Can You Believe It?

We’re Back!

We battled technology—and won. Well sort of. We had to completely wipe my computer and start over. So I think that counts as a technicality. But I’m okay with it. I’m just glad Premiere Pro isn’t crashing every two seconds or timing out during an insanely long upload–then having to restart it and it crashing again.

It occurs to me that you may not actually know what I am talking about.

We started vlogging a few short months ago. Still unclear? Google “vlogging” now.

Yes, I know you’re computer will auto correct it to blogging. Which, I’d like to point out, is also a made up word. So why it recognizes one and not the other is beyond me.

But anyway. We’ve really enjoyed putting up videos. It has been a huge learning curve, not at all what we expected (even after watching our family do it for years), and very fulfilling to know that we can talk to other people going through the same things and remember good times we’ve had. (Especially later when Anne is starting school or getting married or having her own babies. I will have many videos to cry and laugh over to remember our little family in this time).

About a week ago my computer started rejecting the whole process completely. As noted above. Luckily it’s had a change of heart. Literally.

So without further ado…

Here’s what went down in today’s vlog:

After watching Daddy’s camping vlog Anne makes up a camp ground of her own in the living room. A chore chart is born to help Anne in her responsibilities–and she is excited to earn money for toys and blind bags. We have youth group activity for church and Anne burns through so much energy she’d make any respectable gym teacher proud.

Parents say they like to run their kids down to wear them out before bed. I think it only makes her stronger! And by stronger I, of course, mean hyper and less likely to fall asleep.

We dye fake easter eggs (AKA egg shaped ping pong balls according to Maria) and get ready for the Easter weekend!

Hope you guys are having a wonderful weekend with friends and family! I love this time of year because there’s not a lot of hubbub around Easter so it’s easier to focus on what really matters. Much love!  Maria

We Bought a Zoo—I mean, Chickens. Which is kind of the same thing.

Guys.  We finally have pets.

Ryan is pretty clear about them not being pets.  The whole they-are-farm-animals-that-we-may-someday-have-to-eat thing is apparently an issue for him.

BUT—I don’t see why that means we can’t name them.  Or cuddle them to sleep.  Or sing to them.  That’s normal, right?

Anne ran out of steam after the first four and got pretty stuck on naming the last two Anne.  I convinced her it would be silly to have three Anne’s in the house.  When I said, “Anne it’s time to clean your room!” how would we know who I am talking to?  She was like, OH ya.  That totally makes sense.

The two ninj-chicks of the bunch are named Stylish and Drake.  They are black, and no, this is not why they are the ninj-chicks.  It is certainly possible, however, that they checked all their black fuzz at birth and figured they might as well play into the stereotype.  The more I think about it, I’m pretty sure that’s how it played out.  But really.  They are the fastest growing, most adventurous, and curious of the group.  They are all about jumping off the feeder, eating straight out of your hand, and are super determined to perch off the edge of the brooder.  They have been unsuccessful thus far but I am sure it’s only a matter of time.  Or chicken wire, which we totally have to buy for the top of our brooder so the ninj-chicks don’t escape into the laundry room.

Their supposed breed twins are Stella and Remi.  They are the yellow versions of the plymouth rock breed.  My theory about the ninj-chicks also applies to these guys because they are yellow, mellow, and laid back.  They are cool with snuggling and talking to you but are far less ADHD than their siblings and will fall asleep pretty quickly in your hands.


Roddy is the Americauna and is soooooo pretty with tan and brown fuzz (Honestly, I don’t know what to call it. They are not feathered just yet. I am sure it has a name but I figure if I just wait a few weeks I won’t need to look it up.  Winning!).  Her personality is a mix between the ninj-chicks and the twins, a bit curious, adventurous, and snuggly.  She also seems like the smartest of the bunch.  She’s always peering up at me and tilting her head to the side like, What’s your deal?  One of my favorite things is when you hold her just right, she melts right into your hand and gets super comfortable.

Disgust is the dark yellow Orpington and the runt of the group.  She is growing the slowest and tends to be pretty skittish.  We’re working on the whole bonding thing slowly.  And by “we” I mean Anne and I.  Obviously not Ryan.

I just asked him if he had anything to add and he says “Nope.  I think you already summed up my position.” But YOU didn’t see his face when Stylish was taking a chick-nap in my hands.  The cuteness.  Oh the cuteness.  We’ll see how long the they’re-not-really-pets position lasts.  I’ve got him on the ropes.  (He disagrees–but we know better.)  😉


I Read a Ton of Books and Here’s What Happened

Hi there.

It’s official.  I am becoming the kind of person at whom I would often roll my eyes (on the inside, of course). And get this—I’m doing it on purpose.  Actively.  And it’s hard work.

I’ve had the chance to do a lot of reading in the past year.  Like, an insane amount of reading.  I know I have mentioned it before.  Well the list is even longer now.

I started a business a little over a year ago and what got me started on the self-improvement bandwagon was my crippling and overwhelming fear.  Fear of, well, everything. Success, failure, talking on the phone (or in person), making a mistake, the future, the past, being alone, being with other people.  HA.  You name it sister.  The list goes on.

I knew what I wanted.  I wanted a successful business, one where I could really make a difference in my world, in the world of others, and to make a bigger impact.  But knowing what I wanted wasn’t enough.  How was I suppose do it if I couldn’t even ask a friend out for lunch?  Or make a single phone call without hours of preparation and nausea?

I kept reading and waiting for the “one thing” that would flip the switch and allow me to be the person I want to be.  The truth is, though, there have been many.  Probably 6 or 7 times I called my friend Mikala bursting at the seams to tell her “I’ve got it!  I know where I want to go and how to get there!”  And ya, each time that new learning was pivotal to my growth, a “shift” as some may call it, but it was never the whole story.  It never is the whole story.

Sad as this may seem change doesn’t happen all at once.  It takes time and patience (dang it!) and a lot of practice.  For reals. I don’t read a book once anymore.  I read like I am in college and have a final coming up.  Or I am going to practice a new surgery next week so I better know what the heck I am doing.  I’m starting to take my life seriously– but consequently way less seriously too.

It’s kind of awesome though to know that we aren’t supposed to get it all at once.  We can do amazing things: serve people, raise a family, have a bunch of friends, and build a business while we grow.  We don’t have to go through the furnace all at once.  The thrill and the pain of becoming is totally a lifelong pursuit.

Mmhmmm.  I know I am a fan of that.  It’s been pretty awesome earning an income even though I am still figuring out how to pick up the phone most days.  Pretty insane really.

HOWEVER, (yes it’s a big however) if there were one thing, one thing that I would say is the single most important, overarching principle that all the growth and change has to be based for real change and long term success…

Are you ready?

Self love.  Love is the only safe place for change.

Example.  I’ve tried so many, many times to lose weight out of discontent, shame, embarrassment, and frustration.  Withholding real tenderness and understanding from myself because I didn’t “deserve” it.  Short term I might be able to whip myself into shape with this approach but long term my subconscious always took over.  I undermined and was fundamentally at odds with myself. I still felt undeserving and gross even though I had hit my goal or I would feel good until I started to slip up and the self hate (or self-disinterest, dissatisfaction, and disappointment) would start all over again.  I learned that the change didn’t really make me love myself any more.  Because love is not conditional–even if we want it to be.

It’s not.

We say love is unconditional—but then we go and put conditions on it for ourselves, don’t we?

Love is not conditional.  We are loved because we are worth loving. We are worth loving because we are human, because we are beautiful and bright and shiny from a place so far from here that it doesn’t even matter what we do.  We are already amazing.  There is nothing that can take the glory of what you are away from you.  You are that cool.

I know my old self would really cringe at that.  Well, if I am so great then what is the point of getting better?  Because, you know, my actions determined my worth right?

It comes from starting in a different place.  It’s not about proving yourself.  It’s not about being worth it.  You are already worth it.  It’s about becoming.  It’s about being the person you want to be!  Because, as you recognize that glory within you and as you are truly grateful for it and in love with it, it will naturally want to multiply.  Your heart gets bigger.  Your eyes grow clearer.  Life opens up.  It’s not about wanting more but about becoming more.  Fulfilling your greatness!  You find a way.

You may think disliking yourself will fuel change for the better but it is far more likely to fuel shame, victimhood, blame, and going in the other direction altogether by abandoning what good you already possess.  And that’s a whole other monster.

We take care of the things we love.  We may not do it perfectly (we definitely won’t), but it’s a start.  And that’s the point, right?

Make a practice of self love every day.  Look in the mirror and say I love you.  Hug yourself.  (I know what you are thinking.  She’s cah-razy!!)  But really.  Practice gratitude for you.  If you don’t believe it, keep going.  Keep going until you do.  Repeat it over and over and over again.  Put it in your planner.  Every day.  Pray for it.  Ask for it.  Get help.  Ask for support.  Read (I recommend You are a Badass by Jen Sincere, Daring Greatly or The Blessings of Imperfection by Brene Brown, and Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck.).  It’s that important.

There is a lot more to it than that, of course, but that’s the cool part about change.  It doesn’t happen all at once.

#startwhereyouare #hashtagsdon’tworkhere #butIdon’tcare #selflove

Goodbye, Childhood Home!

As you know, Ryan just came back from visiting his childhood homea last visit.  His parents are officially moving!  It doesn’t feel at all real to me probably because I wasn’t there to help box things up and watch the house become bare.

We are so excited for them.  So excited.  But there are definitely a lot of emotions going on!

Stolen from Jenn

Stolen from Jenn

I know for me it’s super weird to think that I’ll never walk into that house again.

I’ve only been a part of the family for 12 years and, even for me, there are so many memories there.  So many things I am sure I will miss.

Like visiting and meeting the Mecham’s for the first time when Ryan and I were dating, sleeping on Jenn’s trundle bed and being so completely intimidated by Craig AKA Grandpa Mecham (Haha! All the in-laws have said this. I have no idea why. He’s such a teddy bear!)  Matt coming home from his mission.  Or the time Ryan poured ice-cold water on a teenage Jared in the shower—and throwing Jenn in fully clothed.  Lunch at Applebees.  Watching Jared’s pole-vaulting meets and Jennifer’s track and cheerleading.  Listening to Grandpa jam on the guitar when he’s supposedly “working” in his office.  Seeing our dog Annie gave birth to puppies (“Our Dog.”  Hear that? LOL.  Their dog! Their dog!  They felt like our dogs too…)  and Wrinkles grew up into this amazing, feisty, hyper dog who would throw herself head over paws to fetch whatever you threw her way.

Nate, Matt, Ryan, and Jared Mecham


Then there was the Christmas Grandpa-Great and Grandma-Great came to visit. How Grandma-Great busied herself helping with cooking, laundry, and re-arranging all the cupboards so no one could find anything—but oh how very organized and neat they were!  How Grandpa-Great insisted on joining me when I ran to the mall to get Jared’s gift of Victoria’s Secret Cologne.  Yes.  He went into Victoria’s Secret with me.  It was stupendously awkward.  Mostly for me, I believe. Afterwards, we sat outside in the car for about an hour, engine running while he told me story after story from World War II and about meeting his dear wife Wanda and starting their family.  He gave me advise and sucked me into his world and loved me like his own Granddaughter.

There was also the time when I was visiting Ryan and staying in Jennifer’s room, pre marriage.  Nathan was packing up to go back to the school the next day. Ryan was asleep in the basement, and I was reading my scriptures (of all things) on the kitchen table.  To be fair, it was pretty late.  Probably 1:00 am.  All of a sudden Craig wakes up and realizes I hadn’t gone to bed yet, comes bounding down both flights of stairs and turns on all the lights in the basement to find a startled and bleary eyed Ryan. The best part was Nate running after him saying “Dad!  Dad!  Wait!” knowing full well what he thought was going on.  As I was reading my scriptures.  At the table.  At 1 AM.


I remember coming home after Matt and Em’s Spokane wedding reception, everyone hurrying home to curl up on the couch to watch the pilot of a new TV show, Psych—which ended up being a family favorite for years to come.  Them renting a tiny apartment for the summer and going running with Emily every morning (okay fine….most mornings….when I woke up in time), buzzing about starting our college majors in the fall and talking about our brother-husbands.  Later on, Matt and Em moved back and Ryan and Jared helped him tear down the rock wall and Matt completely re-did both the deck and the living room.

I was also so excited when Mel and Gary came to visit because it meant we could force everyone else into doing what no one else really liked to do, but we loved (and by “we” I mean Mel and I.  We, in no way, includes Ryan. =) —the competitive sport of board-gaming!  Killing many zombies and Horde.  Eating Sunday dinner on the back porch in the summer and being eaten ALIVE by mosquitos while everyone else was untouched!  Jared and Jennifer graduating high school.  Jared leaving and returning home from his mission in Finland.

Jared Jenn

Then, of course, there was the time I forced everyone to be my patients through dental hygiene school and they single handedly made it possible for me to pass (They love me. There is no other explanation. Why else would they endure a three hour, snail-speed dental appointment every 6 months for 3 years?).


After college in Spokane, we sold and packed up everything we owned, waved goodbye to friends and family, and moved to my home state of Colorado. We were so excited for what came next and I was surprised to feel my resolution breaking as we pulled out of the driveway, feeling that familiar sting of change and grief peaking over my eyelids and stealing down my cheeks.

That house was such a huge part of my life.  I know it wasn’t my house and that Ryan’s memories far surpass mine.  I know it’s not where I grew up or where I spent most of my time but I did an awful lot of growing up there too, married and all.

When I am in those places where memories pop up on their own, over time it almost feels like they reside there, like their life-force is somehow infused into the walls and I wonder if we will ever feel those things again quite as vividly, remember those tastes and sounds and laughter quite the same without the walls to hold them in.

It does feels so much like losing something—and yet not.

What are walls? Of course those memories will not be lost (as evident by the “Where’s Jared?!” story that has never lost it’s grip on the family).  And of course we will have many, many more happy and ridiculous memories together.

But, for now, I’m taking some time to be a little sad, allowing myself to feel a little worried, investing a bit in remembering all the love we experienced there, and wondering all those things we wonder when change is looming.

So goodbye blue house!  We’ve loved you!

What Are You Afraid Of?


I like this…

What Are You Afraid Of?

By Jon Jorgenson

I used to be afraid at night. Afraid of the dark. Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking. Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up…as if darkness were anything more than simply the absence of light.

I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am and that who I would be might be someone who I didn’t like very much at all…as if there was no such thing as being made new.

I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams…as if I started doing this for the approval of many rather than the glory of One.

I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than stepping stones on the path to success.

I used to be afraid.  Used to.

But then I did a little research.  And by that, I mean I re-searched, and I re-searched, and I re-searched, over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question: What room does fear have?

What room does fear have when I cling to trust? What room does fear have when I lean on hope? What room does fear have when I search for something more, when I discover what’s good, and when I stand in awe? When I run with perseverance, when I walk by faith, and when I rest in comfort. What room does fear have when I sing with praise, when I take hold of inspiration, explore the possibilities, and step into freedom? What room does fear have when I discover strength, embrace courage, remember peace, declare truth, choose joy, experience life, and conquer death? What room does fear have when I find perfection in the one place I never thought to look? In weakness, when I’m saved by the most unlikely of heroes. By grace, when I’m invited into a relationship more loving and intimate than I could ever imagine as a child of God.

I’ll ask you again: what room does fear have when I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light? When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit. When they can talk all they want but their opinion doesn’t matter! And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.

I’ll ask you one last time: what room does fear have when in His Word, He tells me three hundred and sixty-five times (*depending on the translation) DO. NOT. BE. AFRAID. As if I needed to hear that every single day. And as if that’s how many times I needed to hear it before I finally believed it.

What room does fear have when I make room for LOVE?

What are you afraid of?

Thought Collage 2015

3 yo: This hurts.
Dad: Your head hurts?
3 yo: No. My forehead hurts. (Her expression saying “Obviously!”)
3 yo: Can I have some medicine?
Dad: Do you need medicine? Or should we give you some loves?
3 yo: No! I don’t like loves. I like Benadryl!

No, we did not give her Benadryl for her headache.


What do I write about these days?  I have no idea. I spent most of my time in 2015 stumbling around, mumbling to myself, and aimlessly searching under rocks trying to figure out who I want to be, where I am going, and what will get me there.

Exhibit A: I read (or re-read) the following books year:

The Dream Giver
**Big Magic
Daring Greatly
**The Gifts of Imperfection
I Thought it was Just Me
Rising Strong
**The Seven Decisions
The Happiness Project
Made to Stick
**The Book of Forgiving
Go Pro
You are a Badass (Still working on this book.  There is so much I love about it a few I don’t.  I’ve already had to ignore about 30 F words that I could have done without. To be fair the front cover was fair warning.)

**These books were my favorites.

I have been incredibly impatient. God is probably on the verge of pitching me to the side of the road.. “Are we there yet? How about now? How much longer?  Do you know a shortcut? Are you sure this is the right way? Is that REALLY on the map? Did we miss an exit?”

It has been a miraculous year of growth in the personal development department and the growing pains have been very real.  I’ve learned a lot though.  Not at all what I set out to learn or thought I needed to learn, but whatever. I’m trying to just go with it.

Here are a few things I thought about this year:

Kids learn more by who you are than by what you teach them. If I want Anne to have great self esteem and aim high, I have to shoot first.  In some ways, this takes the pressure off of learning the exact right way to parent.  In other ways, not so much.  Time to be awesome so your daughter knows how to be awesome too.  It also means that if I love my imperfections she has permission to love hers too.

I spend a lot of time trying to stay as small, safe, and unseen as possible. Problem is—there are no guarantees. You can stay small and quiet and get hit by a bus tomorrow. You might as well live as big and crazy as possible, enjoy the ride, and surrender. Oh how ZEN I sound. No, I haven’t figured that out yet. Surrendering is not my strong suit.

I’m done with “should” and “supposed to.”

Three year olds can set New Years Resolutions too. Anne woke up New Years Eve and said to herself, “Yup. I’m gonna rock 2016” and potty trained herself.  Diapers to undies overnight.  Yessssss! It’s not like she didn’t know what to do. She’s been rocking the curriculum for many, many moons (moons…lol) but even her pediatrician told us we had done everything we needed to and instructed us to leave the rest to her. She had to decide on her own.

The delayed potty training was good for me. Part of me (a bigger part than I’d like to admit) was embarrassed. The Mom Shame was strong. She’s three and a half.  Did we do something wrong?  The message from the “community” was strong and many.

When I realized I was more worried about other people’s opinions than the health and wellbeing of my child, the guilt was thick and real and all over me.  I felt like I was covered in chocolate from head to toe after eating my daughter’s Halloween candy in my sleep.  (If you ever want to hear that story, I will gladly oblige. It’s hysterical and completely traumatic.)

I knew I had to just let it all go. Leave her alone, support her, do all the awesome things we had learned, avoid all the bad stuff, and give her space. I had to let go of what I thought she should be doing or what anyone said because I wanted her to unaffected by it too. That, my friend, is the struggle. To appreciate all the advise and not let the judgment effect my choices. We did get some really awesome advise, too.

No one will build the life I want for myself but me.

Trying harder doesn’t work. Trying to be someone else doesn’t work. Change fueled by self hate doesn’t work either.

Start where you are.  There’s no where else you can start.  Literally.  I did a lot of waiting to be more ___ before I started.  This means I started NEVER.

People who really freak me out, who seem so talented or accomplished and out of my league didn’t get there by accident. They also didn’t get there magically or overnight, and they didn’t pop out of their mother’s uteruses like that. Everyone learns and everyone works. Everyone practices.

If they can learn, I can learn too.  I am great at my job—but I didn’t always know how to do it.  I have learned and grown in so many areas.  Whose to say I can’t learn anything?  Also, comparing myself to other people usually just screws me up anyway.

Dancing can pretty much solve all of my problems. And dance battles are quite possibly the best form of conflict resolution.

Perfect is the enemy of done. It’s also the enemy of creativity, exploration, friendship, growth, and courage.

Perfume does not double as glass cleaner.  Anne disagrees.

God uses us in tons of ways. What may seem completely nuts from the outside may be exactly what we should be doing.

I always thought that if I was just more ____ I’d be happier.  Happier with myself, with my life, with my family, with my job. There must be something missing. If my life was more ___. If I was less ____. If I was more like _____.

So I tried. Through sheer grit and determination, I went to work. And while those little victories had some satisfaction laced into them, it didn’t last. Either did the change.

I found that when I started learning to love and cherish myself, not for what I accomplished or what I look like but for the very core of who I am, what I am made of, and where I came from, I became more of the things I always wanted to be. I was more like the people I looked up to. The qualities I didn’t like in myself started to round out a bit.

I had to stop waiting until I “deserved it” to love myself.  The whole premise was jacked up anyway.  Nothing I could do or say or be would make me more or less deserving of love.  God is perfect and He loves me, not because He is just that awesome (although He is) but because God is perfect, He is only capable of loving things worth loving.  Do you know what that means?  If He loves you (and He does), it’s because you are worthy of it. He loves you, not because of what you do, but because of what you are.  You are a Child of God, made by Him, equipped with His light, talents, and have limitless potential.  You don’t have to be perfect to be loved.  You are already awesome.  Imperfect, in progress, and sometimes lost, but awesome.

I think I resisted this idea for so long because it felt like giving up.  If I wasn’t hustling for love and appreciation, I figured apathy would set in.

What surprised me more than anything was that the opposite is true.  We take care of the things we love.  We are kind to our bodies.  We talk to ourselves differently.  That kind of change has a ripple effect in the rest of your life.

What I really needed, and still need, is more love. As I have learned more self love, I have learned how to love other people more too. Stewardship means something totally different to me now.  I actually feel like I barely understand it.

You are the only you who has ever been you and who ever will be you. “There will never be anyone exactly like you. You were given special gifts and talents to share with the world, and even though everybody has special gifts and talents, nobody will use theirs quite the same way you do. You have a way of being in the world and a perspective that’s unique to you. You are the only one who thinks your thoughts the way you think them. You are the only you that will ever be. You are kind of a big deal.” -Jen Sincero in You are a BadA (the book with lots of F words)


Loving Life

I have spent a lot of energy in my life contemplating the rightness of things.  Not of right and wrong or morality (although I have considered those things as well).  The “right” things I am talking about are—not that.

I am talking about the right haircut, shirt to wear, thing to say, way to act, person to be.  The right career, the right marriage, the right way to live so I can be happy, free of great pain or embarrassment.  The right way to “be” so I can feel liked and appreciated but not attract the attention of the critics.

My plan was always to play it safe and small and somehow still have it all.

Part of me must have unconsciously believed there was a formula.  If I could just do and say all the right things, then life would be easier somehow.  I would be free.

You might call it perfectionism.  I call it that—but I also call it blindness and straight up denial.  And dangerous.  Something that I thought would guarantee my safety was the very thing putting me in the most danger.  The truth is that life of full of variables that refuse to be tamed.  My blind ambition to do so put everything on the line, every day for my entire life.

I’ve been reading some Brene.  This week I also finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic.  Have you?  If you think like me and you haven’t, we can both agree that it’s time.  If you have, you know exactly why it is so relevant to me.

When I first dove in I could tell right away these books were in my language.  Am I alone in that?  Do you ever meet someone and feel as if you were destined to be friends, that you have known one another forever?  Sometimes I feel that way about books or blogs I read.  It’s like we are in the same key.

What I love most, particularly about Brene Brown, is that she relates so much through humor, reality, honesty, and research.  What’s not to love?

Reading through her work has been that for me too.  Work.  Very enjoyable, but leads to the very best kind of personal work and evaluation.  Yuck, right?  But not.  I feel as if I am going about the true work of setting myself free.  For reals this time.

I’ll leave you with this…  This quote has been following me around a bit this week, so it must want to be shared.

“Our capacity for joy and happiness can never be greater than our willingness to be broken hearted.”  Brene Brown

A broken heart and a contrite spirit has never sounded so good.




Finding Treasure and Becoming

Yesterday was spent fruitlessly (or fruitfully, depending how you look at it) cleaning and organizing, I believe, in an attempt to de-clutter my brain.

I’m not sure it really looks any more clean, though.  More like I moved around the mess into smaller, more manageable piles.  How is it that I’ve accomplished so much and yet so little?

You should know something.  My most important, inspired thoughts are not kept in one of the many books I have for such purposes.  They are written on whatever convenient scrap of paper that is available, then stashed in the back of my purse for months on end until they are thrown into our wardrobe of documents to be discovered on days like today.

My life is like one big scavenger hunt.  Surprise!  Receipts from four years ago!  Chargers from old cell phones!  Sticky notes with to-do lists and life changing epiphanies!  You never know what you are going to get—or when.

When it comes to my writing, I always wonder who will find it.  Will they have any idea what it is?   Will they even be able to decipher my writing? (The answer is no.  When we met some distant family members in the 8th grade, my seventh billionth cousin, after glancing at my math homework, bestowed upon me the honor of “worst handwriting in the family,” a title he was happy to unburden himself with.  Glad I could help!  I’ll let you in on a little secret—I can barely read it either.)

As you might have guessed I found one today. I had a twinge of familiarity while reading through it, but I don’t recall the circumstance nor have I any explanation as to why it was recorded in purple colored pencil.  The handwriting is even more atrocious than normal.  Colored pencil was not meant for speed writing.

From what I can tell, this is what it says.

“We are two ADDer’s coming together to meet the world together, filling in each other’s gaps.  While we are by no means perfect, all the wonderful things about him are the exact wonderful things I’ve so desperately needed in my life, the things that keep me tethered to this earth and to him.  And while our weaknesses often bring us sadness, there is so much more joy and more purpose in the sadness than I ever could have imagined.”

I’m a huge fan of authenticity.  I  love hearing other’s hearts and, for better and for worse, to hear their reality.  We are so prone to live on one end of the spectrum or the other, to say we’ve had a good day or a bad one.  We are smart or dumb.  That our marriage is great or terrible.  That we’re righteous or sinners.  I don’t know how well that really serves us.  I’m learning and trying to decipher the details and see a more complete picture like that.  It’s something I really struggle with: seeing too much in black and white.

“We’ve had regrets for sure.  We’ve been that dysfunctional couple.  I cringe thinking about some of the stupid things I’ve said or done.  But, somehow, we’ve still grown together. 

“We’ve changed a lot over the years.  Through it all, though, the very core of him somehow feels the same to me.   My love has grown but not because of the man he has made of himself.  Not because he has become someone that is easier to love (although he has).  But I believe love grows, not because someone is more deserving, but because your heart changes.  Because being loved and, more importantly, loving someone else slowly and fundamentally changes you.”

I know early on in our marriage, at the ripe age of 19, I thought a lot about how things “should” be.  How I should be, how he should be, how our marriage should be.  I did a lot of comparing of myself to others.  I thought there had to be a right way to do things.  I spent a lot of time frustrated and lost and worried that I wasn’t good enough yet. I think we can become disillusioned when it turns out—surprise!—neither of you are perfect and it’s going to be harder than you thought.  That you aren’t the wife you always knew you would be.  That you will unintentionally hurt each other.  That you’ll have to apologize more than you’d like. Marriage isn’t about being perfect, but about learning and loving perfectly.  Again and with much emphasis: learning.  If there is anything we are equipped with that is more Godlike than anything else, though, it’s love.  God is love.  Literally.  So what does that do for us?  Everything.

“I know I picked him because he brings me to myself.  He is my center.  How is it that he can infuriate me like no one else can, yet can calm me to the very core.  Just by being present.  How he can lay with me when I am having a panic attack and his mere presence or life force or whatever steadies mine.  I ask him to stay and he does.

“Being married to him has been the best part of my life thus far.  And while dirty laundry is best left unaired, pretending it’s scotch white is completely ridiculous and unfair.  I treasure the beauty in that.  The truth of us now as we are and as we are changing.  That loving each other brings us closer together and closer to God, cleanses our hearts on a regular basis, and teaches us so much about life and how to give more.  And how to be more.”

Relationships suck because, sometimes, people suck.  I know I do.  But, we are also amazing.  And so worth it!

The Art of Losing

So, I have this thing I do occasionally.

I write poetry.

It’s not something that comes very naturally to me, but when I feel inspired, I love the way it flows and how that form of expression feels.

I wrote something this week.  I started out just writing how I felt about something.  Just really basic and straight forward.  And then it morphed into something totally different.

I wish I could control that, you know?  Control when that happens.  I write really lame poetry 90% of the time and then all the sudden—it’s more.  Unexpectedly, I’m given something that is so organic and expresses exactly how I would want it expressed.  Feels like the music of my heart.

And it’s gone.

I looked everywhere.  I can’t find the file in my Pages, Word, Day One app.  So bummed!

I tried to remember it and, of course, I couldn’t come up with it again.  Not exactly.  The moment is gone and so is my poem.  SIGH  Oh well.

It’s happened to us all, right?  What have you lost?

Life Now—And Six Months Ago

This week my heart feels bigger.  Bigger in a lot of ways.  Thankful for the love in our lives, the people we share it with and seeing our family grow (NOT pregnant.  We’ve recently welcomed some new nephews to the crew!).

It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day.  Just 6 months ago my brother in law was in a very serious bike vs car accident and I vowed to see life more clearly and stop waiting for it to start, for tomorrows that never come, and start investing in the people in my life and let go of my fears.

Am I different than I was then?  Yes.  Did that experience change me?  Of course.  But not as much as I’d like.  I’m not sure it’s ever as much as we’d like.   The clarity of the days post accident have faded.  Well-remembered when they are, but often out of focus.  I’ve had so many other things orbiting my life that the details of 6 months ago seem—foreign.  Lost.  Ancient even.

When I really think back to those days I feel a little foreign too.  Living in that much awareness after a shock is like being thrown into a 3rd dimension, the details of your life are the same but suddenly in full technicolor, rich and deep but unstable and fleeting.  You don’t know what reality to grab hold of so you just don’t for a while.

It’s with this in my heart and family on my mind that I’ve been thinking a lot about Anne and the adventure our life has been since she entered it.  And it’s not just because she’s a kid.  It’s because she’s Anne.

Here are a few reasons I love being her Mom:

  • The things that inspire the most anger often inspire the most laughter—later.
  • We can’t wait for her to go to bed when she’s melting down and exhausted but miss her once she’s asleep…and seriously consider waking her up just so we can hang out.
  • Tonight she gave me “true love’s kiss” right before she fell asleep.
  • Her Uncle Matt called her to wish her a happy birthday and before he could say anything she yelled “Happy Birthday!” into the phone.  She proceeded to wish everyone a happy birthday all day.
  • Last week she got about 10 mini slivers in both hands from playing the back yard.  I iced her up (a trick I learned from a scalpel fight I had with my dermatologist. Easy anesthetic!) and removed them one by one.  It took like 2-3 sessions over a few days, but before we started she was adamant I not remove them.  This, of course, was before they started to feel sore and irritated.  She said “No!  Not my stripes!  They’re mine!”
  • “Do you like this movie?”  Anne: “A smoothie?!  YES!  I want a smoothie!”  “No.  I said  ‘This. Movie.’ ” Anne: “Smoothie!  Yes a smoothie! Yes please!!”
  • She waits for me to get home from work in the front room.  When I walk in she springs forth from her hiding place (which usually consists of a pillow over her face) and yells “SURPRISE!”
  • “You’re in charge Mommy.  And Daddy’s in charge.  And my blanket is in charge.”
  • Before Ellie had their baby they had a video up of them at the doctor’s office.  Anne wanted to watch the part where they were listening to the heart beat over and over again.  She’d say “Is that my cousin?”
  • She comes home from church a special kind of hyper.  It reminds me of the way I felt in college after a ridiculously fun night out with the girls, super energized and a little bit silly.  She must love her little friends.
  • Anne was running away from Daddy because she didn’t want her diaper changed.  He said “Anne!  It’s not funny!”  Her response?  “It’s a little bit funny Daddy.”   We are in trouble.