Wednesday, December 28, 2016

One Last Look: Top Posts of 2016

It's good to see where you've been, so you know you can find your way back there again.

This year has left me tired. So tried, worn out, fatigued, and for awhile after November 8, I was beginning to get scared I wouldn't be able to find how to be creative again.

I was listening to the radio one morning, a show on Truman Capote, and the host casually dropped how Capote had "lost the art." I stopped what I was doing, and stood still. Without looking in the mirror, I knew my face said what I thought: the fear that this was happening to me too. That I couldn't write the way I used to.

I came downstairs, and sat down. I was going to try, after six weeks of doubt that was growing more powerful and convincing, I was going to try to write. The first post in almost wo months slowly began to take shape. It didn't pour out, there was labor, but also eventual delivery.

That post was "When the Mirror Isn't You" and it received over 20,000 views.

I didn't lose the art, whew, but I came close. Scared enough to learn that nothing begets nothing.
I have to write now, I will always have to write, and to turn to my old posts to witness evidence that I can do what I once did before.

It's good to see what you've done so you know you can do it again.

Thank you for your friendship now, and in the past. Thank you for reading and sharing your time with me.

And thank you for making these posts the top viewed posts of 2016.

1.) When The Mirror Isn't You
I wrote this as I thought of what kept me going after the election this year. It was the love that my preschool children have for me.

"But they can't tell because they don't see me with the tired eyes of time, of so many years spent on this earth. Their eyes, barely over a thousand days old.

I look from where I am, standing feet above them. I see eyes as clear as a winter night looking up to me. They shout over each other.

"Did you have marshmallows in your oatmeal today?"

"Did you remember to wear the same color socks again?"

"I hope your mom packed you a brownie today, like mine."

2.) Why Old Moms Tell New Moms To Enjoy Them While You Can
When I noticed how often I had to stop myself from telling the new moms I know to enjoy this challenging, crazy-making season of life known as early parenthood, I knew I had to write about what I was trying to say: it's not permanent even though it feels like it is.

M"y son and I lived a co-existence, one rightly filled with highs and lows. It was hard to tell where I left off and he began. At three years old, when I would ask him what he wanted for lunch, he'd answer, “What mama have!” I was submerged in motherhood during those days - loving him so, and at the same time, falling apart with the fear that things would always be this consuming."

3.) That One Time I Was Nature Mom
Don't lie. I know you tried it to: to be dye free, preservative free, plastic free, oh the heck with it, I just had to put their sandwich in a baggie once in a while.

"All natural, all chemical free, all healthy and wise and 100 percent in earnest.

Souvenirs of when I was Natural Mom. Natural mom , the one who wouldn't buy anything unless it had the word natural written all over the natural container in soybean-based ink at least five times. Seven if you count the back."

4.) To Remind Yourself To Breathe
When my second child graduated from high school, I hadn't had the time to steel myself, I was still reeling from the first child that had left for college the year before. With this one, I almost forgot to breathe the last day he walked out of the high school doors.

"You know what would help me with today? A new language. One that isn't slowed by the clumsy work of taking that which leaves us breathless and us, trying to give it volume."

5.) When Language is a Piece of You
What's happened, what is happening across our land? Why do we feel the things we value disappearing? I am devastated by it, but I can't give in to despair. I have to keep on voicing my protest, and so do you. It's the only way that we keep from disappearing.

"We can't lie about what we feel in our hearts. Our language is more than what we speak with our tongues. It's what we say from our souls. And I will forever have Spanish at the core, as the heat and the spark, as the bridge across the distance of where I came from."

6.) If Only Cher Had My Son
When I am blessed by the stars to see my children's hearts in action, I think about the things I did right along the way. The way my youngest has shown me patience, love, encouragement, you know, he listened to me somewhere in the time we've had together.

"Cher can't do math. It's hard for her when people give her a phone number and they go too fast. Our house number has eight digits in it, I keep it written down on a piece of paper in my purse inside pocket so when I go to the post office to pick up my mail, I can give the clerk the first two numbers in the right order."

7.) It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time
This post was part of a blog hop, and the stories here from my friends are exactly the kind that leave you breathless from laughter. If you get the chance, click over and read a few.

"I like money. My desire for money was solid by the time I was five years old. I think it was then that I began with my first thoughts of the day being how could I make some money today. I didn't want a pile of hundred dollar bills to swim through, I just wanted two dimes and a nickel: enough for a candy shopping spree at the corner grocery store. I would think about money at breakfast, during school, at lunch, and again back home from school. At age 10-11-12, my chances of any money were slim. But then one day, a woman asked me if I could ever babysit."

8.) 7 Date Night Ideas That Failed Us
I fell for it. The magazines that promised they'd deliver on ways to spice up my life. All they left us with was tired, and falling asleep in front of Ancient Aliens.

"We have been married 20 years, and we are so due for a date night that we'd need six months at a monk's retreat to silence these buzzing brains from trying to balance life. With this not-dating guilt in mind, I decided to give Date Night a try after an article I saw as I flipped through a magazine while waiting to get my prescription for dry eye syndrome."

9.) Hello It's Me I Was Wondering If You Could Keep Adele From Being Happy
I am happy for Adele's successes, I am. But I'm not gonna lie: I could use a cathartic mournful ballad or two. I had no choice but to write her physician a letter, requesting cooperation.

"Have you seen Adele’s blog posts of late? Her most recent entry contains complete sentences ending with two and sometimes three exclamation points. Gone are the mournful, longing ellipses fragment of posts from 2011."

10.) I Never Make Decorating Mistakes
This one's easy, because I don't decorate. But when I saw a kitchen table that reached out to me, filling my heart and mind with visions of all five of us carving pumpkins around the table, I had to beg borrow find a way, to get that table into our kitchen.

"How hard can it be to not spend money?
Well, four minutes into the store visit and I was already love sick. My first furniture heartbreak and it was over not being able to think about leaving the store without what was in the first showroom. A dark, rich, reclaimed barn wood kitchen table with two black benches (how freakin' Laura Ingalls cute) alongside instead of clumsy chairs that were too hard for kids to push in. I wanted that table so much my neck was starting to itch."

I hope you enjoy reading these posts as much as I found life through writing them.

Here's to 2017, please know that together, we're going to make it.

Happy New Year, friends.

* * *


  1. May we continue to find our words in 2017.

  2. I, too, often felt as if I'd never find a way to write or create again. But I learned this year that it is in those moments that I must sit and just start. It's all we can do.
    This is such a great compilation of your work! Here's to making 2017 as good as we can!



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