Tag: confessions

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 thisūüĎáūüŹľ:

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 ‚ėĚūüŹľSHIRT, it only took my brain about 20 seconds to register what he’d done.

Read More…

 

~ Guest Post By Emily Allen ~

I stood in the back of a women‚Äôs 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‚Äôd 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, ‚ÄúEnjoy her now while she is little and sweet. Before you know it, she‚Äôll be driving you up the wall, and you might not even like her.‚ÄĚ

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…

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…

My friend Melissa¬†writes the best love stories. Her tales are enchanting not just because they’re real and true, but because her wonder of Love seeps through every word. For her birthday recently, she asked all the humans of the Internet to send her their love stories. Seriously- she really did that.

My sentimental, nostalgic heart jumped at the chance to write a love story of my own so I took her up on her offer. Husband and I went out that night, and over drinks we sat in a booth for hours recalling and retelling our own version of what happened between us 15 years ago. It was quite possibly the best date we’ve had in years.

I rushed home, typed it out, and sent it off to Melissa. She wrote me back at 5:30 am to say that she was crying on an airplane somewhere, because this story was beautiful and she thought that I should share it. I decided to leave it here for you guys because I think she’s right.

I think all love stories are important and worth sharing.

Here is what I wrote her:

“Dear Melissa,

I suppose if I’m going to tell you my love story, I should start by telling you that I too, have always been a lover of Love. I was a hopeless romantic with big ideas about what my story would look like, but one thing was for sure: I always took Love very seriously. In high school when my friends were trying on different loves like they were outfits, I was always too cautious to let myself go all in. Read More…

Hey, hi!

How are you, even?

I’ve been thinking about you guys a lot lately-¬†all you moms (and¬†dads!),¬†creatives, and dreamers. I’ve been wondering how it’s going for you. Summer, I mean.

It’s a tricky time, amiright? We want to slow down with our kids, we want to speed up with¬†our work, we want to remember to be present along the way. It can get a little dicey when all the kids-at-home and the work-at-home¬†priorities “cross mojonize”¬†for an entire season. (Bonus points if you can name that‚ėĚūüŹľ movie reference).

Dude, I get it.

I get it “big time.” (Double bonus points if you can name that¬†movie reference. HINT: ¬†Terrible Jamaican accent.)

Anyway, last time I wrote you, we talked a lot about this middle place between motherhood and creative work.¬†I confessed that I worry a lot about whether I’m getting it right. We also talked about rest as an act of resistance.

Ever since I came across¬†those words of Sarah Bessey’s:

– Rest… “as an act of resistance”¬†–

I haven’t been able to shake them. So I’ve embraced them.

I’ve been resting.

I’ve been having a relatively unplugged, undocumented summer… and can I tell you something? It’s been revolutionary. I’ve been off my computer and away from my phone more than I have in a long time. I’ve been living moments with my people and capturing them in memory only. And you know what? The world keeps spinning. In¬†a way, it even feels¬†a little¬†brighter and¬†more spacious.

And besides, does the internet¬†really need to know¬†that I went paddle boarding or rode a horse for the first time? Do they really need to hear about that or see pictures? (Answer: No, because it’s¬†decidedly not pretty.)

Don’t worry, this isn’t¬†one of those conversations about how terrible¬†social media is and how we should all post less in revolt…¬†Because first of all-¬†YAWN. And second of all, I honestly love¬†social media and I think it’s a fun, useful tool.

No, this is one of those conversations where we make room for the possibility that it’s allowed, it’s okay, and it’s even good, to let ourselves off the hook every now and then. To¬†rest and be a real person for a while. It’s okay to get off the carousel ride¬†and¬†go get some cotton candy and lie in the grass looking at the cloud formations with our kids. The ride will still be there. It’ll still be going round and round and you can hop right back on when you’ve gotten your bearings again.

Rest needs a full stop and it’s okay to take it.

I¬†don’t know… Maybe this is bad advice?

I can’t be sure. I mean,¬†deadlines and contracts and appointments are all real things that can’t¬†be ignored just because we want off the ride at the moment. I guess we have to account for that.

All I know is that rest has¬†been absolutely life giving for me at this juncture. For me, this juncture looks like the pause between two notes. It’s a quick refuel halfway through the marathon of my creative project. (Okay fine, if a marathon is 26.22 miles then¬†I’m probably¬†only like 2.8 miles in, which I’m pretty sure is technically less than half. Whatever. ¬†I don’t know. I’m bad at math.) The point is, I just googled how many miles a marathon¬†is, so obviously things are getting serious between us because I fact checked, and I told you the real truth of how far along I am.

No wait-¬†the point is, I’ve been resting hard over here and loving it,¬†but also thinking about you often.¬†I wonder¬†what your summer has been¬†like. Has it been full of rest? Has it been full of work? Has it been full of both? If so, I’d love to hear how you’re balancing it. What’s working for you? What’s not?

If it has been full of rest, then please share! What are you reading? Watching? Listening to? Learning? Feeling? Leave a comment, tell me your things!

Tag, you’re it. ūüėé

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

P.S. Because I hate to leave you hanging, the movie references were:

Austin Powers

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&

I Love You Man

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But you knew that already, right?

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.”

///

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.

///

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,‚ėĚūüŹľyour 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.

///

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*

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 doppelg√§nger, 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?

///

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? ??‚Äć‚ôÄÔłŹPlease mark yes or no and put in locker #7.) Read More…

People of the Internet! Are you ready to play our favorite game?

Because it’s time.

And I, for one, am VERY excited about this round.

///

 

Once a month here on the blog we get to kick off our shoes, relax, and settle in for some fun. (Because of all the things I want us to be, Fun-Havers is at an even tie with Big Dreamers). How it works is, we all get to Play Oprah by sharing our top 3 “Favorite Things” at the moment, and then end of the month, I give one of those things away!

Maybe to you!

It’s quickly becoming my favorite post each month, because I get to hear from you guys and find out all the latest scoop on what you love. I love getting to know you guys on a more personal level, and I especially love packaging up the giveaways, writing a little note, and sending real, actual mail to you.

There’s nothing like finding a package with your name on it in your mailbox, amiright?¬†Does it even get more fun than that?

Maybe if we were all sipping a glass of wine together.

So without further ado,

? Let’s Play Oprahhhhhh! ?

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My Top 3 Most Favorite Things this month are: Read More…