Saturday, August 30, 2014

What I'm Into (August)

August wasn't all bad. (See my past two posts to understand what I mean by that comment.) There were some good parts. August is always a good and hard month for me-- we face the end of summer (bad!) but ease into a routine that involves large blocks of time for me to write in silence because the kids go back to school (good!). We have our oldest and youngest birthdays AND our anniversary in August (good!). But we also deal with heat and humidity here in the south (Bad!). In short, August is the month of emotional whiplash-- I'm happy! I'm sad!

My baby is 9. Nine. How can that be?

So without further ado here is what I was into this month-- the good stuff and only the good stuff. Because it's about time I bring some uplift to this here blog.

I love this interview with Andrea Logan White, one of the stars of Mom's Night Out. I got to see this movie last winter and was totally remiss in sharing it with you guys. If you've not seen it, I definitely recommend it. And it's safe to watch with your whole family. It's available on dvd Sept. 2nd (this Tuesday!), so you can curl up in your jammies on your couch to watch-- my personal favorite way to watch a movie, if I'm honest.

And speaking of movies, my whole family loved When The Game Stands Tall. I typically don't like sports movies, but this one was an exception. And the best part was we all liked it-- from the 8 year old to the 20 year old. That's not usually the case. Go. See. It. And be inspired.

Not a great photo but see how close he was? Amazing.

For our anniversary we had FRONT ROW TICKETS to see David Gray. His new album Mutineers has been on constant play in our house and cars this summer, becoming a sort of soundtrack of the season. Snow In Vegas, Back in the World, Gulls, As The Crow Flies etc. are the songs I will always associate with this summer. So it was amazing to see him live and up close. And the best part is, he's coming to Charleston SC in October and we got tickets to see him there too! It was the only way I could deal with that concert coming to an end-- knowing I was going to see him again real soon. If I had my way he would move to our town and perform locally every weekend.

I also accomplished a bucket list item this summer-- 2 actually. One was to grow my own tomatoes. I shared about that earlier this summer. The other was to grow mammoth sunflowers and they bloomed this month. I planted them in different areas of the yard but they only came up in one. Needless to say I had to get a photo to preserve the occasion. Sunflowers make me happy.

This thing was mammoth. See the white bit behind it? That's the top of our house.

I shared what I've been reading over at She Reads' What We're Into post if you'd like to see the books I've enjoyed this month. Plus my She Reads partner Ariel shared about a super fun weekend I got to take part in with her that was all about reading and writers and story-- my kind of weekend.

This Labor Day weekend I intend to spend all the time I can soaking up the last of the view below, which is what I see from my lounge chair at the pool, looking through the fence at the lake beyond. It's a peaceful view to me, and I'm going to miss it. I always do. There might even be a few tears when we watch the lifeguards close up the pool for another year. Saying goodbye to summer is hard-- and August has been about enjoying every minute we have left of it.

This photo doesn't do it justice but it's quite the serene setting

I will leave you with this video montage put to the music of David Gray's song Last Summer. Because summer of 2014 is, as of this weekend, officially "last summer." Fitting. Enjoy the music-- I know I do.

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

In Thanks

A quick thank you for the lovely comments and sweet notes in response to my post yesterday. After reading it my husband called me and said "That was pretty raw." (He was surprised as he's been challenging me to be more real here, but I don't think he thought I actually would.) I agreed that it was pretty raw, and for a moment I felt weird about it, but then I remembered my resolve, my promise to myself.

One of the things I'm trying to do is to not only show my best side here on the blog. It's easy to only show the happy, the joyful, the positive stuff. The happy kids, the golden moments, the domestic bliss. But I think that can be deceptive and discouraging. It can send out an incorrect message and make others think that it's possible for other people to have it good all the time. If all I share is the good stuff, then how will you ever know I have bad stuff too? And yet, on the flip side, if I share too much bad stuff then I become depressing and a drag and you guys don't read anymore.

So I'm looking for a balance.

I've had several private notes of thanks for what I said yesterday-- notes along the line of "I needed to know someone else feels like I do. It's good to know I'm not alone." Which is why I wrote what I wrote. As I wrote I knew that there was at least one other soul out there who just needed to know that someone else felt it, saw it, and was hurt by it. Turns out there was more than one. I heard from people who were grieved by the loss of Robin Williams, people who were struggling with a string of bad things happening, people who are troubled by the headlines, people who had to say goodbye to a child going to college, and people who are dealing with financial difficulties. There are a lot of people hurting out there, and that can be hard to admit, hard to say out loud. So I decided to go first.

To all of you, I offer the same grace and hope I'm seeking. May we seek it-- and find it-- together.
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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All The Faith I Have

I am not going to lie, life has felt pretty awful lately. (How's that for a first line after a month of silence?)

As I ran yesterday, I told God how I felt about it-- how it just all feels like too much. It took until this morning until I heard back from Him. He reminded me that in this world I will have trouble. So I asked, "But this much? Really?"

I'll let you know what I hear back. But I suspect I already know the answer.

Yes, this much. This terrible, awful, brutal, unfair world we live in... isn't going to change. Things are going to keep breaking and cost money, and people we love are going to leave us-- by their choice, or not-- and disease is going to be rampant, and time is going to keep whizzing by, and it's going to rain on days we need it to be sunny, and we're going to hear no when we want to hear yes, and there are going to be boring meetings to sit through, and whiny children, and there is never, ever going to be enough money.

The past few weeks have felt especially terrible to me. Maybe it's because summer is ending and that always makes me inordinately sad. Maybe it's because I've had a string of disappointments on the writing front (suffice it to say there will be no summer of 2015 book... and I've spent the summer adjusting to that fact). Maybe it's because an actor I loved more than I realized chose to end his life, and broke all of our hearts in the process. Maybe it's because the bad news just seems to be freaking everywhere these days. Beheadings and weird weather patterns and vicious viruses and the untimely loss of the husband of a writer I don't know, but whose work I loved. Her eulogy to her young husband keeps on breaking my heart.

Maybe it's because the start of college and school has broken our bank, and left me feeling broken to boot. Add in a couple of unexpected expenses and we are wrung out. Every year I forget what it takes to get them all back in school-- logistically, financially, emotionally.

And I'm not sure how much more I can take, which brings me to this morning... and tears... and a desperate cry to God, three words I don't utter nearly enough: "I need You." The thing is, I'm not even sure what I need Him for at this point... provision? Yes. Solace? Yes. Control of uncontrollable circumstances? Yes. Inspiration? Yes. I am just... needy. All around.

And so I sit in my quiet house (quiet now that the children are tucked away in school) and I ask for... the thing I don't know I need. The thing I can't name. But I trust that He can name it. And provide it. And that is, I guess, all the faith I can ask for today. It is all the faith I have. But I think it might just be enough.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Break

Summer is ticking away and I don't have much time left to enjoy these long, lazy days free of schedules and demands. 

So, I'm taking a break from blogging until my kids head back to school. I plan to spend lots of time at the pool, reading, and maybe finding a few adventures to get into. Mostly I just want to enjoy the rest of the time we have left. Summer is always too fast. To borrow a line from Aerosmith, I don't want to miss a thing. 

I'll see you in a month! 
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Monday, July 14, 2014

Intentional Mondays

Quote: "Within your heart keep one still, secret spot where dreams may go, and, sheltered so, may thrive and grow where doubt and fear are not. Oh, keep a place apart, within your heart, for little dreams to go." Louise Driscoll

That's what I'm trying to do lately-- find a spot in my heart for my writing that has its own sheltered spot where doubt and fear are not. Thanks to Ariel Lawhon for knowing I needed that quote this past week!

Listening To: The Sirius XM 80's on 8 top 40 countdown from this week the year I graduated from high school. What a fun summer that was! Lots of memories of misadventures with my three best friends who are, thankfully, still part of my life to this day.

Write Every Day: I have added this back because I have been writing every day. I can hardly believe it. I'm enjoying it, too. Which is the best part. It's too early to tell if this will become an actual novel that can be held in one's hands. Right now I'm just letting the story unfold.

Sharing Stories: On my reading docket for this week is Landline by Rainbow Rowell and One and Only by Emily Giffin. Here's hoping I get them both read this week! My 8yo daughter is working her way through a new children's book called Quinny and Hopper and my 12yo son is reading The Cabinet of Curiosities: 36 Tales Brief and Sinister.

Randomness: I spent three hours on the phone the other night catching up with an old friend. She was one of my first mom friends and our three oldest children are all within a few months of each other. They moved away and we lost touch for a while so it was so fun to see what she's been up to for, oh, the last decade or so. (Hence the three hour conversation.) Old friends are special.

In The Kitchen: What are your favorite summer lunches? My kids eat so many sandwiches during the school year that they just about refuse to eat them during the summer. We've been doing whole wheat wraps with lettuce, tomato, avocado and deli meat with a splash of vinaigrette, nacho platters, Ramen noodles, egg salad, rice cakes with peanut butter and fruit, and of course leftovers. I've found myself cooking more than we'll eat just so that there will be some leftovers as a quick go-to lunch. Noon finds me most every day in the kitchen for a good hour or so making sure my people are fed. This is a part of summer I forget about every year until it is upon me.

Plans: I've got some fun plans I will share later, with pictures if all goes well. I won't be around on the blog much this week because of that.

Loveliness: The other day I ran past a huge, blooming Magnolia tree. I had to pause and just inhale. I was glad I live in a place where Magnolia trees are abundant and their lovely fragrance wafts through the air.

Photo Of The Week:

Why yes that is fried squash, the proof that I actually made it for the first time ever. And it was SO good. I am inordinately proud of myself for making something that intimidated me. I think it's good to tackle things that intimidate you from time to time. Like climbing a mountain, writing a novel, surfing, speaking in public or... frying things.
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Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Product Spotlight: How To Write Your Memoir in 30 Days

Ever thought about writing a memoir? Would you like to do it in 30 days? Here's more info on a new book that can help you do just that!

How to Write a Memoir in 30 DaysStep-by-Step Instructions for Creating and Publishing Your Personal Story
By Roberta Temes, PhD
Published by Reader's Digest
Paperback: 192 pages
March 18, 2014; $14.99 US/$32.00 CAN; 9781621451457
"You should write a book."

Everyone has a story to tell. If you've ever thought of sharing yours but don't know where to begin, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days gives you the perfect framework. Step-by-step techniques, culled from writers' workshops taught by the author are presented in a series of fun writing exercises, including:
  • crafting your three-sentence memoir
  • identifying an incident that changed your life
  • creating stirring scenes 
You'll figure out the major themes of your life, mine your memory for dramatic incidents, stitch your assignments (and diary entries, blog posts, and other writings) together into a compelling plot, and polish your prose into believable dialogue and exciting action. The book also includes quick "clear communication" lessons about spelling and grammar, plus information and advice about different publishing paths. Simply follow the daily directions and in just one month you will have a memoir ready to submit for publishing.

Whether you're a seasoned writer or a novice, dream of hitting the bestseller lists or just want to pass a little wisdom on to your grandkids, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days is a fun, easy guide to writing the Next Great Memoir -- yours.

Author Bio
Roberta Temes, Ph.D.
 is an accomplished author, editor and writing instructor, as well as a seasoned psychotherapist and psychology faculty member. She lectures around the country at corporate meetings, medical conferences and health spas. Dr. Temes' newest book, How to Write a Memoir in 30 Days is available now on Amazon and everywhere books are sold. She is also the author of the award-winning Living with an Empty Chair and The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hypnosis.
Temes lives in New Jersey and Florida, with her husband David Lyons, a university financial systems consultant. Temes is a mother and grandmother, too. For more information please visit
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Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Word of the Week Wednesday

  1. a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement
It's that time of year... summer boredom is probably starting to take root in your home. You might've heard the familiar refrain, "I'm bored," a time or two in your house by now. Those children who couldn't wait for school to be over might be like the Israelites, looking longingly back at Egypt, recalling that things weren't so bad there.

But what about mom? Can moms struggle with ennui? And I'm not talking about being busy. Being busy with mindless tasks-- running children from point A to point B, grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.-- can take up our time, but does it take up our minds? I think you can be busy but still struggle with that "feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement."

It's that last part that is key.

It's that feeling of not being excited about what you're doing, not being engaged or passionate, your whole life caught up in a never-ending round of rote tasks with nothing to celebrate, nothing to be excited about. We all struggle with it from time to time.  Life has boring parts. There are seasons of stagnation. Sometimes there is simply no avoiding it. But there are things we can do to change the situation when we see ennui taking over.

Here are a few:

Get creative-- actually tackle one of those things you pinned on Pinterest

Get writing-- write about what you feel, let the truth find its way out of the end of your pen

Get outside-- taking a walk in the great outdoors can unexpectedly inspire you. Fill your lungs with fresh air. Notice God's infinite creativity, His attention to detail and beauty. Be inspired to do the same in your little corner of the world.

Get active-- exercise can release endorphins that re-activate your passion, your joie de vivre, your energy level.

Get in touch with your passion-- do one thing towards something that means something to you. Just one thing, no matter how small a step. Take the step.

Get back-- to whatever prompted you to choose the life you're leading. And if you don't feel like you chose this life, figure out what you can choose within it. And then do those things.

Don't let ennui win.



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