When dreaming means leaving, and relaxing, and dreaming

I did a little counting last week and realized that we are down to days until baby girl arrives. It kind of freaked me out a little. In 3-4 weeks, she will be here.

Here.

In my arms.

And I will be able to breathe again, to tie my shoes, reach down and pick something up off the floor without feeling like I might die, and comfortably sit in a chair without feeling like a stuffed turkey.

Somebody say amen!

Last week, my mom sent me a text: “Would you like to get away for a night? I can get you a hotel room right on the beach for cheap if you think you’d be interested.”

It’s like she doesn’t know me at all. OF COURSE I’M INTERESTED!

I called Lee and asked if he’d mind, and he didn’t mind at all. It may have something to do with the wild, crazy, I’mGonnaLoseIt look I’ve had in my eye for the last several weeks. Not sure. At any rate, he gave his blessing, mom made the reservation, and today I sat poolside with a sweet tea, the sound the the ocean crashing in, and all I could think was “Man, I can’t wait to start writing again.”

getaway

For me, getting away is always a catalyst for creativity. While some people like to unplug completely when they get away, I find myself more and more itchy to get back to the keyboard. It’s as though my fingertips were just waiting for my brain to freaking catch up.

A few hours of sunshine this afternoon left me feeling relaxed and clear-headed. A sunset stroll on the beach will add to that, as will a full night’s sleep and the facial that my mom (bless her sweet soul) set up for me tomorrow morning.

I can’t wait to get back to creating, to preparing for baby, to being with my family. It’s amazing what 24 hours away can do for one’s soul. It’s not something I get to do often, but when I do I make sure to relish every moment. The quiet, still moments away when life affords me the time to think. Just me and my thoughts, and few seagulls thrown in for good measure.

Dear creative friends – can I urge you to take some time to get away? You may not have the opportunity to leave for days at a time, but even a few hours alone, away from the hustle of every day life, can awaken your creative soul. Go to where your mind can be freed from the confines of constant decision making, and let yourself drift.

And when the creativity strikes, relish the moment. Soak it in. Abandon yourself to it, then go back home to your family refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated.

getaway2

This is the joy of living the life of a creative. It’s the ebb and flow of our days, the stolen moments when dreaming means relaxing, which leads to dreaming and creating. And the loving our families when we go back home.

These are the days I live for.

Want more encouragement on how to live and embrace your art as a writer? Check out my new e-book, 30 Days to Becoming a Writer on Amazon!

How 30 Days Changed the Course

30 Days to Becoming a Writer

Last October, I participated in The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge: Pick a topic, and dive deep into that topic for 31 days.  I spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what topic I could focus on for 31 days. How could I come up with a post every day for a month on one particular subject?

This became an exercise in discipline for me, as well as a personal challenge I  wanted to complete. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to write about the one thing I felt I knew best:

Writing

I was so very nervous to dive into that series of posts, but there was something deep inside that wanted to prove that I did know this profession into which I’ve chosen to pour myself. A lack of confidence held me back for far too long, so it was time to embrace with confidence that which I knew.

I managed to pull off 30 posts in those 31 days, and with each post I wrote, I felt an increasing sense of confidence in who God made me to be. I remembered the dark nights as a child, pouring my heart into journal after journal. I remembered the poems and songs I scratched out on notebook paper, the stories and devotionals I penned when I had a little time to myself.

30 Days to Becoming a Writer

I remembered the day a professor pulled me aside in college and told me that he had submitted an essay I’d written into a local competition and it won. “Why are you a theater major?” he asked. “You should be a writing major.”

I remembered and I embraced, and those 30 posts changed the entire course of where I was headed.

30 Days to Becoming a Writer 

I knew it was time to move on from my blog. As much as I loved that space, and the fun that I had there, it was time to expand. Those 30 days gave me the confidence to take the next steps toward launching this current site.

I wrote that series of blog posts for myself, but something happened that I did not plan.

The posts were read, and read again, then shared and read some more. Every day I received notification from Pinterest that these posts were being pinned, and a thought struck me:

Maybe I have information that would benefit others. Maybe I actually do know what I’m talking about.

For the past three months, I have work feverishly to pull those posts together and combine them in a more concise and comprehensive manner. I added to the information I originally shared, shaped up what I’d previously written, and pulled together enough material to put it together in one easy-to-read guide.

30 Days to Becoming a Writer

Today, 30 Days to Becoming a Writer officially hits the Amazon marketplace. Putting this together and publishing it as an e-book only added to my growth and learning as a writer. This was my first official experience with self-publication and, as expected, I made a few mistakes. I learned as I went, though, and I am now so proud of how the book has turned out.

30 Days to Becoming a Writer is a book for people like me – people who love to write, but are unsure if they have what it takes to turn their hobby into a career. This is a book meant to give confidence. If you have the words inside you, and the the desire to see them shared, then my prayer is you’ll find the tools you need in this e-book to make your dream a reality.

I’m here to be your cheerleader. You can do this. You have everything it takes to call yourself a writer and, ultimately, an author.

To join me on this journey of growing as a writer and expanding in our craft, please head over to Amazon today and download your copy of 30 Days to Becoming a Writer.

If you’re interested in helping me promote the book and get the word out, please feel free to share it with your social media channels. You can help by sharing the images in this post, or this one. You can also share any or all of these images on Pinterest, by posting to Facebook and Twitter, or, if you feel led, by posting to your blog.

Follow me on Facebook for information on the release of the book.

Thank you to so many of you who have cheered me on in this journey. Without my tribe of people rallying behind me, I never would have gotten this finished.

Blessings to you all this beautiful Monday morning, and Happy Writing!

The Freedom to Fail

“What is your number one goal for third grade?”

I watched her closely as she stared intently at the ceiling. It was the night before school started, and she is the one who needs a little probing if we’re to have any clue what’s happening inside that little brain of hers.

“Make friends?” she said, and she shrugged her shoulders. I knew she had a different answer to my question that she was afraid to share, so I pushed a little harder.

“You have friends already, and you’re so friendly that I know you’ll make new friends. What else are you hoping for this year?”

She sighed and shifted her focus to my face. “I want to make straight A’s.”

TiaThis sweet child of mine has a feisty nature that constantly pushes for perfection. It’s not something that her father or I push on her, but it is innate to her character. She does not like to make mistakes, and she struggles with anything less than perfection. This is a blessing, but also a concern.

The problem with perfectionism is we’re bound to fail. While I have a child on the other end of the spectrum who is perfectly content with average and generally not concerned with excelling (a trait that presents challenges of its own), this one takes perceived failure to heart, then she buries it there where it festers and grows until she slowly begins to shut down.

Nobody ever said parenting was easy, right?

I understand her, though, because I have a bit of perfectionism in me. By nature, I do not like to be wrong, to fail, or to make mistakes. I get very frustrated with myself when these things happen. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’m fighting this feeling until I explode, a tidal wave of frustration spilling out in one ugly outburst.

In high school, I believe a counselor labeled this as obsessive-compulsive. Like my daughter, I have the tendency to perceive failure as simply not being good enough, and if I don’t feel like I can be good enough, then why keep trying? Why not focus my efforts on areas where perfection is attainable?

I know this child because she is very much like me.

There’s a balance to life. We learn this as we grow older, but I want to give her the tools she needs now to cope with failure. I want her to know she has the freedom to make mistakes, to stumble, to not be perfect. I do not expect perfection from any of my children.

I’m learning to not expect it from myself.

We talked a little bit about working hard in school, about doing her best and not worrying about the end result. “It’s okay if you don’t get straight A’s,” I told her gently. “I just want you to try hard.”

I could see her brow furrow, because I know what she’s thinking. If I try my best, I should be able to do this perfectly.

Ah, if only it were that easy.

I’ve been working feverishly on my e-book, preparing to launch it next week. As I did the necessary background work to release it, I found two typos in the manuscript. This is, obviously, not the end of the world. The woman designing the book for me has graciously helped me correct these typos so that I can publish a book that is as near perfect as it can possibly be.

But it hasn’t stopped me from berating myself a bit. I’m a writer and editor – how did I miss these things?!

I missed them because I’m human and I’m flawed, and I cannot always be perfect. But I can learn from my mistakes. I can be more careful in how I go about things. I can try harder to get it right.

And I can give myself the freedom to fail, to pick myself up and dust myself off, and to keep moving forward.

How will I teach my daughter that failure is not only necessary, but sometimes even vital to getting better?

I’ll show her. I have ample opportunity every day to model grace to her, both in how I respond to myself when I make mistakes, and how I respond to her.

This is my gift to all perfectionists who are loathe to make a mistake – There is freedom in failure. Embrace it, then pass it on to those around you.

For When You Don’t Feel Like You’re Enough

There’s this weird, twilight experience that happens to women when they become mothers. Suddenly a distinct line is drawn between who we were, and who we are now. We feel simultaneously lost, and in the same breath found as we embrace this thing called motherhood.

Kelli Silhouette-5

Photo by Lulu Photography

It can cause a bit of vertigo if we’re not careful.

It seems that this feeling of embracing motherhood, dying to self, rediscovering passions, balancing life, and finding ourselves again ebbs and flows throughout the years in an endless cycle. Sometimes I feel like I’m coursing with purpose in my every day. I feel fulfilled in my role as mother. I feel energized in my work. I feel like…well, I feel like I’m enough.

But there are other seasons – the dryer times when I am utterly spent, weighted down with the responsibility that each day throws my way. I feel incapable of loving my children well, overrun by laundry that never ends, frayed by the bickering and arguing, and completely dry in my work.

In those times I feel like nothing I do is enough.

If I’m being honest, I will tell you that I’m fighting my way out of a very long dry spell right now.

I’m discouraged in my work, feeling like I’m spinning my wheels and getting nowhere fast. I am constantly overwhelmed by laundry, by bathrooms that just. won’t. stay. clean. I can’t seem to pull dinner together before 5:30 every night, I dread the grocery store, and some days I just sort of wander through the house like a vagabond.

I’m even feeling inadequate as I type this blog post, positive that these words have been written before by someone who probably articulated the message much more eloquently.

It’s in these times that I constantly remind myself that motherhood is a journey. I haven’t arrived, and not every day is going to be the best day of my life. Last week, as my six year old showered, he lamented the low water pressure and cooler water. Everyone was showering at the same time, and the washing machine was running.

“Why is the water so soft?” he wailed. When I explained, he hung his head in utter disgust.

“This is da worst day of my whole life,” he mumbled.

I had to laugh, because what I wouldn’t give to have the problems of a six year old. It was a reminder to me, though, that bad days come no matter our age. Sometimes the days feel like they’re trickling out, weak and tepid. I stomp my foot and wonder why on EARTH my circumstances aren’t more comfortable.

Such is the journey of life. It moves in patches of comfort and frustration. Productivity and fatigue. Obedient children and defiant children. Some days are so good. Other days are really bad. Most days are a combination of both.

And thank goodness for the ebb and flow, because can you imagine how boring life would be if everything were sunny and easy? Without the rain, there is no color in this world, but thankfully, motherhood is full of color.

colorfulmotherhood

 

Sometimes I just have to look a little harder to find it.

Blessings to all you Mama’s out there who are working your way through the trenches of motherhood. Hold your head high and watch for rainbows, my friends!  They always come after the rain.

 Image Credit

Preparing to Launch

We are in massive preparation mode around here, and I am on a mission of epic proportions to get my house under control. It is a bit of an exercise in futility given that school has been out, and I’ve had roughly 8 children on average inside my home all summer long, but it makes me feel like I’m moving forward.

The kids head back to school tomorrow. Big launch!

The baby is coming in one month. Huge launch!

My e-book releases next Monday. Big, huge, massive launch!

30DayCover

That’s right – my first e-book, 30 Days to Becoming a Writer, releases on Amazon next Monday and I am so excited to share this with everyone. I’m really proud of the way this book has come together, and I’ve worked hard at making it the best I could possibly offer to the world.

If you’re interested in being a part of my launch team, please leave me a comment with your email address, and I’ll send you more information. In the meantime, I will continue all the preparations for launch.

30DaysPinable2

Look for more information in the coming days, and for me to return to blogging with more fervor now that I have a little time to stretch together a few thoughts.

30DaysPinable3

Did I mention that kids start school tomorrow?

Join me in the happy dance, won’t you?!