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Love is enough

As Otto and I lay in bed last night, I poured out my frustration while he held my hand and listened. Because I have a nice life. Actually, no; I have a pretty wonderful life. And yet I struggle, daily, against my will and my common sense, with the ability to just be happy.

I still believe that—as I said once before—there is a certain arrogance in being unhappy when leading a good and blessed and lucky life. And to be clear, I’m not UNhappy. But I am not as happy as I could and should be, much of the time. Somewhere on my permanent medical chart I am officially diagnosed as being dysthymic, which I suppose gives me license to abdicate responsibility because hey, man, my brain chemistry is wonky, so, you know, not my fault.

But. I want more. More from myself, more from my life, more of my best self for my loved ones. What I have, already, is more than enough; what I need is to take that enough and appreciate it more. (more…)

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Love crosses its fingers

I know that every year I get a little loopy about my garden; in much the same way I can barely believe I’m an adult (with a driver’s license and kids and everything), it still amazes me that I can grow things that turn into delicious food. I must’ve slept my way through botany in high school, because it still blows my mind. Soil and seeds and water make FOOD? It’s like some kind of wonderful black magic.

Of course, it’s also a pretty nearly-instantly gratifying kind of thing, too. Plant, water, wait a month or two, enjoy the fruits (and veggies!) of your labors. For a devotee of Short Attention Span Theater such as myself, that’s a pretty rewarding payoff in a not very long period of time.

Of course, there are demons to slay along the way: Two years ago I focused on vanquishing the slugs, and last year I dueled the tomato horn worms in the Battle of Squick. This garden thing is not without its trials, is what I’m saying. (more…)

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Inspiring things

I’m not here right now. Rather, I’m here, but I’m hiding. I am not being my best self right now, and as such I am looking for inspiration elsewhere on how people do the right thing even when, maybe, life is not feeling so right.

Do you know what I mean? If you do (or even if you don’t), here’s three places to go today that I promise will up your good karma:

1) Please visit this post at BlogHer to painlessly donate a book to a child in need. Your comment = a book for a kid. It’s that simple. (Bonus points: You blog about it, that’s another book, too.)

2) I couldn’t be more excited about my friend Karen Walrond’s impending book than if I’d written it myself, and the video she posted today made me wish I could always see what she sees. Go watch it.

3) I don’t know this woman (in fact, never read her blog before today), but this post makes me want to be a better person.

Maybe tomorrow I WILL be a better person. I hope so.

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Err on the side of love

Last year when I started my garden, I had no idea what I was doing. This year I at least have some idea of how little I know, so I consider that progress.

Last year I started almost everything as a plant, with a few seeds sown directly into my planter boxes and grown outside. About a month (maybe even more) after I began the garden, though, I decided to try starting some tomatoes from seed, and so I did that, inside, until they were big enough to transplant. I then moved them to their designated planting spots, where they promptly turned white and tried to die. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you know this is because I knew nothing about hardening them and my poor little tomato seedlings went into shock. They didn’t die, but it was touch and go for a while, there.

This year I’ve been taking my seedlings out to the deck and arranging and rearranging them, trying to help them acclimate, trying to make sure they’re truly ready for full days of Georgia sun before I let them take root in the ground.

And so yesterday when Monkey came home from school, head hanging, despondent over a bad day, I made him come out on the porch with me and sit and talk while I fiddled with the plants. (more…)

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Not negative

Our next group challenge at Five Full Plates is the I Dare You challenge—stuff that legends are made of. If, of course, the legends involve us all clinging to our old comfort zones, and kicking and screaming our ways towards personal growth and exploration and all of that sort of thing. But the five of us are committed to TAKING THE DARE for the next month or so, and the results are already verrrry interesting.

First Lydia started a rock band (no fooling). Then Joshilyn, who prefers to believe that everyone is smooth like a Ken doll under their clothes, shared the gory details of her recent surgery (and probably had her toes in a permanent curl the entire time) in order to ask folks to please donate blood. Poor Gray, who is still struggling with her health, allowed those who need it a bit of “the dog ate my homework” pass until next week. And Kira, who is most excellent at taking care of everyone else, has committed to doing something absolutely, 100% just for herself, even though it’s scary.

And me? Well, I’ve decided to say yes. I’ve decided to EMBRACE yes. Go on over and read about it if you want to find out how our family is going to be making big changes this year.

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Shhh, I’m working

I’m not here right now; I’m at Mom 2.0, about to go sit on a panel about Business Strategy. (I know, I know… I’m not sure how that happened, either.)

In the meantime, I’ve finally unveiled the key to my success over at Five Full Plates, and you might be surprised to find out what it is. I know I was. But hey, I’m not arguing. Yesterday I took off my jeans without unbuttoning them—hard to not love THAT.

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Love protects

Otto and I have now been married for coming up on three years; I’ve been divorced for almost seven. My point is that there has been plenty of time for my “new life” to become the new status quo, and no matter how I look at it, there is no angle from which anything about the existence I now enjoy should be surprising or new-feeling.


There were bad years before the divorce, bad time DURING the divorce, bad years after the divorce—basically plenty of time in which my life marched along to misery and broken dreams and just the tiniest sliver of hope for better days ahead. I always said that kind of hope was torture; there were times when I wished for acceptance, instead, rather than what seemed like such an unattainable state.

And it turns out that THEN still impacts NOW. (more…)

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Love’s reminders

‘Tis the season to be swept away on a wave of annoyances. I’m prone to agonizing over minutiae, anyway, and I don’t think anyone could or does fault me for the things that often aggravate me these days—the kids’ health, various family matters, work, school… you name it, there’s stress attached. And whether it’s a “good” reason to get upset or not, the fact remains that I fret. Endlessly.

I want to take care of everyone. That’s what I do. I want to soothe the savage hormone beast, make school a happy place again, and hear Otto talk about work without a multitude of heavy sighs. I want my parents to smile and my friends to relax. Is it really so much to ask that I be omniscient and omnipotent and that I be able to fix everything for everyone??

(Uh, don’t answer that.) (more…)

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Love is full of surprises

We got up at an unholy hour yesterday and hit the road early enough to miss the traffic, which meant we’d already been on the road for hours when we stopped for breakfast. Our last Cracker Barrel meal for the foreseeable future, and not a moment too soon. My arteries were starting to congeal. (That’s just my opinion, of course. The children’s opinion on Cracker Barrel is something like “HOORAY FOR SHOT-SIZED BOTTLES OF MAPLE SYRUP! CAN I CHUG IT?”)

Back here at the ranch, we began the post-vacation madness, the part where you wish you could take a vacation from your vacation. Actually, I was prepared for it to be much more drudgery than it turned out to be; in short order the camper had been emptied, four loads of laundry were complete, the garden was watered (two hours later, it rained, of course), the pool was clean, and the children were playing Mario Kart with glee, just as the good Lord intended.

I expected yesterday to be a grim march of chores, and instead it was downright pleasant, with everyone helping, and little bits of fun along the way. (more…)

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Love breaks through

This winter has been pretty bleak, so far.

It’s the usual stuff as well as some genuinely difficult circumstances—most staunchly filed under Matters Largely UnbloggableTM—and while the bottom line is that we are all fine, I respectfully submit that T.S. Eliot got it all wrong. April is not the cruelest month, January is. Hands down.

One of the things I’m discovering, finally, after coming-up-on-two-years worth of remarriage, is that blending a family is not a linear process. It’s more like the Electric Slide gone haywire, with steps forward and back and then—surprise!—sideways at an unpredictable pace. If you’re not in tip-top shape it will sap you of your energy and your belief in a happy ending, sometimes. And when things are difficult and everyone’s got a cough that just won’t go away, nobody feels much like dancing. (more…)

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