Finding Summer in My Own Backyard

Saying YES to summer hasn’t looked like I thought it would. More pool time, like I promised. We’ve been good at that. We haven’t done quite as many Campfire Wednesdays as we hoped but we’re working on it. We seem to be spending A LOT more time with one another, which is so rad I can’t even begin to tell you. But…I have become really attached to my own back yard.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

 

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

I’ve never been known for my green thumb or even wanting to have a green thumb. But this suburban orchard I’ve inherited has been both overwhelming and so damn good for my soul. But did I mention it’s a little overwhelming? Oh good. Because it is a little overwhelming at times.

photo 2

photo 3

PLUMS

Apricots and plums are coming out of our ears. I’m not mad about it. But I’m learning a lot this time around since it’s our first season with all of this…abundance. There are things that I’ll do SO different next year. We also know a little bit more about trimming down the right way and parsing down the fruit so it’s even better quality. The fruit is delicious. But I think with even more TLC and knowhow, we’ll have better success with ALL of this!

IMG_9512

I almost can’t even explain the joy I have had going out in the backyard in the morning to pull fruit from the trees in our yard. Or sharing our abundance of apricots and plums. I’ve never really experienced it in this way. I mean, I’ve never had my own suburban orchard. So there’s that.

*  *  *  *

Last week, after a particularly frustrating day, I came home from work in a pretty foul mood. I was so relieved to be home. Even if I did announce as I walked in that I wasn’t cooking dinner. (It happens.) (I’m just not going to talk about the frequency that it happens.) With leftovers from the previous days and hosting family, I got it in my head that a fancy cheese plate was the only answer. Sure, I could’ve just dumped all the packages and ingredients on the counter, but taking the few minutes to make something nice for myself was a luxury that made all the difference in the world.

photo 4

The four of us found our way out to the backyard with the “fancy” cheese plate and any leftovers we could find and had the most delicious and relaxing evening you could imagine. It soothed the soul after a crummy day. The kids read or we talked or listened to music. Sarah stopped by with jam (that will literally knock your socks off) made from our suburban orchard fruit! (No really. You have to try this)

photo 5

 

We sat there laughing and talking. We maybe finished a bottle of wine. I was so bummed when it got too dark, I wanted to stay out there all night long.

But it was the perfect lesson to saying yes to summer more. It doesn’t have to be a “fancy” cheese plate. (Although, three nights in a row last week, I just couldn’t say no to them.) It made a world of difference that I just took a few minutes to make it special. It was enjoying my own backyard and being (SO!) grateful for what I have and for the amazing people in my life. THAT is what makes summer so magical. And if I can take those few minutes as often as I can, this summer is already winning it all.

 

drinksjpg

 

(Yes. We are totally going to keep talking about the apricot pepper jam that Sarah made with the apricots. I have put it on EVERYTHING. Just thinking about it now makes me so happy. Stay tuned, folks.)

 

Saying Yes to Summer

IMG_9384

A couple months ago, as we neared warmer temperatures and our pool being open for business, I realized just how much I didn’t use our pool last summer. Moving to a new home is not easy, and the summer months are crazy busy for me, but I was really surprised that I hadn’t even attempted to swim more. I suppose it was “one more thing” for me to worry about. I mean, sometimes changing into a swimsuit is more work than just taking care of the laundry or doing the dishes. While I do know this has a lot to do with how I feel about myself IN a swimsuit, it still felt like an item on the to-do list that I just couldn’t seem to tackle. It made me a little sad that I had missed out on that part of summer.

I have NEVER been comfortable in bathing suit situations. Even as a stick-thin kid, I was bony and awkward and, let’s be honest, never filled out a swimsuit in all the right places. (I still don’t. Go figure.) I was self-conscious and horribly shy about my body. Two kids, SEVERAL pounds and many years later, I have even more swimsuit issues than before. I became really good at avoiding reasons to wear a bathing suit.

By some miracle, or a crazy smoke and mirrors trick, I have raised two confident daughters. At least for the most part, I’ve never heard or seen them be worried about what they look like in a swimsuit. Sure, they are athletic and have great figures, but they could’ve easily fallen into the same trap I did. I am so grateful that they can be confident in their own skin.

IMG_9346

***

I made a promise to myself those couple months ago that I would get in the pool more this summer. Along the lines of saying YES more, getting myself IN (and around) the pool more was a big deal to me. Being in a habit of hating the summer deadlines, and not spending more time with kids, was hard on my happiness. I let it get in the way of the times that I DO have. And while I haven’t embraced my summer work load with open arms, saying yes to the pool has propelled me to a more “glass half-full” mentality. In the two weeks since our pool opened for the season, I have been in the pool more times than I was entirety of last summer. That’s huge. I don’t even have a real swimsuit because I knew if I waited for a suit that I liked, we’d be getting ready for Christmas with no pool-time to speak of.

IMG_9347

I can’t help but document parts of this time that I’m having with my family. I’ve posted several pictures on Instagram out of sheer amazement that I’m making this happen. That WE, as a family, are making this happen. We laugh. We play. We lounge around relaxing. Things that we don’t usually have time for. We still don’t have time, I guess. Except for YES WE DO. We’re MAKING the time to be out there and I’m MAKING myself be a part of it, no matter what I look like in a swimming suit or what time I get home from work.

IMG_9400

We’re saying yes a whole lot more.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

I’m enjoying the hell out of summer already.

IMG_9365

No one is more surprised than I am.

IMG_9509

 

(Except for maybe THAT guy.Ha.)

this is mostly just for me

Sometimes I forget that this space here is mine.

I mean, you all are welcome here in this space at any time. You don’t even have to take off your shoes and I won’t even be mad if you eat all of my cheese. But I keep forgetting that it’s up to me what goes here. I don’t have to make it look like anyone else’s space. It might even smell funny sometimes. (I’ll try to work on that, though. Febreeze up the place every now and then.)

But it is mine. And it really is ok that I make myself a little more at home here. Hang a few more pictures on the wall and walk around in my underwear sometimes. Just kidding! I’ll always wear a robe. Probably yoga pants.

Let’s be honest: it will always be yoga pants and a t-shirt/tank.

* * *

mom n dad

My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary on Sunday. I sure like them a lot and I’m glad that their insane enough to have five kids and that they still like each other after all this time. They have this amazing family and a whole lot to be proud of.

* * *

p & a

These two went to a Stanford game on Friday night. For a few minutes, it almost felt like it will once she’s off at college. I was sad and excited and then sad again. I had avoided Rob Lowe and his words for many days because I knew I’d be a mess after reading them. (I was.) So it’s no surprise that I was a bit more aware of all the feelings.

p

I’m so damn proud of all her hard work. I hate that I can be such a wreck about this. I’m already so annoying about this. (I’M SORRY.) I only write about it when I’m not holding it together. I really am fine most of the time. Except for when I read about Rob Lowe and then all bets are off and she’s never leaving me ever.

* * *

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

But then prom happened. How on earth is this classy chick my kid? Do you KNOW what I looked like at my prom? NOT LIKE THIS. Mostly because I didn’t go to my proms. But even if I did, I wouldn’t have looked like this. She’s just so…cool.

Although, mad props to her Fairy Godmother (aka: Sarah) for being the make-up (and hair) magician. It was all quite fabulous from start to finish.

Ramona took it upon herself (and nagging me to curl her hair) to get dolled up. I’m not sure if she was expecting to take some pictures with her sister, but…well, the two of them made my heart explode into a million pieces. It was a huge mess in the driveway. But seriously with these two.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

How did I get to be so lucky?

* * *

While in Atlanta, Dove gave the attendees a bag full of goodies at the beginning of the conference and encouraged us to take a couple of notepads that we could use to leave notes for our kids. I loved the idea. LOVED it. Except, my kids beat me to the punch and hid it in my planner in the space for this week.

dove

I always knew I wanted to be a mom but these kids of mine are more than I could’ve ever imagined. It is hard and frustrating and maddening and did I mention hard? It really is all of those things. But it is also amazing and wonderful and the best thing ever.

On Mother’s Day I spent part of the morning thinking about the hard side of mom life. The times when you feel like you’re doing everything wrong and nothing makes sense. You have no idea how to fix it or make it better, you just know that you should. But even as my heart hurt for the times when kids are jerks or when I’ve lost my cool, I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t go back in time and take it all back. I would do all the hard all over again because I wouldn’t be who I am today without experiencing all of it. We wouldn’t be the us we are without it.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

* * *

Have a great week everyone. Next time, you host. We eat all the cheese at your house next.

 

Are We Showing Our Daughters What Self-Confidence Looks Like?

I had an amazing weekend in Atlanta for the Mom 2.0 Summit. I have lists and thoughts and more lists of things I want to accomplish after being inspired by so many. I met the coolest people that offered up their expertise and wanted to help us all reach our goals. I felt acceptance when I worried about being the outsider. (The “small-potatoes” blogger outsider.) I met some delicious new friends who warm my heart and who are now stuck with me forever. I even stepped outside my comfort zones and actually survived.

But this weekend also reminded me of things that need my attention. Some pretty important things.

image

I’ve always known that it was important to me to raise strong, kick-ass daughters. It has always been important to me that they know how amazing they are. How beautiful they are. More importantly, how smart they are. I want them to be comfortable in their own skin. I want them to be brave. I want them to be happy. I want them to work hard and have fun. I want them to know that they are precious and priceless. I want them to have the confidence to stand up for themselves and be who they were meant to be.

I want them to know that they are loved beyond all reason and explanation. Especially when the world is so hell bent on making them think that isn’t true.

image

During the Dove Friday morning keynote panel about confidence, we were all reminded the importance of leading by example. We can tell our daughters all day long that they are beautiful. But if they regularly see us, their mothers, talking bad about our own bodies or show that we are uncomfortable in our own skin, we are teaching them to do the same.

If we aren’t an example of self-confidence, our daughters will not learn self-confidence.

***

A couple weeks ago, I wanted an excuse to celebrate my birthday. (Apparently BEING BORN isn’t reason enough.) I’m not good at having the “birthday attention” on me, so I thought having a jewelry party would allow me to have a fun time with my friends without being the center of all the attention. But as the party started, the jewelry person had everyone introduce themselves and then give one word that described me. The words were beautiful, sweet and touching.

But I was coming out of my skin uncomfortable.

I wouldn’t describe myself as having low self-esteem, but there were wonderful things being said about me from some of the dearest people on the planet, and there was a part of me that wanted them to stop. In fact, when the jewelry lady saw how uncomfortable I was getting, she asked me if I wanted to skip it. I was *thisclose* to saying yes. What is it that made me so uncomfortable? Did I feel unworthy? Or just embarrassed?

I’m still not sure, but as I was listening to that morning keynote, I was transported back to that day and my inability to take compliments. As they spoke of the importance of being an example of confidence, I was reminded how much I struggle with that very thing. I know that I am strong and that I can do hard things, but my outward example of confidence is almost non-existent. Perhaps because I’m really not very confident at all.

I need to be more careful. While I know that I shower my daughters with love and support, do they ever see me do the same for myself? I want them to be kick-ass and brave. Am I doing my part to make that happen for me? I tell them they are beautiful and smart. Have I ever embraced those words to describe myself? Not really.

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset

I’ve been thinking about all the times I’ve brushed off compliments and changed the subject. I keep thinking about all the times I half joke/half complain about my flat chest and large ass. How many times have I complained about going completely gray in my 20’s? (A LOT.) It’s weird to admit that I’m proud of the mother that I am but that I’m not proud of the example I’ve been setting as a woman. It’s time to work on that.

I’ve admired Dove and their self-esteem project with the work that they do to inspire and encourage. I am grateful for their participation (and sponsorship) of Mom 2.0 Summit. Most of all, I’m so glad that I was reminded that we have a lot of work to do to make sure our girls know how wonderful and special and beautiful they are.

These girls are amazing! They can move mountains. They can change the world if they want.

But you know what? So can we.

Cooking: a time and a place

I made a batch of apple butter this weekend. No one is more surprised than I am that I pulled it off but I have honestly been stepping outside my kitchen comfort zone. Okay, I stepped outside of it TWICE in the past month, but still. APPLE BUTTER WAS MADE.

applebutter

I know that, for some of you, this doesn’t sound like a huge deal. But for me? Well, at some point in the past 10 years, I’ve convinced myself that I’m a terrible cook. I’m not saying I’m chef material, but it was a pretty harsh statement when in reality, I’m just really effing busy. I think that when I added “mother of two” to the list of jobs that I possessed, cooking became a really big chore. I just simply didn’t have time for it. By the time I got home from work…well, cooking loses all it’s fun when you don’t even have time to go to the bathroom by yourself.

Life just got busier and busier. And my time and patience for cooking fell further away. I still had a few things that I could cook well, but that wasn’t very exciting. And then, by fault of me caring too much about what other people thought, I felt very self-conscious about my cooking. I had gone from She Who Doesn’t Have Time to She Who Cannot Boil Water.

(Note: my husband and children have always been very sweet about my cooking. As such, their opinions still matter. Some.)

At some point in the past year, I have found that I enjoy cooking. Not all the time. (I’m still effing busy.) But I have found that I love finding that creative side of me when cooking something up in the kitchen. I have tried to make things that I’ve had in restaurants even if I don’t have a recipe. (I maybe try this more often with adult beverages, but whatever IT’S PRACTICE.) I find a recipe I want to try, but I always tweak it to my taste. And when I started to panic (again) that my grandmother won’t live forever and I still hadn’t figured out how to make her apple butter, well…I finally did it. No, it’s not as good as hers (how could it be) and I didn’t make it like she does, but dammit. I made it. For whatever reason, that’s a taste of my childhood and it was super important to me to know how to make it when it comes time for my gram to…retire her apple butter making skills.

I know. It’s just apple butter. But it represents what can happen when I stop thinking the worst of myself and I get out of my own way. In doing so, I have this special (delicious) memory that I can continue and pass on. It’s a step in the right direction.

Or outside the kitchen comfort zone.

Type – A Resolving

The other day, I read an article listing 16 signs that you might be a Type A personality. I thought I would see a lot of things on that list that I wasn’t. Instead, I found myself seeing so many things on that list that I so, totally am. To be honest, I was a little bit shocked.

I realize that I have my…THINGS. I know I have a perfectionism disease. And a people-pleasing disease. I always have to be doing something. (Even if it’s just reading a book or on social media…or writing) But when I hear people being described as a Type A personality…well, I’m not like those people. Am I? I always pictured Type A personalities brimming with confidence and bad-ass/can-do attitudes. I don’t really describe myself in those ways.

But as I’m reading this list, holy crap.

I’m not all of those things. But I’m most of those things. In some way or another or partly that way or another. (Except for the intolerance and career before relationships. And sometimes I really can be good at relaxing.)

On New Year’s Eve, I started to get nervous that I didn’t have a list of goals or resolutions I was going to make for 2014. I mean, making resolutions is just what I do. It is Type A list-making at its finest! Sure, I have big plans for my life with the family or work or Cap City Moms. I know there are things that I want to do. But I had one of those “ah-ha!” moments where I felt like if I defined what those goals were, I was limiting myself.

define

About 20 minutes before midnight, I couldn’t take it anymore and I had to make some sort of list. (Why I’ve never thought myself to be Type A, I’ll never know.) I had a couple of running events that I wanted to do, so I wrote those down. I put the College Bucket list on there because we need to keep crossing things off. But then I just wrote: BE BADASS.

And then I let it go.

I. Let. It. Go.

I didn’t make a list of resolutions that included how much weight I wanted to lose. Or how many miles I wanted to run. I didn’t make a list of all those things that would “make me a better person” in this New Year. For the first time in recent memory, I started this year feeling a lot more hopeful and, really, a lot better about myself than I ever had.

resolve

I like who I am. Right now. Without losing weight. Without running. Without whatever it is that I always seem to write on those damn lists.

It’s amazing how freeing acceptance is. It’s also helpful to, maybe, realize a few things about yourself that you didn’t know before. (Hello, closet Type A Jill.) With that acceptance and those realizations, I’ve come to see (again) how much I get in my own way. I am my own worst critic and my own obstacle standing between me and some of my biggest goals and dreams.

I’m not 100% sure how to get OUT of my own way, I will probably always have a wicked hatred for long lines, and a pretty to-do list will make me the happiest nerd on the planet. But knowing all this sure makes it a tiny bit easier to navigate around the crazy that I create for myself. It’s a start.

93c64ff3557fc14562707d87102dad8f

Life Without Pinterest is Like a Night…Without Pinterest. (Or Blogging.)

Last night, I admitted to Sarah that I hadn’t been on Pinterest in weeks. She was understandably shocked. Quite honestly, I didn’t know that my Pinterest Vacation had lasted so long. But when you’re spending every spare moment on a new adventure? Well, I guess time just flies. With, or without, Pinterest.

This, maybe, applies to this right here blog of mine.

And so here we are.

To catch up? I had a really amazing Thanksgiving, thankyouverymuch. We started the day with Run to Feed the Hungry. I don’t know why we had such a great run, but we had a freaking blast. Maybe it’s because we’re so cute.

family

Thanksgiving dinner was spent with most of my siblings, my cute family and my inlaws. And you know what? It was pretty gosh darn fantastic. And wonderful. And I loved every minute of it. Even if I didn’t get a chance to shower after the race. (Good news is that I showered BEFORE. That was lucky. And a lot planned.)

The next day, we set out to find the biggest Christmas tree ever. Okay, not ever…but the only thing I asked for Christmas was a huge tree. So we made our way up to Apple Hill…along with a million other people…and braved the weather. And by “weather” I mean it was, like 9 million degrees. Which, if you think about it, is pretty odd weather for picking out a Christmas Tree. But we were on a mission and powered through! We would not be sidetracked! Even if we were wearing WAY too many clothes and probably suffered from heat stroke at one point or another. The hugest Christmas tree needed to be found!

However…the tree farm we settled on, didn’t have the huge trees we were thinking we would find. By that time, we had searched for quite some time. So I settled on what I thought was a nine foot tree. Maybe the family would just have to buy me an actual present, too, since the tree wasn’t GINORMOUS. But as it turns out? It was actually a little more than ten feet. And turned out to be the perfect size for our front room windows. The star perfectly looking out the top windows.

family - tree

Also, did you KNOW you had to stand on ladders to decorate ten feet trees? I may have had some nervousness tackling the top of the tree with lights. Okay, I may have had sweaty palms and shaky legs as I leaned from the ladder to those top boughs.

Ten feet is a wicked good start to my tall tree obsession.

family - front room

Also, remind me to tell you how weepy it can get when you start hanging all the “Baby’s 1st Ornaments” and realize just how long ago that was. Time, you’re an asshole.

family - ornament

Speaking of time…it is now December 12th. I haven’t purchased one Christmas present and I’m pretty fine with that. Maybe I shouldn’t be, but I know it will get done. I know there will (eventually) be presents under our tree. And I’m even pretty sure that my cute family will like what will be wrapped and ready for them. You know, when I actually find time to go shopping.

It’ll happen. It will.

In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the NOT shopping. It’s good for my soul.

Also, this book has nothing to do with anything. Except it’s it DOES. Because who wouldn’t want to read THIS?

family - book

Have a great (almost) weekend, everyone.

gratitude…in whatever form

hand

Today is just one of those days. I set out to be super proud that I made it through last week, but to celebrate, I’ve burned the crap out of my hand, somehow put a scrape on my leg and bruise on my arm and stubbed the hell out of my toe. I have very little makeup on which means I look like leftover hell. The “brown football helmet” I’m sporting doesn’t help things.

Maybe it’s just better if I check myself in to a plastic bubble and also, please don’t look at me, I’m hideous.

I mean…well, it’s kinda funny when you think about it.

I think.

At least, it will be.

When I looked at the calendar, gearing up for last week, I actually got a little concerned about how I would fare. So, quite honestly, a burn, scrape, bruise and stubbed toe is probably my body’s way of telling me that last week kicked my ass. But last week? Well, it also kicked all kinds of ass.

lastweek

 

There was Stanford. There were work deadlines. There was my nephew’s birthday. There were practices and lessons. There was a midnight showing. There was two hours of sleep before getting up for a (wonderful) food drive. There was being so proud of my cute little sixth grader and her school play. And then her school band was in a parade. And then I took the girls to the movies. Again. And then we celebrated Thanksgiving with my inlaws. Which was LOVELY.

And we survived. And my house is only in a tiny bit of a shambles. And I’m thankful and grateful and apparently so excited about it I’m a hazard to my own well-being.

But we crossed off things on the College Bucket List. We did good, you guys. We helped people. I watched my kid blossom…and I could see how much she’s enjoying herself. Which was amazing and wonderful and I’m so stinkin proud of her.

It was a good week. A week to be proud of.

And I’m just so glad that I have this place to write it all down and remember how wonderful and insane it was.

My life is (overly) full. And you know what? I just wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

not exactly how I planned it…

So, the our anniversary weekend didn’t go as planned. My in-laws were going to take the girls Saturday night but ended coming down with a bug. They still were expecting and willing to take the girls, but we just felt bad. Hopefully we can arrange a do-over! But since I was looking forward to having a nice “staycation” with my husband, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed. But you know what? It was still a really great couple of days.

image

Even though we had staycation plans, we knew that our early Saturday would be busy. Beezus had a big softball practice for the team’s upcoming tournament, so The Dude headed that way with her. Ramona and I headed out to join our family tradition of Pomegranate Weekend.

image

The main point of this family tradition is to seed/press the pomegranates for the juice. That juice, in turn, is used to make some pretty fantastic things. Mainly the (somewhat famous, maybe kinda) pomegranate jelly. We also have an amazing tradition of pomegranate punch. But there’s also been pomegranate ice cream and wine made from the fruits of the family labor.

This was the 42nd weekend that our family has gotten together to do this. The process has changed over the years, but it’s still a big deal to all of us. And obviously, this has been a part of my history for more than all of my life. Sometimes sporting events get in the way, but I loved that I could be there for so much this year. And, believe it or not, this was the first year that I took part in every step of jelly making. I think I’m usually outside and not much more than a helper when it came to getting the jelly happening. But this year? Thanks to my aunt and my gram, and (bless you) my cousin, I actually made jelly.

This is probably more shocking to me than most. But still.

I. Made. Jelly.

image

Hopefully it’s just as delicious as it should be! But if it’s not, well…it’s really no wonder. I probably shouldn’t have been trusted with all that sugar and juice and such.

* * *

image

If you follow Life of Jill on Facebook, you may have seen a few things mentioned about Operation Eleanor. Today is November 4th and NOT TO LATE to join us as we choose to do one thing each day that scares us. And it’s amazing what can happen when you have fear but you do it anyway. Getting out of your own way is job one. Or at least it was for me. Once I got out of my own way, I started seeing a lot clearer…and making some kickass to do lists and some pretty rad plans.

image

I hope you’ll join in. It’s amazing…it’s hard…and it’s so very worthwhile.

* * *

I forgot to show you some cute kids on Halloween:

image

Or some BABIES that were married 16 years ago that just so happened to be featured on Fancy Pants Weddings.

image

Yeah. I don’t have any words either. Except BABIES WE WERE BABIES OMG.

* * *

image

This has nothing to do with anything, but this my breakfast yesterday. Actually, Eggs Benedict has everything to do with EVERYTHING so really it’s important that I’ve documented it here.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely weekend…it’s about to be a REALLY busy week for our family over here. So I’m glad that I could look back on a great weekend, even if it REALLY didn’t go as planned.

I’m still holding out for that DO-OVER.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (and by Kid, I Mean ME)

Greek Worry Beads
Greek Worry Beads

When I was little, I cried if anyone looked at me cross-eyed. I was scared of men with beards. And if someone laughed at me, I swear it scarred me for life. Since it was easy to make me cry, I was an easy target. Let’s be honest…I was probably super annoying.

I grew out of my fear of facial hair. Crossed eyes aren’t my undoing. And I can laugh at myself fairly often. But I never grew out of being really sensitive. And I have to be aware and careful of those sensitivities.

I (generally) can’t watch the news and will mostly stick to reading the headlines, if that. I avoid certain types of movies and TV shows and books. In fact, Sarah will often tell me about a new show she is watching or book she is reading, stop mid-sentence, and tell me I’m not allowed to watch or read whatever she’s talking about. Even Beezus will talk about something and say “Yeah, Mom…you can’t read/watch that.”

They are my parental-guidance-suggested in real life form.

There have been times, obviously, that I’ve let my guard down. I’ve watched movies that still haunt me. Or books that have burned images in my brain that I wish weren’t there. There are news stories that still wrench all of my guts.

I mean, yeah…I’m probably still really, super annoying.

And there are many times when I feel like a complete and total wimp.

I feel like my sensitivities are weaknesses.

Like I am weak.

But every once in a while, I have moments where I can recognize that God built me this way for a reason. When I can get past my frustrations of being a total weenie, I see the softness for what it is. I am hard-wired to be soft. And to feel.

Honestly, I was hoping that writing this out would maybe make me feel better. That I could recognize the lessons I’ve learned from being so open and so soft-hearted. Like maybe I could remember that soft doesn’t necessarily mean weak. And that maybe having a soft heart allows the love to get out easier.

But instead, I’m not even sure if I want to post this. I’m annoyed and worry that *I’m* annoying. And I haven’t even gotten to the point of what I wanted to say.

Ridiculous AND annoying.

Except for maybe I am the one who is missing the point. And maybe I’m not learning the lessons that I need to be learning. And that when my heart is breaking for friends or I’m sick with worry for another…that maybe I need to take this soft heart that I have and apply it to my damn self. Or maybe it’s a reminder to all of us to take care of ourselves and our health and well-being. Or that we all remember that life is short and to love our people.

I don’t know what I’m meant to or what I should say. Except that I’m truly sorry if you are hurting or sad or worrying or angry. And if there is a prayer or good thought or giant internet hug, I’m sending all that I have to you.

And maybe that’s my answer. That there is no point.

Just a whole lotta love headed your way.

Because that’s just how it’s supposed to be.