Holding fast to dreams…

Hold fast to dreams,

for if dreams die

life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.

– Langston Hughes

A little over two years ago, I began this blog when I was nose-deep in a post-PCS funk.  I felt placeless, lost, and downright blue.  It was a move that hit me hardest emotionally.  There are a number of reasons why that might have been the case, but somewhere in the midst of it, I felt a good, hard kick in the pants, and I did something I’d wanted to do for so long.

I began writing.  Regularly.

And with that, I woke up.

I wrote about something I cared about, something that prompted much self-reflection almost all the time.  This blog came to life, and I have been so grateful to you, my faithful readers, for reading, commenting, and encouraging me.  A writer doesn’t get very far without her readers.  So thank you.

Not long ago, I decided to go for it and submit some pieces to Military Spouse Magazine, a publication that shares important resources, entertaining stories, and a wealth of advice, support, and compassion.  Today was a wonderful part of my writing journey, as MSM published my article, “Dear PCS,” on their web site.  I am over the moon, overjoyed, and overwhelmed with happiness.  Thank you, Military Spouse Magazine, for sharing my story!

Almost exactly two years ago, I wrote “Plan for NOW” and “This is Me,” both of which reflected on building on one’s skills and assets, and realizing one’s dreams in the process, in this whirlwind of a military life.  At the time, I felt a shift, as if putting those thoughts down, sharing them with you – and many whom I don’t know – was pushing me in a way I hadn’t anticipated.  Suddenly, there was a rhythm, a rumble, and oh, what a ride it has been.  And the view ahead, while partly shrouded in mystery, as life tends to be, is nevertheless open and welcoming.

There is much about this lifestyle and this process that I still have yet to know.  But what I do know is that writing has fulfilled me in ways I hadn’t planned.  Thank you for being a part of it all.

 

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Standing on Her Shoulders

There’s a particular conversation that replays itself frequently between me and my husband.  No, it doesn’t involve taking out the trash, putting the cap back on the toothpaste, or making sure to turn off the light when you leave the room.  It’s actually about something a lot more interesting, something that never fails to leave us both with a sense of awe and appreciation:

The people we meet because of the military life are such a small fraction of society, and yet I feel like Continue reading

This Is Me: Awakening, Enlivening, and Releasing the Self

“[The world] believes exactly what you tell it—through the words you use to describe yourself, the actions you take to care for yourself, and the choices you make to express yourself. Tell the world you are one-of-a-kind creation who came here to experience wonder and spread joy. Expect to be accommodated.” – Victoria Moran

Her question was so simple, so ordinary, and yet it surprised me.  Why?

After pushing an unwieldy stroller through a muddy playground, I’d settled my kids and myself onto a picnic bench with a friend and a handful of new faces.  My friend introduced me around the table, and as I spooned pureed chili into my daughter’s eager mouth, one new face yanked me from my focus and set the tone for the rest of my day.

“So, Natalie, what are Continue reading

Plan for NOW

Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now.  The conditions are always impossible.  – Doris Lessing

How many times have you felt a kick in your gut to take an opportunity, fulfill a dream, or exercise a passion, but your response to yourself was, “I don’t have time,” or “I’ll do it later,” or even worse, “The chances of success are slim.”?  Explaining my own answers to that question would take entirely too long, so let’s just agree you’ve got company here if your answer was anything greater than zero (and if it WAS zero, will you sprinkle some fairy dust on me, please?  Thanks.).

That quote above came as an inspirational nudge from a blog I recently started following, Studio Mothers, and it got me thinking about planning amidst unpredictability.  I suppose everyone experiences this to a certain extent, but I know for sure that military spouses experience a highly concentrated version of it.  It’s hard to plan even a couple months ahead sometimes, not knowing if you’ll be solo parenting, preparing for some sort of transition, or even if you’ll still be living where you are.  I don’t just mean Continue reading

Barefoot Books Launch Event!

Ready… set… LAUNCH!

My Barefoot Books Marketplace is officially open!  From now until September 22, my Launch Event is going on online.  I’m excited to welcome a number of folks on September 20 to get hands-on peeks at numerous quality children’s books, designed to spark their children’s desire to explore, learn, discover, and HAVE FUN WITH BOOKS!

But just because you aren’t in the Northern Virginia area doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the fun.  If you live out of the area and would like to place an order, simply go to my Barefoot Books web site, click “Support This Event” under the Event description on the main page, and shop!  You may also enter Event Code 000-1jyq-10300 at check-out.

While you’re there,  Continue reading

Carving my niche… with Barefoot Books

This blog came to life as an antidote to a post-PCS (Permanent Change of Station aka “our move”) funk that had left me feeling… well, funky.  After we unpacked, Mike went back to work, and I sat here staring at my young kids, wondering what magic I could perform to make them self-sufficient (just for a day!), and lamenting my sense of imbalance and placelessness.  I needed a niche.  I was feeling not a little bit sorry for myself, and I hate feeling that way.  I had to get rid of that feeling; I had to get up, get moving, step outside The Comfort Zone, and begin making a place for myself here in Virginia.

And – what was that strange bubbling in my blood?  What was that fire in my gut?  Was that….. Continue reading

The Comfort Zone

(This piece was later published on Military Spouse’s web site.  Click here to read.)

When I hear the phrase “the comfort zone,” it’s followed by sinister music in my head.  Shouldn’t I hear something more like waves crashing on the shore?  Birds tweeting?  A breeze blowing through wind chimes?

Not so much.

Because The Comfort Zone is that sneaky little bugger that gets you all nice and cozy, all wrapped up in a warm blanket on that soft and worn couch that your parents have had for decades, which now lives in their partially finished basement because you wouldn’t let them throw it away. The Comfort Zone lets you kick your feet up, take a deep breath, relax, and watch reruns of Family Ties or The Cosby Show… only to reveal that there’s not much going for you.

So you gotta get up.  And you gotta step outside. Continue reading

Building Community

(This piece was later published on Military Spouse’s web site.  Click here to read.)

“My life is but a weaving…” – Corrie ten Boom

cheers to mike!

Ah, the end of PCS season, when the exhaustion and stress of packing and moving and unpacking snicker under their breath as we realize the real work is just about to begin. Military spouses definitely have a big challenge upon arrival at a new assignment: start over.  FROM SCRATCH.   Continue reading