May you be in love every day…

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads… may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Ray Bradbury

Ever since I was a little girl, I always knew I wanted to be a writer. Over the years, my dreams and goals as far as careers have changed, but the one thing that has remained constant is my desire to share stories…

That being said, I’ve always loved this quote by Ray Bradbury, but I never really understood it until I actually made it a priority to write every day–and subsequently finished my very first novel.

So… About this novel (and why I’m so excited about it and why it has my whole heart)… I got the idea for Breakfast with the Bookerlys a while back when I was sitting outside the courthouse where I work eating lunch and one of our bailiff’s walked by whistling and being his ever-so-good-natured self. I decided right then and there that he would make a fantastic character in a story somewhere, but I didn’t have a story to put him in at the time. After thinking about it for a while, I did like any good writer would do and just decided to start a new story (despite already having WAY too may works in progress already).

As it turned out, my cheerful bailiff character, “Officer Plum,” wound up being the jolly fellow who would escort my main character, ten-year-old orphan Rosie St. James, to her new home and family… And thus, the “Bookerlys” were born.

In the beginning, I thought they were just going to be a “fun story” to “play at” while I mulled and carried on over my more serious work in progress, a novel about a woman living with chronic illness who ends up on a soul-scrubbing journey by the sea. (#drama) The title of this WIP was “Blessings” and it was supposed to be a therapeutic piece for me… a place to explore all the feelings I have about life and death and how to keep living when you feel like dying. It was supposed to be my best story yet. But, somehow, it just wasn’t. And while I loved the setting, the characters, and the subject matter, I just couldn’t seem to get it to come together. So I decided to take a break and play at a fun story for a bit while I worked out the plot for “Blessings.”

Now, for me, the difference between “fun stories” and “serious” ones are as follows:

  • “Serious” stories require extensive plotting, while “fun” ones are all about writing by the seat of one’s pants.
  • “Serious” stories involve deep, well-created characters, while “fun” stories can afford an archetype here and there as well as the “experimental” character…
  • “Serious” stories are well… serious, while “fun” stories are just plain fun. Hear something funny at work one day? Work it into the fun story. Think of a witty quip that doesn’t fit anywhere else? Make it fit into the fun story, somehow.
  • “Serious” stories are written with publication in mind, while “fun” stories are regarded solely as writing practice.
  • “Serious” stories have rules. “Fun” stories do not.

Basically, everything involved in the this new story was pretty much random. Even the title, “Breakfast with the Bookerlys” was totally random and had very little meaning in the context of anything. It really just sounded kind of charming to me and then there’s the alliteration factor, so why not just go with it?

What I didn’t know when I started that little tale was that “Breakfast with the Bookerlys” would change my life. And it would ultimately be the blessing that “Blessings” was not… Armed with a delightfully funny cast in an eccentric, but exciting setting, I began to write more faithfully than I had in months. Without the pressure of having to perform, I was able to just write whatever I wanted, however I wanted. No soul-searching or soul-scrubbing. No delving into the deeper questions that plague human existence. It was kind of like having a little dollhouse where I could go to play and laugh and wander and wonder. And, soon, writing started to actually be fun again…

No longer was I dreading opening a the dreaded document and no longer was the blank page so darn scary, and before long, my “fun story” had become my only story and “Blessings” had all but been forgotten.

Enter the Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 Challenge.

Once I realized that Breakfast with the Bookerlys had become A THING, I decided on a whim to dive in all the way and participate in a “100-for-100” writing challege. The premise of the challenge was very simple: Make it a priority to write at least 100 words every day for 100 days in a row, with one “grace day” allowed per week and the end result being an extra 10,000 words on your current work in progress.

Now, let the record show that I have hardly ever made it to 10,000 words on anything. And as shameful as it is to admit it, I have an awful tendency to not finish what I start, especially when it comes to writing. It’s a nasty habit and I’d recently come to the sad conclusion that you don’t get to call yourself a writer if you never actually finish writing anything… which is fair enough, I think.

So here I was, knee-deep in this fun little story with all my adorable little characters, getting ready to ACTUALLY COMMIT TO SOMETHING FOR 100 DAYS. *cue panic attacks*

And, as if that wasn’t enough, I was so determined to finish that I gave myself an ultimatum (and told my Mama and best friend about it to hold my feet to the fire): I was not allowed to write another word of fiction until I finished this story.

And, you know what? I was oddly okay with that. I love creative nonfiction as much as anything else, so if this was to be the end of my fiction career, I decided that it would just have to be a sad day…

And so I started writing every. single. day. The first few days were squeakers. 106 words Thursday… 137 words Friday… 102 Saturday… Grace day… 142 words Monday… but hey. 100 words a day was all the challenge required and I was determined to do just that. and then something pretty darn amazing happened about halfway through week two. My daily word count started to creep upward slowly, but surely, and by the next week I was hitting the 1,000-word-mark almost every day! And by the next week, I was averaging around 1,500 words a day. It was a small miracle.

I found that the Bookerlys had become my safe place amidst the stresses of life. When I was sad or angry (two emotions that have a tendency to creep up on you pretty often when you live with chronic illness) I’d “go spend time with the Bookerlys” (as I would tell my friend) to cheer myself up. Never before had I loved a set a of characters so much and never before had I found such JOY in sitting down to write every day. It was wonderful and beautiful and a blessing from the LORD… I really mean that. I think God gave me these characters to help heal my tired heart after one of the hardest years of my life…

Then, by week five, I did something I’d been waiting to do my whole life. I typed “THE END” on the last page of my very first novel… and it was very bit as glorious as I’d always imagined it would be.

Readers, I had fallen in love… and I have a feeling that I’ll still be in love with these characters for the “next 20,000 days.” They are everything I have ever hoped for. They are my friends and my family… mixed and matched, characterized and immortalized. They are every funny moment and every wild idea. They are, as dear Rosie would say, “all the lovely things.”

Quite simply, Breakfast with the Bookerlys is a book about life. Not life “in spite of” this or that, but rather life “because of…”

Words cannot express how excited I am to share this with you. And as I prepare to edit this story and pursue publication, I pray that you all will rejoice with me. My greatest hope is that this story will one day bring others just as much happiness as it has brought me.

“May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out out of that love, remake a world.”

~ Love, Ash ~

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Currently // A Life Update

Hey, y’all! How’s it going? I was thinking this morning about how long it’s been since I last blogged and felt kind of bad about how neglectful I’ve been of my beloved little corner of the interwebs, so I decided to take some time out of this sleepy (and stormy) Sunday afternoon to share a little life update with you all.

I’ve gotta admit that life has been stressful and just downright exhausting lately, which is part of why I haven’t been blogging, BUT I haven’t just been sitting around doing nothing. Promise! In fact, since my last blog post I actually did something pretty darn amazing… I FINISHED WRITING MY VERY FIRST NOVEL!!! *claps and sings and dances and cries*

Y’all, words cannot express how excited I am about this achievement. I’ve always known I wanted to be a writer, but now I can actually say that I AM a writer. I’ve over the moon about it and I can’t wait to share more about this darling little story of mine (but I think that will have to be another post).

Anyway, other than that, here’s what else I’ve been up to lately:

  • Reading: Having just finished Northanger Abbey last night, I am happy to announce that I am officially on my last Austen novel, Persuasion. In all honesty, as much as I love and adore and want to be Jane Austen, I’ve got to say that Northanger Abbey was probably my least favorite so far. However, Persuasion has already COMPLETELY captivated me… and I’m already about a fifth of the way through it. Once I’m done with this novel, I’ll just have a collection of her shorter/earlier works left and I will have read everything Austen (and will then start over again because I also want to be an Austen scholar).

 

  • Writing: Okay. So it’s kind of a funny story (pun intended)… After completing my novel, I decided to go back and write up a “brief backstory” about two of the characters in hopes of (1) fleshing them out a little more for when I go back to edit and (2) making the setting come alive more. Well, I’m currently on page 28 or so of said “brief backstory” and I’m nowhere near being done so… ahem… prequel, maybe?

 

  • Crafting: Oh, y’all. I have got so many things going on with my knitting and crocheting… It’s not even funny anymore. I don’t know how or why I let myself get so strung out with projects, but I am DETERMINED to get my ducks in a row by the end of August… Basically, I have two baby blankets to make (one of which was supposed to be done earlier this month) that I haven’t even started yet, but instead I’m working on a shawl for my mother-in-law and a blanket for myself. Both are coming along nicely, but I will probably end up putting the blanket away until winter because I live in Florida and crocheting big blankets gets HOT. As for the shawl, I’m just so excited to get done with it because I’ve never made one before and I love how it’s making up so far. In fact, I may end up keeping this one for myself and make my mother-in-law another one because the first one never turns out completely right (as least not for me) and then I ended up finding a different (prettier) yarn I’d like to use for her… So there’s that.
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Also, meet Phileas, the darling little mouse I recently knitted on another sleepy Sunday afternoon. Isn’t he a cutie?! Not gonna lie, I’ve had quite the fun photographing him on various “adventures” and writing short little children’s poems about him… He’s kind of my favorite. 🙂

  • Draming: Of editing my novel! I honestly can’t wait to get back in and polish this project up. I just love the story and the characters so much and I want to make them shine as much as possible. Nevertheless, I think it’s good that I’m giving them some “cooling off” time while I write this not-so-brief-after-all backstory…

So that’s what I’ve been up to the past couple of months. I do intend to try and be more consistent with the blog come August… I’ve got several post ideas swirling around in my mind, so I really just have to sit down and write them. So hopefully that will work out. Fingers crossed!

Until next time…

 

Dear Autoimmunity Survivors // You Are Not Your Disease

Dear Autoimmunity Survivors,

I prefer to call us “survivors” rather than “sufferers” because I don’t like to think of myself as a sufferer. And I’m sure you don’t, either. At least I hope you don’t. I hope you aren’t letting it get you down like that… I pray not.

Today I’m here to discuss something that’s been weighing pretty heavily on my mind, lately. In recent months, I’ve sort of been on what I’m calling a “Care Crusade.”

I recently read a comment on Facebook from a lady who basically asked who she should talk to about “extra-intestinal issues” because her GI doctor didn’t seem to care “as long as her gut was good.”

Now, a year or so ago, I wouldn’t have thought twice about this. After all, why should I expect my GI doc to be able to help with my arthritis? Or my skin issues? Or my anxiety and insomnia?

Well, the short of it is simply: Because you are his patient and you have an autoimmune disease and autoimmune diseases usually come with lots of tag-alongs and it’s not unreasonable for you to expect your doctor to (at least) be familiar with all the things that come along with your disease. Because, chances are, he’s never seen a patient that just has ulcerative colitis or just Crohn’s disease. In fact, if I were a betting woman, I’d bet money on it. And, as a poor writer, I’m not loaded enough to be betting…

Now, for the long of it…

I’m going to tell you a story. Well, a story and a confession of sorts.

When I was a senior in high school, my dreams were as big as my imagination. I was an A/B (but mostly A) student, valedictorian of my class, and aspiring athletic trainer. The plan was to become an athletic trainer, do that for a few years, and then eventually go back to school to become an orthopedic physician’s assistant. My whole world revolved around my dreams. I spent the fall of the year training with my high school’s varsity football team in hopes of eventually earning a scholarship to my local community college, where I would spend my freshman year getting all my pre-reqs out of the way so I could apply to Florida State’s program. Basically, I thought I was on my way…

And then summer came. And something went wrong… I wasn’t feeling well and I was having some concerning symptoms: Colon cancer symptoms.

I was terrified.

I put off going to the doctor for as long as I could stand it, but eventually relented.

He ran tests. Asked if I was “drinking the water at the football field.” I wasn’t. Not on my life. I realize now that what he was looking for then have been the better “illness.”

The test came back negative.

“We’re gonna do a colonoscopy,” he said.

And I was terrified.

But I did it.

“You have a disease called ‘ulcerative colitis’,” the surgeon said, casually leaning back on the examination table as he delivered life-changing news. I guess I’d just as soon have him be casual about it, though. I’m not one for drama. He explained what this “ulcerative colitis” was.

And, as I’m sure you know, I was terrified.

I was eighteen years old. My life was just getting started. And now it felt like it was over.

“People can live relatively normal lives with this disease,” the surgeon said. “But you’ll need to be under the care of a gastroenterologist. Your primary care physician will probably refer you to one when I give him your results.”

And so it began. I was referred to a GI doctor–a good one, supposedly.

Now, I’m not going to sit here and say that my doctor wasn’t a good one. See… I wouldn’t know because I never actually saw him. My former doctor could absolutely walk up to me and slap me in the face and I wouldn’t know him from Adam’s housecat because–regardless of how severe my symptoms were–I was always relegated to the physician’s assistant.

Now, I don’t have a problem with PA’s. Don’t think that’s what I’m getting at. It isn’t. I mean–hello!–I wanted to be an PA! I respect them, I do, but there comes a time when you really need to be seeing the doctor. Like when you end up being hospitalized and your primary care physician calls your GI doc and the GI doc has “no idea” I was “in that kind of shape.”

Needless to say, I stopped seeing my highly-lauded gasterointerologist… and his PA.

Looking back, I realize that we should have parted ways long before I landed in the hospital… and this is where my confession comes in.

For three years, I was pretty much afraid of my doctor (or PA…whatever). Every impending appointment made me nauseous and I usually left feeling downright depressed. He acted like my questions were burdensome before glossing over them and sending me on my way. He didn’t seem to respect the fact that I knew my body better than he ever could… He was perfectly eager to treat my ulcerative colitis, but I never truly felt like he was interested in treating me. Ashley. The girl with the disease.

I allowed this bad experience to make me distrustful of doctors. I wasn’t any better with them, I reasoned, so I decided to strike on on my own without any specialty care for my UC.

I managed for a couple of years, but managing was about all I did. I survived, but never thrived, and eventually began to decline.

Then in October of 2017, I ended up getting really, really sick. Sicker than I’d ever been before, and once again I was hospitalized for several days. After being pumped full of blood and steroids, I was finally released to go home with the caveat that I needed to find another gasterointerologist as soon as possible.

“You can’t go on living like this. You were dying, Mrs. Hess. This cannot continue,” the doctor on call told me before signing my release form.

As much as I wish my condition hadn’t gotten to that point, I’m thankful for the wake-up call it gave me.

So, I found another GI specialist–another highly lauded one–despite my skepticism and frustration.

And my experience has been nothing but positive. For the first time since my diagnosis, I don’t feel hopeless. I don’t dread doctor’s appointments anymore because I leave from them feeling confident and cared-about. Not only is my doctor knowledgeable about my autoimmune disease, he pretty familiar with all the things that like to tag along with it. He doesn’t feel threatened by my questions and he actually LISTENS to what I tell him about MY BODY.

For the first time in my entire UC experience, I feel like more than just a diagnosis. Because I am more than just a diagnosis. And so are you.

My primary care physician–who is also amazing and for whom I am also very grateful–once told me, “If you’re not comfortable with your doctor, find another doctor.”

Survivors, I cannot stress this enough. I know changing doctors is hard and scary, but I am continually amazed by the quality of my care since I found my new doctor. It’s been 180% worth it, and I wish I’d moved on sooner.

You are more than your disease and you deserve to be treated like a person rather than just a patient… Never let a white coat make you feel less-than who you are. Never.

– Ash

 

 

 

 

 

Prompted // Darkness to Light

Good morning and Happy Monday! *Is that even a thing??* 

This morning I wrote a response to a writing prompt from Ashley Abramson’s wonderful writerly newsletter “The Angler.”

I must say this prompt mined up a hard memory for me, but I enjoyed responding to it. Check out Ashley’s newsletter to read the prompt for yourself! Lately I’ve really been trying to write toward healing in my heart, and this exercise allowed me to do just that.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic illness, I pray that you will share this word of hope. You are not alone and your suffering is not in vain…

***

Darkness to Light

My only defense against that moonless night is the dim porchlight above me. It’s supposed to be one of those bug-repelling lights, but I think maybe the bugs just can’t see it. Salty tears sting my steroid-swollen, acne-ridden face as my ragged breaths penetrate the deep country silence. I notice my Daddy hovering behind the glass door. The last thing I heard him say to my Mama before I escaped to the solitude of the back porch was something about a “mental breakdown.” I shudder. He’ll be able to retire from the state mental hospital in a few years, so I guess he knows a breakdown when he sees one, but I hope he’s wrong. I can’t afford to have my mind break down alongside my body. I clutch my hands to my chest as if doing so can hold my shattered heart together just a little bit longer. “Just a little bit longer…” has been my mantra throughout this flare. For three painful months, I’ve been whispering those five words to myself over and over and over. “Just a little bit longer.” And then tonight happened. I thought it was over. “By faith you shall be HEALED!” they’d yelled, as hands were laid upon my body. “Have faith! You are a child of God!” A tornado of grief and abandonment swirls around me as those words echo in my head. I had faith. I’ve always had faith. And yet… I’m not healed.  My emotional upheaval brings another painful abdominal spasm roaring to life. I can’t breathe. Am I not truly a child of God? The pain of that lieit’s just a lie, I tell myself—hurts more than the ulcers…

 

I believe that, for every lie, there is a FAR more powerful truth just waiting to be wielded against it if only one is strong enough to pick up that truth and fight… My weapon was all but handed to me by my Father that night. After literally two hours of crying—drowning myself in my own grief—I just stopped. As soon as the flood came, it subsided, like the parting of the Red Sea… James 1:16-17 says, “Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” It’s hard to accept autoimmunity as a gift, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it is a gift, nonetheless. Had my body not turned on itself when it did, my eyes might never have turned so completely upon Jesus when they did. And in the midst of my darkness that night, the Father of Lights spoke truth into my heart. He placed his sovereign hands on my shoulders and gave his child his sword and told her to fight her good fight of faith. The fight for faith. The fight for truth. The fight for life and for health and for myself. And I’ve been fighting toward the light ever since…

***

You can find me (@ashley.thewriterlyone) & Ms. Abramson (@ashleyabrmsn) on Instagram.

Currently // A Life Update

Happy Friday, everyone! So… I know I recently took quite the blogging hiatus, but let’s just say that life has been crazy since January. Basically, I got very, very sick again at the beginning of the year and–once again–my husband ended up saving my life. I was so sick that I ended up having to take three months off from work on medical leave… So yeah. 2018 has been a year, so far! But anyway, I’m doing better now (#praise) and I’m starting to feel more like myself again. I still have a ways to go, of course, but I’m just trying to take it slow and approach every day with prayer and a positive attitude.

That being said, I decided it was time for a life update. *Note to Other Bloggers: I LOVE reading posts like this, so if you want me to check out your life updates, just leave a link in the comments and I’ll hop on over sometime this weekend!

Currently, I am:

  • Reading: Three books and I need to just give up on trying to be one of those multi-readers and just take them one at a time because I apparently can’t handle reading more than one at a time.
    • Uninvited: Living Loved When You Feel Less Than, Left Out, and Lonely by Lysa TerKeurst
      • So far, this is a pretty good book, and that’s saying a lot coming from someone who wouldn’t typically even pick a book with the word “lonely” in the title… (#idon’tdofeelingswell) I’m not very far into it, but I like what I’ve read so far. I will say that Ms. TerKeurst is very quotable. And I’m all about quotable, y’all.
    • Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
      • My goal for the year is to finish reading all Austen’s novels. I just have this one and Persuasion left and then a miscellaneous collection of her earlier works.
    • The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir by Dee Williams
      • I’m actually really excited about this one, even though it’s probably the one I pick up the least because it’s an eBook and I’m a paperback girl. *Note: In case you didn’t know, though, I am OBSESSED with the Tiny House Movement and have been since my senior year of high school.
  • Writing: 2 1/2 projects
    1. A fun middle-grade novel that just might be my favorite project ever. I’m actually considering posting it on the blog in installments when I get done, so hopefully that will be something to look forward to in the upcoming months!
    2. A collection of essays written in letter format called “26 Letters.” Basically, I’ve decided that every year I’m going to “write through the alphabet” about a particular theme I will choose at the beginning of the year.
      • 2018’s theme is: Autoimmunity/Chronic Illness. Because obviously…
    3. The “1/2” portion is actually something that’s just in the planning stages. I’m pretty much forcing myself to finish my #1 projects first before I start on this one because I have a tendency to struggle with finishing things. I get excited about something and go all out for a week or two and then fizzle out. Well, not this time, folk! I decided this time that I would finish the aforementioned story or just never get to write anything else again… Here’s to committing! #help
  • Studying: Galatians
    • I think the last time I did an in-depth study of Galatians was in high school, which was SIX YEARS AGO. What?! I am not okay with this. Anyway, I’m going through it again because it’s time and I think it’s a good prequel to my upcoming Romans study, which I’m super excited about because I just found this little gem at LifeWay  yesterday and I can’t wait to use it! My plan for the year is to go through Galatians, Romans, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians (again, because the first round was just that awesome).
  • Dreaming About: All. the. things. *Do any of you ever feel like you just have too many interests and passions and not enough time/energy/resources to devote to them? I’m definitely there right now and it’s more than a little frustrating… #seriouslyhelp
    • Tiny houses and big yards with nice gardens.
      • Y’all, I’m kind of in love with this tiny house (other than the color… I want either blue, white, or gray…). There are a few modifications I’d like to make, but this is the basic idea. I think about tiny houses WAY too much, y’all. I am obsessed.
    • All the writerly things.
      • Now that I’ve committed to a story (come h*** or high water) and am making significant progress on it, I’m feeling pretty darn good about my writerly ways.
    • A little ministry project called “Blankets of Grace.”
  • Thankful For: All the lovely things.
    • I’m just so thankful for everything in life write now… Family, friends, my job, God’s Word, fresh words, good books, grace, peace, and just everything… God is so good. Always.

***

So that’s what’s going on in my life right now. What about you? Anything I can be praying about for you? Leave me a comment or shoot me DM on Instagram!

 IG: @ashley.thewriterlyone

Sunday Afternoon Naps // Stories and Such

It is Sunday afternoon after church and there is but one piece of fried chicken leftover in the kitchen. All is quiet now after a slow Sunday “dinner”—never “lunch”—with stories and laughter and sweet Sunday fellowship.

Mama was the first to go, her eyes dropping lower and lower as her head slowing falls to her chest. Gentle snores, more like deep breaths, can now be heard as she descends into her Sunday slumber.

My aunt is on the sofa, still awake, but fighting. She ought to be tired after her typical Sunday dinner production—complete with green beans, okra, and dessert—all while still managing to make it to church on time. She finally tosses the newspaper onto the floor and lies down. It won’t be long now.

A loud snore erupts from my uncle, which is no surprise. He’s usually the first to leave us every Sunday afternoon. If he didn’t take a Sunday afternoon nap, it would likely mean that something has gone terribly wrong to prevent him from doing so. But not today. Today, all is well, so he sleeps.

My husband once described this Sunday afternoon ritual as “everyone getting their batteries popped out at the same time.” He’s not wrong. We do tend to drop like flies every Sunday afternoon.

From the loveseat, I feel my own eyes growing heavy. I must soon join them. And I will, but not before taking a moment to appreciate the scene before me: Three people sleeping, two snoring, and one snuggling down on the sofa–all at peace.

I’ve often thought about the implications of all this, over-thinker that I am, and I must say that my conclusion makes me smile. You see, to fall asleep is to let your guard down completely. So to fall asleep in the presence of others is an act of trust. Of peace. Of love…

We have all these things, this quiet Sunday afternoon, my family and me. And as I succumb to the warm comfort of Sunday afternoon rest, I am grateful and content.

Tuesday…

My alarm goes off at 5:45am. I slap around for an infuriating twenty seconds before remembering that my phone is charging and I have to get up to turn off my alarm.

I get up. It’s cold. So. dang. cold.

But I don’t hit “snooze.” No, sir. I reset that booger for 6:05 and crawl back into bed. I never do that. I typically a real little trooper in the morning. Just not today.

At 6:05, the alarm goes off again. I hit snooze (and hate myself for doing so).

By 6:13, I’m up because the cat is crying outside the door like a child. His food bowl is empty–and while he’s not going to starve in the next two minutes (because 6:15 is, quite frankly, as indulgent as I can be on a Tuesday morning), I get up because he’s crying I have a heart and I shouldn’t have hit snooze anyway.

As I feed the cat, I remember that it’s litter box day and I can either do in now or when I get home from work.

I do it now…

And then it’s shower time. Because cat litter.

As I stand in the shower struggling to find just the right temperature–because something’s gotta right on a Tuesday morning–my mind flits to all the pregnancy announcements and baby pictures I’ve seen on Facebook lately…

Goodness, I think. I could be doing all this with a kid.

The cat meows outside my bathroom door.

A kid and a half. I could be doing this with a kid and a half.

But then I go back to my shower because I don’t want to think about it at the moment and I’ll probably actually get to have the “we’re-not-ready-for-the-child-we-do-honestly-desperately-want-one-day” conversation at some point this week.

2.3 times a week seems to be the average number of times I have that conversation in a week these days and I’ve already had it once. So 1.3 to go.

My stomach growls as I step out of the shower. Curses.

I cooked soup last night. A big pot. I worked hard on it and, by the time I was done, I was tired because I also have a full-time job (the one I’m showering to go to and all… you know… because it’s Tuesday morning). But anyway… Where was I? Food… The soup… Tired…

Ah… yes.

By the time I got done with the soup last night, I was too tired to wash the dishes. The dishwasher in our rental house is so old it probably gave up on washing dishes LONG before we got there… We’ve never seen her actually wash one (and we gave her a few loads when we first moved in).

So anyway, as I wander around looking for the shirt I planned to wear today, I know the dishes are waiting for me in the kitchen… My husband said last night he’d get them today. I’m not banking on that or anything because he came up feeling sick this morning, but as I walk into the kitchen I just stop and walk back out.

My stomach growls again, but I refuse to dirty up one more pot, pan, or dish for someone else to have to clean up. I feel guilty enough about someone else having to clean it up anyway–unless that someone ends up being me, of course.

I decide I’ll just have some trail mix and a satsuma for breakfast. I can eat that on a paper towel. Praise.

I need to start praising the Lord this morning. Because He’s worthy and I’m not. Goodness.

I gather my breakfast and make my way into the computer room to sit down for just a minute. My brain’s flying through my to-do list for the day.

Even though I have a full-time job and going back to school just isn’t an option right now because I also have bills and things to deal with, I still try to read and keep my mind somewhat attuned to the act (art?) of learning. I wouldn’t exactly call myself “literary,” but I do try to read every day. An hour or a chapter, whichever I can check off the list first. I’m reading two books right now. One about appreciating the small moments in the midst of the chaos of life and one on writing. Yesterday I read a chapter of the one on writing, so today is going to be the other one. The name of the book, by the way, is “Simply Tuesday” (in case you’re looking for a giggle this morning). Made me laugh, anyway…

And then there’s the writing. Oh, the writing. I’ve got a story dancing around in my head right now that I hope I can get today. Here’s to hoping… Like school, writing sometimes ends up getting shoved to the back burner in them midst of life and all its trials. Funny how sometimes it’s the things you love the most that tend up that way. But at least I’m writing and at least the burner’s on…

I scarf down my breakfast–almonds, raisins, and a Satsuma–before brushing my teeth, throwing my out-of-control-and-not-to-be-controlled hair in a ponytail, and head out the door.

It’s Tuesday… and God is good and I will praise Him in the chaos. I won’t be perfect today. I’ll make mistakes. I’ll flail and fail, but I’ll get back up by grace. And I’ll manage. Front burners, back burners, dishwashers and all…

Praise.