Category: confessions

img_0103They were supposed to come over for some chicken salad and swimming. You know, fun, casual, summer-Friday-type-stuff.

Instead we wound up lingering on the porch despite the 100 degree heat, asking each other general questions about what’s new, when we were all equally caught off guard by the tears that immediately started rolling down my face.

I laughed, a little embarrassed as I brushed away the freshest layer of wetness from my cheeks. Then I made a joke about how it was sweat and definitely *not* tears and shook my fist dramatically at the sweltering Oregon sun.

They laughed, but continued to sit comfortably with me, neither of them moving to change the subject or rushing me to explain my sudden display of emotion. They both know I’m a blurter and it’s only a matter of time until it all comes tumbling out anyway.

“I’m just not sure if I’m doing it right.

You know?

Any of it!

The mothering, the writing, the prioritizing, the expectations I’m setting for myself, my Yeses, my Nos, or the way I’m trying to hold them together loosely all at once…”

They waited. There was more. Because of course there was.

“I feel like I’m on this precipice, and my toes are hanging off the edge… and I don’t know whether I’m supposed to dive off or if I’m supposed to grip the edge harder.”

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Yes I know. It all sounds a bit melodramatic. But I can’t help it. You see, I’m neck-deep in a season of flux. Of transition. Of being in the middle. I feel one season slipping away, and another season not yet within my reach, and I’m not at all sure how to bravely inhabit the place I’m in right now.

My littles are becoming bigs and my role as their mother is shifting so quickly that I can hardly keep my bearings. I miss the simpler days scheduled around nap times, when the hardest thing I had to do was keep the 1-year-old out of the toilet and the 3-year-old out of my makeup. (Said with zero sarcasm, because we all know how hard that really is).

Meanwhile, my writing is changing from a hobby that I secretly played at, to a calling I’m taking seriously and a vocation I’m stepping into. Where I used to give myself free rein to play, to embrace my amateurism, and to throw my love of words around like confetti at a parade, I now tend to give myself expectations, timelines, and heaps of pressure to get it right. I’m still learning how to weave together that amateurish love of writing with the narrative that serves you as the reader. There’s a crossover, I think. There has to be. Because I feel a deep resonance when I write from that place. I hope you feel it too.

All my roles are shifting, and while that’s exciting, I worry a lot about whether I’m getting it right here in the transition. The pause between two notes. The split second of awareness between what’s behind and what’s ahead.

I think a big part of me yearns for those simpler mothering and writing days- when the stakes didn’t always feel so high. But there’s this whole other part of me that also yearns to up the ante and go all in. Get to the next thing.

I guess I’m still learning how to be “all in” as a mom and be “all in” as a writer at the same time. 

Because even though I’m on a creative path that feels right and rings true, even though there’s a deep resonance with this work that makes it difficult in all the best ways, I’m still constantly tripping myself up with hesitation. Fear of making a wrong step.

I’m caught between wanting to freeze time so I can enjoy these fun, independent, capable kids who no longer fit on my lap, and wanting to hurry up so I can grow my own dreams right along with them.

I think that’s why I was crying on my porch about the precipice, and wondering whether or not I’m doing this part right.

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Maybe you’re wondering too.

Maybe you’re here, in the middle of that thrilling and scary place, where you feel yourself voyaging between seasons of motherhood, of creativity, or of work, when all the lines are constantly moving and you have no clue how to stay inside them.

Or maybe you’re in that equally thrilling and scary place where, in the middle of all of that,☝🏼your dreams have come bubbling to the surface of your heart, and you can’t ignore them, but maybe you aren’t sure what to do with them either.

How does it all fit together?

How do we live this part well?

No seriously, I’m asking.

How?

Because so far I’ve only got one answer:

Rest.

Rest is the only way I know how to simultaneously recover from what’s finished and to prepare for what’s ahead.

As a family, we’re coming off an extremely busy season of school, sports, house-flipping, and projects. Personally, I’m coming off of an intense season of book proposal writing as well. It’s finally done now, (ALL THE PRAISE HANDS)… But, I also know it still needs some polishing.

So I have no idea if it’s right or wrong, but this summer I’m saying yes to precisely two things:

  1. Finding an agent and making my proposal the best that it can be.
  2. Soaking up moments with my family this summer through rest.

You may have noticed that things have been a little quiet here on the blog this summer. That’s because I know I can’t serve you well with my words, unless I carve out time to rest and be inspired first. So we’re pausing to eat popsicles in the pool with the kids, and play boggle and laugh at our weird dogs by the campfire. I’m jotting down notes and ideas for letters to you and I’m letting them percolate before I rush to my keyboard.

Don’t worry, this isn’t some kind of Dear John letter where I tell you I’m done blogging, “but there’s a casserole it the fridge and you’ll be fine without me.”

No, I’ll still be here, writing to you. I couldn’t quit you if I tried.

This is just me, inviting you into this space, and hoping we can be honest with each other about how we’re not sure if we’re getting any of it right.

It’s me saying I’ll be here, but we may not do any deep dives this summer.

Is that okay?

We may just keep it light and fun and talk about our Favorite Things (like a flip flop with actual arch support, because at 35, these are the things I am forced to investigate for us. Don’t worry, I got you, boo) Or like what to do for fun on a date night, or what happened on the Road Trip this summer… because let me tell you, this year was something extra.

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But before I go, I have to tell you about this thing that Sarah Bessey said last week. I came across it while I was writing this very piece about rest, and it was so heart-stoppingly simple and profound that I have to share it with you. She was talking about the power of faithfulness,  of staying, of not giving up on our creative work.

She said, “Cultivate joy and rest and renewal as an act of resistance.”

I can’t stop thinking about that last part.

An act of resistance.

Maybe the only way to push back against the questions, the pressure, the scary unknown stretched out before us… maybe it’s rest. Maybe it’s getting low and getting quiet and trusting God to lead us while we find joy in this brief moment on the precipice.

 

*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*

While our kids played in the next room, my friend and I stood in her kitchen, sipping coffee and talking about our dreams- in hushed tones peppered with nervous laughter, as if the very topic was somehow taboo.

Frivolous.

Indulgent.

Maybe even selfish?

“I feel like I’ve lost pieces of myself since having kids…” She spoke quietly, almost to herself, but her words echoed loudly inside my own heart.

I knew exactly what she meant.

I think in an honest moment, many of us would admit we do.

Motherhood, especially in those early years, can be an engulfing experience. It’s a deeply beautiful, life-giving (literally), and fulfilling role that some of us have always dreamt of, but there can be moments when it feels as if motherhood and the minutia of the day might swallow our identity whole. Like we’re constantly needed yet rarely seen.

We’re busy doing those million and one little things that we worry don’t matter, even while knowing, deep in our hearts they do. We teach, we train, we pray, we worry, we kiss, we rock, we soothe, we comfort, we’re filled up and emptied clear out 100 times in a day. We lose sleep and gain access to chambers of our hearts we never knew existed. We’re driven to the edge of our sanity and then pulled back again in one suddenly tender moment.

We ride that rollercoaster of fear and worry, pride and dismay, wonder and bafflement, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We love our life.

And yet…

We wonder about those pieces of ourselves that seem to have disappeared. Our audacity, our playfulness, our ability to dream. They don’t call. They don’t send flowers. They just slipped unceremoniously out the back door.

Will they ever come back? Read More…

Did you know that it’s National Honesty Day? Apparently it is. Apparently that’s a thing.

Is there like, a National Burrito Day that I don’t know about? National Don’t Do Your Hair Day? (Otherwise known as HairDOn’t Day)?

I just feel like if we’re going to give everything it’s own DAY, then we should be starting with burritos and ignoring our hair. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love honesty too. Real big fan over here.

Huge fan.

In fact, in the spirit of honesty, I thought I’d share a few *potentially* embarrassing things you might not know about me:

1) I have two recurring dreams:

* In the first one, my friend Poopie picks me up from the airport (because I’m a traveler, obviously. I fly places and do things and it’s all very glamorous) and when she pulls up to get me, she yells, “Surprise!” and points to the back seat where Amy Poehler is sitting. Then they both yell “Get in!” and I do, and then we all laugh hysterically the whole way home, just like I always knew we would.

* In the second one, I’m sitting at the dinner table across from my husband, when he casually tells me that he’s leaving me for Angelina Jolie. I am equal parts enraged and destroyed by this news so I try to speak or cry or yell, but no sound comes out. He is nonplussed and asks me to pass the potatoes.

I just now realized that both of my recurring dreams involve celebrities. Maybe I need to quit reading People magazine. P.S. My husband would never really leave me for Angelina Jolie. MAYBE Carrie Underwood… or that chick who played Rogue on X Men (why? I just don’t see it?), but definitely not for Angelina. P.S.S. He wouldn’t really leave me for any of them.

2) The only famous people I’ve ever been told I resemble are Mayim Biyalik and Jerry Seinfeld. So…that sucks. And okay, fine, Blossom is my doppelgänger, but I’d like to think that I have more of a Jerry essence than appearance.

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3) I answer to an array of nicknames including, but not limited to, “Poopie”, “Ambergesa”, “LadyBeauFontaine”, “Craig Tippie”, “Google Search Bar”, “Amberuski”, and  “Bombie”. I’m not sure if this says more about me or the people I’m close to.

4) I don’t have a sweet tooth, I have a carb tooth. NO ONE SEEMS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THIS AS A REAL PROBLEM.

5) I like to use old-timey phrases and my friends always make fun of me for it. I like to slip the occasional “hide nor hair” or “willynilly” into a conversation and see where it lands. One time at a BBQ we were all joking around and sipping cocktails when I used the phrase “don’t darken my door” and they all turned on me faster than a dog on a bone. They nearly ate me alive for that one. It’s been 5 years and I still get random texts baiting me into saying it again just so they can make fun of me for it at the next BBQ. My friends are nice people, its just not in our nature to let things slide.

6) This works out well enough, because teasing is basically how I show affection. (You should see how I make out!)

7) Everyone close to me knows me knows that I’m a bad driver. What they don’t know is that I’m actually a really good driver when I’m by myself. Unfortunately I have no way of ever proving this.

8) My mom thinks I’m a hussy. I wear a lot of V neck shirts. My sister wears a lot of crew neck shirts. This makes her the more appropriately clad daughter. Its fine. I know my own truth.

9) I have zero chill. I wreck myself all the time. You know those quieter, peripheral types of people? The ones who can read a room, rarely embarrass themselves, and tend to take it all in more than let it all out? I will never be one of those people.

If you are one of those people and you’re looking to be LESS chill, I wrote this for you ??

How To Have Zero Chill

10) I’m working on my first book proposal. This one falls more under the category of Potentially Embarrassing rather than Already Embarrassing. I’m proud of myself for going for it, but I’ve never done anything like this before. At this point I really can’t tell if I’m hatching brilliance or polishing a turd, but I’m almost done and I guess we’ll find out soon enough. It’s probably not smart to talk about it because what if it goes nowhere? But it doesn’t matter because I’m incapable of keeping things in. Refer to #9-?? Classic Blurter over here ??. I know no other way. Wish me luck, though?

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I’d love nothing more than to hear a confession from you!

Give me a juicy tidbit! Tell me an embarrassing story!

Come on! It’s National Honesty Day! Do it for your country?

 

*this post was sent from my computer and my heart*

 

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about blooming.

I know, how deep, right?

Thinking about blooming in the springtime?

Call someone call Oprah! Tell her to get out the overstuffed chairs and place them in the forest! It’s time to sit down and talk about how deep and unique I am for having a revelation basic to the human existence! (Btw, I never planned on referencing Oprah so much in my writing. It just happens sometimes so I’m rolling with it.)

Anyway, blooming- I’ve been thinking a lot about it.

Which is sort of new, because I don’t exactly have a green thumb- In fact, I’ve killed every plant that I’ve ever owned. Every single one. Even the succulents on my front porch, which I assumed were basically indestructible. After 15 years of attempting to have greenery in my home, the plant-killing became too much for my conscience to bear so I finally gave up.

I’ve never even been one to notice flowers, much less learn their names, how to care for them, or appreciate their unique beauty. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of cold, cynical monster who landscapes her front yard with exposed aggregate instead of grass, I guess you could say I’ve just never exactly stopped to smell the roses.

Until lately.

Last week flowers made me cry.

They weren’t even flowers that someone picked or bought or presented me with. They were just out in the wild. And by “the wild”, I mean that one island of trees in the middle of the parking lot at my kid’s elementary school; the one that runs the length of the carpool lane.

There were cherry blossom trees in full bloom there, in the middle of all that asphalt, bursting with so many pink petals that they covered the entire surface of the ground below.

It probably feels like I’m about to ramp up here into some metaphor about life springing up out of dead places or something, but that’s actually not where I’m headed. (Although, maybe it should be a post for another day? ??‍♀️Please mark yes or no and put in locker #7.) Read More…

This is a safe place, right?

I mean, we’ve talked about everything from sex, to mothering, to bikini-waxing, and beyond. We all know each other pretty well by know, don’t we?

Actually, now that I think about it, it does seem like you guys know a lot more about me than I know about you.

So if you could each go ahead and email me a short essay revealing your deepest desires and most embarrassing moments, that’d be great.
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Cool, now that we’ve agreed on that, there’s something else I’ve been wanting to talk to you about. Come close and huddle in, because this one is, how shall we say….one of my “less delicate” posts.

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I should start by telling you that I recently turned 35.

On the one hand, life is beautiful. I have a husband who’s loved me well for 15 years and he knows the exact movie quote that will communicate his feelings to me in any given situation (because, priorities! ??).

I have two healthy, spunky kids who fill me up and empty me clear out 10 100 times in a day.

I have a local community of friends, a dream I’m working towards, and Jesus by my side.

Great. Grand. Wonderful.

Nothing to complain about here.

Unless you count the totally unexpected and seriously WHACK things that are starting to happen to my mid-30’s body. 

Things are changing y’all, and they’re changing fast.

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Read More…

Well I’ll be darned if isn’t my favorite time of the month!

It’s time to talk Favorite Things and then to give one away!

Are you ready?

? Let’s Play Oprah! ?

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Before we get started I do need to make a confession.

Remember a couple of months ago when one of my Favorite Things was my Erin Condren personalized planner?

WELL.

I have a whole new paper love in my life.

This new love runs deep. It happened slowly and all at once and now my heart cannot deny it. I want to shout it from the rooftops, I want to monogram our initials together on bathroom towels. I want to get weird like Tom Cruise and jump on Oprah’s couch. The flames of this fire cannot be quenched.

I’m talking about my new Bullet Journal. 

Startup Stock Photos

Read More…

I recently turned 35.

While it’s officially the oldest I’ve ever been, I decided to do something that felt admittedly…childish? No, that’s not it.

Indulgent?

No. Thats not it either.

I don’t know.

Let’s just say it felt wonky, but in the good kind of way.

Even though it was freezing cold I went outside to sit on my back porch (because being outdoors helps me think) and I brought my favorite spiral notebook- the one that reads “Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You” in shiny metallic gold lettering across the front.

It’s the notebook that currently holds all my most important words.

My ideas.

My notes.

My outlines.

My reminders.

My inner monologue.

It’s all there.

But I realized there was something MISSING from the book. Something so important that I can’t believe I’ve never bothered to write down.

My dreams.

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As I sat on my porch casting vision for the year ahead and reflecting on the year behind, I realized that 2016 was full of surprises. As I’ve told you here before, my “One Word” for the year was “Yes” and God certainly wasted no time using it to draw me directly outside of the comfort zone that I’d carefully created for myself.

Remember on Inside Out when Joy draws a circle for Sadness and tells her that her only job is to STAY INSIDE THE CIRCLE? It was kind of like that except I’d drawn my own circle,  labeled it Comfort Zone, and planted myself there like a fool. We could really get deep here and talk about Joy and Sadness and how in reality, comfort zones are the easiest place to become miserable, but we honestly don’t have time for that today.

The point is, all of that changed the moment I began saying YES. Read More…

Well folks, can you believe we’re already halfway through January?

^ Apparently I like to start off my blog posts by highlighting the obvious. It really helps me get those creative juices flowing, you know?

Anyway, January.

I love it and I hate it.

January is the best because it is the freshest of all the fresh starts. Lord knows I love a clean slate. Regardless of whether it’s a new workout program, a writing project, or that whole ‘meal planning’ thing I keep hearing so much about (what sorcery is this?), I’m the queen of “I’ll start on Monday”, or “Next month”, or “Tomorrow. Definitely tomorrow.”

So the allure of a whole new year, stretched out before me, full of promise and good intention is more than enough to make my organizational little heart go pitter patter.

On the other hand, January is also kind of the worst. The weather is dreary, the days are short, the magic of the holidays has faded, and our bank accounts are still recalibrating from Christmas. Summer is a distant mirage, Spring hasn’t sprung yet, and we find ourselves in that weird, cold, grayish area of the year where we feel like we have a lot to do but not a lot of motivation to do it.

Or is that just me?

Don’t answer that.

Anyway, I can’t think of any better cure for the January Blues than a rousing game of Let’s Play Oprah.

If you’re new around here, this is a series we do once a month, where I share with you guys 3 of my most “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then at the end of the month I give away one of those things! To you guys! Because why not?

This series is purely for fun, and my absolute favorite part of the whole thing has been getting to know you all on a much more personal level. (Besides sending prizes in the mail. I really love that part too.)

The amount of interaction from you guys on these posts has been a completely unexpected delight. It turns out that you love to dish about your favorite things and chase the fun just as much as I do. So please keep joining in and telling me all of YOUR favorite things either by commenting on this post, emailing me back, or by sharing/commenting on social media using the hashtag #letsplayoprah.

Okay, are you guys ready? Because it’s time.

Let’s Play Oprah!

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Here are my Top 3 Favorite Things this month: Read More…

I’m not sure where you find yourself reading this, but over here in Oregon, we are still smack dab in the middle of a Snowpocolypse.

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And after 23 days of straight togetherness with my little people there are only two things I have to say about this:

  1. Oregon, you are beautiful to look at. Stunning, even. You are such a show off with your wild mysterious rivers, your wide open prairies, and your jutting snow-capped mountains. I love you. You’re gorgeous.
  2. But if you don’t calm down with the snow and the cancelled school days I am going to move away and never look back. I hear Texas is real nice this time of year. I’ll do it, I swear.

Read More…

Well folks, 2016 is officially over.

Between the election (don’t worry, I’m not even going there) and everything else that happened (side eye to you Brad & Angelina), let’s all be real here: It was a bumpy ride, yes?

But take heart, dear readers, because it wasn’t a total wash.

We did learn a few things along the way.

Things like…

CHECK YOUR JUNK MAIL

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I cannot tell you how many times this year I sat wringing my hands, checking my inbox, or even foolishly ignoring it, ultimately having no clue that emails were just sitting in my junk mail collecting dust. And I don’t just mean Old Navy ads and those pesky emails from the dealership where you bought your Chevy Traverse 4 years ago.

I mean like, important emails.

“Oh, that editor actually wants to have lunch with you and she needs to know if Wednesday works? Cool, cool, cool. You should probably just sweat bullets, assume she’s never going to respond, and that you’ve clearly made the whole thing up, only to discover at the last minute that she had emailed you DAYS ago.”

“Oh, you’re going on a podcast and you’re wondering what the questions will be, but you’re not sure if it’s kosher to ask? You should probably just wing it, only to discover 17 minutes after you nervous-talked all that nonsense about your recurring Amy Poehler dream to your gracious interviewer, that he had, in fact, emailed you offering to show you the questions ahead of time.”

“Oh, you just yanked your two grumpy children out of bed and hauled them to school because you didn’t see the email from the school district about the snow day?” In the famous words of Adam Sandler in the Wedding Singer, “This information would’ve been useful to me yesterday!” 

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People of the Internet! Learn from my mistakes!

CHECK YOUR JUNK MAIL.

Regularly. Read More…