happy birthday wee spoon

spoonful 7I've missed this little space. My head was a little fuzzy with planning and dreaming. All the while, thoughts jumped out at me and I so wanted to share them but I struggled to get myself back here. I had so many thoughts, so many lessons to sift through, that I got stuck. I got stuck on where to begin.

But today is really special to me. Today the wee spoon turns one. I know that might seem really small; it might seem like nothing big. But it's huge for me.

All you mommas out there know [God bless you by the way] that so much growth and change happens in just one year. Your little one starts so helpless and sleepy, so in need of you all the time but with each day they learn to smile and reach and crawl.

They still need you but they start to form into a person apart from you – they start to grow little wings.

It’s a miracle, really.

I started this little space four days after my 26th birthday. It was a present to myself; a present to be bold and brave and try something that had been nudging and yanking at my heart.

I figured people are typically nice around your birthday. If I ever wanted to be super vulnerable and share what was on my heart there's no better time than around the day I was born, right?

I mean, no one would tell me my blog was poop on my birthday.

I had a rush of anxiety after that first post. I specifically remember driving in my car, a few days later and my hands were wet with sweat. My stomach flipped upside down. I thought I might faint.

I was having a vulnerability hangover.

It’s a phrase I’ve borrowed from an author I love and admire. It’s that moment you wonder, "Did I say too much? Did I really just share my pain and struggles and hit publish for anyone to see?”

You’re thoughts revert from “Good job, you did it lady!” to “think anyone would notice if I crawled in a hole and never came out?”

I haven't committed or stuck with hardly anything for more than a year, other than marriage of course. Though this space is different. I didn’t vow in front of God and the most important people in my life that I’d love this blank white space for better or for worse. That I’d show up – even on the days I didn’t feel like it.

I don't have anyone telling me I have to write.

I come here because I want it and need it. 

Truth is, I’ve always been more of a dreamer than a doer. I think that's what made starting this space so difficult because I knew if I dove in, my head would tell me to just give up when it felt hard, when I felt like I had nothing to say.

But my heart is stubborn and wouldn't let me turn around. My heart wouldn’t let this be a thing I did once and just let fizzle. It meant too much.

You, dear reader, mean too much. 

Because when it comes to words, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal.

I also knew when I showed up here, I had to give you my real heart, total transparency. I couldn’t just give you stories of things I’ve heard, the leftovers on my plate. I had to give you my experiences, my trials – my skinned knees and broken heart too.

And that meant not simply sitting behind a screen. It meant actually leaving this space to live with arms stretched open wide, it meant stepping outside my comfort zone and trying, verse never starting out of fear of falling.

It meant getting to know our neighbors by name and having honest talks with my husband in the thick of it instead of running to our room, closing the door and writing how I felt in my journal.

It meant getting out of bed and facing the day when I didn’t really want to.

I wish I could say the flu like symptoms subsided after writing here for a year. I still have moments of wanting to go into hiding after hitting the publish button or feeling like I just walked out my house with no clothes on.

But as quickly as those flu symptoms come so do all those good feelings too, feelings of freedom and strength and openness. Feelings of unlocking the parts of me that are begging to break through and be shared.

Feelings of connecting with a friend or stranger over our shared experience, story and struggle.

Feelings of learning that we really aren’t all that different.

We both want to be known and loved fully. We both want safe spaces to be vulnerable and share stories of shame. And we don’t want just a head nod or someone to say, “I’m sorry” we want someone to grab hold of us tight and walk with us through it.

This little space on the web has been my place to let all those thoughts and feelings rise to the surface. It's been a place to wrestle through struggles and dreams. It's been a place to connect and uplift and encourage.

It's been a place to finally recognize the parts that have been hiding.

I hope you know dear one, there is room for you here too. There is room for your voice, your ideas, and your dreams.

Don't think the mold has been voted on, we need you just as you are. Don't think the web is already crowded with voices; we need your voice too.

Don't think your story is small or insignificant. You're living a grand adventure, a beautiful romance, a story of forgiveness and getting up to try again.

Thank you for being here dear one, thanks for helping this space grow. I love you so much for it.

xoxo


p.s YOUR TURN. Tell me friend, what have you committed to lately? What have you stuck with, even on the days of doubt and uncertainty?

How has it felt to not give up? I want to hear about it.

On Sunday, November 1st at 9pm [EST] I'll pick one comment and send you a gift in the mail.

You see that journal way up top? You'll get that beauty. And even better, that journal features original artwork from a student in Kosovo.

That journal helps a woman go to college.

Check out Flora Stationary & take a peek at their bio below. I just adore what these women are doing.


 

flora stationaryFlora Stationery started in mid-2014 after one of the founders, Ashley VanBuskirk, travelled to Kosovo to work and study abroad. After meeting an inspiring young woman who was struggling to pay for a college education, Ashley and her sister, Victoria decided to start Flora Stationery. The goal of Flora is to create a sustainable scholarship fund for young women in developing countries who would otherwise not have the option to attend college. Since launching the organization, nearly 20 women have been supported on full-tuition college scholarships. 

Mission statement: Flora Stationery does not rescue women from poverty. Rather, we empower them with an education while enabling the consumer to be apart of this inspiring process of funding futures.  

 

 

Why I Write :: Part 1

IMG_2803 I won a D.A.R.E writing competition in the 4th grade.

We had just spent the whole year learning about drugs and alcohol and were asked to write a letter to a "friend" struggling with a substance abuse problem. 

About anytime anyone sipped a beer during that year I'd be on their case. Which to someone who does not have a problem could be a wee bit annoying. 

"You sure you want to do that Dad?"

I'd be nearly standing over you reciting statistics and facts, while your patient, loving self would just smile, listen to me sweetly and take another sip once I got off my soapbox.

Sorry pops.

I'll never forget when my teacher told me that my letter [that I admit, I worked really, really hard on] had been picked and she wanted me to read it in front of the entire 4th grade class. A local police officer handed me a microphone while a bunch of kids sat cross legged on a carpet made of blue, red and yellow squares.

The boys fidgeted while the girls sat in lines braiding each others hair.

It was as if I had won the lotto.

It wasn't the fact I got picked and was asked to read. That part actually made me pretty nervous. Elementary school was full of awkward, hurtful moments. Anyone else?

What mattered more was that someone thought I had something that should be shared. Someone told me, "You are a good writer."

And still to this day, nearly 18 years later, it sticks. I remember that moment as if it were right now; typing on these keys, just returned from yoga, sipping my coffee and getting a second helping of oatmeal bake.

Those moments stick y'all. Those moments of feeling all filled up. Like maybe you're flying and standing on solid ground all at once.

They stick to the core of who we are and what we're made of.

Some moments are good, we hold on tight and grip them with all our strength. Moments like riding in the car with my mom, telling her that I thought Grandma should live with us instead of that big building full of people she doesn't know. I didn't know it then, but I look back now knowing full well my life changed drastically for the better.

There are those other moments that stick and we'd like to see them go. We'd gladly take a giant eraser and get rid of the parts that make us cringe or ache.

Regardless of being good or bad, or if we even dare to remember - each one shapes us. Each one is part of a map, drawing in detail where we've been and where we might want to go. They are a reminder of home, of truth, of where we get filled up.

Writing is my chance to come home. It's my sacred spot. It's my surrender when I have a hundred stories floating around my head and I have to put them down. It's my challenge when I get stuck and think I have nothing to say.

You always have something to say. Even the days you feel completely ordinary and simple. When it feels like life is on repeat. You still have things to say.

I imagine this blank white space as a dear friend, "How are you? What did you learn this week? What are you proud of? What are you willing to let go of? Tell me about the best cup of coffee you had."

You have a gift, that when shared, makes you happy. There are days we forget what it is and our feet are confused where to land. But think back, be it yesterday or 15 years ago, when you felt full and purposeful. When you felt like you were living out loud. Write down what you were doing, who you were with, where you were and how it all made you feel.

The sweetest thing I've found is that circumstance and age and location never have to dictate joy. That fullness we get to keep and carry with us, if we choose.

So I write. I keep on writing. Even when I don't know what to say. Because I know it fuels me and reminds me of where it all began, when I was nine years old and heard, "Maeve, you are a good writer."

And I don't say that toot my horn. I don't say that I've arrived. Because most days, if I am being honest, I don't think I'm a very good writer. I forget when you should use a comma or semicolon. I mix up there, their and they're. [Have I left any out?!?] I worry my words are way too emotional and think, "Do folks know I am silly? Do they think I take life and myself way too seriously all the time?"

But that attitude is paralyzing folks. That attitude is what took me 5 years to start a blog.

So I encourage you to think back. I encourage you to ask yourself the question - what can  I share? And if you can't answer that question [it's okay] ask someone who can.

Chances are, the things you are good at bring you a lot of joy. And that joy brings other people a lot of joy. And Lord knows, we always need more joy.

So start dear one, start right where you are - practice it, fight through it, get messy, start over, and do it all again.

xoxo

p.s. Tell me, why do you write?