Beach · Family · Inspiration · Memories · travel

Vacation

I have spent the last few days slathered in sunscreen, dozing under an umbrella with this as my view and soundtrack.

Gulf of Mexico, Aug 2017

For 25 years, one week each summer, we have gone to the same beach, eaten at the same restaurants, shopped at the same grocery store, enjoyed the same delicious seafood. It is truly a relaxing vacation. We read, we nap, we walk, we cook if we feel like it. And when it is over, we come back home, more calm and more tan, and ready to fit ourselves back into our “real” lives and responsibilities.

Inspiration · Society · Writing

Project: Letters to my heroes

I have many heroes, and reading their writings, or speaking with them, or seeing them interviewed has been very important to me, especially since the election.

It occurred to me recently that it is important to tell people that their good work means something to me, specifically. Some of my heroes have gained recognition for their work, some have not. Either way, I want to let them know that they inspire me and lift me up.

So, I am starting a project to write a letter every day or so to a hero who has inspired me to do better, to give more, and to keeping fighting for a better world.

My first letter went to Jimmy Carter. He has been a hero of mine for a long time. I cast my first vote for President for him in 1976, in an old fashioned lever-pull voting machine in a country store in Red Hill, Alabama.

I am not going to publish my letters, but I will keep a list on this blog of who I write.

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Inspiration · Memories · Writing

Who am I?

I am all the regular things.

I am the checkboxes of life: daughter, sister, college graduate, wife, mother, friend. I am a Honda and a modest surburban house. I am PTO, Band Boosters, college dorm rooms and first apartments. I am the empty nest.

I am high cholesterol, and ten or so extra pounds. I am Sertraline for depression, and Clonopin for anxiety.

I am the sixties and seventies. I am a farm in north Alabama. I am a tiny rock schoolhouse and an old yellow bus. I am tomatoes and okra. I am a long line of schoolteachers and others who treasured books and poetry. I am ghost stories and family tales. I am the Johnsons of north Alabama, decended from England and genetically eccentric.

I am Bible school and Sunday School. I am Jesus Loves the Little Children and Just As I Am. I am white patent leather Mary Janes, Easter dresses and baked ham. I am baptism by immersion and I am disillusionment.

Because my mother often quoted, “There, but for the grace of God, go I,” I am compassion. Because I always had enough, but saw children every day who didn’t, I am gratitude.

Because bad things sometimes happen to children, I am childhood sexual abuse. I am years of guilt and repression. I am therapy and healing.

I am words, but not math; perfectionism, but mad disorganization; good food, but bad cooking. I am cats, not dogs; chocolate, never coconut, and always, always libraries and book stores.

I am 59 years of houses, apartments, neighborhoods, friends, events, weddings, wars, babies, car repairs, tornadoes, Presidents. I am a young mind.

I am sometimes fear, but more often optimism. I am Liz.

Blogging · Inspiration · Writing

Why I want to “Blog Like Crazy”

Writing creates a certain connection with the world that I often can’t attain in person. Even with my closest friends and family, there are still some walls that remain. Maybe this is a personal failing of mine, but I keep certain beliefs and desires and dreams behind the wall because they are too tender to hand over to others – especially the others who I love and respect the most.

When I write, and publish my writing on my blog, I tear down the wall and  become my most honest, authentic self. I often have a moment of anxiety before I click that “Publish” button, because I am putting my heart out there, defenseless, to those who know me well, family members, those who know me only by reputation, and also strangers.

I blog because there is a certain exhilaration in writing and publishing on honest, heartfelt topics. Love me, hate me, be indifferent – this is who I am. When I write, I have the freedom to be real. This is why I want to “Blog Like Crazy.”

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Weed or flower? I am both.

 

 

Inspiration

Write it Down; Move Forward

I often feel so frozen, as if I can see all the things I want to do, but I spin my wheels and never really get anything completed. I am an expert level procrastinator. All my energy is inside my head. I compare myself, unwisely, to people who are doing great things in the world. Not a smart way to live. But I had an idea that if I had a big white board, I could write down the things I have accomplished that made me feel good and proud, and then I could look at them and know that I am not frozen, and not just sitting here watching time pass. Continue reading “Write it Down; Move Forward”

Inspiration

30 Things I Love Right Now

Inspired by TJ Beitelman and Javacia of See Jane Write. Photo from Craftsy.

30 things I love right now:
1. My YMCA membership.
2. Coffee
3. The My Favorite Murder podcast
4. Atlanta, where my son lives
5. My cell phone (I know, I know)
6. New friends discovered during the recent municipal elections
7. The home stretch of our 18 month kitchen renovation
8. My funny, sweet husband
9. Pedicures
10. @SarcasticRover on Twitter
11. My reading journal
12. My fitbit
13. Smoothies
14. Ideament
15. Elizabeth Kolbert’s books
16. My tattered boyfriend jeans
17. Bryan Stephenson, author of Just Mercy
18. My cat, Zoey
19. Gerbera daisies
20. Fantasy house hunting on Zillow
21. Writing
22. The blogging community
23. Trying new craft beers
24. My sons, the best young men in the world
25. French
26. Having my depression and anxiety under control
27. Paper calendars and planners
28. Yoga
29. My new passport
30. The 3 wonderful kids I babysit

Inspiration

2016, hello.

This is going to be a different year. My mother passed away on August 4, and the last part of 2015 was spent in a blurry, disoriented state of wondering if I was feeling the right things, doing the right things. I didn’t experience grief so much as numbness. I felt as if I had been thrown out of my comfortable world of house, husband, grown kids, friends, writing – into a totally foreign world of care-taking, decision-making, and difficult, sad loss.

My husband is a wonderful person, simply because he is still here. He is here when I have nothing to give him in return but the love of 26 years, and the promise that no matter what, he is always my person, and I am always his.

So, we begin 2016. Continue reading “2016, hello.”

Depression · Inspiration

I can’t BRAIN today.

Before I begin, here’s a BIG DISCLAIMER: this is not a cry for help, or a RED FLAG, or a whine for pity. This is just me relating through writing, my latest stumble, my glitch, my little detour off the rails.

Maybe someone reading this will say, “Oh, my gosh – ME TOO!” Maybe not. But I think those of us who live with some forms of mental illness, like depression or anxiety, or with brain differences that challenge us, like ADHD or dyslexia, must all go through these times when we just get tired of holding it together, exhausted from checking and rebuilding that scaffolding that holds up our lives. We get tired of making sure our medication is filled, and our responsibilities are all logged on our calendars with multiple reminders. We stumble, and stuff starts falling through the cracks. Continue reading “I can’t BRAIN today.”

Inspiration · Politics

The cold bothers me a little.

I am not the only person in my city, my state, my country – far from it – who feels the urgent need to DO and SAY things about what is happening to democracy in America. I must have five books piled on my sofa, and five more on my iPad, that explain, from one perspective or another, how and why the United States got into the current state of extreme inequality and ideological polarization.

It is not hard to see the problem. I do what most say not to do and read the comments after political articles, particularly those in my local newspaper. Under anonymous screen names, people do not hold back their anger, fear and bias. They seem both glibly unaware of the seriousness of the divide, the threat to democracy, and yet deeply fearful in a “gut” instinct way that what we hold dear and how we always expected things to go is slipping away. The lashing, labeling, knee-jerk prejudice is disheartening.

Our elected leaders do and say things that leave me dumbstruck and sick.

What to do? Write? Volunteer? Donate? Lead? Follow? I am almost frozen into inactivity with the urgency to do something about the world, against the enormity of our slide – or free fall – into something that does not resemble a nation “of the people.”

I am one person, but one person can do something. Today, I read and learn; write and plan; collect information and analyze it; donate to one worthwhile cause. It is enough for today.