Why My Forehead is Clear of Ashes Today

“Although the life of a person is in a land full of thorns and weeds, there is always a space in which the good seed can grow. You have to trust God.”

~ Pope Francis

Today is Ash Wednesday. The Christian’s forty days of Lent has begun as it does each and every year. As Catholics, wearing the mark of a cross of ashes on one’s forehead represents the start of our most sacred time of year, preparing ourselves for Easter, and moving ourselves personally from darkness to light.

Today, I had good intentions of attending Mass with my son and his first grade class at our home parish. Instead, he is with Baby Girl and me, resting and fighting off a chest cold. To be quite honest, I’m not fasting today, either. At 35 weeks pregnant with another son, I’m finding it difficult to do much of anything these days but eat, rest, repeat. I’m making my sacrifices in other ways, however. Such as giving up social media, praying more whenever my anxiety levels kick in, going to bed earlier rather than staying up late to watch a show or read a novel.

This Lent, I’m slowing it down and taking each day as it comes. During the first six weeks of 2015, God has thrown my family quite the curveball and we’ve been carrying a heavy cross upon our hearts and shoulders ever since. In moving towards acceptance of some horrific realities as of late, I’m trying to leave the future in His hands, trying to let go of the guilt I feel, and trying to embrace this new normal for our lives. In my heart, I pray that the isolation we’re feeling is only temporary—no matter how long a time we must endure the pain.

The days have been long, tedious, heart-wrenching, and unimaginable–much like the beating, gripping, wretched journey Christ, himself, traveled. Even though it feels like our family is being pulled apart in too many directions, that we’re unraveling at the seams, I know God has a plan for our lives—and especially for the lives of our family members experiencing the most pain, facing the greatest challenges, carrying the heaviest crosses of their lives.

This Lent, I’m taking the advice of Pope Francis, quoted above, and trusting more in God. I must. I see no other way.

Born to Write

“If a story is in you, it has to come out.” ~ William Faulkner

Remember my little blog post last week about setting and keeping writing resolutions for the new year? Well, 2015 got off to a rough start. A family member was in the hospital. Wicked weather caused us to have two snow days the week the kids returned from Christmas Break. The Girl’s incessant inability to self-regulate her moods equaled a string of rough days turned into even worse nights wrought with constant monitoring, counseling, and emotional drainage for all of us to deal with and decompress from. To cap off the hectic week, Baby Girl suddenly became stricken with a stomach bug yesterday afternoon not five minutes after I left her and The Boy with a brand-new babysitter so I could get The Girl to a much-needed appointment with her therapist. Although the worst, I hope, is over, I’m still in care-taking mode.

How many words did I actually write this first week of the new year, you ask? Not many, but some. More than I thought I would get done given the upheaval around here, to be truthful. I’ll take that as a victory despite the fact my good intentions and scheduled writing time were thrown out the window.

On a brighter note, today I’m able to make up for last week’s lost writing time. Since I’m (gladly) stuck at home caring for my sweet baby, (it’s freezing outside anyway), I’m writing at a leisurely pace and have already logged well over my daily word count goal!  Additionally, I’ve been able to research upcoming writing contests and submission guidelines for a few pieces I’m intent on polishing for possible (hopeful!) publication.  The Girl is with her caring and capable respite provider all day, so the lack of chaos is helping me to think more clearly even with a head foggy due to lack of sleep from staying up with Baby Girl throughout the night.

This is life–chaotic, unpredictable, often cold and tiring. Much of the same can be attributed to the motherhood journey, personally. I’m learning to live, write, and parent better despite the trials that smack me in the face. My writing will follow-suit. It may be a bit fragmented in the beginning, but I’ll get there in the end. This I know, I was born to write.

I think if you feel like you were born to write, then you probably were.
—  Lena Dunham

In keeping with the theme of writing goals for 2015, The Writer published quite the motivating article about how to be successful at keeping your writing resolutions this year. Well worth the read, you can check it out here.

Happy Writing. Happy Mothering.

A Renewed Commitment to Writing for the New Year

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.

Melody Beattie

Most of the writing that I do, you do not see. Even when I don’t update this blog nearly as much as I need or want to, I am writing. Notes are scrawled inside my blue journal and most of my daily thoughts I pound away on my ruby-red laptop. Two years ago, I decided to keep an electronic journal due to a wicked case of tendonitis in my writing hand that plagued me for the first time over twelve years ago. Nowadays, I can write in my preferred paper lined journal only for so long before the fatigue of the tendonitis settles in and I have to take a break, hand cramping with searing pain. I remember the days when I could write letter after letter, pen page after page of stories and poems, scribe non-stop notes in my classes. I’m thankful for new technologies that allow me to continue writing without relying on a pencil grip.

I have simple goals related to my writing this New Year:  to write daily in my electronic journal, to keep a gratitude journal beside my bedside table, and to write 3,000 words per week. Toward the end of 2015, I’d like to be published—just one article or essay—and to keep plugging away at my book. In the immediate future, I am facing a myriad of personal challenges that will undoubtedly throw obstacles my way and disrupt my scheduled writing time. Nevertheless, I’m planning ahead, committing to my daily word counts, and prioritizing myself and my writing this year.

What are your writing goals for 2015?

One Lovely Blog

courtesy of mysupercrazylife.com

One Lovely Blog Award

A special thank you to Natalie of http://mysupercrazylife.com for the nomination of the One Lovely Blog award. Do yourself a favor and read her blog! Faced with a ridiculous amount of challenges in a relatively short time-frame, her lovely writings are filled with humor, truth, and light.

To continue the nomination, here are seven random facts about me:

  1. I grew up thinking I must be adopted given my strawberry-blonde locks and hippie name—an outcast stuck in the middle of an Irish-Catholic family of dark-haired relatives all with Irish names.
  2. The Husband and I have known one another since 1986 (when I was in fifth grade, and he in seventh). I harbored a secret love for him since I was 14. I finally won him over in 2001.
  3. I love classical music and wish I still played the violin and trombone.
  4. When I began writing, poetry was my prose of choice. Currently, creative nonfiction is my favored genre.
  5. My favorite Pandora stations to write to are “Downton Abbey” and “Sarah McLachlan”.
  6. Twice in my early twenties, I worked as a nanny/mother’s helper. Both experiences shaped my vision of love and parenting. I’m forever grateful to those wonderful families for trusting me with their precious ones and teaching me through their unique familial ways.
  7. I still yearn to open a quaint bookstore of my own.

Here are fifteen bloggers I admire and nominate for the One Lovely Blog award:

http://foreverforalwaysnomatterwhat.com/

http://motherhoodandwords.com/

http://mysnoopygirl.blogspot.com/

http://mumfullness.blogspot.com/

http://motheringthemanic.com/

http://heidihesssaxton.wordpress.com/

http://bottledponderings.blogspot.com/

http://readinginterrupted.com/

http://rosemaryandreadingglasses.com/

http://snoringscholar.com/

http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/ and http://hannahshopebook.blogspot.com/

http://karenedmisten.blogspot.com/

http://www.mybrokenfiat.com/blog

http://www.truthbeautyandgoodnessintheworks.blogspot.com/

http://realcatholicmom.com/

It’s a simple, kind act to pass on the honor of the One Lovely Blog award. Here’s how it works (courtesy of Natalie):

  1. Thank the person who nominated you for the award.
  2. Add the One Lovely Blog logo to your post.
  3. Share 7 facts/or things about yourself.
  4. Nominate about 15 bloggers you admire and inform nominees by commenting on their blog.

 

source: quotespictures.com

 

Choosing Love in the Tough Times

“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.”
― 
Lao Tzu

 

I’ve been working on being content with what I have. Trying to fall in love again with my home. Trying to be happy with what I own, and being fine living without accumulating much more than what we already have. It’s a tough war going on inside of me. I see friends with bigger homes, houses cleaner than mine, their kids better dressed and well-mannered, enrolled in the greatest of sports opportunities, their lives seemingly soaring with perfection when my own seems a jumbled puzzle of trying times. I struggle with the balance of being fine with what has been given to me and what we work hard to maintain; what is being asked of me and what I feel I can manage with grace and balance, and it isn’t much.

I’ll admit my tendency toward selfishness gets the best of me many days. In realizing this awful truth about myself, I try to combat the inner-greed by turning my attention toward the practice of giving thanks daily. Over the years, I’ve retrained my brain in a way to instill a sense of gratitude, not loss. At first, I thought my efforts fraudulent; now I know that’s farther from the truth. What contemplation of blessings brings is a perception of will and a renewed mind, body, and spirit. A peaceful place of heart and a contentedness of spirit grows with practice. Amazing what a simple, “thank you for my good health, thank you for the kids I finally have, thank you for the husband I can’t even believe is mine, thank you for the goodness all around me” can do for one’s overall emotional and physical health.

What I’ve garnered from the practicing of minding grace is that my environment is affected by my natural discontented spirit. My home is a large source of contention, in this game, I’m afraid. Too often, I’m nervous when new friends are invited over for the first time, when family gather, even. My inner-critic feels fear of being judged for our ancient couch covered in a decade-old, faded Pottery Barn slipcover, the discount pillows strategically arranged to camouflage red marker and juice stains, all of the bargain Craigslist finds. Years ago, I used to be proud of my frugal nature, the knack I possessed for scoring the hidden gems at consignment shops and Goodwill. Deep down, I know I have nothing to be ashamed of, for this is who I really am—a delightfully frugal, sort of crunchy-kind of woman concerned with too much excess. Honestly, I’d be a nervous wreck having much nicer things than we own since my kids are still in that exploring stage, hard players, not too careful with a red marker in hand. They don’t care if our things don’t impress. So, I shouldn’t either.

“We need much less than we think we need.” 
― 
Maya Angelou

If I’m completely honest with myself and you, my patient readers, I’m not—at all—that unhappy with our place of residence. There have been countless wonderful memories made here, certainly some major heartbreak, but mostly the inner-workings of a family trying their best to live and love together inside the confines of a relatively small home. Most days, I like that we live among one another, that there aren’t too many places to hide away, that The Husband and I are teaching our children to be happy together. After all, what matters more than those we love?

What is restless, truly, is my heart. And when this cracked, pumping vessel of mine becomes restive—as it is now—I realize that the unease is due to a level of great imbalance within our family, something is off-kilter inside the four walls of our home. An imbalance that I can’t seem to tip back to level. Discontented in spirit is a personal defect I struggle with each and every day.

My initial reaction—when life becomes so overwhelming that it can’t be ignored—is that if I could just escape the confines of the instability here then the discontent will release its hold on my family and me, and we will be able to break free of the confines of the pain, the source of disruption, and all the troubles will disappear. In my right mind, I know that these issues we are grappling with will follow no matter the place and space, no matter what the numbers on the mailbox say, despite the size of the mortgage payments. Though, the fantasy of someplace fresher, cleaner, brighter, untarnished is a pleasant divergence from the reality of our messy lives. And so today, I remain stuck inside the walls and look for a resolve inside myself. For, we all know that the only control we have is over ourselves and our own choices.

During quiet times of reflection and prayer, I can change my outlook on the muck before me and merely choose love, stillness and calm, patience, and tender care no matter the trial set before me. It’s my choice. And the choice is yours for the taking, too, if you are brave enough to change.

“You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.” 
― 
Pema Chödrön

The focus now needs to be keenly set on love. And not just the mushy-gushy type of heartfelt sentiments, but the difficult, tough-love kind—the talking myself into loving when my heart feels like a stone, when my stubborn nature builds walls around me, when I’m just plain tired of caring. When The Girl retaliates by ingesting foods with her allergens that she knows will make her sick, yet deliberately sneaks down to gorge herself on these intentionally, I need to find the love to deal with her terrible choices and the patience to remain calm when she is sick and wheezing all day long—she, yelling at me, as if I’m the one who made her so allergic and sick, as if it’s all my fault. These challenging times are the times to have compassion for her, to see the plight in her eyes from the slight stance where she stands before me, too often screaming in my face, her pain and anguish shooting daggers at my heart. Even in these trying times, I choose love.

The focus now needs to be on remaining still—right where I am, exactly where I’ve been planted—because any slight movement might erase the magic in the moment—imperfections and all. For, when Baby Girl slides into bed beside me every night lately because of her fear of the dark despite a nightlight in every outlet, and the rising fear she feels of losing her almost-four-year-old self to the baby she once was not so long ago. Even when I feel the anger  in losing precious sleep because of her beside me tossing and turning, snuggling up to every inch of me like she’s going to lose me in the intensity of her fears, I choose to be still beside her in her fear. Even in the middle of the night when I have been awaken too many times to worsen me for the wear—most definitely then—I must find the love for Baby Girl in the morning as she remains cuddled next to me, so innocent and happy, and kiss her sweet porcelain cheek despite my wretched grouchiness. I choose calmness and love, because who knows how long my Baby Girl will want to remain so close by my side?

The focus now needs to be on patience and tender care—the kind that can mend hearts, minds, and moods—the type of uplifting calm and true presence of Love itself. So, when The Boy stays out late with his dad for a Cub Scout camp-out and at 11:00 PM comes home hyped-up on the thrill of Halloween excitement, animatedly describing the fun he had that night with his buddies, too jazzed-up to fall asleep, then suddenly, quickly resorting to full-on meltdown mode, startling his sisters awake—this is when a mindful patience is necessary. Certainly, when The Boy wakes up at his usual early bird time, clocking only eight hours of sleep last night, uncharacteristically grumpy during breakfast, head-strong and groggily resolved to build Legos this morning, speaking only in whiny retorts to his sisters who are annoying him a little too quickly today because of his sleep-induced edginess—this is when I still remain patient in loving him in the rough moments together and all throughout this jolted day. For my son, I choose love because he needs to know that he is deserving of my love despite his having a bad day, and that I will always love him no matter what.

Folks, my dad said it best when he turned to me, just before he walked me down the aisle to be married to The Husband, with tender concern in his eyes and stated, “Remember, LOVE IS A CHOICE.”  My late father’s words have remained within me, and make more sense now than ever before.

“All your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate…I choose love.” 
― 
Johnny Cash

Going forward, my focus remains inward with the intent of turning all the interior reflection outward realizing the swirl of imperfection in my family’s less-than-ideal traits are so delicately mirrored as my own personal deficiencies, though it can all be overcome in time by choosing love. Humble mom moment.

 

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poorhouse. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the almshouse as brightly as from the rich man’s abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.” 
― 
Henry David ThoreauWalden

In Loving Memory, A Wave of Light

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH

Surprised by joy—impatient as the Wind
I turned to share the transport—Oh! with whom
But Thee, long buried in the silent Tomb,
That spot which no vicissitude can find?
Love, faithful love, recalled thee to my mind—
But how could I forget thee?—Through what power,
Even for the least division of an hour,
Have I been so beguiled as to be blind
To my most grievous loss!—That thought’s return
Was the worst pang that sorrow ever bore,
Save one, one only, when I stood forlorn,
Knowing my heart’s best treasure was no more;
That neither present time, nor years unborn
Could to my sight that heavenly face restore.
IN LOVING MEMORY
October 15, 2014

Wave of Light

 

October 15th Wave of Light

“There is, I am convinced, no picture that conveys in all its dreadfulness, a vision of sorrow, despairing, remediless, supreme. If I could paint such a picture, the canvas would show only a woman looking down at her empty arms.”

― Charlotte Brontë

 

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Day. At 7:00 tomorrow evening, I will partake in the “Wave of Light” for all children gone too soon. For at least an hour, my home will be aglow with candlelight to honor my own six miscarried babies and the dearly missed children of friends and family members. In annual memory of those children we never had the chance to hold and in honor of their short lives, here are the names The Husband and I gave to our six miscarried children:

Agnes Elizabeth (April, 2004)

Julian Olivia (June, 2005)

Max Kolbe (April, 2006)

Catherine Teresa (December, 2006)

John Victor (January, 2013)

Francis Cuthbert (March, 2014)

If you’d like to learn more about National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Memorial Day, here are some well-informed websites that will help you to spread awareness for SIDS and child loss, find an event in your area to participate in, and further make a difference in the lives of deceased babies and their families:

Please join me in the “Wave of Light” by lighting your own candle on October 15th at 7:00 PM (in your time zone) to honor all families grieving the loss of a baby, infant, or child.  Please spread the word, as well, by posting pictures of your flickering candles on your blogs and social media accounts, and let’s set the world aglow with awareness, support, and love.

The Gift of One, Simple Day

Don’t underestimate the value of Doing Nothing, of just going along, listening to all the things you can’t hear, and not bothering.  ~Pooh’s Little Instruction Book, inspired by A.A. Milne

How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward. ~Spanish Proverb

(Blog post authored by purdywords)

My family is in our fourth week of the school year, fall soccer is well underfoot and Baby Girl is officially a lover of all things ballet. The kids are happy, yet I’m barely staying afloat with all the expectations that come after 3:00 PM in a bustling household being taken over by Friday folders and signed papers, homework battles and fundraisers to promote, attempting to cook nutritious meals that match a delicate balance of life-threatening food allergies with a hint of young-kid pickiness. In a matter of two days, our weather has gone from the humid and sweltering 95 degrees to a cool and tolerable 65–perfect. Under the cloudiness, I’m no longer worried about applying sunscreen, but digging out sweatshirt layers for each little arm I clothe, reheating soup and warming pasta noodles for the bellies I’m charged with feeding. How quickly the seasons of life change before our eyes.

By the time my three hit the sack near 7:30 PM, I’m ready to climb into my own bed. But, alas! The dishwasher died a few weeks ago, so The Husband and I have been spending our nights finishing chores, exhausted from the days’ work and the arguing and tantrums that have become second-nature with The Girl. Honestly we are still climbing our way back from the emotional upheaval The Girl has been putting us through, her pinnacle reached only a few weeks ago when we thought we had nowhere left to turn. Yet, her tides finally crashed and she’s regained some of her level of normal—not a new normal, not a peaceful normal, yet a normal that is tolerable by comparison. Still, The Husband and I remain on guard for the next crest of high emotion and turmoil. We’ve not quite recovered from our tumultuous summer, and the residual effects remain in pieces of our every day.

Recognizing that I might be reaching burn-out, The Husband responded in-kind and for the first time, I felt no guilt for accepting his offer. So, dear fellow moms, please listen. When your husband offers you the priceless gifts of time and space, you graciously accept. For, he may know you better than you know yourself.  The peace and quiet, calm and rejuvenation of just one day may be enough to carry you through, strengthening you for the journey ahead. No, I didn’t book any fancy spa treatments (although he told me to). No, I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary, really. However, what I did do was finally make the time to see my doctor for a physical (it has been two years!) and then treated myself to brunch. I came home and opened all the windows in the house, ignored the breakfast dishes in the sink, and climbed the stairs into my bed for an hour-long nap. I read, prayed, and stretched. For lunch, I ate leftovers. I signed on to my computer with the intent to write for the first time in—I’m ashamed to say—more than a month and that is just what I did for the last hour. A homemade decaf chai tea beside me warmed my body in the chilly afternoon air, and the spicy scent and simple beauty of a burning pumpkin-scented soy candle warmed my senses with a calming peace. In less than an hour, I will retrieve The Boy from his bus stop, and together we’ll drive a mere ten minutes to pick up the girls from our care provider. Today’s afternoon drive will be different–I feel the change churning inside of me. For the first time in a long time, I will be rested for the journey before me, beginning with our Friday night soccer games, a restful peace remaining with me for the days ahead.

 

 

 

Women’s Memoir Retreat: Madeline Island School of the Arts

“Because this business of becoming conscious, of being a writer, is ultimately about asking yourself, How alive am I willing to be?”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don’t be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.”
― Anne LamottBird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

 

I had writing to do. What I needed was creative prompts and the structure of a workshop with involved, honest feedback from like-minded women—those who write the hard stuff of being a parent, too. It was pertinent that I travel quite the distance from my real life in order to stop, slow down, and reconnect with myself and nature so I could reflect properly and pour my memories out on the page. So, I went away for six days, a lucky participant in the Women’s Memoir Retreat led by author and writing instructor, Kate Hopper and hosted at the famed Madeline Island School of the Arts (MISA). Leaving my whirlwind life, dear husband and three kids behind to fend for themselves while I boarded a plane to Minneapolis/St. Paul in pursuit of a dream was a tough, yet necessary decision. One I would gladly repeat every year from now on. After landing in Minnesota, I indulged in a solo lunch—a special occasion for a busy mother of three—and delighted in a grilled salmon salad while reading on my Kindle without even one distraction.

Kate met me at the airport so we could drive together to our final destination and I was glad for the company. We spent the next four and half hours talking of writing, family, stress, books, projects, funny moments, and she generously included me in on what the upcoming week of writing would involve. After a slight, yet winding detour, we arrived in Bayfield, WI just in time to board the four o’clock ferry. Eager to stretch our legs, we found seating on the upper deck of the boat, glad for the sun and wind upon our faces as we searched for Madeline Island in the distance.

After driving off the ferry dock, we went less than two miles before arriving at MISA.  Immediately, I was enchanted by its prime location and knew it was a haven for writers. Nestled admist a peaceful landscape, the entire feeling and locale ignited my mind with creative expressions I knew were not possible on the mainland. Surrounded by a picturesque field of brilliant wildflowers and an abundance of eager butterflies (and the occasional friendly fawn), I was already delighting in the quiet beauty of this untouched island escape. Any doubt of my ability to write at MISA quickly dissolved.

The long day of travel was worth every effort. My writer’s mind was craving an intense adventure and Kate’s workshop seemed the only answer. Under Kate’s creative wings, the quantity and quality of my writing soared to new heights. Her effective workshop format was effortlessly balanced, providing daily creative challenges with a keen focus that molded and stretched my writer’s muscles with a gratifying intensity finally manifested on the page.

My fellow workshop attendees and I quickly formed a  bond of understanding and friendship—an unexpected, positive gain of attending such an intimate and focused retreat. Each of these women writers wrote with such fierce love and raw honesty, shared their masterful pieces, and exposed their lives, fears, challenges, and the complexities of love they face alone. This type of bravery is a bold magic I’ll never be able to forget. All of the stories we shared under the barn roof of MISA, so gently guided by Kate Hopper’s brilliance, will remain forever etched on my writer’s mind.

photo by purdywords

Madeline Island School of the Arts

 

 

 

Emerging

(Blog post authored by purdywords)

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring. ~ Bern Williams

It’s been awhile since I last checked in, hasn’t it? The brutal winter had me buried beneath a vicious cycle of caring for one sick and ailing child after another, a little seasonal depression, with little motivation to write. Frigid temperatures demanded we all stay inside for weeks on end. Too cold to play outside, the whipping winds and biting frost gave me the push I needed to purchase and ask for gifts of new board games and craft kits, a mini-trampoline for the playroom, a wobble board, and a spooner board as kid energy exertion tools (and mommy sanity savers).

Literally, the freezing temperatures proved too physically painful to bundle up all three children for a quick dash to the grocery store for the usual replenishment of milk, eggs, bananas, and bread. This season, I made many a solo, late night grocery store run–giving me the reason I needed to venture out of the house. Too depressingly torrid for typical winter fun, we made the best of our plight by hunkering down with the fireplace on, cuddled under blankets, watched too many movies, colored and created some more, and a plethora of stories, we told. Yes, the wintry dread took a toll on our moods and energy levels, but we survived and on some days, even thrived.

Although it’s presently a chilly twenty-one degrees outside in my central Ohio world, we have been graced with a few signs of early spring–just enough to spark our hope. Last week, we saw a couple of warm, bright and sunshiny days where we fled to the nearby park after school to play until well past dinnertime. Our lovely friends, the birds have slowly returned, chirping away as they merrily nibble and gnaw at the newly formed buds on the trees in the backyard. Just the other day, the influx of emails from soccer coaches announcing the spring season suddenly flooded my inbox.

We are emerging around here–from illness, from isolation, from the frost and snow. Soon we’ll be shedding all extra layers–the coats, scarves, hats, boots, and mittens, and the sadness and gloom. Better days are ahead of us, friends. It won’t be long, now.

(Blog post authored by purdywords)

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