Yesterday morning as I was leaving to drive my precious daughter to school, I marveled at how the sun slowly rises over the hills and lights up the tree tops. The dull green of the morning suddenly becomes this brilliant orange, and I swoon.
And then this morning, the world was swirly and shades of blue, a completely different look, a seemingly different world.
Both are beautiful, even as different as they are. That’s how day to day life is. Different but beautiful. Yesterday held hope and relief, and today brought with it gifts and possibility.
Each day, I am inspired to breathe deeply and dive in, sometimes re-starting, sometimes marching forward into something new. Some days I bounce, and some days I crawl, but there is something in each day that inspires me, pulls me deeper into life, and begs to be…alive.
I am thankful for all the possibilities.
Today, I’ve been in awe of and inspired by several of my talented friends and their words, so I’d like to direct you to them from this point on. A little Wednesday Walkabout of sorts.
Recently at Klocke Photography –
I “lost” NaNoWriMo. It’s cool. I spent much more time working out the story in my head rather than writing it, but I’m OK with that because the last time I “won” NaNoWriMo, I ended up with not-a-story — just 50,000+ words that I can’t make heads or tails of. But the event did get this new story started and it is coming to life. So, really, I won!
This last week, I had the honor of photographing two different fantastic bloggers and their families — Kristen and Kira. How lucky am I? I also got to hang out with Kira and her family, go for a long walk, have a great chat about mothering, and eat a delicious dinner of NOT cow tongue!
I learned that I am hilarious…to four-year-olds. Now I just need to find a way to get them online and reading my work.
I’m thinking about blogging every single day in 2014. OK, I’m just kidding. We all know I can’t do anything every single day, unless it involves breathing, eating, and sleeping, although sleeping is negotiable. But I WOULD like to become more consistent. Maybe Choppy Thoughts* every Monday? Blog again at least twice more in the same week? Hmmm…we’ll see. (*Choppy Thoughts is a term I best remember Lani Diane Rich starting back in the day.)
What I wrote on MiddlePlaces.com today will probably offend someone. I expect it to but I hope it doesn’t.
–> ‘Tis the season to hear with love
It will never stop being my favorite thing in the world to sit among my children and have several different conversations while laughing the whole time.
I’m having a Cyber Monday Sale at Klocke Photography!
That’s all. Go out and live your Monday.
“My quiet, still peace is shattered by a phone call. My teenaged son is possibly in trouble. A close family friend is in the hospital. Alcohol poisoning. Somewhere in the jumble of my thoughts, I hear myself whispering, ‘But it was so peaceful today. Today was a good day.’ It is as if I need to convince myself of it, that it was good, it was, and now it’s not.”
Continued at MiddlePlaces.com –
“Give it time. You’ll hate the snow before you know it.”
As a Colorado newbie from the southern states, we celebrated snow the first time it poured down. We chased it and we played and shouted about it, sharing with all our friends. But locals warned us we’d grow to hate it.
And you know what?
We’ve been here seven and a half years, and I still love it. Sure, I don’t always love how other people drive in the snow, and I don’t adore shoveling snow (but man, what a workout — still, not feeling sad that we moved this summer and no longer have to shovel 33 stairs plus a driveway!), but the snow itself? The fat flakes of wintry goodness? THAT…I LOVE!
I stood outside today with my morning coffee as the snow rained down on me, watching my mutt and husky chase each other. I could almost hear their laughter…if dogs could laugh. Their joy was infectious, and as I watched snowflakes land in my coffee, I just smiled.
These are the moments. My cheeks were frozen, my fingers tingling (more than the usual), and the world was quiet, save for the “laughter” of the dogs. Flake after flake landed in my hot coffee, disappearing into its warmth. Yet, each flake, so small by itself, worked together with the chill in the air to cool my coffee. A thousand little moments make up a day and we miss them so often. But today, ah, this day of frozen world and white air, of tiny little works of art making up one big canvas of life, my heart remembers. To notice. To see.
To look up.
To look down.
To laugh at a dog who is without a care in the world.
To play in the snow as much as I’d play in the sunshine. To live fully every single moment. To drink up each second like the snowflakes in my coffee.
PS: For those who came in and skipped the words (how ARE you reading THIS?), here’s some more Hailey. Just for you. You’re welcome!
I pass her often as she walks through the park. Her back is hunched over with the weight of decades. She places one foot in front of the other, a shuffle dance with her partner, a silver walker with the expected tennis balls on the feet. She is often by herself, but other times she has a child dancing ahead of her or an adult chatting beside her. I wonder about her, what has caused her body to bend but not break, and her smile and hello to never cease.
Lately I’ve passed a second older lady out walking each morning. This one might be considered a spring chicken by the first, but she has definitely put in her time. She walks almost as slowly as the first lady, only she sees the world ahead from a more upright view, and she drags one leg. The frown upon her face can’t be wiped away with a “good morning.” She looks but doesn’t respond. Just keeps dragging that leg forward, her destination always somewhere different than mine.
A long life cannot be without its pains, but even the blessings are hard sometimes.
Next year, I will become a mother-in-law and a grandma. This baffles me, and the humor is not lost on me. As I face this mystery of who I am outside of being a mom, which I’ve been longer than most people my age, along comes two new roles — two new wonderful, beautiful but crazy roles! My conversations with my children these days are no longer about imaginary friends, what so-and-so did at recess, or answering never-ending questions. Now we chat about wedding plans, pregnancy, college classes, high-speed police chases (clarification: eldest is a cop — no one is getting chased by the police!), and “when I graduate high school.”
These are all such wonderful blessings – my three are grown (well, the baby is almost grown) and thriving, building lives of their own, and I feel like the first elderly lady, taking slow steps forward, smiling, but feeling hunched over with the weight of it all. Good weight. Blessed weight. But weight all the same. And I feel like the second lady, frowning with the pressure of passing time, with confused wonder about how we are here, now, in this time in our lives. I’m dragging parts of myself forward, unsure of my destination, unsure in general. I am happy, yet I am struggling. Blessed, yet feeling heavy.
Some I know bat around the words “midlife crisis” and then laugh. But no, it is just this huge change, learning to let go and move forward. Accepting, for example, we cannot go on in denial that the baby girl is four, because that’s an absurd (and mathematically very wrong) way to face her growing into a woman (a beautiful young woman who just continues to become more beautiful every single day). To hold her back in our minds only shocks the system more. Yet, like her brothers before her, I catch myself staring, baffled by how time has changed her – and them – when I feel like the same person.
This is the one thing I do well. Not perfectly, but well. I haven’t broken them or even scarred them (I hope). So the letting go and moving into the blessings of this new life is a struggle. I’m excited, yet…how is one a good second mother (mother-in-law)? How does one step into the role of grandmother though she does not make the decisions about the baby’s life? How does a mom mother without taxi service, carpool, requests for permission to spend the night, cooking and laundry and long talks about money and sex and life? This is all unchartered territory, and this is the part I’m too young for.
As I watch recent high school graduates (like my secondborn son) with their whole futures ahead of them, I feel a twinge of envy. I’ve been a mom for so long, I don’t know any other life. I am not afraid, yet my heart is confused. I am still just a girl, not some grown-up mom with grown-up children. Life is not without its hardships, but it is good, and yet I struggle, ambling down this road, trying to place one foot in front of the other, shuffling with time, my own constant dance partner.
My fingers hover over the keys. I type a few words, then backspace. Type new ones, then backspace again. I stare at the blank page, the bright white screen. The words are in my head, overflowing from my heart, in fact, but I struggle to give them life.
The blinking cursor mocks me. Or so that’s what I say to make myself feel better. Because the truth is, I’m scared. All the stories that live inside my head jockey for position, ready to be birthed, but my fingers hesitate, tremor slightly, fearful of false attempts, afraid to practice, to play, sure the words need to be perfect, that imperfections are unacceptable.
I hear time ticking, minutes marching boldly past me, a rhythm that catches the timing of my heartbeat, reminders that there are too many lost yesterdays, hours I can’t get back. Regret fills my soul and pours salt into the wounds of time lost. And so my mind is unsteady as it wars with the tumble of words that need release.
I settle instead for one-line laughs, status updates that can be imperfect and silly. I climb the wrong ladder, pursuing dead-ends, afraid of the real work.
What if I fail?
What if I succeed?
The scarier thought is success, because I understand failure. I’ve lived failure, learned from failure, but have found failure to be slightly too comfortable. But now electricity lives in my body, my nerves often humming along, and my heart is an open field of feelings, something I was once able to ignore and deny. The things that didn’t hurt before now sting. My own words often make me cry, tears welling up and blurring my sight while my fingers fly all the same. To write now — to share now — feels more vulnerable than ever before. No longer are my words written from some distant plain, but rather they spill out from my wide open heart. And I fear them. Because I feel them.
I take a deep breath, ready my fingers, tap the keys, and begin the process of bleeding onto the page. As the words pile up, I keep them, discarding not a single one. They say courage is being afraid but going forth anyway. So I muster all the courage I have and press on, hopeful, practicing, playing, and ignoring the regrets of yesterday’s lost words.
“There’s one thing your writing must have to be any good at all. It must have you. Your soul, your self, your heart, your guts, your voice — you must be on that page. In the end, you can’t make the magic happen for your reader. You can only allow the miracle of ‘being one with’ to take place. So dare to be yourself. Dare to reveal yourself. Be honest, be open, be true…If you are, everything else will fall into place.” -Elizabeth Ayres
Elsewhere: When less is more
“If you pass by the same tree every day for a couple of weeks, you might not notice its changes, moving toward a season of loss and then one of renewal. But if you pass it once, and then return in another season, the changes will be much more obvious.”
Continued at MiddlePlaces.com –