The Craving to Write

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I spend a lot of time scouring ye-olde-mommy-blogs, although gracious, I know we don’t call them that anymore, right? It does seem to undermine what we really are: women who write. Some of whom stay home with their children all the time, some of the time, or who work full-time. Whatever. But Mommy Blog is just a convenient title, considering I’m looking for posts to publish on For Every Mom.

A while ago, I came upon a couple British mommy blogs, together in a link-up of everyday kind of posts. Posts without Pinterest-worthy graphics; posts that were simply about being a mom or what happened that day or the fact that a woman figured out a great trick she wanted to share.

It stopped me in my tracks. It was 2009 blogging deja vu!

Maybe it was just the group I was looking at, or maybe British mom blogs are just getting off the ground. But I miss that kind of blogging. I miss just writing! Now, I think way too hard about what I am going to write, whether it’s actually worth publishing, knowing that my pictures are sub-par and that my only traffic really comes to recipe posts.

But something’s come over me lately: the craving to just write. Period. I mentioned on Instagram my desire to get down a few children’s fiction stories that have been dwelling in my head for 10+ years. I want to share everyday life again. I just feel like God has been prodding me constantly to sit down and just let the words flow out. I know it’s a gift from Him – I just never feel like my words are enough compared to the amazing ones that seem to flow constantly from other Christian women I admire. I write about how God is like a fictional farm animal … ’nuff said.

But this is my space, and I can write whatever I want, right? No one has to read it. I do write for an audience and to encourage, and I hope that will show. But I also need to write, for me. And if something doesn’t connect with you, you’re welcome to move on.

Maybe I’m moving to something different in my writing career. Maybe things are going to change. I need to dive into prayer. But mostly, I don’t want to be afraid to just hit publish. On something without a picture. On something that isn’t perfect.

So here it is.

What Centers Me? Thoughts from a Highly Sensitive Person

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Happy Sunday! #coffee #ceramicmug #fleece #blanket #winter
source: Julie Rae Powers via Flickr

As someone who is both Highly Sensitive and who deals with depression, I get off-kilter a lot. It’s easy for me to get consumed with people-pleasing rather than God-pleasing thoughts and to get angry at being how I am. I know God made me who I am for a reason … but I don’t always like it.

For example, when being Highly Sensitive means I am completely unable to stop myself from crying in public places. That’s just as wonderful at 33 as it was when I was 12.

I have a routine I stick to when it comes to managing my depression, and it occurred to me that perhaps the same thing is in order to handle these feelings of being inept and consumed by emotions. After a little episode today, I’m realizing these are the things that help center me. I would encourage you to think through your centering and comfort things so you can remember them easily in the future!

  1. Talking to my husband. In my opinion, it’s good marriage advice to marry your friend. Mr. V and I were friends for nearly a year before we ever started dating, and that has been really good for our long-term relationship. You won’t always feel lovey-dovey toward your spouse, but if he/she is something you like to hang out with, you can work through those times. Anyway, Mr. V is used to my crazy emotional state and can often talk me off a cliff. In college he called it “Mental Breakdown Tuesdays,” but I think I’ve become a little more solid than that. Maybe.
  2. Prayer. Especially focusing on praying for others, taking the limelight off myself. I still love the image-based prayer I talked about here.
  3. Physical warmth. Drinking coffee, wrapping myself in a blanket, cuddling with a kid.
  4. Writing. Obviously, I process a lot through writing. Maybe for you it’s another art form.
  5. Crochet. Crochet is another art form I love and it just helps me to focus elsewhere. I can’t think about much else when I am trying to follow a pattern. It also calms me.
  6. Reading. Something mindless.
  7. Oils. Y’all know I love my essential oils. Applying White Angelica, Peace & Calming, and Joy are all helpful to restoring some peace for me.

These are similar to ways I manage my depression but definitely not exactly. Do you find you have ways to deal with certain moods or times in your life?

soliloquy

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It’s just been one of those days.

I feel gross. I still haven’t figured out how to tame my coarse, curly-ish hair in 33 years, and now it’s flecked with gray. My gums ache because I went to the dentist and I don’t floss enough.

I tried to sit down and write this afternoon, blessed with a few solitary and quiet minutes, and the words wouldn’t come. I feel like I have much to write until I sit down, intimidated by the keyboard before me. No wonder every blogger has a book coming out except me.

My kids don’t even attempt to eat dinner for the second night in a row. I’m not sure how that’s possible when they didn’t eat lunch either, preferring to put on a sideshow in Applebee’s for my sister, her coworkers, and everyone else within a mile radius.

Lest you think I am exaggerating about Joshua’s antics, tonight after sitting on his little potty, Joshy stuck his finger in the big potty and then directly into his mouth.

AGHHHHHH!!!!!!

I laid on the floor and felt like the worst mom ever. The worst person. Nothing.

Tonight I need to tell myself something true instead of the negative thoughts that want to fill my brain, saturating me with lies and anger. 

Here is the truth: I am in no way the worst mom in the world. They will eat when they’re hungry. No one is judging me based on my hair, and if they are I feel sorry they don’t have better things to worry about. I am a writer, and God will guide my words at the right time for His purpose.

God says I am His treasure, the one He paid a great price for. And that is the truth – not whatever I happen to think about myself today.

Thank You, Lord.

Sick, Sick … and Then Some Sickness Thrown In

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Dreary Doctor's Office
source: Timmy Gunz via Flickr

If the end of the school year wasn’t so close I could taste it, I think this week would have done me in.

Libbie woke up on Monday morning unable to walk. (She’s 6 1/2 and 50 pounds, people. Not exactly portable.) On Sunday night, she had complained about her leg hurting, but nothing more than in passing as she went to bed. But on Monday, she couldn’t straighten it out. She ended up spending most of the day on the couch … except when Mama carried her up and down the stairs and the car to take her to the health center at school, and then the doctor.

We thought they would probably do x-rays, but after being forced by the pediatrician, Libbie was at least hobbling around a little. Instead they insisted my little one have her blood drawn – after much, much screaming – so they could test for arthritis. SERIOUSLY, DOCTORS? One pulled muscle?

(P.S. Thank you to our children’s minister, Sarah, who stepped in and watched the boys for me until Mr. V could take over.)

So Monday evening Libbie was still limping heavily, but at least I didn’t have to carry her. I thought she would probably go to school the next day, and I made plans with a friend to hang out with our little ones (her daughter is about 6 months younger than Joshua).

Tuesday at 5 a.m., I woke up to Mr. V throwing up.

Bye bye, plans. Can’t risk contaminating other children. No other puking, thankfully, from anyone else in the family.

Wednesday, I think I will get to go to Bible study. But taking Libbie and then David to school (which, by the way, is an hour-and-a-half endeavor … thank God I don’t usually have to take David!), Joshua coughed … and coughed … and coughed. It was a sad and pathetic cough. So I canceled the plans and took him home. Where he promptly started running a high fever and then took a 4-hour nap.

My home is cleaner than it’s been in months. Seriously. And I shredded papers. And finished the laundry.

Because Joshua was still running a fever Wednesday night, I didn’t feel like I could take him anywhere Thursday, even though he woke up fine. So I missed our last MOPS meeting of the year this morning.

And here’s what Joshua did today.

  • Started the dishwasher and pressed buttons on the yogurt maker.
  • Dumped a slushy on the sofa.
  • Threw an untouched banana in the garbage can.
  • Asked for pizza for lunch then promptly cried about it and refused to eat it.
  • Cried about being in the stroller.
  • Cried about having food on his plate other than processed cheese product at dinner. (Then went and swiped more processed cheese product off the food line where we were eating outside the dining hall.)
  • Cried mercilessly all the way from our apartment until I got to David’s classroom to pick him up, then some more after we found David, causing a giant spectacle for the other preschool parents.
  • Bit me.
  • Tried to take a cupcake off the counter.
  • Colored himself with marker.
  • Tried to put a medicine dropper in the paper shredder when I left it unattended for 20 seconds.

Yep, he’s just your everyday Toddlerzilla. But after this week of a little too much togetherness, I am stir-crazy and tired of the toddler antics. Someone send help if I can’t leave the apartment tomorrow.

(Did I mention that he wanted to sleep ON TOP OF ME for half of last night? Not beside me. ON TOP.)

(Thank you for dealing with my pity party. I feel better now just getting it out.)

(Oh good. He’s crying again.)

Chatting on the Couch

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When I rebranded this site with my name in big old letters about a year ago, I tried to focus in on what I wanted to talk about here. I’m a lifestyle blogger; I’m not ever going to have a niche. I call myself one-third food blog, one-third parenting and home life, and one-third spiritual stuff.

What I really wanted was to invite people onto my couch. If you were here with me, in my living room (which is, of course, a DISASTER, let’s not pretend), what would we talk about? What would we snack on? What would we see around us?

Welcome to my couch.

So hey. Put your feet up. Brush off any crumbs that you see, and I’ll try not to notice. Let’s talk.

I’m making cauliflower soup right now. I don’t dislike cauliflower, and I hope it will help me get in some extra veggies. I’ve been trying to eat mostly grain-free, but I had some pasta for lunch (recipe I had tested for an article, just sitting there …) because I was super hungry after going to Zumba and getting haircuts this morning. And the pasta has made me SLEEPY. But since I can’t remember the last time I slept through the night, I guess I can’t blame it completely.

Last week was hard. I’ve felt a little nuts emotionally as of late. My two older kids seem especially out-of-control, and I’m wondering what on earth to do about it. Plus there’s just the normal feeling completely inadequate at everything I do. I am really trying to realize that no one has it all together. But I so often sit and think everyone else is living in Normal City, and I’m the only oddball. The one just trying to scrape by and totally exhausted by what qualifies as “normalcy” right now.

I miss my mom.

I promise I’m not all down-and-out. If you sit here long enough, the kids will ask you to play Frozen Spot It. And Joshua will probably sing for you, which is my primary source of entertainment right now. Libbie will probably put on dress-up ballet clothes and dance with passion, if not skill, around the room. David will tell you that Thursday is pajama day at his school and HE GETS TO WEAR PAJAMAS. ALL DAY.

I feel like maybe the winter blues are getting to me. Maybe that is the cause of my funk. I promise I am taking my medicine, using essential oils, exercising, and trying to eat right. A little more time with friends might help. A date with my husband. It’s been wayyyy too long since we went out alone.

So that’s what’s going on with me. I’m sorry to be grumpy, but it’s just kind of how it is right now. Maybe you could tell me a funny story or send me a YouTube video that will make me laugh.

The cauliflower soup, by the way? It’s edible. Needs work. Can I interest you in some granola instead?

Let’s Have a Chat

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Random Joshua cuteness from this fall

The longer I go without writing here, the easier it is not to write.

I have days when I think maybe I will just stop. It seems like the thing many longtime bloggers are doing. Because blogging is not the same thing it was in 2007. Not one bit!

But I can’t imagine not having this space. It’s certainly not my full-time job or very profitable in terms of money. But I feel like God wants me to write and minister to women. Women who are a mess. Who need some encouragement that being messy is OK. He is with us in the midst of our mess.

Really … I just haven’t had anything burning in me to write. So here is just a general what-is-going-on kind of thing, before I leave this space neglected for so long I can’t come back.

  • Christmas was different. We stayed at home until the day after Christmas, so the kids only got presents from us on Christmas morning. I think Libbie was perhaps underwhelmed by her gifts, but they all had plenty and enjoyed themselves. Then we went on to Grandma and Grandpa’s and Nana and Popi’s for a week of more celebrating. It was nice that David had actually opened all his birthday presents from them before Christmas, so there was no combined birthday/Christmas things this year. That can get very overwhelming.
  • As shown by the fact that Joshua got up from his nap while I was writing this, it’s incredibly hard for me to get anything done when the kids aren’t in school. Libbie finally starts back tomorrow, and David on Tuesday. I’ve enjoyed having them home – really! – although the arguing gets a little insane. I’ve spent a lot of time cooking, playing games, reading, and cuddling, and that is just right for our life right now. Oh. and frantically trying to keep our apartment from becoming a true pigsty. See also: Joshua, Mr. Trouble.
  • I’m reading through the Bible in 90 days alongside my friends Amy J. Bennett and Amanda and several others. Having a Facebook accountability group where we can chat about the readings is so helpful. So far, I’m right on track and loving it. We finish Exodus today!
  • I’m trying to make some changes to my health this year. I’ve been exercising (doing water aerobics, Zumba, and occasionally the elliptical) and using essential oils since September. This had made a huge change already in my back issues and how I feel emotionally and mentally. Unfortunately, some issues I’ve had with my gut for years have magnified in the past few months also. So (as of today, although I’ve been working toward it for a week) I am going grain-free and refined-sugar-free. I’ve found great inspiration in the Against All Grain cookbook.

 

Sooo …. that is what is going on right now for me. How about you?