Friday, February 28, 2014

Field-Trip with the Wildcat

Tomorrow I get to take a field trip with my 17-year old!

Ten years ago, class field trips to the zoo, museums, IMAX, plays and things like that were a regular-volunteer-gig for this mama. 

Gradually, these field trips with his class dwindled.  But I hardly noticed because I was busy volunteering for the same things with his three younger sisters. 

Those field trips have dwindled way down too. 

But I have good news.  I think.  I'm adding more field trips with Nathan to my calendar.

Except they aren't called "field trips," as much as they are called "college visits."  


Tomorrow's field trip isn't one of those college visits.  It's a football kicking camp that he signed up for over Christmas break.

But to me, this camp represents more than football.  More than getting better as the team kicker. 

It represents picking yourself up after a devastating loss of a goal, brushing yourself off, and finding a new goal. 

It represents accepting a new role.

It represents commitment to a team. 

It represents a maturity of accepting a situation that couldn't be changed and instead, decided to make a change for himself.

It represents the heart of a kid who could have acted like he lost out.  But instead went after a new dream. 

If you've followed me here on the blog for any time now, you may remember how Nathan had some medical issues during his sophomore year.  During football season.  A season where he called plays, ran the ball and led his team.

Until he couldn't run the ball, call plays or lead the team.

Symptoms that acted like a concussion were really low red blood cell counts.  Counts that kept going down.  Counts that acted like leukemia.  Something that we couldn't know until the day that he went down. 

You can read more about that HERE

Fast forward to the summer before Nathan's Junior year.    Having been cleared of all medical issues, there was still a recommendation for no contact in football. 

For a leader like Nathan, who happened to be a quarterback for JV, this was devastating news. 


He still wanted to be a part of his team.  Even if it meant doing something he had never done before.  Even if it meant wearing a jersey on the sidelines and filling water bottles. 

He spent his summer, after work and after baseball down on the football field.  He could no longer throw the ball, so he started to kick it.  He enlisted the help of sisters to hold the ball, and his mama to video him.  So he could teach himself what worked and what didn't. 

And he had success during his Junior year kicking. 

So this field trip is for him.  So he can learn from others who kick.  So he can be a better kicker his Senior year of high school. 

But to me...this field trip means more than that.

It represents a lesson that I have learned from my kid.

When one dream doesn't work out, you don't quit.  You pick up a new dream.

And you kick it through the uprights. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Great-Grandma's Autograph Book

Last Sunday we found ourselves celebrating Christmas with my dad's side of the family.

Yes, our 2013 Christmas.

Yes, 2 days after Valentine's Day.

(Just wanted you to know I am aware of those two things)

So we all met at my Grandma's apartment, located within the retirement community that she moved into this last year. 

Here is a 4-generation-snapshot with my grandma, my dad, me and the kids

While we were eating and visiting, grandma shared her coffee table reading material with us. Newspaper clippings collected over the years, cartoon strips she found to be funny and worth saving, magazine articles and 2 "autograph books."  One was from her middle school years and one was from high school. 

Both books contained hand-written notes from friends of hers in the 1940s.  Many were written in clever rhymes and signed with "forget-me-not" and the name. 

Most of them were funny.

I asked grandma about a note written by Bob Moore.  Clearly it was intended to humorous, and clearly had a hint of flirtation. 

She responded with "Yes, I remember Bob Moore."  Her words begged innocence, but the sideways-and-upward glance of her eyes and a smile that moved in the same direction spoke otherwise. 

Danielle, Marisa and Great Grandma

Some 70+ years have passed since the notes to my grandma were scratched into these tie-bound books, and yet my grandma could tell me about each person who signed it. 

Something quite unexpected happened between me and my grandma while thumbing through her coffee-table reading material.

At our Christmas party I got to know my 90-year-old grandma as a teenager. 

Great Grandma with Marisa

I could see how she interacted with her peers in a time occurring two generations before my own. 

I could see a playful side of her.

I could see glimpses of who she was as a child through the words on the pages of those autograph books. 

These words acted as a link for me, connecting me with my grandma in a different time and place--a piece of my heritage, a sense of pride.

When reading these words, I wanted to know more about my grandma before she was my grandma.  Who she was, who her friends were, what her dreams were.  I wanted to know the grandma who went on to marry and have children. 

I wanted to know the story of what made my grandma my grandma.  

Nathan and Danielle escorting Great Grandma around her building
Great Grandma giving her grandkids tours of her new retirement community

 I was so inspired by these tiny little autograph books and their power to connect me to a time that occurred decades ago.  I want to create something that my children, my children's children and generations that follow will have something of mine that they can know me, even though they may never meet me.

I want them to know that when I was writing, I was thinking of them, even if I never had the chance to know them. 

I want to create a picture of my life, through words and actual snapshots. 

I want my kids to see that even though my story may not have appeared to be exciting to the outside world, it was exciting to me because they were my world.  

Someday, years from now, I want to be throwing Christmas parties whenever I can no matter what the calendar says and I want my grandchildren to be able to see, if they want to, a glimpse of who I was before I was their grandma. 

And someday, years and years from now, I want my great grandchildren to pick up an unexciting-looking piece of coffee-table reading material, and without knowing what is about to happen, catch a glimpse of their great-grandma's heart.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Remember that "blog identity crisis" I mentioned a while back?

If you don't, you can read about it HERE.

The nutshell version of that story is that I was thinking it was time to have my personal blogging and my business-y blogging break up and go their separate ways. 

I was thinking that the professional writing I do for newspapers and magazines was just outgrowing the mama-blog-home we have going here. 

I was thinking it was time for them to move out and into their own home.  It seemed the two were competing for space that just didn't feel relevant to both anymore.

I was thinking that the mama-blog-readers may not be interested in the working editorials and links.

I was thinking that other writers, editors and publishers may not be interested in weeding through my "scrapbook" of motherhood.

So both parties agreed on a trial separation.

Business blog moved to it's own home on the world wide web.

Write-On, Mom! blog attempted to hold down the fort here in it's original home.

After several months of separation, the two blog-parties came to a mutual decision:
they just cannot live without each other.

Oh sure...they each tried to do their own thing.

But Write-On, Mom! blog couldn't help but to share interviews, links and snapshot stories of the Business-blog because it still affected her mama-life.  It was just who she was.

And Business-blog attempted to stick only to business...but soon discovered that motherhood was her business.  

So Business is moving back home. 

We are all sitting around the table (mama blog, business blog and myself) and discussing the ways we can do some blog-blending in a way that allows each to grow, but still feels like home to the others.

(I am well aware that the above statement may have some wondering of any split-personality issues going on here. I can assure you that any such disorders only occur in my head.)

We are also talking about our long-term goals and things we would like to see happen in this small home on the triple double-u.

Here are some of the highlights:

A Well-Storied Life....changing the world, one story at a time.
We definitely want to write about the stories of everyday people who are making huge differences in the lives of those around them.  

Family-Friendly & that sort of Stuff. 
Think book reviews and givaways, ideas to try with your family, inspirational and family friendly movie reviews, and other attempts at trying to be helpful to the mama-readers who want to do more than just maintain a family...they want to minister to their family.  Stuff like that.  

Probably some more focused social media promotion.
This is because business is business and that is how business is. 

Snapshot Stories.
Stories told through the lens of the camera. My stories, my family, and when snapshots.

And as journey through the motherhood.
Many of you have been following this journey since my kids were in diapers.  You've stuck with me through the preschool years and you put up with the teenage sarcasm that happens quite often nowadays.  You've seen me through seasons that included a divorce and single motherhood.  You have cheered me on as I enter into this new season of re-marriage and blending families.  You know I'm not perfect, I mess up all the time, I take pictures of my food and I trip all over my words.  You know I 'm a Jesus girl who prefers the type of ministry that happens outside of the church.  

You've been there through my journey, and you tell me that it helps you while you are on your own.  I'm humbled by that.  I guess that's what sharing our stories is really for.  

So...for today, that's our story.  
And for today, we are sticking to it.  

I hope you will come back often.  Check things out as we do some remodeling and blending.  Share your comments.  Follow the blog.  Invite a friend over.  All of that.