Monday, January 31, 2011

We Not The Same

"Tell her goodbye and Happy Birthday"

Deep brown eyes turn to me in obvious pain. I place a tender hand on her shoulder and try to touch her fragile heart.

"Go's OK. Just say goodbye"

I feel a shudder go through her, her eyes cast downward and my heart crashes to the floor. No words were spoken. No gesture of friendship. The friend who is just 11 months older already knows to expect this. At 6 years old she has the wisdom and gentleness to reach out to my daughter and hug her anyways; knowing there will be no hug back. Knowing though that she is loved fiercely by my little girl.

We walk to the car. Silent. She feels lost. She knows I understand. She feels insecure. She knows I understand. Halfway home and I hear the words I knew would come.

"Mom, I love her."

I stay quiet, letting her get it sorted out into words.

"We not the same."

No matter how many times I hear it, It suffocates me in its simple truth. For years we have fought the fear of social situations. We have battled having a friend who will accept. We have fought the fear of the simple of act of saying "Goodbye". We haven't lost. We will not lose. We will continue to fight and one day we will win.

She's different. I've had well meaning people make the comment that "a wire is somehow crossed" As if she has some kind of programming malfunction. "She'll grow out of being shy." Yet, she is not shy. She is exuberant and infectious. Yet there is that part of her that doesn't understand that "Goodbye" is not forever. She is obsessed almost every time her dad goes to work. She cries and rages against her feelings that he is forever lost to her. She sleeps every night with a framed picture of our family that was taken 2 years ago that includes grandparents and my sister's family. It's the only way for her to be content with the fact that they are out there and not lost.

"We not the same"

She knows there are differences. Those differences shatter her as much as me, probably more. Yet, it is those differences that cause her to stare at a rose colored sunset in complete awe until it disappears and weep that its over. Those differences gave her the gentlest touch that bonded her littlest sister to her more than anyone else. That difference gives her an intuition to emotions that has led her to hug me when I needed it and nobody else knew. The difference is what caused her to lay in the floor beside her injured puppy all night and stroke it while it still shook in terror after its attack for hours, gently wiping away blood and spoon feeding her water.

I wouldn't uncross that wire for anything.

"We not the same" but in some ways she will be better than any of us could ever hope to be.

Blissdom Teachers

Today's Blissdom friends are a few of my favorite teachers. Click on the picture to be taken to their blogs!

The first is Saving For Someday. I have adored her for a long time and when getting ready for the first day of Blissdom and rocking out to "Beautiful" by way of a hairspray microphone (Don't judge...I always play Amercian Idol in my bathroom) she was one of the people I was chanting..."I get to meet her today...I get to meet her today"
I knew I liked her a lot, but when we got to really chat, I decided that I loved her. She's one of those people who is gentle, authentic and makes no apologies for it. (Oh and she laughs at all my jokes which makes her the ideal friend in my book) She spoke at Blissdom about the legal aspects of the blog world and I twisted a ton of arms to make sure I got to be there for that. I just HAD to be in the audience and I had a great time hearing my friend. I do have to work on my basic alphabet dancing as every time I tried to do the "YMCA" I kept getting my "C" backwards and hitting my friends.
The best part of her...she saw ME (read this post) and encouraged, loved me and was just who she is.

Next up is Belle Bean Dog. Who will forever be known to me as "Stinky Bean Dip" This is not an inside joke you aren't intended to get to make you feel out of the loop, but rather a nice mistake by my husband. He knows about all of you. He knew who I was excited to meet and as is common practice, I tend to call my friends by the Twitter handles rather than their real names. It goes both ways..most people call me "Crayon" He has heard me for months talk about Belle Bean Dog. Just like I can't do the "YMCA", he can't keep Twitter handles straight. He tweeted me to ask me if I got to meet "Stinky Bean Dip" yet. It was too good of a name slaughter to keep to myself.
This girl is an amazing writer and an even more amazing woman in real life. Best part...she doesn't live far from me so I am starting to see our halfway point as a beam of hopeful light. She's the kind of person that everyone wants to sit next to. Thankfully I got the opportunity many times!
She didn't speak at Blissdom, but she is an amazing teacher. From the way she handles herself in communities, her writing and her authentic voice...there is much to learn from "Stinky Bean Dip"

The last "teacher" for today is Shell from Things I can't say. We started off the conference meeting each other thing with a BANG. She tweeted something about her outfit (which was always fab!) and since I saw her I said "Boo". If you followed the stream it looked like I was "Boo"ing her outfit choice. FACEPLANT. I quickly followed it up with an explanation but there is nothing like insulting someone right before you meet them. (Sigh...I do this a lot!)
Shell is one of those power women. When she walks in a room, you notice. When she writes, you notice. When she feel like you are chatting with an old friend. Don't let her good looks scare you. You may want to hide in a paper bag when you see her, but this lady is down-to-earth, welcoming and humble. I've been following her advocating (is that the right word?) for a while and she has taught me that when you are affected by something to let it move you and affect others. Use it. Own it.

Catch My Breath

When I hear about a car wreck that happened moments after I drove through an area; I catch my breath.

When I hear about someone close to me being ill; I catch my breath.

When I see a splendid sunrise veiling the sky; I catch my breath.

When I see our flag blowing against a sapphire sky; I catch my breath.

When I see someone help another in need; I catch my breath.

When I see a child fold their hands to pray; I catch my breath.

When I see a groom kiss his bride for the first time; I catch my breath.

When I see an elderly couple still holding hands; I catch my breath.

When I see the face of a newly born child against my skin; I catch my breath.

When I see the arms of my child raise for the first time to be picked up; I catch my breath.

When I see the peace on a sleeping child's face; I catch my breath.

Catch my breath. When I think of that I think of the physical movement of taking my air in and choosing when I let it go. It's a conscious effort to take the next breath. The choice to live in the next moment. All the hope, fears, joy and relief that can be found in that breath. For that one moment that I choose to hold my breath though, everything pauses and I take those few seconds to realize that I am in the moment. Moments that I catch my breath often take my breath away.

Will you catch your breath? Will you choose to exhale with intention and purpose for your next moment?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Got My "Bliss"ter - Recap

In the whirlwind of Blissdom and the enormity of Opryland hotel, I bet every single attendee went home with a blister on their feet. I also bet that you got a "Bliss"-ter as well. This is that little spot inside of you that got rubbed raw. That is why I went to Blissdom, to take that little part of me that I call a blogger and get it rubbed until it throbbed and swelled; causing me to take notice.

I've been a blogger for a long time. An antique in this virtual space. Antiques get dusty and sometimes lose their original purpose. An antique dough bowl starts being used as a conversation piece and forgets its purpose as a dough bowl. Although still nice, its not doing what it was created to do. Likewise this blog has forgotten its purpose. 

Now that I have my "Bliss"-ter I intend to put this antique back into is purpose. The 365 pictures were fun, but it had nothing much to do with "Coloring Outside The Lines" (I will continue to do them John, but they will be available on my Flickr stream, so they don't clutter the purpose here) I will go back to writing here with INTENTION and not let my unique voice be silenced. I will strive towards a consistency and integrity with all of you. I will go back to taking the voices of others who are "Coloring Outside The Lines" and sharing them with you here. I will go back to strengthening my community, which is a place where we laugh at the crayon on the walls together. 

I will write with intention and make no apologies.

I had a wonderful time while I was getting my "Bliss"-ter. I learned as much from my fellow bloggers as I did from speakers and panels. Each of us there had a unique lesson to teach and some taught me even though they assumed they were just attendees. I know this post is getting long (for me) but let me introduce you to some of my teachers. I'm going to introduce you to just a few a day for the next week.

Dutch Being Me and Erin - I met up with these two for several weeks before Blissdom and we shared our fears of the whole "conference" bit. If any of the two of them were nervous at all, it never showed. Both of them have a powerful voice and magnetic personalities. Wherever they went they were surrounded by others. Their graciousness and willingness to share their experiences make them powerhouses in this virtual space. It seemed every single moment I began to feel my introvert showing like a slip under a dress; they were there. Taking my hand and leading me back in, I felt safe and confidence was renewed!

This picture is of me and LawMomma.
I have followed her, stalked her, laughed and cried with her for a while now. I couldn't WAIT to get to meet her in person. When you meet these bloggers in person, you have shared so much it is certainly like just getting together with an old friend again. But some of these blogger, like blog worship. They speak to you in a way that inspires you, crushes you, makes you giggle and bonds you. I finally had a free moment that I got to look her square in the eyes and tell her how much I truly idolize her. When she looked back at me and opened her mouth....I LEARNED. She was stunned that I liked her that much. Shocked that I thought she was worthy. She seemed to act as though she felt that I was better than her. Talk about a teaching moment. When we use our voice on the internet, we don't know who we are reaching...who we are affecting...and who can't wait to really meet us. I am no better than she. My voice isn't more powerful. We are both bloggers. We are the same. There were several times that someone walked up to me and said they couldn't wait to meet me and like LawMomma; I was shocked. Shocked to learn that my voice was powerful. Shocked that I was worthy. We both learned something. To someone out there we are something worthy.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Project 365 Day 19

This post is a little early due to the fact that I am going to be busy all day tomorrow. Before bedtime I started getting the camera out to do my 365 picture and Belly (pictured above) immediately went into meltdown mode.


So today's 365 picture (and the following pictures) show me as mommy. I don't think I could take a better picture than the following and the one above. It's not a self portrait, it's a love portrait.

Project 365 Day 18

Last night at 2am, or maybe it was 3am or 1am? I sat in the floor of the baby's room rocking her and singing lullabies through gritted teeth. My curly headed angel with the happiest smile was screaming as though her crib was a torture chamber. This has gone on every night for the past 3 weeks. I wonder if Old Poe ever spent time with a newborn because he sure nailed the feeling.

I checked her diaper, looked for new teeth, ran my hand over her sheets making sure there wasn't a lump, checked the room temperature, check for fever, gave a lotion rub, etc. I never can find what is causing this screaming, but still I check. I feel worn out, but checking? It makes me feel like I'm doing everything I can to ease her discomfort. I am weak and I am weary.

By the time the other girls get up for the day, I already feel stretched. A simple request for breakfast feels monumental. Being asked to sit and do crafts feels like an intrusion. 
As I am sure, dear reader, that you must know by now...this week I go to Blissdom. I will not be here for the breakfast requests, craft times or bed times. There have only been two times since I gave birth to my first daughter that I have been gone and away from home responsibilities. Those two times were when I gave birth to the other girls. I know I will miss my girls and wonder if they are missing me, but I need this break. I need to refresh the woman who is behind the weary mother. I need to feel challenged and inspired by other women.

But if by chance you see me at Blissdom and I am curled on a park bench under the tropical foliage... bring me a pillow and don't wake me up.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Project 365 Day 17

No time to really post today, but couldn't miss the 365 picture. I had a busy day in the studio today. This means a night full of editing. I took a break between sets to jump in front of the camera. This is the "Worker" me. Casual and needing to be 4 places at once.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Project 365 Day 16

“There is in every true woman's heart, a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” ~Washington Irving

I have always loved this quote because it describes me. Most of the time I appear happy-go-lucky, I lean on my husband and I seem to just float from one day to the next. I never thought about having strength or what it meant to be strong and "blaze in the dark hour of adversity"

Consider a cotton ball. It is soft, pliable and appears weak. Yet if you take a coin and put in on top of the cotton ball, it will hold it there as long as you ask it to. There have been many times that I have been that cotton ball. It wasn't until a coin was placed on top of me that I found I had the strength to hold it for as long as needed. 

There was a time just a few days after birth when I should have been home rocking Belly and rejoicing in her newness, that I found myself hovered over a hospital crib watching my daughter as she was put through test after test for a hole in her heart we never knew was there. I was exhausted from giving birth, my body ached but I couldn't leave her side. No matter how weak I thought I was, I found the strength to stand for my daughter. I found the strength to speak positively to my husband who couldn't be there and give him encouragement and peace. I wanted to crumble, but I found the strength. 

There have been times that I held the hands of family members and provided a shoulder during the death or illness of a loved one. I wanted to crumble, pound the ground and scream at the heavens about how unfair it was; but I stayed strong. It's not because I really wanted to, but I had a coin placed upon me.

There have been times as an adult where I have been asked to be strong. I don't want to be strong, but I will hold that coin as long as it is asked of me. It's amazing the amount of strength we find that we have when we are asked.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Project 365 Day 15

I've been asked a lot recently what is the deal with the crayons. Am I really THAT crazy about crayons? Well...yes. Crayons play a big part on my blog, because of my kids. Yes, we like to color. It's more than that though.

I see my kids as crayons. Each one has its unique strengths. Together as they blend they can create beautiful pictures of life, but separately each one shines. As they find their "color" in life they learn how to create their future by using their "color".

Whether it the brightness of a yellow. Warm and inviting.

The calmness of a blue. Relaxed and fluid.

The strength of a red. Powerful and arresting.

Their "color" makes them unique and defines them. We use our knowledge of these colors to help guide them as they are learning who they are and why they should be celebrated.

...and that is one of the reasons that we "color outside of the lines" and I call myself "The Crayon Wrangler"

Inspired Captures

I love Lynda's photography. Always have. Always will. But yesterday I ran across these shots and was inspired. This is what I came up with.You can click on the pictures to make them larger.

OK so that last one isn't technically a running water shot, but I couldn't help myself.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Moms Hear Everything

Moms. We are unique group. We hear things most people don't. A child sigh in the night. A cough all the way across the house. If you have had the experience of being cooped up in the house for a long period of time with only small children to talk to, you begin to hear other things. I have heard these "other" things and while I probably shouldn't admit it to you, these conversations have actually enlightened me and entertained me.

Overheard while trying to sweep behind the couch.

"Stop trying to push me towards her. What are you doing? You are going to get me killed! After all I have done for you. Time after time I have anticipated her movements and kept you out of harms way."

"What do you mean you have kept me out of harm's way. The last time she had the vacuum cleaner out you all but tripped me in a desperate attempt to escape it. I almost got sucked up that time."

"I never did any such thing. It was my idea to push the little pieces of plastic out from behind the couch so that the baby would grab them and shove them in its mouth. I knew it would make that woman stop sweeping to rescue the child so that we could escape."

"Oh you are right! Us Goldfish crackers don't have the gift of strategy like you Dustbunny Clans do."

Then there was the conversation I heard when I opened the fridge to clean it out.

"Come on guys, where is your sense of self preservation. Hug that wall"

"I can't scoot back any farther, she's gonna see me. I'm headed for the trash and after all this work to grow this fuzz long! Such a waste"

"Don't give up yet! Just push that bowl of chocolate pudding towards the front again. She never makes it past that! Push men...Push as though your green fuzzed black-eyed peas bodies depended on it"

"Holy cow, I don't believe she fell for it again. Well, we are safe for another few days. At ease, men."

Moms. We hear all kinds of things. I think the most frequent one is this conversation. It gets played every day.

"Mom! She's touching me"

"I didn't touch her. She was on my side"

"Mom! She's doing it again"

"Quit snitching. Snitches get stitches"

"Mom! She just said I was going to get stitches. What's a stitch?"

"It's that funny blue thing that is with Lilo in that movie, Stupid"

"Mooooommm....she called me stu...hey, you wanna watch that movie?"


"Mom, can we watch Lilo and Stitch?"

*This prompt is from The Red Dress Club. The prompt is all about dialogue. Click on the link to see what others are "talking about"

Project 365 Day 14

Boom Boom Ain't it great to be crazy...

So the Scribblers and I have been cooped up in the house for almost a solid 3 weeks. First it was because of the snow, then sickness, then I was being a selfish jerk and didn't want to do anything, more snow, more sickness and now more snow on the way.

I have done everything humanly possible to entertain and to keep us from going stir crazy. We have filled up about 14 coloring books, had dance parties, dress up, tea parties, played dollies, hide-n-go seek, dialed 411 on my cell and asked the operator for "Sanity" and many other various games/activities. My husband drew the line when I tried to get them to play Houdini and bind them in the closet. He's such a spoil sport.

I think this is one of the times when being a mom is the hardest. The moment when you realize that your bag of tricks is empty, there is no rabbit in your hat and nothing is up your sleeves. The childrens' eyes start to lose the sparkle when they realize it's just another day just like yesterday. Let's face it, my eyes are sparkling either. We are going crazy and sometimes that is just not fun.

I strive so hard to challenge my kids to be creative, to make the most out of nothing and to find things to laugh about. So after breakfast this morning when I realized that I was indeed staring at an empty hat with no rabbit inside. It was time to embrace the Bozo and have a clown party. We will learn how to slip on banana peels (because someone hasn't cleaned up after breakfast) squirt water at each other (because that's the most effective way to clean smeared banana off a child) juggle (because that's the only way to serve lunch to three kids who all want something different) and perfect the "Sad Face" (because we are so sick and tired of being impounded within this house)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Project 365 Day 13

This was going to be an awesome picture until the Youngest Scribbler farted right on my foot. I lost the serious look and laughed. Strange's still an awesome picture because it is more me.
All the years I wasted trying to be that serious girl. The one with the right words. Totally wasted those years trying to squash who I was inside. I was so worried that my jokes wouldn't come out right. So worried that the dry wit would be seen as sarcasm. (For the record, sarcasm rocks in my book!)

I actually spent about 5 years in self-imposed laughter prison. Trying to learn to be more serious and thinking that was what it was going to take for me to ever be a success in life. I read books by deep thinkers who reeked of solemness. I was squashed.

Then came my Scribblers and I couldn't hold the laughter back anymore. It could have been to keep me from crying on days that someone cut all their hair off, stopped up the toilet with 8 bananas (who knew that wouldn't flush?) or swallowed a $50 bill (never got my change back on that one!) However it happened, the laughter came bubbling back and overflowed into just about every minute of every day.

If we have met online or in real life, I guarantee we have laughed together. I probably have poked fun at you in some way, but that's just because I want you to laugh at yourself and your life. I can be serious when the moment warrants it, but it never lasts for long. It's not a defense mechanism from being nervous, its just me. It's not that I don't see the seriousness of certain life changing situations, it just me. It's me living life unsquashed.

I did take another picture as well. One where I looked directly at the camera. I simply hate taking these pictures. I feel like the camera is dissecting my very soul. I feel like it reveals too much. I feel this way because when I am playing the part of the photographer, that's what I am doing. I am looking for that one moment that shows the real person inside my subject. That shy moment, that moment of explosive laughter or that mischievous smile. I frankly, don't like doing this with myself. Here is the picture though. It doesn't look like the me picture above. This "me" is squashed and she needs to laugh.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Project 365 Day 12

Mom Down. Mom Down.

Well knew there would be bad days, but I won't fail "The Project"! Pbbbt!

No matter what super powers Moms may have, there are just so many times you can be puked on. Apparently 6 times within 24 hours is the magic number.

My stomach started rolling a bit last night like a theme park ride. You know at the end of the ride there is that clown? The evil little one that laughs in your face? I saw that. Well, actually it was one of the girls who had made it to my bedside just so she could shake me away and then puke all over my shoulder, arm and sheets. (Maria...if you are laughing...and I know you are...karma, lady. Karma)

So I am staying in bed today. With the exception of taking care of the kids, cleaning up, encouraging crackers and hydration....what I mean to say is that I will be a mom and wish I was staying in bed,

Monday, January 17, 2011

Project 365 Day 11

I have a dream...

We are all consumed by dreams, they creep in every day.
Things we wish we would have done or wish that we could say.

Time that has flown right past when we were too busy see,
The chances and opportunities and what could actually be.

The dream is the music of the soul; the essence of our heart.
Yet what if we let our dreams define us? Where would we start?

Would we begin our day different with our dreams leading our way?
Should we do the things we dream of and say what we want to say?

Your reality will never become your dream if you don't step aside.
Let your dreams define you and let your dreams decide.

*I am participating in Project 365 - Self Portraits. All pictures in this collection are taken by either timer or remote. The pictures taken are used to recreate an emotion for that day. Contrary to comments that have been received this is not a "narcissistic display" but rather a project to improve my photography skills, creativity and self image. All comments are appreciated and photography advice is welcome!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Project 365 Day 10

The sun has been out for two days and I could have laid there forever. 

Well, I laid there just long enough for the mud to completely soak through my shirt and pants. That has got to be the nastiest feeling ever. We have to accept though with the sun and thawing snow, there has got to be mud puddles left behind.

I'm sure there is some really awesome life analogy in there somewhere, but I am too tired to think of one right now. I'd love for you to leave me your opinion on an analogy though in the comments.

*I am participating in Project 365 - Self Portraits. All pictures in this collection are taken by either timer or remote. The pictures taken are used to recreate an emotion for that day. Contrary to comments that have been received this is not a "narcissistic display" but rather a project to improve my photography skills, creativity and self image. All comments are appreciated and photography advice is welcome!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project 365 Day 9

Before someone else asks...Yes I dyed my hair. Well, didn't really dye it but went back to the original color (or as close as I can remember) I had been dying it almost black for a long time because....well, I don't have a good reason. I think I thought the red was too fad-ish even if mine was naturally auburn. 'Course the goth look wasn't too great on me either. So I stripped it down. I did however allow my skunk stripe to stay. I was going to try to match it to the auburn, but really??? I'm not going to try to keep up with it anymore.

So anyways, Project 365. I took this post inside the door way to my studio. The truth behind the picture is that I am feel like I am hovering in the "doorway" of my business. I've been taking these bright photographs for so long because it was what was safe for me. Recently I've noticed a shift towards low-key and cross processing. I adore the low-key because it is dramatic, but my eye sees the cross processed as washed out. The photograph above has some mild cross processing and I don't like the effect too much, but I like the portrait as a whole. It works with the pose. I'm trying to step out of my "doorway" and learn new techniques, but its hard to leave what I knew. What felt safe.

It's like this in all aspects of my life. I tend to cling to what is safe. I'm not a "bungee jumper" in life and I don't like risks. I take a lot of risks, but never putting something on the table that I can't stand to lose. Guess that doesn't make it much of a risk, does it? My oldest daughter is so much like me. I watch her caution towards new things and it kills me because I know she would love the new experience. Yet, I understand. The timidness towards the new, it's in me too.

So I stand in the doorway trying to take a step into a new light. Because I am "me" I will probably be looking over my shoulder from time to time at what was safe.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hello Blissdom...This is me.

After if was decided that I will be going to Blissdom, I started to faithfully watch the Twitter stream to see what all was being said about it. After clicking through links on what to wear, pictures that will be taken and seeing person after person fret about their first impression; I began to start feeling nervous myself. So I wanted to knock all those formalities out of the way and give you an honest first impression. That way you will know me when we meet for real.

This is me. I have wrinkles. I have gray hair. I am on a diet because I need it. I'm not comfortable in my clothes and I'm not buying anything new to wear because it would be purchased on emotion and that's never good for me. The last conference I went to I purchased a dress that was classy. I didn't feel too classy because I had to suck in the entire time and felt very light headed by the time it was all over.  I laugh a lot and I have a natural knack of one-liners. I'm also very sensitive. I really want to meet you, but it's probably going to feel awkward at first. This is OK because you and me...well, we are strangers and it takes time to feel like yourself. You people are about the only ones who listen to me. Heaven knows my kids don't. The main thing about meeting you...I don't want to impress you, I want to make an impression on you. If you don't regularly read here, I'm just a mom. That's it. I don't want to compare labor stories or poop stories. I'm not going to tell you about how perfect my marriage or my mothering is, because apparently I have a lot to learn. I do want to hear about you and your passions. Once the conference is over (unless there is a picture of you and I) I will not remember what you were wearing, if it was the latest fashion or if you were sucking in. I will remember YOU and the stories that we shared together.

So hello Blissdom...this is me.

Project 365 Day 8

I need to get away sometimes. I need the closeness of family and friends to ground me.

I need to back out on obligations. I need the feeling of success in a project.

I need to disappoint people. I crumble at the thought of disappointing someone.

I need to be a nobody. I need to be somebody.

No expectations.

There are times I run away inside myself and hope that nobody finds me. There are times I need someone to search me out and show me that I matter.

Sometimes I need to cry when I am expected to laugh. Sometimes I laugh when I want to cry.

Sometimes I want to push away when I am in an embrace. Sometimes I don't ever want to be let go of.

Sometimes I want to cover my ears when I am expected to listen. Sometimes I really need to hear what is said.

That's who I am.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project 365 Day 7

There are a ton of captions for this picture, but who am I fooling...I just wanted to copy this.

Seriously though, there is nothing like being snowed in for days, having limited internet and feeling cut off to give you a sense of what Will Smith's character was feeling like in "I Am Legend". OK So we don't have zombies running around (that I know of) and it's more than just me in the get the point. Maybe not?

Disclaimer: Before somebody comes on here to point out the weapon and barrage me with comments...Yes, it's real. It's unloaded. I don't normally cradle any kind of weapon while I am sleeping. The only thing unsafe about this picture is the dog toenail that you can't see that is digging in my chest during this you are going to think that I was being cruel to the dog too...

Disclaimer #2: No animals were hurt or forced against their will for the creation of this photo. Sam (pictured above) is a highly photogenic animal who regularly takes baths in the big bathtub. He like to soak in the bubbles, drink a glass of wine and nibble of a piece of cheese. He also enjoys walks on the beach. Alright, so that was a lie. He doesn't know what a beach is. I'm sure he would enjoy it though. His toenail was only digging into me because of the limited space we had and the glaze on the tub was slick. Geez...someone is going to think that the bathtub was harmed in the making of this picture...

Disclaimer #3: No bathtubs were scratched in the making of this picture. If you actually read this disclaimer because it applied to your way of are seriously messed up and need a new cause to rant against.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Project 365 Day 6

It is a blustery day. Nothing like a steaming cup of coffee and good book to start the day off right.

What do you do to start your day off?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Project 365 Day 5

If you follow my tweets you know that I have internet troubles. After finally getting a hold of someone who spoke layman terms I learned that someone close in location to me grabbed my wireless signal and for the past several weeks has used my connection to hack into other computers. So they have been monitoring my IP and been following my internet usage to see if I was the hacker.


The chic who cant set the clock on the microwave. A hacker? The only thing i have hacked in my life was a ham. I didn't even do that well.

They would block my IP when other computers got hacked. Important computers. The kind of activity that gets black helicopters following you and a flower delivery van parked across the street. Whoever this basement dwelling, cheetos eating geek was also gave my computer a fun virus in the operating system. Thanks a lot jerk.

So everytime for the past week that I have been connected to the internet, "They" have been watching. Every time I logged into "People of Walmart", "Cake Wrecks" and those episodes of Myth Busters on YouTube where it shows if you can actually be sucked out of a airplane due to a bomb (I swear to the guy in the florist van, it was just curiousity and not research)...THEY were watching me.

My tinfoil hat is on. Thanks a lot, you Star Trekkie with your posable Star Wars figurines watching over your copy of "Catcher In The Rye". Now I know longer feel safe looking at the live feed from

Tinfoil secure. Laugh it up Cheeto boy.
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Monday, January 10, 2011

Project 365 Day 4

Psst....I get to use my actual computer now!! Whoohoo!

Day 4 - I am so tired of all the white outside! There is a massive stir crazy event going on in my house. It's not that we have had foot upon foot of the snow. Just a consistent white layer to everything. It's not even the right kind of snow to build a snowman, snow fort and with the teen range temperatures I'll be darned if you see me out there long enough to produce a Crayon Wrangler snow angel. I am not rolling around in that stuff. Period. They are calling for more snow throughout this week and I am trying to envision warmer climates, happy days and a little bit of color outside.

Are you currently snowed in? What are you doing to stay sane from being cooped up?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Project 365 Day 3

Another day blogging on this itty bitty phone with its itty bitty keyboard. Hopefully its the last day of this and our home internet will be working tomorrow. Murphy and his stupid law always seems to find me though.

Which ties in seamlessly with the Project 365 Day 3 picture. While my husband was in town trying to get the workhorse van started since the battery/starter/something mehanical is broke, i decided to run to the store before our "winter event" starts. Luckily he had jumper cables in his hand when I found out our jeep battery was dead too. The bummer was he was 30 miles away with those jumper cables.

See...told you Murphy has it out for me. Perhaps i tripped him once in playschool or spit a spitwad at his head. Nevertheless he searches me out.

So Day 3 finds me with a bummer of a day.
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Project 365 Day 2

This post is brought to you from my itty bitty keyboard from my itty bitty phone. Thanks alot internet service for messing up some DNS and IP thing. On top of that i sincerely appreciate you being closed over the weekend and almost causing me to screw up this whole Project 365.

So...Day 2

Psst...i have no idea how this post is gonna look so 1000 pardons for that and my no spell check phone. I did however learn how to take a pic with my darling Niki (Nikon) upload to computer and then transfer the file to my phone by the USB cable. Yes. I rock and you can be jealous.

I got sick kids today. Buckets of dripping snot. Weapons of mass disgustion. I've been up all night being the Cough Monitor. That is a whole lot less fun than being The Crayon Wrangler. I'm slappin foreheads, guessing temps, cropdusting with Lysol and there are bags under my eyes I could fill with enough stuff to fly somewhere warm and germ free for 3 weeks. In fact, if one more child does their impersonation of Slimer off the Ghostbusters while hugging me; i may just hop that jet plane with my beautiful black bags that coordinate nicely with my ladden saddle bags.

So there is Project Me 365 and its not a great portrait but its real.
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Friday, January 7, 2011

Project 365 - Day 1

I have been wanting to do something different on my blog for a while. Wanting to still be me, but different. One of my dear photography friends, Kimberly, shared a cool project and I decided to take part in it. It's 365 days of self portraits, but I am taking the angle of showing you the "real" me for 365 days. The good, the bad and the ugly. Using props, angles or whatever it takes to show you how I feel for that day. I will then tell you the truth of what is behind the image.

This 1st day is somewhat staged but I wanted to do it for Day 1 to introduce you to me. This IS me. It's showing you that I'm a mom and I am a mess. I am scatterbrained and I don't always make the right choice.

If you were to walk into my house this is exactly what you would find. I always have one out of three children orbiting me, there are toys everywhere, I probably can't find my shoes, hair up but dangling because I have attempted to pull it out on several occasions, coffee cup present but more than likely cold and my journal for ideas. My phone would be in the picture, but I am sure I couldn't find it either.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A Cursed Season

I am cursed.

There is a voodoo doll out there with 50,000 pins sticking out of it and it looks surprisingly like me.

If I actually believed in voodoo that would be a believable explanation to this recent phenomenon. These past few weeks everything I have touched has "poo-poo"ed under my hand. If I had a pet rock it would have died. Yes, it is that bad.

I have burnt clothes with a iron, burnt dinner, forgot how to make bread and had to watch my own vlog on it. (Psst....I still couldn't make the stinkin' loaf after watching myself make one. How's that for "poo-poo"ed) I have broken dishes, gained 10 lbs, cut the kid's hair too short, lost a deposit, broken a lens....the list keeps going. I refuse to write anymore because it is going to make me crawl in the closet to hide. Although if I did crawl in a closet I would probably break the door handle off, trip, smash a toe and pull the whole clothes rod off on my head. Yes, it is that bad.

My husband has asked me not to cook, not to do laundry and just sit still in a corner. I thought to myself he was being ungrateful and in my head threatened him with arsenic in his next burnt dinner. I accidentally said that part out loud. I can't even talk to myself correctly.

I am having a season of being cursed.

Have you ever had an extended vacation in "Poo-Poo"ed Land?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Mama's Losin' It

If you want to make your dreams come true, the first thing you have to do is wake up.”  ~J.M. Power

This is from a prompt over at Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.

Underneath all the layers of mom, wife, daughter, sister and friend is a dreamer. You may see a woman with bags under her eyes, spit up on her shirt and a "to-do" list a mile long, but if you could peel that back you would see the real me. 

The "Me" laying under a large willow tree, breeze lightly blowing my hair as I watch the clouds dance by. The "Me" that is receiving a phone call from a publisher saying, "We must print this right away. How much do you want for it? Name the price." The "Me" that is running the most successful photography studio in all of Tennessee. The "Me" that is happy when she looks in the mirror. The "Me" that always feels confident, loved and never judged.

The quote above at first glance appears to mean that we are sleeping when we are dreaming and in order for anything to actually happen all we have to do is wake up. For me, I am awake when I dream, so it's not really waking up as much as being violently jerked back into reality. A reality where dinner is burned, kids are defiant, husband is grumpy, house isn't cleaned and I am standing in the middle of it without a clue what to do first. When I am dreaming, I don't want to wake up to this.

I believe the phrase "wake up" means to move into action. To consciously make a first step. Once you take away the fact that you could fly and that you ran alongside a unicorn, a dream is nothing but a goal. Goals are attainable if you take that first step and wake up. 

This year I am going to try to spend more time awake and taking the first step. It may feel like I am crawling on the desert sands grasping, clawing and struggling with each inch gained. I will be awake for my children; trying to find the schedules, lessons and fun to fill their days. I will be awake for my husband; trying to be a wife that he can't wait to come home to. I will be awake for my business; taking joy in what I have achieved and always striving to do better. There are days I am going to look in the mirror at the woman in the stained shirt, gray hair and extra pounds; not seeing the rock star that is underneath. I will keep looking because I know she is under there. 

I see her in my dreams under the willow tree and this time she is awake.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year, A New Me?

I barely cracked my eyes opened this morning and knew something was different. I studied the ceiling fan twirling from behind the veil of my eyelashes and tried to pinpoint what the shift was. Ahhh...that's right; this is the new year so it's time to do things different; better.

If I bounce out of bed in a flurry of activity than perhaps it will signal that I am more eager to begin my day, but if I DO bounce out of bed then does that mean I have to be eager from this day forward in order to be a successful new me? What if I feel like lounging? Have I set myself up to fail?

Yet, if I just lounge in here in bed, does that mean that I am going to take a more laid back approach in the New Year? Again though, if I just lounge here in bed is that going to appear that I might be taking the more lazy route?

I really wanted pancakes and sausage this morning and knew the kids would love waking up to it. If I do make pancakes and sausage will they expect the new me to do this every morning? Would I be setting a breakfast short order cook precedent?

Although, if I forgo the cooking and serve them just cereal and yogurt am I saying that they aren't worthy of me getting up early to cook?

What if I wake them up and let them choose what they want for breakfast? Surely that would make them feel special and like their voice matters in the little choices of the day. If I give them that little voice though will that mean that everyday we will be battling over who wants what for breakfast, what they want to wear and what we do for an activity today? Will I be setting them up to be little dictators?

First thing I realized was that I put far more thought into this whole "new me" than I should have. Second thing I realized was that for every success that I can imagine; I also turn right around and see the negative in it. This in itself was a glorious self-examination and I would have pursued it as far as it could go towards enlightenment, but.....I fell back asleep.

When I woke up I shuffled into the kitchen, poured 4 bowls of cereal, a strong cup of coffee and kissed sleepy little faces. I liked who I was in 2010. There are areas I can improve on and I will. Just like I was a better me in 2010 than I was in 2009. Every year I practice being me a little more than the year before. Whether I leap from bed or cover my head, I intend to end this year with a laugh rather than a sigh. I will be the best me ever.


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