The Backburner Diaries



See what I did there?  I drew, photographed,edited, and uploaded my first blog graphic!

So I panicked.  I hit the publish button on my first blog post nearly two years ago, kind friends and friends of friends encouraged me, and someone {bless you} bravely decided to follow my blog.  I got all tight and twitchy inside.  I have no idea (besides the writing part) what I’m doing.  I don’t know how to set up an about page, how to use categories and tags, what a widget is, how to edit a photo so it sends the cool “Hey, Amy here from Meanwhile Life!” vibe.  Then there’s what I might have to say next time.  I stayed in excuses all the while telling myself I’d get back to it. Days and weeks passed, with good intentions ever on the back burner.  So many days and weeks, it’s been well over a year of them.

So that happened.  And this is happening.  My comeback to Meanwhile Life.

Coming back to Meanwhile Life is my commitment to myself.  No more staying stuck!  The way I’ve treated this blog is a small picture of many other things in my life.  I have great ideas without regular practical action.  There are other things I’ve talked up and brainstormed or swore to change forevermore to the good of my family to say one more word about any of them without doing something true.

  • Decorating the bare walls of my house
  • Sending birthday cards & happiness by mail to extended family
  • Starting an online teaching business
  • Organizing family photo files
  •  Making a full time income doing part time work
  • Mending clothes and toys I’ve promised to fix for my kids
  • Getting on top of laundry for six once and for all

I know I can’t fix all of these things in one simultaneous instant.  I also know I could brush aside social media, and Amazon Prime watching a couple nights a week to get some things rolling.  I’m a type B girl.  I shy away from words like intentional and 5 year plan.  It’s time to make friends with them.  A couple of hours, a couple of projects, a couple of times every week.  That’s it really.  Setting aside distractions, shutting a door behind me, and getting down to business.   I keep telling myself, it’s just the next one thing.

What ideas have you kept on the back-burner?  What’s your next one thing?


It’s All In My Head

I’ve been creating blog posts in my head regularly for at least 7 years.  Only 2 made it out, over 2 whole years ago and not a peep since.  Life is pushing me.  7 years of imaginary blog posts is brewing a perfect storm of mental claustrophobia.  It’s time to do this.  I have grand visions, and the humble reality of this bare bones 3 entry blog.  I want it amazing.  Now.  Along with the rest of my life.  Instead I just need to show up and keep showing up, and persevere my way to amazing.  The piddly reality squelches the grand vision.  The 1,001 super excitingly awesome daily ideas of what I want to do in life keep me from moving ahead to make a single one real.

That’s my life in a nutshell right now.  Looking across the gaping divide from where I am now to all the glittering things I know are somehow possible intimidates me.  So, this one thing today.  And one thing tomorrow.  And another the day after that.  Just the one next thing.

Zero Week

I have these days every now and then.  The ones where my body feels sluggish the moment I wake up, the kind of sluggishness no amount of caffeine can resolve.  The days when my thoughts feel deeply and distantly covered in thick fog even though nothing troubles me.  The kind of day I just can’t pull together.  I call it a zero day.  I breath in and fill up on the grace to do very little.  I try to keep things as simple as possible, knowing if I can get to the end of it I can pull up the covers and start something better and fresher the next time the sun rises.  Yeah, well I had a week of these days one upon the other last week.

The simplest things felt overwhelmingly complicated multiplied by the four vibrant souls who surpassed my energy within the first 1/2 hour of the day.   I was snappy, crabby, and tired.  And 6 sunrises didn’t bring relief.  I crawled to the end of the week, hope-knowing that I would wake up to a better next week.

Word to the wise: if you get fed up enough with your sugary stress induced eating habits (and the candida that pitches a tent in your gut) that you decide to detox cold turkey, zero day after zero day will follow.  And yes, the sun will rise on a glorious new week in which you will spend your time catching up on the raggedy loose ends of the previous one.  However it’s so worth it!  And you will heartily reassure yourself that this time you have learned your lesson and you will not let yourself slip into the abyss of refined food goodies again.

Seriuosly, pulling the plug on refined sugar and flour is so temporarily miserable and 100% worth it.  I survived.  My kids and house survived me surviving it.  My energy sans the help of caffeine is back, my dishes are clean, and my kids still outpace me in the first hours of the day.  Sweet relief!  (no pun intended).

I had two half draft blog posts stuck in the detox fog last week.  All that aside, I have it in mind to publish one blog post weekly.  I know I may not always have thrilling things to say, but I am hoping the discipline of a weekly post will help me establish my voice and pace.  I’m excited to see what will emerge here.

Does anyone else out there have similar zero day stories or sympathies?  I’d love to hear your coping strategies too.  I’m always happy to have some fresh new ideas for dealing with those days that just can’t seem to get going.

Barefoot in the {trailer} Park

20140710_110301I grew up in a small town.  The kind that didn’t have it’s first traffic light until I was away in college.   The kind that had only one grocery store.  The kind with graduating classes of 90-some students. The kind where people gathered for a day of shucking before the annual corn dinner.

I grew up in a neighborhood that may as well have been a trailer park it was so full of mobile homes.  My family lived in an avacado green 1 bed 1 bath singlewide that my dad built an addition onto so we could have a living room and extra bedroom. The summer I turned 7, we moved one lot over where we had built a simple albeit real house.  It fit into the overall neighborhood scheme of things well enough that as a teenager I had a hard time convincing the census lady it wasn’t a doublewide.

By the time I was old enough to consider my life’s goals, they pretty much boiled down to this: to go to college far far away so I would never have the chance to be stuck there living in a doublewide chasing after my five squallering children, one baby always on my hip, always barefoot.  Because I was more cultured and better than all that and I would make something of myself. Besides, my mom had forbidden me to stay in the same state after I graduated beacause it was the one time in life I could go anywhere do anything she said.  So just after my 18th birthday I packed my bags to travel 3,000 miles east without looking back.

I grew and flourished, and became confident in the bigger world outside my quiet small town girl shell.  But that’s not the point really.  The point is that God doesn’t forget even small things.  He loves to do the humility thing.   He has a funny way of bringing things full circle.

17 years later still 3,000 miles away I’m chasing my four squalling-hollering kids around 924 square feet of singlewide home and smaller than a postage stamp yard.   One baby always on my hip.  Always barefoot.  In a trailer park.  I didn’t even get the doublewide plus one kid upgrade of my high school rant.  Because I’m not more cultured or better than all that and what is made of myself is more precious than my prideful measures.  Someone asked me recently about where we live.  He felt sorry for me really.

I’m not an ounce sorry for myself or my kids or my hard working husband.  I love my neighborhood.  It’s such a gift.  I wanted to live somewhere with a playground, a pool, and kids that my kids could play with.  I never thought that place would be this place but it is.  Trailer parks have a bad rap for harboring the “trash” of humanity.  I know.  People who visit always tell me how peaceful and quiet it feels here. My next door neighbor sent her daughter over with the most delicious chicken soup and a fuzzy blanket after I had my baby.  My kids have played away sunny summer days with the kids on our street.  I’m unnatturally and deeply content.  And when we move, because we will one of these days, I’ll miss it here.  I may not miss the sketchy made sketchier by four kids carpet, or the roaches we can’t seem to kill completely off but try to pretend don’t exist, or the particle board cabinetry that’s peeling on the edges but it’s no trade for how effortlessly grateful I feel or how I laugh at the way God works or what my neighbors have taught me about over the top hospitality.

Dear snobby highschool me: it’s not that bad, the running around – bunch of kids – baby on hip – barefoot – not even a doublewide life, not that bad at all.  With all my love from the trailer park!  xoxo