I Am Not a Blogger

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Here’s a little bit of everything to catch you up, people.

2014 has been pretty great so far. We’ve been able to have some fun as a family in the unpredictable Florida weather, we’ve eaten a ghastly amount of cookies. I’ve learned-slash-admitted a few more things about myself. It’s been like having tiny lightbulbs flicker on while I do laundry or take a shower or talk to someone (I’m an external processor all.the.way.). It’s been a month of mini-epiphanies. Nothing huge or world-rocking, more just “hmmm, ya, I think that’s true/good/ok”.

Some of my gleanings:

-I am horrible at waking up.

-I am a professional guilt-carrier.

-The shared freedom in both of the above reminders is the realization that sleep is SUPER important to me (this is one of those “duh” kind of ideas, but my stubborn brain has tried to convince me that I can still run on four hours of sleep–a la college days–and happily take care of a family the next morning) aaaand that guilt sucks. It’s just stupid. And I tend to feel it most about things that truly don’t matter, like whether or not I woke up early in January. Fugget about it.

-Cookies made with oatmeal and applesauce–never mind what else is in them–are completely acceptable for breakfast. And your children will love you.

-People are walking miracles. Cue the sappy music, but c’mon! Good grief. Tons of miracles walking around. Seeing this truth is slowly growing a longer pause in my unthinking and graceless words.

-I complain. Even if it isn’t always out loud. It’s grody. The seeing miracles and living in and living out grace thing, though, gives me far fewer reasons to whine.

-I’ve been reading more and writing a little less. Not on purpose, it’s just worked out that way.

-I really love reading and I really love writing.

This podcast, listened to in three parts–while cooking dinner, cleaning up, and after kids were tucked in for the night–was so well timed that I goofy-grinned while shredding cheese that evening. I’m not a blogger. I love reading blogs and I love writing them, but I’m not a blogger. I am a writer. Even saying those words, thinking them, typing them out, makes me feel arrogant (or like I’m setting myself up for embarrassment), but I think it’s true. No matter what weird phases I’ve gone through, those two things, reading and writing, have been my constants.

-Blogs with tips, projects, and daily posts are amazing. I love visiting them and have learned some wonderful things from them, but I can’t do it. I’m far too flighty and forgetful to write something worth reading every day. Aaaand exhale…I did it. I admitted that I am not “good” at blogging. I don’t have a writing schedule or tons of helpful advice. And, when I have time to write in the evenings, all I really want to do is read, sleep, talk or watch The West Wing (we’re on Season 3 in case you’re wondering–pleated pants and shoulder pads for days).

-I don’t know what this blog will become or if it will fizzle out entirely. I never say never anymore. For now, I’ll keep reading, talking, and writing. I don’t know what about, but if I think it’s worth sharing, you’ll hear about it. Promise. Just as soon as I finish ooone more episode of West Wing.

Oh, and the “goal” for February is to be extra aware of and picky about what’s going on our calendar. Making space for that Philippians 4:8 stuff.

7in7: Day One

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Today is the first day of the 7in7 challenge. The goal is to stretch participants’ creativity through word, song, film, photography or design. Last year I joined the songwriters; this year I’m with the bloggers. Collaboration is encouraged, so no excuses…join us!

7 new and complete pieces in 7 days. Get ready for my semi-complete thoughts, some of which have been scribbled on napkins, paper scraps and the sides of my brain for months. Here goes! 

This idea was a doozy for me. That’s probably because I’m an extrovert who, as a child, cried overwhelmed sad tears when I realized that there was no possible way for me to meet everyone on the planet. I’m a people person. If you are breathing, I want to know you. If you can blink, we can have a full conversation. I’ll make you cookies.

Do I sound crazy yet? Ya, about that…

You see, with this people-loving personality comes a gigantic dose of spreading myself too thin, overcommitting and, eventually, burning out. It’s happened a million and one times. I used to thrive on the energy of jumping from place to place, shaking hands and kissing babies, hearing everyones‘ stories over leisurely coffee dates. Then I went and had me some babies. Two precious little lights of human beings…with short adorable legs, who need naps, who are learning to use the potty (whose mamma forgets to pack extra clothes), who remind me that the “energy” of life as I once knew it is kind of a myth.

There is an indescribable feeling that wells up inside of us when we experience moments of connection to the people around us. That sounds a little trippy, but do you know what I mean? I feel it when I’m with my family, when I see my husband across a room, when I look at our girls discovering something new. Why, I’ve been known to cry sitting in traffic, thinking about all of the unique unknowable stories being lived out around me. It all has a certain “rush” to it.

Since having our first daughter, four years ago, I’ve been slowly learning to distinguish that “energy” I talked about from the “rush”. They are completely different. I get, what my husband calls, a “people high” from going to a big party, but there is something so much greater that I’ve found in a shared passion with a handful of folks; in knowing someone well enough to see when they don’t have the words to describe their pain; in taking the time to be God’s hands and feet for those I love and those I may never see again. Energy is a hormone. The Rush is a rhythm that plants itself deep in our hearts.

If this seems like my attempt to bow out of the Extroverts United club, just get that thought out of your crazy head right now. I don’t think I could turn off my people switch if my survival depended on it. Consider this more of an open letter to myself and anyone else who’s found the Energy of life to be exciting, but a little lacking.

We don’t all have to be best friends. Even if we’re in the same mom’s group, or the same church, or find our hipster duds at the same thrift store, or all dream of backyard chickens. I don’t have to feel overwhelmed at the thought of never meeting you! This isn’t an excuse for me to stay at home in my pajamas all day, waiting for just the right people to come knock on my door. That would just be weird. This is rhythm by which I can follow my Hope through this life, slowing down, stopping, and then speeding back up again when, where and with the ones He leads me near. It’s not a chase, it’s a funny-kind-of-lovely walk.

We can each know this Rush that seems to make time stop for a moment. That displays how very not-alone we are and makes us long for something outside of ourselves. Something that feeds our souls. Let’s walk together. Our paths might cross. They might not. We’ll all look a little funny, but it will be lovely.

P.S. If you’re an introvert reading this right now and finding yourself feeling a little scared, don’t worry. I won’t bite. One of your kind even married me. This can work.

Quote of the Week #26

I’m breaking my silence. At least a little. I suppose this would be considered a whisper of sorts. “Pssst…here’s something my kid said that disturbed me”…enjoy.

Teagan (newly 4 years old): “What’s that smell?”

Her father, Gabriel, and I: “What smell?”

Teagan: “I don’t know; it smells a little stinky.”

Gabe and I, after sniffing around and hoping beyond hope that it wasn’t what we thought: “The grass? Are you talking about the grass? It’s the grass, sweetie. It’s grass.”

Gabe and I, to each other and the Heavens: “Dear God, help our children.”

Note to self: If we live by the beach for any extended period of time, make sure we walk around a field or something every so often so that our kids know what friggin grass smells like. Sheesh.

Parenting fail? Oy. Wait. No. I’m not even taking the blame for this one. I don’t know what’s wrong with her nose. It’s cute as a button, but clearly defective in some way. Maybe we’ll get her a new one for Christmas.

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Quote of the Week #24

Classic Father-Daughter chat from this week:

Teagan: Daddy, why do you laugh at toots?

Daddy: Because I think they’re funny.

Teagan: Oh. Well, I think they’re…[waits a beat]…dangerous.

There you have it, folks. I married a man who literally laughs in the face of danger. (and also, apparently, gave birth to two very dangerous little humans)

Happy Friday.

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Quote of the Week #20

“Mamma’s having an old lady moment,” Gabe said to Teagan who questioned the sequence of events beheld by her young eyes from the safe distance of the kitchen.

Who has two thumbs, a concerned three year old, and no coordination? This girl. That’s right. Only my uniquely overconfident albeit atrocious depth perception and what I can only assume to be recessive genes could create a woman as prone to such frequent freak accidents as I.

The words spoken between my husband and daughter rang in my carpet-burned right ear after my left had fully absorbed the embarrassingly “Life Alert* commercial-esque” groans that found their way out as I made my descent. Yes, I, who once dreamed of floating across a stage in satin pointe shoes, managed to complete a full-body roll while simultaneously balancing–and subsequently throwing straight into the air–two wooden Melissa & Doug** puzzles.

Where does she draw her artistic and acrobatic inspiration you ask? From sheer exhaustion and a refusal to care what I look like at 7:30 PM, on a Tuesday night, in my own living room. At the end of a long day of mothering, walking on my feet was just too much to bear. As I crawled across the floor on hands and knees (arguing that it would be a more efficient cleaning method), I was dealt a swift and humbling lesson in gravity and work ethic by none other than The Plastic Drum himself.

In all of his perfectly slick and cylindric glory, Drum had shown me the error of my slothly ways (that’s a word, right? You know…like a sloth***? That’s the only animal I can think of who might clean like me). Thanks to him, I’ll never tidy the living room without my padded bodysuit and hovercraft again! Thanks, Drum and Gravity for keeping me on my toes…and my face.

Happy Friday, errbody.

*Life Alert is in no way connected to this blog…per their request…made via phone through bouts of unsuccessfully stifled snickering.

**Neither Melissa nor Doug wanted their name on this either.

***Sloths are on the fence. Where they’ll probably be for some time. Seriously, have you seen those things? They baaaarely move. How they’ve managed to reproduce at all boggles my mind.

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Link Likes 6.8.13

Another Saturday already! Today we’re having our 7th Housewarming. We’ve been busy for the last five years 😉 We’re christening this new adventure with dear friends and filling our home with dreams for our time here. Now, bring on the potluck!
Where does life have you right now? It might be more of an adventure than you think…
Hugs to you, lovelies!

14 year olds are fun!

Suburbia Needs Jesus, Too by Andrea Palpant Dilley
 
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Quote of the Week #17, Link Likes 5.18.13 and a General Catching Up

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Well, friends. We did it. We moved to Florida. We hugged the necks of the Texas friends we’ve come to love; the ones who unloaded the few possessions we arrived in Austin with, the ones who babies mine have grown with for the last two years, the ones who pondered and prayed with us about some big questions, the ones who fed us, clothed us (I got nothin but love for my TOMS people), celebrated with us, threw us surprise parties, sat the heck out of our babies (does anyone get what I just said?), helped us buy The Swagger Wagon, the ones who welcomed us with arms more open than we could have ever dreamed, the ones whose lives we were made a part of. Yes. We said goodbye to those amazing folks. Some we’ll see again. Others, maybe never. For all, though, we are forever grateful and honored to know you!

I. will. nottttttt. cryyyyyyyyyy.

Where was I? Oh yes, we’re in Florida. For the last two weeks we’ve reunited with dear family and friends who’ve supported and loved us from afar for the past two years. A special shout out to my family and Gerald Teano, who moved us into our new place…like multiple BOSSES. Seriously, we even have things hanging on our walls! New Cox Family record. We are inhaling deeply the scent of the Atlantic; taking in the once again familiar sights of palm trees, people walking around in their socially-accepted underwear; returning to our beloved Ocean City Church. I’m watching everyone outside of the glow of my Scotch-Irish halo be kissed by the sun a bit more everyday. I’m not bitter. (although, Kylie mistaking a Snow White sticker for me the other day may have been pushing it).

We’re here, we have no idea what’s going on…and loving it. Our lives are intersecting with old and new friends. We’re finally meeting the spouses and babies that popped onto the scene in our absence. Things are good! It’s still a bit surreal. I’m having to learn road names again, where the best health food and thrift stores are now, and how to uncreepily invite our fellow gated community neighbors to a stranger’s house for a potluck. #firstworldslashwhitegirlproblems So, ya, we’re good.

Gabriel, Cox Family Head, brings us our Quote of the Week: “Even the dumpsters smell good”. If you were starting to feel sorry for us as we just left the “Live Music Capital of the World”, fret not. Now we live in a land where even the giant containers of rotting trash can make you feel like a kid on summer vacation. Beat that, Anywhere Else!

And to wrap this puppy up, here’s some mental chewing gum for you (this one’s for all the Mammas and the Pappas out there). See you around!

3 Mistakes We Make Leading Kids @ Growing Leaders

When You Feel Trapped by Motherhood @ Mothering

Being an Awesome Parent Even if You Don’t Have a Yard…or “Play Silks” @ Clean.

One Thing You’re Daughter Doesn’t Need You to Say @ Chatting at the Sky

Friendship (and the Glorious Mess That Goes With It) @ A Small Snippet

And this, just because.