The real enemy of my contentment

Every morning I wake up to a full inbox. (We’ll ignore the fact that my gmail inbox has over seven thousand unread messages in it and is always full.) Back when I was having an affair with Austin…versus the committed loving relationship I am in now…I subscribed to every Groupon/Living Social/Plum District deal in Austin. And in San Antonio…for good measure.

I’m not sure why because I’m not a bit thrifty. I do not have a single frugal cell in my body…as much as I think it could be fun. I’m the girl who leaves free stuff at HEB because the fact that it was free doesn’t make up for the fact that I don’t like it. I also forget to use the yellow coupons that they been strategically displayed so you can’t miss them. (I’m going to go with the fact that I am usually dragging four kids along arguing about why I don’t buy sugar cereal like grandma…for the forty eleventh time rather than I am less than savvy at saving money.)

So why do I browse the Groupon deals so lovingly sent to me every morning? Because I didn’t even know I wanted this stuff!!!

Example One:My bff is coming next week. How fun would this be? We’ve been saying for years that we are going to throw a murder mystery dinner party. I didn’t even know this was an option!!!! 120 people bought it. I must really be missing out. Am I going to buy it? Nooooooooooo!

Example 2:

I do also want this. I even have some images I’d love to see 16×20 on metal. Only 4 people bought it so far. I’m practically the only one who knows how fabulous this deal is! Will I pass it up because I’m not in the market right now? Yep. I’d rather wait and pay full price later…when I get around to it. Which will probably be never. (And now I am completely depressed over all the great deals I have passed up only to want it LATER.)

We won’t even go into all the massages, spa treatments and miracle cures for having incubated humans that are on Groupon Now. And laser hair removal. You mean I could avoid that conversation with the girl waxing my eyebrows about how I could be so pretty if I would let her wax my whole face for almost EVER?!? (I bet you didn’t know there was a Groupon for self-esteeem.)

I do have a solution to my Groupon woes. There will be no cooking classes, boots or fancy lip gloss on my birthday list this year. I only covet Groupon giftcards.

I’m only 30 for 24 more days, y’all! 24 more days of not buying all the things I didn’t even know I wanted…:D

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On my desk sits a framed print of a quote: “There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you.” Maya Angelou. Those words draw me to the keyboard often. The antithesis of that draws me today.

I woke up this morning convinced I was never going to write anything of value again.  I stared at the blinking cursor for a few hours yesterday. I tried to write in my head while the kids played in the pool. I listened to music, read a good chunk of a new book, perused blogs, and woke up this morning with exactly the same thing I had yesterday…nada.

So I complained. Whispered it prayerfully. Spoke it loudly to J. Typed it silently onto this screen. And as I lay there tossing ideas around in my head for the post I’m committed to writing today, I perused my email. Mixed in with the groupon deals and the Old Navy ads was a new review of Sadie.

I open these reviews like it is Christmas….excited and with anticipation. And also like I have morning sickness, afraid of sudden movement and bracing myself for the waves of nausea that threaten to interrupt my joy. It was a sweet review. Her words were kind and for the next few minutes, I let myself relish in the fact that I might have accomplished what I set out to do.

I have to admit, this is the first time I started crying while reading a book to my children. I actually had to stop for a moment to catch my breath. The story is really touching and I believe all parents will love it, even those who don’t normally gravitate towards the princess stories. Sadie is identifiable to all little girls, from the girly girl to the tomboy. I love that she’s not afraid to be herself! Amanda Evans has created a remarkable character who definitely doesn’t need a tiara to make her special.                             ~From headant.com

Overwhelmed with gratitude that I was the one that got to write this story, for a few moments I am content with this thing that is setting the pace for my life right now. This book. What a gift! But the flip-side of that… is fear that it is the best thing I’ll ever do. Over and over I have described this process as the actualization of a dream, and it was a dream. But now there are more…

And what if the answer is no. I think I have grown up enough over the last year to accept…not now. But no? That is a whole new agony. I can’t tell if it’s a lack of maturity that won’t allow me to submit and surrender this idea of still more. Or is it the tenacious spirit that was knit together in a hostile womb and has gotten me here…searching for words to convey the climate of my soul. Wanting more. Always more?

So today, there are no stories to tell you. There are only questions. Is ambition the enemy of contentment? Do I have to come to a place of not wanting something, to be granted it? And if I say that this was enough…is enough…will those yet-to-be had adventures be erased from my heart with your healing power, God? And do I want to be healed from the things I might actually want enough to cheat destiny to be part of it?

i’m a junkie

A few years ago, I was describing my love for Dr. Pepper to a friend. The first sip of a fresh Dr. Pepper is about the carbonation. The bubbles hit the back of my throat and the tingle runs from the base of my head down my spine. The blissful chemical combination of sugar and caffeine hit with an instant and yet sustaining jolt. And the sweetness of the 23 flavors…they linger on the palette never quite satisfying my thirst and leaving me wanting another sip. One more sip…

Through a lot of laughter, we concluded that I should stay far away from real drugs. Far.

I’m a junkie.

My book is technically only a few days old. It is still very much a newborn and I am already jonesing for a new project. People are buying it, good reviews are coming in, I’m getting invited to share it great places…and I am weepy and in a post-creative-slump.

If my husband were of the slapping kind (ok…we wouldn’t be married), he would have given me a good one by now. He keeps telling me all the reasons why I should be happy. And I am. I’m proud, excited and thankful. All the while…missing the creative process and the high that comes from doing something you love. It’s crazy talk to say that the I am lost without the massive deadlines and pressure to make something happen from nothing.

But I am lost. I could fake something else but instead I am choosing to revel in it a bit. I am giving myself permission to be a little sad to move beyond this task that was incredibly meaningful and challenging. I am believing what I believe about art…that it is the process and not the just the finished piece that matters. And because I am a junkie….I am missing the flat out chemical rush that comes from such a great project.

The truth is that even if it is months before I began to write again, there is so much to look forward to. It was never about a stack of 24 pieces of paper..however beautiful and wonderful they turned out. It was always about this next part…connecting.  I am meeting little girls who are falling in love with Sadie and see themselves on the pages of the story. I am connecting with mamas who have something bigger than the mundaneness of suburbia written on their heart and needed a little push to find the girl who who longs for adventure and to fight the dragons in her own life. It was always about encouraging and inspiring families to engage in their community and world to share a part of themselves that is so badly needed.

And so I tell myself that while my sadness honors the artist in me, my excitement at what lies ahead honors the story that was given to me to share with you. There is a lot of work still to be done. Let’s hope it makes the back of my head tingle a bit. Oh, pretty please! ♥