Struggling for Balance

Smoke billowed from the oven and filled the kitchen and living room as the pie drippings covered the pan beneath and burned to a crisp. At least the smoke smelled like dessert and wasn't the coking insulation burning smoke that filled our house this past May. I spent the afternoon yesterday making pies with my little sister Emily. Cutting crisco into flour, pouring sugar and cinnamon over apples, whisking in eggs,  and sprinkling pecans. Her pregnant belly was covered in flour and I finished the process with one hand holding Felix in the other because he woke up early from his nap.

Opening the back door to let the ice cold air suck out some of the haze filling the first floor my mind wandered to my to do list. Preparations for Thanksgiving. Vacuum, sweep, dust, mop, pick-up, scrub, chop and brine. All things that need to be done before my in laws arrive in 24 hours and my mind drifted to how much I miss writing. I wanted to pour out ideas, and stories, and memories, and even just a stream of consciousness on to the pages of this blog, but struggled to find the time.

Or did I? Was it really a matter of finding the time, or was it a matter of fear. Not being good anymore. Loosing my edge because it had been so long and my creativity felt like it had been drained from me right along with any kind of self care or healthy habits. Honestly, it wasn't for lack of time that I wasn't writing. Life has been difficult lately.

I'm struggling to find a healthy balance of caring for Felix, Josh, extended family, obligations, chores and myself. I used to be able to clack away at my keyboard while he rolled around playing by him self or sat peacefully in my lap. Now the second the computer is opened his sticky fingers reach for the keys and I'll be damned if I let him rip off qwerty on my $2000 macbook pro. So I have to put off any kind of computer usage till nap time or bed time. It's good though. I'm more present.

I sit on the floor and show Felix how to put the shapes in each hole on his sorting cube. I lay down and he crawls back and forth over me. Sweetly chattering saying "dadadadada" wagging his tongue in and out of his mouth till it sounds like he is saying "willow" or "I love you" or something...an hour passes. I try to get up and get some work done in the kitchen and he screams following me with his stiff knee wobbly new walk. Then he hangs off my my leg crying as I rinse a few dishes. Another hour passes and I'm running out of ideas.  Try coloring...he eats the crayons. Try snacks...he feeds them to the dog. Try reading books...he squirms away. Try nursing...he bites me and laughs when I yelp.

Not everyday is like this, but on the days where nothing seems to be going right, I'm counting down the minutes till Josh walks in the door. Then the second 7:30 hits and the kid is in bed for the night and I feel so done. Done giving to others. Done being touched. Done cleaning. Done. Done. Done. All I can muster (i tell myself) is a few episodes of one of my shows. And before you know it, it's 11 PM and I've barely talked to my husband and I'm telling myself I need to go to bed because Felix will wake up soon. So no good intentions are followed through on. Blogging? Nah. Songwriting? Nope. Working out? Forget it.

I very easily could have used my time in the evening on something productive. Why do I insist on this self-sabotaging behavior that ends up a cycle that leaves me a cranky, sad, unhappy mess. I really do LOVE this season of life I'm in. Felix is so cute now a days. He is sleeping better. Josh is having TONS of favor in business, but still I find myself in this rut. Jealous of those around me with time to pursue their dreams and I feel stuck.

That's my problem. And i'm not 100% sure I want out of the rut. It's a really unhealthy place and I'm aware of that, but it feels easier to wallow right now and to be mean to people and allow my default sinful human nature to take over. The ebs and flows of life are weird. Just a few weeks ago I was high on life. So excited about all the Lord was showing me and I could feel His presence on a minute to minute basis. I was happy. But I am so weak. Without warning, one bad afternoon has sent me into a spiral. And here I sit...le sigh...

How's that for an honest post?

I don't have a nice shiny bow to wrap this post up in, except that hopefully my sour mood dissipates before company arrives for the holiday tonight. We have a yummy menu of food I'm planning, so maybe that will be more interesting to read than my rants and negativity.

Brined and herbed buttered turkey with gravy
Blue Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Butternut Squash with pine nuts and parmesan
Pan seared Brussel sprouts with feta and Pecans
Cranberry and Raspberry Chutney with orange peel and lemon zest
Classic Stuffing with Sage and Rosemary 
Cheesy Corn Casserole
Flakey giant Crescent Rolls
Spicy Cote du Rhone, buttery Chardonay and pumpkin ale
Cinnamon Apple Pie with homemade crust
Pecan Pie with vanilla bean ice cream

Ahhhh I feel better already. Happy thanksgiving.


Ewing Sisters

Today was the first real COLD day of the season. Some even say they saw flurries around our area this morning. I hummed Christmas tunes all day. At the supermarket a lady even wished me a Merry Christmas.  During lunch and Felix's afternoon nap I popped in Little Women - one of the classic movies I watch every year when the temperature drops. Since the whole movie is about a family with four girls I inevitably thought about my family and especially my sisters.

It is hard to not compare each of the Ewing girls to the March girls. My sisters may disagree, but I am obviously Jo - funny, writer, a bit impulsive and clumsy at times. Rebecca - though she is healthy as a horse - has a compassion and sweetness about her just as Beth does. Cynthia - more practical and hard working - just like Meg. And Emily - whether she accepts it or not will always be Amy in my head. A bit bothersome to my teenage self but blossoming into an incredibly beautiful and creative young woman. The one thing we all have in common with the March girls is a fierce loyalty to family.

Any one of us would go to hell and back for our other sisters. No matter how many proverbial manuscripts we may throw in the fire. No matter the twists and turns of life. No matter the political differences. No matter the miles that separate us and no matter long stretches between phone calls because life got busy. And if anyone ever hurt one of our cherished sisters we would do whatever we could to protect, stand up for and support and love her.

Which is part of why there has been such a silence here on my blog. I'm not making excuses, but honestly it has been hard to be honest here because so much of what is affecting my life right now, wasn't my story to share.

In July my little sister was attacked and raped at a bus stop on her way to work at a bakery in the wee hours of the morning. It tore at the seems of our family and we were all completely wrecked by the attack. I touched on it here and here, but then I diverted my attention to mundane posts because I wanted to honor the process for my dear sister to share and heal in a way she felt best. Even though she and her new husband are finding refuge in our house as they start baby stepping their way toward wholeness again. Them being under our roof has pulled my heart and daily activities far from where they were before the incident and made it confusing to find what to write.

Today she started a blog called The New Normal and her first post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so amazingly proud of her for beginning to share her story and for her courage to invite others into her healing process, allowing other victims to find her words as medicine for their aching souls.

So here is to story telling. To writing. To honesty. To finally letting the wound get air so it can heal even faster. And here is to my sisters, but especially, here is to the brave, brilliant, and beautiful, youngest Ewing girl -- Emily.