Sunday, February 9, 2020

the sunday currently, volume 125.

reading a mish-mash of things right now. I don't usually like to read more than one book at a time, but I am in a reading rut... and I'm really just trying to get a little reading done here and there before I'm back in the swing of regularly reading. Selections currently include the following: Slightly South of Simple, by Kristy Woodson Harvey, Atomic Habits, by James Clear, Me, by Elton John, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, by J.K. Rowling, and A Simplified Life, by Emily Ley. I know. That is a ridiculous amount of books to claim to be reading. I don't like it any more than you do. Like I said, I'm ready for the reading bug to bite me again. 
writing futile to-do lists in my planner, in my head, and in my phone. Much like my current ridiculous reading list, my writing has been scattered, distracted, and frankly, ineffective. I need to get some organization and simplification going. I'm really just spinning my wheels at this point. 
listening to my February 2020 playlist on Spotify. The boys and I often listen to the same few songs around the house, and we have slowly built up a good collection. I added some other familiar favorites, mixed in with some new (to me) songs from familiar artists, and I like to think I have a nice little mix going. 
thinking that baby/child sleep in one of the most difficult parenting things for me. Planning to get my guys back on a better schedule in the coming week. Thank goodness for Taking Cara Babies - her advice has really helped me! 
smelling like Warm Vanilla Sugar lately, and I love it. After a holiday season filled with Twisted Peppermint, it's nice to return to something a little more subdued. 
wishing I didn't have to make such a conscious effort to drink water each day. If only coffee counted as water, I would be one well-hydrated person. 
hoping I can get myself together and have a pleasantly productive week ahead. I need a week of productivity for my personal well-being, as well as for crossing some long-awaited items off of my to-do list. Plus, my house needs some attention. I can do this. And I will feel so much better if I get my house (and life) in order. Dramatic, I know. 
wearing workout clothes. After I tap out this blog post, I'm going to do a HIIT workout. I've been doing workout videos on YouTube, which I love. Justin and I are also talking about joining the YMCA near our house again, which I am really excited about. They have Body Pump classes, as well as some other classes I haven't yet tried. The truth is, I really love going to the gym and look forward to getting back into it soon. 
loving my life, despite my productivity dry spell this week. I have a lot to be thankful for, and that it not lost on me. Being able to be home with my boys from day to day is a huge blessing and opportunity. I have greatly enjoyed this uninterrupted time with them since Grayson was born. 
wanting another cup of coffee. I won't tell you how many I've had already. It's really just been that kind of week, where I could never drink enough coffee. Unfortunately, my energy to coffee ratio seems to be deficient this week, for some reason, and that is a sad state of affairs indeed. 
needing... well, isn't it obvious? More coffee and more productivity. Can someone send either of these things my way? Thanks a lot. 'Preciate ya. 
feeling proud of myself for one thing I have been succeeding at - I have worked out every day of February so far. My main personal goal for February is to work out every day, even if it's just a little bit, and I already feel a lot better. I need to work on further cleaning up my diet (though I have been cooking a LOT more, which I am also proud of), but I feel like I'm off to a good start with getting more active. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

more about music.

Tonight, I am working on continuing education for my upcoming license renewals, and along with chugging away with that, I am listening to music on Spotify. This is something I have been doing in the late evenings recently, after putting my younger child to bed and getting ready for bed myself (while Luke watches Captain Marvel with Justin), and I have to say, I quite like this little routine. 

The truth is, I absolutely love music. I know in years past I have written about this on my blog, but  I'll say again that music transports me, transforms me. My favorite songs echo through time and remind me of former versions of myself, younger ones, inexperienced ones, carefree - yes - but with so much good, so much depth, to come (I now realize, obviously). 

Tonight's melodic transportation came by way of "Why Am I the One," by fun. Those first few notes played, and I was instantly transported back to Gulf Shores, in a condo on the beach. September 2012. My bachelorette party. We had all risen from bed, and the familiar scrape of pots and pans and utensils and the drip-drip-gurgle-drip of coffee were the soundtrack to the morning, until someone - I don't know who - turned on some music. 

I danced around to this song while eating a plate of scrambled eggs, surrounded by my best friends and my sister, and I will never forget it. 

And that's all there really is to the memory. And I am thankful for it. 

Thank you. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

on making time to write.

I am currently drinking coffee and (accidentally) eating a couple pieces of the candy I bought yesterday for the Trick-or-Treaters tomorrow. Muffled light seeps into the kitchen from the laundry room - every other light is off downstairs. And even though I feel like I would rather be in bed snoozing during this (usually small) window of time when both of my children are asleep for nap time, I am writing.

It's so easy to scroll Instagram in these moments, isn't it? To escape out of our own lives for a bit, to see what others are up to, to see what leggings and boots and coats our favorite "influencers" are pushing. To watch story after story after story.

I get it, I really do. But I have to make a change.

I used to have a lot of time to devote to reading and writing. It was one of the main things I did each day, and looking back on it now, I know that is because reading and writing bring me a joy that is life-enhancing. Give me a well-worn library book, give me the latest issue (or perhaps an unread issue from months back, as is the case lately), give me a notebook open to a fresh page alongside a pen, give me an open laptop. These are my people.

I noticed a large shift when I went to grad school. And then another large shift when my first child was born. And then another shift when my second child was born. The common denominator in all of these scenarios? Less time.

A long time ago, one of my favorite YouTubers said that once she had her daughter, it taught her invaluable time management skills. Being pre-child at that time myself, I was like, "Yeah, ok, whatever. Having a kid really can't be that time consuming, you're just doing your normal life with someone in tow."

Let me just go ahead and say that is inaccurate, and let me just go ahead and insert my foot into my mouth.

Life is changed by having children. Priorities shift wildly. Hobbies and interests that are not iron clad are thrown to the wind. There is the birth of the child, yes, but there is also the birth of you after that child. A rebirth. You become new, and your new self has different responsibilities, and even though it sounds trite, it is enormous in a way that is unimaginable before you find yourself in these exhausting-challenging-rewarding-glorious trenches.

My children have absolutely taught me an encyclopedia-set-sized amount on time management. I have succeeded some days, I have failed miserably other days. Sometimes I don't brush my teeth until after lunch. Sometimes (like today) I wear pajamas all day, even though there is someone coming over to my house. Sometimes tears are shed (by both parties) when one of my children refuses to nap. But sometimes, I throw things into a crock pot and let dinner simmer all day long, filling the house with delicious, comforting aromas. Sometimes I fold all of the laundry and even put it away. Sometimes - sometimes, but not often enough - I sit down to read and write.

I am so happy that is how I chose to spend this gloomy, drizzly nap time today. Sipping coffee, tapping the laptop keyboard, letting the thoughts flow. Thank you.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

from the floor of a bedroom, part two.

Good morning from Lake Norman. 

Yesterday, Justin, the boys, & I went out for Saturday morning coffee. When it was time to return home, we decided to just keep driving, & this is where we ended up. It has afforded us an impromptu visit with family, as well as a respite from daily life in our own little bubble. 

Life lately has consisted of adhering to nap times, drinking inordinate amounts of coffee, having hummus & crackers with my two-and-a-half-year-old, & trying to squeeze in some sleep here & there. We are currently making our way through the four month sleep regression. I phrase it in that way because I truly believe that this particular developmental milestone demands that you simply survive. Sure, I've read the books, I follow the sleep experts on Instagram (and watch their stories religiously)... but somehow, we are still met with a bit of a challenge in this department right now. 

I won't sugar coat it - it's hard. And unfortunately, I am one of those particular individuals who are grumpy when they lack sleep. 

But, it won't last forever, and we will persevere. 

I'm making it sound far too dramatic, but that's what happens on little sleep & a lot of coffee. 

I was chatting with a friend yesterday via text, and she remarked that maybe, one day, we would look back on this time in our lives and miss it. 

I replied that I thought we certainly would. After all, despite the challenges of our daily lives, there is an overarching tone of joy, of purpose. From moment to moment, hour to hour, I find myself already missing it. The whole-face smile of a four month old baby, the stories told by a nearly-three-year-old, punctuated by the question, "Ee-mem-er?" On two hours' sleep or twelve, nothing could be sweeter, nothing could be more significant. 

Monday, November 26, 2018

travel diary: SHV to ATL.

I've always been an emotional person. As a nine year old, I recall watching The Secret Garden on repeat, crying at the end every time. I remember feeling overcome with emotion as I reflected on how far all of the characters had come, how much they all had grown. My parents always asked me, "Why do you watch that movie, if you know it makes you cry?" 

Excellent question. But I didn't know the answer then, and I still don't really know the answer now. 

Now, I am an overly-emotional pregnant person. Things like seeing my favorite Christmas decoration on display the day after Thanksgiving in my parents' home made me cry. So did multiple commercials that we viewed in between football games over the last few days. 

It's always been a part of who I am, and I am guessing that it always will be. The one thing that makes it hard? I get embarrassed. Our society isn't one that really accepts emotional outbursts of any kind, especially in public. So, what am I supposed to do? 

I've tried lots of different techniques to stop the water works, whether it be on the comfort of my own couch or standing in line at Chipotle. Looking up, biting my tongue, thinking of something funny. I'll be honest and say any combination of these techniques works roughly 25% of the time. Every other time, I'm left with watering eyes and a red nose, which gives me away immediately. 

Maybe, as humans, we're designed for public displays of emotion. Maybe it makes us all appear a little more relatable to our peers. Maybe it reminds us all that we're in this together, that things don't always have to be easy, that we don't always have to be strong and appear braver than we are. Maybe I'll stop trying to hide my tears and just let them flow. Maybe we all should. 

So, if you see a pregnant lady crying outwardly in public, just hand over a tissue and give reassuring nod. True, maybe something big is going on in their life, but maybe they just saw a puppy in a sweater and their hormonally-overloaded heart just can't take it. 

Or, you know, maybe they're just human. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

thankful.

Of course this week lends itself to the making of mental lists of things for which we are thankful. My list this year contains all of the usual suspects, including family, health, and safe travels down to Louisiana to celebrate. 

But this year, there's another item on my list. Something I have taken for granted in the past, though I always should have known better. It's something that has largely evaded me in recent months... well, years. It's something I've felt intermittently, sometimes unexpectedly, but haven't acted upon in quite a while. 

What is it? 

Inspiration. Simple, blessed, inspiration. 

I feel it most often when I return to Shreveport, to the Ontario House. Something about this house leads me right into the arms of waiting words. Maybe it's the proximity to so many loved ones. Maybe it's all the work and labors of love that have gone into making this house our family home of so many years. Maybe it's the memories of sitting at the dining room table with a steaming cup of coffee, creating blogging schedules, tapping things out on my beloved white MacBook, scheduling posts for months in advance. 

I don't know exactly what it is, but for reasons I can't adequately explain, I feel immense gratitude, overflowing thanks. 

Happy Thanksgiving to whomever may be out there, reading this. Thank you for being part of this story. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

on consistency & self discipline.

hastily tapped out in my phone notes while en route from Denver to Raleigh last week - 

I'll never understand why I stop doing things that I like.

Working out. Eating healthfully. Writing on this blog. 

Human nature seems to dictate this weird need to depart from routines and activities and tasks, even if those things are beloved to us. Do we need a break from the monotony? Do we secretly need to rebel? Are we all just that wishy washy? 

Maybe it's just me. But really, drawing from conversations with friends, I'm quite sure that it is not just me. Many of us seem to have to struggle inwardly against ourselves to make sure we are doing - consistently - the things that we love. 

I know people who don't seem to struggle in this way. And a character trait that I observe in them, alongside this faithful, relentless, and unfailing consistency? Self discipline. 

A long time ago, in what was probably 2006 or 2007, there was this feature you were able to install on Facebook that allowed individuals to write anonymous messages to you, that only you could view. I'll never forget one of the messages I got one night (in fact, it's the only message from that feature I even remember at all). It read, 

"I wish you weren't such a flake." 

Even now, I am not sure who of my friends wrote that message to me, though I have an idea or two that would certainly make sense*. At that time in my life, I will admit that I was flaky. I was flighty and anxious and always trying to fit in and please people and be viewed as fun. And now, I can recognize that life - and living a happy one at that - is not about pleasing everyone with what a lively and vivacious person you are, with how many stories you have to tell, with how new and exciting your life is - and remains - day after day. Your real friends and family will love you, even when you're dull, even when you don't know what to say, even when you're in a dark place. 

I wish I would have known that back then, so that I could have been the kind of friend to whomever wrote that message, that I try to emulate now. I wish I would have known how to look deep inside myself and recognize all that I truly love and hold dear. And I wish I would have had the courage then, to be true to myself. I wish I would have had more self discipline, to stick beside plans, to stick beside my friends, to stick beside myself. 

And now, I hope and pray for the kind of self discipline that yields consistency. Consistency with exercise, healthful eating, sharing by way of this blog, connecting with dear friends. 

I hope and pray for that magical, unyielding consistency. 

*If you wrote that message to me, and you are reading this, please know that I am truly sorry that I was not there for you. I sincerely wish I would have been. 

the sunday currently, volume 125.

reading a mish-mash of things right now. I don't usually like to read more than one book at a time, but I am in a reading rut... and I...