Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Without a clue

Today's 100 words:

"Growing older hasn't made me any more certain of my place or purpose in this world."

Feeling restless after a long day, I tweeted these words last night as I aimlessly surfed the Internet. As a teenager, I thought that by my current age, I would certainly know what I was doing in life. After all, my parents seemed so self-assured; they knew what life was about and how to live it. But the truth is I don't know, and I still feel like a kid fumbling her way toward the future without a clue.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The race

Today's 100 words:

One day blends into another and then another, pushing the weeks and months and years, all passing so quickly--too quickly--and I try to catch up, trip-running over reluctant feet, resistant feet, feet that never wanted to sign up for the race, feet married to a body that wants to sit, stay, bask in a moment it knows its feeble lizard-mind will lose in a second, wants to hold up a hand, palm out, shout to a world that never listens, can't listen, "Stop! Wait! Breathe! Don't move so quickly to that inevitably approaching end. Please rest."

Monday, February 27, 2012

Never alone

Today's 100 words:

It's another quiet morning as I sit here at the computer, up before everyone else in the house, trying to work my way through a massive to-do list that ties my stomach in knots--appointments to make, thank-you notes to write, errands I have to run--yet despite the chaotic thoughts swirling through my mind, a sense of peace nudges in the background: You can do it. It will be okay. I am with you, and I take a deep breath and look at the brightening sky and believe, really believe, that I am never alone.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Today's 100 words:

My son's birthday party went really well. Even though our party hosts at the play center seemed to rush us all out of our private room pretty quickly, the kids all appeared to enjoy their pizza and cake and had a great time playing after they ate. My husband and I (and the other parents, too) spent several hours watching the kids climb and bounce and bike. It was tiring to try to keep up with them as they raced from one side of the center to the other, but the smiles I captured on film were worth the exhaustion.

I took several pictures yesterday, but two are really special to me. They show my son jumping off a slide and starting his sprint across the play center, the widest smile I've ever seen stretched across his just-turned-five-year-old face. Remembering that moment makes my mom-heart melt.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Party day!

Today's 100 words:

My son's first-ever friends-invited birthday party will be starting in a few hours, and while everyone else in the house sleeps, I'm frantically trying to pull together the last-minute details. We're holding the party at an indoor play center, and after the pizza, ice cream, and gifts, the kids will run loose, jumping in the bounce houses, playing the video games, using the climbing structure and rollerskating or bike riding. My just-turned-five-year-old son has been looking forward to this day for weeks, and I hope he and his friends have a wonderful time.

Friday, February 24, 2012

"I want a do-over!"

Today's 100 words:

I've always wanted do-overs. As a child, if I didn't do something correctly the first time--play a game, spell a word in the class spelling bee, get a perfect score on a test--I wanted another chance. That perfectionism has followed me into adulthood: there are many things I do wrong each day, and like a child, I wish I could start the day over. Raising children, for example, is hard, and I make a lot of mistakes. Age, though, has taught me that there are no second chances, and all I can do is try my best.

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Today's 100 words:

I spent some time yesterday thinking about Lent and my plans for it this year. In past years, I've given things up, like carbonated beverages and chocolate, but I did those things mainly for my health, and I'm not certain I recognized the real purpose of Lent. This year I decided that rather than giving things up, I'll add some things to my life: I found a Lenten Bible reading plan to help me get back to daily Bible reading, and I made the promise to myself that I'll spend more quality time with God's gift to me, my children.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Today's 100 words:

My son is five now, officially since 9:50 last night. My children's birthdays have always been hard on me, as the older I get, the more I realize how quickly time passes. I love these early childhood years when the kids are learning so much about their worlds and are home all the time with me. I'm finding five to be a particularly difficult age. It's the beginning of full-time school and signals the real beginning of independence for my son. For me five brings the sad realization that my little boy won't always need me so much.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy 5th birthday to my little boy!

Today's 100 words:

The sun was like this the day you were born--warm and welcoming, really an anomaly here, where February usually seems so cold and gray. Of course when I woke that morning, I didn't know how special the day would be, how surreal--and frightening--it was to hear my doctor say, "Go to the hospital. It's time." Then hours later as you lay on my chest and looked at me with those eyes so like my dad's--that was the happiest I'd ever felt, my heart swelling, my mind unable to comprehend that you, perfect you, were actually mine.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Today's 100 words:

I'm still amazed each time my kids want to hang out with me. In some ways I feel like a kid myself. After all, there's no training for parenting, and some days it seems like nearly every decision I make as a mom is a guess. Since I'm learning right along with the kids, sometimes I can't believe that I--incompetent and unqualified--have been entrusted with children. But I was, and I'm grateful for every minute they want to spend with me, cuddled together with a book, snuggling and realizing yet again just how blessed I am.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Creativity slump

Today's 100 words:

Another week, and I still find myself in a creativity slump. This morning I tried to think of the reasons I've been so reluctant to go back to writing my poems and stories, hoping that knowing the answer would help me to begin again. I discovered two: discouragement and fear. I'm discouraged because some members of my online critique group seem intent on tearing others down rather than encouraging them constructively, and I'm fearful that the things I've put my heart into will mean nothing to others.

I don't know if this knowledge will change anything at all...

Saturday, February 18, 2012


Today's 100 words:

This year my son wants a Spider-Man cake for his birthday. I've made sculpted cakes before but have never made one using a character cake pan, so I'm a little nervous about how it will turn out. I think if I can just get the cake out of the pan in one piece, the decorating process should go pretty well. It's an intricate design, and I've been told it can take about three hours just to complete the icing. I'm up for the challenge. I enjoy making the kids' cakes. They love them and talk about them all year.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Knot in my stomach, lump in my throat

Today's 100 words:

I woke up this morning with a knot in my stomach as I thought once again about how quickly my kids, especially my son, are growing up. It's kindergarten registration time here, and the fact that he'll be in school all day after this summer makes me want to cry. I wish I could stop the days from passing so quickly. I don't want to miss a moment, and while sometimes I can push my sadness aside, as my son gets closer to finishing preschool and grows bigger and stronger each day, I can't help the lump in my throat...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Today's 100 words:

That boat of a Buick, blue as a robin's egg, sat like a bird on a nest most days out in the driveway, and I remember thinking how regal it seemed, how stately, its name--LeSabre--sounding fancy and important to my five-year-old ear. I can still picture it there, parked atop a driveway made dusty from dry weather and the heat of a summer sun whose rays, when they hit the windshield right, would cause me to squint my eyes, turn away, step back from the living room window where I daydreamed and scribbled away my afternoons.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Early morning

Today's 100 words:

The roar of the furnace again, but otherwise it's quiet in the house this early in the morning, still an hour before I have to awaken the kids for storytime, still an hour before my mind and all my senses need to become alert to the chatter of little ones: children who have so much to say after a night's sleep that my drowsy mind often can't keep up as they talk-trip over each other, excited to relay their dreams, their plans, their wishes for waffles with syrup for breakfast, please, and "Mommy, will you turn on the TV?"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The little things

Today's 100 words:

Every Valentine's Day when I was a child, I would get up and go into the kitchen, where I'd find a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a card on the kitchen table for me. One Valentine's Day sticks out in my mind: I picture my mother standing at the ironing board she had set up in the kitchen, ironing our clothes for school while chatting with me and my sister as we ate. As I've grown older, I've come to realize that it's often the small memories that mean the most. Now I'm creating those with my own family.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Writing about the simple things

Today's 100 words:

I've been reading a book of poetry by Ted Kooser, former Poet Laureate of the United States. I admire him for being able to look at simple, everyday things--a tattoo, dishwater, applesauce--and see so much more. He writes mainly of the Midwest, where I was born, so perhaps that's part of the reason I can identify so well with his subjects and themes. His poetry, though, is universal, and it's the type of poetry I long to write: finding new, creative ways to look at the ordinary, to capture the heart of the simple things in life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Today's 100 words:

The word "silence" has transformed for me over the years. When I was younger, I equated silence with loneliness, with being left out, with hours spent reading or watching television with no one but myself for company. Now that I'm a mother, silence isn't lonely but desirable, something I seek out each day, getting up hours before the kids awake, carving out quiet time every morning and evening--time when I can be alone, time when I can hear myself think, time away from the chaos and noise that fill the rest of the day. Silence truly is golden now.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I got nothing...

Today's 100 words:

I haven't written anything creative in a week. No poems, no stories. Not even any notes about ideas that occur to me. I've also been all but absent from Twitter, especially the last few days, and while I've kept up with my blog, I've been lax about answering my comments and reading my friends' own entries. I have no desire to write. It's like my creativity has taken a vacation. I had one idea last Tuesday, but when I tried to write it down, it was gone, and nothing took its place. It feels like that was my last inspiration...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day back in the day

Today's 100 words:

When I was in elementary school, the Valentine's Day parties were among my favorite of all celebrations. The teachers would have us make valentine holders by lacing together two construction paper hearts, and then we'd fill each other's hearts when the party day arrived. I remember how excited I used to feel as I looked at all the valentines I received; no child was left out. Now my preschool-age son is getting ready for his own party, writing names on his valentines after picking out the perfect one for each of his classmates. Watching him brings back good memories.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Unexpected friendship

Today's 100 words:

Today I talked to the parents of some of my son's classmates about the birthday party we're hosting for him, and I was surprised by the enthusiastic responses I received. I've been seeing these people for months now as we've dropped our children off at preschool, yet I've never had more than superficial conversations with them. But when I finally introduced myself this morning and invited them to my son's party, I couldn't believe how friendly they were and how eager to talk. I wish I would have introduced myself earlier in the year. After all, can't we all use more friends?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Capturing memories

Today's 100 words:

Sometimes my children say what I think are wonderfully brilliant things, and I always rush to write those things down so I don't forget them. I have slips of paper all over the house inscribed with things the kids have said or stories about the cute and funny things they've done, and one of these days, I'll compile them all in the journals I bought for that purpose. Capturing memories is important to me because my feeble mind has a tendency to forget, and if I don't write things down, they'll be lost forever. I don't want to forget a moment.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Girls and their daddies

Today's 100 words:

I've always been a Daddy's Girl. From the moment I was born, my dad and I seemed to share a special bond. He was the only one who could quiet me when I was colicky, and he would interrupt his work each day and go home for a while to rock me and give my poor mom a rest. I was the first girl, and my mom said that the evening I was born, my dad raced to the store to be the first to buy me a doll. Today is my dad's seventy-seventh birthday. Happy birthday, Dad!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Waiting for the muse

Today's 100 words:

"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." ~Vladimir Nabokov

Last week I felt I had lost all inspiration. Like Nabokov, I had a feeling that words were there, but as hard as I tried, I couldn't pull them from my mind and heart and down to the page. It was a difficult writing week, yet even though I despaired that the words would never come, they eventually did, and I was shown once again that I must be patient with my muse.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Capturing a moment: early morning stream of consciousness

Today's 100 words:

8 a.m.: It's quiet in the house and still dark outside. My neighbor's outdoor light casts an orange glow into the room. From the kitchen I hear the gurgles the coffeemaker produces when the coffee is nearly done. I'm hopeful that it will soothe my sore throat. Now there's coughing: this time it's coming from me--unusual, to be sure, since normally it's the kids and the husband who seem to catch every cold. I'm warm, too, even though the thermostat is set very low. A fever, maybe? If there's time, I'll check. Must get everyone ready for church.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

A new day

Today's 100 words:

It's early, and the house is quiet except for the humming of the computer and the coffee pot's gurgles and hisses, and I am sitting on the old chair in front of the newish computer, wondering what the day's writing will bring; thinking about the chores I need to do this weekend; considering spiritual things that I've put off for way too long--and outside the sun is just beginning to shine and the traffic is just beginning to make rumbling noises on the busy street near our house, and so far I am content, at peace with my life.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Today's 100 words:

I don't think my son, who will be five soon, remembers a time when his little sister wasn't with him. She was born when he was nearly two and a half, and I remember worrying about how he would react when he met her, but all he did was look at her a bit and go about his playing. Now they're very close and play together daily--sometimes taking a break to fight, of course. I'm glad they have each other. My sister and I are separated by about the same number of years, and we've almost always been close.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The blooper real

Today's 100 words:

I wish I could erase some memories from my mind--especially the embarrassing ones, when I did or said something particularly dumb and then felt like a fool afterward. They make up the blooper reel of my life, and I wish that my mind didn't feel the need to relive them over and over, but for some reason, it chooses to come back to them. Worse still, I add several new scenes to the reel each year, so there will always be something to cringe about, even if I am lucky enough someday to erase past embarrassments from my mind.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

All she wanted

Today's 100 words:

She'd said something without thinking. If she had censored herself before speaking, she thought later, she could have said what she'd said in a nicer way. However, once the words had left her lips, she saw the shadow that crossed his face and knew she would be punished. She apologized again and again, her knees almost kissing the floor, but all he did was either glare at her with dead eyes or berate her, tell her she's a fundamentally stupid, screwed-up person. All she wanted was for it all to stop: the verbal volleys, the silent treatment. His anger.