realistic expectations @ on a little ledge by my ferns – stl.

oh hey – long time, no talk. or – no write. what’s up?

to those i know in real life, in person: here we go. a life update of intricate sorts.

to those i read and who read me online: a deeper thought, a perspective.

since the last time i recall writing, the seasons have changed and two puppies have joined the mix. my oldest turns 16 on wednesday, the middle blended daughter turns 12 on tuesday – amazon delivered a couple of *i really want to tell you* today and the sun is shining. it has been a wet couple of days but, today? it’s glorious. sunny, cool in shade, warm in patches of daylight.

my heart has been leaping all morning at our dream and our vision. two adult dogs walking on taylor dock in bellingham, when we finally get to a milky chance concert, the next time we buy fresh flowers at pike’s, the sound of seattle… the coffee.. my mountain view.

my greenhouse. my rosebush. my rosemary. the deer. the neighborhood. the inspiring corner kitchen garden and the desire to be family friends with the people with banana trees and tire swings.

birch bay. foggy mornings. (did i say coffee) and the kayaks. enter back the dogs. the moss. the green. the ferns.

which brings me back to where i started (in my title) – by my ferns here in stl.

the ferns are getting there. (the puppies have not been especially helpful in this regard, but we are learning and i am praying my hostas’ safety and well being each day. MAN they like to rumble and wrestle in them leaves!) the greens of the green thanks to the rain are like fairy dust in this midwest spring. pnw vibes all the way and it’s like being plugged into a little electric socket.

on the homefront: it is a switch day which means i wind down my me time and personal growth and match it up to the needs of the collective, the behavior i want to see more of from my daughters and the way the house needs to run for my sanity and everybody’s health and comforts to be somewhat met.

regarding the publishing project: it has hatched and is a duckling sitting in a sweet little egg. designers are working on statement of work. village books and i are in a pending contract. and my list of people to send invitations to this summer is coming up daily along with the right hue of yarrow golden yellow for the stationary. sigh. my creative baby infant child. my first published work. an apple off my apple tree. <pulse>

oh, how much more i could write right now.

ideas for the future. on my love for my children.

my gratitude. my husband.

// a song we wrote. //

what i have learned in the past two days, what i really truly feel deeply now and my active intentions for the next twenty four hours…

for the next week.

the house.

The summer.

It all.

But, realistically? It is all so actively underway that it simply can only be expected that we all just live it out and report in on the big stuff.

Love live and in living color.

Ok. Peppers. Gear change. Till next time…. erin

I knew I was going to hit publish without a title.

Tuesday 8:30a

I am in the step of my cleaning process where I put everything up off the floors, put it in its “right room” and completely disrupt whatever “order” the house was in for it to be assessed, cleaned and changed in little ways based on how we all are living.

What do I want to do? Make a list. So I can think it through, check it off. Time myself. Pride myself.

What am I doing instead?

I am intuitively moving through my house.

I am trusting I’ll do the things that need to be done. Trusting even the order I would have written down would have likely been interpreted a time or two. And, importantly enough, I am trusting I will be as accomplished one way as the other with a deep knowing that “accomplishment” is actually a super relative term.

Tuesday 11:27a

I am now about three hours into my cleaning day. Usually, at this point, I am finishing up the floors hopeful I have juuuuuuuust enough time to put furniture back down before leaving to get Aria from high school. Today, however, the absence of my project mgmt to do list was joined by the absence of “rush”.

“Fuck it. What if I took all day to clean?” Is literally what I said to myself when I felt the pulse of “hurry”.

What if I acted less like a cleaning lady and more like a person home with a dedicated day to just take care of the home?

So – My usual cleaning day involves a fun little point in which I get cranky. Despite the bops on my playlist, I lament the towel on the shelf for no good reason. I shake my head scornfully scrubbing crystalized sugar off the cabinet door.

I wonder what makes the lid to the band aid box so much harder to put on than to take off.

I curse the cat food in the cracks on the wood floors.

I CSI the muddy boot print and add to my list of things I am going to gently shame.

I get hungry.

I notice everything.

I check the clock. I go a little faster. I audibly sigh like an annoyed person.

I am not mad but I’m mad. I’m not in a mood but I’m moody.

And *every single Tuesday that I clean and get like that* I ALWAYS WONDER WHY.

I like cleaning. I like organizing. I like how it feels when I’m done.

I like listening to music or a podcast.

I like that I am NOT on a call or working. So why do I get so crinkled?

<shrug> Dunno.

So I figured it was only wise to change it up and infuse my cleaning today with spurts of FaceTiming and texting friends and shift my attitude to where the house was “being cleaned” vs. where “the house is clean”.

Even David commented that I seemed really positive (as he joined meeting after meeting after meeting after meeting I told him to look on the bright side, he could *actually work for Enterprise*. lol… EHI has A LOT OF MEETINGS.) Anyway, it seems to be an enjoyable way to experiment with my attitude. I haven’t been cranky about things. Puzzled, yes. Cranky? No.

So far, so right. But alas, it is time to go bundle up for a cold, snowy drive to get Aria from school.

Wednesday 8:25a

Settled into my study with my dual monitor and coffee. I wrapped up yesterday’s cleaning at about 7:30pm. (With making homemade burger buns and 5 star patties *and cleaning up dinner* to boot.)

In hindsight, I wondered why it took me so long. I kind of replayed my day in my mind as I fell asleep…

I did all my normal cleaning things along with some detailing: total wipe down of the outside of the fridge and purge of kitchen papers, deep cleaned the cracks of the hardwood floors, wiped down like the itty bitty ledges on the counters and vacc’d up high. In my mind, I had to make the long day of cleaning feel worth it as it truly was all I did yesterday besides cook.

And so I guess that’s where the attitude shift and the no list approach comes in.

When I was working a full time job and caring for the things at home, it was all about doing the things as fast as I can to allow time for the next. But now? The time is all mine. It is presenting a mindset change that is quite literally embedded in my DNA.

As David’s Teams notifications blurped and pinged throughout the day, my senses perked with this “I need to answer” and I then got the experience of relaxing back into whatever I was dicking around with. It was muscle memory of response shifting to a softer way of being.

Anyway. In the spirit of summing this all up, along with that, here are four important things I learned about managing the house and family:

  1. Best way to teach others how to talk to you is through how you talk to them.
  2. For each legitimate annoyance you have, there is an equal opportunity for more openness in your perspective.
  3. Run the dishwasher in the morning and unloading it in the afternoon is more efficient overall. More on that in a future post.
  4. When a teenager asks how long till dinner, the answer is always the actual amount of time or half that if they help out. You get an extra hand 9 times out of 10. :)

Time to do the things I have time to do now. YAY. :)

Here’s a super cute picture of Aria and David.

Prayers and Personalities @ On a New Black Couch

It’s a Monday night and I am sitting in our newly finished rec room on our new Ikea couch. Outside of cleaning up the kitchen and a few loads of laundry (PS: I am an official Dropps subscriber…) I did nothing today before or after my Ikea run. My mind was kind of going through thing after thing – not really in an incessant or obsessive way. It was more of like I was just watching my life like a movie and taking notes on what I should do. In that way, it felt productive even though I was curled up in my bed with the cover over me pseudo napping for the duration of the cold, gray midwest afternoon.

I prayed for the first time last night in what feels like ages. A couple of years ago, I shifted from dedicated prayer journaling, dedicated prayer outpouring, dedicated prayer groups to this idea of constantly praying. I started to say “I have been praying for you” to friends who I had been thinking about; even though there was no “Dear God” about it. When something angsty would spike up, I would just “commit it”.

I learned this technique when my mom was in a coma. I remember thinking that I had to keep praying, keep praying, keep praying. One day, in the elevator to her floor of the rehab facility after she had resurrected from the dead, I caught myself daydreaming about something other than her recovery and felt ashamed.


That’s when I got one of those divine mind spells served to me: an image of angels going up and down stairs that were built out of prayers. Repeated prayers were these thick sturdy staircases, carrying hundreds of angels up and down, but even prayers that were prayed just once had at least an angel or two traveling up and down from heaven to earth and back again.

Back to last night. I found myself with space slash patience and I thought to myself, “Huh, maybe I’ll pray”.

I don’t remember what I prayed for or for how long I prayed until I fell asleep. But I remember feeling the words in my brain and this sense of breadth and was reminded of a time I prayed so hard I suddenly started to see a different version of myself in my mind’s eye: standing on a cliff in the middle of a galaxy with green vines growing up the side of the cliff with each breath I continued to pray.

Even though my spirituality has changed in its form, whatever way of praying that delivered that night sky cliffside clearing broke some sort of veil to where I was just able to lay on a Sunday night, close my eyes, and go straight back to that same feeling of openness.

I am aware of mine and David’s marital milestones. Just like the dating type milestones where “I can’t believe you’re real” morphs into “I can’t believe you’re real even though – my God – you are super real”; marital milestones show up and say “Yeah – hey, so this is two people in a thing together, it’s not magic even though the love is other worldly”.

We were finishing our weekend as two foxes in a den when I said, “You know, it’s not like you get married to figure somebody out.” He nodded.

That is definitely not why you get married.

And it’s not like you get married for somebody to figure you out. Not at all.

I continued, “…and for those little things about you that are just like your things, it’s not like we are going to like get to the bottom of it and you’re going to stop being a certain way. That like is not the point. Same goes for me.”

David laughed, and we enjoyed what felt like a mutual acknowledged relief.

I think it is easy to get to the work of the union (the effort in the ease, some yogis may say…) and feel like you have to work to change, to fix, etc.

However, in dealing with my personal psyche (which has spent the majority of its decades attempting to 1) identify 2) analyze 3) plan 4) change), I have learned that the work is actually in allowing no work. The work is actually a deep breath in and full self acceptance. It doesn’t let you off the hook for shitty behavior or destructive tendencies but it does fall in line with the whole Thor theme of being who you are vs. who you are “supposed to be”.

Likewise, that same technique of offering space and seeing the other without the need to get all mechanical works well in love relationships. It takes the need to define and understand and replaces it with an opportunity to allow and support. My current findings is this creates a lot of laughter. It also starts to curb neurosis.

These milestones we get to that feel like a thick sheet of waxy bubble wrap that we need to push our heads through and breathe in a new leg of the journey; the breakthroughs that come feel a lot like that meditation space I got the key to that I can return to whenever I want.

The progress of openness instead of iteration dotted somewhere along the horizon of self acceptance. It’s absolutely fantastic in its realness.

These invisible things: beliefs and the ideas we carry – adhering to them or attempting to adhere to them – can make us suffer so much. And since this is true, the opposite must also be true: that freedom from things needing to be a certain way and liberation from definitions of the right way to handle something can bring us joy. For me? Allowing prayers and personalities to simply be whatever they are is a total game changer.

It allows space and it allows laying in bed for two hours after a hot shower to be productive.