July 2013

I’ve never fully explained to you the depths my insanity can reach while traveling with children. You see, I get….well, I get worked up. (Understatement.) It’s not that I freak out on my kids or even (that much) on my husband. It’s more like I’m boiling some sort of anxiety soup within my very soul and therefore I grasp the door handle or OH SH*T handle and turn my knuckles white and hardly breathe. Or something like that. That is, unless I keep myself in check. (Read: Am reminded by my dear husband that it.is.going.to.be.okay.) You see, all three of our kids were horrible….I mean, extremely horrible travelers as newborns and infants. I think I have PTTD (Post Traumatic Travel Disorder). I sincerely thought we might never ever go anywhere beyond 100 miles in our lives ever again ever. Then I learned (thanks to how hard it was) to chill out. A little. […]

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Just Write {95}

July 29, 2013

At O’Hare I got confused about where to find a cab. Then I found one with a driver that smiled big and took my bag and we had a very long talk about faith and life. He is openly Muslim and I am openly Christian. We both have our reasons for hiding from our labels. Javid, his name, and he laughed when I told him mine. Heather is apparently (with a little different spelling) a male name where he comes from, almost thirty years ago, Pakistan. He said it means brave and strong and then teased that I don’t look all that physically strong. He explained why it’s good to be near a friend or family member’s grave so every time you drive by, you can pray for them. He said it’s best for the parents to pray because God is more sure to listen. You can’t get away with doing whatever you […]

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from here

July 24, 2013

It’s been over 4 years and I still remember clearly. I walked back from a party by myself, leaving my friends behind and heading for the hotel. I was in Chicago, alone and walking and I didn’t care. The whole night was a blur except for that walk because even though I was drunk, I knew this was stupid, being lost in a city I don’t know. Thank God I found the hotel. I had thought I couldn’t find my friends at the party, but they called to ask where I had gone. They said I was standing right next to them one moment and then I was gone. I thought I had walked around looking for them. I thought they had left. Or maybe I just wasn’t thinking. It was BlogHer ’09, the last conference I went to before I quit drinking. I went up however many floors and into the room […]

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Just Write {94}

July 22, 2013

I was cutting the grass in rows, pushing the mower fast, sweating. I try to stay on task but I always end up going from the side of the house, leaving it unfinished and then to the front, leaving it unfinished, then to the other side….back and forth, making lines and cutting through and going straight and then turning and going another direction. The grass here in Texas is so different from the grass in Minnesota. You don’t want to lie down in it because it’s not soft, it’s more like crunchy and there are vines in it. The blades grow from these vines that press down to the dirt in lines, criss-crossing, like I do when I mow. Sometimes I’ll even go in a circle around a tree and then just keep going in circles for a few turns. Then I look around for straighter rows and go match up with them. […]

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Every year, the BlogHer Serenity Suite is run by volunteer hosts. As busy as conference-goers are, these people take the time to host the Serenity Suite, and their welcoming faces are what make the Serenity Suite the calming force that it is. This year we’re honored to have even more volunteers since we have TWO Serenity Suite locations. Please take a moment to get to know the 2013 BlogHer Serentiy Suite hosts! Thank you, each and every beautiful one of you! Galit Breen – These Little Waves (bottom left corner)Stacy Calvert – Geek ‘Til You Drop (2nd to bottom right)Brook Easton – Redhead Reverie (2nd from right, bottom)Jen Gaskell– Tranquila Mama (3rd from bottom, right)Jane Gassner– Midlife Bloggers (2nd from bottom right)Maggie – Violence UnSilenced (with Ellie and yours truly, middle)Jennie – A Lady in France (bottom right corner)Ann Imig – Ann’s Rants and Listen To Your Mother (top left, in the middle)Jen […]

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The I’M BOREDS have reached epic levels that call for drastic measures. Bored Level Orange, nearing Red. We were handling said boredom claims with the usual “I don’t want to hear that!” and then moved into “For every “I’m bored” you will do one chore!” Then, because it seems that no consequences other than Severe Consequences can stave off stated claims, we moved to “Oh really! I heard an I’m bored…apparently you aren’t all that into All Your Things….go put one of your things in the Goodwill box.” This worked for a time. But it seems there is no sure-fire way to stop “MOOOOMY, what can I dooooo?” Therefore, I have decided to entirely ignore any and all references to not having anything to do. I will act as if no one is talking, and maybe I’ll even pretend that I am completely alone, on a beach in Costa Rica, only a book […]

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  What is it?  The Serenity Suite is a low-key, comfortable and welcoming space to unwind: Do you need to sit down and literally and figuratively recharge your batteries? Come on in. Need to hide from big crowds but don’t want to be alone in your room? Come on in. Need a simple break from the action and some coffee? Come on in. Feeling a little overwhelmed? We get it, come on in! The Serenity Suite began as a safe haven for those of us who need to be able to attend an amazing, fun and educational conference while also staying sober. Today, it continues as an alcohol-free zone, but serves a much wider purpose. Maggie and I could not have imagined the possibilities, and we’re so grateful that BlogHer attendees love and use this space. Where is it? When is it open?  This year, the Serenity Suite will be located at BOTH the […]

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Just Write {93}

July 15, 2013

He picked out a hip blue hat for his birthday. He asks every half day or so if it’s Tuesday yet because that’s The Day. He’s Six on that day and so excited. Asher is joy walking around and he still loves to hold my hand so much. All day today, we walked from place to place and he would run to catch up and slip that hand in mind, rubbing his thumb back and forth around my palm. I suppose the reason new parents, all parents really, act like we’re the first ones to have ever been a parent ever, and say all the same things as each other, is because these kids really are that great. They are that exhausting and that difficult to raise and they are the only ones. Like Asher, there’s just no other boy that could ever be him and so I’m the only mother. We’re all […]

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Moving was such a big thing, you know? From Minnesota to Texas, a flurry of boxes and cleaning all the things and saying goodbye and hello. In some ways, moving from state to state feels like you’re being transported through time. Everything is that new. But the date is the same and the people in our home are the same so we’re okay. I mean, if the calendar date had inexplicably changed, I might not have made it. Time is tricky enough going along at its usual slow/too fast speed, 24 hours a day. The kids are amazing. It’s as if nothing happened. Maybe it’s simply because they’re young enough to really only concern themselves with whether or not their parents and siblings and Things are together. Sometimes they ask questions that reveal their confusion, and that they miss certain things and people. We talk openly about all of it and then I […]

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Sometimes it seems like bad news is spreading across the Internet like wildfire at every single moment and it seems like it’s the only thing. So I LOVE it when inspiration, joy and hope show up on Facebook and Twitter and All The Other Places. My friend Ann posts inspiring things a lot and today she posted a link to an article: The Best Moments In People’s Lives in which people tweeted meaningful and powerful moments of their lives to someone because he asked. It’s so cool that he asked. Anyway, this inspired an idea in me: I want to ask the same of you, friends. I love it that you’re here. I love to display the extraordinary of life (obviously) and sometimes those things are very….you guessed it….(seemingly) ordinary. Will you send me your favorite candid photo that speaks of motherhood? Like, what kind, Heather? Good question: Any photo that speaks to you […]

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Just Write {92}

July 8, 2013

They come in with a stroller. A small coffee shop and a tiny baby and Dad is behind the stroller and looking so big. Another couple comes in less than five minutes later. They grin at scrunched up newborn faces that sleep ignore them. They grin at each other. He’ll be a week tomorrow.  Yeah, we remember those days, the other mom says back, and her baby is all of about four months old. I smile inside because that’s what it’s like, going to so slow like Eeyore especially the minutes at night and then so fast when you see a teeny tiny piglet in a stroller like yours. They are immediately swapping stories of way back then and this very day. What the doctor said about this and that. What was normal for them. They are doing some kind of dance we all do at first. The new parent dance. Swaddling is […]

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(photo credit: BlogHer.com)   It isn’t wrong to feel disappointed if things don’t go the way you hoped when you’ve taken a courageous step and submitted your writing, or art of any kind. Our words or photos, graphic designs, drawings, paintings, etc are born of us. Having someone turn away from our art to choose another’s work feels very personal. We’re only humans, with fragile egos even if we’re as emotionally and mentally healthy as we can be. Maybe you’re mostly confident and strong, but you still feel pangs of disappointment that feel like rejection. That doesn’t mean you’re weak and insecure. You’re just normal. It’s not silly. But let’s talk about negative reactions that go beyond disappointment… In the social media world, it’s the time of year when we hear The Big News about writing that’s been nominated and submitted. The BlogHer’s Voices of the Year were announced just yesterday and then […]

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Just Write {91}

July 1, 2013

In the night, rain had finally come. I know for sure because Tia, our dog, is so afraid of thunder and had come to our bed, panting hard like she does when she’s scared. There’s a certain sound to the breaths of fear. In the morning, rain was still dripping from the trees and off the side of the roof, landing in little puddles along the back porch, making that blip blip blip sound. The air was cooler than it has been since we moved here, where people talk about the weather as much as Minnesotans and that’s a lot. I sat at the table and sipped coffee, watched the scaredy cat dog pretend to be super brave while huntin’ for squirrels. Everything is brighter after a rain. Water is magic. Before the storm and bed and the panting next to the bed, I had cried and I couldn’t stop. I don’t remember […]

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Kristen Howerton is one of my first friends through blogging and therefore she will not mind that I am lazily linking to her instead of helping you all by myself. In her post, Kristen mentions denial over Google Reader going away. Oh yes, uh huh, me too. I just pretend changes like this are not happening until the very last second. For those of you that don’t know, Google Reader is the way that most people have subscribed to blogs. It’s the RSS feed (Grandma, neither of us really need to know how this works, it just does, quite smoothly, and now it’s leaving.) So anyway, Google Reader is going away. TODAY. So if you subscribed to the things you love to read via a Google Reader, Kristen has written up an excellent tutorial on what you need to do TODAY to NOT LOSE ALL THE REALLY FANTASTIC THINGS YOU LOVE TO READ. […]

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