You might think this post is about my mom, but you would be wrong. It’s about me.
Yes, I am the crazy mother, and not in the cool way, like, “CRAZY MOTHA”. More like, “Hey kids, sorry I’ve been kind of jerky and emotional and I told you I AM SO OVER THE NEIGHBOR KIDS and I argued with your dad about Hillary Clinton and Ryan Lochte and…I’m sorry you have a crazy mother but I love you” kind of way.
I love our neighbor kids.
Most of the time.
98% of the time.
WHY CAN’T I JUST HAVE SOME LAND LORD?! MOVE ME TO THE FARM.
But for real.
The morning started so hopeful. I was up before my kids, I lit a candle, put on some music, had some coffee, got into my BIBLE, and then…they got up early. And wanted cuddles. And I LOVE CUDDLES. But I know that once they’re up, it’s mom-time. All day, every day. It’s good. It’s fine. But sometimes, by 4pm, my husband gets messages like this:
I homeschool, for those of you who don’t know, and so when I say I need a babysitter for rest of the summer it’s because I’m with my kiddos 24/7 All.Year.Long. Which is mostly fine because I really like my kids. But, you know, sometimes I feel like I’m sending out an SOS.
Then I take a deep breath.
I remember: “Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)
And this: “For He Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14)
My peace doesn’t come from less noise.
It doesn’t come from perfect kids (mine or the neighborhood ones).
I can’t find in a good Netflix binge (Stranger Things, anyone?) or on Instagram (see what I did there)
It doesn’t come from a clean home (although, Lord please send me a maid).
I can’t even get it if I get away for awhile. I can get relief, but not peace.
Deep, true, soul-desperate peace will only come from Jesus. And oh man do I need Him on the crazy days. I need Him always, but the days where I want to kick everyone out of the house only to realize the neighborhood kids start talking about who likes and who and someone hurts someone else and I’M GOING TO LOSE MY EVER LOVING MIND…this is when I need Him.
I need Him.
I need Him.
I need Him.
Thou wilt keep in perfect peace who mind is stayed on thee.
He is our peace.
He is my peace. He is enough.
And it’s the same for the big painful things in the world or the big emotions in our small personal world, He is our peace.
So when the anxiety crawls through my body, tingling down my arms and laying heavy in my neck…
When I feel stuck or crazy…
I remember, Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.
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UPDATE! I put tickets on sale for this event and it is now SOLD OUT!
So I’ve been dreaming again…
Of a writing retreat and intensive for women that offers a beautiful space, encouragement, practical help, and one-on-on coaching from myself and a woman who specializes in writing, organizing, and editing.
I love the idea of spending intimate, up-close time with women who have a dream of writing a book and want to find space and grace with other writers while learning and being encouraged in the soul work that is writing.
I want to spend time with and encourage those who need to get away and find the freedom to write and be with other creatives as they nurture the unknown thing that is burning in them, that compels them to write but aren’t sure for what purpose yet.
And I want to be with those who have begun a book but need help fleshing it out and finding the time to breathe life into it.
I want to create an exhale for you writers out there who feel stuck or lost or blocked or discouraged. I want to be able to look into your eyes and hear your voice and listen to your story and offer whatever I can to encourage you and help you in your writing journey. I want to offer you tangible, practical help with your writing as well the inspiration to keep on in it, which is why I will also have an expert with me that compliments me. I am a visionary and have experience in writing and publishing. But I’m weak when it comes to organizing and details. My co-host shines when it comes to details and figuring out, “How do I organize my book? What do I need to do for editing? PRACTICAL ADVICE PLEASE!” She will meet those needs, while I will help you with vision and ideas and the heart of your story.
And the best part? We will be spending Friday afternoon, all day Saturday, and Sunday morning together, up close and personal. We will write, we will learn, we will laugh, we will have good food and wine, and we will have time and space to think and breathe and let the words ease out of us.
But here’s the thing: I need to know if there is enough interest in this intensive to pursue, because the lovely place I will be renting is quite expensive, hence, this retreat, while offering incredible value, will be expensive.
When: The intensive/retreat would be held Friday, (3pm) February 10th – Sunday (9:30am), February 12th.
Where: In a beautiful 4,000 square foot home on 30 acres in a small little town in PA. (Free shuttle to and from the Harrisburg airport which is about 45 minutes from the location.)
Who: I will host and lead the retreat along with a Denise Hughes.
How Many: There is only space for 15 women (I have 9 single beds and 3 queens you could share with a friend – sharing would offer a slight discount)
Cost: It will be around $799, which would include your stay, all food for the weekend, up-close and personal time with myself and a writing/editing/organizing expert, one-on-one coaching with us, teaching sessions, space to write, a writing packet, and gift. Full payment would be due when you purchase the ticket.
Again, there are only 15 spots for this intensive retreat. If you are interested in the retreat, please sign up below. I will send out more info (exact date and price) soon. The spots will be sold on a first come, first serve basis. Thanks! Here’s hoping for a cozy winter writing retreat together!
My friend Amy is an angel.
Really, I’m convinced of it. She is also one of my kindred friends. She lifts me up when I’m down, she brings me flowers and comfort foods, she brought me lavender for my moms burial, and she is always sending me voxes or texts to encourage me. I’m telling you, God sent her to me to teach me how to be slow and steady, accept gentleness, receive grace, and keep on. She is absolutely dear to me.
And she teaches me things too, like not to should on myself. You know, I should…I should…I should…
“Don’t should on yourself” she says.
When I speak lies about myself she rubs my arm and says, “Shhhhhhhh-ut up” in that perfect Mississippi accent. She told me her mama used to do that to her.
So today I’m passing on two pieces of advice to you, from my angel friend:
1.) Don’t Should on Yourself
2.) Shhhhhhhh…ut up (When the lies try to speak)
Today I have felt…crappy.
I’m sorry, but that’s just what it is. I’m prone to this, I know, so at least I know how to deal with the rhythms of it. Oh, hi again downward-spiraling-for-no-reason-day, I know you. You don’t get to control me, but yea, you do know how to bring me down. And yes, I’m a little down.
My tendency when I’m down is to want to stay away from people. I feel anxious and everything gives me anxiety. Kids around? Anxiety. Messy house? Anxiety. Feeling like I’m stuck in a box and can’t get out? Anxiety.
I tell the kids they have to come in for an hour from playing so I can lie down and maybe get a nap. And oh yea, clean your rooms because I can’t deal.
I’m up again and I’m thinking I’d really like to not be unkind to myself right now. It’s easy to beat myself up on days like this. But today I think I’ll mother myself.
What would a mother do today? How does a mother treat her hurting for no reason daughter? Since I don’t actually know, I’ll guess…this is what I do for my daughters anyway.
Take Care of Yourself
Go and get yourself something healthy to eat or drink, you’ll feel better. How about a smoothie? Put something good into your body because you know later you’re going to eat cake.
Also, take a walk. Get some fresh air and wind on your face and be connected to nothing but your body and the air. Listening to God on your walks is good too. He is with you right now and He knows of your dark days. He sits or walks with you through them.
Make Some Tea
You know what you need right now? Some tea. Chamomile sounds about right. I don’t know what it is about tea, but there is something wonderfully healing in it. It would help if you could have a hug with your tea, so hug your kids and let them love on you. Kids are awesome lovers.
Eat Some Cake
I’m noticing a pattern here: food. Or some form of food, as in drink. Drinking and eating seem to have healing properties. That’s okay, God made food and drink and He is the bread of life, so cake and tea and a smoothie and Him, sounds about right. Feast with Him.
And yes, eat the cake. It’s your mom’s birthday and you just need to do it. Feel free to have some wine with it.
Rest. You are Loved and Don’t Have to Be Anything
My sweet one, just rest. You don’t have to be anything or do anything right now. Know you are loved and not alone. Maybe read some fiction to get your mind free. A good book is comfort. Be gentle with yourself.
“May your unfailing love be my comfort…” Psalm 119:76
If you’re having one of those days, eat the cake, have some tea, take the walk, rest. You’re going to be okay.
Thanks to 98.7 WMZQ for this pro-tip!
Your birthday is tomorrow and I have a few things I guess I have to get out of me.
I want you to know that I know you didn’t know how to love me.
And yea, you broke my heart, but you were broken too. I know. But that sweet redemption came in all its miraculous glory. Thanking God for that.
I put your ashes in the ground last weekend and covered them in lavender under the forked tree with the cross carved into it.
Your ashes, your body, your bones, buried on a mountain. But not you. You are with Him because you never let go.
He saw right into your heart and He loved you and you loved Him and it was such a weird thing, how you loved.
You were so complicated.
So like a two year old, stubborn. But oh how you would laugh, loud and unedited. You sure could let it rip.
I had to grieve you twice you know. The first time was when I had to acknowledge that I would never have a mom, not really. Not the kind of mom that nurtured. I released you from my expectation. I forgave you and do still. The second time only three months ago, and the grieving is still present. I miss you, you know.
Read the rest at (in)courage.