Monday, May 21, 2018

A Box to the Left

Packing central here. Movers will be here before I know it. Today I’m spending time figuring out which personal items to gather in the boxes that will go with us across country, and which to load onto the moving van.

How does one decide which photo albums are the most meaningful, which childhood drawings possess the most value? And please, is it even possible to sort through my 25+ writing journals? Laughing as I factor in which one I’d be most horrified if somehow it got tossed from the moving van and discovered by an innocent bystander. Imagining Joe Shmoe reading, eyes wide, about a character plotting murder, certain he’s stumbled upon something truly sinister. (Nope, Joe, just hashing out a novel.) I know what Joe’s really stumbled upon—a woman who couldn’t possibly sort the can’t-leave-it-behind important items from all the rest.

In the end, they’re all simply things. Stuff. Try as I might, I can’t shove memories—a lifetime—into a box. I can toy with collecting the sentimental, piling in special photographs, letters, and memorabilia,
as well as passports, medical papers, and school forms.

How do you respond when people ask you what you’d run back in to save if your house was on fire?

I’ve heard pets, photo albums, the Bible, as well as other poignant books. I’m creating a box of memories and it will fall short. It will be incomplete. It won’t make sense to most.

Love, nature walks, laughter, ugly cries, growth, deep and loyal affection—they don’t fit in a box. They exist somewhere else entirely. They’ll be going with me in the car alright because they’re stitched into my being—not to be lost or mistakenly read by some Joe Shmoe. The aforementioned—those are the workings of my life. They go with me everywhere—accessible at any given time.

*Be back sometime in June…on the road again.

Monday, May 14, 2018

The Nest Part II

Life and its mysteries. The day after I wrote my last post, I headed to our basement to continue the packing process. Look what I came across under our deck…

 A mama bird with three baby birds.

One of my daughters drew this for me for Mother’s Day. 

My girls were amused at how smitten I’ve been all week by this mama and her babies. Then yesterday, on Mother’s Day, the babies took to the sky.

The nest is empty.

I find the timing of all of this—discovering the nest and the babies flying off—quite symbolic considering my last post.

Monday, May 7, 2018

To Nest or Not To Nest

When we moved to our new home in Georgia a little over a year ago, I had plans. I was determined to root and to do all I could to help my girls to acclimate to the area. I foolishly believed we’d be in this house for a long time, maybe forever. My determination to feel settled turned into a mild obsession. I researched everything. I memorized streets, programs, and other aspects of the community. In time, I’ve come to understand I’d been mimicking the behavior of a mama bird. Wiring in my brain triggered me to make this place home in every way possible.

While attempting to ingrain in our new surroundings to the best of my abilities, I simultaneously found myself hesitating. And I never understood what was behind that hesitation . . . until now.

One year later and we’re headed to a new home. California here we come. I’m about to hit the restart button on all that acclimating and adapting.

I liken my experience here in Georgia to a bird I grew quickly fascinated by outside my office window last year. The mama bird captivated me as she gathered grass and fronds, creating a messy nest atop a column. I loved watching her work, and even captured a few photos. Mama bird proved a nice distraction from writing on more than one occasion. In hindsight, I’m glad I took the time to study this bird.

Because she’s me.

She fretted and swooped and tamped down twigs before they could fall, but they fell anyway. The mama bird never did lay eggs in the nest she spent hours to build. After I told my mom about the bird, she informed me some birds create fake nests to distract predators from the real ones. I wouldn’t say our current home is a fake nest, but I do see now how temporary this stop-over in Georgia was. I’d laugh at my crazy attempts to root and nest, if it weren’t so human—such a mom thing to do.

Building a safe place for my girls is my highest calling—teaching them resiliency through change, strength through opposition, bravery through trying times. The older I get, the more I’m beginning to grasp that a home doesn’t exist inside brick or stucco walls.

Home is the security that comes from trusting that you’re loved where you are—wherever that may be.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Summers that Have Been

I saw this bench on our way to dinner not far from where we’ll be moving in a few weeks. It has a spectacular view of the ocean. Throughout the night, I kept thinking about sitting on a bench with a message like that. Stirred a lot in me.

Do you see the message as simply sentimental or is there a lot more to it for you, too?

*post title from J.R.R. Tolkien's poem, I Sit Beside the Fire and Think

“I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen,
of meadow-flowers and butterflies in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Preparing for the Big Move

I forgot how much goes into the pre-stages of preparing for a big move. It’s all coming back to me. Except this time we’re headed all the way across country, so we are making efforts to visit with the grandparents before we head west.

We sold the house, so now I guess we’d better find a new place to live.

I’m still relishing the special memories I have of my family spending time with my mom this past weekend. It’s fresh on my mind and heart.

For a comedic twist, I go to pick up our lively pup at the vet a little while ago only to discover she’s in heat. Did I mention I’m glad we sold the house?

Please forgive me if I’m a little MIA over the next few months. I’m still working on a novel I’ve been plotting and brainstorming for over a year, but this, doing this big move thing again after only a year, is taking a bit out of me.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Personal Space

Have you ever been speaking with someone and they gradually inch closer and closer until you eventually feel compelled to move away? I distinctly remember a conversation like this in college. The more questions the guy asked, the more flexible I grew. It got to the point where I’d almost performed an impressive back bend. Think a scene right out of Incredibles.

Do you ever pay attention to personal space boundaries? Social cues? Body language?

Writing can become much stronger when an author considers the unique body language of each character. In turn, body language can exude so much about the internal life of a character.

One of my favorite parts about being a writer is the unashamed devotion I have to people watching. Studying close-talkers and mouth-coverers never ceases to fascinate, not to mention reveal. I’m constantly reading layers beneath what people are saying. 

My husband happens to be a hand-talker. Then there are the twitchers, the hair twirlers, the leg tappers, the knuckle-crackers, the lip-lickers, the sighers, and the pant-smoothers. With the same hearty sentiment as Tiny Tim, I say, God bless them, every one!

Monday, April 9, 2018


My family is still on Hawaii time this morning as we dive back into routine and take on the day. There’s no way I could choose a favorite experience from our trip because so much of what we encountered the past few days has left a deep impression. A spattering volcano. A black sand beach. Raging waterfalls. A free-range horse ride, and stunning waves to name a few, not to mention the unplugged time together.

When we trekked down through a lava tube (a hole carved out underground from the fierce flow of lava) my eye kept gravitating to the roof of the cave-like tunnel. Long tendrils spiraled down over our heads. I asked our guide what the moss-like stringy roof d├ęcor was, conjuring stalagmites and glow worms in caves I’ve seen on nature programs.

The answer = roots.

Roots, of course. Because plants will grow where they will.

And I couldn’t think of anything else in the world that I can relate to more right now.

Why? Because we’re moving again. A year ago we signed the contract on our home in Georgia, and sometime in the next few months we’ll be signing a contract on a home in California.

I may not have roots planted in deep soil when it comes to a home town, but I have established memorable friendships and have garnered a strong sense of adaptability. I’m a pro at moving. But it comes with its own share of anguish, stress, fear, and raw emotion.

This song says it all . . .


A Box to the Left

Packing central here. Movers will be here before I know it. Today I’m spending time figuring out which personal items to gather in th...