Five Finds Friday (Minty Timmy & Tuna. Not an appetizing combination.)

 

This week has been a catch up and refocus week.

How is it that just one week off of your regular routine can really blast that routine into smithereens?

It was ONE week, people.

Hey kids, remember, we have a schedule?

Apparently it only takes one week to forget everything we worked on ALL year.

But, regardless, here we are Friday.  How are ya’?

 

 

FUNNY

 

Here are some funny things:

The writer Roald Dahl.

The movie Holes.

My children.

 

FASHIONABLE

 

Wouldn’t you know it?

Earrings again.

I don’t even know what Stella & Dot is but I’m guessing it’s another LuLaRoe, Pampered Chef, Norwex, Usbourne Books, Arbonne type company that you became a seller for and promote their products.  (I’m not saying anything is wrong with any of those companies.  I’ve purchased something from all of those businesses at some point or another – except Usbourne Books somehow.)

But whoever is selling Stella & Dot, I’m just letting you know – I think these earrings are adorable.

 

 

FLAVORFUL

 

We eat tuna at least once a week.  It’s SO convenient.  I always have some in the cupboard and it can take many forms and all of the kids love it and therefore it is a go-to in my meal planning routine.

Probably three or four years ago I won this cookbook on a blog giveaway.

 

 

It’s on sale today on Amazon – isn’t that funny?  (Seriously, are they watching my house?)

Inside of it is a fish cakes recipe that I always use.  I think it’s for salmon, but I just use whatever I have – frequently tuna.

The kids love these little tuna cakes and the recipe is very forgiving.  I’ve used bread crumbs.  When I’ve been out of bread crumbs I’ve ground up crackers or diced up bread.  I’ve once crushed croutons and I’ve definitely used combinations of all of those.  I add shredded carrots for both texture and added veggie intake.

London makes a mean tartar sauce to accompany these guys.

 

FAITHFUL

 

Even on days when I feel like this, an assortment of friends and family remind me that what I see is not necessarily the whole truth.

That God is not a liar.

That God is a lover of justice and He promises to make all things right.

 

FEELS

 

Otto has a blanket.  If you’ve been around our family for more than a millisecond, you’e probably met Otto’s blanket.

His name is Baby Timmy.

Baby Timmy used to be yellow.  Shoot, it used to be an actual blanket.

Now it’s a tattered dirty stained mess of knots that semi-resemble its former self.

When I tucked Otto into bed tonight he invited me into a good solid “cuddle” and I smelled the strong scent of peppermint oil.

Baby Timmy was lying across his chest, in all of its brown and shredded glory.

Dirty, but smelling minty.

Turns out, Otto has been pouring peppermint oil over Baby Timmy’s knots routinely to “help his nose sleep better”.

 

____________________________

 

 

you might need a prescription for this sort of whiplash

 

The table was loaded with the wreckage of the birthday breakfast.

It. Was. A. Mess.

Cold leftover scrambled eggs on several plates.

Sticky syrup, half empty juice cups, chairs pushed back, cloth napkins scattered across the table top.

My life felt exactly like that table.

It was a crystal clear moment.

This table is my life.

A gigantic mess that I am left alone to clean up.

 

_______________________

 

I think that’s a picture of what loneliness can feel like sometimes, you know.

And while most of us are living lives that don’t stay in the lonely all of the time, I’m pretty certain we’ve all lived a life that has, on occasion, felt just like that.

A messy table, everyone else outside playing in the sunshine, and all the garbage patrol duties resting on your solitary shoulders.

I get it.  It’s heavy and it’s dark and it is alone.

 

_______________________

 

Once I wrote about how quickly the tone of my blog posts can shift, the highs and the lows from day to day that the writing can take.

It’s like you could get whiplash from reading my blog posts.

I write that way because that’s pretty much how I’ve found life to go.

The rollercoaster of good and bad moments, both sometimes as quick moving as the birds that have been rapid fire visiting our feeders this first week of spring.

Honestly, it feels as if my own life is giving me whiplash right now.

The parts of my life that are increasingly beautiful.  And the parts of my life that are increasingly terrible.

Eh.  Maybe the word terrible is too dramatic.

But I feel dramatic some days.

Whatever.  Most days.

It’s a language I do not know how to speak.

This language of divorce.

The language of After.

The language of Left Behind.

And, of course, it’s a language I never wanted to learn.

I didn’t grow up as a child of divorce.

I had zero intentions of raising children with that abysmal label attached to their lives.

And yet.

Here I am.

The words floating around my head and the title like a brand on my chest.

There have been few things in my life I have been so utterly incapable of changing as this.

And so there are days when the whiplash between what is good in my life and what is bad in my life feels quite shocking.

When the choices I alone am responsible for making weigh heavy on my mind and my heart and my savings account.

The stack of fantastic friends cannot decide what needs deciding.  (Perfectly imperfect sounding boards though they may be.)

That audible voice from heaven cannot be heard and the neon finger pointing the way has gone dark.

And there’s a yes or a no that needs to come from my lips only.

That’s what Lonely can feel like too.

 

__________________________

 

 

a little full circle story (and a little awkward story too): The Time I Met Andrew Peterson

 

Sometimes you get to see how it all comes together.  Or, how bits and pieces of a story all come together.

Sometimes you get to hear about ridiculous ways in which I behave and the special knack I have for saying the oddball comment out loud.

Sometimes one single blog post features both of those things – the coming together and the awkward.

This is that time.

First, the backstory —

About two years ago, the days of my life were dark, chaotic, stormy.  (This is a euphemism.  A gentle way to spin the reality the kids and I were actually living.)  Times were terrible.  My marriage was for certain over in a cataclysmic explosion and I was just focusing on walking one step at a time, sidestepping the shrapnel, eating one forkful of food, feeding kids one meal, breathing one breath.

Almost exactly to the day two year ago, a plain brown envelope arrived in our mailbox.  Inside the envelope was a CD – The Burning Edge of Dawn by Andrew Peterson.

 

 

There was a post it note of sorts attached to the album.  I wish I could recall exactly what the note said.  But I can hardly remember entire months of my life from that time, so recalling the words on a post it note is too much to expect.

It said something like this: “This album helped me.  Maybe you need it now too.”

It was from a friend that was truly more of an acquaintance at that stage of the story.

She was right though.  She was profoundly and deeply right.

We needed that CD.  We needed those songs.  (We needed her family and their friendship too.)

I needed the words that this musician sang.  And I listened to them.  Over and over again.  On repeat.  In the car.  In the house.  When I woke up and when I went to bed.

London sat for hours once at a friend’s house, listening to the album and drawing.  Sitting in the words and letting them cover her.

Words like:

I tried to be brave but I hid in the dark
I sat in that cave and I prayed for a spark
To light up all the pain that remained in my heart
And the rain kept falling 

….

Well I’m scared if I open myself to be known
I’ll be seen and despised and be left all alone
So I’m stuck in this tomb and you won’t move the stone
And the rain keeps falling

Somewhere the sun is a light in the sky
But I’m dying in North Carolina and I
Can’t believe there’s an end to this season of night
And the rain keeps falling down

And like this:

Oh God, I am furrowed like the field
Torn open like the dirt
And I know that to be healed
That I must be broken first
I am aching for the yield
That You will harvest from this hurt

Abide in me
Let these branches bear You fruit
Abide in me, Lord
As I abide in You

And so much more.  (But I can’t just copy all the lyrics from the entire album for you.)

The point is – the music was a form of rescue.  The words were a salvation in their own manner.  A pointing to and a pointing through.  A light.

We listened so much and so often that we eventually had to stop.  To put the CD away for a season.  Because we eventually learned to breathe without quite so much effort.  We eventually all learned to close our eyes and not fear the darkness so viscerally.  We turned our feet down a new path and the pain lessened.

But the songs were so poignant, that to hear them sometimes brought back the memories of the intensity of the struggle.

And so, for a season, our house put Andrew Peterson’s album on a shelf and left it there.  It had served its purpose.

Now, we listen to it sporadically.  As we do all music.  It’s in the rotation on road trips and certain days.  It’s not so painful and it’s beautiful once again.

That’s the backstory.  Now to last week, the full story —

Hilary and I are attending a homeschool conference in our town.  We head toward the escalator.  Coming from the opposite direction, approaching our escalator, is Andrew Peterson, guitar slung across his shoulder and walking with a buddy.

We both look at one another, mouth his name and grin.

(We don’t know this part yet, but on the second floor is someone watching us.  A friend, laughing as she sees our mouths open in unison as we recognize Andrew Peterson ahead of us.)

I say to Hilary, “Should we talk to him?”

Classically, she says, “No!”

I say, “I think I have to.”

And, she responds, “Of course you do.”

Then I say, “Listen.  You can’t look at me when I talk to him.  You have to look away.  It’s too much pressure.”

Hilary took me at my word and I didn’t see her again for like two hours.

The whole ride up the escalator I just can’t bring myself to talk to Andrew Peterson’s back so I just ride silently up the escalator.  As we both get off the escalator, I decide I just have to go ahead and risk it.  I super awkwardly reach out and touch his shoulder, because if I don’t move fast the guy is going to walk right away and I’ll lose my opportunity.

“Hi, do you mind if I talk to you while you walk for a minute?” I ask him.

Of course he is a gracious human and he says yes – or something implying consent.

And then I begin to talk.  To say words.  I tell him about the envelope in the mail.  I try to tell him about how much the songs meant during that hard season. About how powerful the lyrics were for our family.  I’m trying.  And he turns to me.  Asks, “Which album?”

To which I intelligently respond with …. silence.  Oh my word and for the love.  My mind is a complete blank slate.  What album indeed?  I cannot even begin to think of the title.  Not a clue on earth suddenly of what it could possibly be called.  I said something like, “Oh man.  Uh.  I’m so embarrassed.  The one with the song about, uh, about, the rain?”

Yes.  That is basically how the conversation went.

To which he kindly said, “Oh yes.  Sure.  That album.”

Finally, my words thread themselves together somehow in a coherent-ish string and I am able to share why the album is so special.  Accidentally I also tell him that the kids can hardly listen to it any longer.  Yes, I’m pretty sure I said that to him.  About his own music.  It’s what I do.

By then the generous man has stopped walking.  His friend is somewhat impatiently waiting for us to finish our conversation.  But Andrew Peterson looks me in the eyes and says, “Thank you.  Seriously.  Thank you for stopping me.  Thank you for sharing that.”

And I think he meant it.

Fast forward a few more hours —

Hilary and I have no tickets for the Andrew Peterson concert that evening.  We are preparing to go home.  And another friend walks by.  “Hey, I’ve got these two extra tickets to tonight’s concert – want to go?”

Well, yeah, you know – sure.

It was 8:30.  The concert was supposed to have started already.  But when Hilary and I find our way to the ballroom where it was taking place, the doors for the general admission seats had not even been opened yet.  There had been a sound system delay of some sort.  First in line, waiting and inviting us to walk in with them, were a family of friends.

Can you guess who that friend was?  That friend waiting in line to get front row seats at an Andrew Person concert that I had no previous intentions of attending?

It was the friend who had seen us from upstairs, laughing at our expressions as we met Andrew Peterson on the escalator.

The friend who, two years earlier, had decided that maybe I needed a CD about hope and light breaking through the darkness.  The friend who took the time to buy an album and mail it to someone she hardly knew at the time.

And that is how I came to be sitting in the second row of a concert, listening to Andrew Peterson.  Me on one end of a row.  That friend on the other end of the same row.

During the show, Andrew Peterson did not sing many of the songs from the album The Burning Edge of Dawn.

He moved from the guitar to the keyboard.  He finished his set.  He left the keyboard and then shifted where he stood.  The concert all but over.  And then, he reached for his guitar resting on stage.  He asked the audience, “I know it’s late.  But.  Do you mind?  Can I play one more song?”

Who’s going to say no?

He picks up his guitar and plays the one song that I listened to most.

I’ve decided that I’m certain he was playing that song for me.

 

 

Thank you Andrew Peterson.

For writing this song.  For creating the music.  For listening to me talk gibberish to you in a conference hallway.  For singing this song on a Thursday night where my friends and I sat, having weathered so many violent storms together, listening to you sing of the hope we absolutely believe in with tears flowing down our cheeks.

” ….. all this darkness is a small and passing thing.”

That’s the long and the full story.

 

_________________________

 

 

 

Five Finds Friday (blurry faces and making it to Friday)

 

This was supposed to be a full week.

But mostly things were delayed, postponed, cancelled, skipped or finished halfway.

I’ve been pretty “under the weather” for most of the days.

We’ve watched a record number of movies this week.  I tried to make one of them about Aaron Copland, this term’s composer, and about St. Patrick’s Day and movies based on novels we’ve read, but it’s still been too much TV.

So, I’ve limped and hopped and here I come, dragging myself right into Friday anyway.

 

 

FUNNY

 

Last night I was at a homeschool conference.  Where I practiced my particular skill set – Awkward.

I’ve got a good Andrew Peterson story.  But I think it might be worth its own blog post next week.

And after that exchange, I met Sarah Mackenzie, author of Teaching From Rest and creator of Read Aloud Revival.

I also opened up with Awkward with her too, but she rolled with it much better, thus supporting my theory that we would actually be friends.

In fact, she hugged me and then I took the weird a step farther and asked to take my picture with her.

Which turned out like this:

 

 

It’s a terrible photo.  Which makes it hilarious.

But there was no way I was going to ask for another one.  My awkward does have limits.

 

FASHIONABLE

 

Can a phone be fashionable?

It will be today.

It’s the newest iPhone.  I don’t know how new.  (You know me and technology.  We don’t go hand in hand.)

But I know that I really did not care about the upgrade or the next new phone or any of that.

Until I saw its one new photography feature.  The portrait mode.

Do you know what I’m talking about?

It’s magical and I long to own one myself now.

Ever since Hilary showed me the portrait mode I am continually looking at my cracked screen, annoyed with the fact that my phone frequently dies mid phone call, it won’t shut off some days at all and the battery only lasts a few hours before it’s in the red.

 

FLAVORFUL

 

I am unqualified to write this entry this week.

Nothing has tasted really great all week.

The kids have taken over the majority of cooking this week.  Which means we consumed some version of pasta for a lot of our meals.

We did attempt our first foray into cabbage though.

What are your favorite cabbage recipes?

 

FAITHFUL

 

In all the ways this week, I’ve been taken care of.

Breaking down by a billboard for a tow truck company.  Myra swooping in on a sick day with bone broth and vitamins and encouragement.  Doing our Bible lesson and our reading daily from the bed, kids and dog all piled in.  Capable and kind kids who did their chores and their math and asked how I was.  Hilary and her healing oils and Jo and her hot tea.  Hannah taking an art class with London.  Good movies to watch when watching was all we could do.  Car being repaired quickly and the ability to pay for said car repairs.

It’s a pile of Faithful.

 

FEELS

 

After Tow Truck Tuesday we were at home all day – obviously – we had no car.  It was a disappointing day as we were on the way to Bergen’s very cool volunteer opportunity but never made it.

We checked the mail.

And – guess what was in my mailbox?

A package.

From Noonday.

From I Have No Idea Who.

And, inside the packet were those super cool earrings I put on a recent Five Finds post!

If you are reading this dear I Have No Idea Who, THANK YOU.  Not only are they perfect and beautiful, but they arrived exactly on time.  It’s hard to turn a Tow Truck Tuesday around, but pretty earrings unexpectedly sure do help.

Here they are – in my second blurry image of the post.

 

 

__________________________

 

 

 

when the day takes control of you

 

Is it possible for a day to just want to sabotage you?

No?  Days don’t have the ability to act themselves?

Fine.  Alright.

But a week – it has the power – doesn’t it?

Because I’m thinking that the evidence of my life is sort of proving my point.

Actually, this is all pretty tongue in check (as if my writing needs that sort of obvious disclaimer), as I know that the reality of my life (and of this week) is truly a picture of blessing and provision.

This weekend Otto and I slept under the shark tank at an aquarium with his Trail Life group.

 

 

It was pretty special to have such a fun adventure with such a fun kid.

He’s full of cute and polite and hand holding and checking on me and offering his sentimental thoughts when it’s just he and I.  (Which I soak up because when he’s with the entire family he’s full of wiggles and poop humor and fishing conversations and avoidance of schoolwork.)

 

 

We really did sleep on the floor and it was as hard as you might imagine and it was also daylight savings time and we also didn’t even end our official aquarium program and receive our ushering into the shark tunnel to set up our sleeping bags until about midnight.  (I offered another parent $50 to let me trade his cot for my sleeping bag.  He did not accept my offer.)

 

 

I was already fighting against a sore throat and general fatigue.  Monday morning I woke up and realized that about all I would be doing that day was staying in bed.

Tuesday morning I knew I would not have the same option to try to rest because we had a morning appointment across the mountain.

Five sleepy kids in the car and we are about eight minutes from the house when the Yukon just decides it feels like I do sometimes – it had had enough.  Maxing out at 30 mph I knew we could never cross the mountain with that situation happening.

Pulling off the road, I considered my options.  Called the automotive shop we have come to rely upon.  Was informed I should no longer try to drive the Yukon until it was repaired.  Called my insurance and discovered I only have towing coverage if we are in an accident.  I briefly consider allowing someone to hit my car so we can get towed.  I call a few friends.  And a tow truck company.  Nice guy.  And within an hour and a half of leaving our home and proceeding only eight minutes away, we are escorted back to said home by a friend while our car gets a ride in another direction.

 

 

Perhaps Tuesday was telling me that I still needed more rest.

Maybe it wasn’t trying to sabotage me at all.

Maybe it was trying to rescue me.

______________________________

 

 

Spring Scents Can Be Yours – A Grove Collaborative Giveaway

 

It’s been a few months since I’ve been able to offer a Grove Collaborative giveaway.

If you’re new to Grove Collaborative – it’s a website that works like an online pantry sort of.  You sign up for an online subscription and you pick the products that you use regularly – or that you want to buy in general.  You’ll get an email each month to alert you that your order is being prepared.  At that point you can either allow your order to come as it is, you can push your order back another month or you can change your order to new items.  (Lots of choices there.)

My standard orders these days are Mrs. Meyer’s dish soap, hand soap, walnut scrubbers and dish detergent.  They’ve actually just begun to carry Mrs. Meyer’s body wash.  I really love it, but I think I need to try a new scent so I don’t feel as if I am taking a shower in my kitchen sink.

This month the giveaway is really a generous one for new customers.  (It seems the starting giveaway incentives are always better for newcomers!)

If you join Grove Collaborative through this offer you will receive the following at no cost:

 

 

  • Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Hand Soap
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Spring Dish Soap
  • Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle
  • Grove Collaborative Walnut Scrubber Sponges
  • Free Shipping & 60 Day VIP Trial

 

Now, to be clear, you do have to place an order before you receive your giveaway.  Which makes this not exactly “free”, but all of these items are actually free.  And – I am pretty sure – there are $20 worth of household items that you routinely use that you can purchase through the Grove website.  (I also buy toothbrushes and toothpaste here sometimes too.)

This incentive lasts until Sunday so you have a few days to think about what you want to order – but there are only a limited number of these giveaways available so don’t wait too long.

If you are a returning customer and you really like that pretty glass spray bottle – you can add one of those to your cart for half price.  (I think they make a sweet gift.)

 

 

___________________________

 

 

pause.

 

Pausing doubt.

I don’t even know how long ago the leaders at our church taught a sermon series about doubt.  The ideas from that series have rattled around in my mind for months – maybe a year.

Which means that by now it’s trickled into regular thoughts and both morphed and grown from what I originally heard.  In other words, I won’t be quoting anyone but myself today because my memory is not that well versed in word for word accuracy.

There is this idea of saying to doubt, “Wait right here.  I’ll be back later.”

You know – putting this fear – this unknown – the questions I have no answers for and actually don’t have to answer just yet – I am putting on hold.  

I’m talking about the big questions.  The ones about divorce or about all the bad things that are allowed to happen or the ones about injustice or false accusations, about how the plans of God work themselves out in real life.  Those kind of big questions.  (And a decent handful of medium sized questions too.  How will all this financial stuff work out?  What should I be aiming for in my future?  Will we ever actually find a new house to live in?)

Kind of like saying – “I know you are there, Big Question.  I see your little creepy face.  I hear your tricky reasoning and I sense your pitfalls, the trap door and the No Exit sign.  I see you, Doubt.  However.  You can just sit right there.  Stay seated.  I’ve got some other things to worry about first.  I’m not talking to you right now.”

And then to just leave that question there.

Unanswered.

The puzzle sits there.

Unsolved.

Right now, at this moment, I have no idea how to answer that question / solve that mystery / fix that problem / save that sinking ship.  Right now, I’m more likely to mess it up and answer with something I would regret so I am just keeping quiet.

Being still and letting the Lord fight for me.

Putting a pause on doubt.

Not because the questions are unanswerable.
Not because the truth is unfindable.
Not because my future is not secure.
Not because the questions are wrong.

Just because, right now, those questions and my scurrying for probable answers is far more distracting to regular life than helpful to regular life.  More a nuisance than a help.   Creating struggle instead of fostering peace.

Sit tight, all you questions.

You will be answered.

Wait a bit, mysterious puzzles.

You will be solved.

Back down, heavy handed situations.

You will be handled.

Not today.  Not right now.

But your time is coming.

 

 

__________________________

 

 

 

Five Finds Friday (it used to be a quarter and strong backs)

 

Whew.  It has been a full – but also a really good – week.

I want to watch a movie Friday night.  What’s something great that I’ll love?  I want to watch it at home.  I want it to be slightly meaningful but not an all out drama – less Still Alice and more Walter Mitty.  I’d love to laugh and I don’t mind crying but I don’t want a romance that only glorifies lust and unfaithfulness, although a love story would not be a terrible choice.

Hmm.  I think I probably won’t be finding that perfect film.  My expectations might be a little too high.  But – anything that comes close to some of those categories?  I’d love to hear some options!  (Thanks guys!)

 

 

FUNNY

 

Some things are funny because they are true.

Like this — 

 

 

Also – I very much want one of those little message boards.

 

FASHIONABLE

 

When Mosely and I took our adventure together last week, we stopped in a shop on Main Street in Blowing Rock.

On the counter was a little container full of rings that each held a former life as a quarter.

I loved them.

I stood scrounging through the pile of rings until I discovered a Virginia quarter in my size.

 

 

The buckeye was plenty good too, you guys, but the ring is better.  (I had to buy it for a thumb ring because that was the only size they had that fit and I needed that Virginia word encircling my thumb.)

 

FLAVORFUL

Sometimes we try to cook a meal or a food we have never tried before.

Last Sunday’s brunch we attempted Croque Madam.  I guarantee my version was not as stellar as, well – any restaurant’s version – of this breakfast speciality, but it was still pretty fantastic.

 

 

FAITHFUL

 

Slow and steady – it’s the only way I’ve found habits to really form and last.

Making reading the Bible a priority in the morning, alone and with the kids later at the breakfast table, has already been reaping visible rewards inside my own mind and in the voices of my children – a first step.

I’m grateful for God’s long-suffering.  I’m forty-three – that’s no newbie – and it has taken a shamefully long time to make this a daily priority.

 

FEELS

 

Yesterday we took our friends to visit the Biltmore Estate.  They’d never been and we had free passes.  It was a gorgeous day, the weather was perfect, the sky was clear.

We walked to the flower gardens and to the conservatory and the sun was rising higher and breakfast was a distant memory and we all wanted a faster way to the car than the options available to us.

Certainly his legs are shorter than the rest of our family, but Otto especially felt the long walk back to the Biltmore house to be exhausting and difficult.

I passed on the opportunity he offered to me to carry his sweaty little self.  And then I turned around and saw this.

 

 

This really-too-large-for-this-treatment-baby-of-the-family being hefted across a mile of trail by his big sister.  Who, by the way, did not once complain about his weight and finished strong with the boy on her back – up stairs and over hills.

I’ve been witnessing some lovely moments of growth and grace in this girl.  And that was certainly one.

 

____________________________

 

 

 

and another post of the remains of the day

 

Today I ran a lot of errands.  Back and forth in the car.

Counseling. Library.  Bank.  Taxes.  Vet.  Art Class.

It probably wasn’t that much, but it felt like a lot.

And yet somehow I never made it by a store to purchase much needed toilet paper.

Are we the only family that runs out of toilet paper unexpectedly?

Friends came to our rescue, thank goodness.  For real.  Thank goodness.

I also taught school and managed a website.  And feed humans.

I was reminded of how I could not possibly maintain this new business without the aid of many talented friends.

(And you guys.  Truly.  You get things done.  You’ve liked and shared and commented and posted and all the social media things.  THANK YOU.  Keep it up.  I really, deeply and sincerely, appreciate it. Every time you click onto the website, it legitimately helps me.)

Tonight I needed to write the newsletter for TravelersRestHere.  (Want to subscribe?  The link to do that is at the bottom of the website page.  Wink.)

And I needed to tuck the kids in and listen to their thoughts and I needed to watch This Is Us and I needed to soothe myself after the episode and dry my tears and I needed to sit with Bergen and his bowl of cereal when he found that at 11 p.m. he was suffering from both “hunger” and “insomnia”.  (Apparently cereal was the magic cure for both.)  And now I need to go lie down in bed and read Andy Catlett by Wendell Berry.  And I need to push aside the guilt from not responding immediately to work e-mails.  (What is the rule there?  Twenty-four hours?  Two days?  Is there a rule?)

Which means, once again, you sweet and dear readers, (whenever I type anything remotely like that – dear and sweet readers – I think of books like Jane Eyre.  O Gentle Reader.) I am leaving you with pretty much a non-post.

I’m sorry.

But I will give you this:

 

 

Remember when they were small?  

And now they are not.

The girls have both officially grown taller than me.  They are both wearing my dresses and my leggings and my boots.  I forced the boys to wear hair gel and only one protested.

They’re good people and I like being their mom.

 

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when you talk to me on the street, IF you talk to me on the street

 

It’s happened just enough times to feel like a “thing”.  Just enough times to be both still surprising but also …. something else.

It’s a novelty really.

I’m away from home.  At an event of any sort.  Someone walks up to me, a stranger.  And says they know me from reading the blog.  (I’m always in my hometown, guys – not like in some other state.  I’m not that well read.)

Whenever this happens, it feels like I’m being secretly recorded for an episode of Punked or Candid Cameratwo shows that by their mere mention age me instantly. (Just like the initials DVR.  I used those initials in a conversation the other day.  I had no idea what the letters stood for when I employed the DVR back then and I have no idea what they stand for now.  As well as cassette tape.  I mean, I didn’t use an actual cassette tape – what am I?  A relic?  I used the word cassette tape.)

When this anomaly actually occurs, I don’t entirely know what to say.

I immediately deflect.  I say thank you.

I do feel legitimately grateful.  And – surprised.  Humbled.  Sort of silly.  A little out of my element.

Actually, I hear their words.

And then.

I immediately forget them.

Not because I’m struck on the head by a blunt object but because I can barely believe them.  They just don’t seem real.  They seem like they are about – someone else I guess.

How could the words be true about me?

I know who I am.

I know I type out words late at night when my children are asleep and I am not.  When the dog is lying across the door to be certain I don’t go anywhere without him.  When I’ve had a bad day.  When I’m both hopeful and doubtful that anyone is reading these typed out messages to the world via my magical screen.

I am not inspiring.

I’m a Classic Mess.

I eat cinnamon rolls alone at 6 p.m.

I keep my face down and I avert my eyes on trips to the store when I just don’t know how to handle small talk.

Except when I don’t.

And then I stare with an intensity just sightly shy of rude and I ask awkward personal questions and I leave most social situations and conversations feeling a little unstable and questioning my mental capabilities.  (Which is easy to question anyway.)  (Also – can this be a blanket apology to all the people to whom I have said awkward sentences to upon first conversing with you.  I’m thinking of you, Louisa – but I know there have been far too many others.)

This is what I do.

This is who I am.

Therefore, I am a little astonished/shy/shocked/pleased/unbelieving/flattered when someone says, “Hey, I kind of feel like I already know you.”

Which might be just their polite way of saying, “You share too much of what happens inside your own head.”

So – now you know.

That’s what Street Me is thinking.

But, Secret Later At Home Me also still really enjoys knowing that my words aren’t only reverberating back and forth in space and time, but that they occasionally actually land in someone’s lap and are tended to and cared for in a pretty beautiful way that matters a lot more to my soul than you might think it would.

We’re all a little fragile and funky like this – right?

 

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