Hey there, friends.
You know what, I have always loved to write. For as long as I can remember it has been a part of my existence. But, it wasn’t until I took the leap and started blogging that I really recognized it:
The depth of community and connection and togetherness that can grow from the roots of our words and voices and sharing with one another.
And it has been more inspiring and marvelous than I’d ever imagined. I was so honored last week when one of my pieces was selected as an Editor’s Pick on WordPress Discover, and having so many people reach out to me with their thoughts and perspectives has made my heart grow three sizes.
I was further humbled when Meg from Particle Woman nominated me for a Liebster Award. Thank you, Meg. This recognition was like a big ol’ virtual bear hug and I am so very grateful for it!
As a relative newbie to the blogiverse I was unfamiliar with the Liebster Award. So, for any of you out there that could also use a quick crash course, here goes:
1. Thank the person who nominated you, and link back to them
2. List these rules somewhere in your post
3. Name your favorite blog (that is not your own) with a short description
4. Answer the questions given to you by the person who nominated you
5. Nominate 5-11 bloggers for this lovely award, who have fewer than 200 subscribers
6. List 11 Random Facts about yourself
7. List 11 questions for your nominees to answer on their posts
8. Let your nominees know you nominated them
Hmmmmm. This is a seriously tough one, you guys. There are so many wonderful spaces on the interwebs to laugh and ponder and connect and be inspired, it is difficult to choose just one. But, as of late, I’ve been keeping a close eye on You Are In This World which follows the life of Cindy, a beloved mother and grandmother and friend and fellow human being who has battled with schizophrenia since her early 20s.
The story is told from the perspective of her daughter, Emily, who started this passion project as an opportunity to share her mom’s beauty and to show that suffering does not mean less important. She chronicles the hard and the beautiful and the gut-wrenching with a rawness and grace that I greatly admire. Thank you, Emily, for giving us a window into this illness and, most importantly, honoring your mom with such kindness and love.
1. How long have you been writing?
Writing has always been a love of mine. And, I had the good fortune of crossing paths with a professor named Gary Eller during college who ignited my interest in creative writing and storytelling. As for blogging, I just launched this little space about a month ago. So, *ahem* as a 40-something perhaps this categorizes me as way outside the bounds of fashionably late to the blogging party, but hey, today is the best and ONLY day we get so, onward, friends… Happy to be here with you all. 🙂
2. What makes your house feel like home?
Absolutely and without question it is my tribe. My main guy and these four wild and funny and caring humans we created together and our big muppet and favorite goldendoodle, Sidney. The noises. The hugs. The frustration in one moment and forgiving in the next. The impromptu dance parties. The deep conversations around the kitchen island. The s’mores consumed around our firepit. The snuggles under soft blankies during movie night. The chaos. The living. Home to me is the people and the music of every moment strung together to make the most beautiful sonnet.
3. What is one misconception people have about you?
I think my outgoing exterior makes most people surprised to learn that I’m really pretty introverted. I adore deep conversation on the back patio or tucked in the corner of a restaurant, but I would do just about ANYTHING (seriously) to avoid small talk. Networking is not on my list of favorite things. I love my people fiercely but also crave alone time and space for quiet reflection. I don’t need an active social calendar to be happy. In fact, very little tops a quiet evening at home with my family.
4. What was a favorite toy of yours as a child?
Barbies and my Snoopy Snowcone Maker. Hands down. And a close third would probably be my imagination. There was an open spot tucked in the shrubs out front of my early childhood home that I affectionately called my castle in the rocks. I spent hours in that little space weaving extravagant stories and plotlines with my talented cast of make-believe friends.
5 . What is your earliest memory, and how old were you?
I am definitely not taking home any trophies for my memory, you guys. I’m that one. You know the one. The person in the story circle who generally follows the do-you-remember-whens with the sorry-nope-I’ve-got-nothings. Sadly, my mom did not hand me down her steel trap mind.
But, I do have a few vivid memories that pass by my brain occasionally to say hello. One that stands out is the moment I rode my bike without training wheels for the first time. I was across the street from our house and determined to do it all by myself because, headstrong. It was on that sidewalk that I found my center for the first time. And it was exhilarating.
6. What pets do you have, if any?
We have the most intelligent and gentle and patient eight-year-old goldendoodle named Sidney and she has totally ruined us to all other furry family members forever. Here she is judging a pretty serious hula-hooping competition between two of her brothers.
7. Name a favorite of each: book, movie, tv show
I’ve enjoyed many books but one that has probably had the most profound impact on how I interact and engage with my existence is The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. I first read it during a season in life that felt heavy and dark and just, hard. Perhaps you have found yourself in this season at some point, too. It helped me ground myself in the present moment and appreciate deeply that suffering can only exist in the past or future, not in this moment. This was life-changing.
If my husband could change something about me, he would FOR SURE make me a film buff as opposed to a marginally interested moviegoer. *wink* That said, I do love a great storyline and when paired with the right crew a film can be magic. One of my favorites is an unassuming film called About Time. I went in with no expectations and came away so pleasantly surprised by the story and characters.
Beyond copious amounts of cartoons and children’s programs, I honestly don’t watch much television. But, I’d go with Brain Games, So You Think You Can Dance, and The Goldbergs, because they are entertaining (we watch as a family) and also happen to be the only three shows that I catch with any degree of regularity.
8. Name a //least// favorite of each: book, movie, tv show
Book = My freshman Biology 101 textbook. Thank you for making it abundantly clear that I wasn’t designed for the sciences. Movie/TV = Anything violent. I’m a lover not a fighter.
9. Where/when would you travel first if you were a companion to The Doctor on the T.A.R.D.I.S.?
If nothing was off limits, I would love to go waaaaaaay back to the beginning and observe how our universe came into being. That would be kinda cool, huh? And if I could barter for a bonus trip I’d love to swing by the 1950s to meet my grandparents and see my mom and dad in their childhood.
10. What instruments, if any, do you play (or would like to play), and why did you choose it/them?
I’ve played piano, french horn, trumpet, and (beginner) guitar. And I still play them beautifully, in my mind. Sadly, it seems I have found my way to I-used-to-play purgatory and I’m not a big fan of this place. I still enjoy knocking out a duet of Heart and Soul on the piano with my teenager every now and again.
11. What hobby have you never tried, but would like to?
I am an amateur iPhone photographer, but since this isn’t really a thing and I’m *pretty sure* this doesn’t count I would definitely love to invest in a quality camera and learn the ways of photography. Capturing life’s moments brings me great joy.
In the few months since becoming actively engaged in the blogiverse, I’ve stumbled onto some pretty fantastic spaces that have moved me in some way. Here are a few growing voices that I would be honored to recognize for this award:
1. Be Curious. Be Kind
2. All In This Together
4. Something’s Burning
5. Inspired New Horizons
1. I don’t consider myself particularly romantic, but the first time I met my husband (the spring of our junior year in college) I knew almost instantly that I would marry him. Yea, kind of weird. Especially considering that up to this point I hadn’t dated all that much. We will celebrate 18 years of marriage this year and it just keeps getting better. He makes life fun. If living included nothing more than laughter, wouldn’t it be more than enough?
2. These four people are the absolute loves of my life. I feel so lucky to be their Mom.
3. Ahhhhhhh. I’m convinced that hanging with Mother Nature can cure virtually any ailment. Especially the heart kind.
4. Here is the guy who first gifted me with the Mama badge. As you’ll note I still had him by a good inch or more in this photo. A month has passed and it is clear that my eyes will soon need to wander north to meet his. I love having a front row seat for his adventures.
5. The beach is my favorite place on the planet. The beach WITH my favorite people on the planet? C’mon now….
6. This is my childhood tribe and I have immense gratitude for 30+ years of friendship with these women. They are strong and beautiful and HIL-AR-IOUS and I just adore that we still talk and see each other regularly.
7. I miss my college girlfriends and wish we could steal away to a private island for a month to just laugh and catch up on life.
7. Here is my baby girl with her very favorite person. I just want to hold her little face in my hands and say, Don’t forget, little one, this…THIS HERE…is what love should feel like. Never accept anything less.
8. I’d love to write a children’s series inspired by my kids.
9. When you are summoned to a water balloon fight by your people ALWAYS AND FOREVER GO ALL IN, YOU GUYS.
10. Here are my two middle dudes on the last day of school doing precisely what feels good and true and right for their souls. They are joy to me. My almost seven-year-old started wearing dresses whenever he felt like it this year. When others teased or questioned his response was steady: “Why did you decide to wear that shirt/color today? Because you like it. And I like what I like, too. Just like you.” Read that again, friends. Only this time, apply it to virtually ANYTHING ELSE in life. Notice how it still rings true. If we can’t be our authentic selves, then who CAN we be? A second-rate and unfulfilled and joyless version of what someone else believes we should be? Appreciate the offer but no thank you.
11. I want nothing more than kindness as the legacy of my existence in this world.
1. Who do you love and what are you doing about it?
2. What is the very first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
3. If you could teach anything to someone, what would you teach?
4. What can you not live without?
5. What is the best thing that has happened to you recently?
6. Describe your perfect day.
7. What situations make you feel most creative? How about most stifled?
8. If you could live anywhere for a year, where would you choose?
9. What are two things you consider yourself to be very good at?
10. What ALWAYS makes you smile?
11. If there was a movie written about the story of your life, what would the title be?
This was fun. Thanks for taking a moment to read it, friend. I’m linking arms with you and grateful to be part of this community. 🙂