Living Life on Purpose

Journal

noun

\ ˈjər-nᵊl \

a record of experiences, ideas, or reflections kept regularly

IMG_4224.PNG

Are you intentional with the thoughts, words and actions that you put out into the universe? How can the life you are living be closer to the one you are dreaming of? What do you need to let go of to expand your sense of possibility? 

Taking the time and courage to keep a journal and honestly answer these questions will help you harness your own wisdom and curate experiences that are in alignment with your best self. 

To answer more questions like these, check out Intentional 21. 21 days of affirmations, inspiration and reflection that will shift your perspective and transform your life. 

 

Remembering Me

I am someone’s mother. I am a mother to four someones actually, and I find myself clinging to this part of my identity so fiercely that at times it seems to obscure the rest of me. I forget that while “mother” means so much, and I would never seek to diminish the enormity of that role, it still is not all that I am.

The other day I was at a school function for my four-year-old son, and I bumped into a woman who looked familiar, but who I’d never formally met. She introduced herself to me by way of her name, and I introduced myself first by saying, “I’m Miles’s mom.” I threw in my name as an afterthought, as secondary to the fact that I was his mother, a mother. I don’t know what about that particular encounter gave me pause, because I’m sure I’d done it countless times before, but in the back of my mind, for the duration of the function, I kept thinking about the response I’d given that woman.

It is easy to forget yourself when you are a mother, or at least when I take inventory of my own life, I can see how easy it has been to pour all of myself into that title. I carried my children for nine months inside of my body, I ushered them into the world in a feat of strength that has no parallel or equal. I fed them from milk made from the blood that runs through my veins for months. My body trained itself to sleep lighter so that I might better hear their cries and the sounds of “Mama,” “Momom,” “Mommy,” being uttered at various volumes. I have placed them before myself over and over and over again, and will do so many more times over the duration of my life. My planner is more full of their activities, school events, doctor’s appointments and playdates, than my own events. In addition to lunches, forms and overnight bags that I send them out into the world with, they also tote pieces of my heart. I could not even begin to describe how many of my thoughts each day are dedicated to them.

Being a mother is so much of who I am… but, it is not all that I am.

Though it changed me more than any other event, experience or relationship in my life, I did not come into being the day I became someone’s mother, and there are parts of me that while touched by my role as a mother, still exist independently of that distinction. I was someone before I became a mother, and though I may have tabled them or pushed them to the side or neglected them, the parts of me that are not “mother” are still there.

I am trying to remember myself -- to lift up the pieces of me that do not rely on who I am in relation to someone else, and to remind myself that while being a mother to my little someones is a beautiful thing, so is being my own.

 

 

 

Exploration & Quiet Places

I am taking a writing course called Liberated Lines: Writing a Brave New World, and am still mulling over my answers to questions posed in the first week (we are now in the seventh), so I thought I would share them with you.

 

What do I want to explore?

I want to explore the abundance of life. I want to lean into enough and shed the myth of scarcity that I have woven into my personal narrative for so long. 

My heart wants to know me better. It wants to come into itself. 

Somewhere deep inside I long to explore my own divinity. 

What am I keeping in the quiet?

I am holding my rough edges in the quiet.

I am hiding the parts of me that do not fit neatly into boxes, parts that tumble out and spill over the sides, parts that people wouldn't think were inside of me because of my packaging. 

I am silencing my comfort for the sake of keeping others comfortable. 

 

I have been doing a lot of work to really uncover my truth, and what I have discovered in this exercise feels essential to that.

More soon...

Intentional 21 - A Journaling Journey

Journaling has been a blessing for me from the moment it came it to my life. I began journaling years ago by taking part in a 7 day journaling challenge I'd found on social media, but it quickly became a daily practice that lasted long after the challenge was over. 

Journaling allows me to reflect, dive deep into my own wisdom, and embrace my truth. 

For Christmas I created a 10 day email series of journal prompts for my family and friends. I revised that series and created a 7 day series which I shared with my social networks, and now I am offering a 21 day journaling series called Intentional 21. I am launching the series on March 1st, and it will carry us right into the first day of Spring, with the last email coming in on March 21st

Each email will contain a mantra meant to encourage, a quote meant to inspire, and a prompt meant to help you reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you would like to go.

To participate in this transformative and illuminating series, sign up here

 

Lessons from 2017

I'm not entirely sure when I started using planners. It's been at least since high school, but it's possible I had one before then and just don't remember. For the last 4 years, I have used a Passion Planner, and they are hands down my favorite. I love the monthly and weekly layouts that help you create focal points for the days ahead, and provide you with inspirational quotes to motivate you. I love the Passion Roadmap at the start of every planner that encourages you to put your big dreams to paper and then create a plan for realizing them. But my favorite part of the planner has to be the monthly, mid-year and end-of-year reflections. 

I thought I would share a bit of my 2017 end of year reflection with you. 

 

What were your three biggest lessons you learned this past year? What is one way to incorporate these lessons into your life?

1. Everything will happen in its own time. Be patient. Be mindful. Don't rush good talent.

2. Allowing yourself to be seen is tantamount to living an authentic life. Show up as yourself. Always. All ways. 

3. Words have power. Words become thoughts. Thoughts become actions. And all of these make your life. Be careful with how you talk to yourself and what you put out into the universe. 

 

Name three things you can improve on next year. What are concrete actions you can take to work toward these improvements?

1. Embrace abundance. The life you want is yours. Continue working for it. Open your arms, your mind, your heart, your spirit to that life. Claim it.

2. Patience. Everything will happen in its own time. Just keep showing up.

3. Be yourself. Show up as you are, not as you think people would like you to be.  

 

What lessons are you bringing with you into the new year? What are you working to improve?

Minimalist Book Challenge

In 2017, I challenged myself to read 52 books in 52 weeks and I made it! This year I have a different kind of book challenge in mind.

I'm calling it my "minimalist book challenge."

 

I have been on a journey to incorporate more minimalism into my life for well over a year now, but books are my favorite things, and getting rid of them is incredibly difficult for me. So, despite my best efforts, and a couple purging sessions, my book collection continues to grow (and grow). That's where this challenge comes in. 

I was looking at my bookshelf the other day thinking about how many of the books on my shelves I would actually read again or reference for some reason. And then I thought, if I'm not going to do either of those things, then why am I keeping them? 

So, for the first six months of 2018 (I'm going to try to go the whole year, but after the first six months I can make no promises) I'm only going to read books that are already on my shelves. AND, I'm only going to read one book at a time.

 

Here are my rules & a couple exceptions:

Rules

*I can read anything that is on any of the bookshelves in my house, including my husband's and children's shelves.

*I can only read one book at a time, even if the books I want to read are from different genres.  

*If I don't want to reread a book that is on my shelf, I have to remove it from my shelf and donate it to the library or Goodwill. 

*If I get beyond the first six months (say a prayer for me y'all) for every 3 books I donate I can get 1 new book. 

 

Exceptions

*I can, but do not have to, reread the books by Toni Morrison and Octavia Butler for this challenge, as I have already done that a few times (you will have to pry those books from my cold dead hands). 

*If I need to read a book for the bookclub I'm in with my bestie-sister, I can request it from the library OR get it through iBooks or Kindle. If I really love the book after reading it, I can add it to a list to consider purchasing at the close of the six months (or the year). 

*If someone buys me a book as a gift (without me asking for it) I can keep the book, but I have to wait a month before reading it. 

 

What do you think? Anyone interested in joining me? Let me know in the comments below. 

 

52 Books in 52 Weeks

I challenged myself to read 52 books in 2017, one book for each week of the year. At the start of the year I was wildly optimistic and expected I would come in well over 52, BUT, life happens, and I found myself cutting it pretty close towards the end (that will happen when you have a newborn baby in tow I suppose). BUT, I did it. 

Here are the 52 books I read in 2017. This was a great year in this bookworm's life, and I enjoyed pretty much everything on the list, but my favorites are highlighted. 

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

2. In the Company of Women by Grace Bonney

3. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

4. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

5. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

6. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

7. Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

8. Citizen by Claudia Rankine

9. Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow by Daniel Hunter

10. The Truth About Awiti  by CP Patrick

11. The Vegetarian by Han Kang

12. Envy by Sandra Brown

13. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

14. Milk and Honey by Rupo Kaur

15. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

16. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

17. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

18. Exit West By Mohsin Hamid

19. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

20. Hallelujah Anyway by Anne Lamott

21. The Mothers  by Brit Bennett

22. Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

23. The Flowering Woman by Q. Gibson

24. Rising Strong by Brené Brown

25. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

26. I'm Judging You by Luvvie Ajayi

27. Ordinary Light by Tracy Smith

28. What It Means When A Man Falls From the Sky by Lesley Arimah

29. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

30. A Million Junes by Emily Henry

31. The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

32. Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation by Damian Duffy and John Jennings 

33. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

34. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy 

35. What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

36. All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks

37. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Who by Junot Diaz

38. Ghost by Jason Reynolds

39. Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

40. Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler 

41. Patina by Jason Reynolds

42. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

43. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

44. New People by Danzy Senna

45. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

46. Hunger by Roxane Gay

47. Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing

48. A Thousand Mornings by Mary Oliver

49. Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

50. Braving the Wilderness by Brené Brown

51.  Good Cry: What We Learn From Tears and Laughter by Nikki Giovanni

52. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Daily Ten - Week Thirteen

Below is the thirteenth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN. EIGHTY-FIVE.

1. Firefighter. Paramedic. Doctor. Pilot. Daddy. These are what he wants to be when he grows up.

2. It stopped being morning a while ago, but the only things I was observing were contractions and breath.

3. I can do this. 

4. Playing firefighters in shifts. Lay on my left side. Put out a fire or two. Switch and repeat.

5. They are arguing about whether fire just has living properties or is actually alive.

6. Lack of space is making me economical with my words. 

7. These observations are necessary.

8. I am one bangle short. I feel the difference. 

9. She's worn that crown every day since Monday. I love it. 

10. Good night journal. I appreciate you holding onto my memories for me. 

 

TEN. EIGHTY-SIX. 

1. I waited too long to find a new journal. This is a temporary home. 

2. Everyone is so excited to see him. He looks a bit overwhelmed, but there i a smile on his facet as he tucks his head behind me.

3. Of course, right as I settle into my meal it is time to go.

4. Standing up requires a pep talk. Taking steps requires deep breathing and patience. 

5. The leaves rain down from the trees and in the mid afternoon sun, the way their golden color catches the light makes it look like sky glitter.

6. I want to take off my shoes and tug at the grass between my toes. I want to close my eyes and live forever in this sunny spot.

7. I am so productive here.

8. Tis pen is getting on my nerves. So much for switching it up. 

9. Business in the front. Party in the back. 

10. Book #46. Almost there.

 

TEN. EIGHTY-SEVEN.

1. Each time I woke up to go to the bathroom during the night, he was still awake. I wish he could sleep in today, but I know he can't.

2. Her dishes clatter against the counter and I freeze. I wait to hear the little bear wake up, but he doesn't. 

3. This isn't quite what I wanted, but it will do. 

4. The way I feel inside her arms makes me want to cry. 

5. His tears spark mine, and the drops I'd held at bay not one hour before trip over themselves as they make paths down my face. 

6. I can not shake this mood. 

7. I play the sorting game to cheer myself up. It works - for a little while. 

8. I need to do our hair. Where am I going to get the energy to do our hair?

9. From this angle the decorations look like they are floating untethered in mid air. 

10. I just want to go to sleep and start fresh tomorrow.

 

TEN. EIGHTY-EIGHT.

1. I needed every minute of the sleep I got last night. It was nice to wake up when my body was ready and not to an alarm. 

2. I remember snapshots of my dreams but they don't create a full picture. 

3. 28 ounces of water and I almost instantly feel better.

4. Broken water. 

5. 3cm

6. 5cm

7. 9.5cm

8. Push.

9. Micah Kingston Nelms.

10. He's beautiful. 

 

TEN. EIGHTY-NINE.

1. I'm still in disbelief.

2. I made another miracle.

3. The days are bleeding together. It is tomorrow, but it still feels like today. 

4. The woman 2 doors down cries out again and again over the course of an hour as her older daughter's footsteps pound up and down the hallway. 

5. Everything is quiet for a little while and then the doorbell rings. 

6. This woman cries out twice, and then a baby cries.

7. Little foot is still sleeping. 

8. He takes such good care of me. 

9. She goes through pages and pages of information and I am overwhelmed by all there is to remember. 

10. Their first meeting is everything I hoped for. 

 

TEN. NINETY.

1. He used to wake up at this time when he was on the inside too. 

2. I am always amazed by how little sleep I can get and still function.

3. She is the same home visit nurse we had with Miles. It is nice to see her again. 

4. He is so beautiful.

5. The heart is infinitely capable of growing and accommodating more love. 

6. I made a miracle and I am trying to give my body proper deference for housing it. 

7. This is a process. This healing takes time. It's been less then 48 hours.

8. We are all settling in to being six now. No longer five. 

9. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I sat down to eat. 

10. Whatever sleep I get I will appreciate. 

 

TEN. NINETY-ONE.

1. I considered taking a break from these entries, but I think I need them for my healing too. 

2. Fresh rain scented air sweeps through the house and it smells so good, I want to stick my head out of the window. 

3. It actually smells like fall today, but so many of the trees are still green. 

4. I want lemon poundcake. 

5. I would be 39 weeks now. I've never gone this early before. 

6. My body housed a miracle. It is natural for such a thing to mark me. I must remember this. 

7. I cry after passing the mirror, and remind myself again to be patient. 

8. Every interaction requires so much energy. 

9. He tells me things I knew but needed to hear. 

10. This is why he is my best friend. 

Daily Ten - Week Twelve

Below is the twelfth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN. SEVENTY-EIGHT. 

1. We don't have many clocks in our house. It is entirely possible to go from one room to the next completely oblivious of the time. 

2. Holding on and letting go. Catch and release. 

3. I am running short on pages - trying to figure out what comes next. Dozens of days feels like an accomplishment, but what about hundreds? How would it feel to begin the page with TEN. THREE HUNDRED SIXTY-FIVE?

4. He doesn't know it, but he has helped me affirm and recommit my practice.

5. You can love people with boundaries. You can love them from a distance. 

6. I wasn't sure how I felt about her the first time I met her, but our second meeting is much warmer and I decide I really like her. 

7. At least now I know we're making progress.

8. The look on his face when he sees me there to pick him up is everything. 

9. I wish I could be more helpful.

10. We are both so tired, but even though my body worked hard today, his exhaustion still feels more valid than my own. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY-NINE. 

1. Every sound she makes seems so pronounced this morning. 

2. We tuck everything away neatly once we've wiped the sleep from our faces and begin the day.

3. I am cutting it close today.

4. "Love takes off the masks that we fear we cannot live without and know we cannot live within." James Baldwin. 

5. One of my favorite words is, "lovely," when used sincerely.

6. Their suggestions all lead me back to the same place. 

7. I identify so strongly as their mother, sometimes I wonder if I get lost in that identification. 

8. I want to eat all the brownies and drink all the cider, but I don't. 

9. I am trying to make him feel safe.

10. I am so excited to get in my bed. 

 

TEN. EIGHTY.

1. Less than 3 weeks until my hundredth day. 

2. Knowing that my observations have sparked another person to start making observations makes me feel like I have paid the gift forward given to me by Alisha Sommer

3. 13 is my favorite number. Friday the 13ths have been one of my favorite days since I was a child. A Friday the 13th this close to Halloween feels almost magical. 

4. He sits on the floor beside the bed in the dark checking the news. I rake my hand through his hair and he rests his hand on my ankle. 

5. I don't know what I was expecting from the inside of this house, but it's not that. 

6. I had plans, and I adjusted them... this is big for me. 

7. My fingers are sore from my grip on the scissors. 

8. Everything is coming together. I was a little anxious, but I should have known it wasn't necessary. 

9. She's here. It feels like she should always be here. 

10. I felt wide awake just a moment ago. Where did that feeling go?

 

TEN. EIGHTY-ONE. 

1. He's coughing again. I lay and wait to see if it will resolve itself. It doesn't. I get up and bring him so water. 

2. He would eat the same thing for every meal every day if he could.

3. The morning went so quickly. I felt like I had more time than this when I woke up. 

4. I bristle at her comments, but I don't show it. I remind myself what she's saying isn't about me. It's about her. 

5. The room looks exactly like I pictured it. 

6. Everything is going smoothly. I didn't need to go overboard, like I almost did. The activities I put together are enough. 

7. She looks so happy. It makes all the planning and craft prepping worth it. 

8. This day feels like it should have been spread over several. 

9. I have mixed feelings about how much they like this show. 

10. Once I make it through Monday, I need to do some purging again. There's a lot of clutter accumulating and I'm no longer comfortable with that.

 

TEN. EIGHTY-TWO. 

1. The clouds keep covering the sun as the day breaks, it makes it hard to wake up. 

2. The hours between waking and 10am seem to pass the fastest. 

3. She has her tragus pierced. I'm used to being the only mom with body piercings and tattoos -- this makes me feel closer to her somehow.

4. He can't even contain his excitement, and why should he try. 

5. He's looking at me like he wants to carry me home. It's sweet but I appreciate that he resists the urge to offer. 

6. I got all the dye off of my hands except for my pinkie nail. That one is being stubborn. 

7. With each pregnancy we have been a team, but we feel even closer this last time. 

8. She'll be ten tomorrow.

9. She said, "I love how they family." I had never thought to use family as a verb before, but I instantly love it. 

10. He says I am fanatical about my journaling practice. It is a compliment; something he admires about me. 

 

TEN. EIGHTY-THREE.

1. The clenching of my belly and the localized ache in my lower back are coming more frequently, but I don't tell him at first. 

2. I convince myself it will pass. 

3. She is giddier now than she is on Christmas morning. I can hear her laughing from the other side of the house. 

4. Ten years old. Ten rotations around the sun. A decade earthside. 

5. I try to relax and release my muscles. Logically, I know tension makes it worse, but it's hard not to fight it. 

6. I stay in the shower almost too long. I force myself to turn off the water just before I get dizzy.

7. I think I want a tassel garland to hang over my writing desk. I am in love with the one I hung for her birthday. 

8. I need to take off this belly band but I am nervous because I know how much pressure will return to my hips. 

9. I love him in his Harry Potter pajama pants. I love him in everything. 

10. One more page left. I really shouldn't have waited til the last minute. 

 

TEN. EIGHTY-FOUR. 

1. Twelve weeks in. Of observing, of paying attention, of taking the time to really see things and wonder. 

2. It's cold outside. Not brisk or crisp, but actually cold. 

3. 38 weeks. Will I see 39?

4. I love how much of a little girl she still is, and I love watching her grow. 

5. Is this is? It might be it. Too early to tell. 

6. Nope, not yet. 

7. Making these playlists is helping me calm my nerves. 

8. I can't believe it's only Tuesday. 

9. Listening to my hips pop is unsettling. 

10. Daily Ten. Day Seventy-Three. Again and again. 

Daily Ten - Week Eleven

Below is the eleventh week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN. SEVENTY-ONE.

1. He looks like a baby again when he plays. The kitten we adopted 8 years ago is all over his face.

2. I know there are things to be done, but I just want to sit here a moment. 

3. She is of me, but before she is mine she is her own. She belongs to herself.

4. I saw the exact moment the streetlights turned out. All at once, like someone, somewhere flicked a switch, and decided the day had begun. 

5. Even though we are running late, we stop to marvel at the rainbow made from sprinkler and sunshine. 

6. "I am made of light. I made made of stars." The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

7. "Everything is God." The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

8. I am always hungry but there's so much less room in my body for the food I'm putting in there. 

9. Excitement is pouring out of every inch of him.

10. My lap is full of belly. It won't be long now. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY-TWO. 

1. She looks surprised to see me in the window, even though I'm here just about every morning. 

2. His morning wake-ups are so much different than his midday nap wake-ups. In the morning he rises fully awake and ready to go. 

3. "Take root among the stars." Octavia Butler

4. The streetlights go off in waves. First one set, then the next 30 seconds later. Maybe there is a third wave somewhere that I don't see. 

5. Having a routine is comforting for him. I suppose he is like me in that way. 

6. I definitely thought she was someone else. I don't even know that I can blame this on my pregnancy brain. 

7. I feel embarrassed, like I need to find this woman right this minute and correct my mistake. Why am I making such a big deal of this?

8. "Don't take anything personally," agreement number two. Much easier said than done. 

9. My little bear is tired. I hope that's all it is. 

10. I want to rest and I want to redecorate my room -- at the same time. This is what happens when nesting meets end of pregnancy fatigue. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY-THREE.

1. She didn't say goodbye to me this morning. Over an hour later and I'm still thinking about that. 

2. I am tired, but I don't think I can sleep right now. 

3. I tell myself, "any day now," but I still act like I have all the time in the world. 

4. Everything is taking so much effort today. The simplest tasks are leaving me tired. 

5. "Not enough," is running on a loop in my head today. I have tried my usual tricks to silence it, or drown it out, but nothing seems to be working. 

6. I practice so much restraint to keep other people from thinking I'm "too emotional," but what is that? What is "too emotional," and why do I care if someone thinks that of me?

7. I am trying to remind myself that I am made of stardust  and magic, but there is a voice inside that refutes all my assertions. 

8. "When someone can touch what used to be a wound and it no longer hurts you, then you have truly forgiven." The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz

9. It would be amazing to be so healed. 

10. My bag is, almost, completely packed.

 

TEN. SEVENTY-FOUR.

1. They're playing so well together. They've come a long way. 

2. I'm still thinking about that woman I mistook for someone else at the park the other day. 

3. I'm struggling to talk about the way my body is feeling because I know words have power and I want to affirm my body, but I am hurting. 

4. My body is sending me mixed signals. I'm not sure what it's trying to say. 

5. Once again she tells me things I thought I knew, but clearly needed to hear.

6. He becomes super productive whenever he's worried. 

7. Burger, french fries, chocolate brownie, ice cream. All bribes to keep the baby inside. 

8. It has been quite the day. I hope tonight and tomorrow will be less eventful. 

9. It is nice to see her face after such a long day. She makes me feel warm inside. 

10. My body is tired.

 

TEN. SEVENTY-FIVE.

1. I am trying to savor this feeling as best I can. Trying to create vivid memories for myself of what it felt like to house a miracle -- to be so intimately acquainted with magic. 

2. This is bittersweet. I am ready (I think) but there is still a sadness there. 

3. I don't want him to worry. I don't want him to feel like he has to take on any more than he already does. 

4. So much pressure. 

5. I feel guilty for not tackling my to-do list today. Even under the circumstances I am still giving myself a hard time. 

6. I keep wondering if this is it. I am worried that I'm not ready. 

7. He sees me hurting, comes over, rubs my back and massages my shoulders with one hand, without letting go of the Lego people in his other hand. I can't help but think what an amazing little boy he is, and what a great man he will be one day. 

8. Little Fires Everywhere. Little bear thinks this must be a book about firemen and how they save people.

9. I am running out of pages. 

10. I want to set up his rocker next to our bed. I also want to just go to sleep. I don't want one of these more than the other at the moment which makes deciding what to do tough. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY-SIX.

1. I have entered that phase where I wake up each morning wondering if today is the day.

2. My body is tired. 

3. I haven't been this awake without anywhere to be this early in a long time. 

4. I'm definitely going to need a nap today. 

5. The sound of the rain underneath the wheels of passing cars, tapping on the window pane, pooling on the sill. 

6. I had no intention to nap so much today, but apparently my body had plans it hadn't made me aware of. 

7. We are so excited about these diapers. 

8. I can still make us a meal. I can still at least do that. 

9. This book is captivating. 

10. Prodromal labor. This is new. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY-SEVEN.

1. A good night's sleep will have you seeing the world with new eyes. 

2. The frequency of the passing cars increases and the streetlights go out, each set in their turn. The town is waking up. 

3. He wakes up so full of life, and questions. So many questions. 

4. I am a little better today. 

5. I love the look on his face when I show up to pick him up from school.

6. She's looking at me like she wants my ok, but I can't give it to her.

7. This is an excellent book. 

8. I'd never thought about her quirks that way. 

9. I feel a sense of accomplishment today -- though I don't think I actually did much.

10. He's so excited to play firefighters with me. I want to bottle up this memory. 

Daily Ten - Week TEN!

Below is the TENTH WEEK!! of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN. SIXTY-FOUR.

1.I've been keeping these observations for over two months, but it feels like forever, and yet I have a month left in my pregnancy and its seems to be happening so fast. 

2. I love the sleepy sound of the train's horn as it passes through our town early in the morning. Trains are my preferred mode of transportation. 

3. Some hours pass more quickly than others. 

4. It feels like there are so many people having babies right now, but I suppose that is always true. 

5. I've never seen a bug like that before. 

6. Little pops of color here and there. Like the tree has highlights. 

7. Dark chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts. Just enough sweetness to round out my day. 

8. It's not just my feet, my hands feel a little tight today too.

9. The forecast promises tomorrow will be cooler. I hope it's right. 

10. Random splotches on mostly white walls - I have no memory of where they came from. 

 

TEN. SIXTY-FIVE. 

1. The wind flutters through the curtains and lets me know fall has returned - at least for a little while. 

2. My nephew is ten years old today. I remember when he was born. 

3. If I were going to do this again, I would keep this to myself. 

4. Everyone's love language is different. 

5. "'It's complicated' is something people say when they don't want to tell the truth." This Is Us (the TV show)

6. It is more than just it's hard for me to be idle/still. I feel guilty when I take time for stillness.

7. I will not scrap it. 

8. I avoid difficult conversations with everyone but him and my children.

9. My daughter says she hopes to be a house-cat in her next life. Watching Mojo lounging on the carpet, staring at the ceiling, pondering the universe, I suppose I can understand why. 

 

TEN. SIXTY-SIX.

1. Ripples run over the surface of my belly as the baby wiggles and stretches. I wonder if my stomach feels as tight to him on the inside as it does to me on the outside. 

2. Fall is back again. I wonder if it will stay this time.

3. Letting go is hard, but I am getting better at it. 

4. So much of loving someone is taking the time to see them.

5. I am grateful for a love that makes me feel seen. 

6. He's home.

7. I don't know why I'm surprised to see the little bear. The moment the front door opened, I should have know he would appear. 

8. It's almost October.

9. Something I ate didn't agree with me, but I can't quite pinpoint what it was. 

10. I don't know that I can finish this by tomorrow. 

 

TEN. SIXTY-SEVEN.

1. The less space he has, the more he moves. 

2. It will be October tomorrow.

3. I woke up feeling irritable. I will need to be mindful of this today. 

4. How did this happen? And how did I not feel it when it happened?

5. Target can be a difficult place to bring children. It's like the retail version of Disneyworld. 

6. I could spend hours looking at all the little baby things. 

7. Almost there. Almost ready.

8. She is really coming out of her shell.

9. I am practically buzzing with energy right now. 

10. Another book done.

 

TEN. SIXTY-EIGHT.

1. Hello October. I have always loved this month. 

2. The air is more than crisp this morning, but not out and out cold. Perhaps brisk is the right word. 

3. The dreams I remember when I wake up these days are frequently (and each day increasingly so) about birth. I suppose it's about that time.

4. 11 more books to finish in 13 weeks (and a day).

5. What is it about October, I wonder, that makes me want to pick up the Sorcerer's Stone and binge watch all 8 movies. Curious, very curious.

6. If you include Mojo (our cat) we have someone in our house who was born on each day of the week, except for Friday. No pressure little baby. 

7. The squirrel looked like he wanted to say something to us. 

8. Organic Peppermint Cinnamon. This might be my new favorite tea. 

9. I've decided not to finish it.

10. It is an honor to be entrusted with someone else's work.

 

TEN. SIXTY-NINE.

1. That first hug of the day is one of my favorite parts of the morning. 

2. Am I really in my ninth month? Has that much time really passed?

3. The life of a house-cat.

4. The sun has barely risen and she has to leave. The streetlights are still on.

5. In some ways I hold her tighter. In others I am [gradually] letting go. This is what she needs from me. 

6. I am trying to keep this moment from stretching beyond itself. I am trying to keep it from wrapping its arms around the rest of my week. 

7. I feel like I need to be more.

8. There is a faint melancholy melody coming from somewhere nearby, but I can't tell from exactly where.

9. My skin looks like it's been burned. Like it was burned and is healing as best it can.

10. When I find myself losing myself in a story, that's when I know it's good. 

 

TEN. SEVENTY.

1. This is as close to a good night's sleep as I've gotten in weeks, possibly months. 

2. The cooler the air gets, the drier my skin feels. 

3. We had to give the car time to wake up this morning - a moment to shake off the nighttime chill that still lingered this morning. 

4. I am so hungry. All the time.

5. It is amazing to watch the creation of this story unfold. Amazing how she pours words onto the page and I feel them in my heart. 

6. I write because I want to give someone this feeling. 

7. I watch her in the gaps between the multi-colored panels for a while, before forcing myself back into my own thoughts, which need sorting. 

8. I forgot how much I love pierogies. 

9. This show really is about nothing. 

10. My eyelids are so heavy. 

 

Daily Ten - Week Nine

Below is the ninth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN.FIFTY-SEVEN.

1. "True belonging doesn't require that we change who we are, it requires that we be who we are." Brené Brown

2. Just days from the first day of fall we are experiencing a second summer.

3. 6 more weeks.

4. Cold water on my face and the back of my neck, and a cool breeze that passes over me, giving me goosebumps despite how hot I feel.

5. I need to donate some more books to the library.

6. "Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." rumi

7. "The universe is God's self-portrait." Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler

8. Watching them all dance and hop and laugh together. Holding hands, letting go, smiling up at one another. They bring me so much joy. 

9. It's been three weeks since he cut his hair. I love it this length. I rake my nails through it and it calms me just as much as him. 

10. Time feels like it's speeding up now. I wonder if it is just me, or if everyone feels this sense of urgency.

 

TEN.FIFTY-EIGHT.

1. I think I am ready now. 

2. Funny how you can become emotional about something as inevitable as the passage of time. 

3. I look like my mother in this picture. 

4. This is the first time this has happened in nearly sixty days. 

5. I can either be disappointed or proud - that is a choice. 

6. It is amazing how relevant this book is.

7. Readiness comes in waves. 

8. I had never really stopped and thought about myself that way. This will require some thought. 

9. I always feel a little more alive after our discussions. My sense of possibility is alway greater.

 

TEN.FIFTY-NINE.

1. They are requiring a bit more prodding this morning, but it is to be expected. 

2. I am always hungry now. Was it like this all the other times before? Did I just forget about this perpetual hunger?

3. So many September birthdays.

4. I needed this. 

5. "Perfectionism can be your way of procrastinating." Tayari Jones

6. I need to stop more. Pause more. Breathe more. 

7. The day keeps getting away from me. This is how you lose time. Hour by hour. Minute by minute. 

8. He is a gift.

9. There are some things FaceTime just cannot do.

10. Years and years later and we are finally settling in - just in time to move on again. 

Bonus Observation: 39 days until my due date and my baby has a name. 

 

TEN.SIXTY.

1. I have trouble being idle.

2. I feel so much better when it's done, but it takes so much for me to convince myself to do it.

3. The weather doesn't seem to realize the first day of fall was yesterday.

4. This town is not particularly welcoming to those they perceive as outsiders. 

5. There are so many people here. I think their collective body heat is making it hotter. 

6. They've been gone so long. 

7. She is always ready to go. She doesn't require prodding or convincing - she's just ready.

8. I don't place enough value on how healing it is to just be silly. 

9. Even though I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to do this, I am excited for it. 

10. It has been a long day for all of us. 

 

TEN.SIXTY-ONE. 

1. This is the second day in a row I've done this. I need to not make it a habit. 

2. I overestimated how much time I have. 

3. Not all mirrors are created equal. 

4. This is exactly what I wanted it to be. 

5. I feel more ready with each passing day.

6. My hips are shifting again. They creak and groan as they settle into their new normal. 

7. I should wear flowers in my hair more often. 

8. The weekend was so full, but there was love laced through all of it, which makes me mind less. 

9. Baby mama blessings. 

10. We read such different books and learn so much from one another. 

 

TEN. SIXTY-TWO.

1. Patrice's birthday is today. I went to sleep thinking about that and woke up to the same thought. 

2. So many people are now taking a knee, but is the message the same as when one man took a knee, or does it mean something else now?

3. I don't know how much more explicitly I could have stated my directions. Sometimes I think they just don't want to hear me. 

4. Our days start earlier than many of our visitors are accustomed to. 

5. The spider looks like it's floating. I stare at it, trying to locate the thread that is suspending it, but no matter how many times I squint my eyes, I still see nothing there. 

6. These solo morning walks are good for me. 

7. This is so much more effortless than I imagined it would be. Maybe I can do this more. 

8. I was productive today, but it doesn't feel like enough. 

9. I am excited about this new project and the way it brings dormant dreams to life. 

10. Take a knee.

 

TEN.SIXTY-THREE.

1. 35 weeks. One more week until I'm inside of a month. Two more weeks until I'm full term. Five more weeks until my due date. 

2. Gentle mornings like these. No rushing but everything still getting done. 

3. The green leaves are the outliers; all the others have given over to yellow and orange. 

4. So many looming deadlines. So much to be accomplished in what feels like so little time. 

5. I forgot about my tea until it had cooled to room temperature again. It was still delicious.

6. We are closer to ready everyday.

7. "Comparison is the thief of joy." This resonates with me, but I also find myself wanting to provide exceptions when this is not the truth. 

8. I am managing my anger as best I can, but my patience has worn thin. 

9. I am calmer now. 

10. "One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things." Henry Miller

Daily Ten - Week Eight

Below is the eighth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

TEN. FIFTY.

1. That song is the first thing I want to listen to when I wake up in the morning. I am trying to pinpoint what it is about it. I go over the lyrics line by line, lose myself in the melody and the tenor of his voice. 

2. My toes are almost bare. The last of the paint is chipping and fading. 

3. She's becoming much better at managing her time in the morning. I hope we can transfer these skills to her afternoon habits. 

4. I could get used to this.

5. Too soon. Too soon.

6. I break down and call them and they tell me things I already know, but it feels good to hear them say it. 

7. I ache all over.

8. I am trying to let myself have this time and not judge myself for taking it.

9. "I just don't want to be bothered." I know how he feels.

10. "Love the life you live. Live the life you love." I put those words on the wall to be a reminder, but I am so used to them being there that I walk by without really seeing them anymore. 

 

TEN. FIFTY-ONE.

1. You can be this happy. You can be this loved. 

2. It's a little darker this morning than it has been. The color of the sky is not quite blue, but not quite not blue.

3. I have gone back and forth on this, over and over again. Sometimes I want all of the photos and sometimes none, but I woke up feeling very strongly that I should document this.  

4. Two out of three earthside and one in the belly join me for breakfast.

5. "Don't belittle your empathy." Patrice King

6. The universe is giving me what I need today. 

7. I appreciate her candor. 

8. I could talk to him for hours and many times I do. 

9. Each parent gets a shiny red apple from the teacher because "parents are teachers too." What a nice touch. 

10. My body is tired. 

 

TEN. FIFTY-TWO. 

1. September is always a busy month. It is not my intention to pack it so tightly, but it always happens. Maybe it's just the season. Maybe I'm preparing for the coming winter. 

2. Her face remains smooth and impassive,  but her hands give her away. 

3. Even with everything available to him at school and all the friends he has to play with, he still cherishes his time here.

4. Maybe the universe makes us uncomfortable so that we are more welcoming toward change when it comes. 

5. Why do I think they are judging me? What do I think they see when they look at me?

6. "Sometimes naming a thing - giving it a name or discovering its name - helps one to begin to understand it." from Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

7. I think I feel like we should go, just because we've always gone. It feels good to break the compulsion. 

8. Give them something fun to listen to. Teach them something new. Tell them a story. I think I can do this. 

9. It's not exactly the way I envisioned it, but I think I can get used to it. 

10. He says he feels like he should get me more spontaneous gifts, not always for a holiday or a birthday, but for no reason at all. I wonder if he knows that he is a gift. 

 

TEN. FIFTY-THREE.

1. One loud beep and then silence. The lights are out in the hallway, but still on in our apartment. 

2. He has all of his Playmobil firefighters lined up on the windowsill, watching their real life versions and the trucks lined up on our street. 

3. I look to their faces to gauge the seriousness of the situation. One yawns and rubs his eyes. Another two smile and engage in what looks like playful banter from the outside. 

4. I take a deep breath. The air smells fresh and free of smoke. The trucks leave our block one by one and don't take anyone with them.

5. The excitement of seeing all the trucks is still coursing through him. He is extra lively this morning. 

6. The tension crackles in the air around us, but we don't speak of it. We just let it fizzle and fade. 

7. I like to be of use. I like to feel like I am useful.

8. Coconut milk. Almond milk. Turmeric. Black pepper. Cinnamon. Honey. A splash of vanilla. I'm delighted that they enjoy this so much. 

9. This ice feels both good and painful in turns. 

10. "In all things of nature, there is something marvelous." Doesn't that mean there is something marvelous in all of us?

 

TEN. FIFTY-FOUR.

1. Yesterday felt like summer's goodbye. I woke into a morning that whispers autumn.

2. I don't feel prepared or ready, but I remind myself that I always feel this way, and in truth there is no way to be fully prepared - I don't know that you are every entirely ready. 

3. Earthseed: The Books of the Living. How did she create something so timeless? Something that feels so eternally true?

4. "Sometimes writing about a thing makes it easier to stand."

5. 77% humidity and I feel every bit of it. 

6. Something is frustrating him, but I think it would do more harm than good to interrupt him and ask him what it is. 

7. I am doing my best to keep track of everything, but sometimes I fall asleep trying to remember what I'm sure I've forgotten. 

8. My feet are so warm. It is impossible for me to feel cool when they are so hot.

9. Sweat.

10. I could have stayed in that water all night. I could have gone to sleep in it and spent all of tomorrow there too. 

 

TEN. FIFTY-FIVE.

1. I keep having this feeling when I wake up. Did I actually sleep or was it my imagination. Did I dream that I stayed up all night?

2. We are stepping into new and unknown territory, but I must embrace the discomfort. 

3. Early morning conversations that are continuations of late night discussions. 

4. The gap between what is explicitly states and what is implicitly meant. 

5. I feel the blessing in the busy-ness today. 

6. I am trying to do some things that make me uncomfortable so I can do some growing. 

7. Perhaps this is just what I needed - this shift of focus, this change of direction. My mind feels refreshed. 

8. Something about them knowing she belongs to me, without my having to tell them, makes me feel good. 

9. I'm glad I did this. 

10. I hope every day this week feels as good as this one. 

 

TEN. FIFTY-SIX.

1. I like when we begin the morning laughing together. 

2. The light is soft this morning. It looks like a rainy day, but there is no rain on the forecast. 

3. Writual Blessings. Shuffle. Draw the thirteenth card. Draw the third card. The first. The ninth. These are the numbers I am drawn to today. 

4. "All that you touch, you change." Octavia Butler

5. The sky can't seem to decide if it wants to rain today. I know what that feels like. 

6. I feel like I don't have time to take a nap, but my body has decided I will make time. 

7. I like the feeling of being taken care of, even though I don't like to think of myself as someone who needs taking care of. 

8. I am honored that she thinks something about my life is worth documenting. 

9. Simple. Relevant. Enduring. Distinctive. Memorable. Adaptable. 

10. He is having a moment with his father. 

Daily Ten - Week Seven

Below is the seventh week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

TEN. FORTY-THREE.

1. So much day has happened and the sun hasn't even gotten comfortable in the sky yet. 

2. I could eat oatmeal for breakfast every day.

3. The sun doesn't go into hiding on rainy days. It's still there, glistening inside of raindrops. 

4. I am trying to share more of myself. I am trying not to be the surface version of myself with people I love.

5. It is okay to breathe first and sort through everything, an immediate response is not always necessary.

6. I am getting better at protecting my peace of mind. 

7. I'm not entirely sure what he means, but I know he means well. 

8. I am exploring what enough means. 

9. It's just the five of us again. 

10. He said, "Mama, you're so beautiful," and for a second I saw myself the way he sees me. 

 

TEN. FORTY-FOUR.

1. He only likes to stay at the park when there are other children there, even if he has no intention of playing with them.

2. He asks so many questions these days. I picture his brain as this ever-growing encyclopedia where he stashes all of my answers.

3. I don't know what it is about the way the sun hits these maple leaves but it always remind me of how much beauty there is in the world, no matter what else is going on. 

4. My locs block the light from the page. I am writing in the shadow of my hair. 

5. I never noticed that lamppost before, nestled inside of branches, shining out between the leaves. It looks like the entrance to Narnia. 

6. I remind him to celebrate himself and reminding him, reminds me. 

7. I am trying to be a woman I would want them to be like. I am trying to be a better example every day. 

8. His eyelids are so heavy as I finish one last sentence. 

9. This lesser pain makes me afraid of what I know is coming. 

10. I love the sound of his heartbeat. 

 

TEN. FORTY-FIVE.

1. I watch her walk away until I can barely see her anymore, until I am really just tracking a bouncing dot, but I see that dot to safety. 

2. The year she was born the seasons were bleeding into one another. It was fall on paper but summer in practice. It appears this baby will come earthside in true autumn.

3. I am trying to embrace abundance - to take notice of the way my life is already abundant and attract more of it into my life, but the mentality of scarcity is hard to shake.

4. So much of what she's saying is my life. 

5. "Healing is not linear." (Melinda Alexander on the hey girl podcast )

6. "Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift." Mary Oliver

7. All of this truth, all at one time, is hard to take in, but so necessary.

8. Drinking this lemonade makes my breath smell like crushed rose petals. 

9. Obsidian. For healing and protection. 

10. True change lies outside our comfort zones. 

 

TEN. FORTY-SIX.

1. I woke to the sound of clanging pipes and wheels crunching over gravel and wondered if they would ever be done. 

2. There is so much I am trying to remember. I keep feeling the anxiety of knowing something has been forgotten, but not knowing what that something is. 

3. How has so much day happened already?

4. Perhaps I did not pause to observe it because I was being present in it, living it.

5. I am trying to remember when my feet got this wide. They don't look wide to me, but my shoes didn't shrink so...

6. Sciatic. Pain. 

7. She glows and glides through the room, and reminds me of the magic that takes place in these 9 months. 

8. I am always trying to practice being more honest. With myself and with those around me.

9. I think I was in 4th grade when my teacher told me (and the rest of my class) that headlights and break lights on the highway at night look like strings of rubies and diamonds. She was so right.

10. He is abrupt, but that is just his way, especially when he is tired. 

 

TEN. FORTY SEVEN.

1. I need to start writing all of these down somewhere. 

2. I am highly competitive with myself. 

3. This is one of those Sundays that just feels like pre-Monday.

4. This is one of those moments where I know there is reflecting to be done and plans to be made, but I don't want to look behind me or in front of me. I just want to be still. 

5. The green is leaving the leaves. Yellow is moving in. 

6. Sunday afternoon may be the worst time to go grocery shopping. 

7. I am grateful to be able to make a meal that fills their bellies and nourishes their bodies. 

8. I am feeling the busy-ness of the last couple weeks in my back.

9. He models dedication, perseverance, and commitment so well. 

10. I am getting better at saying no, but it still feels like it needs to come with an explanation. Getting used to using "no" as a complete sentence is going to take some time. 

 

TEN. FORTY-EIGHT.

1. I am deep in the middle of a dream when I first wake up, and even though it begins to fade the moment my eyes open, there is a moment where it feels more real than the pillow under my head or the alarm going off beside me. 

2. I resit the urge to say anything about her outfit. This too is part of growing up - for her and for me. 

3. For some reason when you are pregnant, people feel emboldened to touch your body and make comments on the way it expands to accommodate new life. I don't know what it is about this particular period that inspires them so. 

4. The negative stuff feels heavier than the positive. 

5. I am trying to tell myself what I would tell my girls, or any of my children, but somehow it feels more true when I saw it to them. What does that say about how I love myself?

6. My face feels warm.

7. I want to read so many books all at the same time and still savor them independently of one another. 

8. The house feels bigger now somehow. 

9. I am both tired and strangely alert. I hope I sleep well tonight.

10. Goodnight, cicadas. 

 

TEN. FORTY-NINE.

1. The leaves are curling in on themselves. They look like they are trying to keep warm. 

2. As she chews her breakfast she pauses, the expression on her face changes, and I imagine she is reacting to a conversation she's having in her head. I do the same thing. 

3. It doesn't matter how many times I read it. I still get excited to begin again. 

4. It is amazing how music can transport you to a completely different place, time, state of mind, or sometimes all three. 

5. The difference between a blessing and a burden can often times just be perspective. 

6. I need to get comfortable being comfortable. I need to let myself just be good.

7. Conversations about paradoxes and equal rights and social constructs in the car on the way home from soccer practice with  my eleven-year-old. She has such a beautiful mind. 

8. Whether I am gone 10 minutes or 10 hours he always misses me. 

9. "Trust your words."

10. I wonder what the world would be like if truth were more readily available - if people weren't afraid of it, if they didn't hide from it, mask it, or bury it. 

 

Daily Ten - Week Six

Below is the sixth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

TEN. THIRTY-SIX. 

1. 59 degrees at sunrise. Fall is eager this year.

2. I will have a baby (another one) sooner than I feel ready for at the moment.

3. Mountains of baby clothes. I need to start sorting. I need to get organized. 

4. All these mosquito bites. Ugh.

5. I don't know what just happened to me, but there was a shift. 

6. I can be tired and still be grateful. I can feel overwhelmed and still be grateful. I can cry and still be grateful. 

7. I am stronger than I often give myself credit for. 

8. Some things I just want to do for myself. 

9. He has the hiccups again. 

10. Sometimes you just have to draw the line. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-SEVEN.

1. I need to unpack my feelings about asking for help.

2. My hips feel like they went through a growth spurt overnight.

3. Nesting is real. 

4. I am getting a lot done today, but still, somehow, it doesn't feel like enough. 

5. Love is a verb. 

6. Love is a growing up. 

7. Daniel Caesar. Freudian. So grateful to my big sister for this.

8. We are three out of five at the dinner table today. The chairs that hold our missing pieces look so empty. 

9. It always feels so exciting - choosing what book to read next.

10. Tiny shoes lining the windowsill that haven't found a home yet. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-EIGHT.

1. Everything is out of order this morning. 

2. I am always surprised by how these sensations feel both new and familiar. 

3. The girls say all my music is sad. I think about my favorite albums and wonder is that's true.

4. I am ready to not be pregnant anymore. I am not quite ready to have a newborn. Both of these things can be true at the same time. 

5. She steps in without me having to ask. I am so grateful for her intuition and compassion. 

6. I can do this. 

7. She is so special to all os us, but it is a different specialness for each of us. 

8. I don't really know what I expected this book to be, but it's not what I expected. 

9. He's so expressive, and so free in that expression. 

10. This new diffuser is magical. It's turned my room into a spa. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-NINE.

1. Cloudy days feel like some kind of limbo between sunshine and rain. 

2. I know his face has slimmed down a bit and lost some of its roundness, but when I look at him I still see my baby. 

3. Quiet breakfast. 

4. Building a fort becomes an exercise in communication and working as a team.

5. He circles the perimeter of their play, so absorbed in the world of his trucks that he doesn't seem to even notice them there. 

6. I've worked out a lot of the knots, but this one is being stubborn. 

7. When I chose my outfit for tonight, I didn't factor in that it would be this cold. 

8. Fish tacos. Pineapple salsa. Cilantro. Heaven. 

9. I appreciate the avenues his mind travels that mine doesn't even realize are there. 

10. I feel so warm. 

 

TEN. FORTY. 

1. The world's tiniest moth on the other side of the window pane. 

2. It's not raining, but it's not not raining. 

3. Only 2 more days.

4. I should be used to this by now. 

5. What they think shouldn't bother me, but it does. What they say shouldn't matter to me, but I'm still working on myself, so it does. 

6. More nesting. 

7. Boxes on boxes on boxes. We could make a village out of cardboard. If we had the space I would let them. 

8. I can already feel the distance between us and summer widening. 

9. I think he gets the hiccups at this same time every night. 

10. The baby's space is coming together. It makes me smile to look at it.

 

TEN. FORTY-ONE.

1. I am starting to wake up without an alarm again. Without any little people climbing into bed with me and jostling me from my sleep. I like the feeling. 

2. It seems I can only have long nails on one hand at a time, and sometimes on neither hand. Every time I look up another one has broken.

3. I need to do a better job of safeguarding my joy.

4. 32 weeks. 

5. I am trying to shake it, but my spirit is heavier today. 

6. Strength is beautiful, but so is vulnerability. I hope I am teaching them to appreciate both.

7. Tomorrow is her first day of middle school, and she wants me to cut her hair. This is so much pressure. 

8. Every summer, I somehow forget how much energy and effort goes into getting them out of the door on time in the morning. 

9. I have the sweetest children. 

10. I don't think I've ever read anything like this. 

 

TEN. FORTY-TWO. 

1. She was born. I blinked. And now here we are on her first day of middle school.

2. I am torn between staying and going. 

3. It is a big day for her too. 

4. The weather seems to shift so quickly these days. There is no time to adjust to one before the other takes hold. 

5. They have a fire horn out here too. Maybe this is just a small town thing. 

6. This breeze feels so good. 

7. I need to strike more of a balance between the time I spend reading and the time I spend writing. 

8. When writing feels hard I abandon my own words for the words of others.

9. I open the drawers to look at the little baby's clothes at least half a dozen times a day. I've done this before, but looking at the tiny clothes still feels surreal.

10. I am content. 

Daily Ten - Week Five

Below is the fifth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

TEN. TWENTY-NINE.

1. The air smells like sage and cedar. The smell is so strong, I almost expect to see a giant smudge stick outside my window. I wonder where it came from. 

2. I need to figure out how to meet some of these lovely people I've met on the Internet in real life. Online networking and community are great, but...

3. We saw a fox on our morning walk. Now it's all they will talk about. The middle one is wondering if anyone has pet foxes. 

4. He is doing better today, but he's not quite at his best. He's still working his way back to himself. 

5. I am better today too, but I can't get my energy to rise to where I'd like it. 

6. We are all missing him. We tell stories about him like he's been gone for weeks, or at least days. 

7. I always thought of this space as temporary, and as much as it has become home, when you walk through you can still feel the temporary-ness. 

8. The movie is not bad so much as it is incomplete. It feels like only an  outline for a story. 

9. I will miss growing and carrying a life inside of me. I will miss the intimacy of this unique experience. 

10. He calls them my Taurus moments. That's not inaccurate. 

 

TEN. THIRTY.

1. I am in love with early morning light. The way it creeps through the window and stretches up the walls until everything is covered in a glow. 

2. Reading her ten has become part of my morning ritual. 

3. My shoulders are stiff this morning. I need to let go of some more. 

4. A butterfly just sailed between us, and they each smiled as they noticed it. I love sharing moments like this with them. 

5. Spiceville. Naomiland, and the Metropolis of Miles. They are so cute. 

6. The sound of rushing water. 

7. It is so easy to connect through laughter. 

8. I wish he didn't have to work so hard. 

9. But I appreciate his work ethic, commitment, and ambition.

10. I finished it! I feel such a sense of accomplishment. It's a little odd. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-ONE.

1. It's 2:23pm. I suppose it is a testament to how busy this day is that I am just now stopping to make this observation. 

2. I need to eat more. 

3. I recognize that I needed a break from telling this story, but now I need to dive back in and I am having trouble figuring out where my entry point should be. 

4. Midday ice cream break in the kitchen while the bear is sleeping, before the girls come looking for me. 

5. The first sentence is always the hardest.

6. I am placing limitations on myself again. I am having to remind myself that I am the one who decides what is possible. 

7. I look forward to a time when anything money-related doesn't cause me so much stress. 

8. We are all tired.

9. He is all knees and elbows today.

10. We should have our own show. Our commentary is hilarious. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-TWO.

1. The streetlights are still on. They don't realize the morning has come.

2. She wears her nerves differently than I do, but that doesn't mean they're not there.

3. I keep smelling coffee.

4. This little bit of morning is mine.

5. I solved the case of the mysterious coffee smell. 

6. She wants to ask me a question, but she knows it's a question she already got an answer for when she wasn't listening. 

7. I am falling down the rabbit hole again. 

8. We hear the woodpecker so clearly, but we cannot seem to find it, no matter how hard we look. 

9. My body feels like it is gearing up for a fight, but I don't know where it thinks the threat is coming from. 

10. Shadow and light. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-THREE.

1. I am so hungry when I wake up. I struggle through my usual 20 ounces of water because all I want to do is eat.  

2. He's doing much better today, I think he's finally turning the corner. 

3. Coconut and almond milk. Egg. Vanilla. Cinnamon. And a bit of all spice. We are out of nutmeg.

4. So many butterflies.

5. I have no patience for the freshmen hogging the entire sidewalk, impervious to my excuse mes, or anyone's excuse mes, or any person outside their bubble. 

6. He is focused, not angry or upset. It took me years to learn the difference. 

7. The images are frighteningly familiar. 

8. This is why I love to read. It is nothing short of magical to feel so deeply and intimately connected to a person you've never met, all because of the way they've cobbled their words together. 

9. I am nervous about giving birth again, but the inevitability of it seems to soften the blow. 

10. It is way past my bedtime. 

 

TEN. THIRTY-FOUR. 

1. I wonder what it is that makes some music touch something deep inside of you, while other music just sounds like yelling and screeching, or something otherwise displeasing.

2. Tomorrow is our anniversary.

3. My feet are throbbing again. Yesterday's hike is probably to blame, but it was worth it.

4. I think the universe has had this woman cross my path to help me work on my compassion.

5. This is way more people than I expected to see out on a mid-Monday afternoon.

6. Tomorrow is our anniversary - I'm a little excited.

7. Just because you admire and respect someone, doesn't mean you have to agree with them all the time.

8. 31 weeks.

9. All of my senses are heightened. I feel more sensitive in every way.

10. I am really excited to give him his gifts in the morning. I feel almost giddy.

 

TEN. THIRTY-FIVE.

1. I'm surprised by the time. My body feels like it should be earlier. 

2. The weather app says the sun has already risen, but I don't see it.

3. Rain seems to lend itself to quiet and thoughtfulness and solitude (in doses).

4. Drops of water collecting and pooling on the windows all around me.

5. I have more than 8 years to be grateful for, but I am grateful for them all the same.

6. The drive home feels shorter today.

7. I just want to sit down and write. Again, I must remind myself that this is productive too.

8. There is a little bit of nervous mixed in with her excited.

9. Laying side by side, talking about the future and the past. This is a gift in itself.

10. Love is a verb.  

Daily Ten - Week Four

Below is the fourth week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here.

 

TEN. TWENTY-TWO.

1. Ah, there is the sunshine. 

2. I wake up and wait for him to move, wait for him to tap good morning on the inside of my belly.

3. Little bear, little baby and me. 

4. It is possible to be in love and enraged at the same time. 

5. My little girl will be ten 2 months from today. 

6. We are all moving a little more slowly this morning. 

7. This lucky bracelet she made me is never going to fall off.

8. I think he grew some more in the couple days he was gone. He seems different somehow. 

9. Itchy belly. 

10. I have a lot to be grateful for. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-THREE.

1. Last night I heard the chirp of crickets, but only a faint cicada song. Has their season come and gone already?

2. When my mornings are productive, the whole day feels more productive. 

3. He tells his father his chest keeps shaking, and his father stops what he is doing to place his head on his son's chest and listen. He smiles up at the little bear and tells him he is ok, and I am so in love with both of them. 

4. I think my irritation with our nation is making me irritable in general. 

5. He is full of questions. 

6. I was so sure before, but now I am backpedaling. 

7. A little self-care goes a long way. 

8. She has written beautiful words, and made a beautiful story, but she is still just a person. I need to stop placing people on pedestals. 

9. I need to get better at networking.

10. The universe has its own timing.

 

TEN. TWENTY-FOUR.

1. I like feeling useful. 

2. I still attach too much of my own worth to a dollar amount. 

3. The air is so thick this morning.

4. I'm so happy that she still loves when I read to her. 

5. I have been moving words around in my head all day, but I can't seem to get them to fit together. 

6. The wind is picking up. The rain is coming. 

7. The sky looks different out each window.

8. What shade of orange is that? It's so eerie. 

9. It's starting to feel like I may never finish this book. 

10. My patience is selective. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-FIVE.

1. There is barely any breeze, even this early in the morning. The trees are still, except for the little one in the middle. 

2. This is a good problem to have.

3. Sometimes I wish we lived in the city. It's usually when I'm hungry. 

4. I needed that note from myself. 

5. The hotter I feel, the more irritable I get. 

6. I need to be more flexible with how I define productivity. 

7. Even though I still lean toward white, black and earth tones, I am doing a much better job of adding vibrant pops of color into my wardrobe every now and again.

8. My hips are making room where I thought there was no more room left to be made. 

9. So much pressure.

10. I think I can feel each of his ten toes. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-SIX.

1. I love mornings like these.

2. This breeze is everything. 

3. Cicadas in the daytime. I thought they were gone. Clearly, I was wrong. Maybe their schedule just changed.

4. Pickles. Pineapples. Raspberries and strawberries. There is no rhyme or reason to this combination, but it's so delicious.

5. Black Boy Joy and Black Girl Magic. Still. Always.

6. I like eating dinner this early.

7. Getting in and out of the car is getting increasingly difficult.

8. I don't remember the last time I was here, but this ice cream is delicious. 

9. I don't mind it being just the two of us. 

10. I can't wait for my gums to finish healing. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-SEVEN.

1. Some mornings will feel like this. Don't resist them, resisting them just makes it harder. 

2. It is ok to not be ok.

3. I watched her stories and they said, "Believe that you can do it all," and for some reason I felt a little better.*

4. Peppermint and honey and coconut milk and long, slow, deep breaths.

5. My body is tired. 

6. I am longing for a place I have never been.

7. Should I be more excited about this? I feel like I should be more excited than this. 

8. Even though I'm starting to feel like I might be ok, I find tears sneaking into my eyes. 

9. He's so unlike himself today. My poor baby. 

10. Laundry, laundry and more laundry. 

*The her I am referring to is Alisha Sommer. She is the lovely woman who inspired me to begin these daily ten observations. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-EIGHT.

1. I feel so heavy. But then I go back and read her words, "the universe cannot give you more/with all that you're holding onto," and think about what I can let go.*

2. I don't know that there is anything more important to me than being the best I can for my kids every day. 

3. I am trying to assume the best of people. Unless of course they have provided me with overwhelming evidence that that would be foolish on my part. I am working on becoming a more compassionate person, not a doormat. 

4. Somehow I can still feel the humidity -- even with the windows closed and the AC on. 

5. Today has been hard, but I am still grateful for it. Grateful that I have the ability to care for my baby, and grateful that he knows his mama has him. 

6. I have been trying to will myself up from this chair for at least ten minutes. 

7. It's barely 8pm and it's already dark. Summer went so fast this year. Does it feel that way every year?

8. Quiet time with the mister. Him doing his thing, me doing mine, but still together. 

9. I've almost finished reading the book. I'm surprised by how proud this makes me feel. 

10. So hungry.

BONUS. My anniversary is in one week :)

*The her I am referring to is Kenya Raymer aka HalfieTruths. I follow her on Instagram (I love her page) and found these words there. 

love letter to myself

i try to stay positive. i try to keep things in perspective, but every now and again doom and gloom roll in and i end up riddled with self doubt. when that happens, i reach out to the people in my life who know me best, and can remind me of what's true. 

last week, when i was having one of these moments, i found a letter i wrote to myself months ago, and it was just what i needed. 

 

Dear Satya,

"Right now, can you make an unconditional relationship with yourself? Just at the height you are. Just at the weight you are, [just with how you look today, and with what you have achieved up to this point] with the intelligence that you have and your current burden of pain. Can you make an unconditional relationship with that?" Most of that quote is Pema Chödron's but the stuff in the brackets is yours. Your self doubt is wrong. Everything you want to achieve is possible. You just keep putting in the work and let the universe do the rest. You are going to make yourself so proud. Trust the process, Trust your words. Trust your creativity. Trust yourself. Trust the magic you have that is uniquely yours. You are a strong, beautiful, creative human being. Keep creating. Keep putting love on the page. 

I love you. 

Satya

 

sometimes we need to be our own reminders.

Daily Ten - Week Three

Below is the third week of my daily ten observations. To learn more about my daily ten, and read the observations that came before these, you can read all previous posts here

TEN. FIFTEEN.

1. The way the light is touching the trees makes it look like fall already.

2. When I sit up straight, shoulders back, I have so much more room to breath.

3. I have gotten quieter as I have gotten older and it goes beyond just being comfortable in it. Sometimes I long for it. 

4. She is still my baby girl. Always. 

5. I treat them like a unit so often. I had almost forgotten how much I love my solo time with each of them. 

6. We nurture each other.

7. Any time I taste grilled vegetables, I wonder why I don't grill all my vegetables. 

8. This book is going to take some time, but it's worth it. 

9. I love the feeling of checking off items on my to-do list. 

10. I am going to sleep well tonight.

 

TEN. SIXTEEN.

1. I've written just over 10,000 words of my new book. There are a lot more words to go, but it feels good to reach this milestone. 

2. I am growing. 

3. Sometimes when I get ready to open my mouth and tell him I love him, I pause, because while I do love him, there is also something else, something more that I grasp around to find words for. So, I hold his hand, or kiss his face, or make him a cup of tea and hope he can feel what I can't quite figure out how to say.

4. I think if we're really lucky, we get to spend our lives falling in love over and over again. 

5. They're all so beautiful. Sometimes I feel like I don't fit. 

6. So much noise, so early in the morning. I understand the work must get done, but shouldn't certain hours be sacred?

7. We saw red and yellow leaves today. Fall is creeping into summer. 

8. I am not multi-tasking, but then again I am. With every activity, I am trying not to also think about the pain. But I do. 

9. 81 degrees. A nice breeze. Barely any humidity. This feels perfect. 

10. Hello cicadas. Good night cicadas. 

 

TEN. SEVENTEEN. 

1. Their profiles are so similar. 

2. I think I have gotten used to the noise. I have settled into my mornings not being quiet. I don't know how I feel about that yet. 

3. This one spot in my lower back, on the left side. It is determined to ache. 

4. I love the way the light hits the trees first thing in the morning. 

5. He keeps pulling his hat down over his eyes. This is what he does when he's feeling shy. 

6. I watched my son play amidst tree stumps, rocks and wood chips, having the time of his life, and I thought, "what an imagination." And then I thought, this is what it is to be a writer or any kind of artist really, it is to never lose the imagination of a child.

7. I try to acknowledge that every living thing has a purpose, but I can't stand mosquitoes. 

8. Moonlight. 

9. He is the keeper of my secrets. I trust him with thoughts I barely trust myself with. 

10. My hair is inching down my back. It's gotten to where every morning it seems a little longer. 

 

TEN. EIGHTEEN.

1. When my children are in a silly mood, and I am not, I must be careful not to allow my mood to bleed into theirs and dampen their joy.

2. It may be because of the little baby oven I am carrying around with me, but I have a new appreciation for cold showers. 

3. Sometimes I pick fights with people in my head. I need to stop doing that. 

4. Every now and again I would like to do absolutely nothing, and that is ok.

5. I am a selective hermit. An introvert with a disclaimer. 

6. When I am craving something it makes it hard for me to eat anything else. 

7. Time passes faster than I would like it to. I need to do more with mine. 

8. This perfectly ripe mango. Yum.

9. This is the home stretch. I don't know that I am ready to be in the homestretch. 

10. I'm missing him already.

 

TEN. NINETEEN.

1. It's interesting to see where the mind goes when it is allowed room to wander. 

2. Waking up is happening in stages this morning. 

3. He caught me watching him sleep.

4. This morning my feet feel like I was standing on my toes all night. Perhaps I am not running in my sleep. Perhaps I am dancing. 

5. This is what it feels like to take my time. 

6. Water and rest, even just a few moment's rest, can cure a lot of things. 

7. With only the two of us in the house, I speak so much less. 

8. When I think about the birth of this baby, I am both excited and afraid. 

9. My body is tired. 

10. I don't listen to music as much these days, I am too busy listening to my own mind, too busy trying to sort through all the things that I am trying to tell myself. 

 

TEN. TWENTY.

1. The world sounds so awake outside my window this morning. It makes me feel like it should be much later in the day. 

2. My hair and nails are getting really long. 

3. So much yawning this morning.

4. It's bright and cloudy at the same time. 

5. I always forget that the sun is still kissing me, even on the overcast days. 

6. Their faces smiling back at me. All their little arms wrapped around me. 

7. I need a nap. 

8. Heartburn is the worst. 

9. This is really deep for a children's movie. 

10. I am happy. 

 

TEN. TWENTY-ONE.

1. My body made an executive decision and decided I would sleep in. 

2. Little voices fill up the rooms of our home. I missed them. 

3. This humidity came out of nowhere. 

4. Soccer mom life. 

5. Just because things don't happen exactly as I would like them to, doesn't mean they won't happen. 

6. The numbers didn't move. 

7. There is a lot I will miss about summer. I will not miss the mosquitoes. 

8. Every inch of her is screaming exhaustion. 

9. My belly is as big as my baby needs it to be. 

10. I am behind on my reading. If only I could figure out how to spend a lot of time reading and writing, instead of having to trade off between the two.