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  Writers, both published and unpublished, are encouragers.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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The Struggle Bus is Real

The Fair is in town.

I do not think you can fully fathom the level of excitement that exists here at our abode when the Fair is coming to town.  My crew loves them some fair time.

When the littles had it on their radar, we began Fair Day countdown.  We decided to go today with Mess Cat, Leroy, and Shaker, so the children could play together, maybe ride some rides, and we could visit together and dream big as we walked through really expensive RV’s on display.  Oh, and you know, cows.

It takes us a little while to get out the door.  The Fella likes to say, here we go, “like a herd of turtles.”  Some days it’s like that.  Today came close to being exactly that.  But we did get out the door and into the GoMobile with snacks, headache remedies, wipes (for little hands), and other essentials tucked away in my bag.  I wasn’t going to tote a backpack this year.  I had this.  (Note to self:  Take a backpack next year–there’s all those things folks are handing out that the littles love and then you are left carrying them in your hands.  Ahem.  Backpacks are cool.)

Our first roadblock on this journey was literally a blocked road.  We got down to where we usually cross over the railroad tracks to head south, and there were two trains, traveling in opposite directions, facing each other, ON THE SAME TRACK.  That was a tore up mess right there.  I had no idea how they were going to fix that, but I knew we didn’t want to wait around and find out.  The Fella turned around and tried to use the GPS to redirect us, but it became quite clear that “she” was going to send us back to the railroad tracks not much further south of where we’d been-which still would have been a problem.

He turned around and found a road to cross over just a little north of where the trains sat.  Whew.  Okay.  Moving along.  We arrived in town, so close to the Fairgrounds on the outskirts of town when we saw another line of backed up traffic.  Are you kidding me?

It was the parade.

The Fair parade.

The irony that the parade for the Fair was making us late getting to the Fair was not lost on me.  It wasn’t lost on our oldest Aub either.  From her seat in the very back, I heard her comment, “We are on the struggle bus for real, people.”

You got that right.  It was one of those times when you started to question if we were really supposed to be going at all today.

Not to be outdone or to give up very easily, the Fella talked with his GPS again and figured out the back way to the Fairgrounds.  We were on our way and about to pull in where we needed to park to meet my sister when we realized the Georgia State Patrol folks sitting there were not letting anyone turn left to go in at that gate.

And no traffic in sight from either direction.

Sigh.

Why was there no traffic?  Because we were at the other end of that parade…..they were about to block the road off completely.  So the Fella went down as quickly as he legally could, trying to find a place to make a u-turn.

Again from the backseat, my droll girl:  “We are officially on the deluxe version of the struggle bus now, y’all.”

Yep.  Sounds about right.

But still.  The u-turn worked.  Just in time.

We found a pretty decent parking spot.  And we made our way in and met Mess Cat and family at the RV’s.  Each one we looked at the littles wanted us to buy.  My sister told her son what the man who worked for the RV folks told us, “Imma need you to sign some paperwork.”  Yeah.  And get a job.  Shaker just laughed.  Precious.

Coming home this afternoon as the fall shadows began to lengthen on this cool day, reminding of us the beauty of this season, I thought over our time together as a family.  And two thoughts came to mind.

First, sometimes roadblocks are just that.  They aren’t always signs we should turn around and go back home.  Sometimes they are just roadblocks.  As we say around the house every now and again, “Sometimes it just be’s like that.”  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just keep on pressing through.  It’s a pain in the neck and frustrating as all get out, but most of the time, the end result is worth it.

The other thing is about being with family.  If I have to ride the struggle bus from time to time or, you know, several times a day, I am glad I have this assembly of “peoples” and personalities to ride on down the road with.  Today we laughed so hard about the roadblocks, and when I used the “j” word I really should not have said, my crew lovingly reminded me that maybe my attitude could be a little better.  Ahem.  (I was mad and I thought those directing traffic were being jerks not to let us turn in.  I know, a little extreme.  But considering it was the third time we’d been waylaid…..I did apologize to my crew though.)  That’s what we have each other for–to love us through the hard times, the crazy times, and the good times, and to remind us of who our best selves are and empower us to be just that–our best selves.

Tonight I’m thankful for a great day, right down to my *surprise* sunburned cheeks and wind-chapped lips.  It was a wonderful time of being together–of smiles, of laughter, and of teasing that brought on even more precious laughter.

And if I had to ride the struggle bus to get there, well, it was all the more worth it.  I love the Fair, and I love my people.  A good day all around.

 

Wishing you all good company on your struggle bus rides.

Love to all.