The day everything was off

The day everything was off

I didn’t lose power, I didn’t lose anything really other than maybe another hour of sleep. But today felt like it started like many of mine do–tired and resistant to the idea of leaving my bed. The overcast skies were of no help either.

Today is another day. A day for work and making meals and fighting the never-ending battle of being overrun by toys in almost every inch of my house. It started with the no-less-than ten-minute game of “clothe the toddler” as he playfully scrambles from room to room while I chase after him, trying to squeeze on another article of clothing. By the time we had finally packed the car and headed to preschool I thought we had made it. We got there, albeit late, and now the day could start anew as I spent the next few hours kid-free. But as I drove over to work at a new-to-me coffee shop with a friend, I struggled to gather my thoughts and my fatigue.

I arrived feeling disheveled and out of place. This wasn’t my usual work spot on the couch. It was full of lively college students and young adults with their multi-colored hair and trendy green coats. My computer needed an outlet to survive, which meant wedging myself in the middle of a small bench to claim access to the power strip. It was loud and full of stories, but made it hard to write mine.

As I attempted to get in a groove and focus, I realized my wedding ring I’m constantly adjusting was left at home due to going rock climbing last night. My back-up hair tie was also gone from my wrist, and I have nothing to fidget with. Suddenly I’m surprised to be staring at a blank page without a clue what I will write.

Am I in over my head? What am I doing here? If I can’t manage a simple thing like showing up to a new coffee shop without feeling like a total klutz, how will I convince someone to hire me for more freelance assignments? What if I’m not a real writer anyway? If I can’t manage the first sentence, how will the next 1,500 words of this assignment ever seep out?

That toddler who needs to be picked up in an hour? I can barely seem to get him dressed in time for school and am often counting down the hours until nap time or bedtime. What if I’m not cut out for this? I’m not that mom who makes sensory bins or has a new project for him each day. Sure, we go on long walks around town and hit up some museums occasionally, but often our biggest outing of the week is the grocery store. And it’s an Aldi week…the prices are good, but I don’t feel like I have the patience for the manual labor that trip requires.

Some days I feel more in the zone, more confident and capable. More grateful and maybe more rested. But regardless of off days or on days, I have to remember we as humans will experience both. We can’t constantly achieve and succeed. It’s not all upward motion. We need to go down to go up, or even just to go forward. There will be doubts, questions, or feelings of inadequacy. There will be “meh” cloudy days that no amount of caffeine can pep things up. Not even bad, terrible days, just off days. Days of feeling like a klutz and mentally disorganized.

Today might be off for me. It might even be a total wash, only time will tell. But I’m still doing it. I’m a writer and a mom, a wife and friend. It’s just a matter of continuing to show up–whether feeling on or off.

Who knows, maybe the off days define us more than the on ones?



What I Write and What I Want

On the Horizon
It’s been a few weeks, and I’m still not sure how to pick up where I left off. A lot has happened and is happening. A few difficult yet vaguely described months this past fall/winter were followed by some resolve, some redirection, and some utter ridiculousness. In all of that, I question what it is I most want to say.

I have talked a few times about how much I appreciate writing and have been grateful that this blog has been a place for that. It’s been a way to update people, to share my thoughts, and to think through the different things going on in our lives. But it is also a place people come to read those things, which is something I consider very carefully. A handful of people have told me that they read my blog, which is always a flattering compliment, so I have a limited notion of my audience. There are also many people I’ve never met and know nothing about.

To me, the listeners/readers are often just as important as the message. This isn’t a journal, so if I don’t consider my audience, I do a disservice to us both. Lately, with a lot of transition and life going on, I’ve been considering even more carefully what it is that I’m saying and how my words are portrayed to those who are watching and reading. There are times filled with great news or success that I want to shout about and times when I just love the little details in life and want to share them. There are moments of frustration I want to lash out in passive aggression and moments of hurt or fear that I want to describe and sort through.

But the question becomes, what is my purpose? What is it I most want to do through my life and likewise, my writing?

Do I want to have a big platform? Do I want lots of likes and attention? Do I want to promote or sell something? Do I want to woo or impress? Do I want to simply have a creative outlet or a modern-day scrapbook?

Ultimately, none of those are my purpose, and in realizing this, I’ve stepped back. I’ve considered each word and each post and the impact it has. In this time of contemplation I have yet to figure out where to go from here and what I most want to say. But I know I want to keep writing. I want to connect with people. I want to write in a way that encourages, inspires, and relates.

Not only is this my favorite type of writing, but this is the type of writing I most love to read. I have learned and grown so much from reading what others write as they face challenges, celebrate victories, find their faith, and pursue their purpose. Not only that, but these are the lives that carry the greatest impact. Some people have strong voices or get loads of attention, but I’m not after the megaphone moments or a picture perfect type of lifestyle.

I want true authenticity and real relationships; loud joy and quiet success; wisdom over wealth; words filled with grace and also with thanks, and through it all, no matter what, I want to have faith, hope, and love

What We Don’t See

Stairway | Moving Peaces

Sometimes I hesitate to share the victories without sharing the trials. When I write I try to be transparent and make it clear that I don’t have it all together, but I know it still stays vague. Because frankly, it’s not very fun to tell about the challenges and at times, it’s not appropriate to share, be it to protect people or because the timing is just not right. Sharing and showing just the moments of glory–the vacation plans, the promotion news, the family photos, the epic adventure, the finished product–whatever it is, doesn’t tell the whole story. It instead leaves the rest of us to believe that it happened, just like that.

In those moments, I struggle with jealousy. I couldn’t care less if you had a bigger home or a fancier tech gadget. But when I see someone get an amazing opportunity or live an incredible-seeming life, it can sometimes get ugly on the inside for me. Suddenly my mind is off and running that so-and-so had everything handed to them on a silver platter or had the right connections or just naturally awesome hair. I don’t know or care how they managed to pull it off, but why not me?! And then I stamp my foot and pout for awhile.

I see the glory and the end result. I see the attention and the appreciation. I see the success and imagine the dollar signs. I see the art and the opportunity. 

You know what I don’t see? What it took to get there.

I didn’t see the effort they made and all of hard work they poured into it. I didn’t see their fights for what mattered and accompanying sacrifices. I didn’t see the scrimping and saving. I didn’t see the insecurities and doubt. I didn’t see the practice or failures. I didn’t see the years of struggle or nightly prayers.

I didn’t see the journey, all I saw was the reward. 

Then I got jealous or made quick assumptions or gave up on my own goals. I can’t keep doing that. We just can’t do that. Why? Because nobody wins that way.

You want to know how it happened? Ask them. Put in the work and the effort and the years that it takes. Think big breaks never come your way? That’s probably true, but they don’t really happen for anyone who isn’t trying. Sometimes people stumble in to things, but rarely because they were sitting around waiting for it.

I can’t promise that you will get the same end result or that your effort guarantees what you want. But there are ways to lessen the sting or escape the distractions. If I focus on working towards my goals and you focus on yours, we have less to be jealous of and less assumptions to make. Finding friends and support with whom to share our hardships and our dreams strengthens everyone. Gaining an understanding that you are not alone in the struggle brings perspective. Instead of playing the comparison games, we can together walk through the challenges and celebrate each other’s victories.

Give Me the Truth

Give Me the Truth

Sun and Rain through the Clouds | Moving Peaces

I think we’re all grasping for truths in this world. We want to find the things that seem right, and we chase after those truths whether we realize it or not.

Anything from watching your favorite tv show or sports team to reading all the adventures and life lessons discovered in a memoir or novel has an element of seeking truth. Music speaks volumes and art speaks to the heart. Travel opens our minds to new experiences. Quotes and scriptures give us hope. We want to know there is meaning and worth out there, that there is truth. We want to know that the good guy always wins–maybe not the short game, but definitely the long game.

So, we ask the questions, have the long talks and grapple at what that truth is.

The hard part is knowing the truth from the narrative. 

Perhaps the stories we’ve been told say disappointment will result in one thing and success looks like so. A mold of what something should look like takes over as we strive for the best and pursue truths we’ve been seeking. Outside influences bring ideas and opinions to the table, presenting their stories as truth. We sometimes re-shape and twist the narrative in our own attempt to create what is true, often distorting reality.

Not everything you hear, read, see or think is true. 

It’s a struggle to keep truth at the forefront, but worthwhile. So choose wisely what you decide to believe and what you form your life around. Know who or what is speaking into your life and if it really is true. Where is your source of truth coming from? What lies are you believing as truths, and what truths are you ignoring?


Redefine Success and Face Reality

Redefine Success and Face Reality

Journaling | Moving Peaces

When you say you are a writer, people have certain expectations.

They want you to say something special. It’s as if there is some fancy dictionary only writers know about to effortlessly add sophisticated words into sentences. It doesn’t matter if you are writing a novel or your grocery list–plain words are never enough. Clever words and fantastic analogies are expected of writers, regardless of the subject matter.

It all sounds dreamy…I must sit around in coffee shops and have a special soundtrack for my thinking and writing. Maybe an old typewriter is involved or a fountain pen adorns my desk. In my free time perhaps I sit around on comfy sofas reading the latest piece of worthwhile literature while wearing trendy glasses and cardigans.

But the reality is, I sit on the couch and type whatever first comes to mind and then I edit it for hours or even days. The room is usually dark and sometimes quiet. Half the time I forget that I wear glasses or am too lazy to go find them, so I sit and stare at the screen with the slightest bit of strain behind my eyes. I don’t own a typewriter or a fountain pen, but scribble in my notebook with a pencil like a middle schooler. I don’t use extraordinary words or require my readers to have an extensive vocabulary to understand me. I believe the best writing is the simplest.

There is a certain glamour to life in our heads. Whether movies or ignorant comments established such a scene, we sometimes feel the need to meet the standards of what “life as a…[fill in the blank]” looks like. That expectation then decides what success looks like. It’s in that exact moment that we back down and feel inadequate. Because our reality does not look like the expectation, we start to feel overwhelmed and incapable. Then guess what? We give up. We walk away. We say it’s too hard or that it’s never going to happen.

Real success happens when we redefine our expectations and then meet or exceed them. Instead of subscribing to conventional ideas, construct your own measurement for success. Create attainable goals and describe what that looks like daily–starting now.

You will never be able to live up to the hype or expectation of someone else. That doesn’t have to sound hopeless though. You have the freedom to look at your life and say, “This is what I want it to look like, and that is what I am working towards.”

You might still feel overwhelmed or like you are chasing a pipe dream. You might even try and fail. Don’t give in to the lies, distractions or comparisons; just focus on what you can do and press forward. If you really want to pursue that redefined success mark, do so wholeheartedly.  Not only are your dreams more achievable, but you then get to celebrate and claim the small victories along the way.


Chasing After It

Chasing After It

Chasing Birds

Have you ever felt like you were chasing to find yourself? Or have you ever observed someone at a transitional time in life and thought, “they are just confused and trying to find themselves”?

We grasp for the things that are in front of us. The things that seem obvious or come most easy. The things that others have that we want. Or even, the things others want that we can achieve.

TV exhibits celebrities and stars of all forms, and we wonder how they got to be so special. Much of society suggests that we “find ourselves” in college, be it by binge drinking or by hitting the books. Flinging ourselves at fleeting moments of opportunity or striking rich overnight seems to not only be the goal, but also the method of success in society.

Maybe we’re trying to find ourselves in all of the wrong places. What if finding yourself really meant continuing to work hard and make a life for yourself where you already are? Instead of the what or the where, think more of the core truths. Perhaps questioning the values and notions we hold most dear, both now and ten years from now, will lead us to who we are today.

Go Big or Go Home

Okay, sure. You’re motivating me to really go for it, right? Win that big game, challenge the cowardice. Reach beyond the minimum and shoot for the stars. Go big or go home.

You’ll hear me saying, “let’s do (this)…just to say we did!” as if someone is keeping track of the number of adventures I’ve had in my life. I love pushing for that extra experience. Love traveling. Love a decent challenge or brainstorm for an even better idea. I mean, we did just move halfway across the country without a whole lot pulling us here. I’d like to think that means we aren’t the safest players out there; we take risks. We’re living life.

That said, can I just pick “go home”, given the two choices?

Because what if killing yourself for a project isn’t worth it? What if being “successful” by certain standards means never seeing that house or family you’re supporting? Or losing hours of sleep each night to a point of poor health? What if “going big” amounts to a lonely personal life? What if the words have stopped flowing easily because you decided to go big instead of go home and your brain is no longer able to think creatively?

I don’t want to live a life of mediocrity, I assure you. But something is off in our society when people aren’t taking vacation time, lunch breaks or getting a good night’s sleep. We need rest and rejuvenation in our lives. It’s the only way we’ll ever really be able to take on something more. Go big or—really win this one and—GO HOME.