Keeping Yourself Intact

Last night, I stayed up until one in the morning, grooming a 4 page file that will print into a stair step fold on synthetic treeless paper and offer the words I have read forwards and backwards after waking and writing them at odd hours throughout the year, all lined up with inspired artwork, imagery and packaged up in a signature out side of the box idea.

It has been a labor of love and I can only pray with fingers crossed that this next proof has the measurements right so that I can confidently move all in on the next step.

One of my favorite parts of last night, was reading to my sister over FaceTime while she worked on a puzzle. I still can’t quite read the end without crying and when I got through it, I laughed through tears and looked at my sister. Who normally has quips and ideas and thoughts but in that moment, just looked over while still working on the puzzle – had tears in her eyes as well – and said, “that’s awesome.”

It is awesome. It’s a stew of memory, real stories, and intention.

Lately, when I feel like I absolutely have bitten off way too much, what helps me is that this project is actually awesome.

See, I don’t yet know how all the yoga fits with the self-publishing my personal canon fits with raising the dogs fits with perfecting the homemade biscuits supports the new marriage helps with the step parenting guides the getting one kid off the college informs the shaping the upcoming driver tends as the helpful daughter makes space as the committed granddaughter.

But I do know life is not right without it all.

And I do know the one consistency in all of it is my need to “not quench the spirit”.

Which, for as important of concept in my day to day life, ironically is the theme of the devotional I just cannot seem to get off the ground.

In conversations lately, I have heard several friends expressing a desire to be out from under the microscope, relieved from the tone police, allowed to live their life, trusted.

I find this theme is as present in my day to day (through my own experience or in listening to theirs) as the theme to not quench the spirit, and both ideas are equally present in my ambition – my active, iterative task list – my yoga life.

Again, this leads me to this question: how does it all tie together?

Keeping yourself intact when you feel ripped a part or scrutinized takes an enormous amount of mental resolve. Mental resolve takes patience.

One of the original Greek words for patience was “long suffering”.

What I have learned in my creative process and the requirement to “hold the line” of concentration in order to bring all of the inspired bits and pieces into one completed work, is it is an active state of listening. At least, for me it is.

Does “long suffering” get easier when patience isn’t working through something, but listening through something?

Relationally, I know the more tense I feel equates to the need I have to defend myself or explain, to accommodate or justify.

I have learned over time, becoming witness and listening helps any emotional mess that wants to cause erroneous emotional labor in my emotional world stay outside of my world. Similar to my midnight hours last night, it is all about listening. Responding, not reacting.

Keeping yourself intact, I do believe, requires you know the root truth of who you are, what you are trying to accomplish.

These motivations help you say yes and allow or to say no and avoid.

My file is at the printer this morning. I am hopeful about it. I am excited. I listened last night. I stopped when a part of the layout didn’t fit easily together. I picked up what felt right. I went back and forth, pruning, twisting, loving, allowing.

More than anything, I feel I have matured in my ability to avoid letting unanswered questions – the general unfolding of life – make me feel unworthy or unable to get something done. It looks different than I thought it would at first, but the spirit is well hydrated. :)

If you feel like you are emotionally man-handled, I would love to know some of the ways you recognize when something or somebody is creeping into your world and loosening the threads. It’s a really common theme for a lot of people. You aren’t alone.

Trying noticing if silence helps you. Use the breath. Make some art.

The Work of Not Working @ Bedtime

All 5 kids are home. Lucy came back around dinner time and I heard Elle come in towards the end of the yoga class I was teaching out of my bedroom.

There is a group of about six 40+ year old women I teach to twice a month. I started praying over them at the start and end of class. We have grown into a little community. It’s a sweet, kind hobby.

I cleaned the house from top to bottom today. I think Mondays are my cleaning days now. I feel like I need to dislike Mondays just like everybody else. It just doesn’t seem fair if everybody is going to work and to school and I’m like “k gonna pack your lunch and read a book”. I want to stay relevant, you know. So I deep clean on Mondays.

Side note – Happy to report that my latest towel strategy (delivering a fresh towel on the bed, every three days) is keeping the conundrum to a minimum.

Today was grueling because I was tired but it had lots of sweet moments. I gave Kara an old black blazer from my junior career days. Ellen and Lucy never wanted it but I hung on to it bc it’s a great blazer. (I just had eventually upgraded to J Crew ya know)

Anyway – She has been wearing it since the moment I gave it to her – it looks awesome. You can tell she loves it.

Lucy got her cast off. Not sure if I ever wrote about that but she fell and broke her wrist back four weeks ago. So she got a yellow cast for Christmas :) we took care of that this morning. I put on heels and jeans bc I was leaving the house. It was interesting. :)

When Ellen got home, Maddox was all about her. Fred the elf has been visiting (and writing) every day. Karma got me for never doing elf on la shelf for Ellen and Lucy and now I have an 8 year old who has “researched elves” and is really (super) into it. Not going to lie, my elf game is pretty strong. I’ll share more sometime.

I had a meeting this afternoon with a designer, Beth – a friend of mine from church who is crazy talented. I’m doing some inquiring about getting professional help for the look and feel of my books.

The appointment was at 2:30pm. And pretty sure it was the highlight of my day.

I was tired this morning from binge watching Emily in Paris yesterday. My eyes were burning at the cast appointment. Once I got home, cleaning made me crabby bc fatigue makes me take everything personally.

After meeting with Beth, I shared what I learned with David and he said his heart felt full bc of how lit up I was about it.

Every day I allow myself to recognize myself as an artist, I become more of an artist. I grow a deeper happiness and into a more true nature.

Which is great but more importantly I need to keep David’s heart full bc I accidentally forgot to put the guard on the buzzer yesterday and legit buzzed a line at a 0 (bald) down the right side of the back of his head.

The laughter that pours out of me related to my humiliation, how extreme of a mistake I made and how kind he was about it simply makes me belly laugh. It has been my ab work out.

We did have an agreement that there may be a mistake I learn from before I embarked on cutting his hair, so that worked in my favor. I feel so bad. I’m fascinated by how bad I feel and how that feeling makes me laugh. What is that? So curious.

I just had to capture this full full day. I feel like I barely scratched the surface. Going to attempt some home made granola tomorrow and make Instagram videos of my facial reaction while I check each of the kids grades and missing assignments.

The work of not working is truly in being yourself. I have been thinking a lot lately about how many artists and writers and musicians are in 9-5 jobs for health insurance. I wonder how much better our culture would be if we had universal health care (with a private option of course) so we could have more artists creating art.

Ok – here are some pics :)

Ellen and Maddox
When I teach and they go into resting pose it just looks like I’m monitoring nest cams or something
Magic tricks in new blazer

I am the Goose


Allow me to build on my sentiment,

“I legit expect my kids to follow me following the goose”…

In my earliest year as a mother (age: 23), I remember turning my infant’s life over to the greater connected protection of the universe, The Big Love.

I sat, uneasy in the rocking chair, playing back the previous night’s episode of Law and Order, special victims unit in a post 9/11, post Columbine afternoon.

The curtains hung in the dusk-dusted nursery where a summer nap was being kept at bay. I was restless, contemplating these evils in humanity and how to shield her outside of my arms.

In this glimpse of fear, I began to wake and consider something new. Sunlight broke through the curtains, striking the diamond on my left ring finger and curiosity on how to live differently started to dance around the room like a fairy. Both sets of our eyes watched the chase of light I directed about with turns of my wrist.

“No,” I said to fear.

I did not want to “mother afraid”.

I did not want to “worry all the time”.

I did not want the pressure of “best” or the perceived stain of “worst”.

I did not want the responsibility of her story or her decisions. Or – somehow seemingly worse – I did not want her carrying the weight of my own, personal regret.

In between that afternoon, where I “turned her over” to good, (understanding as death is possible, life is possible) and the first time I watched her crawl in accord with her own curiosity away from where I sat under a park tree, the seed of trust I allowed to grow within turned my motherhood journey into a continual invitation to Ellen (and eventually her sister, Lucy) to follow my lead.

This trust evolved and my heart began to tumble down the hill of change.

I did not want to be an obvious American mother, repeatedly getting her toddler out of a minivan for errands – adorned in college mascot or MLB bird alike.

I did not want to be continually sold cleverly colored shoebox size shoeboxes for my shoes.

This evolution of self began shifting my experiences as – if I was about to do something just because I thought I should: I questioned it.

I chose differently.

I leaned into what I feared.

I practiced media literacy.

I prayed. I changed. I planted. I grew.

Rhianna enforced afternoons in the Jeep, combing back the long way towards home from the zoo. Pizza adorned fingernails washed up in the historic tub of an ABQ lavender farm, watching sharks in Denver… trying Turkish delight in Park City…

I took on my life; them incorporated.

Our stories are plentiful, meaningful and thick. The meaning of being their leader, their goose, is never lost on me. In and out of the car, into museums and onto the plane: they have followed me.

Unlike the goose (though their personal notice is at least consistent in advertising inconsistency and temperament), I offer, give and set expectations to and of my daughters.

To live without fear seems to still require managing a certain civilian “pay attention” mindset, all while gauging the fine traumatic line of projecting one’s own experience // being careful to avoid infusing too much of the state of the world into predictions of the future. 

Indeed. This is the paradox of being more than a “goose goose” or a Mother Goose; pecking rhyme-based rhythm and order.

Aha! See, to be an actual goose, living both into her future and ushering her goslings into their own, ballet slippers are worn making spaghetti while adult lessons yield for the child’s.

With a Pinterest board as lively as her child’s friendships and a dress that fits as accurately as her child’s pants, the mother’s quest stays aware of the child’s. Forever seizing teachable moments to promote the child’s own understanding of motivations, experience and truth.

For in this way, I suppose, the child may equally become a goose.


(PS: the original, straight forward version: