Category Archives: Guest Post

Blissful Moments

On this week’s Small Moments Monday, Andy, from Crazy With a Side of Awesome Sauce is dropping by to share with us a recent small moment that she won’t soon forget.

Andy and I are still getting to know one another, but what I love about her, and what makes her a perfect guest poster for this series, is the way that she approaches her life, seeking out happiness wherever it may be found. She isn’t one to rest and wait for happiness to find her–she is out there creating her own bliss. And for that, I truly admire her. She’s also ridiculously adorable and beautifully eclectic.

Thank you, Andy, for stopping by and for generously sharing one of your lovely small moments with us!

Blissful Moments by Andy

When the sweetest woman on the Internet asked me to guest post on her blog and that the subject was blissful moments, I jumped at the chance. My first thought was, Guest post? Hell yes! That means someone likes me! Huzzah! (I’m a bit of a nerd.) My second thought was, Blissful moments is (are?) my middle name.

I had so many ideas. See, living in the moment is one of my favorite hobbies. I hear you scoffing, Hobbies? scoffy scoff scoff. But you can stop that right now, because if you think about it, you’ll realize what I mean. To find joy in little things, you have to actively lose yourself in a moment and soak it in fully. You have to practice the art of appreciating life, to quiet down and feel that unique joy. Trust me on that one.

So what would I write about? Perhaps that time I found an open air cafe in New Orleans and sat all night sipping coffee and listening to live jazz in the warm, spring breeze? Or maybe that time I was hiking in Yosemite and came over a ridge to see the world’s most gorgeous and pristine lake? Or maybe about how every time I’m feeling cruddy, my cat will crawl right up on me, purring like a hemi engine, which will annoy me at first, but inevitably makes me completely happy?

I was still thinking about it last week as I made the long drive from So Cal to my new home of Portland, Oregon. I had only been settled in a couple of days and was feeling quite overwhelmed and I decided to go for a run and meet my new neighborhood on foot. My thinking here was that the exercise would clear my head and I’d get to see my digs on my own terms.

But I am an idiot. Because I lost my house key. Apparently stuffing your key in your bra is not a good idea. Who knew?

My roommate was set to be out of the house for at least 3 more hours and I knew she wouldn’t be checking her phone. I retraced my steps at least four times, got just about lost doing so, and finally gave in and settled in on my porch to feel crappy and oh so sorry for myself for failing at life.

About 2 hours into waiting (I jest not), the sun started peeking out of the clouds and a cool breeze settled on my face. Then my two pint-size neighbors, Kegan and Emma came out to play on the front walk. They could not believe I’d locked myself out Why’d you do THAT? (children can be so honest) and decided that the most fun they could have was to entertain me. Emma (who is about 9) told me all about spiders and how to feed ants to spiders and how Hercules was killed by Hades (I didn’t even try to tell her the actual myth). Kegan (who is about 3, I’m guessing) showed me his special rocks that are really fire and how they make his car fly. See it fwying?!?

And pretty soon I had forgotten I was locked out and that I failed at life that morning. I was laughing and playing with these two as if I had chosen to sit on my front step for 3 hours. I had been forced to slow down and listen to life. And I thought, This is it, woman. This is a nice moment. You can choose to feel like total crap or you can settled into the moment and enjoy it.

See? I can choose to seek out the little joys, but sometimes life knows better and will force me to try harder to be happy. I hear ya, Life. I hear ya.

You won’t regret stopping by and spending some time with Andy over at Crazy With a Side of Awesome Sauce. Take some time to get to know her through her stories and enjoy her stunning photography. A handful of my favorites are Pony Tail, Like Color Etched on Canvas, No One Nose, and Beanstalk, as in Jack and the.

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Without Friends I’d Be Dead. Stop Calling Me Dramatic.

Although I fell in love with Alex months ago, it was her recent commitment to limiting how much television that she allows her children to watch that made me realize that she is perfect for Small Moments Mondays.  By limiting television, she is attempting (and succeeding) to be more present for her two beautiful children. Whether she’s playing chase, dragging a kiddie pool through her house, or playing Go Fish, she is living in the moment with her children and she is making those memories that they will all carry with them. Check out her  Harcore Television Challenge!

I truly admire Alex, she is honest, open, funny, intelligent, and vulnerable, all of which are evidenced in God, What If I Cannot Handle It?, My Son, Revisited, and Our Common Humanity Is Easier To Find Than You Think.  Check Your Pants.

I am so grateful that our paths have crossed. I would certainly call her my PF.

(If you are unfamiliar with Twitter, here’s a brief rundown, Twitter Cheat Sheet.)

Thank you, Alex, for coming by and sharing your small moment with us!

Without Friends I’d Be Dead. Stop Calling Me Dramatic by Alex

I don’t do small very well. I have a loud laugh, big ideas, and a tendency to forget to use my INDOOR VOICE.

So Small Moments Monday intimidates me.

And as I’m staring at the computer screen, I have a twelve DM interchange with my best bloggy friend. Saying nothing and everything.

How’s your morning?

Stress poops, ahoy!

Your readers rule.

What do you think about this idea?

I’m crying.

Why didn’t you sleep?

We should tell them I’m your organizational coach. Haha.

She didn’t even TRY to murder me. Boo.

I hope today is a better day.

Our friendship is a fluke. I respond to something random in a conversation I’m not technically included in. She follows me back because of it. I DM’d her about a song. And then tell her that it’s stupid because she probably gets DMs about the song all the time. She says no, she’s never heard of the song. In the process, I accidently guessed her real name.

She and I needed more than 140 characters to finish our conversations over the next few weeks. We moved to email. Then exchanged phone numbers. Then met in person. Then the big finale FACEBOOK FRIENDS. (Friendships are TOTALLY like dating. Except for the kissing part.)

All the while, we refer to each other as pfs. Potential friends. Until one day I realize that we are FRIEND FRIENDs. But ff is already taken so we go nostalgic and breaking out the pf here and there.

And now I have this person who gets blogging and mothering and twitter-ing and insists my impatience is apart of my charm. (After I DM her: WHERE ARE YOU five minutes after my first DM of the day.)

Last week, while discussing BlogHer, I warn her of my overpacking tendencies (I GO BIG PEOPLE) and she responds: I am an underpacker. Together, we make one functional adult. Hoorah!

I can’t imagine traveling this bumpy road of blogging and writing and social awkwardness without a pf.

If you don’t have one, get one! Go out on a limb with someone you like in this bloggy world. Because as big as the Inter-ba-nets may be, it’s just made up of people. And moments.

Moments that wouldn’t be the same without friends. Meanwhile, you can always DM me… if you like loud impatient people.

When Alex Iwashyna isn’t DM-ing with her pf, she blogs at Late Enough mostly about life, parenting, marriage, politics, culture, religion, and her inability to wake up in the morning and not hate everyone. Often zombies, fire, and rude Southern people make appearances, but Alex can pretty much guarantee that she’ll still be in her pjs while fighting them off. She also hangs out on the Twitter as @L8enough and Facebooky.

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The Best Medicine

Nearly two months ago, our family was struck by tragedy that left us feeling alone and scared.  I tweeted about our struggles and was astonished by the kindness of several amazing people.

Lori was one of those people.  She reached out and truly threw us a life-preserver that that kept us afloat for days.

Within moments of my tweet, she had sent me her personal email address and phone number and encouraged me to call her.  I would have never felt that I could actually impose upon her by making that call, but at her insistence, I did, and she was calm, encouraging, and educated–exactly what we needed.  During our calls, she provided me with information, advice, and compassion.  She empowered us and helped us to feel as though we could keep going.

My family will be forever grateful to her for the role she played in one of the most difficult times we’ve experienced.

And on top of being one of the kindest and calmest people I know?  Lori is also beyond funny and is beautifully self-deprecating.  Her blog, In Pursuit of Martha Points is truly unique and between her stories, photos, and graphics, there’s never a dull moment.  Her blog honestly reflects who I have come to know her to be–funny one minute, tender the next.

Thank you, Lori, for being there for my family when we didn’t know which way to turn.  Thank you for making me laugh when I need it and for inspiring me to pursue my goals.

When we meet next month, to show you just how much I love you, I will be certain that I know exactly how to make your coffee.

And now, finally, I share with you Lori’s lovely contribution to Small Moments Mondays

The Best Medicine — by Lori

Dinner.

As a family. All five of us with serving dishes and salt and pepper shakers, placemats and a chipped butter dish.

I stepped into the kitchen to get something…a serving spoon, perhaps. And asked, as I stood up, why the coffee table was in the wrong place. The answer, which I already knew, came from Child B: “I guess I forgot to put it back after we rehearsed.”

When I said, as I sat back down, that I’d been hoping for something more interesting, the following conversation ensued.

“There was a herd of wildebeest…”

“No, it was space aliens.”

“… And the aliens knocked the table over. We were so busy cleaning up the from the rest of the havoc they wreaked that we totally forgot to put the table back.”

“From a metaphysical standpoint, the table could be anywhere.”

“Quantum physics says that the table both is and is not in the right location.”

“Or, it says that if you’re not looking at the table the probability that the table is and is not in the right place is exactly equal.”

“Zen furniture: the table is still a table in whatever location. Embrace the table.”

“In Soviet Russia, table locates YOU!”

“Ask the table about its mother.”

“Then the table would need to lie on the couch.”

“If a table gets moved in a living room and no one is around to hear it, is it still a coffee table?”

“Life is like a coffee table…”

I ate my dinner, I chuckled. And I loved my kids with all my heart.

They are smart and funny. Making each other laugh is important. When they do the dishes after dinner, I hear laughter. When they’re all stuffed in the back of the car when we go anywhere, they make each other laugh.

They make me laugh. They make Himself laugh.

It would be so easy, in a house of five people and two bathrooms, in a home of step-parents and step-siblings, to let friction percolate and let small irritations grow into arguments and discord.

Yet I hear laughter more than anything else.  More than disagreement, more than tension and more than rivalry.

Life is so large some days – with work and grades, talk about college, talk about the world. We worry about the news, we worry about our children learning about the news. We think about retirement, our investments and the value of our house. We wonder if we are giving our children every tool they need to build the life they want in the world. Each brick in our lives feels so weighty it seems as if we are in perpetual need of pulleys and crowbars.

But when I sit down for the evening meal and hear my kids teasing each other and laughing at jokes with punchlines only they can understand, life becomes my dinner table. Small, intimate…and my very own. With serving dishes and placemats and salt and pepper shakers.

And a chipped butter dish.

Now quickly grab a pad of paper and a pencil, head on over to Lori’s place, and be sure to read So what are “Martha Points?”,  where Lori explains her ingenious point system.  And don’t miss my some of my favorites, A Polite Request, Shopping for Points, and The Princess and the Pain.

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Filed under Guest Post, Small Moments Monday

Going Home

Kicking off Small Moments Mondays, a series of guest posts focusing on the little moments in life, the moments that can be so easily taken for granted if we don’t slow down to savor them, is Kris from Pretty All True.

If you’re really lucky, you meet a handful of people in life with whom you feel an immediate connection.  These people are a gift, whether it’s because they make you feel comfortable, encourage you to stretch yourself, help you to laugh, or offer you tremendous kindness that simply envelopes you.  Kris embodies all of these qualities and I can’t believe my good fortune for having met her.

One of the things that I admire most about Kris is the way that she fully embraces each moment of life.  Perhaps as a result of a childhood that offered her far more than her share of heartache or because of the beautiful little family that she has built, Kris savors life in a way that I truly admire.  When I was in the early stages of brainstorming this idea, she immediately came to mind, as she, though sarcastic and quick witted, appreciates the beauty in her life.

Though the first thing I noticed about Kris was her amazing sense of humor and her ability to tell stories that pull you in and make you feel as though you are somehow a part her world, she has a quiet tenderness and ability to make you feel as though you are important and loved that continually surprise me.

Thank you, Kris—for guest posting, for sharing your story, and for being my friend.  I am grateful for you.

Here’s her reflection on a small moment from her life…

Going Home – by Kris

Some of my saddest memories from childhood are of going home.

My home was broken and jagged and filled with sharp shattered bits of unexpected pain and sorrow. It was my reality. And most of the time? There was just acceptance.

And so, at the end of the school day . . . at the end of a trip to the grocery store . . . at the end of a trip to the library . . . I would just go home. There was sadness and fear, but also a sense of inevitability. Resignation. This was my life. This was my family. This was my home.

I would go home.

There were a few times in my childhood when I left our home for more than just a day. It didn’t matter where I had gone . . . the contrast between this other place and my home sometimes seemed more than I could bear. My heart would ache with longing for this other that I could not have.

Then, always, there was a going home.

And as I stared out of the window on the journey back home? My throat would clench so that I couldn’t breathe. The pain was so tight and jagged it felt as though I was swallowing glass. The increasingly familiar landmarks would blur before my eyes.

Going home.

Sigh.

A long time ago.

Today? I drove my daughters to a nearby state park and we rode our bicycles through the luscious humid green. Rode until we were exhausted and sweaty . . . in an enormous loop back to where we had parked the car.

Climbed in.

“Daddy’s making lunch for us, right?” asks my older daughter as she clicks her seatbelt.

My younger daughter answers happily, “Yes! He said he was going to make hamburgers on the grill!”

I start the car. I crank the air conditioning. I switch on the radio.

I drive down the tree-lined path out of the park.

We haven’t lived in Oregon very long, and I still get confused about directions. So I sit at the park exit, trying to remember if I am supposed to turn to the right or the left. Honestly? I have no idea. Everywhere I look, everything is just green.

Hmmmmm.

The GPS in our car? I love it. My favorite thing? There is this helpful touch-screen prompt, and when you select it? The car will give you directions home from wherever you happen to be at that moment.

And so I push it. The little prompt that says GO HOME.

I love going home. Every single time.

And that GO HOME prompt. It makes me smile. Every single time.

So I turn to the right.

“Ready for lunch, girls?”

“Yes!” My daughters yell in unison, “Let’s go home!”

It’s a small thing, really . . . it’s just going home.

But for me? Every single time?

I love to go home.

Stop by and visit Kris at Pretty All True.  Take some time to poke around, read a little of this and a little of that, and wait, some of this too.

Sprinkled in here, and here, and there are posts that take your breath away and stay with you, challenging you to truly think and appreciate life.

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