home

Messy rooms.

g room-101.jpg

Some days, I wake up and look at my son's room and sigh. It's always a mess. Carpet tiles askew. Bed never made. Clothes strewn about the room. I turn the other way as much as I can. But honestly, some days it gets to me. The mess feels chaotic - like loud music with a lot of dischord.

Lately, though I have been leaning into the mess. I walk by the room and smile a little. Nothing has changed except, perhaps, for my outlook on it. He's growing up. In 2 years he will be gone, walking across the stage in a cap and gown, a sea of opportunity in front of him. After that, his little room that he has know since he was 2 will be tidy, quiet, and organized. But it won't have him in it.

So today, I sat in here for a few minute. I admired the spots and stains on his white carpet tiles from the juice he spilled when he was sick. I traced the tiny, dirty hand prints on the wall that he outgrew so quickly. I picked up a little matchbox car he has on his bedside table and remember all of it... flood of memories I can't quite contain before they come spilling out around me, messy and chaotic...just like his room.

I guess the moral of the story is that life is messy when we have more in it. Soon enough, his sheets will be tucked in, dresser dusted, and life will be tidied up. For now though, I will hang on to the mess. It reminds me of how much I have to hold on to.

Summer Benchmarks

sleep

It's always been strange to me that we live in a world that values busyness over self care. We boast about work hours, job accomplishments and GPAs only to ignore the fact that we are simply undernourished and exhausted.

For me, summertime is the best time to actually allow yourself to unplug. It's the perfect time to let your body wake up when it needs to, eat what you hunger for, and really get some good quality soul time in. It's a perfect time to reset your self care routine and start fresh. Take a vacation. Start an exercise program. Cook fresh foods. Read a new book. And, of course, sleep in until mid morning (or, as in the example above, very late morning).

For me, summer is about changing those benchmarks you have been trying to accomplish. It's not about hours worked or grades made....it's about how you feel. Are you recharged? Rested? Refreshed? Do you feel healthy? Did you exercise you mind, body and soul today? These are my benchmarks of successful summer.

And by the looks of things, I think we are well on our way there!

 

The Gift

my little backyard

When I need to regroup, recharge or just or restart myself on a new track during the day, I often come out here on my back deck and look at this view. I take a long, deep breath and pause to find 3 things I am grateful for so I can continue on with my day - hopefully a little lighter than when I started.

Mostly, this is an easy task. But in the past few years, I have struggled with some serious stress and hardship life decided to toss my way. It has made it excruciatingly hard to be present - particularly when your heart is not anywhere near you.

So what about those days when it IS difficult to find balance. What about those days that are hard and complicated and confusing? Or the days that are filled with angst and frustration? How do you find gratitude there? How do you look to find your happy place in those moments?

Honestly, some days I just don't. Some days I just fail miserably. And those are the worst days. But the best part is that I am trying. I always try to find the joy. It's a practice we all work hard for most days.

So I keep showing up here...on my porch. Some days, I have a tea and a smile and so much gratitude my heart could explode. Other days, I am pacing with anxiety or on the verge of tears. It's always different, just like each unique day. The point is, you have to always try. You have to keep showing up and without letting the present get away from you.

So I will keep showing up...right here on this porch. I will keep looking for the present within my heart while seeing the gift of what is real right in front of me.

He is back.

footsie

He's back.

Gone for 5 days and what felt like an eternity on a school trip to Washington D.C., my little man is back - safe and sound. Sleeping well and just as ornery and surly as he ever was.

I wouldn't trade it for the world. The sass. The drama. The tween attitude. I really wouldn't. I am so happy for all of it here at home...sleeping soundly in bed with heavy covers over him and a battle of the wills from the moment he wakes up these days. He is safe. And he is home. And he is with me. And I couldn't ask for more.

You see, just before this trip, Graham lost a classmate unexpectedly. She was only 13 years old - far too soon to be gone. Far too soon for her parents to bury her in the ground already. We are all mourning this loss and her absence. It is a tragedy I cannot even imagine...a parent's worst nightmare altogether.

So when I say I don't mind the sass and the drama - I am not kidding. I am thinking of Lucy - her parents and her family and her classmates. I don't care about laundry or stinky feet or someone climbing in bed with me at 3 AM because they don't feel good. I don't care about the hardships that come with tweens or the struggles ahead with teenage drinking or bad grades or whatever our story may be. I don't really care about anything but this foot in my bed - safe, happy, loved, here.

So I am glad. He is back. He is here with us today. And that is something I will never take for granted.

 

Happy 10 Years.

home

Today has been 10 years that I have been in this home. Ten whole years. It's the longest I have lived in one home since I have been on my own.

When I originally stumbled across this place 10 years ago, I fell in love. But like many of the homes at the bubble of the housing boom in America, it had already had an offer on it. I came into the house feeling completely defeated and worn out. Because this place FELT like home to me. The huge, grassy yard. The quaint, white picket fences. The sweet, cottage feel. It suited everything about me at that time. Nothing needed any real work. A few light fixtures and perhaps a new coat of paint. That was all I really wanted. And it was right here, waiting for me.

Obviously, it all worked out in my favor. The other offer fell through. I eventually came up with a figure they could live with and we were finally on our way to a settled life rooted down in a great city.

I haven't changed much about these 2100 square feet all in the 10 years I have lived here. My furniture still sits in virtually the same spots as when I moved here 10 years ago. My kitchen is still painted the same sage color with the same Lowe's cabinets as the day I signed the paperwork declaring that this place was mine. But even though this place and it's contents haven't changed much, there has been a lot of changes around me. My mother, who we swiftly pulled up the 2 steps into my home in her cumbersome wheelchair, is now gone. So is my father, who helped me hang the dining room light fixture and slept in my guest room for a few months after my mother passed away. My sister – who visited me for a few weeks after my father passed away - just died last year. I have a few grey hairs and some more pounds to speak of. And my sweet little boy has grown from a little toddler to a full blown teenager - sass and all.

I suppose I haven't changed much about my home for this very reason. So much else has changed...that the sweet, calming, grounding sense I get from my home is perfect for me. I love coming home to the predictability of my outdated kitchen, my comfortable furniture and my familiarly hued walls.

I feel the need to thank my humble home for it's support and love over the years. It has comforted me and calmed me after long days and sad events. It's has supported me and protected me from harsh weather and storms. It has cradled me to sleep and held me through some tough economic times as a self-employed single mom who is just trying to make her way in this world.

I often have said "I just want to keep us in our home." Instead, what I realize is this home has been keeping me all these years.

Happy 10 years, Little Home. I can't wait to see what the next 10 bring us.

Feeling Blue

belladog

It's not easy being this girl...can't you tell?

Someone has a case of the blues today. Rainy days and busy people make for sad puppy dogs around these parts. I have been working my fanny off and haven't had as much time for fun with her. Not as many walks or balls thrown. And she feels it. Can't you tell.

Don't worry Bella. I see a happy forecast in your future of ball throwing and beach time. And that's a promise I can keep.

 

A posse of goodness

Posse

Y'all...These kids. They slay me.

This is our neighborhood posse. These kids have known each other forever. They were born together. They have toddled around beaches and parks together. They have slept on each others bedroom floors.

This is real. This is the beginning right here. This is the stuff long term friendships are made of. This is the stuff you tell stories about in 30 years over cocktails and in wedding speeches. This is where life begins. This is where we begin to form who we are in this crazy world.

I couldn't ask for a better crew for my son to grow up with. They are honest and kind and sweet and good. And that's all I could ever ask for - a posse of goodness.

Sunset

sunset.jpg

"Clouds come floating into my life - no longer to carry rain or usher storm - but to add color to my sunset sky." R.Tagore

I have been on the slippery slope of sickness today - sliding down it's icy face with no hope. Despite being on a rapid decline downward, I watched the sunset from my dining room this evening and thought about good things - love and hope and family and sunsets. And I somehow let the sun take away all the sickness and pain and bad thoughts away - slipping into the darkness never to be seen again.

Thank you Sun. Until we meet again...

Behind the scenes

Today was filled with lots and lots of busy work. There was editing and emails (oh so many emails). And then I had a product shot to set up in my house. It is a little known fact, but I really love to do these sort of styled product shots. And honestly, I think I nailed it.

And while I do love the product shot, I really love a behind the scenes shot of how it all went down. While I'd like for you to believe I have some amazing product photography set up in my private studio,  the reality is that I set it up on my dining room floor, next the the pile of laundry that needs to be put away and my makeshift little bar. What you don't see is my trusty intern, marauding array of animals (both welcomed and not so much welcomed), a spilled water glass and some seriously frayed nerves.

Regardless, it's still fun to have a looksee behind the scenes. And always remember how much of our lives we get to curate on a daily basis my friends. It's really a real lot.

In other news, you really need to check out my friends over at Best Kept Self. (That's who this sweet little product shot is for). They are the real deal and do an amazing job with everything they do. I am currently working with their nutritionist, Jessie, to get myself in better shape health wise. And wow! What a difference I can already feel! Seriously. Get on over there and sign up for all things great.