Hey, Hi! It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. I mean, really chatted.
I miss you.
What’s new? What’s good? What’s hard? Or- to borrow a question from my dear friend, Melissa Blair, “How’s your head? How’s your heart? How’s your butt?”
She somehow always knows how to cut right to the heart of things and she also knows that question will sufficiently cover everything I need to talk through. I always love it when she asks me.
So before we catch up and I tell YOU the answers to that (because that’s a normal thing, right? To blast that stuff all over the internet?) I want to ask it of you.
Blogging is weird in that the writer tends to do most of the talking, but whenever I write these end-of-month letters (or any letter for that matter) I always think of it more like a relationship. I’m writing them TO YOU. I’m always thinking of you on the other side of this screen. I have no desire to just throw my words out into the cosmic void (extra points if you got that You’ve Got Mail reference).
Okay, where to start?
It’s been a busy season for sure. In October we traveled to Palm Dessert for a wedding and welcomed a new sister-in-law into the family. It was gorgeous weather and an even more gorgeous ceremony. I mean, I feel like all weddings are lovely on some level. But you know how some weddings are just… extra? This one was extra. I think I still might be dehydrated from all the happy crying I did.
Jax & Bella were in the wedding and seeing the photos from that day completely stops me in my tracks.
Do you ever trip out on how old your kids actually look? Because in your mind they’re frozen at a specific age? My kids are 9 & 11 now but in my mind’s eye they’re still those little cherub-cheeked, pot-bellied toddlers with curly hair and a chipped tooth.
Life happens fast, y’all.
Aaaand moving on before I cry… Bonus to having a new Auntie? Sleepovers y’all! Tonight we’re shipping them both off to their Aunt & Uncle’s house and having a leisurely date night then handling Christmas shopping/wrapping in the morning. Score!
Since we were already going to driving 15 hours from Oregon to So. Ca. for the wedding (Yah. YA HEARD- 15 hours) we decided to hit up Disneyland while we were there which in my opinion is always a good idea. I never experienced Disneyland myself until I was more grown up so seeing the magic of it through my kids eyes never fails to get me all up in my feelings. I just love it.
November didn’t slow down much- we had a weekend trip to Portland with our dear friends where we shopped, hit up a Blazer’s game, and played a lot of cribbage in our sweats at the airbnb (what can I say, we know how to party). The next weekend was my 37th birthday and since our plans to see Justin Timberlake in concert were foiled due to his bruised vocal chords (blurg) we packed up and headed out of town anyway. We ended up in Bend and spent a lazy weekend sleeping, eating way too much good food, and once again playing way too much cribbage. Guys, I have to say, my older self is so much more of a homebody than my younger self, and I am NOT MAD ABOUT IT! Any day when I get to stay in my stretchy pants and not leave the house is a good day in my book.
Thanksgiving was nice and mellow- we hosted again and for once I didn’t feel a pressure for it to go any certain way. It was pleasant and peaceful and there was homemade mac n cheese, which is all I could really ask of a holiday.
Every year we take a family photo on our front porch and I can’t get over how much taller our kids have gotten in the last 4 years. Pretty soon they’ll be the ones standing behind us with their hands on our shoulders instead of the other way around.
So December is here and I can hardly believe it. I still feel like school just started 2 weeks ago. I always tend to get quite introspective around this time of year. Thinking about all that’s happened in 2018, looking ahead to 2019, praying, planning, dreaming, and asking God where he’s leading me next.
It’s been a pretty epic year for me actually.
I’m really sorry I just said epic, but that’s how it feels.
It was my Daring year and I’m still discovering all the ways that word played out for me over the last 12 months.
A year ago as I was trying to decide my word for the year I made a list of all the things I wanted and hoped and dreamed for myself. It was a long list and some of the things on there I’ll keep private, but some of them were things like
- Start a podcast
- Lose 30 lbs and find balance in my health & fitness
- Start bringing in an income while working from home
- Schedule a family vacation
There were of course, other, more nuanced goals like
- Care less what other people think of me
- Exist in the realm of possibility with God instead of always being suspicious of the good things he has for me
- Lean in to the creative process, especially when it’s hard
I recently pulled that list out and was shocked at just how many of those things have happened for me this year. I really do think there’s power in naming those things. Speaking them aloud to ourselves, to loved ones, to God. Or even just in writing them down. It makes them real somehow. It serves a private monument of sorts for me, a place to come back to and remember.
Remember what I wanted, remember how I felt, remember what God was nudging me towards, and then to remember all the ways he showed up in my life since then.
Out of all the work I’ve done this year (I did lose that 30+ lbs, I did start that podcast, I did start bringing in an income, and I scheduled not one, but two vacations with that income) I think the work that’s caught me most off guard in a good way has been my fitness coaching.
It wasn’t even on my radar. I’m someone who’s struggled deeply in the health & fitness arena over the years so I was plagued with thoughts of “who am I do to this?” But I’m learning over and over that so often our points of pain are the exact point we can serve others from. I have been so fulfilled and delighted by this work. I absolutely love cheering other women on in their own journey and walking through them with it. It feeds my soul and I never saw that coming. And then to be able to make $ doing it and turn around and bless my family with the work that already blesses me in the doing? YESPLEASE!
In the spirit of keeping it real I should probably also mention the work that caught me off guard NOT in a good way. It’s only fair, right?
You guys know I’ve been carrying around a book dream for a few years now.
I’ve been working on the book proposal now for an almost embarrassing amount of time. Every time I think I have that dingaling book wrapped up in a tidy outline it just slips right through my fingers again. The ideas and the words just jumble right back up. As soon as I think I have a clear vision for it, it changes and morphs again. I can’t tell if I can’t keep up with it, or it can’t keep up with me.
It’s been a frustrating process. Don’t get me wrong, there are flashes of glory, where the ideas and words just pour out of me, and obviously I have a deep-seated passion and love for the message of the book or I would have abandoned it long ago. But creativity is equal parts work and play and, well, this year it felt like a lot of work.
At this point the book is like a monkey on my back that won’t be tamed but also refuses to leave me alone. It’s just there, causing a scene and flinging poo at me all the time.
After a particularly stressful and difficult season in our personal life this summer, I was feeling too overwhelmed to do any deep creative work so I gave myself permission to let the proposal sit and breathe for a while. I quit fussing over it. I quit worrying about it. I just left it there, in my peripheral. It felt good to get some space from it.
I always say to “follow the love” and for me that looked like podcasting. Like speaking the message instead of writing it. And THAT has felt like pure joy. Sure, I’m still an amateur when I wish I was a pro, but I think sometimes we have to embrace our amateurism. To throw our love for the thing around like confetti at a parade. To create because we want to and because it’s fun. That’s what the podcast has been for me. Fun and joy and following the love.
But it’s funny how following the love can lead you right back to the work.
The book monkey has been tapping me on the shoulder again. I’ve wrestled with whether my timing is right. Am I just procrastinating out of fear? Or do I still need to give it room and time to reveal itself more clearly? Because as much as I wish it could, clarity, it seems, cannot be rushed.
I want nothing more than to see this thing through and find out it if it stands a chance out there in the publishing world. If the answer is no I think part of me will be devastated but the other part of me will be just fine. I really do believe a book is in my future. If it’s not now, that’s okay. I’ve got plenty of next right steps on the path towards it. If the answer is yes, I think I’ll be thrilled…and more than a little terrified. Because dreaming about something is easy, but actually doing it? Talk about higher stakes.
Anyway. I’m not sure what else to say about that other than: This is where I am in the process.
It’s lovely and thrilling and difficult and a little scary. As most good things are.
I’ve pulled my note cards and my proposal back out. It’s currently scattered across the floor behind me. I feel like I might be making some headway with it, but saying that out loud feels risky. So we’ll see.
Before I wrap up this already too-long letter, I just wanted to say that I really do appreciate you.
Thank you for inviting me into your inbox, holding space for my rambling, receiving it kindly, and mostly for being here. For sticking with me.
I love you guys so hard.
I’ve got lots of questions and ideas and plans for us in the new year, but for now, hit reply and tell me your things.
“How’s your head? How’s your heart? How’s your butt?”
*this post was written from my computer and my heart*