godspeed my friends.
My Top 10 Productivity Hacks
Time? Energy? Apathy?
We all juggle these 3 elements every day, especially if we have children.
Even my friends and family that don't have children tell me that they struggle with
the same roadblocks that slow them down and cause them to feel unproductive.
Personally, I just went through a season of rest, so I will be the FIRST to tell you
that being productive and hustling 24/7 will break you in the end.
If, however, you feel ready and able to tackle more in less time, I hope these tips
can get you started or at least give you a few ideas.
Happy hustling! (in moderation!!!)
Here are my top 10 productivity hacks in no particular order:
It is worthwhile to discuss each of these 10 productivity hacks in more detail. Let's dive in!
I hope you have found these tips and tricks to be useful and helpful!
Again, do not beat yourself up if you are not being productive 24/7.
Rest is SO important and having seasons to lay low
and recharge are necessary.
Listen to your body.
Follow your energy.
P.S. Comment below if you try any of these or are already doing some of them!
I love interacting with my readers!
How to Set Boundaries
Have you ever found yourself at an event, dinner, movie, party, etc and thought
"why am I here? I had / have no desire to be here."?
Have you ever been sweating in the 1 million degree summer heat doing some random and laborious task
asking yourself WHY or HOW you signed up for this?
Ever felt like you've wasted hours (or even an entire weekend) doing something that did not align with
your goals or soul?
THAT feeling is most often the result of people-pleasing and failure to set clear boundaries.
Boundaries are tricky. They're difficult to set in the beginning but become rote after lots of practice.
They require forethought and communication.
Licensed counselors are often EXPERTS at explaining and helping you set boundaries,
so please find a good local counselor if you identify this as an area of potential growth for yourself.
One word of caution, however: once you get GOOD at setting boundaries, you will never look back.
Tell your best friends and loved ones to say goodbye to the Doormat You and hello to the Assertive You. 🥰
In addition to the lists below (which are both excellent references), I want to give you my tips and insights around setting boundaries.
Family Pumpkin Decorating and Fun
Every year my family decorates pumpkins together. We started with the regular pumpkin carving kits but soon realized we wanted to get more creative. This has become a family tradition that we all look forward to and enjoy.
When movies and trampoline parks are $10-$20 a person, a few $6 pumpkins and some basic acrylic paints and brushes (that have lasted for years and years) is cheap in comparison. We play our bluetooth speaker in the background and just enjoy the family time together. It's these times that create a sense of security and family for my boys. They have told me as much. 🥰
I hope this gets you excited for FALL and FAMILY time. If you don't do this regularly (or if you do),
let me know how you like it after you try it! Comment below- I love hearing from my readers. 🥰
I love a good puzzle!
I don't want 1000 pieces, 500 is plenty for me.
I don't want it all to be the same color either. I want lots of colors and a scene or image that brings me joy or peace.
Give me a cheesy movie, some warm pajamas, a cup of coffee or hot tea, and a day off work, and I can sit at a
puzzle table for hours. I love it even more when I'm sitting next to friends or family or if we each peck at
the puzzle over a few days. Collaboration at its best! I love the fact that we can all be looking at the
exact same pieces and patterns, but one person can "figure it out" when it has been right there
in front of us the entire time. I also love that there are no electronics involved!
Much like life, a puzzle teaches us that there are many ways to look at things. Patience is key.
And teamwork makes the dream work. All the cliches really "fit" into working a jigsaw puzzle. ☀️
This particular puzzle was SO hard to finish! All those Star Wars uniforms tended to blend together.
The kids started it with us
but towards the end, my dad and I were the only ones pushing through to the finish line.
Working puzzles with my dad hasbecome a favorite pastime for both of us.
We can chat, or work in silence. That time with him has been a gift.
Do you enjoy working puzzles? What does it do for you?
I can't wait to hear all about your puzzle motivations in the comments below. I love interacting with my readers.
For more of an inside look into my days, you can follow me on TikTok, Instagram, or Facebook.
What does my headache mean?
photo credit: Anh Nguyen
I have included a list of questions your healthcare provider may ask you during your headache evaluation:
There are several types or categories of headaches:
If you are not quite ready to seek a medical workup, you can try the following safe therapies at home:
Headaches can interrupt our daily lives and become quite cumbersome. Please do not ignore your headaches. Listen to your body.
Author's note: this article should not be used to diagnose or treat any conditions. Please seek an appointment with your primary care provider for proper headache evaluation. A neurology consult may also be warranted.
My Next Right Thing
Turns out, my next right thing includes more writing. More creating. More TikToks. More singing. More reading. More sleeping. More dancing. More laughter. More fun.
Adapted from several sources including MakseLife and Emily P. Freeman's Next Right Thing Journal, I try my best to do a monthly (and best practice- weekly) reflection. In that reflection, we should ask ourselves:
As I reflect on the past 6 months of my life, I wonder where the hours and the days have gone. I made such a huge life change that it almost feels like I experienced some type of time warp. The only way I can describe it is by framing those 6 months as a rebirth, a metamorphosis, but also... a hibernation, a recharge, an INHALE.
When we run so fast and so hard for so long, we don't know how to stop.
We have to schedule time to cry and time to laugh.
Time to talk to a friend uninterrupted and time to touch our spouse.
Now that I am seeing patients closer to their last days than their first, I know deep in my soul that I will never resume that pace.
The little things are the big things.
The best things in life are free.
Sleep is a beautiful thing.
All the cliches are true.
So in reflection, I deem:
I encourage you to have a Fall Reset. Fall Reflection. Fall Recharge.
Holidays will be here soon and being less stressed and more rested is GOLD.
Allow yourself an inhale this October.
Shed your dead skin. You know what needs to go.
And if you can't even think about focus or reflection, just stay on the couch scrolling.
It worked for me.
And now I'm back. 🥰
Why Nurses Cry At Night
"It's okay" I cooed
in the dimly lit room
"You are here and that's what matters" I offered
as I swallowed the doom
"Mom is gone" I announced
if announce is the word
It was a whisper. But it was final.
I don't think they even heard...
"It's a boy!" the doctor claimed
and he held the baby up like a prize
The mom cried and so did I
because miracles still dampen my eyes
Between the first day and the last day
of each of our patients' lives
Is a Thursday and a Monday
and days our lives will intertwine
Some days we are helping you
and comforting or mending or teaching
Other days we are sweating and saving
and praying, begging, and reaching
We don't control it, this fine line
between your first day and your last
But we often witness it, we hold space for it
and we get etched in each others' paths
Do I ignore it? Forget it? Pretend I didn't see it...
or feel it or hear it or bow down and plead it?
I don't think so, I just can't so, I let the tears fall when I can
and we get up, lace our shoes up, and act undefeated
It's an honor, a privilege, a duty dear friends
but it's hard and it's long and some days barely end
And no one asks us how we're doing, because we do the healing
But I'm a mama, and a daughter, and a person with feelings.
So at night, in the dark, when the beeps and alarms are gone
Maybe next to our loved ones or maybe quiet and alone
We cry and we replay and we wish and we sorrow
As we heal our own boo-boos and do it all again tomorrow
We don't forget.
We saw it. We felt it.
You were seen.
And you were here.
And we were with you.
Mothering a Sick Child who is now an Adult- a guest post by La Keisha L. Jennings
She’s walked through the fire and the storms while dancing in the rain …
Her life has been difficult and filled with excruciating pain …
She’s suffered many losses in such a short time yet she continues to believe that in the end… it will all be fine …
With such strength and undeniable belief she tells me her healing will come in God’s time …
It may not be here on earth but perhaps in heaven she will be pain free…
Her words are heavy on my heart and somewhat difficult to grasp, for me…
She’s my daughter, Keyera, and she suffers from sickle cell
It’s a genetic disorder that we know all too well:
Her story is a bit different than usual. She wasn’t properly diagnosed until the age of five. My husband and I worked different shifts so that one of us was always home with the kids. At 5, she started kindergarten and became ill after the weakened live intranasal flu vaccine was given. Initially, her pediatrician thought she had the flu in spite of the vaccination. She ran fever, she was fatigued, she had to be carried or she’d just sit in one spot. After 3 rounds of Rocephin (a strong antibiotic) injections and no improvement, her pediatrician, Dr. Allardice, admitted her to the hospital. She ran various tests. She asked about sickle cell, I told her that her cousin had it and my other daughter had the trait but as far as I knew, Keyera didn’t have the trait OR the disease. I was never notified by the health department or pediatrician’s office that I saw prior to Dr. Allardice.
My daughter’s health was rapidly declining. In my heart, I felt her slowly drifting away. It seemed as though she had developed pneumonia. Treatment was started and I begged and cried for God not to take my baby away.
When her test results came back, I was shocked and in disbelief. I had made sure Keyera had all of her immunizations and that she went to all of her well child visits. She had sickle cell anemia SS and it wasn’t pneumonia. She had acute chest syndrome. Sickle cells are shaped like a sickle so they don’t pass the veins and arteries like they should. Acute chest occurs when there is sickling in the pulmonary arteries and it can mimic pneumonia. Many patients with sickle cell have passed away due to acute chest, heart attack, or stroke.
We were fortunate that she was admitted and diagnosed. Her situation was dire. She is now 22 years old. She’s had both hips replaced due to AVN (avascular necrosis - lack of blood supply to the bone) caused by sickle cell. She suffers from medical PTSD due to being in the hospital so often at an early age. She’s lost friends and in 2020, her cousin, Makayla, with sickle cell passed away.
Her journey has been challenging and she’s often called resilient but truthfully, she is vulnerable and fragile at times. She just wasn’t given an easier course to take. She often gets upset when people tell her to be robust during a crisis. The thing about pain is that it demands to be felt, no matter how hard you try to ignore it. It makes its presence known.
Unfortunately, there is not a universal cure for sickle cell anemia at this time. Not everyone can find a match or are a good candidate for bone marrow transplants. Due to my daughter’s health issues, it’s not an option. She has less than a 50% chance of surviving a transplant.
My daughter depends on blood donors to have a decent quality of life. It requires 7-10 units of blood each month. If you want to be a hero and save lives, please donate blood.
Before the monthly exchanges, she was in the hospital at least twice a month. She was miserable and asked God on several occasions to let her fall asleep and not wake up. She still has challenges but she is enjoying life and spreading awareness.
When her cousin passed away and she got to say her farewell, she promised her with weeping eyes that she’d continue to fight and educate others. I encourage you to research sickle cell anemia. If you know or love someone with it, check in on them but remember though they may be resilient. They do get tired, though they seem strong, listen and support them when they say they’re exhausted or weak. When they say they hurt, believe them. Never tell them they don’t look sick, your intentions may be well meaning but not every illness is visible.
My heart cries as my soul weeps for all the sickle cell warriors that continue to suffer or have lost the fight …
Each day they try or tried to live the best life possible with all of their might …
Simple things that we take for granted can be such a heavy burden or test …
Their bodies tire easily and they must often take a break to simply rest …
My daughter has kept her promise to her cousin. She has done several informative interviews regarding sickle cell and continue to spread awareness. Giving blood is such a simple task but it has such a great impact on the quality of life for those that need it. It cannot be manufactured, please donate blood and help save lives.
Blog host's note: I know La Keisha because she is a nurse. She does not mention being a nurse in this piece, but I feel I must. As a nurse, we take care of other mothers' children when our own children are sick at home. We minister to other daughters' aging parents when our own aging parents need us. We comfort other wives' husbands when our own husbands miss us and wish they had more time with us. So just imagine the toll this has taken on my friend, my sister, my fellow nurse. She wouldn't trade it. We nurses wouldn't trade it, our calling. But being a nurse and a mother to a sick child deserves space in this world.
Other ideas for rainy days with kids include:
Please check out the work of my fellow hope*writers:
10 Things I Learned While Waiting On God by Sharla Hallett
The Ten Lepers - A Lesson in Thankfulness by Lisa Granger
Never Travel Without These Ten Things by Jessica Weaver
10 Ways to Turn Things Around by Ashley Olivine
When Emotional or Mental Pain Is a 10 by Dianne Vielhuber
How to STOP People-Pleasing
How many events have you attended that you DID NOT want to attend?
How much self-care have you missed out on in your efforts to make OTHERS happy?
How much TIME have you wasted doing things you had no desire to do?
People-pleasing usually originates from old emotional wounds. Someone somewhere told you or showed you that you weren't good enough AS YOU ARE, so you started "performing" in ways to please those same people that hurt you. Those habits of pleasing others can bleed over into your romantic relationships, work friendships, family dynamics, and regular friendships.
When we people-please, we ignore our own boundaries. Until we do THE WORK (counseling usually), we people-pleasers usually don't even know what boundaries in relationships look like or feel like.
Since I'm a list-maker, let's look at some strategies to STOP pleasing once and for all!
Let's go into each strategy in a little more detail:
Being a people pleaser is exhausting.
It's like running a marathon every day but never receiving a medal, no cheering crowd, just you.
It's the unnoticed HARD work for others' gain. So yeah, it's not even like a marathon,
because at least in a marathon your body might reap some of the benefits.
Use the strategies listed above to start changing your people-pleasing behavior.
Comment below if you can relate to this or especially if you have "overcome"
some of your people-pleasing tendencies.
Here's to Healthy Boundaries and More NO's in Your Life!
Own Your Stuff
Being a human is hard. We have all of these emotions and old hurts.
We have stories to share but fear prevents us from being vulnerable.
Sometimes we hurt people we truly LOVE.
We say things we didn't mean.
We behave like children.
I don't think that will ever change, even for those of us who try to be self-aware.
What can change, though, is the aftermath.
We can own our stuff.
And I mean OWN IT.
You were a witch to Sally at work for no reason- OWN IT.
You muttered a sly remark as you passed by your spouse this morning - OWN IT.
You snapped at your kid instead of answering his question- OWN IT.
You invalidated your friend's feelings (in any variety of ways) - OWN IT.
You left someone out of a group invite- OWN IT.
We CAN own our stuff and we SHOULD.
Owning it usually accompanies and precedes a well-meaning apology.
It is the best part of the apology - so please do not overlook the ownership.
Now, go own a few things that are calling your name, my dears.
July 2022 Favorites
July was busy, busy for us, so I only chose
5 favorites this month. Enjoy!
2. Taco Night- always a hit in our house and a quick prep and cleanup
3. Family beach trip- see my beach packing tips here!
4. Best foot forward- an awesome family TV show for tweens or even elementary school age
5. My work bag from Threaded Pear- I get compliments on it daily!
Easy to grab my phone, laptop, stethoscope, notepad out of this open & upright tote.
Making It Stick
Isn't it crazy how people who were once part of your daily existence can just fade away?
We can literally spend 40+ hours per week with another human (lots of humans in most cases) for
YEARS or DECADES and with one twist of fate, all of that shared time and history can seem to float away.
Forgotten? Surely not.
Out of sight, out of mind? In this fast paced world, probably.
No bandwidth to maintain a "long-distance" relationship when that
relationship partner no longer parks in your shared parking lot?
I am not sure though.
Family members can live out of town or out of state and we keep up with them, don't we?
Or do we?
Do we actually put the effort in to maintain relationships these days?
Is all of our time spent "liking" and "commenting" on strangers from across the globe?
I'm the first to admit I spend more time singing duets with random strangers on Smule
than I do communicating with my out-of-state family members.
Does that mean I don't care about my extended family?
One could argue that our online friends are more organic than say, those we happen to share DNA
or an office with... I can see that point. But, what about shared history? The office mate and the DNA-sharer
have way more memories with me than the Randoms I have something-in-common-with online.
But is it quantity of memories or quality?
Just because we both attended a work cookout or a family wedding-
does that mean more than shared interests and values with someone
who doesn't "have to" spend time with us?
Ever had someone in your life for just a season?
The season ended for whatever reason: timing, location, circumstance.
You and the other person knew it was a season, so you felt some closure.
If you ever see that person again, awesome, what a pleasant surprise.
If you don't, no worries, all is well.
Perhaps we should all view each relationship we have as seasonal.
An at-will partnership. It can end at any time.
That way when our phone doesn't ding or our mailbox remains empty, we are not disappointed.
We will know and understand that these are just the ways of 2022.
No one attaches.
After all, there are millions of other shiny dots on the palm-sized demon calling each of our names.
Faces we may never see in person. Voices we may never hear in real-time.
Skin we may never touch. Meals we may never share.
But let us not forget, those "relationships" end too!
Accounts are hacked or closed. Real Life occasionally happens to our online friends
as well and they may not be available to us.
I guess I just get sad when I think about today's world for my kids.
How do they know what's real and what's not when it comes to friendship (or even family)?
There used to be something to be said for shared zip codes and shared uniforms.
Quantity of memories somehow added up to some quality of memories.
Now it's all a game of chance. Some people stick with us and most don't.
Loyalty? Loyalty seems to happen more for brands than it does for us as individuals.
And these are the rambling thoughts of a Midlife GenX woman raising sons
ranging from pre-puberty to engaged.
I want my kids to call and check on me when I am old.
I want them to have friends that would come help them in the middle of the night.
And today's ways of noncommittal BS (even amongst us grown folk) have me worried.
What are we modeling for these kids?
One day at a time.
Time Out: a poem
I need to shout
and push and pull and rip and tear
but I can't do that, so I just sit here
I need a time out
I'm on the verge of eruption and I can't let it out
because adults aren't allowed to throw tantrums or pout
So what do adults do?
We medicate or we shop
We gossip or we party or we eat or we stop
We stop what we are doing, we freeze, we lounge
And rarely does anyone look up to notice we are down 😔
Because just like us, the ones that love us are just going through the motions
They work, they spouse, they parent, but dare they notion?!?
See adults, we aren't allowed to get loud or show passion
We must color in the lines
We must shape, form, and fashion
Our lives and our minds and our hearts and our souls
into everything They want from us
into everything we were Sold
Someone somewhere sold us a dream
and we bought it, full stop
That life would be perfect
That the elusive shoe would never drop
But it drops and it dropped
and we watch it hit the floor
So I beg of you, dear ones
let's permit an Uproar
Let us process our disappointment, our envy, and our fears
Stop telling me I'm not allowed to be angry or shed tears
I'm a woman, yes a woman, and you might hear me roar
and I hope that doesn't push you away from my door
because the rest of my house is full of love and joy
and I'm getting too old to let you tell me to avoid
all my truths, all my days that I've walked in these shoes
so sit down on my couch, love... and appreciate these hues
I'm the most beautiful colors - if you'll open your eyes
Love is loud, love is mobile, can you handle my ride?
To every other human
that is tired of
sitting on their hands,
I see you.
It's 3 o'clock on a Sunday
with laundry caught up and dishes done
There's a wedding now to plan
and a full household to run
There are 2 in a hormone surge
well 3 counting me
We have been rushing for so long
that we don't know what "still" means
There are reels and shorts
that lazily pass the time
and make the tweens laugh
while the husband and I just sigh
See we are in The Middle
Not the Beginning or the End
We have pill organizers and good socks
but we still eye the newest trends
And we don't have grandbabies to rock
Not yet, hopefully one day we will
There are 2 still in the nest here
So we can't yet seek every thrill
We have jobs that we enjoy
and hobbies we hope to do one day
But on this Sunday away from the ballpark
we aren't sure what keeps the itching at bay
It's an itch we can't scratch
It's a question about life and loss
We are thankful for every moment we have
but those uncertainties still come across
So to all my friends who are also in the middle
Let us lean on one another
We are husbands, wives, friends, and family
We are more than just father and mother
One day at a time.
One milestone, one crisis, one joy at a time.
Let us hold tightly to each other in This Middle.
The End will come no matter how we spend our days.
Please consider supporting my fellow Hope*Writers by reading their work:
The Resurrection and What it Means for Believers by Lisa Granger
Finding Meaning in Life … and Death by Dianne Vielhuber
The New Stage of Grief: Finding Meaning in Hardship by Ashley Olivine
I have been packing for the beach for over 20 years now.
I certainly was not as pack-savvy my first 5-10 trips as I am now.
These are my BEST TIPS for beach packing if you are driving to the beach.
see list of supplies I keep year-round
in my cabin / beach box ⬆️⬆️⬆️
Beach Food / Condo List:
Beach clothes / other necessities list:
What goes in our cooler(s) for the ride to the beach:
What we buy once we are there:
I'm typing this from Orange Beach.
I hope you found these lists inclusive and helpful.
May all your beach trips be smooth sailing. 🏖
June 2022 Favorites
These are just a few of my favorites lately- I hope you enjoy!
For more of what I love, follow me on Instagram! I post to my stories daily.
What I'm Learning- June 2022
It's summer. In Georgia. So it's HOT.
And one thing I'm learning about these long, hot days is that being inside in the cool AC with a fan whirring in the background and nature showing off outside my window gives me both energy and rest simultaneously.
Yes, the kids are out of school.
Yes, there are lots of "mom, I'm bored" whines followed almost immediately by "mom, I'm hungry."
But there is something about summer that makes us all kids again, isn't there?
We stay up later than we should.
We eat popcorn for dinner if we want to eat popcorn for dinner.
We "don't have any homework" and most of us "don't have practice" and a messy house is expected with kids out of school.
Pools call our names and floating counts as exercise.
Ice cream outings beckon us to sidewalks in small towns.
A live band on a starlit night with a warm breeze gives me enough wattage to survive this Georgia heat and sink into my sheets at night both tired and invigorated.
We talk to our neighbors more. The same ones we see all year walking their dogs.
But it's summer. And summer gives us permission to interact even in this lonely digital world.
Movies are cast on campers and garage doors.
Glow sticks compete with fireflies and fireworks happen a few times each summer- all over the world.
Smores become dessert and even church seems more fun in the summer.
God must be showing off a little more with these summer rules and nature's beauty on display.
Books are suddenly important to moms and sometimes even dads.
And not books for the kids, books for US. We suddenly want to read... by the pool, at the lake, on the beach.
Clothing is thinner and shorter so even laundry is less cruel and mundane.
Work is necessary for most of us, but even WORK in the summer is better.
Frankly we are all in a better mood.
So I ask you to sit for a minute or two and consider all the things you LOVE about summer.
There is so much going on in the world this June of 2022, that I chose to focus on any summer, all summers, just summer for my reflection post.
Life has been heavy, but I need light.
We head to the beach in a few weeks and my children's' excitement is like a drug.
They giggle and ramble on about all the things we will do and how fun it will be.
And I join in!
Because I was 10 years old one time, without a bank account or work deadline or relationship issue to worry about.
I was 10 years old. Out of school. Staying up late. And catching fireflies after I rode my bike and jumped in the pool with my friends.
Allow yourself to be 10 years old today.
The world needs that right now.
After writing School Colors as I processed the Uvalde tragedy, I kept feeling and seeing the word BRAVE creep into my mind and body.
As with any tragedy, loss, or wonkiness we endure, I think people turn to comedy for some type of comfort or relief.
Pandemic comedians, where you at? (yes I used improper grammar and I liked it)...
Anywho, I've had a lot of ICKY after this most recent school shooting, and I have found myself SCROLLING more than usual- I guess as a form of searching for both relief and answers. 😞
Upon scrolling, I saw a meme of the 80's mustachioed dad tossing his bewildered 7 year old into the pool as his form of "swim lessons." Ha ha- so funny- so true (established 1976 right here), keep scrolling. Still smiling as my right thumb hovered over my phone, I felt a small nudge.
Kids who are brave.
Parents who allow kids to BE BRAVE.
Now I'm NOT thinking or talking about Uvalde, but I'm thinking and talking about the kids I see and know. The ones in my house. The ones in my neighborhood. The ones on my son's team. The ones in my son's acting group. The ones in their classes. My cousins' kids. My friends' kids. MY KIDS.
Last night I watched my youngest son do something SO BRAVE. It took so much courage to do what he did.
After his brave act, I asked him how he felt. He had mixed emotions (because his efforts were great but not PERFECT) and he was exhausted. I explained to him that what I loved the most about his endeavor was the COURAGE he displayed to even attempt his feat. Good, bad, perfect, terrible, wonderful, awful, whatever... he DID IT! And he did not give up. And he did not waiver. He believed in himself and he followed through without the
2022 SAFETY NET of PARENTS and SOCIETY.
But friends, are we the NET we think we are for these children?
Are we catching them when they fall or are we blocking the ladder to get to the scary top?
Are we so worried about their potential failure (and heaven forbid it being captured on social media) that we are keeping them from even DREAMING or BELIEVING or TRYING to reach for the stars?
Are we modeling GOING FOR IT and TRYING NEW THINGS or are we waiting on the sidelines watching reels of strangers going for it? Did we "see it on TikTok" or did we actually try it ourselves?
Are we letting them FAIL or are we making sure they SUCCEED at all costs?
Are we celebrating the lessons learned or only the medals won?
So I challenge you, Moms and Dads, Aunts and Uncles, Grannies and Nannies and Pappaws... talk to the children in your life about COURAGE and BRAVERY. Discuss success and failure at the supper table.
On the way to the "brave feat" last night, that same son asked me if some celebrity was a millionaire. My response: "I'm sure he is, but that doesn't mean he's happy. Ask that celebrity what matters to him, what he stands for, who he has helped in his life - that's a better question."
Give your dear ones a little wiggle room to make mistakes.
Let them have an original thought and better yet, AN OPINION.
Encourage them when they are frustrated, but please do not fix it all for them.
Allow them to clean up their own messes.
If I have learned anything in the past few weeks, it is that my children and the children in this world are BRAVE SOULS, braver than we will ever imagine. Let us unlock their courage and model resiliency after "failure."
Put your phone down.
Talk to the kids in your life.
Ask them what courage means to them.
SHOW THEM how to be brave.
I am still not okay after what happened in Uvalde, Texas.
I am okay with not being okay.
This post is not meant to belittle those events in any way.
I'm watching my children as they move through this.
I'm learning from them how to be brave.
School colors like black and gold
Marching bands with trombones
Or school colors like yellow and black
Lines of school buses
Bring excited August students back
School colors like green and white
Chalkboard and chalk
Now Chromebooks and a mic
School colors like Crayola in a pack
All the colors of the rainbow
Glue sticks, play-doh, and papers stacked
School colors like pink and purple
Little girls' hair bows and backpacks
On their devices playing IXL & now Wordle
School colors like navy and grey
Quarterbacks and point guards
Breaking records, making their way
School colors like off-white and beige
Tile floors and cement walls
Janitors mopping, cafeteria workers wave
School colors like baby blue and white
Pep rallies and pom poms
It's homecoming tonight!
School colors like silver and black
TURN THE LIGHT OFF!!!! BE QUIET!!!!
HE'S GOT A GUN!!!! DON'T LOOK BACK!!!!
DON'T MOVE- JUST BREATHE
NO NOISE - WE NEED
TO STAY QUIET, SO QUIET
COUNT 1, 2, 3
DON'T CRY, IT'S OKAY
YOU WANT YOUR MOMMY
SWEETIE JUST STAY
VERY STILL, SO VERY STILL
I AM NOT SURE IF HE WILL
COME TO OUR ROOM
POW POW POW
SCREAM SCREAM SCREAM
NOW NOW NOW
IT'S SO FAST, SO VERY FAST
IT'S SO LOUD, SO VERY LOUD
yet so quiet
and so lonely
am I frightened
or just zoning
out or am I in?
is it over? did we win?
and school colors
for blood shed
for those who died
for the marks on our souls
don't look back
School Colors, School Colors
I don't trust you anymore.
I am hiding behind a bookshelf with America's children on the floor.
comes every May
and with it comes some pain
Pain for those who watch from afar
Pain for those who were never the star
and sometimes, a feeling unnamed
This feeling of reeling from dealing with life
and school and kids and daily strife
There's work and marriage and laundry and dishes
and unfulfilled goals, broken promises, forgotten wishes
And all of a sudden we are all 16 again
full of both awkwardness & confidence
with our acne and our hormones
watching the principal hold the microphone
And we wait for our names to be called
and the teacher didn't call it
they didn't pick me
Pick me or my kid? What's going on in my head?
Am I rejected for their rejection?
Is this about me instead?
Oh Honors Day, dread Honors Day
I love you when you call my name
I hate you when forget about me
Wasn't I good enough? Don't you see?
The joke is on us friends
for life is its own Honors Day
Your boss, your friend group
they always pick who they want to stay
We want to belong
we want to matter
to feel seen and heard
But what I have just realized
What I have finally learned
Is that I throw my own Honors Day
EVERY DAY for myself
for my kids, for my spouse
WE are the trophy, WE are the shelf
I won plenty of ribbons
and plaques and awards
But they're somewhere in a box
And now my family is my sword
to keep fighting this fight we call life every day
so when your lovely looks up to you disappointed from Honors Day
just tell them, no SHOW them, about the true trophies in life
Like kindness and empathy and perseverance. Hold that baby tight.
Look right in their eyes and tell them YOU are their shelf.
And no matter how good someone measures them to be, they are HELD.
Don't push your sweet lovelies to climb to the top.
Let them be who they will be. Let them stop if they need to stop.
comes every May
and with it comes some pain
just let it go on and do its thing.
Don't let it determine the gain.
Brought to you by a trophy-winning, plaque-possessing,
16 year old stuck in a midlife body.
Honors Day is just another day.
Your sweet babies are the TROPHY.
Please be a kind and loving SHELF.
Top 10 Things I Love About Spring
Southland in the Springtime- that's a song by the Indigo Girls
in case you didn't know- check it out 🎶
Now I challenge you.
Think of what you love about spring.
Write it down or note it in your head.
And give thanks.
On our first day and our last day, we are all the same.
If you have a pet of any kind, you know the joy that pets bring into our lives. While they do come with a certain level of commitment and work, they offer benefits that far outweigh what they require of us.
Now that I am six years into my primary chronic illness, sarcoidosis, I feel like
I can discuss pet therapy with conviction.
Prior to becoming "sick," I always had a pet - from childhood on. It wasn't really until I became ill, however,
that I realized what my dogs had done for my mental health.
My physical health has also improved thanks to being a pet-owner.
Here are 10 ways owning a pet can help you with your chronic illness:
Charlie the Dachshund is always there for me. He will wait on me wherever I go and follow me no matter what.
He needs my help to get his food, water, and to let him outside.
It feels good to be needed by someone or something that doesn't really expect much in return,
ESPECIALLY with a chronic illness. I can be sick, tired, or both in front of him and not feel self-conscious.
I can tell him all my thoughts and fears, and he won't judge me. I can even moan out loud in pain or cry at
my medical misfortune and he doesn't flinch.
Instead, he meets me with loving kindness and is a steady force of calm in my daily life.