Take it as it comes … then go get it.

It’s been a busy season of life and somewhat circular. I don’t enjoy the busy badge, it’s not something I wear or display with vigor. I love intentional interaction, personal conversations … I’m trying to find more of them, more often.

one of the lucky ones to make it in

We had the pleasure of going to the very first Failure-Lab show this week.

Ummm. I’m a huge fan. The entire night felt like one epic poem all to the common theme of what failure brought the seven storytellers.

There was even Kazoo action, a harp, and dancing. At each seat there was a program – the format of the night was; Performance, Storyteller (7 minutes), one minute of silence to reflect/write a note or tweet, and repeat.

The idea of the Storytellers, from what I gathered, was for them to tell us of a failure but not the lesson they derived from it. That was up to us, and that’s what the one minute of silence was for. I’m an over thinker, so I’ll just go there – but it was like an intentional space to actually connect to these people beyond the words they were giving us. We were invited into their lives, often some of the most vulnerable moments of failure – and then we were asked to feel something, or better, learn something.

So, yeah. This is my thing. I loved everything about Failure Labs (and how much of a non-failure it was). I’m really excited to hear what they do and where they go from here.

Funny thing is, we were asked to hand in our programs (with notes) at the end of the show. I gave mine up after I took quick photos of my notes, I wanted to remember it too.

Here’s my take away:

What I learned at Failure-Lab

Asking for help can change everything … maybe for the first time ever.

Reality of a dream is sometimes the muddy ground you thought you were finally getting away from.

Take it as it comes, then go get it.

You can’t do it all. Unless you’re good at it.

Art, some times, needs more structure to reach the mass of abstract.

What are you guys learning lately?

Caught up

It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing (which usually means, for me, that I’m not happy with what I’M doing …). But I know I’m not alone in this. There’s a reason self-help books, organizational and inspirational speakers, and classes/conferences do so well.

There seems to be a cusp I walk right up to, look over the edge, see the success (or whatever it is my vision of success might be) but the fall, maybe the climb, to the destination is too unknown. Or it’s entirely too much to chew all at once. So I sulk backwards. To safety. I gather my goals and we cheer each other on (hooray!) and then, together, we hold hands as we seek comfort underneath our blanket of voices telling us we’ll never get that far.

Saturday's at Good Earth

Sometimes it feels like this inside my heart; a mess of colorful ideas strewn about my wakeful moments … none of them in order, most of them out of focus.

Last week I had the privilege of hosting a meeting in my home with a few other bloggers. (86 Lemons, Girl Meets Paper, Stacey Says) We shared links, got excited, encouraged one another to go further … to lean in.

Then, as I was going through the backlog of posts in my Reader, I came across a few different ECourses, some great posts on pushing yourself, and I wanted to share them just in case you’re there too.

Snow days at Good Earth

Some of these links are geared towards the blogger-minded. Take what you can from them, pass it on.

I haven’t read this yet, but I want to: 31 days to a better blog

The “Treasure Hunt” e-course caught my eye, got me thinking about color and how much I crave it when I’m hiding: SuperHero Life Courses

Young House Love does an amazing job of being a two-person team. Not all blogs that are successful take time/energy from resources so often outside of our reach. Their honest approach to being “just two people” really inspired me to think big(ger): Young House Love breaks it down

This site was passed around as a great resource, one I’m excited to start to use: Blogging with Amy

Another link passed around: How to pitch blog campaigns

These classes are $10 and not limited to members, this was another link passed around I hadn’t seen before – but the topics (and price point) are worth a second look for me: The Influence Network

Lastly, this blog (mega information/inspiration) and the courses offered are highly recommended: Braid Creative. I actually took their first course (I think) but didn’t get what I should have out of it. I was in transition and thinking through my creative process or dreaming big was such a chore for me at that time. But as I gear up, I’m excited to check back in and see what I can gain from their community.

What pushes you when you feel like the only person at the dance without a date? How do you keep yourself from becoming the wallflower in the abyss?

Do you ever?

Do you ever have all the momentum you need, but none of the resources? Do you ever have a plan, but no action? Are you ever buried under the dream of what’s to come but can’t find a way to make reality pay attention?

No?

Then it’s just me.

It’s not a fear of starting – I love to start. It’s a fear of not knowing how to finish.

And after the finish line? Well … then what?

There’s always a bigger plan with less action. Always a bigger dream with much larger realities to topple.

Always more over there, less right here.

Or is there?

Patience is a virtue, one I learn over and over and over and over again. I need it, I’m thankful for it. But at what point am I the only obstacle I can’t get over?

And when that’s finally decided – and there’s no one thing left to overcome, I get to stare at my ambition in the face and it always asks me:

Now what?

Interrogation of motherhood, and the essay that follows.

Before I was a mom, I knew exactly what it meant to be one.

Before I quit working, I knew exactly what it meant to manage my time: I knew what was valuable. What was worthy of the hours I spent at home.

Before …

Wait. I was 21 when Jessica was born. I knew nothing. The ideas I had were fastened to my psyche because that’s how I saw the world. Through a narrow, very misleading little lens about what happiness meant, what it cost. And what the word “worth” or “worthy” actually meant.

It’s been a radical 8 years, let me tell you.

The guilt I felt for not loving every single second of being a stay at home mom? Drove me to do MORE! Cover up that feeling, this isn’t what it’s supposed to feel like. You can’t get a job, change your mind, ask for help!!! That’s the WRONG idea. And yet, I truly do enjoy being home. I also, literally, need breaks. Often. Scheduled. Away from children.

I couldn’t relax enough to read a book while my kids played until recently. If I didn’t know EVERYTHING about what they were doing at any given moment, offering instruction or guidance, I felt like a failure.

I used to interrogate my friends who seemed so much more at ease with their Motherhood, how did they let it go? How did they open their back door, let their kids out and then not stand by the window watching every move? Instead, they got stuff done. Like the dishes, or laundry. Or maybe even a phone call to a friend. They were organized and had systems and, although still human, seemed to be running the show with confidence.

I knew I could do it, there were windows of time when I felt comfortable in the shoes I was wearing. Running a household, raising a family and even taking care of the relationships that meant most to me (including the one with myself).

But scarcity was always around the corner. The feeling of leaning into the role I had taken on and succeeding seemed to be a short lived victory. I would always end up back in the place of fear of failure.

I was failing my family somehow, I couldn’t figure it out. I didn’t know how or why. I was failing my kids, I just knew it. I was a terrible mother. I was failing my marriage, this I seemed to understand, and yet – I was bonded to the idea that this kind of life, this fate – was my destiny.

I know exactly when all of this changed. It continues to take shape in my daily life. I continue to sit with, and some times struggle with where I am. But the smallest of steps forward sends me into a fever of thankfulness.

Let my kids out of my sight? Let them bicker a little longer? Ask them to solve this one on their own (because I know they can, they have everything they need to discover their own tiny victories in relationships) … and I find myself glued to the aftermath that we didn’t fall apart.

That letting go of the reigns, giving some slack to my expectations, allowing even myself the time it takes to learn something new, is actually doing the opposite of my worst fears.

It’s bringing us together. Like a puzzle piece of our lives, woven every so slightly together – we all fit, with our talents, struggles and imperfections, into this masterpiece of Family.

Who me? Yes, you.

Bee-boop. Bee-bee-bop.

Sunday morning space videos.

And as it turns out, it always has.

When the dust settles

Back in November of 2012 (like the olden days.) we started doing some work on this house. (Here’s the tour of the house when we bought it in April 2012.)

During the craziness that is remodeling, another Kia car rolled up and joined the party in our driveway.

Our driveway is a parking lot lately - but oooooh! Look what showed up today? The 2013 #Kia. I will drive you.

The inside of our house mirrored the chaos on the outside and I kind of just hid in the corner while a crew was working, Oliver was puking and I was trying not to faint (low blood sugar …)

It would be better if we could all just pretend this mess is from the basement project. Aaaaaand not my own. Because, shhhh.

No makeup, overloaded on laundry, officially a week of construction, Oliver has the flu, no one slept at all last night, low blood sugar morning! Tuesday.

It was a special time. The laundry monster was screaming, too.

It was a hectic week – the one before Thanksgiving – and when I wasn’t making decisions about where my laundry room was going to be or what kind of trim I wanted; I was tending to a sick kid, often two of them, on little to no sleep and trying to keep my body working.

I didn’t really get to enjoy the car. It was pretty, that’s for sure. And fast. Aaron took it to work a few days and completely fell in love. He figured out how to get the bluetooth working and would call me just to see if I could hear him. Can you hear me now? (moves around in the car … repeats.) He’s adorable.

Thankfully, we made it through the basement remodel. The day after we finished painting – I hosted the Holiday Open House.

Home stretch. Cleaning the hardwood, painting the trim ... All for tomorrow's girl.

And the dust settled, I got sick – I think, I’m pretty sure. There was sickness all over the place for a while and maybe it was just exhaustion – but we moved furniture around and celebrated Christmas and made trips and trips and trips to the Goodwill drop-off zone. Video games were played, carpets were vacuumed, cookies made. We even went to Great Wolf Lodge somewhere in there. Days blur together, experiences stand out. And this house is becoming our home.

I ended 2012 in the bath at home, the kids were tucked in and Aaron was able to go to a Party with friends – but I needed to be alone. The end of a very difficult year for me (us), it just needed to hold my hand on the way out. I couldn’t dance and drink and forget how far I came for the night. I needed to stare it in the face, I needed to write my way past 2012. I needed to move on.

Changes are happening all over, still. We finished the basement (mostly) but just started the basement bathroom – when this project wraps the basement will be complete. But the frames we hang will change, the cars we drive will break and go fast or sit in our driveway, the dust will swirl endlessly. Until it stops.

And then we’ll sweep the floors and clear the cobwebs, fluff the towels and replace the soaps.

And it will all change again, anyway.

Progress!

You can keep up with the changes via Instagram and Flickr.

(Huge thanks to Kia for lending me another amazing car for a week to try. Or for Aaron to try and me to drool over. That one trip to the store though, that was epic.)