And They Said It Wouldn’t Last

Two years ago tonight.

Wow.

April 7, 2013 I sat down to blog with the idea that I wanted to put down in writing all of the stories that I had saved up while my Mama was unconscious in the hospital–all the things I had planned to tell her when she woke up.  Those stories I never had the chance to tell her.

It was my goal to stick with it and write something everyday.  That’s something I’ve heard from more than one published author–practice your craft.  And so I did.

In the beginning I think I saw maybe six months as a goal.  But as that neared, I was hooked and knew I couldn’t stop until I hit a year.  But then that didn’t feel right either.  So when I hit 500 posts, I thought about taking a break, but the stories kept coming, and so I wrote.

And tonight.  Two years.  Of writing every day.

It has changed me.  The way and the how I go about my day, my life.  And oh, the things I have learned!

I take my phone just about everywhere, so I can take a picture of something I might want to share about later.

I’m a better parent.  I listen to my children’s conversations more closely, prepared to glean wisdom from them, because I KNOW they see this world through such a different lens and I want to capture that for myself.

I stay up way too late.  I can write things fairly quickly, but then my OCD kicks in and I edit for an hour (or two) some nights.  And then I can still find things I wish I’d changed.  I’ve become quite the night owl.  Even Miss Sophie gives up on me most nights.

My house is not perfect.  Not that it was before I started writing, but now *sigh* even less so.  Or more so.  #comfortablydisorganized

I’ve learned that I enjoy sharing our stories.

I’ve also learned that poetry is a great love of mine, and my favorites are the ones that I find the title and then write from there.  Unorthodox maybe, but those few words paint a larger picture for me, one that then writes itself.

I have been fortunate to discover that the writing community is a beautiful one.  Writers, both published and unpublished, are encouragers.  They read each other’s work, and because they KNOW the blood, sweat, and tears that goes into some of these stories, they share and encourage and praise.  I love the friends I have gained through writing and blogging.  They are talented and strong and know how to put something out there and shoot straight, and they are beautiful inside and out.

I know how fast one’s heart can sink when getting a rejection letter.  And I know that one of the greatest gifts when one writes is to start a conversation, important conversations.  The kind words in the comments section warm my heart, and when someone takes the time to share something I’ve written, I stop and do a happy dance.  Right there in the kitchen or the living room or wherever I am when I find out.  Happy happy joy joy all over my face and feet.

I’ve learned that I can think about something for days, waiting for all the words to float to the surface of my thoughts before carefully writing it, and all I hear afterward are crickets.  And then the very next day I can write something just off the top of my head in that moment, and it will take off with comments and shares and affirmation that it resonated with folks.  That right there blows my mind.  And makes me laugh to myself.  You never know what will spark a fire.

In the midst of these two years, I’ve given thanks over and over for the one who opens my blog and reads it every morning.  Indeed, there have been some nights that has been my motivation for getting a story written.  I cannot have NOTHING there when the page is opened in the wee hours of the day.  “If you read it, I will write” sort of thing I guess.  But since I love the Reader, it’s a joy to put something there–once I rattle my brain around and something floats to the top.

There is always a story waiting to be told.  I just have to wait for her to present herself.  And sometimes she can be a bit coy.

In these two years, doors have opened for me and some have closed.  Shoot, I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  I have spent time sharing stories about my children, our pup, my family, homeschooling, food allergies, and life in general.  I’ve even been known to step up on my soap box from *ahem* time to time.

Thank you for reading.  Whether it’s been once or 730 times, thank you.

Back when they had the suppers at the park on Sunday evenings for folks who could use a good meal and community, we took coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.  Folks who came up to quench their thirst (or sweet tooth, we had marshmallows too) would sometimes say, “Thank you for being here.”

I’d look back at those sweet faces, etched by their journey and the elements, and say, “Thank you for being here.  I’d look pretty silly standing out here with tea and coffee and hot chocolate and no one to drink it.”

And so, thank YOU for being here.  For reading.  For commenting.  For sharing.  For taking time out of your busy days to spend a few minutes sharing this journey with me.  A story isn’t a story until it is read by another.

I don’t know what the next two years or one year or two weeks or even tomorrow will hold, but I do know that I am a better person for sharing my stories.  My joyful friend is a wonderful scrapbooker–she has done a beautiful job of recording her family’s stories that way.  It was a fun hobby for me for a while, but I just couldn’t stick with it.  I guess this is my version of scrapbooking, telling our stories so my children will have them to look back on one day.

To know where we come from, where we’ve been, and where I hope they will go.

Happy two years, y’all!  It ain’t a party unless we’re all here together.

Love to all.

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Go Grow in a Brick

The weather here–rainy.  Rainy and cold.  Has been for a couple of days and tomorrow won’t be much different.

The folks north of us are preparing for snow.  In Georgia, that’s a pretty serious thing.

So many of my friends all over have been dealing with multiple snow days and hazardous weather conditions.  As a matter of fact, I think my friend in Oregon might be the only one I’ve seen mention how nice the weather is.

And that has me scratching my head.

This morning in the drizzle, Miss Sophie and I ventured out for her morning constitutional.  My fingers were crossed inside my jacket pocket that she would be quick, and we could get back in before we were soaked.

I stood and she sniffed.

And that’s when I saw these little precious ones.

First I noticed this one in the bricks on the backside of our mailbox.....

First I noticed this one in the bricks on the backside of our mailbox…..

and then this wee one.....

and then this wee one…..

Well I’ll be.

And it hit me this morning that this was a message I needed, and you might too.

Do you know what it takes to grow a plant?

I’m going back to my early elementary years, but I’m pretty sure it’s soil, water, and sunlight.

These little guys are lacking two out of those three things.  Sure, there’s been plenty of water, but little sunlight and NO soil.

Well I’ll be.

See, there are folks who would shake their heads and tell me that no, that plant can’t grow there.  These would be the same folks who would tell us that it goes against reason that a bumblebee or a hummingbird can stay in the air.

And yet…..

just like these little flowers (I just know there will be flowers), they can.  And they do.

Every.  Single.  Day.

So today or tomorrow or whenever the next time is that someone tells you that you can’t do something–and you know there will be someone who will, there always is–think about these little plants.

The bright spot in my day. And in my heart.

I can.  I’m not going to let anyone tell me I can’t.

Besides, my Papa killed can’t all those many years ago.

And it’s a good thing he did, because the only time we should be saying “I can’t” is when it comes to something we shouldn’t.  Never doubt you are capable of making something happen.  Set your heart and mind to it, and go for it.  Go grow in a brick.

It’s possible, you know.

Don’t let those naysayers nay you.

Go be you, and know you can.

Love to all.

 

 

Musical Meanderings and Theatrical Thoughts

Have you ever learned something new about yourself?  That maybe you hadn’t even thought of, and you were surprised?

Today I did.

I was sitting on the front porch, soaking in the warmth from the sun that was shining brightly today.  Thinking about last night’s conversation about movies and television shows, and a conversation from Thursday night, I realized:

I’d rather see live theater than go to a movie.  Any day.

The Grand Opera House in Macon, where I have spent many a happy time with my crew.

The Grand Opera House in Macon, where I have spent many a happy time with my crew.

I rarely go to the movies anymore.  I think the last one I went to was the final Harry Potter movie back in 2011.  My oldest Aub and I said to goodbye to Harry just as we first met him–together.  I guess the recent releases of Despicable Me 2 and Monsters University will change that in the next few weeks, as both movies’ predecessors were family favorites.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy movies at the theater.  I do, and actually, the previews are often my favorite part.  Still, given a choice–live theater wins hands down.

My cousin and I were visiting over the phone a couple of nights ago, at one point talking about musicals.  He mentioned that Phantom of the Opera was coming to Atlanta.  Oh to see something like that live!  We talked about different musicals and which ones were our favorites.  Sound of Music and Mary Poppins had us reminiscing about Julie Andrews, one of our all-time favorites.  So much so that I can watch Princess Diaries 2 over and over and I don’t mind that she doesn’t even really sing in it.  I just love her.

I guess you could say my siblings and I cut our teeth on Elvis movies, which were nearly all musicals as I recall.  Daddy’s favorite was “Follow That Dream,” and it is really good though I don’t think it’s as well-known.  Aub’s favorite is “Viva Las Vegas,” as she loves Elvis and Ann-Margret.  But her all-time favorite musical, I think, is Wicked.  Daddy’s favorite musical was Cats.  He put many a child out for a nap by either holding them or having them sit next to him in the rusty colored recliner.  He knew which song each child would make it to before going to sleep.  We have the Cats DVD here, but I haven’t had the heart to watch it again yet.  (And I’m not sure if I have ever made it all the way through–there was something about watching it with Daddy and a snoozing child…..)

I am so thankful that Mama and Daddy made taking us to see plays a priority.  I don’t remember when we started going, but I know we were quite young.  My favorite memory of going to the theater with them was when we went to the annual children’s play at Wesleyan when we were all still little.  We sat in the row that let Daddy, just over six feet tall, stretch his legs just a bit.  At one point during the play, a man came in, stopped next to where Daddy was sitting, and bellowed, “What’s going on in here?”  Daddy thought some man had wandered in, inebriated, and he was going to have to do something about it.  Turns out the man was the ogre in the play.  (Daddy was quite relieved, and today that man, son of the director at the time, is now a faculty member at Wesleyan.)  Creative staging–I love it.

There is such an energy in the whole theater when a performance is going on.  When I was in fourth grade I was cast in my first play–My Brother Sam is Dead.  Later Mama would tell the story at how tickled she was to sit and watch my mouth move during everyone else’s lines.  I don’t remember that, I just remember the energy and the tingling nervousness about remembering my lines and knowing just what to do when.  I loved it.  I ventured into the world of theater in college as well.  I had been so enamored with the actresses (and actor) of the plays we attended all those years, that I decided on a whim to audition my freshman year.  I was cast in small parts, learned technical jobs–lights, sound, curtains, spotlight, served as stage manager, studied set design, directed a one-act play, and my junior year–I was cast in a leading role in the children’s play for that year.  I don’t think I could wipe that smile off my face all year.  I was hooked.

In the past couple of years I have had the joy of introducing my littles to live theater through a children’s series at the Grand Opera House in Macon.  I love to watch their faces and see them clap enthusiastically at the appropriate times.  They are so good about being quiet and not wiggling too much.  They are enchanted and entranced.  I think they really do love it.  Our Princess and Cooter are sad when it’s the last play of the season.  It makes me happy to share it with them, and I hope they will always find joy in the theater just as I have all these years.  That’s a legacy that’s worth passing along.

Well, that and Cats and Elvis movies.