When I realized something…

Blinking back hot tears, I put my foot on the accelerator and pulled into afternoon traffic. The curt attitude of a Joann’s cashier reverberated through my spirit. I felt stupid for having been confused and belittled for trying to sort the confusion out.

It was a simple thing. Stupid really. A misundertanding on my part, but when I returned to the store trying to find the discrepancy, the cashier ran out of patience with me, annoyed that I would dare challenge the computer’s final answer.

My hands were shaking as I showed her my calculator screen trying to explain what I didn’t understand. Do you know how hard it is to explain a problem when you don’t understand what the problem is? Why did my calculator give me a different answer than her computer and the receipt?

I had been sitting in the car, fighting a headache and stress-induced nausea while frantically recalculating my purchases three times. I knew something was off, but I couldn’t find it, and they hadn’t believed me when I pointed it out during the transaction.

All I wanted was to know where I was going wrong.

After fighting back tears and going round and round for fifteen minutes, simply asking her to add it up on a calculator so I could see what she was doing (Oh, but did you know it’s “not as simple as that”? Since when is adding something up on a calculator a difficult feat?), I finally caught sight of a figure on the computer screen and asked, “Is that the fabric amount? That’s not what my cutting receipt says.” Of course I didn’t have the cutting receipt anymore as that is confiscated when you check out.

“Oh, the cutting slip doesn’t have the total on it.”


Problem solved. The figure I had seen on the cutting slip was not the total, but the original price of the last piece of fabric. I had glanced down at the yellow slip of paper, seen that last number, assumed it was the total and based all of my addition on that number. Now it made sense, which was all I wanted; for it to make sense.

She turned away and rang everything up again, ordered me to swipe my card, then yanked the receipt out of the machine and handed it to me. I apologized for the tenth time, knowing that her curt “It’s OK, Ma’am” was probably the biggest lie she would tell that day.

I now held two receipts in my hand and glanced down at the totals on them.

“And now it’s even more than the total was the first time!” I was ready to fall over at that point and wouldn’t have minded screaming right then and there in the middle of a crowded store.

“I’m sorry, Ma’am. That’s what the computer says.”

“I hate shopping here.” I sighed as I stuffed my wallet into my purse.


Much as I wanted to scream for all to hear, “I hate this store!” I bit my tongue, shook my head, and responded with “nothing.”

I snatched my bags, apologized yet again and hurried out of the store. I would pay the extra dollar fifty just to get away from her coldness.

Now I was driving home in a blur of tears thinking how ironic it is that every time I go to this store that claims to “inspire creativity,” I leave with a frantic feeling that I need to do anything but sew. I now wanted nothing to do with the fabric I’d just procured to make a costume for my son.

I braked for a red light as a realization washed over me. I don’t love sewing as much as I thought.

If I truly loved it, shouldn’t that be the one thing I wanted to do to unwind after a stressful day? Shouldn’t that be what I want to do when I’m bored? Shouldn’t that be what I turn to when I’m sad? Shouldn’t that be the activity I can’t wait to drown myself in when I have a free day?

But I don’t.

Admitting that to myself was something of a slight shock, enough to dry up my tears as I pondered the idea the rest of the drive home. Why do I sew?

Sewing is something that should bring joy to my life.

I want to love sewing without the need for it to define who I am.

I want to love fabric without feeling pressure to make something out of every new print I find.

I want to luxuriate in the colors and textures of beautiful bolts of fabric knowing that that is pleasure enough.

And when it does bring me happiness, I want to sew for the pure pleasure of the project, like making a summer dress out of this stunning pink cotton lawn for my bitty girl.


Along with quite a few other things I’m reevaluating in my life, I am reevaluating where fabric and sewing machines fit in. I will always sew, but maybe I will not always sew as regularly or as devotedly. Or with as much guilt and pressure. And maybe one day I won’t even have a vast fabric stash or designated sewing room. Can I love sewing without letting it control me?

(Epilogue: this incident happened six months ago. I wrote about it, then saved it as a draft, debating whether to post it to the world. I rediscovered it today and hit “publish” because my goal with this blog is to be real. To be me. To keep a record of the joyful and frustrating parts of my life.)





What Is Your Favorite Accessory?


Well, that was easy for a journaling topic.

Oh, I’m supposed to go into a little more detail than a single word? Alright…

I love earrings. I think I always have because as a child, I don’t remember wearing jewelry until I got my ears pierced at eighteen. From that point on, I wore earrings nearly every day. Even now, as a self-proclaimed frump-mom whose wardrobe is more yoga pants and tank tops than skinny jeans and chic blouses, I still wear earrings daily.

I like necklaces in moderation, and I love the idea of bracelets, but I have yet to find either accessory that I can’t live without. More often than not, I end up removing them before the day is over. I couldn’t even tell you why; something just isn’t right.

Rings… I don’t even want to go there. Again, I like the idea of wearing a ring and love looking at them and seeing them on my fingers, but when I wear one, it’s all I can do to keep it on.

It’s the weirdest thing, I know! Just having something around my finger like that makes me feel like I’m being strangled, and I’ll find my other fingers fidgeting with it, spinning it round and round until I’m about to go crazy.

I wore both my rings to a Christmas party last month. We were only there for two hours, and for at least ninety-five minutes of that time, I was anxiously aware of the metal on my fingers and shed them within seconds of getting back home.

Just writing about it is making my fingers fidgety…

I need to research rings and find something that’s designed to be trimmer and sleeker. Maybe weightless? It would be nice to wear my rings… But not at the expense of my sanity!

But earrings? They are the one jewelry item that I’m not tempted to take off before the day is over. No outfit is complete without a pair of earrings. My new favorites are from the Takobia collection. They’re only sold in select boutiques, so I treat myself to a new pair when I find them. Most of the styles are light as a feather and go with any outfit. If I had my own shop, these would be front and center!

As much as I love earrings, I also have a strange phobia of ripping my earlobes and being unable to wear earrings ever again. Sometimes the things we fear can be the greatest indication of what is most precious to us, even down to something as silly as jewelry.

Can I also admit that I’m really looking forward to my girls having pierced ears so I can share the earring love with them?

What is your favorite accessory? Maybe you love rings and hate earrings!



Today the Temperature Was…


That’s our word for the temperature today. Good word? That’s the word I used when a child appeared at my elbow and blinked back a tear because “Today’s not a good day.”

A colorless blanket of clouds just thick enough to block the sun but not thick enough to bring a heavy gloom. Too cold to play outside, but not cold enough to snow. Just a blah winter”s day.

These are the days when my mind wanders to being wealthy enough to own a winter home on a warm beach in the Turks and Caicos islands.

I love the geography I’ve learned from House Hunters International. I don’t know why Turks and Caicos stuck with me from an episode three years ago. Maybe it was because the Bahamas seems cliche, or maybe because that episode was a normal family looking for a normal house to live their normal life, which is all I need to do. I just want to do it in an abnormally gorgeous place with an ocean view!

But back to my not so tropical winter day…

I have a secret weapon this year. In addition to popping vitamin-D tablets throughout the day, I’ve been walking. Thanks to Leslie Sansone, I can walk several miles a day from the warmth of my own living room! It’s a little addicting. I can walk a mile before breakfast. Then every couple of hours when I start to feel the chill of the tile floors and cheap windows, I take another walk.

I can’t tell you how great it is to work up a sweat and wear a tank top and no socks in the middle of winter!

I don’t care what the temperature is outside today! I can take a mood-boosting walk on the worst of days.

Do you need a burst of energy today? Take a happy walk!



Tomorrow Will Be Better Because…

…plain and simple, it’s Saturday! Need I say more?

I can wake up to the late morning sun falling across my face, have a lazy stretch, and grab a book to enjoy from the depths of my warm duvet…

Oh wait, I’m a mom.

Lazy Saturdays don’t exist.

I’m on a mission to make them exist in our lifestyle. At least for the next few weeks until the soccer season starts.

I started a Bullet Journal this year, or rather, my over-simplified version of a Bullet Journal. Surprisingly, I am getting things done almost without realizing it! It’s been so successful that I’ve given my kids their own even more simplified versions of Bullet Journals, and they have been getting things done in record time (most days).

This means that for the last two weekends, we have had relatively lazy days for the first time ever during a school semester!

All of those marked-off boxes in our journals are reason enough to reward ourselves with a day of sewing, reading, movies, simpler meals, and all the Lego creations certain brains can think up.

That is why tomorrow will be better.

At least that’s one reason.

I believe every day will be better because it’s another day God gives me to be better, do better. One of the things He has laid on my heart in recent months is to simplify my life so I can live the life He’s given me and be a better mom rather than just the maid-of-all-work.

I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but it is the day the Lord has made to rejoice and be glad in. That is the real reason tomorrow will be better.

What about your tomorrow? How will it be better than today?


What Possession Could You Not Live Without?

For the sake of discussion, I’m going to exclude the obvious answers like food, clothes, and shelter which I literally could not stay alive without. Can I exclude a bed from the equation too? I do so love my foam mattress and crisp linens!

When I imagine my house empty (again, with myself being fully clothed and well fed), my first emotion is one of relief. I know that sounds terrible, but I often feel like my house is suffocating me. I’m the weird creature who would love to have a completely empty room in my house where I can go sit in the middle of the floor and just breathe. The more furnishings and decorations that are in a room, the more claustrophobic I feel. I need negative space.

After basking in that feeling of stillness, I realize I have nothing to do. Hmm…

What would I like to do?

I bet most people who know me will get the answer wrong.

It is NOT sewing or decorating or cooking or gardening. In fact, reversing the order of those three things would get you slightly closer to the right answer, but still far from it. I do those things because they need to be done, and I happen to know how to do them.

In a house devoid of all possessions the first thing that I see myself wanting and needing is a pen and paper (or electronic substitute). If I were to lose everything, the first thing I would absolutely need to replace would be a writing medium. It wouldn’t matter what I needed to write, I would just need to write. Lists of things to refill the rooms (because I do enjoy decorating), recipe ideas (a girl’s gotta eat!), pictures of dresses to sew (I can’t help it; my mom raised me at a sewing machine), but mostly to write my thoughts and preserve my memories.

There isn’t a single day that goes by that I don’t write something. It’s not always a journal entry, and I haven’t written a fictional story since I was a teen, but my days are still filled with texts and questions scribbled on a scrap of paper or lists and journaling typed on the Notes app on my phone.

My world revolves around words. Spoken, written, thought.

I’ve always said I’d rather be deaf than blind. Deaf simply means the world would be quiet. Blind means my world as I know it would end because I would lose the ability to read a book, write in a notebook, or make a list simply for the pure pleasure of holding a pen and forming the letters.

Most of the things I do, I do simply because they need to be done and I know how to do them.

Putting words to paper (or screen) is what I find joy in.

In the past week as I’ve been blogging these journaling prompts I’ve noticed my days have been quieter. I don’t mean my kids have stopped running through the house hollering and wrestling, or that the TV isn’t blaring Tinkerbell and Star Wars while my phone is dinging with texts and my husband is typing emails like a mad man. I mean my mental day has been quieter. Clearer, calmer, more focused and able to handle the external craziness because the mental cyclone in my brain has an outlet.

There is no more tornado of questions, to-do lists, ideas, dreams, memories, and observations. They’re all lining up into orderly rows that march out through my fingertips. It’s amazing what the simple act of responding to a silly journaling prompt can do for mental clarity!

What is your one possession that you couldn’t live without?