Monday, November 19, 2012

Keeping On

I had this post written, and it was full of nothing--well, lots of things but it all felt so nothing compared to things I have written and loved in the past.  I have noticed that I like my writing and the way I feel when I write when I am completely rock bottom, when I am confused and sorting things out, when change is defibrillating my brain (new environment, new circumstances, new people, new stories), or when a dirty-as-mud martini has turned the unfiltered dial up, and my fingers consequently float effortlessly across the keyboard.

Lately every day has been a bit of the same.  Routines drive our actions, and the in-between is filled with homey things like sorting through new baby clothes, guiding sound-it-out instructions to "How do you spell?" pleas and squeezing the goodness out of Nella when she wakes up (I'm a bit of a squeezer). 

Usually, when things are good and same-ish and smooth for too long,  I wait for the other shoe to fall.  Like that one year when I wrote about how happy and grateful I felt and then a brick hit me in the head and our life changed. 

I kid, I kid.  That brick was really a diamond, and it's the best damn diamond/brick that could ever hit ya.

All this to say, I crave depth.  I love pushing further, I love deep, tearful, meaningful conversations where we are ripping our souls apart to grow and be more.  I like a good writing session when a screen purge has miraculously cleared up questions or made them so comfortable to exist, and I love growth and understanding that happens so significantly from an event, I need a yardstick to measure it.

But crops need resting seasons.  Tides pull back.  And part of contentment is learning that I don't always need some electrifying, soul-transforming thing to make me think.  Or write. 

There are so many soul-transforming things that exist in our every day.  We might not realize they are soul-transforming because they lack the wow factor and their transformation powers are gradual and humble.  But they are there.

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Tonight I took Lainey for a walk alone.  I asked if I could hold her even though I can barely manage to comfortably position her over the bump.  Her uncombed hair caught the evening sunlight just right, illuminating her profile, and for a moment I held her two-year-old self.  We stood there on the sidewalk, under the neighbor's tree, and I listened as she told me how the skimpy fallen Florida leaves would make a great decoration for Thanksgiving. 

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I'm not waiting for the other shoe to fall.  I am basking in the sameness that exists in our life right now--lessons to be learned right here in our home; growth that happens slowly and almost insignificantly.  That is what I have to offer right now. 

This weekend, I...

Wiped noses.
Read books.
Drank tea and played music when I felt edgy.
Ate fresh strawberries.
Brought one teeny Christmas decoration into the house.
Brought another one in five minutes later.
Reevaluated what I do (as in a line from one of my favorite movies: "What is it that I do?"  "You...are a lone reed.")
Sat outside with Nana Kate and watched my kids play.

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Sat inside and watched my kids sleep.

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Took my girls out for a cappucino.

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Laughed at Nella's interest in the mirror next to us.

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Mama'ed littles who mama'ed theirs.

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Stated "I love this weather" redundantly.

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Washed serving dishes, pressed napkins and became deliciously aware that the holidays are here.  That fact makes me giddy.

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We have a new ear infection this morning and another day of school missed.  So there is lots of squeezing and holding and loving...our favorite thing to do.

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*****

A past favorite sponsor, Okllo, is returning this holiday season.  My girls are still wearing last year's Great American tees (Amelia Earhart, Abe Lincoln, Ben Franklin...), and we always get asked about them.  Okllo combines inspiring quotes and positive role models with quality fabric and modern designs to make these great tees for kids and now mamas and papas. 

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My Eleanor Roosevelt shirt; Lainey's Eleanor Roosevelt shirt has a secret quote hidden on the inside, under her heart: "Remember always that you have not only the right to be an individual; you have an obligation to be one."

Okklo also offers a range of eco-friendly art products and a select collection of high quality kid supplies to keep your little one creatively engaged.

Use Code KHTHANKS20 for a generous 20% off all shirts on your order!

*****

As my fortune cookie read tonight, Keep on keeping on.

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67 comments:

Christie said...

Feeling a bit scattered lately, and I love how your words/photos help me to stop and focus. I struggle with focusing on how important the everyday moments are! Those are the ones that I will look back on and try not to feel like I missed a moment. Thanks for sharing :)

Pam said...

completely off topic, kelle, but where did you get the adorable polkadot leggings that nella is wearing with her Tea Collection shirt? i have that shirt for my daughter and never have anything appropriate to pair it with!! love all the Tea shout outs in the pictures, i think my babe owns every one of them too :)

MamaNina said...

Love your day of enjoying the small things. My baby will be home from college tomorrow. Can't wait to give her a hug. I miss her.

Angela said...

Love your photos and the way you share what's going on! Life would be boring if it didn't have it's ups and downs. :)

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

i love that fortune cookie saying "keep on keeping on" that is freakin' awesome. so true. love the pics. hope lainey feels better soon. have a great Thanksgiving!! (:

nick n mack mom said...

ughhh ear infections no fun at all!
Gald everyone seems to be on the mend!

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

We went to a high school production of "Our Town" over the weekend. Actually, I went two successive nights, because I loved it so much (and cried both times). The poignant ending, when one of the main characters realizes how much of life -- glorious, full-color reality -- we miss in our day-to-day living, is a message I don't want to soon forget. Or ever forget.
It sounds to me like you understand this very truth.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Tani stevenson said...

I love these words for the routine. I think the big things happen slowly in small moments, and if we lose sight of that fact, we lose so much. I try to remind myself all the time to give small moments as much attention as they deserve because they make up so much of our lives and they are really so important!

Team Lando said...

1) This post made me happy, and I want the Eleanor t for my Eleanor.
2) THe part of this post that did not make me happy was the part about pressing the napkins. Crap. WHERE are my napkins???

Unknown said...

I'm a bit of a squeezer too, and I may overkiss my girls cheeks just a tad! What's a momma to do with love that just bursts at the seams, overflows, almost hurts...

Susie Q said...

Every time I don't think Nella can get any cuter........well, she DOES!! Jeesh, I love that girl and I've never even met her!! Maybe some day...........

Patti said...

I know you've mentioned where you bought it before but I can't find the post ... Hoping to find lily a wooden stroller for Christmas like nella's ...

Jennifer Bell said...

The "nothing" days are where the sweetest memories are made. Praying sweet Lainey feels better and rejoicing alongside you during this holiday season for all the small things that make our lives so full.

http://bakerisourdreamcometrue.blogspot.com/

Lou said...

Hi Kelle! I am reading Daring Greatly at the moment too. Not sure if it is you or nana Kate reading it? But it is FANTASTIC, and I have actually thought of you as I've been reading along because you are a perfect example of Brene Brown's message of vulnerability and wholehearted living. If you haven't checked out her TED talks, you totally should!

Life with Kaishon said...

Sometimes 'same' is sort of nice, isn't it?
I love the pigtails.
I hope the ear infection feels better soon! I think I have one tonight. : (

Cynthia Meyers said...

You have no idea how much i needed this post tonight. Thank you for your honesty and sharing. Life has gotten the best of me lately and i have forgotten to appreciate the good in the everyday. I will keep on keeping on!

Abby V said...

That picture of Nella side-eying the mirror absolutely made my day!

Tricia said...

a lone reed - You've Got Mail?? Probably my favorite movie ever!

Sarah said...

YOU'VE GOT MAIL!!!!!

Staci said...

yours was the first post i read and my heart is very heavy tonight. thanks for your sweet reminder that there is beauty in every day.

Farmgirl Paints said...

Your writing always transports me...even when you think there's nothing really to talk about. Your world is spinning slow at the moment, mine is vibrating out of control...oh the holidays. I love them and hate them at the same time. Magical pics as always girl.

2busy said...

I always enjoy your lovely posts about your beautiful girls. They are just breath taking.

The onion Farmers Wife said...

I have been feeling the same Kelle......I love the line "Tide's fall back."
I brought 1 Christmas ornament up from the basement...tee-hee....makes me giddy!
Keep on Keeping on Kelle!

Adrienne said...

I lovvvvve your voice! I haven't blogged in weeks and I think part of the reason is that there hasn't been some profound, dramatic issue in my life. You're so right to celebrate the "sameness." And I love You've got mail :)"You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce."

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Lately, I find myself craving depth as well, especially when I am searching for something to write. I feel the need to be profound, to share unique insights. Thanks for the reminder to, in the midst of goodness, not to wait for the next curve ball, but to enjoy it!

Christina Marie said...

You are a great writer and you caught my attention with your statement about liking your own writing when you've hit rock bottom or are sorting things out. I find that that's when my writing is the best too! It's so therapeutic to write during those times, and I often reread those entries and feel the passion, the hurt, the hope in the writing. This entry is so raw and honest - and it spoke so clearly to me. Thank you for writing it. Many of these words I needed to hear.

Wendy said...

I have to remind myself all the time that I need to enjoy the now time RIGHT NOW because when it's busy and I'm stressed, I'm wishing for quiet time. But during the lulls, I, too, am waiting for something. Just waiting for something to happen. Not necessarily something bad, just something to grab my attention. I'm often blind the fact that daily lulls should envelope my attention fully.

I stitched a piece that I hung in my kitchen that I pass every day on my way out the door, and it says "now is the time to be happy" to remind me that this is my life and that my life, all of it, is supremely happy.

jennt said...

Daring greatly.

kalah said...

Love that u just wrote "you are a lone reed.". Best rainy day movie ever. My daughter's fortune last night was "life is not a struggle it is a wiggle.". Totally appropriate for her 4 y o self. Enjoy the holiday prep!

kalah said...

Love that u just wrote "you are a lone reed.". Best rainy day movie ever. My daughter's fortune last night was "life is not a struggle it is a wiggle.". Totally appropriate for her 4 y o self. Enjoy the holiday prep!

Kelly said...

Love the picture of Nella with the mirror. Lainey in the background is hilarious!

Belinda said...

You've Got Mail... One of my favorite movies, too.

I love Sleepin' Nella pictures.

shell said...

I LOOOOVE the Eleanor Roosevelt quote.

I am going to start taking a walk with my kids individually. What a fantastic, plainly wonderful idea.

jenna said...

Oh my goodness, that picture of Nella looking in the mirror is so perfect. Love it! And of her sleeping!!! Now that is the sleep of a safe and secure and loved child. Precious. Lainey is looking so much like you! Thanks for your words and photos.

Mr. Lessmann said...
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Annette said...

I love your honesty. Sometimes the every day is most beautiful. Thanks for encouraging me to embrace my every day.

PS... where is Nella's sweet nap time shirt from?

Cody Doll said...

I love this. You writing is always beautiful no matter what about. And yes, I do love Florida weather.

Love is all you need said...

You've got mail is one of my favorites too! The line that starts "I lead a small life, significant, but small..." I live by that line!

Megan said...

I've been trying to get back into my fiction writing lately, and I needed to read this. Life is really wonderful right now, and I am often frustrated that my writing seems so much easier and more meaningful when I'm suffering. Kind of like how listening to sad songs was so much more fulfilling when I was actually sad. Maybe I just need to accept that my happy writing, while different, can be just as--or more--beautiful.

Lovely Love said...

Sounds lovely! i enjoy the calm, more than anything else i really do enjoy the calm. sometimes i sit and dream of a life of just basking in the sun on a french country farm somewhere. my only job to lay in the long grass and look up as the sky filled with white puffy clouds. watch the day go by me from morning till night and hear the crickets and feel the breeze. to just BE all the time and to watch and listen to the world just BE around me. I think to BE is our greatest gift and it's my favorite thing to do. calm is good :)

pakosta said...

it's always always good to just enjoy the mundane everyday bits of life, because one never knows when they will be slammed updside the head with life, my world has literally turned upside down in the last two months and oh how I yearn for the simple things....enjoy it!
I love that quote that says, "enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things" or something like that!!!
after all it's the title of your blog!
xoxo
tara

oldenoughforfairytales.com said...

Your post reminded me of this quote - thanks for your beautiful words :).

"To make bread or love, to dig in the earth, to feed an animal or cook for a stranger -these activities require no extensive commentary, no lucid theology. All they require is someone willing to bend, reach, chop, stir. Most of these tasks are so full of pleasure that there is no need to complicate things by calling them holy. And yet these are the same activities that change lives, sometimes all at once and sometimes more slowly, the way dripping water changes stone. In a world where faith is often construed as a way of thinking, bodily practices remind the willing that faith is a way of life".- Barbara Brown Taylor

india banks said...

I love this post. Love re-visiting the moments of having two young daughters and the life that comes with. Your sense of calm I think has everything to do with the new life you're making inside you. Nesting = calm + order. Maybe you didn't say as much but I felt. Remembered. The year I was carrying my baby who just turned 29 - the white grapes were delicious. Anything difficult or unpleasant has disappeared into memory. In French instead of saying "I am pregnant" we say, "I am waiting for the baby." love & blessings to you & yours as you wait, India Banks

Debby said...

Sometimes we need those reflecting moments....and what a better time than Thanksgiving. Hope yours is peaceful and full of new memories.
Love Nella looking at that mirror. Don't you wish you knew what she was thinking.

Molly said...

Sometimes I get so down when everything feels the same. The routine makes me edgy and I feel like I have to do something to make our days different. But working makes that part of life difficult. It's hard to be spontaneous when you're held to a schedule.

I guess that's why holidays are so awesome. Family, togetherness, more photos, more food. It's good stuff.

Mrs. Dubose said...

In Carly Simon's song "Anticipation" there is a line that says "These are the good old days"! I am glad that you know that these ho hum days are the good old days and that you stop and notice them. The moments I remember most from my own kids childhood are the little ones-- the ones that were precious only to me. I have recently been writing and reflecting and sorting out my own past -- in regards to motherhood and dealing with some chronic health issues. I have read your blog from start to finish (twice) and also your book and your honesty and openness is inspiration. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
http://upontheheart.blogspot.com/2012/11/promises-made-and-promises-kept.html

Rach said...

Love this post, I love how your express yourself. It all makes sense.

Shannon Brown said...

Kelle!! You have to buy these slippers called Stompeez! They have a unicorn pair and when you walk the eyes open...you're gonna freak when you see them! I wish I was tech-savvy enough to post a photo but just look them up! Happy Thanksgiving!
Shannon Brown, Philadelphia

katiejack said...

Your talk about sameness made me think of this quote by Mary Jean Iron and how although things seems boring now, someday we may wish for the "same old, same old" to return.

Normal day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. Let me not pass you by in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow. Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so. One day I shall dig my nails into the earth, or bury my face in the pillow, or stretch myself taut, or raise my hands to the sky and want, more than all the world, your return.

One day at a time said...

Oh I get so happy when I see a new post from you!! I LOVE everything you write! You are BEAUTIFUL on the inside and out. It's such a treat getting to see your beautiful family in the pictures you share with us. Thanks Kelle you are truly my inspiration!!! Thank you for sharing your world with us!! P.S. I LOVED your book Bloom, the best book I have read all year, and I have read some good ones. XOXO

Caroline said...

It's amazing how internet connects us. I'm from Brazil and have been reading your blog for some time now, just because, one day, I was looking for a picture of a bouquet of sharpened pecils, because 'You've got mail' is my favorite movie, ever. And I found a blog of a mom who looooves the movie, and she wrote about your blog... and here I am. It's incredible to know people like some of the same things we do... I can imagine how much this movie makes you happy, just as it makes me happy (and just like The Gilmore Girls). Thanks for sharing soo much with us!!!

Melissa said...

I love this post. I think the end of the calendar year invites us inward a little; we pause, we slow down, we reflect. And yes, we don't have to wait for the other shoe to drop--we can just be (:
xo

Chelsea Choponis said...

Kelle, I follow your blog religiously and you never cease to inspire me. You are a remarkable person and I thank you for sharing your words and wonderful girls with us.

Phyl said...

Kelle, you bring such happiness to other people. I so enjoy your blog. Thank you. Hope you and your beautiful family thoroughly enjoy the holidays.

The Scott's said...

I love Nella's polka dot outfit! Too adorable... :)

Ky said...

You didn't say, taking loads of photos.
Exceptional pics in this post.
xx

ashley said...

"You've Got Mail"! One of my all time favorites too! LOVED seeing you quote it.

mrwrigglesworth said...

Thankyou for your post. We are in a settled good patch ourselves too. Our son is finally a lot better - after 18 months of heart surgeries, tube feedings and worry. Now we are on the other side of such struggles, I find it hard to trust this calm. I am endlessly grateful for it but I too, as you say, wait for the other shoe to fall. xx Sarah http://mrwrigglesworth.wordpress.com

Jen F said...

Thanks for the reminder that the steady monotony of days can have just as much meaning as the crazy, hectic ones.

i.s. said...

you're pictures are darling!
pls do check out my blog and latest giveaway:
http://vicariousla.blogspot.com/2012/11/second-edition.html
xx

Chelsea Hanninen said...

Man you have gorgeous kids.

Momma Holmes said...

Love that you are reading DAring Greatly! Love the peace you bring my heart. Such power in your nothingness! Happy Thanksgiving!

Stacey said...

Love the reminder to ground myself and marvel in the mundane. Counting your blog, words, and inspiration among all I'm thankful for. I'm grateful for your openness and humility that I always learn from and look inward because of. Happy thanksgiving to you and your family!

Nancy said...

You've Got Mail!! "You are a lone reed...standing tall...waving boldly...in the corrupt sands of commerce."

I've been reading your blog for a couple years and it's THIS that makes me comment for the first time? Ahhh well.

Great writing -- in high times and in low ones. Keep it up

Jenny V said...

Kelle-
Love your post about the everyday aspects that make a life. I also loved the pic of Laney on the blanket next to the book Daring Greatly. I just returned from a weekend training with Brene Brown regarding her work and I love her. To me, you are a perfect example of daring greatly. A great mix of courage and vulnerability. And in doing so, you give others a voice to do the same thing. ( and your photography is amazing. Thanks for sharing your "everyday" stories with the world.

Unknown said...

Alright, what fan are you swinging from that allows you to get such perfect shots of Nella sleeping from above?? What's your secret??

Aimee Hain said...

Love this whole post Kelle. You word it all so well :) Thank you!