~ Guest Post by Karen Gavreau ~

Thanksgiving is a reflective time filled with gratitude for blessings.

We bullet point the many good things we are grateful for.

Thankful for health. Thankful for children. Thankful for shelter. And on and on. That’s what we’re supposed to do, right?

But in the middle of the night, when my insomnia and inspiration collide, I start thinking about the tough things I am also thankful for as a Mom – the less obvious ones. The things they would never put in a Hallmark card.

Midnight quiet can bring clarity. Read More…

 

~ Guest Post by Katie Carper ~

I recently had this conversation with my 10 year-old daughter, Selah:

S: Mom, you remind me of the pig from SING.

Me: In what way? (besides an elevated BMI)

S: Well, you take care of all of us like Rosita takes care of her piggies. She has a dream to sing and you have a dream to write. I want you to know it’s okay if we’re not your only dream.

Her sensitivity stunned me into silence.

Selah’s right. I can relate to Rosita. She’s married and works as a full-time parent managing her home and the daily needs of her piggies. She feels the tension of raising littles while trying to make her singing dream a reality.

My husband & I work hard to balance our roles as Dad and Mom while he works full-time at camp and I work full-time at home. I handle most of the household responsibilities and childcare, while he works outside the home, providing our main source of income. We do not take for granted this gift of choice in how we manage our home and raise our kids and we are grateful that we get to spend our days doing what we (mostly) enjoy.

BUT.

I also believe I was created to string words together into something meaningful. Parenting full-time doesn’t mean I forsake my other dream forever. It just means I have to be a little more creative in making it a reality now. Read More…

 

~ Guest Post by Abi Partridge ~

As I write this I am in the middle of a month where I have committed to write every day on simple creativity. This daily challenge, is motivating me to write because I can sit around thinking that I don’t have something to say, but just the act of putting fingers to keyboard is enough to prompt me to write something. To write something, anything, and most of it – some of it- will be helpful, encouraging to someone else – I hope! But it’s not easy, almost every day I battle with getting something down in words, and the truth of it is that I know some of it will resonate, some of it will hit blank ears. There may be some gems, there will be some duff posts. There will be some words that help someone, some that may hinder. But it is a process and I know that I will learn more about myself and my reader through putting the words out there. I write because I can’t not write, and I write that it may help someone else, because I can’t only write to get my words out. I write because my heart is to share what I know because I know we read to know we are not alone.

You can’t do this

I know some of you think: “it’s all right for you” –  “you have days of time with your children in school, you don’t have a job, you have time and space to be creative”. How do I know this? Because I’ve thought it too. I’ve done comparison and thoughts of “it’s all right for them but… I couldn’t, I can’t.” But do you want to know a secret? It’s not easy for me either. I do have children in school but if I don’t have the writing done by the time they are home then I lose out on the computer, my eldest son has an important school year and usually needs the laptop for homework. My husband also is currently between jobs and needs our only laptop for job applications and freelance work. I am also juggling applying for jobs – (writing doesn’t pay the bills yet), the stress of a life-changing situation that has caused much heartache, disappointment and doubt, and a home that we are never sure quite how long we are to be in it.

Behind every story, every creative’s work, there is a life going on. Read More…

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time then you probably already know about Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new here, (hey! hi!👋🏼) let me explain: It’s a game we play each month in which I share my top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give one of those things away to a lucky reader.

You’re always invited to share YOUR Favorite Things too, so I hope you leave a comment and tell us all what you’re digging right now. It can be anything- food, products, podcasts, t.v. shows, movies, drinks, music, clothes, you name it. There are no rules, except you must dish because that’s what friends do.

If you’re subscribed to this blog that means you’ve invited me into your email inbox which is a privilege I don’t take lightly, and also why I’ve decided that ALL subscribers are automatically entered to win the monthly giveaway. Forever. The only time your name comes out of the drawing is if you unsubscribe or if you just won (in which case your name goes back in 6 months later).

Sometimes I’ll spice it up by adding extra ways to enter, like commenting on a FB live video or over on IG/Twitter, but by far the easiest way is to subscribe by email, so if you’re picking up what I’m putting down, just scroll to the bottom of this post or to the right margin of the page and enter your email address!

Okay, now that we have all the business out of the way, let’s get to the fun stuff!

This month my 3 Favorite Things are: Read More…

Some days having a dream to pursue feels dreamy. But some days it’s like an elephant is standing on your chest; you feel a lot of pressure and you’re acutely aware that you’re dealing with something much bigger than yourself.

Can I be honest? Today was one of those days. I woke up and before I even opened my eyes I remembered that I’m carrying around a dream. A dream that suddenly feels as is if it weighs a thousand pounds.

I’ve tried putting it down, I’ve tried ignoring it, and I’ve tried shouldering it alone only to realize two steps further that I’m exhausted and not cut out for this nonsense because I’d definitely rather be watching Netflix.

As you might imagine, none of these tactics actually worked, so here I am with my book dream. We’re no longer strangers, startled to find each other there every time we turn around, but we still havent quite figured out how to co-exist, either.

We’re sort of just chillin’ here together, except nothing is chill and The Book Dream and I are either madly in love or completely at odds, depending on the day.

It’s all very dramatic, you see. Read More…

I can’t believe I’m showing you this picture…

But I’ve always said I don’t mind being the butt of a joke, as long as it’s a good joke.

And, well, this obviously was. I’ll give him that.

A few weeks ago I actually got Nate to come along and help me with some back to school shopping for the kids.

I set him loose in the mall for ONE hour and he came back to me wearing this👇🏼:

I’ll just give you a moment to really take in this horrible photo of me… sleeping, slack-jawed and frowning.

It’s just so great, isn’t it?

Isn’t that just so nice?

The thing is, he’s been collecting photos of me like this FOR YEARS. He has a whole arsenal of them actually, because every time we’re in the car for more than 20 minutes my face just automatically does that. It’s been a long running joke in our home because he’s been snapping photos of me ugly-sleeping and promising that “one day” he’s actually going to use them for something.

So when he came walking up to me in the mall wearing THAT ☝🏼SHIRT, it only took my brain about 20 seconds to register what he’d done.

Read More…

🍂 We’re officially on our 4th week of school over here in Oregon, and I’m just going to be honest and tell you that it’s taken me this whole entire month to find a Fall groove that works. I make no secrets about the fact that this is my favorite time of year and that is largely because our whole schedule gets a reboot. I love a fresh start and there’s just something about September feels like a clean slate.

The kids head back to school while I head back into my home office and regular gym time, meal planning, and coffee dates all become a thing again. But as much as I love the shift that Fall brings, pivoting too quickly out of our relaxed Summer mode can get a little dicey.

Unless I give myself and our family a little wiggle room during those first few weeks, all our high hopes and good intentions for a smooth transition will crash and burn.

It’s okay to indulge a short season of trial and error.

In the last month we’ve already changed the “plan” for our Fall schedule like 17 times.

It’s fine.

Each family has their own rhythms and what works for us might never work for you. I think the most important thing is to listen to the pulse of your own people and figure out what works best for YOUR home.

That being said, I thought it would be fun too share a few of our favorite Fall rhythms this year. It’s not a regimented and rigid thing- we don’t do all of these things every single day/week. It’s just a rhythm that’s working for us as a family right now. Feel free to take it, leave it, scoff at it, or borrow it. Read More…

 

~ Guest Post By Emily Allen ~

I stood in the back of a women’s conference session with six-month old baby (my first) on my hip. A content, but increasingly active baby, I swayed with her and nibbled the side of her neck every few minutes so she’d light up and giggle at me, batting me with her chubby hands. A few feet away, an older woman whom I greatly respect, who has always been warm and encouraging whispered to me, “Enjoy her now while she is little and sweet. Before you know it, she’ll be driving you up the wall, and you might not even like her.”

I nearly gasped. How dare she say such a thing?

I smiled awkwardly and offered a courtesy laugh, but I could not fathom such a day would come when I would be anything but smitten with this darling little curly-haired creature and absolutely everything she did. I was in the honeymoon phase of mothering; a new mom just beyond the challenging newborn days (my baby slept mostly through the night by this point), but still quite unaware of how demanding parenting becomes as a child grows.

Five more babies came after her, and as each of them reached new milestones, so arrived new perspective. Read More…

It’s baaaaaaaaack!

Let’s Play Oprah is finally here again which means it’s time to talk Favorite Things and then I’m going to give one away.

Maybe even to you!

I’m not going to lie- I’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of Let’s Play Oprah even more than I’ve been awaiting the return of good fall T.V. And you know how I feel about my fall T.V.

We took the summer off from it but I’m so excited to be back dishing about all my Favorite Things. I had such a hard time narrowing it down to the usual three because I feel like there was so much good stuff we didn’t cover over the summer- like Cobian flip flops (sooo comfy) or my new favorite color of bullet journal (nordic blue), or how I made it 35 years until discovering how funny David Sedaris’ books are- but there’s simply not enough time to go over ALL the things so let’s just get right down to this month’s list.

  1. My absolute favorite wardrobe go-to this summer has been this long floral maxi dress.

It’s loose, comfortable, and IT EVEN HAS POCKETS, Y’ALL! 

I just love dresses with pockets. I’m not even sure why? It’s not like I really put much in them. I guess I’m just a sucker for a look that says, “Yah I’m fancy. What.” while also saying,“Look how effortless I am!” at the same time.I feel like a dress with pockets really nails that particular message, you know?

Anyway, I own this dress in 4 different colors/patterns and the red one is my favorite but I wear all of them all the time. But do you want to know the best part? I got it for just 20 bucks! Twenty bucks! For a whole outfit! The length makes it perfect for Fall too, just throw on a cute cardigan and you’re good to go.

2. My second favorite item this Fall is this cute leather backpack from Gap.

I’ve been wanting to transition from a purse to a backpack for a while now but it’s so hard to find one that’s the right size and stylish. Too big and you look like you’re 12 years old, too small and you’ve crossed over into the 90’s-Clueless-mini-backpack-era. I know that the 90’s have come full circle and are supposedly the “cool” kind of retro again, but personally I’m not just there yet.

This backpack is the perfect size for a purse replacement, it’s sleek and simple, and YOU GUYS, it’s so comfortable to wear! I might never go back to a regular purse. No more shoulder pain on long shopping trips! No more stuff flying out and hitting you in the face when you bend over to tie a shoe or unload the car! I am liberated! Don’t even get me started on how perfect it is for travel.

3. My final Favorite Thing, and the item I’ll be giving way this month is this limited edition lipstick at Clinique called Capri Pop from the Jonathan Adler collection.

It’s technically a Lip Primer and Lip Color in one, so it lasts for hours and this shade is just so, so fun. I tend to only wear lipstick if it’s a playful, bold color and this fits the bill on both. I’ve worn it all summer long and I’ll continue to wear it into the Fall. It’s a perfect shade blend between a true red and a berry, making it surprisingly versatile to wear. I wear it with both pinks and reds and it somehow manages to match them all. It won’t be around for long as it’s a limited edition so I snatched up a few and I’m giving one away to a lucky reader.

If you’re wondering how to be entered to win, there’s two ways to make sure you’re in the running:

  1. Comment on this post either here on the blog, or whatever social media channel you found it on (Twitter, FB, IG). You can tell me one of your Favorite Things right now (I’d love to hear!) , you say “enter me”, or you can even just say Hi. Every comment counts towards the drawing. *OR*
  2. Click the blue lighted bar at the bottom of this page and enter your email address. Subscribing with your email gets your name in the drawing FIVE times instead of once, so I mean, if you’re the betting type then you’ve got to love those odds.

Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for my next Facebook Live, where I’ll go over all the items in person and draw a name from my big red bowl!

Yahoo! Blogging is fun!

You guys, September is here!

(I like to start out my letters to you by stating something boring and obvious. It just really gets those creative juices flowing, you know?)

But do you know what this means?

It means Fall is here!

Isn’t Fall just the best?

It’s my absolute favorite time of year.

Not because of pumpkin spice (ewe) or the cooler temps (yes please) or even all the football (I’m a little peeved after losing in my fantasy league last year. I was literally The Biggest Loser. I now drive with a license plate of shame).

No, I love fall because it is the biggest re-set of the year.

I loooooove me a fresh start.

All the things get an overhaul. The schedule, the routine, the bedtimes, the… okay I just realized that was three different ways to say basically the same thing. So I guess my favorite part of of Fall is just the fact that I get my structured schedule back. Sue me.

Over here in southern Oregon the kids don’t go back to school until Sept. 5th, which is apparently like, an entire month later than the rest of the world? I don’t get it. Not only are we always behind because of time zones, we’re also behind in just about everything else. Which is why fidget spinners only became a thing for us like, five minutes ago. There’s probably already a new Taylor Swift song out that we don’t even know about yet…

Anyway, I’ll just be honest and admit that normally by the last week of August I am so ready for my kids to go back to school. Like, packing-up-their-backpacks-on-a-Saturday-even-though-school-doesn’t-start-until-Tuesday-ready.

I start off the summer feeling like Leslie Knope on a Monday morning- full of hope and good intentions…

but then I end the summer a lot more like Sunglasses Amy, trying to care that she’s supposed to be hosting the Oscars right now. Read More…