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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Dear mom

It’s been five years since we said goodbye, but even that phrase “goodbye” doesn’t seem exactly right. We talk all the time. You flood my YouTube feed with Mormon Tabernacle Choir music, and when I ignore you, you up the ante by sending a Mormon tabernacle choir rendition of ABBA’s Dancing Queen. Yeah you knew I’d click it and I did and about died of laughter watching it. Why am I not surprised you’d be pulling off goofy antics even from heaven?

I mean seriously a bell choir is performing ABBA. It’s amazing 😂

You’d be thrilled I took the day off work to grieve/celebrate YOU…and to make some art while rocking out to music. (Don’t worry, I’m not only listening to new wave. I’ll throw some Linda Ronstandt and Streisand in rotation too.)

Mom and me.

We’ll be having a slice of chocolate cake tonight to celebrate your life. Zoey says you get some too, and she’s pretty sure you can eat as much as you want in heaven without getting a belly ache! I bet she’s right. We love you. Keep a listen for the sound of bells….we might put on some tabernacle jams in your honor.

Love,

Sarah Joy

She’s got the moves like Jagger (or maybe not . . .)

I’d like to think that the truck full of young males headed to a landscaping job, sitting idle next to me at a stoplight, were cracking up at my dance moves because they were wowed by them and impressed by this forty-something’s swagger.

But I’m pretty sure they thought I looked like Elaine from Seinfeld.

“Mom, this is why I ask you not to dance.” Thanks a lot, peanut gallery!

You Sit on a Throne of Lies!

Why is it that when you know your scale is broken you still always assume everyone else’s scale is broken and ha ha don’t they know the only accurate reading is visible only to you in the privacy of your bathroom? 

Which is to say that I bought a new scale. Guess what. MY OLD SCALE LIED. Of course it did! I knew it did but I wanted to believe otherwise. Perhaps the snug feeling in my shorts *wasn’t* just my weight “rearranging itself.” That isn’t even a thing! Weight doesn’t one day go, “Hey Herald come with me to this belly region so we can try out a new view! You know, hanging outside the top of this lady’s shorts!”

What does this have to do with anything? Well, it seems that this week is all about slaying. Not slaying as in “Beyonce is slaying on the red carpet.” Slaying as in, time to slay all the damn illusions and lies you have been telling yourself for too long.

Think you are losing weight even though your damn scale is five pounds off? SLAY.

Think you are totally cool with and have come to peace and understanding about ——>INSERT LIFE ISSUE THAT SUCKS<—???

Think that while yes those confederate monuments are gross and racist and vile you never really considered that WE LITERALLY WALK AROUND WITH MONUMENTS CELEBRATING SLAVERY AND WHITE SUPREMACY IN THE SAME WAY AS IF GERMANY HAD KEPT UP A BUNCH OF HITLER STATUES AND YELLED AT PEOPLE WHO WERE LIKE UM THOSE ME UNCOMFORTABLE???

How did I not see all this?!

That’s right, the word of the week is slay.

Slay those illusions and falsehoods. Because the truth–that is something you can work with.

The scale speaks the truth and now you can accept reality and decide maybe not to eat the large Costco bag of Veggie Straws by the fistful. 

Life is hard and painful and yet…it’s only when you face the pain that you can release it. (Phew doesn’t that feel better?)

 

The confederate monuments are turd burgers so why not replace them with something way cooler like a statue of Missy Elliot please and thank you? (You can sign to support the cause here.

Anyway, you totally got this. Go slay some dragons. Excuse me while I got throw out that old, lying scoundrel of a bathroom scale. 

 

The Post-Easter 3:01 a.m. Sugar Hangover

3:01 a.m.

4-year old: “Maaaaaaaah-meeee, it’s time to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!! Time to make the caaaaaaaaawwwwfeeeeee!”

me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

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Still learning the lesson that chocolate contains sugar and CAFFEINE. (Photo credit: “Easter Bunny!” Photo by Sarah-Rose, Creative Commons license, at https://flic.kr/p/9DkYVa.

4:22 a.m.

4YO: “It’s getting light out!”

Me: “No, it’s definitely not. Go back to sleep.”

4:48 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy, how do bats see in the dark?”

Me: “I don’t know. Go back to sleep.” (Meanwhile, thinks to self, hmm, bats have poor vision right? But they echolocate. . . why am I thinking about this.)

4YO: “I’ll ask daddy!” (runs to daddy, who wisely retreated to the guest bed to avoid this nonsense.)

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“Kid, we don’t see in the dark. But if we did, we would fly to your bed and tell you to go the Fork to Sleep!” – Sincerely, batty. (Photo credit: “DSC_0530” by Bat-Wrangler, Creative Commons License at https://flic.kr/p/5EkDf4.)

4:49 a.m.

4YO: “THEY ECKA-LOKAY!”

Me: “Yes, echolocation. Go back to sleep.”

6:22 a.m.

4YO: (Snoring.)

Me: (Snoring)

7:01 a.m.

4YO: “Mommy it’s light out! Time for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!”

Me: “Time to make the caaaawwww-feeee.” (Yawn.)


How did your child’s chocolate hangover go? What’s that, you wisely did not let your youngster consume copious amounts of chocolate late in the day?? *All hail your wise parenting choices!*

The Pine Tree (But it’s Not About the Tree)

The neighbor’s pine tree was removed today. It stood several inches away from our property line. But it felt like my tree.

The large crew of workers cheered when the tree came crashing down but I stood and cried. Oh I had plans, all internal mind you, to talk to our neighbors about my their tree. They told my husband they were planning to remove it because it was too messy. I was going to tell them about the woodpecker that lived in the tree. I tried to imagine their faces when I told them to save the tree for the birds, and well, I kept avoiding the conversation. And now my tree was gone, rolled away in an orderly pile of mulch.

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The pine tree that is no more. It is the tree pictured behind the bird feeder. Sniff.

Why am I fretting so much about the tree? It’s not the tree. I know this even though all I want to do is rant about the tree. No, I am crying for all the damn pine trees that have fallen in my life without my permission, disrupting the peace of my birds, leaving me helpless to fix. As if there was ever any fixing to be done in the first place!

Instead I will go for a run. I will drink a cup of hot tea even though I want coffee, because goodness knows more coffee will only make my heart quicken and I don’t need that.

I will fold laundry. I will pick up messes. I will write–first a dark poem about my tree on my private blog nobody knows exists (I will spare you the poem) and then this post. I will yell at the beagles when they find half a churro in my purse, and this sentence alone will make me laugh out loud for the first time since the tree was felled. Then I will chuck the churro away in the trash when I discover it is covered in ants (alas, I do live in Florida after all). Finally, one problem I can fix.

I will put away some dishes. I will drink more tea and keep avoiding coffee. I will let myself cry at the bright sun pouring down on grass where a tree once stood even though I know it’s not about the tree.

I don’t like onions! I make them cry!

That was the three-year-old in response to stuffing being placed on her thanksgiving plate. The nerve! You don’t even want to hear what she said about the celery.

(She did however find Redi-whip to be quite to her liking. She ran around the house with it clutched in her hands and squealing. It took three of us to corner her and grab the can before total-and-utter-whipped-cream-chaos ensued.)

Never a dull moment with this kid.

Who Killed JR? His toddler who refused to sleep!

Flashback to 1983. My parents are watching Dallas in the basement with their friends. I’m at the top of the stairs, trying not to squeak the steps, hunched in a nightgown with my knees pulled tight. Of course my mom sees me and yep, she is upset. Despite her frustration she lets me sit on the floor  and join them in watching the number one show of 1983.600x600bb-85

My mom had to do this a lot–put up with a kid who was awake until all hours of the night. Usually it was just the two of us. She’d let me watch Love Boat on the tiny black and white TV in our kitchen while she made popcorn. Initially she would be exasperated (Of COURSE she was, adult Sarah gets it now!) but she always softened and lovingly let me join her in her late night routine.

Let me write it out right here in case my prayers haven’t reached my mother: MOM I AM SO SORRY FOR WHAT I PUT YOU THROUGH. MOM HOW DID YOU DO IT. MOM YOU POOR WOMAN YOU NEVER. GOT. A. BREAK!

Why the mea culpas? Because now I’m in her shoes. My almost-four-year-old is having what I jokingly refer to as the “four-year sleep regression.” She is awake approximately 99.98% of our waking hours. No break from the kid. No down time. And let me tell you, as an introvert this is so hard.

How am I responding to it all? I’m trying to model my mom’s love. (She still teaches me. When people say love never dies, that it extends forever, this is what they mean.) Lately I’m following her lead as much as I can. Like her, I’m surrendering to the fact that my kiddo won’t sleep and there isn’t much I can do about that fact. I might as well make some popcorn for her while she sits on the floor to join in watching Jane the Virgin.

I have a feeling she may someday look back fondly on these moments. I have a hunch I just might, too.


Did you interrupt your parents’ Dallas parties? Share here or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

 

The time I tried to lure my child to sleep with ambient music

Nobody is getting sleep in our house lately. The kid seems to be getting too much sleep at preschool nap time plus allergies and colds and high-spirited-child. No sleep. No time for watching Jane the Virgin before bed. (Me, not the child.)

Ok, I’m done whining.

But first, a story. A humorous story where I thought I could perhaps FIX this lack of sleep thing!

(Laughter.)

I read about some music that has been proven by science to be the most relaxing and I thought, a HA! WE WILL TRY THIS.

So while my husband was trying to get the kid to sleep I listened to it to try it out. I nearly fell asleep. Oh this was good. 

When it was (inevitably) my turn to take over trying to get this child to go the f to sleep, I brought my handy music playlist.

This is a recap of how it went down:

Me: “We are listening to nighttime music.”

(Turns on ambient-ish music on iphone.)

Child: “I WANT TO SEE! I WANT TO SEE!”

Me: “NO! There is nothing to see. You listen with your ears.”

(Places phone high, high up where child cannot reach.)

Child: bouncing on bed to music.

Me: Yelling, cajoling. Finally gets kid to lay down in sleep position.

Several minutes pass. Music is weird and includes rainstorm sounds.

Child: Sits straight up in bed. “What is that sound?? It is not raining! Why is it raining in the music!”

Me: “It is supposed to relax you! Just LISTEN! AND GO. TO. SLEEP.”

Music nears the end of six minutes. Child is twitching and falling into sleep. Omigoditisactuallyworking. 

Music ends. 

KID WAKES UP.

Child: “I want the music again!”

 

Annnnd back to square one.

(These small beings eventually grow up and actually sleep. Unassisted. Right??)