Wednesday, March 25, 2009

below E

There is this gauge in my car, right above the steering wheel.  It has a little red bar that points somewhere between an F and an E, letting me know how much gas is in my car.  
Well, it attempts to let me know.  It tries.

It just doesn't get my life.  

What if I did live that kind of life? Where each morning, I peacefully walked to my car (alone),  slipped my travel mug into my cup holder (that still knew how to hold cups), turned on music (that I loved) and paused to check my gas level. What if I had the kind of life that made room for thoughts like, Hey, I've got some extra time and I'm almost below a 1/4 tank, I'll stop and get some gas on my way to wherever?

This morning, my son was calling me out the front door (giving me a minute by minute countdown), while I was prodding my slow and steady daughter to move her lovely little self out the door.  I thought I gave them their lunch money, but just as we are pulling out of the driveway, we discover the checks never made it to the van.  Back into the house to get the checkbook.  Once again, almost late to school.
Stop and check how much gas I have?  

Until the morning my car doesn't start.  Genius.  
I'm out of gas.  So, I call a friend who picks my kids up and takes them to school.  They are tardy, of course. Good friends help when you are in a pinch.  They also don't laugh (okay, they don't laugh too long) when you tell them you forgot to fill up your tank (again).

My life has been c r a z y

But there is a point when life's circumstances start to seep into my mind, heart and soul and, pretty soon, it is not just life that's crazy, but me.  Crazy, exhausted, angry, impatient, and sick.  Without a little red bar, and absolutely no warning light to alert me, I suddenly realize my tank is empty.

I wonder, how long I have been running on fumes.  The difference between my van and me, is that I can keep going even on empty. I can go for quite awhile. Until I can't anymore.  

Yesterday was that day for me.  The day that I dropped my kids off at school, and (after filling up my car), came home and took a morning nap.  There were a thousand things I needed to do yesterday (and I eventually got to most of my list) but nothing good or productive could come from me until I got some rest.

The world is not going to stop and wait for us to fill up. 
Check in with your tank. What do you need right now?
Some of my favorite things to do when I am weary: sit for an hour with my coffee, soak in a lavender bath, get in bed an hour (or two) early, and watch an old movie instead of cleaning one afternoon.  

You think we could be as kind to ourselves as we are to our cars? No car can run on empty and neither can we.  Good-bye, guilt and unrealistic expectations.  Hello, Sanity! It's good to see you again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

an unwritten season

It has been a while since I have journaled, taken pictures of my daily life, or celebrated a small moment just for me. This has been a time of getting sick, getting better, doctor appointments, dental visits, getting sick again, antibiotics, and lots of cough syrup.

Who wants to document moments that are less about living and more about surviving?

This is how I define an unwritten season: A time in my life that I want to put in the past, so I can live the life I really want...somewhere...out there...beyond today. I want to wait for one of those days that I get to hike through the woods with my family, find a delightful treasure at the flea market, or go on a romantic date with my husband. Those are the days I want to write about. Those are the days I want to represent my life.

If I wait for the perfect days, I won't write. I will have no snapshots. There are disappointing things about the best days, and beautiful moments even in the midst of the worse ones. Often, the richest seasons of my story have resulted from struggle, disappointment, failure and defeat.

We get bogged down by life. Motherhood. Marriage. Change. Making ends meet. Real life can be exhausting. It is easy to disappear in our own lives and forget that everyday is our story, everyday is our life. Beautiful stories are not made of perfect moments.

Yesterday, while cleaning out bobby pins and cough drop wrappers from my bedside table, I found a packet of flower seeds. They aren't blooming anytime soon (I haven't ever successfully grown anything from seed). But they reminded me to slow down and smell the daisies today-even if they are only seeds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

traveling companions

Thoughts from one woman who is taking the journey:

"Unwritten Travels is years worth of therapy in a book that’s so intriguing and introspective you’ll be excited to learn (or remember) the next thing about yourself. Don’t deny yourself this fun book. You will find some simple things to add into your life that will simply, easily brighten your days. And, it’s just too fun.

This book is for anybody who spends more time thinking about others than themselves. It’s just for you. It’s just about you. It’s fun and it’s surprising because it leads you to learn or maybe remember something about yourself that helps you do what you gotta do day to day – but a little more joyfully. No major life overhauls necessarily, but little things that only you know and appreciate and need to work into your life just because it brings you some joy.

Mostly I liked this book because it was just fun to complete. It made me think. It made me remember. It made me act on some simple things that easily brighten my day. I documented some things about me that taught my husband things he didn’t know before.

I made changes to my life after reading this book. I made simple, easy additions that cost me my pocket change, but didn’t significantly subtract from my precious, precious TIME. These are things that would not likely be understood by others, but they bring joy to me. So, there’s new joy in my life because of this book. I bought a reading light and used it, I put linen spray on my sheets, I light candles with matches not butane, I clean my toothbrush tray more often, I use lamps instead of overhead lighting, I take the two seconds needed to spray some perfume each morning, and guess what – no one in my realm of responsibility is suffering. No one in my family is neglected. No one at work or home is bothered by these things. I wonder if they really even notice I’m doing them. I am better for making time to do these things. I’m better on the inside where everything else (how I treat people, how I think, what I think, why I do things), gets decided. I’m reminded I can make these gestures of kindness to myself with only positive impact to the people I’m trying to do my best for and with. Don’t deny yourself the chance to do the same. Just don’t."

~Angela Vaden (Franklin, TN)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

on air

Being on Debbie's show was one of my favorite things I have ever done. I know, that sounds dramatic (my daughter gets it from someone...), but I am telling you, it was one of my top 10 best life experiences.

Stress and anxiety are two things I am quite comfortable combating. Taking exams, writing papers, meeting deadlines, paying my bills, getting lost in rush hour traffic--those things can completely unravel me. I thought, for sure, that being interviewed on a live show would be terrifying, in that bungee-jumping kind of way.

Maybe it is because Debbie Alan is such a generous and enthusiastic person. Jenny W. says that when Debbie smiles you feel her joy all the way to your toes. How could we not feel comfortable with that level of encouragement? Maybe it is because Jenny W. was jumping of the cliff with me and she manages to make even the most intense situations hysterically funny. Our interview felt more like hanging out and laughing with a couple of friends for 45 uninterrupted minutes.

The only moment where I was truly scared was when Debbie asked me about our website. There were some dark hours in the days leading up to Monday morning. Our website had some kinks that our little brains did not believe we could solve. Without a place to order our books, we could not go on Debbie's show (and sell our book). Like we said in the interview (like Jenny W. said as she rescued me from drowning in silence), our website is in process. Today you can order our book, but keep checking, because it is getting better by the day.

I still have not listened to the interview. But, I am sure that if we could figure out how to get our book on amazon and how to set up a paypal account, I can surely figure out how to handle the weirdness that comes with listening to my less that cohesive thoughts streamed online.

Special Thanks to Jen, Christina and Sandra for calling in. You are brave and kind friends to join us on a LIVE broadcast. Your questions were wonderful and sparked great discussion. Thank you to Steve, Linda, and Keoni for being there to take pictures and cheer us on.  

In case you missed it the first time... you can listen to our interview about Unwritten Travels

discovering what we loved...


stay at home moms join forces with a new passion and purpose


does journaling give you the jitters?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

empty boxes

When I first started working on this post a few days ago, it was to announce to you that we had sold our first box of books.  Would you believe, only 10 days after the arrival of Unwritten Travels, we have 3 empty boxes?  It is so fun checking our website and seeing people we have known from childhood, supportive family members and friends sharing in our celebration by placing orders for books.  We are still awaiting our first stranger order.  

Thank you, dear loved ones, for helping us empty these boxes!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On The Home Strech

On Monday, March 9th @ 10:15-10:57 am CST, we are going to be interviewed about our book, Unwritten Travels on "On the Home Stretch with Debbie Alan."
Check out the show's schedule for details.

You can listen to our interview (during that time) at:
You are also welcome to call in for a live interview.
The number to call in LIVE is: 877-474-3302.

We hope you are able to join us for this exciting time in our journey. Thank you for the many ways you have supported us through the process of writing and publishing Unwritten Travels.

Many blessings on the dreams you are pursuing today!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the missing link

I woke up this morning and checked our website. Excitedly, I see that the “About the Authors” link is up, but the link to purchase the book is not activated yet. It will be at any moment!
I love our website so far. One purpose of the site is to provide the ability for people to buy our book. Currently, you can look at it, learn about it and learn a little about us, but you can’t buy it through this site. One part, one link, is not doing its job. It’s like that every day in the world. We are all created for a purpose. Our purpose is many times revealed in the dreams, passions and hopes we have for ourselves.

When any one of us isn’t fulfilling our purpose,
something in our world is not as good as it could be.

Hopefully, many women will discover or remember their purposes, dreams, passions and hopes through playing through the pages of Unwritten Travels. Hopefully, they will be able to take some practical steps to begin to live their lives in accordance with these discoveries.

I can’t wait to see what happens. – Jenny Ann

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

boxes and boxes of books

Our due date finally arrived!
Here we sit, proud, proud Mommas gloating over our newest baby.
5,000 babies to be exact.

How to purchase a copy (or 5 copies*) of Unwritten Travels:

1. From our web site:

2. You can send a check for the amount of $24.99* to
Unwritten Travels
P.O. Box 2783
Brentwood, TN 37024

3. Buy a copy* from us in person (we will always be carrying around books with us).

*For a limited time only (I have always wanted to say that)
you can buy 4 copies and get the 5th copy FREE.