Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Whatever It Takes

Have you ever been in a position of having someone--a spouse, significant other, someone very close to you--ask you a major, "What if..." question?

I was having a discussion with a woman recently and she shared that she was struggling as the primary financial support for her family, burning herself out with work, home, juggling kids, trying to maintain her marriage, but at the end of the day, she's just left with worries about what would happen to the kids if something happened to her.

So she asked her husband, "What if I suddenly die?  What would you do to take care of them?"

His response?  "I would do whatever it takes."

I took this in, keeping my thoughts to myself, but couldn't help but think...

He says that if she was not here, he would do whatever it takes to take care of his children.  But why can't he do whatever it takes right now?  Why is his investment in his family's future--his investment in his children--contingent on her presence?

I have no answers, but it got me thinking about relationship dynamics and the hows and whys of one person in the relationship taking on the bulk of the burden while the other skates by.  Not healthy.  But all too common.

Friday, February 01, 2019


This blog, for a very long time, was my sanctuary.  A space to clear my head.  To work through complicated feelings and situations.  To laugh.  To breathe. 

More than anything, though, it served as the one thing I had that was just for me.  For reasons not worth going into, I started drifting in and out, going longer and longer stretches without writing.  This last stretch was definitely the longest. 

I need to be back here.  I don't know what I need to do exactly, but I know I need to be here.  To find joy in stringing words together and to find peace in making sense of things.

Here's to the handful of sentences breaking this writing dry spell.

Monday, February 22, 2016

When Your (My) Soul Goes Missing

I came across a quote today.

"When life makes no sense, you must withdraw to the sanctuary within.  Only in a state of peace will you see what you must do." ~Leon Brown

There are days, oh, so many days, where I do not find any peace within.  I'm ashamed to say that I don't remember a time where I ever felt what I consider to be true peace within myself.  I've had brief experiences of feeling peaceful, but I've always had an underlying sense of edginess, laced with anxiety, needled by despair.  I suppose I consider it part of natural human angst.  Some of us are more angst-y than others and I'm on the high-angst end.

I've found myself attempting to have conversations with God again.  About this.  About the angst.

It's not going so well.  And I accept my role in that.  I've been maintaining a stubborn difference of opinion with Him for a long time.  Longer than I care to admit.  Yet somewhere in the brokenness I feel inside, somewhere under the layers of angst and anger, there's a little spot...a sanctuary...that wants to make an appearance, and I feel a sense of urgency in trying to get that little spot out into the open.

Today is Day 1 of my inner sanctuary journey.  I don't know what it is, what it will be, or what outcome I may find.  But it's Day 1, just the same.

Saturday, August 15, 2015


My kiddo and I took a short trip earlier this week and along the way, we made a stop to enjoy the scenery.  This is one shot from a scenic overlook:

We got to talking about how so much of the land is "untouched".  She was musing that it really isn't "untouched", but maybe just that it hasn't been touched in a long time.  Even with the established farms, there was something that felt wild.  Free.  At peace.  

The air was so crisp and clean, and the green hills and fields were so lush.  It made me long for a simpler life...something far away from what I live on a daily basis.  

I tried to remember a time in my life when I felt untouched.  Wild.  Free.  At peace.  Exactly the way God intended me to be.  In my natural state.

Lately, though, I'm not sure who God intended me to be or what my natural state is--everything feels unnatural these days.  I've been floundering and questioning my whole existence.  Maybe it's my age, or life circumstances, or my kiddo growing up so fast.  I don't want to turn back the clock.  Going back and dwelling on the past doesn't change anything.  But I do wish I could capture that untouched part of myself and let her out to play for a bit.  Being a grown up gets awfully demanding and lonely sometimes.

Enough nostalgia and wallowing for one night.  Tomorrow is a new day.

Sunday, May 31, 2015


I have no idea where this quote came from originally, but I've had it tucked in a notes folder since 2013 and I remember reading it and thinking, "That's me."

"There was something dark below her surface and it kept her from being soft."

Looking at it now, I think it's still true, but maybe with a twist...there is something dark below my surface, but it keeps my surface hard.

Because I'm soft.  On the inside, where my deepest thoughts and feelings hide, I'm a total and complete softy.  I'm just trying to figure out how to let that side come out and play more often.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Thoughts on a Tenth Birthday

Today is my kiddo’s 10th birthday. I wrote her a note earlier and it got me thinking a lot about how much she has experienced in her first ten years. I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that it’s been ten years since the very first time I held her in my arms. It seems impossible to me that she’s no longer a baby—still MY baby (forever and always!), but no longer a tiny baby who physically fits in the space between my fingertips and elbow. No longer the baby who struggled to breathe her first breath, no longer the toddler being whisked to the hospital in the middle of the night because her lungs just wouldn’t work the way they were supposed to. It’s in her past. And that girl is gearing up for the future.

She is turning into such a strong and lovely young lady. If it seems like these first ten years went by fast, I can only imagine that the next ten will go by even faster. I don’t have to tell her that sometimes life can be very difficult. Cancer happens out of the blue, a body can turn on itself and go haywire, best friends suddenly aren’t, truth can get trampled by lies, and sometimes it’s hard to tell who to trust. She knows, fortunately or unfortunately, that we can do things right and fight for what we believe in, but things won’t always work out the way we planned. We can fight quietly and stoically, and we can fight loudly and kick up a fuss, but sometimes, the bad guys are going to win. Life is not a fairy tale. The bad guys can and do win. We may get knocked down. Hard. It’s okay to go down kicking and screaming, but it’s also okay to go down quietly. In the long run, I know that goodness, truth, and justice will come out on top. No matter what, during the time we’re down, we just have to remember to use the time to plan our next move so that when we rise again, we rise stronger and wiser. That’s something else I try to teach her—the difference between being intelligent and being wise. Intelligence comes entirely from the brain and is based on what we have learned. Wisdom, while it can come from the brain and be based in part on what we have learned, comes more from the heart and is based on experience and what we know deep down inside. Wisdom will prevail.

She has learned about being brave. She knows that being brave doesn’t mean never being afraid. It means it’s okay to be afraid, but making a decision to do what’s best in spite of the fear. It means doing what’s right, even if nobody agrees with you—especially if nobody agrees with you. We live by that saying, “Right is right, even when nobody’s doing it. Wrong is wrong, even when everybody’s doing it.” Being brave means making mistakes in life, but owning up to them and doing what you can to make it right. Being brave means saying, “I love you” and “I’m sorry”, even when you’re scared to say it.

My kiddo has a sensitive and loving heart and she demonstrates it every single day. She’s intuitive and gentle, with a splash of feisty, unwavering in her stubborn pursuit of what she wants, and full of hopes and dreams. A while back, we converted our spare bedroom into an art room. It had been her room when she was a baby, but when she was two, we moved her into the larger bedroom. She spends hours in that room, sketching and designing, sorting through chalks and paints, quietly singing to herself in the sunshine. She recently asked if we could paint the room a different color. I told her we could, but asked why she wanted to. It’s a happy color, the same Winnie the Pooh yellow that it’s been for the past ten years. She smiled and said that it’s not a bedroom anymore and she’d like a different color in there. As I was leaving the room, she quietly said, “Maybe a different color will help me not be so sad when I remember that it was supposed to be a room for my brother or sister.” When I turned to face her, she was looking out the window, thoughtfully gazing at our willow tree, biting her lip. I know she feels an ache inside. She had hopes and dreams and plans for being a big sister. That is not lost on me, just as my own years of hopes and dreams, though quietly kept to myself, are not lost on her. She looked at me then, those dark eyes so much like mine, seriousness with a sparkle of mischief. “I love you, mom.” Just like that, she went back to her easel, the moment caught in both of our hearts.

I’m pretty sure I’m doing okay at the mom thing, at least for the most part. I’m doing my best to make sure that she knows she’s loved every single day. She never has to be afraid of me, or my voice, or my hands. People and the world will knock her around enough. She doesn’t need me to demonstrate that. I will teach her to handle herself and remind her that home is her safe haven. I am her safe haven. My love is there forever. I won’t put her down or hurt her. My voice, my words, and my actions will not shame her. (Embarrass her? Maybe. Okay, probably. I do like to sing loudly in the car and she pretends she can’t hear me. And probably prays that we don’t drive past anyone she knows.)

I hope that I’m doing everything possible to help her look ahead and dream big while at the same time planning for what’s possible and real…and maybe planning a little bit for what’s impossible and unrealistic, because that’s part of the fun of living. And I hope that she’s always proud of herself, because I certainly am.

Ten years… “Loved you then, loved you still, always have, always will.” Happy Birthday, Baby.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Absence of Prayer

Despite being raised super Catholic, I don't consider myself to be particularly religious.  I do believe in God and I have a deeply spiritual side, but I don't feel the need to go to church to worship and praise or have a conversation with God.

That being said, I feel like I've forgotten how to pray.

I've been attempting to have a conversation with God (or whoever is listening) all week, and I can't seem to get past a few sentences before I just give up.

I don't recall ever having this problem before now.

I've been under an extraordinary amount of pressure in recent months and my level of anxiety is the highest it has ever been in my entire life.  I'm pretty tongue-tied on a daily basis, so maybe that's part of it.  I can't seem to quiet my mind enough to form a coherent thought--so I guess I'm mentally tongue-tied, too?  I also feel a little embarrassed about my prayers.  Mostly, I want to shake my fist and scream about how just about everything feels unacceptable, but at the same time, sheepishly ask God to help me figure out a way to make it all better.  Actually, in a perfect world, I just want Him to fix it for me right, I wake up tomorrow and it's all better.  I'm not going to wish for that, though, because with my luck, I'd wake up dead.  Hee hee.  Wake up dead.

I'm not doing so good in the "Let go and let God" department, but at least I'm keeping a tiny bit of my sense of humor.

For now, even if just for these next few minutes, I'll keep my eyes on what's good in my life.

  • The dogs are snuggling nearby and being surprisingly well-behaved.  And their body heat is keeping my feet warm.
  • I finally found a specialist who takes our insurance so we can get our kiddo evaluated for a medical issue.
  • Netflix and HuluPlus are awesome and way cheaper than cable.
  • I have a little container of pumpkin cream cheese that I was snacking on with some vanilla wafers earlier.
  • Hot dogs for dinner tonight because it's Friday and I don't much feel like making a big meal tonight.
Yay for the little things!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014


Kiddo had a hard time getting up today after the long holiday weekend.  She turned off her alarm and was just a bundle of warmth and softness as she hugged me, slightly tearful.  Oh, how sweet she still is when her little-girl side peeks out.  Smoothing her wild hair, I kissed her forehead and asked her what she wanted for breakfast.

"Pancakes and ice-cream?"

Her dad was already making scrambled eggs, but I went downstairs and whipped up some pancakes to go along with it.  I got the dad "stink eye" when he saw me place a single scoop of ice cream in a dish and put it next to her plate.

When kiddo saw that she had eggs, pancakes, AND ice-cream, her whole face lit up.

Neither she nor her dad asked what possessed me to put that small dish of ice-cream on the table.  I'm glad neither one of them asked.

I did it because I can.  Because sometimes, getting up is a challenge.  Because sometimes, I think about how a splurge like that would not have been an option for me when I was her age.  Because sometimes, it's nice to see my kiddo's face shine with happiness over something so small.

Because somewhere down the road...twenty or thirty years from kiddo may be feeling tired and stressed and scared and unappreciated, and she'll need something to hang onto.  Maybe she'll remember the time she asked for pancakes and ice-cream and actually got them.  Maybe she'll be placing pancakes and ice-cream on the table for her own child(ren).

Because sometimes, something small and ordinary is anything but, and that's only way to make it through the day.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

End of Summer

I don't know how it is that August is more than half over and my kiddo goes back to school this week!  That little one is heading off to fourth grade this year and I can't even wrap my head around it.  My sweet baby girl will always be my baby girl, but she's so much of a young lady now...growing and changing in ways I don't feel prepared for, "tween" emotions definitely making an appearance, leaving behind so many things of childhood in favor of more grown up things. 

I can't keep her a baby forever.  Oh, how I miss those baby days.  But, oh, how excited I am for all that life will bring her as she continues to grow up!

This was an interesting summer.  In a weird twist of fate and the consequences of company re-organization/downsizing, I had an unexpected, lengthy, but much appreciated LONG vacation and I've had the pleasure of spending the past two months at home with my kiddo!  It's definitely time to find new work and I've been actively looking, but now that the kiddo is starting school, I'm excited to embrace new opportunities.  The first week of unemployment was distressing as I imagined every worst-case-scenario (none of which have come to pass) that would befall my family as a result of my job loss.  One good thing is that the job loss coincided with a planned vacation, so in a funny way, it was nice to just enjoy the time off without the stress of having to go back to the office!

Anyway, it's been a fun-filled summer, with lots of day trips to the zoo, museums, American Girl, window shopping, brunches, a longer road trip and vacation to Mackinac Island...just fantastic mommy-daughter time.  These were all things that we had planned on doing this summer (and thankfully I had budgeted for all of them prior to losing my job), but there was an added element of fun, because I was no longer tied to a mobile device having to be available 24/7.  With that burden gone, I was able to be fully present with my daughter, never having to hush her or make her wait while I took a phone call or responded to an e-mail or text. 

In so many ways, though it was hard to see at first, being forced to look at the variety of jobs out there really gave me a fresh perspective and was a sharp reminder about what's most important--and I'm now being very selective about what kind of work I get into because I've gotten a taste of work-life balance and I like it!  Job interviews have been and continue to be scheduled and I realize that not every company demands that level of 24/7 availability.  I got so used to it over the years that it became normal, but not in a good way.  I'm laughing more and sleeping better than I have in years!

That's about it for now.  Nothing earth shaking, nothing inspiring, just a little rambling because...well...I can ramble if I feel like it!

Thursday, August 07, 2014

A Gentle Breaking

These past 20 months have been some of the most challenging of my life (so far).  Things that should have been minor issues turned into major issues, major issues turned into life-changing explosions.  I've barely been able to think straight, let alone attempt to put anything into words. 

In the past, I've made an effort not to wallow in self-pity, but for a while now, it felt...I don't know...good, in a way, if that even makes just be wrapped up in my hurts and hide myself away.  It's time to break away from that.  I've attempted to break away from it a few times in the past year or so, but each time, slipped back into that dark spot.  I was forcing myself to feel better when I didn't feel better at all. 

I was on vacation just recently--a mother-daughter road trip with my kiddo.  It took 950 miles behind the wheel, some time out on a lake, and sharing a secret with a stranger to nudge me back into reality.  I guess I was trying too hard to force myself into feeling better instead of acknowledging that I wasn't letting myself heal.  It's really nothing worth re-hashing at this point--it's about human frailties, anger, ineffective communication, and what happens when they all collide. 

FYI, nothing good really comes out of it if a person in that scenario refuses to have a healthy discussion about it.  I'm over it, but it still stings a little bit when I think about it.  It stings, but doesn't hurt anymore.

There's a quote from author Jodi Picoult, I don't remember where I read it, but it's something along the lines of after a while, a heart having too many stress fractures can't be anything but broken.  Although that's how I was feeling for a while, I don't feel that way anymore. 

Stress fractures heal.  The terrain may look different after multiple stress fractures, and there may have been breaks along the way, but they do heal.  Perhaps some residual pain lingers, but instead of getting hung up on that, I'll just take note of it and try to understand it.  Sort of how my left knee gets swollen and tender before rain or snow.  It's 15 years "healed", but the terrain is different (scar tissue inside, where nobody can see) and the pain indicates when something is amiss.  I think our brains, hearts, and instincts work the same way.

I totally just had a flash to Lost in Space with the robot yelling, "Danger, danger Will Robinson!"  My knee yells with weather changes, my heart, head, and instincts yell when something is amiss.  And that's okay.

I have a new computer and I'm in the process of transferring pictures and half-finished blog posts.  It's time to sort through them, bit by bit, and get my happy little blog up and going again.

Until then...

"Until then" what?  I don't know!  But I'll come up with something!