The Day I Said ‘I Do’ and the Commitment to Keep Saying It

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Two years ago today I became We. Us. We’ve been married for two years and about twelve minutes now. The heat that Sunday was the first triple-digit of the season. 106. I was praying that the scorch would not come but it did anyway and just like with everything else that we could never have imagined walking through…we survived. Makeup and hair and smiles all captured and the heat only a distant recall.

Before leaving the cottage, my dad took one last look over me and pointed out that one of my earrings was coming loose. The backing had become lost. I pulled them both off and said I’d do (without). I didn’t feel the pressure of making everything perfect…for once. I felt full and light and just right in my world.

The ceremony was outdoors and we were surrounded by a farm of flowers, family, friends and the furriest of all chickens…the Chinese Silkies. Our children were smiling and waiting for me at the altar where the small birdhouses that we picked out and painted adorned the canopies of trees. Everyone I loved and who had loved me was there; Nana, with her beautiful floral sweater that cast a glow even more than usual on her soft skin, our parents, brothers, sisters. God was the first on the list to arrive and He made everything all right. The lack of sleep the night before, staying up until the dark morning hours to finish up table cards and handmade boutonnieres, the cake that had to be re-delivered because there were ingredients that I was allergic to in the first, the late start getting ready…all forgotten. I learned that day that the little things are sometimes what matters most and sometimes what don’t matter at all. What I am left with is the joy of the process. A bit like marriage so far.

The Chef has taught me through his unending patience and infectious grin that his love is endless and forever growing. He has grown, we have grown, and now our family continues to grow…all because we took our faith to a higher ground and said Yes, I do. The joy is walked out everyday, after the kids are tucked in, prayed over and kissed up, after the slow crawl to bed where we may have just enough energy to whisper ‘I love you’ and a reach for the others hand in the tangle of sheet, the final act of our devotion for the day. It’s been a beautiful process. And I say ‘I do’ again, today.

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Organic Gardening ( or an Unconventional Way of Creative Process for Me)

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Where have I been? I am asking myself this…very often. I have a couple of other blogs and thought maybe I needed a fresh start, but ‘the scribble nest’ keeps calling me back. I am going to face a BIG fear of mine and just tread through this uncharted territory. What do I want this blog to say? To express? To relate?

I am going to treat it like gardening. I will take a seed (the tiny thought, dream, fear in me), strap on some weather-proof boots and head into the dirt. Let the soil tell me where to plant and just wait. Of course this will take watering (which means showing up at the blank page) and allowing the feeling of ‘uncontrol’ and abandon to carry me through.

My soul loves this idea. My mind is having a hard time aquiescing. It’s gonna take faith.

I want to let this be an organic start, weed out the chemicals of my persuasion and constant (p)urging of ‘needing to know how this is all going to go’.

I love writing, God, reading, photography, my family, random blessed moments (not all in this order, but altogether). I will let this carry me through. One day I will have a collection of my journey (a garden of photos, quotes, insight, words and lots of messy overgrowth, is what I envision). So here I go…gloves on, wide-brimmed hat, eager hands and heart. And a hope that there will be another wanna-be gardener out there who feels this crazy chasm of excitement, fear, confusion, elation….if so, let’s get down-to-earth together.

Slaying the Monster…Fear and The Query Letter

The idea of doing something new always excites me, until it’s time to do it. Then I find almost anything to bide my time. Dusting my ceiling-high bookshelves begin to take on a high-priority precedence, updating my status on Facebook with pics from the first day of school (over two months ago) sings a melody of extreme attentiveness, and bathing the dog is almost something I run to (even if the dog belongs to my neighbor, because I don’t own one).

I get this manic quickening that surges in me when I plan out my mission to scout a home for my work and finally fire off that query, and then it begins to be dampened by anxiety and feelings of insecurity. Maybe my ideas are played out or are already in the chute and sitting on the editor’s desk salvaged from the slush pile or…dare I say, I will not be able to come with it once the stars align and the piece gets assigned?

You see how awfully dismal this fiend called Fear is? He is brutal. Never takes a day off, this guy. Well, I say off with his head. I’ve had this goal to send this one page (or so) query off for far longer than is appropriately measurable at this point in time and this gloomy sack of doom annexed to my brain for even longer. It sucks the potential and the progress right out of me. So what to do? Continue to let fear hold me back from my heart’s desires or sludge this loafer around and maybe he’ll fall into a deep hole of fortitude along the way?

Not one to believe in murder or any bodily harm (even though this tyrant has harassed me for years and I wink at the thought of slitting his gloating throat in my fleshier times) I will take the high road and bring him along for the journey. He can take his seat, in the back, and keep heckling and taking jabs while I keep my eyes and ears aware to my world around me, notepad and pen wielding new ideas and spins on old favorites. His monotonous droning will soon be drowned out by the tapping of my computer keys and no doubt his hiss will be vented as I hit the “Send”….one step closer to my goal and plus one for me against my archenemy.

How do you get this guy off your back? And what are you facing right now that fear is holding you back from?

Off to the (Writing) Market I Go

What image does this conjure up for you? Five little piggies or perhaps a laundry list of perishables? Rather this is about getting your words and works out into the world. With such a wide aisle of options going to market can, indeed, feel like shopping. The key is to know what it is that you want before you head out. Think of all the times you have come home with a bag full of impulse buys and were left to gorge on the 10 for $10 generic cereal that no matter how much they swore tasted like real Honey Bunches of O’s just didn’t. Maybe it was just me in that fiber-infused reality, but I do believe that if we know, at least which direction to steer clear of, we will stay on the path that we want to be led on.

For instance, I am an avid Craigslister (both scanning the antiques and jobs and placing ads looking for clients for another business my husband and I have). And by avid I almost mean, at times, compulsively. That was until a couple of weeks ago when some wise pearl of wisdom was dropped into my lap and it seemed a lot like a still, small and very familiar voice (my own) that had been trying to get past my clogged ears (but hearing it from someone in “the know” held so much more weight). Craigslist is great for yard sales and the occasional scavenge but as for serious client material…pass. It is a worldwide neighborhood Bulletin board (my words, not of wisdom). Do I really want to work for a client that is also listed on the same board as “For Sale- Ghost in a Mason jar“? And will I bring home the proverbial bacon, not just a super cool and promising intern position where I will maximize my visibility and professional presence with virtual clips? I think my sarcasm answered that for me. But if you don’t believe me (and this is by no means across the board, there are Some legitimate businesses who post on CL, and I have been the recipient o them) please know that I have been scouting on that site for well over an amount of time that I am even comfortable divulging here. It’s been that long.

Think bigger…get gutsier. Some instant eye-poppers for me looked like this: Cold calling (Yikes! Call people I don’t know, and, worse, don’t know me and ask if they are looking for freelancers? Yes), or perhaps, Warm calling and e-mailing (put your feelers out there to those you have had some contact with–your masseuse, car insurance agent, doggie spa owner. They all utilize writers on some level). Feeling like you have some cajones to go further? How about hosting a networking event (think appetizers and fizzy beverages, editors, writers and throw in some speakers for good measure)? Your blog, use it to maximize your marketing (if talking about your cat and seashell hunting tickles your fancy then great but find niches that could cater to both your fancy and your business, although I would definitely encourage you to widen your possible readership).  Perhaps post on a more popular blog, leave comments and see what happens. These are just a few ideas….play with them and leave your suggestions here too so we can all brown bag the goods.

Last thing on the list: patience with yourself and those you are wanting things from. Think of waiting in line at checkout, even if the screaming scruffy-haired kid in front of you is standing on your last nerve. Soon enough you will be out in the fresh air, yielding the fruits of your sowing.

Permission Slips

I have been bombarded with opportunities of self-growth in the past two weeks. First: an ahhh-mazing mountain top experience with, oh about, 200 ladies who all look up when singing their praises (Amen), Second: a real slap-in-the-back, sit-straight and focus entrepreneur/leadership simulcast (Dave Ramsey), which consisted of a work day schedule sitting in front of a testy streaming screen (but all technical difficulties aside this was “wipe the sleep out of your eyes and go after it” motivation) and Thirdly (which happens to be my favorite number): a kick-in-the-pants style phone session with my writing crush, Linda Formichelli. Now I am a happily satisfied young bride but this woman speaks my love language: all things writing and wellness. This was the culmination of a basket of blessings strewn my way and I held as much of this harvest as my arms could gather. Praise the sweetest Creator for knowing my heart’s desires. During the middle of the Ramsey fire I was heating up in I took the phone call for my scheduled appointment with Linda. I was at church during this entire time so it seemed fitting to camp out without my shoes in the children’s toddler room, splayed on the Ikea multi-colored rug, surrounded by neatly-kempt bookshelves and a beckoning rocking chair. But after careful analysis I chose the floor, it’s where I feel most creative, grounded.

What started out as a wellness coaching session (another inspiring move from Linda, incorporating another passion into her arsenal of trades) soon became a hybrid of wellness for writers. I believe she coined that phrase, so there is no plagiarism here. Piggybacking on my last post, wanting to find time to write, to live out life on the page and not being able to carve it out, she asked me some light questions that carried a powerful punch. What if your doctor said your life depended on you living out this dream? Because it does. Wow, I had to think, what if? I think I would take the liberty to feel the permission. Like I need permission to do this? Well, quite possibly that’s how I feel. This might be why classes and the structure they provide are so pertinent to me. Funny how the things we love (not speaking for everyone here) and what drive us are the things we let sit with a bookmarker in them until we feel we have everything else in order . And then, a lifetime whisks by and the book gathers dust and is never read. No! Not acceptable. I want to pick up where I left off and take that time…not wait for it, as Linda speaks of. Because this is what happens, that time is not found, there is no time left spared. Time must be made, taken.

And the wellness side of all this…is not really a side at all, it is the center. I am only as healthy as I am happy and this doesn’t mean in the temporal sense. I can be happy, content when I am full. Putting words onto the page, for me and so many others is a play in two acts, the release and then the fulfillment. So what fills you up out there?  What would you do if your doctor asked you the same question, What would you do if your life depended on it?

Missing…Time to Write

Getting this whole soccer, dance, stay-at-home mom/co-business owner (meaning I not only make sure the money goes into the account, but I get to come up with catchy wording to accompany the business cards and blog)/wanna-be, Will Be, writer one day “when” I get this schedule of mine under control, or at least somewhat balanced, is proving to take quite the discipline. Sheesh, just that sentence alone took more out of me than I could afford. So, here’s my question….how does one go about all this balancing stuff anyhow?! Seriously, I have a block of an hour between the time I drop my high schooler off, then jettison across the freeway to the preschool for my littlest, then tutor for an hour…home to gulp down the o.j. and whatever was left over from last night and check my email, then it’s back to preschool for pick-up. One hour!!! What happened to the three-hour block I was under the impression I would be getting in all this? I was going to enjoy a nutritious snack and read for a warm-up, then tap out a query or an essay…who was I kidding??? But, now wait…I read about these women (and men, but we’re talking estrogen carriers here and now) that learn to let the laundry go and run, not walk, to their office for a few hours (or broken pieces in-between time) and get the stuff done, or at least started! I want in. I recently moved into a nice little pad and FINALLY have the home office I have prayed, stewed, and dreamt over, only to never have actually sat in the thing to get the job done. It’s calling my name, I am sending it “Thinking of You” cards. I want to be disciplined and productive in my dream. Help a Will-Be Writer, will ya? Suggestions?

Catching Spring’s Pass

I’ve got butterflies on the brain. Spring brings forth images of birth and, well, life. But for me, and my family, it has also brought the other turn of the circle. Death. With the passing of Nana in April so much has opened up around me. My heart is a very tender mass right now, at any moment I can be found in between a giddy excitement over the cycle of my life and a swell of tears that just sits in a wellspring, waiting to thrust open. I’ve always felt close to nature and God, but I seem to notice His fingerprints everywhere now, even more so. I was driving my boy back from school yesterday and was driving at a reasonable speed when I spied a bird flapping along with my pace. It was in a sort of diagonal space and I felt His presence, so much so that I welled up. I notice the scent of roses in the air a lot lately… we only have one plant, and it’s being infested by aphids. I will leave the allergy factor out of this post, I don’t want to ruin the spirit.

Spring is about babies and new harvests. It is about cleaning out the old and making way for the new. Beginnings. And I think that proves that the passing of something or someone, although it may bring with it fear, grief, confusion, anxiety, is also the marker of a new beginning. It is all circular, and that brings me hope.

At Nana’s funeral we set free the butterflies our little one had grown from tiny caterpillars. They had stayed silent and strong in their tight cocoons, had saved up their energy and when they broke from their tight quarters they stretched out their wet wings and found freedom. I see the same for Nana. I see that as a fingerprint and confirmation, not as an end or a period, but a comma, a new way to see Spring.