Things look a little different ’round here

Why hello my friends and people of the internet! If you are reading this post you at some point clicked “FOLLOW”, maybe because you have known me since I was in diapers (though I no longer am, let me be clear), maybe because we went to school back in the days when I owned a Debbie Gibson-style hat (and wore it to school though sadly there are no photographs to document this), or maybe because you were sleep-scrolling on your phone and thought, sure, I’ll read the random ramblings of this lady and follow her blog and never think about it again.

Well I’m here today to talk about some ch-ch-changes. BIG CHANGES! To the blog yes but really more importantly to me. The lady behind the blow. The Oz behind the curtain if you will.

Let me cut to the chase. This BLOG IS CHANGING NAMES AND FOCUS. (Pause for dramatic gasps.)

That’s right. You probably don’t keep track of these things but my blog used to be called “Mourning Dove Motherhood.” I wrote about being a mom, losing my mom, some other sad stuff, then some happy stuff, then some angry–ARGHH FIGHT THE MAN! BRING DOWN THE PATRIARCHY!–stuff, then I kinda stopped writing. Then I popped my head out recently and gave you all a little teaser, like hey I’m coming back!

Well here I am! Back! Here is the deal. I realized that I am very much entering a new cycle. The blog and its name and jive doesn’t fit so much anymore. I’m still momming it up, yes, but I’m not thinking about grief or writing about grief or healing from giref or any of that jazz anymore. (HALLELUJAH!). At least it is not longer the main focus of my life. That is progress my friends. PHEW. Frankly, I’m impressed you came here to watch it all unfold. I mean, it is intense just thinking about it.

That brings me to the NOW. I’m retooling this blog to focus on where I’m at today, which is cultivating joy and bringing creations (art, writing, so much more!) into the world. I know you have questions so let’s do a pretend Q and A session alright?

Sarah’s imaginary q&a session with her readers:

Q: Blog lady, I don’t know you or care much about this, but I have questions. Lots of questions Like, what is the new name of the blog?

A: Random follower, I’m so glad you asked! It’s going to be called JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.

Q: Cool, cool. What’s the story behind the blog name?

A: I’M SO GLAD YOU ASKED! It comes form something that came to me about a year ago. I was trying to figure out my life direction and was walking and asked the universe/higher self/great mother–what do I need to DO WITH MY LIFE ALREADY. And I heard “JUST FOLLOW THE JOY.” This phrase kept popping up again and again, every. single. damn. time. I aked for life assistance. Let’s just say I finally gave in and decided to heed the advice. FINE, I WILL HAVE FUN FOR ONCE. So yeah, that’s the new blog name right there! (Also, you could say Joy is my middle name. You could say that because my parents gave me that as my middle name for real. So, it’s like a play on words…Just Follow the (Sarah) Joy! HA! Ya dig me?)

Q: Listen, I signed up to read about your grief and miscarriage and infertilty which frankly is a lot more interesting that all this “follow the joy” business. Why the bait and switch?

A: Dearest follower reader (whoa hat was creepy – make me sound like a cult leader), I do apologize for any inconvenience due to the change in my life focus and blog direction. Please note that you may unsubscribe at any time! Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Q: No really, why didn’t you just create a new blog?

A: I considered it, but I figured all of THAT STUFF (grief, healing, loss, healing, miscarriage, healing, infertility, healing) was what got me to HERE, and that people might like to see the full picture…the entire journey from soup to nuts if you will. You hung with me through the pain so I figure you are entitled to some joy, eh?

Q: What will happen when I try to go to http://www.mourningdovemotherhood.com? I AM REALLY FREAKING OUT ABOUT THIS.

A: I want you to take a nice deep inhale. Hold your breath for three seconds. Good, good. Now exhale. Excellent. If you type in that old url you will be redirected to http://www.justfollowthejoy.com. It is that easy! All my old posts are still there for your sad/poignant reading pleasure.

Q: Let’s say I want to make a soup and start with chicken stock. But I don’t have any in my freezer. Can I make a quick stock today or am I screwed?

A: Oh, this isn’t a cooking blog. You are definitely in the wrong place. I once burned spaghetti that I was boiling in a pot of water.

Q: I think I’ll be ok with all of this. But is there anything I need to do, other than finish reading this ridiculous q and a?


A: SO GLAD YOU ASKED! I didn’t set you up for that question at all.

The only action that you do need to takeis to like me on me new Facebook page, ‘k mate? SO WHAT DO YOU SAY? JUST FOLLOW THE JOY ON FACEBOOK!

Oh, and on instagram too!

What the heck, I’m even on bloglovin’!

Follow my (new and improved, now with zero trans fat!) blog with Bloglovin 
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How to survive a hurricane 

I want to keep my hands busy and create something, anything. I want them to work like a spider creates a web and cast a net of protection across everyone I love. 

I’m safe and yet I can’t help but think of my neighbors, my friends, and even the strangers who sought water along with me at the Winn Dixie. I think of the habitats: my own–yes–but also the egrets’ and the spoonbills’. I think of the cardinals that visit my feeders. The turtles who laid eggs on the nearest beach.

I sit in my car 773 miles from home and I watch a Georgia peach sunset. So warm and giving and yet the same air that breathes a hurricane. 

All I can do is knit: Prayers, wishes, surrender. 

One yellow crate

Really, it is all I need other than my husband, daughter and dogs.

The crate contains my wedding album, a photo from my grandmother I never met of her on her wedding day, the rosary my mother held in her nerve-damaged hands as she witnessed my marriage, and a few other precious keepsakes.

As I surveyed my house, taking photos that will serve as the “before” pictures in case of damage from Irma’s rain and wind, I’m surprised to find myself strangely liberated. The end tables, the stacks of political memoirs and bird identification books and computer programming manuals, the shoes that should have been replaced long ago, it can all be replaced. We will be okay no matter what unfolds.

What would you bring if you had to evacuate?* Would it fit in one yellow crate? I think you’d be surprised to discover that it would.

(*We aren’t under mandatory evacuation but we are most definitely in the “cone of danger” as a Southwest Florida resident. Stay safe one and all. Thank you to all the fire fighters and rescue crews who are sticking around to help others. You are true heroes.) 

Final boarding call.

Sure am glad I didn’t dawdle getting to the airport and while running late accidentally park my rental car in the wrong return lane and be told I have to go inside to fix it, only to find out that no I need to go back outside to get a slip from the very chatty car dude who I can’t help but be kind to and explain that yes, it’s definitely still hot in Florida right now!  I know crazy! To then return to said counter to wait for my receipt that they apparently decided to travel back to 1994 to print on a dot matrix printer. zeet. zeet. Zeet. zeeeeeep. (Repeat approx. 1,367 times.) To then sit on the SLOWEST SHUTTLE BUS EVER and arrive at the terminal and discover my flight leaves in, oh, half and hour, and run to check my bag (because somehow having tiny shampoo bottles in my luggage is still a threat to national security) to then get stuck in a long line of millennials staring at phones in what is perhaps the Longest. Security. Line. Ever. Especially for a second rate rust belt city (I can say this I’m from this region) to then *almost* make it through security except for my laptop that is arousing suspicion and must be checked by the guy with a mysterious magical wand-stick. To then shoe-up and run and I mean RUN to the farthest end of the terminal while overhearing the Southwest gate agent say “final call for passenger Sarah Dee-MA-Teee-no” as I’m still wildly running, dodging couples and children while The Weekend sings in the background I’m tryna put you in the worst mood, ah/P1 cleaner than your church shoes, ah which makes me feel like a badass in a movie scene (until I realize my laptop bag is hitting my butt every two seconds which is not sexy. Not at all.) To then arrive at the gate as the guy is about to shut the door, and cough out my name, wheezing and sweating and and laughing with the cool luggage attendant dude (unlike the check-in dude who is ALL business ok whatever lol) only to be the very last person on the plane (THE ONE TIME I have an A35 southwest spot in line!!!) to then sit in a middle seat but whatever that’s cool cuz I’m making it home!, and cough up half a lung for like twenty minutes and have no water and question the sufficiency of my current exercise regimen and fly to Atlanta and discover my next flight is delayed. 

Yep, sure am glad that none of that happened. 

Who are you waiting for?

who are you waiting forThe President? The congress? The reasonable republicans? The unreasonable republicans? (Oh Marco, I have you on speed dial but honey I AM NOT WAITING FOR YOU.)

Are you waiting for Bernie? Hillary? Kamala? Cory? The alt-left? (WHAT IS THIS AND I THINK I AM A PART OF IT MAYBE??)

Are you waiting for the mid-terms? Are you waiting for the tax returns? Are you waiting for an anointed leader-of-the-people to magically emerge? Are you waiting for Godot? Are you waiting for Justin Trudeau to hug you and tell you it will be OK? (PLEASE, LIKE YESTERDAY JUSTIN.) Are you waiting for Obama? (WE DID LOVE THAT TWEET.) Are you waiting for Michelle? (OMG REMEMBER MICHELLE???)

Are you waiting to “just see how it all works out?” Are you hiding until it all works out?

Are you tweeting the revolution? (THE REVOLUTION WILL NOT BE TWEETED. BY REVOLUTION I MEAN NON-VIOLENT AND ROOTED IN LOVE MKAY? ALWAYS.)

Are you waiting for permission? Are you waiting for support? Are you waiting for the bat signal?

Are you numbing out? Are you hiding out? Are you making jokes? Are you freaking out?

Are you blocking family-who-voted-for-Trump? Are you blocking family-who-voted-third-party? (BLESS YOU MY MILLENNIAL COUSINS. I FORGIVE YOU.) Are you hiding from your neighbor who voted from Trump? (SERIOUSLY SHE BLASTS RUSH LIMBAUGH AND IT DRIVES ME NUTSSSSS.)

Are you angry? Are you scared? (YES, YES.) Are you defiant? Are you indignant? Are you usually the follower? Are you usually the leader? Are you done? Are you SO DONE you could stick a fork in it?

ARE YOU FED UP YET?

Because here is the thing: American needs you. YES, you. It was always you. (CUE THE ROM-COM CLIPS.)

You cannot do it alone – no. But listen to me: it starts (end ends) with you. 

I am here to say, dear ones, that now is the time. To speak. To move. To find your voice.

You are the ones we have been waiting for.


You might also like: Let’s use this fire-breath to bring down the patriarchy! (Or something.)

Welcome to Humans Anonymous!

I have a confession.

It turns out i am a human. Who is flawed. And (gulp) imperfect.

There’s something about the holidays that just leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable. I am sure I am alone in this. I am sure no other flawed, imperfect human struggles this time of year!

Let me tell you about my judgment spiral. Wait, let me back up. I need you to know first of all that I am INFJ. That is a meyers-briggs personality assessment because I freaking love any time of psychology/self-help/woo-woo assessment.

You will notice there is a J at the end. J is for judgment. As in, I am a judge-y Judy. My husband-the-scientist is an INFP–“P”  stands for perceiving. Which means conversations like this occur (as it did last night):

Me: It isn’t always bad to be judge-y. Sometimes you need to make a judgement about something!

Husband: Do you?

Me: (Horrified) You are joking when you say that right? YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME!

Husband: No I am not joking. [editor’s note: He wasn’t joking. I KNOW RIGHT??]

Me: Oh, I just judged you for NOT JUDGING. Damnit I have a problem!

Now let’s back up one week. Let me set the scene.

Our babysitter was here watching our kiddo during the final week of the world’s longest break because I had to work (for real) and my husband had to work or else he would go certified stir-crazy (also true).

The sitter came and watched our kid in our house. Our messy, grimy, needs-deep-cleaning-so-bad-I-can-taste-it house. Our sitter–a self-professed “OCD neat freak” — was likely breaking out in hives all week after being forced to be in the grime. Of course that was what I was imagining.

Every morning before she came I cleaned like a madwoman, cursed about whoever didn’t put their shoes away, decided my husband and child were the World’s Messiest Human Beings, and generally felt my stress level go up ten notches.

Dear people, this was because I was worried about what my 22-year-old babysitter thought of my messy house. Yes. A young woman who has no children, no spouse, no full-time job. WHAT THE ACTUAL :!@#IE?! 

Oh, might I add that I assumed she was judging me. It is also possible she showed up, shrugged her shoulders, and carried on without a thought. Either way, why do I care?

Well, I care because at the end of the day I am ashamed of my dirty house. ASHAMED. I mean that is a powerful word right? And why am I ashamed? Because my dear, loving mother kept the most immaculate, clean, neat, tidy house you can imagine. My dear mother who would care for everyone in our house from the moment she arose to the end of the day, 11pm at night, sitting and folding laundry while finally doing something for herself: watching some tv. WHILE FOLDING LAUNDRY.

Guess what I do. Are you ready for this? I work all day, and after putting my kid to bed, sit and watch tv. WITHOUT FOLDING LAUNDRY. I let it pile up like nobody’s business. Or, I sit and write (like now!) rather than clean, or I sit and paint rather than clean.

As I type this I hear my mom in my ear. Tears well in my eyes as I type this: Sarah, you are being so hard on yourself. She also adds, with a chuckle, that housekeeping has never exactly been my strong suit. (She would also be correct.  I have always preferred writing, painting, and day-dreaming to sock-matching . My daughter, who very much likes her socks to match, will sometimes come over and say quite-seriously: “Mommy, good job! Your socks match today!”)

Yeah, I might have a self-compassion problem.  In fact, I do, according to self-compassion.org! (An actual website with an actual quiz.) Yes, it turns out there is a quiz for it. Because the universe has impeccable timing, Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” arrived yesterday, and I flipped directly to the self-compassion chapter which had a link to that website listed.

http://self-compassion.org/. Drum roll for the results….

compassion

Yeah…I’d say that maybe the word for 2017 will be self-compassion.

Me: HI, MY NAME IS SARAH.

Everyone else: HI SARAH!

Me: I AM A HUMAN! I AM IMPERFECT, LIKE ALL THE OTHER HUMANS!

Everyone else: WELCOME TO HUMANS-ANONYMOUS, SARAH!


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Saturday Morning

Outside the mourning doves are cooing. Inside the house, my daughter is declaring the toast to be too toasty (and her highness is requesting less-toasty toast please!). There is a low whine in the background — the sound of a broken toilet that won’t stop running and that my mediocre plumbing skills are not capable of fixing.

I am wearing a happy birthday hat that my daughter put on my head. I am eating the discarded toasty-toast. It is all glorious because I am also sitting here writing! With my coffee, natch. 

Happy Saturday, friends.

Coffee, a Love Story

The biggest realization with my cleanse? That there are certain positive behaviors I regularly engage in that rely upon other actions (say, brewing a cup of coffee…) that when missing from my routine creates CHAOS.

It turns out that coffee is the gear in our household machinery that, when absent, causes the whole enterprise to fall apart.

I am being super dramatic. But only a little!  The thing is, each morning (prior to the cleanse), getting up and making coffee was the springboard to my ENTIRE DAY. With it I would wake up, show up to my computer, write, and then have time to do other positive things like exercise or start work early, or even do a morning sketch.

You might ask, But Sarah, couldn’t you replace making coffee with the act of boiling your water and adding a lemon? Great plan. Yes I also considered this. Guess what. It turns out that leaping out of bed to make hot water with lemon IS NOT A THING. 0ebaefd0-a419-0132-e44d-0e7954aeedc0

I have a week left of the cleanse, which by the way is going very well except for the coffee snafu. I am no longer having headaches. I am not even craving caffeine or sugar. I have a butternut squash in my fridge that I plan to eat in some way or another. Kale has been consumed.

But today I am drinking coffee. Decaf coffee. And I am in front of my computer and writing my day is off to a grand start. The missing gear is back!

P.S. guess who is adding a stash of coffee to the hurricane/emergency preparedness supplies? CRISIS AVERTED.

 

 

 

This Is Not A Blog Post

This is not a blog post. It looks like a blog post but it isn’t really one. It is me sitting down attempting to write even though I am tired and grumpy and everyone in my house is either grumpy or sick.

My only hope to turn things around are pumpkins. How I love them. My daughter does too. The problem with pumpkins in Florida is that they rot really quickly. Depending on how my daughter is feeling maybe we will go to a pretend pumpkin patch this weekend (I say pretend because pumpkins don’t really grow in subtropical climates do they??)

We will get a pumpkin and keep it in our fridge until Halloween. Just kidding. There isn’t room in my fridge! We will keep in on an inside table where it won’t be scorched by the sun. And we will eat apples and pretend it is Michigan in the fall.

Looks like I need to wrap up this sham of a blog post. My daughter is making “sand art” using garlic powder she somehow adhered to construction paper. That would be my cue to go….