Just stop right there.

That’s what my body said to me last Tuesday morning.

The dogs started whining and barking. I tried to fling my feet off the side of the bed and sit up.

I still can not tell you what I did in the days before that morning that would cause that pain.

I bullied through on Tuesday, took my oldest to work, took the girls to play rehearsal, and attempted cooking and some light cleaning.

On Wednesday, I laid in bed. Rest would fix it, right?

On Thursday, I couldn’t handle it anymore. I had tried everything. Ice, heat, baths, oils, Motrin, Aleve, rest, walking (slowly).

I headed in to the local walk-in clinic and gave in to my need for medical intervention.

I was sent home with glorified ibuprofen and predisone, along with a stack of printed exercises for me to do in a few weeks.

The doctor said I strained my lower lumbar. Whatever.

Maybe I did, but I have no idea how it happened. The most I had done in days was to walk around our property. I didn’t fall, or slip, or jump, or anything even remotely physical.

It would seem, however, that after a certain age, if your body wakes you up and screams “STOP LADY AND SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN!” you should probably listen. It’s been almost a week and I’m still not 100% yet.

I’m up, and I did manage to tackle the dishes and some laundry. I am enlisting help from smaller people. They were dragging their feet but have finally figured out they are only getting food and clean undies if they get up and help.

Does your house fall apart a little when mom is down for the count? Tell me I’m not the only one!

 

A new mom’s visit to the ER

It’s been 16 years since that awful Saturday morning. We laugh at it now. It’s one of those stories that my daughter loves to hear me tell. Because that day, her mother lost her cool on a stranger, and her mother rarely ever loses her cool on a stranger.

Doodlebug was close to her first birthday, when I realized that she and I were bored with each other. I had left my job to stay home with her and while I LOVED being home with her, I was struggling with feeling like that was enough of a contribution to our family. I missed the challenge of the workplace. I missed talking to grownups. Doodlebug, even at her tiny age, was starting to act bored with her little life at home with me.

My previous boss had emailed me that there was an opening in the accounting department and offered it to me. My Mr. and I talked it over, we found an amazing babysitter, and I took the job. Doodlebug would be cared for by her dad’s best friend’s mother. A sweet lady that cared for several children in her home. A sweet lady that had been caring for children in her home for YEARS. No worries.

The first Monday through Friday went wonderfully. Everyone was enjoying themselves. I was around grown ups doing grown up things. Doodlebug had other little people to play with and she loved Ms. Kathy.

Saturday morning, I woke up and stumbled out of bed to make coffee. While it brewed, I scooped up my Doodlebug and laid her on the living room floor to change her diaper.

It was blood red. Not poop, at least not all poop. It was runny, almost watery, and BLOOD RED.

I tried not to panic, I woke up her dad. I called my mom. I called his mom. I cleaned and wiped her bottom and looked for an injury but couldn’t find one.

What could have caused this?

We waited for another diaper change, and it was still red!

Y’all, I freaked out. All I could think was that someone had done something terrible to my kid and she was bleeding profusely and it had to be in internal thing because I couldn’t find any injury and OH MY GOODNESS DID SOMEONE DO SOMETHING INAPPROPRIATE WITH MY BABY!!!

We took her to the ER, an hour west of our house. His parents followed us. My best friend and her husband followed us. My mother and my step-dad drove from four hours away and met us at the ER. There we were, all of us, sitting in the emergency room, freaked out over Doodlebug’s bloody diaper.

Doodlebug was happily running around the room, right as rain, making all the other patients laugh.

Hours passed.

A lady came in, IN LABOR, and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen by anyone.

A gunshot victim came in and I growled at a nurse about my baby still not being seen.

Some teenager that had done something stupid on a skateboard and sprained their wrist came in and was walked immediately back to the rooms and I LOST MY EVER LOVIN’ MIND!

I went to the counter, and lost it on a nurse.

“My baby is bleeding out of her nidgy bits and you are gonna see that kid with a boo boo on his arm over HER???  What is wrong with you people!!”

Meanwhile, my kid is wobbling around walking from one person to the next and stealing goldfish from her dad.

The very patient, very compassionate, nurse (and I don’t know how she held it together with me screaming at her) waved another nurse over and whispered something in her ear. She handed her my daughters paperwork and we were invited to the back rooms.

FINALLY!

She asked me what my daughter had been eating and drinking.

“I don’t know for sure. I just returned to work and she’s been with a sitter this week, so I don’t know what she’s had.”

She asked me to undress her. So I did.

She looked down at the water red goo in the diaper.

She grabbed a little piece of paper and laid it on the red goo.

“Mrs. Baldwin, I’m happy to tell you that this isn’t blood in your daughter’s diaper. It’s red dye. She’s fine, but I’d find out what she’s been eating or drinking. She’s fine, I promise.”

I balled. Relieved. Embarrassed. I definitely didn’t want to walk out into the waiting room to tell all our family that they wasted a Saturday over food dye.

“It’s a common thing for parents to bring their kids in in a panic. That’s why we didn’t rush her in. She was playing and didn’t seem to be in any pain. I am sorry that it took so long though.”

I asked her to send in my husband while I redressed our daughter.

I sent him out to tell our family first. I just couldn’t bear it.

 

I’ll clean if you’ll clean.

Let’s face it, Mary Poppins was right.

In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

Spoonful of Sugar, Mary Poppins, Disney

My mom used to make having “Kitchen Duty” a game. She used to tell me to race myself and see if I could clean it faster than I did the night before! Somehow she managed to get me to play a game all by myself while doing something I hated doing. Moms are magical, y’all.

I guess it works, because here I am about to declutter my bedroom and my main motivation is that last night on Facebook, I managed to volunteer myself for bedroom cleaning while showing support for my friend’s desire to get more organized in the new year. I shouldn’t have been typing in the dark, or I would have seen what a hot mess was waiting for me. (Before pics are coming)

I’m all about baby steps, and that’s how I’ll tackle today.

Four Tips for Tackling Overwhelming Chores

  1. Set a time limit.  I usually aim for 15 minutes, but since we are working on the whole room, I’m going to allot one hour – in four 15-minute increments. Sometimes I’ll binge watch Netflix, something I’m sure none of you ever do, but I do, I’ll admit it. I’ll finish an episode of Gilmore Girls and then set a time for 15 minutes, tackle an area or chore, and THEN I can push play on the next episode. If you’re working in the same room as the TV, you can tackle TWO 15 minute blocks per episode of Friends! 
  2. Set a simple goal. One bag of trash -or- one bag to donate -or- one drawer -or- one shelf (not the whole bookcase, Cassie!) Most often, I will end up way exceeding the goal. One bag turns into two, I get on a roll with that shelf and find myself moving on to the next one. Something about hitting the goal makes it fun. If a kid runs in and interrupts you and you can’t finish the second cabinet, or another bag, it’s okay, because you already met the goal. Keep it short and simple.
  3. Reward yourself with something that does not require others to go along. I may need to explain this a bit. I used to get so discouraged when I would work my butt off all day with the expectation of getting to have an hour alone to read, or an hour to take a hot bath, or quiet trip to Target alone, only to never get my reward because it relied on other people participating. It never failed the kids would get sick that day, or my husband would forget to tell me he had invited company over, or a friend would need me (and I have an issue with saying no- yes, I know, it’s a thing, I’m working on it.) Now my rewards are quick, and usually instant: the next episode, popcorn, the next chapter in my book, 15 minutes to write in my journal, a cookie…. literally a cookie, there’s a story there, better saved for another day.
  4. Phone a friend, or poke, tweet, message, snap, whatever the kids are doing these days, find your friends. It just takes one. Scratching off “clean nightstand” feels really good but it’s bonus fun if you’re friend can send you a “way to go party time” gif when you’re done. (Yes, Cassie, I am expecting a gif… please and thank you.)

As embarrassing as they are, here are the before pictures, taken from my current spot on the bed:

It’s almost 9 am here.

I have allotted one hour to devote to this today. I’ll do my first 15 minute sprint after I feed the chickens. My reward? Hot coffee.


The First Fifteen

I tackled my nightstand first. It was closest to me, and it is usually the spot that gets ignored the most. My timer buzzed, but I was close to finishing so I kept going a bit longer. I found a grocery bag worth of trash in, on, or around it.

Y’all, I hide a LOT of candy in there. I tossed it, because I couldn’t be certain how long it had been in there. Also, candy does not help my medical issues at all so while I had the will power I tossed it out.

I found my missing stapler. I found my hunting knife (not that I ever use it, but I know where it is now). I found my new set of tweezers that I’ve been missing since I did Steel Magnolias in the summer. See that big red mug in the picture? My kids wrote their names on it as a gift one year, so I don’t use it as a coffee mug. I has spare change in it. I also was stuffed with Reese’s cup wrappers. The wrappers are gone now. Maybe when I turn on my little black fan, I’ll actually feel the air!

Time for a coffee reward and since I can’t JUST focus on this room today, I’m going to throw some clothes in the laundry. PASSIVE cleaning is my favorite! I take 60 seconds to toss clothes in and it does the work for me.


*** The kids woke up, had to make breakfast, and start schoolwork. I started a load of laundry, found the kitchen table (it was covered in stuff from New Year’s night, cleaned dog barf off the couch, and took a trash bag through the house to gather trash from bathroom and bedroom trash cans.

Also, just got the call that my sister-in-love is in the hospital about to have baby #5!  Whoo hoo!!!  Lots about to be up in the air as we were on call to come help pet sit while they were in the hospital. He’s a few weeks early, but docs are optimistic about the little guy being okay.


The Next Fifteen

Reading, reading, writing, and math. Stopped to make some frantic “the baby is coming” phone calls, and then I headed into the bedroom for another 15 minute sprint. I tackled the dresser.

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I have a love/hate thing going on with this dresser. It’s technically mine, as far as the clothes go. Mr’s is in the closet because our room is small. I had planned to have my jewelry box on it, and my retro radio; however, since we have limited space, it ended up being the piece of furniture that held the DVD player, and the WiiU (don’t even get me started on that one. Grrr). Also, his fancy humidor can’t stay in the closet because the closet is in the bathroom and there a humidity blah blah blah, excuses, and it had to be in our room. I did get the 8000 random Ikea parts off of it, and put my earrings away. I collected all the random bobby pins and hair clips and put them in the bathroom.

I did not put the hair things where they went. That would have made sense, but it also would have wasted time I had dedicated to the dresser. They were dumped in my random basket that I will sort when I decide to spend time decluttering the bathroom. A 15 minute sprint is not the time to start squirreling off on another project….we are not playing “if you give a mom a chore” today. Focus.


No real reward this time, as all the interruptions have put me behind a bit and I just got a text asking if I could give someone a ride somewhere around 2 pm. The washer is done, so I’ll call the kids to move it to the dryer and I’ll fix lunch. I think I’ll have them empty the dishwasher too, they look bored.


The Last Fifteen

Okay, phew! Glad that’s done.

This definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s the best I could do for today (and with only 15 mins to play). The laundry pile has been put away, and the desk cleared. The stack of green and pink boxes are craft supplies I brought in from our storage barn. I’m trying to get a few items made for my Etsy store, but it’s slow going.

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That brown box on the right? That’s a shoe organizer from Ikea that I haven’t built yet. I haven’t built it because I can’t get into the kid’s room where it is supposed to be going. That’s for another day. That project will be more of a “shock and awe” event in our house. Empty to space and start over kind of thing.

But first, babies!  I’m done for today with this project, now I have to figure out what I can do to help my brother and his wife welcome their new one to the world!

Leave me a comment below and tell me what your biggest decluttering/cleaning challenge is and I’ll try to answer it in an upcoming post!

Permission Given

Not that you need my permission.

But I’m offering it. It seems to help. When we have someone say, “Hey you, it’s okay to do that.”

That’s why we share the memes, and the inspirational quotes, and the funny videos. We want to see someone else feeling the way we do, living the way we do, rejoicing the way we do, and struggling the way we do. We want to know that it’s okay to do that.

So today, I’m giving you permission.

Permission to feel. Any thing. ALL the things. ALL THE FEELS.

Own them.

Feel them.

The good ones and the bad ones. Especially the bad ones y’all.

It seems we don’t want anyone to compare their blessings to another’s blessings. Find joy in your own circumstances. Find the silver lining. Count just one thing that’s good. Look for the light. Sing a song. Dance. Go for a walk. Get the good juices flowing.

YES! All that…. all that is great and wonderful and very helpful.

After you have allowed yourself, given yourself permission to feel the bad first. And don’t, I repeat, DO NOT COMPARE YOUR PAIN TO ANOTHER IN AN ATTEMPT TO TALK YOURSELF OUT OF HURTING. Knock it off. Yes, other’s MAY have it worse. Yes, there are homeless and addicted and abducted and dying and starving and sick and lonely and all of it is very very very bad. I am NOT negating any of their pain or their hurt or their difficulties.

I am simply saying, in all caps, IT IS OKAY TO FEEL THAT YOUR SITUATION SUCKS TOO.

Whatever it is, my friend, it is OKAY to own it, feel it, and say it out loud.

The part that isn’t okay, is if you stay in that feeling for too long.

The negative is what makes the positive so…well, positive!

The light is only bright because we have come out of the darkness.

And if you can’t find anyone safe to talk to, I’m here. Talk to me.

I don’t have answers, but I have ears. Sometimes, we just need someone to listen, and to let us feel, and pray with us or for us while we wait for the morning light.

And the next time someone tells you to “Just cheer up”, “count your blessings”, or tries to remind you that “someone else has it way worse than you”, politely (or not) remind them that you can be blessed and stressed at the same time….I can feel all the feels.

Permission

 

 

The next adventure…

Well, that’s it. I am officially unemployed. I think. I mean, I think I stay on the roster for two weeks and then they officially terminate me, but for me… I’m done.
 
This was one of those well intentioned moves that proved to be the wrong one. I fully believe God put me there for a reason, but I also fully believe He said it was time for me to come back home.
 
Now to pray on the next step. I have put several options on the table. I’m just not clear on which path to put my energy. This has always been a struggle for me.
 
I love to go in with guns a blazin’ but my body doesn’t really work well with that tactic anymore. So for today, we do baby steps forward.
 
First….dishes and laundry. Both are semi-passive as I just have to load the machines and let them work. Then, kid-time, some school work and some life skills (chores). Then a little time to create something. Not sure what that will be yet. A lot depends on my mind and body.
The Etsy shop is ready for items. This blog has been long ignored and is ready for words.
My house has been half tended for ten months, and it’s ready for the matriarch to be back on top of things (well, as much as she ever was actually on top of things).
The adventure we thought we were starting two years ago is finally back on track, I think.
I hope.
Because I had faith in that adventure.
EHemmingway.jpg

A lesson in punctuation.

Ya’ll, I just can’t hold it in anymore.

It seems our society has forgotten the difference between a period ( . ) and a question mark ( ? ).

A period ENDS a STATEMENT.

A question mark ASKS for something.

In the past few weeks, I have experienced people having an issue differentiating between these two punctuation marks. Some have been online, but all too many have been live and in person.  Today, when a young homeschooler posted a funny meme meant to put a chuckle in someone’s day, her post was followed with a ton of  comments very rudely offering suggestions on how to fix the situation being jested about in the post.

NO.

She didn’t ask for advice. She wasn’t seeking help or solutions. How do I know? Because there was NO QUESTION MARK. The meme merely made a statement, a comical statement about one of the many trials of motherhood. She wasn’t requesting help to resolve whatever behavior led to the meme. In fact, IT WASN’T EVEN A MEME ABOUT HER. It was some graphic she pulled off a meme site because…. IT WAS FUNNY.  Any mother would have had a good chuckle and scrolled away.

I have posted funny anecdotes on my personal Facebook page (or had conversations personally with others), in which I shared a trying day. When I do this, I am NEVER looking for suggestions on how to NOT have a trying day. IF I feel I could use some advice I will ask for it, using…. dun…dun….dun… a QUESTION. Most times, I am throwing up the mom gang sign and saying “Hey, other mom friends, other wife friends, other sister friends, other humans-who-have-to-deal-with-people friends… guess what, sometimes people suck, I feel ya, high five… we got this… let’s laugh.” PERIOD. END OF STATEMENT.

So please help me understand why it seems everyone wants to jump in and fix what they perceive to be wrong, when no one is asking for help/advice?  (<–see there is a question, feel free to leave a comment and answer THIS question)

I can promise you, you do not have the whole story in that meme or post or 5 minute conversation. There was more to it. I also promise that whatever the situation was….

I handled it. I just didn’t feel the need to bore you with that part of the story.

Oh, and while we are on that bunny trail…. I am done justifying HOW I handled it. I did it my way and that’s that. (<–please note the specific use of a period here.)

People…. PEOPLE…  why can’t we just support each other? Hug, high five, throw up the Mockingjay sign and show some sympathy, some empathy, some compassion and IF YOU CAN’T….

take that little finger of yours and scroll on by.

 

I still act like a child.

We reset our priorities. We made a plan. We made less selfish choices.
It was amazing. Things were good. Kids were happy. We were happy.
Then there was that one day, that one day when I was tired, tired of not getting my way.
It was just a moment. A frustrated moment. I had done all my chores, made all the plans, fixed all the meals. I had paid the pills and fed the chickens. I had listened to stories and read stories, and broke up fights. I had entertained unexpected company because…well… the kids were excited to play with their cousins. I fielded phone calls and messages, fixed problems, boosted spirits, and comforted the broken-hearted. I played referee between an emotional teenager and … the rest of the world.
It was 9:30pm, and I finally had a chance to sit in my recliner and do something I WANTED TO DO. I’ve been working on knitting the same scarf since last fall. It was supposed to be a Christmas gift. Then a January birthday gift. Now, I’m sure my friend is just hoping she’ll get it one day. The stitch isn’t hard, but it requires paying attention.
Thirteen stitches in a child crawls up beside me.
“I haven’t had any Mommy/Bubby time in forever!”
I put the knitting down, hug him, and remind him that we had cuddle time earlier and that now it was bedtime. I tuck him back in, and say prayers again, and sing the song again.
As I walk across the kitchen, headed for my chair, the other teenager flings her foot into my face to show me that her toenail is hurting again….”it has been hurting me for DAYS Mom!”
You couldn’t have told me that DAYS ago, kid?
I was on stitch 13, right?
Knitting
Okay, let’s go find the clippers and hooky filey thingy and some antibiotic ointment and the band-aids.
10 minutes later, I’m headed back for my chair.
My Mr. turns off the tv and says it’s time for bed.
Um… no. It is not. I stomp over like a child about to have a tantrum and with all the force of The Hulk I press the ON button on the tv remote as if force would make it turn on faster. I throw the remote on the couch and plop down in my seat.
“What’s wrong with you?” he dared to ask.
Oh boy. My rant began. Everyone heard it. My childish, angry rant, went from “Why is it I never get to do anything I want” to “I’m sorry, I love being wife and mommy, I just wanted a few minutes to do something I wanted to do.”
Somewhere in there, I yanked my knitting off the table without paying attention, probably flinging it around for visual effect, and dropped two stitches.
Was it the last two I did, or the two I was about to do?
My Mr. eased onto the couch beside me. Found my favorite show on Amazon Prime and pushed play.
“Okay honey, we can knit.”
 
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Check out the new “Basically Clean Club“!

New Plan

Bad mornings, new game plan, and accountability. Wanna play?

I’ve been awake for almost two hours. The coffee and meds are doing nothing for my raging headache. My inability to determine what caused the headache is negatively affecting my attitude. The house is only a half-step away from being trashed thanks to a last minute dinner party for 12 that was thrown together at 5 pm yesterday.
Maybe that caused the headache.
Unfortunately, I’m an adult, with four children and enough animals to start my own zoo. This means I must get up, and get going.
But how do you get going when you were overwhelmed by your to-do list? How are you supposed to make a new plan when you’re head is pounding and your body feels like an old punching bag after a workout session?
I don’t know. I was hoping you did.
New Plan
I dug through my old day planner and found my “Mostly Just The Basics” note cards that I made years ago, when I first started getting sick.  They are a bit of an old standby plan that usually can pull me out of a housekeeping hole when my brain is on overload.
Each day is split into four parts: Morning, Around Lunchtime, Afternoon Before Dinner, and After Dinner. If I remember how I did the math, each section takes no more than an hour….unless I get on a roll, which happens, just not today.
Card “Day Three”:

  • Morning: Collect Dirty Laundry, Start Load Laundry, Bathroom Sinks/Mirrors, Porches, Dust Fan & Lamps.
  • Midday: Dry Laundry, Take Out Garbage, Empty Dishwasher, Make Beds
  • Afternoon: Fold Laundry, Sweep Floors, Gather Eggs & Wash, Quick Pick Up (living room), “Mop” Floors <–totally not what you think
  • After Dinner: Load Dishwasher/Wash Pots, Clean Counters and Table

Not too bad considering the kids can totally collect the laundry, sweep the porches, move the laundry to the dryer, do the bathrooms, take out the garbage, the teen emptied the dishwasher last night when she couldn’t sleep, make their own beds, sweep the floors, gather eggs, “mop” the floors, and I can fold laundry while re-binge watching House on Netflix {It’s too soon to re-watch Supernatural}.
What also helps is that I’m in love with my Norwex and it makes swiping the sinks and mirrors and “mopping” the floors super easy. But this isn’t a sales pitch for Norwex. I’m happy to tell you about it anytime, just message me!
That leaves me with: dusting the fan (they are too short, even with my Norwex wand), folding laundry, loading the dishes after dinner, and fixing them food.  That’s 3 things, and basic survival (food). I CAN do three things today. I’ll probably do more…. once I get going. But somehow knowing that if I start feeling that bad, they can do it, helps me feel less overwhelmed.
So why am I still in bed, sipping coffee and nursing my slowly waning headache?
Because no one is here to tell me to get off my backside. I need a friend, or 15, to cheer on and to cheer me on. Accountability Friends are what really get the “Just the Basics” plan going. Won’t you join me?
Hop over to the Polka Dotted Daisies Facebook Page and let me know you’re on the team and let me know what THREE things you’re going to try and do today! Feel free to copy my “Just the Basics” list above.
When we get 15 people on the team, we’ll have a contest for a team name!
For now, I’ll share a secret to how I feel productive while sitting on my tush:
I start laundry. BWAHAHAHAHA… the sound of that machine churning away makes me feel like I’m getting something accomplished, yet… I am doing absolutely nothing! So, first, I shall start the laundry. Let the delegating begin!  {Can’t wait to “meet” you on the page!}
 
 

It’s not me.

I can feel the crazy. The irrational feelings and thoughts. It’s like I am separated from myself, watching from the inside, while a hurricane of negative thoughts swirl around outside of me, trying to escape. Like a bee stuck in the car, banging at windows trying to find that one opening so it can get out, my thoughts are banging against my brain searching for a way out, a way to be heard.

Sorry not sorry, but dudes… you are not escaping. Not if I can help it.

Why? Because you are not real.

You are a product of some chemical that my brain just got a jolt of, a little too much of, or maybe not enough of, and quite frankly you are not making any dang sense. So before you do any damage, just chill your britches and wait.

I KNOW this is what’s going on because I finally have a few answers and a better idea of why I have been on a slow decline for years. I have a more detailed understanding of the immune system, and hormones, and histamines, and dopamines, and all sorts of other “-mines” and “-pines” and “-ones” and all the other things that work together and apart from all the other things that make our bodies work, or not work.

So I’ll evaluate what I ate. I’ll double check the medicine I took, or forgot to take, and the supplements. I’ll do my deep breathing. I’ll color. I’ll make a list. I’ll tell someone I love them. I’ll lie and say that today I am okay. I’ll wait, for it to pass.

It will.

I woke up this morning, still here to fight the good fight because the fight isn’t over. I know it’s not over because I woke up. God isn’t done with me, so I won’t be done with me.

woman wears gold colored blue gemstone pendant necklace

Photo by Anastasiya Lobanovskaya on Pexels.com

I don’t regret my tattoo.

Several years ago, after many years of discussions and sketches, my sweet husband took me to get my first, and only, tattoo. To say it was a big deal, is an understatement.

Even though I had friends with tattoos, and family with tattoos, there was something very taboo about me getting a tattoo. I knew people would be disappointed in me. I knew there would be people I would feel the need to hide it from. If it was going to cause that much grief, I wanted to make sure it was worth it. It had to mean something to me, something deep.

At the time, I was struggling with the idea that I was in fact a writer. Calling myself a writer, an author, sounded a little too real. It took me beyond just someone who happened to put words into sentences and let people read it. It implied I had a skill and that I used that skill intentionally to reach out and impact others. I wanted to believe I was a writer. I wanted to be confident in telling others, I am an author.

Part of my tattoo is a quill.

The other part, is a simple word, in one of my favorite fonts. It simply says, “Anyway”.

To explain the word, I generally point to the poem that Mother Teresa had on the wall of her children’s home. It’s titled The Paradoxical Commandments, written by Kent M. Keith in 1968.

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

It is so much more than that.

If you think you can’t play Barbies, play anyway.

If you think you can’t play Army Men, play anyway.

If you think you can’t learn something new, learn it anyway.

If you want to sing, but think you’re not good enough, sing anyway.

If you think you have something to share with the world, but no one wants to read it, write it anyway.

If they have given you absolutely no reason to love them, or even like them,

If they have brought you pain, and hurt, and to the point of anger,

If they have no clue the damage they caused, or are currently causing,

draw a line, create a boundary, protect yourself…but love them, forgive them, anyway.

 

For a while, tattoos were becoming popular and accepted in society. Employers don’t always make you cover them up. Few look down on others because of tattoos. Yet, I am seeing a trend returning where tattoos are being frowned upon, and I’ve read articles shaming those who get them.

I do not regret my tattoo. I won’t be ashamed of it. It has opened the door for me to share the story of love and forgiveness that I have received from Jesus. It has allowed me opportunities to explain how I manage to love and forgive despite how little I might feel the offending person deserves it. It has helped me to fully own the title of “writer”.

I write. I play. I try. I sing. I love. I forgive. Anyway.