Just Write {191}

August 18, 2015

Of all things, a dead spider was in her hair. Had she known, there may have been quite a scene while we dropped off her registration paperwork for preschool. Elsie Jane is four and she is going to preschool. The third of the offspring is starting full-time preschool. Or, mostly full, since she has Fridays off. Should we not all have Fridays off? I stopped her in the entryway of the church and asked her to stand still. She has very fine, very thick hair. It took a while to get the dead spider out, and all the while I was thinking, HOW did it get in here like this? When? In bed? Ugh…gross…DON’T THINK ABOUT IT. I threw the spider down (sorry, church entry!) and we walked through the double doors and to the office without a mention of what it was. I changed the subject, reminding her how often she’s been to that […]

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Just Write {186}

May 5, 2015

Elsie got sick over the weekend, just slightly sick, but enough for the cardiologist to say it’s best to wait on the heart procedure until she is fully healthy. Of course, I said, while my heart dropped because yes, I do just want it to be fixed. Now Already Yesterday. That’s how it is with your kids, right? Wholeness, that’s what we want for them in every way. Asher has been feeling some unique shunt-related symptoms as well. So we watch and wait and plan a trip to the big city just in case we need to take it. To explain what this is like is impossible. Hydrocephalus can be a mysterious, baffling, and cunning life-taker. That’s just the truth. It is the truth of many conditions and diseases and the truth of life. Slippery. Uncontrolled. When these three kiddos are with their daddy, and I’m working, I still think about all of […]

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Just Write {183}

April 14, 2015

Lately there is a moment by moment practice of letting go. It is exhausting, but less exhausting than not letting go. It’s like the difference between doing some yoga and moving on, or running a marathon without ever stopping. I feel off around here, not sure of what to write, when to write, always that feeling of coming up short. Like it’s impossible to take the time, and when I do, I just sit and stare, let go again and move on. Namaste. I can say that the depths of pain that are the crux of divorce will do this. These depths will require a constant practice of letting go, and a desperate need to remember that no matter what it feels like, or what wrongs have been wronged, the path can be clean again, one day. I wrote something about it all, and haven’t shared it anywhere, but what came out of me was this: What […]

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Just Write {181}

March 31, 2015

Brandi Carlile has a new album. My favorite song is Wherever Is Your Heart. Please forgive my mind, she sings. Please forgive my mind. I listened to it a few minutes ago and started to cry. Maybe because my mind, if allowed, is on a mission to destroy. I have been working hard in the midst of medical scares, divorce, sobriety, and every new and different thing, to stop my mind. Stop. Just stop. Almost every last thing is a thing I cannot control, so to think on these things is only torture. Thinking can be like a drug. A control drug. Because maybe if I think long and hard enough, I will things into being better, or however I imagine is best, and I’m probably wrong. So I stop. I try to stop thinking. I do the things I need the courage to do and I try to stop my mind. Please forgive my […]

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Just Write {172}

January 27, 2015

From her car seat behind me, she said, “I want to go see Great Grandma tomorrow, I like it there.” And I told her that was such a good idea. I said we would have to go sometime soon, but tomorrow she would be having fun at Daddy’s house. She said YAY, and then added a bit of a sad awww, “But I really wanted to go to Great Grandma’s place, too…” I know, honey. I hear you. Let’s make a plan to do it soon. You just can’t be two places at once. It’s a good problem to have, EJ…so many people love you, it’s hard to fit it all in… Then she said it best, I wish there were two tomorrows.  Isn’t that a sucker punch to the gut in the best possible way? I mean, kids, they know just how to say so simply what we adults have been trying […]

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Just Write {163}

November 25, 2014

Every day should begin and end with a mother’s kiss. Should. These days when they are not here, my mother self is starved, floating outside of me, the hours empty of them. I fit no place but nowhere that’s how it feels. So on those days when I can only give them a good morning and goodnight prayer, I hope they feel it. I know I feel it. So many years ago there was a garbage dump, in Ecuador and when we pulled up out came droves of kids from the garbage heaps for bread. We gave what we had until it was gone and it wasn’t enough. A child should greet each day with a mother’s kiss and then have her kiss at night. A warm safe place, so much bread, at least one home. Mine have two. They come to me and we hammer away all senses go full throttle all […]

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Just Write {161}

November 11, 2014

This was the kind of snow that sticks to your shovel and your boots and all around the bottom of your jeans. And you can stomp stomp stomp but it’s not going anywhere. It’s just packing itself on thicker. I would slide the shovel, scrape and scoop and then lift, my arms hurting. And then I’d try to throw the snow. Most of it stayed on the shovel, so stuck. Yeah, yeah, this was a metaphor to me, but what isn’t, really? Metaphor: The Over-Thinky Person’s Crutch. I can’t help it, the heaviness of the snow is just too easy of a metaphor target, so there I was, letting it hit me like a good metaphor should. I got mad at it, you know? Like most people do, at snow and wind combined. The way they refuse to stop blowing into the very place you’ve just cleaned. And getting mad and shoveling harder […]

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Just Write {160}

November 4, 2014

Everyone had the look of sleep-deprivation. Dark circles and an accidental or on-purpose perma-frown. We all have eyes that glisten with the soft glow of just waking up, even if we’ve been up for hours. We got to set our clocks back. Our bodies are confused about this. I ran into a friend at Goodwill and she said she normally wakes up at six, like clock work, pun intended. And now she wakes up at five. Or that is what the clock says anyway, and so the day is just so long. It’s darker and longer. Winter’s slow and then fast arrival feels foreboding, and I told another friend that it settles in on me, and I have no choice but to keep thinking of spring. Sara Groves says “hope stands in defiance” and I like that because I like to think of hope standing there with hands on hips, and maybe I’m […]

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glimpses of now

September 12, 2014

I didn’t have coffee until after ten o’clock this morning. This is unheard of, really. I am one of those people that pours my first cup of joe with my eyes half open, on the way to the shower. And then I wonder, every time, why I didn’t just wait until after the shower because it gets a little cold on the bathroom counter, waiting for me. The best mornings are when I can pour that first cup with my eyes half open and then sit in my pajamas on the couch. Lately I need slippers. Minnesota is showing us her master plan for winter early. We are nervous about what she has up her sleeve, but we are pretending, and sometimes meaning, that we love the crisp reminder to snuggle in, wrap up, slip on soft things. Lately there is so much to do, more than ever. My body is different because […]

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Just Write 151

September 2, 2014

There is a kind of tired that feels so good while it also hurts to not be able to move your arms without hating painting. The kind that comes after hard work, together. After finishing something, or working your way (slowly) toward finishing. It’s hard to keep going and everything is screaming that I’m OLD, but it’s worth it. Like childbirth. Only not.that.painful. We are painting and painting at the Cre8tive Escape building, getting ready for our first creator’s retreat in the ginormous room downstairs next weekend. NEXT WEEKEND. We have had helpers, people who care about us and come to roll on paint or scrape the old carpet glue off the cement floor. We pay them with….love. (How nice and generous, huh?) I thought you might want to see what the ginormous room looked like before:   Ironically, the words on the wall from the previous renters of the downstairs space say […]

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Just Write {150}

August 26, 2014

It was a stifling kind of humid this weekend and then just like that, it lifted. That’s Minnesota. It’s a “just like that” kind of place. This morning it’s so chilly I’m glad I closed the windows last night. I sit here now with slippers on. The air around me smacks of autumn, and so do all the back to school Facebook posts of yesterday. We still have this one week before the call of the fall schedule. This one week, to shift gears, let go, and start again. Sometimes people say, We’re ready! and I think they mean they have all their school supplies and the clothes that fit the season and the growing children. If they mean they are mentally and emotionally prepared, they need to be teaching the rest of us. I haven’t met a mother (or any guardian of a child’s life and heart) that feels ready for such […]

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Just Write {145}

July 22, 2014

I told her there are two kinds of people. Those that stick around when your life makes them uncomfortable, and those that don’t. The ones that draw back, pull away, go quiet…they don’t intend to cause pain. Maybe they just shut down, get scared and freeze. It feels like it is you that makes them uncomfortable and maybe it is, but what can you do? I have friends that don’t stop showing up whether they know what to say or do or not. They know my life is full of weeds right now and they keep coming along, grabbing close to the dirt and pulling with all their might until they fall backward, a big milkweed in hand, roots splaying out all over their dirty faces. Then they laugh and that makes me laugh and we point at each other. Or something like that. The pulling at weeds/not giving up analogy is about […]

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July 3, 2014

I pulled up behind the buildings of Main Street, in the alley, by the dam. I work from the Middle Fork Cafe a lot, and love the food, atmosphere and small town regulars. The owner babysat my sister and I when we were kids, and she’s still a friend, because that’s how it works around here. Hi Heath, she calls from the kitchen when I walk in. I had pulled up at the same time as Kim did, her truck backed up to the door of her vintage store, The Dancing Goat. (Not a dance studio for goats.) She asked me if I noticed the blue car by the dam. Then she explained that it is there all the time, an old man in it, homeless. She said no one really knows what to do, but there he is, for the last couple of weeks or so. She knows I was a social […]

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Just Write {142}

July 1, 2014

We can talk for hours and still have few answers since some answers are impossible to uncover. But it’s still good to talk it over, to feel the comfort of an I don’t know, and a Me either. In the middle of all the change and growth, the pain and grief, there is more than enough I don’t know. There are days to be stuck in that and days to let it go. Being stuck doesn’t mean staying stuck. We change despite ourselves, especially if we are well loved. And aren’t we always, if we’re really paying attention? If you can’t always feel something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. If it goes unsaid for a time, it is only unsaid, not gone. There is someone near me who needs help, I’m going to go give it. Can you feel that? The way it heals to move from Self to service? It is […]

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Just Write {140}

June 17, 2014

It’s been raining a lot here, but when it isn’t, the sun shines hard but it never gets extra super hot like Austin. I saw a picture of some Austin friends on Facebook and they were at a baseball game with sweat dripping, their hair all wet with it. I can feel it through the screen, but then through my window screen at home I feel a soft breeze and remember all there is to love about Minnesota. Until winter, when I will remember all there is to love about Austin. It’s strange to look at these photos and think of our Texas home and friends because it’s been not just a whirlwind but more like a hurricane, bringing us back Home and to a New Life. New Lives. More and more I realize that as much as this family will always be a whole, we’ll always be separate, just as we were […]

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Just Write {139}

June 10, 2014

I heard the horn, over and over, the crunch of the tires on the driveway. My boys were home, and let me tell you this: I may never let them go more than a 20 mile radius away from me. I missed them so much. During this transition, they were in Texas with their Daddy, and Nanny and Auntie K and Uncle K. Elsie and I were here, in Minnesota, and it felt like months, it really did. The side of the van opened to them and Asher fell into me and we were down, kneeling on the driveway, and he was making this sound I’ve never heard. A laugh while crying sound. I’ll never forget it. I pulled Miles in too, and I cried because of relief and sadness and joy. It’s over, I told them again and again. That part is over. And they seem so much older, the way kids […]

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their needs, our needs

May 22, 2014

I am waking up before the sun these days. I start the Keurig and as it warms up, I stretch my nearly 40 year old back and pray prayers that are not contrived or from a place of over-emotional-mixed-up-ness. (Those are not bad prayers, I just need different ones right now.) Like the Lord’s Prayer, it is so comforting, that one. And the Serenity Prayer. OMG (like a prayer) I definitely need that one. The wisdom to know the difference. After the coffee is ready, I come upstairs to my office, where it’s bare except for the desk and computer (a strange but good feeling comes from this emptiness), and I write. I return a few emails. I try not to get sucked in to Facebook. The boys eventually come rushing down the hall, almost always right around 6:00. Miles says HI as he streaks past the doorway and Asher runs in, hugs […]

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Just Write {136}

May 20, 2014

Their dad was on a work trip and we were eating dinner, sitting together at the round white table. I don’t know which house will have the table. These are the things I’m answering, for my children. It’s impossible that this is what I’m answering, but I am. At their ages, there is some confusion about divorce and the finality of it, and confusion on how we will have all of our things, that we have now, but split up, in two places. I don’t know if they understand that this means the end of our marriage. A marriage that was also theirs, in the way that children connect. The love stays, the parenting stays, the belonging stays…I don’t care who gets the white table. Our kids are excited that if Asher is at one house and Miles is at the other, they can still play Minecraft, in tandem. This is mind blowing […]

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the beginning

May 14, 2014

Everyone has a different version of the same divorce story. They are each our own, true to our perspectives, filters, shoddy memories and all our emotional baggage. It’s when we’re going through the hardest things that we wish everyone outside of us could be inside. Just for a glimpse. Divorce, like childbirth, is only slightly the same for each person going through it. For the most part, it’s your very own experience. Each divorce, a snowflake…but less pretty. And maybe still as magical–sad but true. Because we will survive it and it will refine us, and there is so much peace about the decision. We are on our way to a better place, somehow. Right now we’re just drifting down. How did we get to the place we were? How did we sit there for so long? To say how it was out loud, as I do to my friends and family, is […]

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“From this one place I can’t see very far, from this one moment I’m square in the dark…” – Sara Groves I don’t know how to do this. Just quit. I don’t know how and haven’t been able to. I don’t even know how it happened. But it did. Even to me, the girl who is always fine because other people are not fine. It’s this Thing that laughed at my always trying to be good and please everyone self, and kicked my stubborn pride in the guts. It laughed. And then it kicked harder and harder. I’ve always tried to be a bit invisible. Felt a little invisible. Even while bouncing and laughing and showing off. Even then. Keep it simple. Keep it small. No one has time for your always so overly sensitive self, always so affected, so full of emotion. Just stop. Go numb. You’ll be fine. So the funny […]

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