Saturday, July 27, 2019

She Is Clothed

I am at the Chaska Library on this beautiful Saturday morning in July.  Where else would I be? It is Saturday. It is summer.  This is my expected location at least until 11:30 am when my children will let me know that they are done with their desired activity, (which is always computer time and searching for kids movies on dvd) and we will head home for lunch and the then figure out what the rest of our day entails.

This morning, we left the house early as River City Days is this weekend in Chaska, and I wasn't sure what the crowds would be like.  Our first stop was Red Bench Bakery.  Three tables, maybe four were taken. All three comfy chairs in front of the stone fireplace were empty as if they were just waiting for us to arrive.  I wondered if they had been cleared out just before we got there.  Rather than make our selections and exit quickly, the kids and I enjoyed the comfy chairs and that Chai Latte with almond milk seemed to really make my smile a whole lot more grand.  We knew that the library wasn't going to open for a bit, so we decided to drive in search of a garage sale or two. We found a moving sale and enjoyed looking at all of the items they were parting with. We ransacked the free bins for jerseys and bought a few Peanut's dvd's for Zach.  (Yes, he already has them, and yes, I knew it.  He loves them, what can I say?)

We then headed to the Library so that we could take a leisurely walk through the commons area and shop at the Library Book Sale. Table after table of books, movies and magazines all at amazing prices. I would guess that there were over 5,000 items available in the commons this morning.  And absolute feast for fellow bibliophiles.  I found three classics (Shirley by Charlotte Bronte, Gerda in Sweden, The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck,  and a John Irving book I have been wanting to read. Lily found a kids book of poetry.) Lily then took a gander through The Chaska History Center and enjoyed the World War I and II exhibits which she commented that she wants to go back and bring dad with her next time. She also enjoyed the fact that the woman who welcomed her gave her permission to raid the candy bowl on the welcome desk.

Lily then joined Zach and I in the library where it was a little bit cooler and little less chaotic.
Why, you may ask, do I share this mundane glance into our Saturday morning? Because it is anything but mundane. Leggings were worn.  Oversized tee shirts were donned.  Chai Lattes were consumed.  Books were poured over. Smiles were shared.  Videos were watched. Children were content. And this mom?  This mom knew it was a great start to a new day.

Not every day is exciting. Not every day is filled with adventure. But every day can be great when we set our minds to it.  When we do not race on to the next activity. When we take extra time to sit and share stories with each other. When we enjoy comfortable chairs that were ours for the taking.  When we just take time to be together.

I do not have any grand plans for the rest of this day.  It will be hot, we will swim. The kids will enjoy popsicles on the deck.  We will grill chicken tonight and pair it with a salad and pineapple for dinner.  And we will probably enjoy a gluten free brownie with cashew milk ice cream for dessert. And all of this sounds like a mighty fine Saturday to me.

Enjoy those moments. Those moments that don't seem spectacular.  Those moments that often fade into the background because we let them.  Those are also pieces of each day that can be something absolutely amazing, if let them.

I Am Here Journal- Designed By Ed Westwick

Help support the Jenesse Center and survivors of domestic violence by purchasing this beautiful blue nautical themed journal designed by Ed Westwick. Gorgeous cover, thick paper and the ability to add additional pages makes this journal a must have for any writer or note taking enthusiast. 

See the link below for more information.

Thank you Ed for the beautiful journal and for supporting worthy causes around the globe! 

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Slipping Down

I laughed the first time I heard the saying -

I may look like I have it all together, but inside my shoe, my sock is slipping down.

To be honest, I feel like that a lot.  I have been told many times throughout my life things like, "You make it look so easy."  -I am not sure what "it" is.  "You are such a good mom." -My kids have been fed and they have on clean clothes if that is what you mean. "I don't know how you do it all."  -My house is a disaster of epic proportions and I am so very tired. I went to work today and did the dishes. Hardly accolade worthy.

Don't get me wrong. It isn't that I am lying. It isn't that I am portraying a fake persona and finally have everyone convinced that I know what I am doing.  My mom told me that my smile that comes naturally could be deceiving.  When I was a teenager and first heard this from her, I was confused as I thought she was insulting me.  After hearing it a few times, I asked her what she meant, because it sure sounded as if she was being mean.  My mom explained that she actually envied me. I was so confused.  She went on to say that no matter what I was experiencing, no matter what had happened, I always seemed able to locate a readily available smile that seemed genuine. She wished she could do that.  She wished that what she was thinking and feeling didn't always show on her face and in her body language.  My mom told me that she knew my heart, and she knew my joy and she admired that I was able to find something that could make me smile in each new day.

When I was 12, my parents divorced. My parents relationship went from being married to trashing each. When I was 14, my dad moved to Washington and never returned.  Also, when I was 14, I became ill with Lyme Disease and felt pretty horrible for a number of years.  But I went to youth group, I made new friends, I began to date, went to camp, attended youth conferences and went on missions trips.  I acted in plays, I sang at special events and at county fairs and at the state fair.  I went to college, I met my then future husband.  No matter what I had experienced, life had to go on. I wanted to do more, see more, experience more.  I was forced to put one foot in front of the other. And I am so very glad that it was my mom pushing me along the way.

As an adult, I have struggled with a number of physical issues.  Needing a number of surgeries, trying to figure out pain management, and desiring a pain free day, I struggle. I am usually quite honest when someone asks me about how I am feeling. But I worry that I have become a bit of broken record.  I complain. A lot.  I don't want to be known as the complainer.  I am now able to identify what kind of day it will be usually quite soon after opening my eyes in the morning.  I have good days and I have not so good days. But I feel that after my most recent surgeries this past January, that I have more good days than not.  However, one of things that I have really worked on is being very aware of and thankful for is the good that I can find in each day.

A day is made up of many moments.  Some boring and mundane, some heartwarming and edifying. Others funny and laugh worthy, while still others that fill us with emotion until inevitable tears break loose.  Each day is a sum of its parts.  Those parts become a whole.  Even on the toughest of days,  I force myself to identify what good can be found.  Yesterday was one of the not so great days for me.  I struggled with pain the entire day. Transitional movements were the worst. (Sitting to standing, laying to sitting.) However, I got a lot of work done yesterday on the computer. I took my kids to the library.  I enjoyed an almond milk chai tea at Red Bench Bakery.  I watched 4 little girls play and splash in the pool.  I cuddled with my son.  My husband and I enjoyed many games of cards together at the dining room table.  These things made me incredibly happy on a day where I could have felt nothing but discouragement.

A friend who was going through rough patch once told me that the only thing she enjoyed each day was that first cup of coffee.  I responded, "How wonderful that you have coffee! Imagine if you had to start your day without it.  That would be a horrible day."  After repeating this and other such things to her, she started to realize what I was aiming at. We spoke about our daily challenges and our triumphs. I told her how I had to make a concerted effort to explore the good in each day and sometimes, I even had to intentionally create fun. It changed my mindset.  Now, I know when I become a Negative Nancy, I need to go on a new path and search out the good.

That smile you see?  It means- I have missed you.  I am so glad to see you.  I love hearing stories about your kids and sharing with you stories about mine.  Thank you for meeting me.  I enjoyed our time together. I can not wait to spend time with you again. -That smile is meant for you.  That smile is real.  Thank you for making me smile.

Tomorrow might be another hard day.  My sock might totally be slipping down.  I have to leave for work quite early and then have to come home and clean.  But you know what? I will laugh with my morning client. We will be silly together and take breaks to love on her cat and admire her healthy patio flowers. I will laugh with my kids and swim in the afternoon sun.  I will make a great dinner for my family and probably swim again.  I will seek out the joy that is mine for taking.

My house might not be completely clean by the time the guys arrive for bible study tomorrow evening. But it doesn't matter.  Because I will probably have located my smile by the time they arrive. And there is always Tuesday. I work on pulling up my socks then.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


My friend and fellow writer, Jay Long,  posed an important question.  What does the world need to hear right now?  I poured over this question and others for quite a few days.  I found myself going down rabbit holes of thought and knew that I needed to focus.  

I came up with a few bold statements that I think the world needs to hear.  

This president won't end us. Just hold on.

Stop trying to promote sin as acceptable. 

Choose to help rather than complain and add to the problem.

No one will change their mind about politics or vaccinations based on what you post on your social media platforms.

Focus on relationships.  Love people deeply. Hold on to them tightly.  For time passes too quickly.

While pondering these statements, I figured out why I had ended up going down so many other trails.  These may be statements that the world needs to hear right now, but they are not ready. They have turned their attention elsewhere, and their ears have been closed to outside influences.  I believe that we have been bombarded with messages of hate, and distrust, with greed and malice.  With everything that seems to be thrown at us daily,  we as a human race have shut down. We have turned inward and have become ambivalent and judgmental.  Rather than listening to others, embracing other ideas and enabling ourselves to be influenced by positive people, we shut it all out. Almost as if we are flying solo, or have decided to forever be the captain of our own ship.  When keeping others at arms length, I find it can become a lonely state to thrive in. We weren't meant to do life on our own.

I then started thinking about what do other people in my life need to hear.  

Thank you for loving your friends the way you do.  For perusing them earnestly with requests for their time. Thank you for always being the organizer and making sure that we can always get together.

Thank you for your embraces. Thank you for always making sure that I let go first. Your hugs are life giving. Thank you for giving of yourself when you know others are hurting.

You are an amazing dad.  I see you. I see the difficult situation that you are in.  You parent each child as if they were your own.  You are loving and encouraging to all of your kids.  And this mom admires all that you do.

I am sorry.  I am sorry I left things up in the air. I am sorry that I never addressed your questions and may have stringed you along.  I still care for you and I always will.

I am proud of you.  I am proud of the young woman you are growing into.  I love your heart and your passion and the way you are not afraid to wear your heart on your sleeve.  I love the way that you love others. 

Thank you for trying. Thank you for giving me second and third chances.  Thank you for laughing and knowing we can try again tomorrow.

It still hurts me, too. The lack of closure. I treasured you for so long.  You were in my life, and then you were not.  I wish we had a chance to talk. Maybe we will someday. I hope that we will.

I admire your hard work and perseverance.  I know it isn't easy and your life has been challenging.  You inspire others without even knowing it. 

I love you.  I always have.  Don't give up on me, because I will never give up on you. 

These things are easier for me to say to the people I love. To the people I live life with daily. To the people I will always treasure, even if time and space has separated us.  They also need to hear these things. We often become so involved in the details of each new day, that we forget that other people are there for us. To support us, to encourage us, to tell us that it is all going to be okay.  

What does the world need to hear right now?  Love others. Encourage others.  Pour into the lives of those that you love.  Support others until they don't need the daily help any longer.  Take the focus off self and discover the difference you can make when you do something for someone else.  Stop focusing on your own ideas, beliefs, ideologies and even your own misconceptions, and start embracing the people around you. 

I may have written this because it is what I needed to hear right now. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Let's Do This

Let's Do This
For- Writers Unite!
By: Kelli J Gavin 

I arrived in the city three days after my 21st birthday.  It has been three months. Three months of sleeping on couches. Three months of washing my clothes in a wash basin in dirty showers. Three months of working 12+ hours a day at two separate jobs I do not care for. Three months of not going on more than 3 auditions. My whole goal of being here in the city was to find "The Job". To find "The Role" that will bring me satisfaction. That will make me not have to work so hard. That will make life just a bit easier.

I was told to get an agent right away.  I tried 6 different agents in the first month I was here. Only three even agreed to a meeting with me.  One told me that I needed to have established film and stage credits before they would ever entertain the idea of representing a "no name" client. She also informed me that high school roles and local fashion shows shouldn't be included on my resume. I thanked her for the tip. The other two agents couldn't even bother to return my call.  Of the three agent I met with, none of them agreed to represent me.  One was a hack with an office above a Japanese Fusion restaurant that smelled like grease and unappetizing food.  His hair was greased back so severely, that I became convinced that he was using the grease from the kitchen down below.  Agent number 2, laughed at me when I asked if they would represent me, and he said he would keep my name and number on file and call me if they had any new representation openings. The third agent asked me for an up front agent retainer of $7,500.00. I informed her that if I had that kind of money, I wouldn't be sleeping on couches and worrying about having clean clothing each day.  I made a swift departure.

When the discouragement set in, I knew I needed to distract myself. I needed to make sure that I kept busy and that I saved some money. I needed to find a roommate and get a place of my own.  I was motivated, I had a plan. I accepted that I needed to concentrate on making money and getting my own place to live and then I could refocus on developing my career. Sleeping when I could, I sometimes had to remind myself to eat.  I worked hard, made great money in tips and did well.  Here I am.  Three months into this journey.  Three months of disappointment. Three months of sub par living conditions. Three months of working myself to bone.  But it is all worth it.

Tomorrow,  Calista and I are moving into a tiny sixth floor walk up studio apartment.  There will enough room for two single beds and a couch.  That is about it.  An efficiency kitchen with a mini fridge, a micro and hot plate.  But it is ours.  I met Calista my first day on the job.  We clicked and knew that being roommates would work.  She slept all day and worked all night at the corner bar and restaurant.   I would make sure to make myself busy and stay out of her way when she needed to rest. My goal will be to keep my job at the location on the corner where we worked together and I will quit my other job next week.  By quitting the second crappy job, I will have more time to research auditions, find out about local casting calls and explore the city and all that has to offer.

I do not know if I will ever land "The Role".  But I do know this. It isn't for lack of trying.  Even if I only ever work at the bar on the corner, I plan on being the best waitress my customers have ever seen.  I will be so helpful and fast that they will ask for me by name and request to be in my section when they return each weekend. My plan from here on out is to excel at everything I do.  100% effort as I put my best foot forward. I feel like this city is waiting for me.  Waiting for me to explore. Waiting for me to dive into adventure.  Waiting for me to embrace it fully.  And I am not one to disappoint. 

Okay Life.  Let's do this. 

I Know What That Means- By: Kelli J Gavin for Writers Unite!

I Know What That Means By: Kelli J Gavin After my family moved to Minneapolis three years ago, my parents refused to visit us in our ne...