So much more than a desk

My desk at home was mostly non-existent. When I had worked from home years ago, I was in a basement office with a makeshift table/desk, an upholstered office chair, baby toys, a comfy rug and soft music. This was where I locked myself away, along with my walking 11 month old son, to do design work.

When I began a full time career in the newsroom I didn’t have a need for my makeshift office/playroom. The newspaper provided a laptop for any weekend writing so my computer and little office/playroom went into hibernation. I did all the big no-nos you should never do with a Mac. I didn’t update, not one single time, for two years.

Because we’re busy (or haven’t felt the force of necessity) we still haven’t fixed the fact that our basement has zero power. Thus, the office is out of order. One afternoon, soon after I put in my two weeks notice at the paper, I brought my iMac upstairs, set it on the only logical surface in my house, an end table. This has been my desk for almost a month. This is where I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning cursing my neglect of my computer as I tried to update my OS. It is where I typed my last blogpost. It’s where I warned my kids nearly one hundred times “DO NOT TOUCH!”

My friend/boss/farmer had made some purchases at a liquidation sale at a school. He only wanted file cabinets, however, because of the bundling that was done at the sale he found himself the owner of a couple desks he had no need or place for. After taking out a bucket of rotten tomatoes from the grading room I admired one desk with a pencil sharpener mounted on the corner. I love using pencils, there’s something about the sound a No. 2 pencil makes when you are jotting down notes or writing out a grocery list. I know, it’s weird. A really good pencil sharpener is either expensive or hard to come by so when I saw this metal hand cranked Boston KS I was a little excited. I asked him if he would mind parting with the pencil sharpener. He asked if I wanted the whole desk. I didn’t really know I needed a desk, but what the heck. We haggled a little over the price and next thing you know I was bringing the truck back on my next work day to take home a hefty piece of furniture.

My husband knows by now that I can’t pass up a nice piece of old furniture. By no means am I at hoarder status, every piece I’ve brought in has found a nice place in our home. He eventually grows to like, even love, the pieces I’ve brought home. However, it has become our tradition that he complains about unloading it and moving things around to accommodate it. He’s not entirely comfortable with change, poor guy, he didn’t know when we got married that he was marrying a furniture rearranging mastermind.

We moved the living room around a little and set up my new little corner. I stepped back admiring the new living room. The thought struck me that this is a step in the right direction. I needed this more than I knew. I’ve muddled through these last few weeks not really knowing that deep down I’m still trying to find a place. I know I have my place with my family, no one can ever change that. Family and faith have been my rock and my foundation. But my soaring thoughts and ideas need a place to go.

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What I guess I’m trying to say is this desk is more than a new piece of furniture in our home. It is a permanent symbol and physical manifestation of me grabbing ahold of something and reclaiming what I knew was always mine, a part of my being I thought I lost: My love of writing and my ability to create. It’s just an old school teacher’s desk with an iMac and a few antique relics, but this is the space where I will take back what is mine, where I can start to feel like me again.

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Quenched

Parched, dry, dusty and dying, it appeared
laying my head on my pillow and drifting into a dream.

My senses are awakened by the scent of moist earth
riding on a cool and gentle breeze through my window.

Familiar sounds, distant but remembered.
Little pelts on my roof top.

Tiny drops of an antidote for the affliction plaguing the land.
They call it drought. Earth is now quenched.

It has rained.

Train Wreckage

I heard something today that is just sticking with me in a bad way. Actually I heard something and read something else that I am just haunted with. Two totally unrelated stories. Two human tragedies. Or tragedies in the making. I won’t delve into what they are. But I can’t help feeling like a person watching trains barreling toward each other and there is nothing I can do. Absolutely nothing in my power of doing will change events that are all but destined to occur.

The thing that haunts me most are the innocents that are along for the ride on these trains. The ones that will be damaged, irreparably, from the carelessness and selfishness of people who are themselves so damaged and broken, they can’t see beyond their own desires and need for self gratification.

I can’t change what is bound to happen, things that are out of my control. Could I, though, pray for the healing of those innocents that are in the wreckage? Is there really hope for them? Do they stand a chance in the drama unfolding? I would like to think so. But I can only hope.

May is here and Mother’s Day is just around the corner

There are days that I honestly believe that I will be found at the bottom of a huge pile of laundry knocked unconscious by the fumes of cleaning supplies. My family will realize I am missing when supper did not get cooked and the dishes are piled on every flat surface in the kitchen, toys scattered throughout the house, messes in the bathroom—unmentionable.

Seriously though, there are tons of thankless tasks and chores that moms do. All the countless moms throughout history that did what they had to do and never gave it a second thought. I’m not saying they are or were all good. There are some out there that don’t deserve the title of mother. There are even some that are not “mothers”  but serve as a mother figure to children that desperately need nurturing in their lives. Fathers have their place to be thanked, as well, but this is for Mother’s day. For the moms that keep the laundry clean and folded, wash endless amounts of dishes, change diapers and really really messy babies when diapers can’t contain it all. The moms who run errands to countless places while doing the carseat rodeo trying to latch and unlatch a frustrated toddler who only wants to get out and run around the parking lot like a screaming banshee. The moms that sweep floors 3oo times a day, vacuum until the rug is wore down to its last threads or stay up at night looking after a sick child. The moms who worry themselves gray when their newly licensed child goes out for the first time on their own. The moms of special needs children who take care of their children and give them the love, tenderness and patience that they require (they are true women of grace).  The moms that are there all hours of the night and anytime during the day ready and willing to listen to the heartbreaks, fears and troubles of adult children (or anxieties about the brand new baby that won’t stop crying—I’ve called my mom around 2:00am a few times).  The moms that do all of the above and hold down a full time/part time job. The moms who wait patiently with arms ready to embrace, as their children stubbornly ignore sound advice only to discover all the pitfalls of life that mom warned of. The moms with children who have terminal illness and the countless hours they pray to take their child’s place. The moms who have fought illness themselves and kept pressing on for their children. The moms who would put aside every ambition of their own to see their children’s dreams and ambitions come true. Thank you to those moms. You are not alone, even if it seems as though nobody around you notices or cares, you are appreciated.

My mom and my boys

My Town Part II

We walked through the downtown area of Bardstown took some pictures of some of my favorite homes. Still haven’t taken a picture of the building named for my husband’s ancestor (it is undergoing repairs).

We went to My Old Kentucky Home State park. That’s where I became disappointed. It is a pretty park, everything is well maintained, and as you walk along the brick paths you hear this constant ringing of bells playing every song that Stephen Foster composed. Maybe it was, in part, due the the headache I was developing but stubbornly ignoring in attempt to limit my intake of tylenol, asprin or my all time favorite excedrin. But the bells that were trolling from outdoor speakers around every corner were nauseating.


I love old buildings, I love to look at them and imagine what it must have been like to live when they were new and opulent. But I just can’t get passed that music. Cheesy bells playing Camptown Races, My Old Kentucky Home, Oh Susannah, over and over, bells bells bells. Ugh. I came really close to saying something to one of the park officials, but my growing head ache urged me to press on and get it over with.

Other than that I love Federal Hill itself. It’s beautiful with it’s old brick, masonry stars, and Judge John Rowan’s spring house turned law office down the hill. The boys enjoyed the walking and the boys enjoyed running around the rotunda.

We ended our day out with a stop at the library, then some fun at the park.


Oh yeah, one more thing adding to my frustration with my experience with My Old Kentucky Home. There was a lady that offered to take my picture with the kids. I was thrilled, but in the back of my mind I knew that the picture—like any other that someone takes of me with my family—would be out of focus or I would have a goofy looking face or my eyes would be closed or look like they are ready to pop right out of my head. I was right. I don’t blame her for it, it wasn’t her fault the picture was crumby. I can barely master my new camera myself let alone trying to explain it to a well intentioned stranger. So there you have it, my latest experience attempting to show you my town. The next involves bourbon, hopefully that will be a little more fun! 😉

Thinking of Autumn

Today feels like an early autumn day. The air is crisp and cool, and there is a quiet steady breeze blowing.

Here is a little something I wrote in my journal last September after lying down in grass soaking up the sun and watching the clouds (one of my favorite pass-times, when I get a chance).

Lying on the ground cushioned by the last of summer’s lush green carpet, I close my eyes.
The sun embraces me with a warm kiss on the face of her beloved child.
Letting out of breath my soul rises up toward the heavens.
From high above, I can see the earth turning golden and red;
Dotted throughout the emerald hills as the pulse of a heartbeat,
Ever changing growing older with each passing season.
I am brought back down out of my dream by the conscoiusness of my senses
As a crisp cool breath is blown upon me.
Autumn is welcoming me with his quiet steady arms.

Wonderful weekend and the not so green grass of working from home

Yesterday ended one of the best weekends I’ve had in a long time. We spent our weekend preparing for Easter, hosting the annual Easter dinner and Egg hunt and enjoying the company of family and friends. Sunday was absolutely beautiful, we went to church then came home and started cooking for the big dinner. The kids had a blast looking for eggs and playing with their aunt, uncles, grandmas and grandpas.

I always wish we could extend such wonderful times and cherish them. I know they are in my memory and the memory of everyone there. I document the heck out of family events with hundreds of photos in fear that I might forget something later. I like looking at old pictures and seeing how much we’ve all changed and remembering what good times we’ve had. There aren’t many pictures of myself, since I tend to be the one with the camera. It brought me to wonder, however, how will my kids remember me?  I guess that’s what brings me to the working from home part.

Anyone would think that working from home is great and I’m not trying to say that it isn’t. I love being able to raise my kids and stay with them most of the time. But I wonder sometimes if it is more damaging to them when I am working and not one hundred percent available to them when they may need me. When I work at home, especially if I am under the pressure of strict deadlines, I tend to be more distracted with work and not able to respond to them with my full attention.

When I was growing up my mother always took time out for us and was always able to sit and talk with us. Even while she was doing dishes, cooking, folding laundry or doing any of the other household duties of a mother/homemaker she managed to make us feel as though we were all that mattered. Looking back it was so reassuring that my mom was able to give us her full attention. I  remember knowing that I could always talk to my mom about anything at almost anytime. To this day my mom is the one person I know I can go to when I need someone to listen to what I have to say and give reassuring words of encouragement.

I feel that sometimes because of my working from home and the amount of focusing that my work requires the thing that suffers most are my children’s needs. They are well fed and they get plenty of exercise and fresh air, but I feel like I don’t spend enough time with only them, no distractions. I don’t want them to look back and remember a childhood looking at mom’s back and the computer screen always having mom’s attention, with my most famous phrases being: “In a minute,” “Not now,” “After I finish this.”

I cherish my weekends with them. It is a time for just our little family, time to run and play and encourage the wonders of childhood. I am working harder at paying attention to things I do while I am working in regard to their emotional needs from me. No more “in a minute,” “not now” or “after I finish this.” I am blessed to be able to work from home. I am blessed beyond words with two beautiful boys. I need to work harder at the most important job I will ever have; being the best mom I can be to my wonderful boys. Not perfection, I know that can never be achieved, just do my best for them. They deserve my best and work can have the left overs, not the other way around.