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Making New Friends Was Easier In Elementary School

April 21, 2017

Once upon a time, all it took to make a new friend were four simple words: “Do you wanna play?”

The end. Off we scampered to the swings, or the monkey bars, or the shady spot under the redwood trees that lined our school’s grassy field, and the deed was done. Friends made, simple as that.

(Keeping them was another story, but that’s not my point.)

These days, making new friends is much harder and far more ridden with angst. Doing so on your own turf is hard enough, but couple that with moving into an entirely new locale, doubly so. 

Making new friends, these days, takes guts. A willingness to put yourself out there, and risk rejection.

This week, my first post went live on the City Moms Blog Network, a nationwide blog collective with hubs all over the country. I write for the Seacoast Moms Blog which caters to the moms of the Seacoast region (Maine, New Hampshire, and northern Massachusetts). I wrote about this struggle to make new friends, and all the feelings involved.

Check it out! Let me know what you think.

Mom-Dating Takes Moxie: Making New Friends After A Move

“Do you want to meet for coffee sometime?” By the time I got the words out, I was sweating. She hesitated before answering. I was certain she was trying to find a way to decline. But then, she smiled.

“Sure! Do you want to bring the kids or should we get a sitter?” Huge sigh of relief–yet another Mom-Date on the calendar, and my quest for making new friends continued.

I’m the new kid around here, a transplant from the West Coast where I’d lived pretty much my entire life. Yet, I was undaunted at this move to New England. I’m friendly! I’m outgoing! I thought that somehow I’d find my new community if I looked hard enough. A ready-made home team of players to be a part of our new life. They would invite me over, and their kids would love to play with mine. We’d just KNOW we were meant to be BFFs from day one…

Yet, after months of desperate loneliness, I realized that making new friends wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought.

Read more…

Don’t forget! The drawing to win a copy of EVERBLOOM will be at 5 p.m. EST on April 25 – release day! Anyone who is a current subscriber of this blog is automatically entered to win.

Do you find it easy to make friends now that you are an adult?

What’s your favorite pick-up line? 

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Worth Repeating: Everbloom Excerpt “We Write” (And A Giveaway)

April 18, 2017

The Everbloom collection releases in just a few days, and to celebrate, I’m giving away two free copies of the book.

 

The winners will be selected from the subscribers of this blog.

If you already receive my posts via email, you’re subscribed, and you’re alreayd in. If you don’t, and would like to do so, you can sign up here. Be sure to follow the instructions for the email verification to ensure you are fully subscribed.

Do you know someone who might benefit from this book?

Everbloom is an anthology of work by women of Redbud Writers Guild with essays, stories and poems. Readers will be empowered and inspired to find their own voice through the transforming power of story. These stories connect to a deep need within all of us to discover God’s guiding hand in the events of our lives.

In this book, compelling personal narratives and poetic reflections of pain, loss, struggle, beauty and redemption give an invitation to draw closer into the love of Christ. Insightful writing prompts encourage a response of faith and imagination at a deep level, providing a guide and friend for those who walk through these pages with so many generous storytellers.

In The Motherless Mother, my contribution to Everbloom, I share my experiences losing my mother to Huntington’s Disease. Simultaneous with this extraordinary loss, I became a mother in my own right, and The Motherless Mother outlines this painful journey, as I grew from darkness, desperation and loss into a confidence in myself and my own motherhood. It is a story of light emerging from darkness — shattered glass still shines; even in brokenness we still can reflect God’s healing and guiding light.

Do you know of someone who might benefit from this book? Ask her to subscribe, too. Final winners will be selected on release day, April 25. That’s just a week from today!

I also want to share with you just a bit of the introduction to Everbloom.

This says it all, all of it, the why, the who, and what you can expect from this anthology of essays and poetry.

We believe

in the singularity of our coffee mugs

as companions to

sermons, essays, proposals

composed alone,

but shared and shredded

as sisters.

 

We write

through cancer,

deadbeat fathers,

bipolar daughters,

dementia mothers,

and if He gives

a deep water immersion

of courage, our secrets.

 

We envy

the unattainable,

the Proverbs 31 woman

and we try, yes, we try

to climb Kilimanjaro,

crush HIV,

dance out urban decay,

set a table,

catch a fish,

and feed them.

Oh, we feed them,

words.

Every word,

we write,

for Him.

 

excerpted from We Write, by Margaret Ann Phlbrick

 

Two winners will be randomly selected from all blog and newsletter subscribers. I will announce the winners next Friday, April 25 at 5 p.m. EST.

I can’t wait to share this book with you!

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Dear Susan Branch: How This California Girl Fell For New England

April 4, 2017

Dear Susan,

I can call you Susan, can’t I? I feel as if we’ve been BFFs for years. I still have the cookbook you inscribed, via your cousin and my-then boss, Chris Nichols, after my post-college move to Portland, Maine. Those three years in Portland were my first real taste of New England living, and it cleearly wasn’t enough. I cried the day my husband and I decided to head back to California — I wasn’t done.

It took 16 more years for us to find our way back east, this time to the seacoast of New Hampshire, and for this reason I write:

I feel as if I’d been away all my life and have finally come home.

People ask me all the time what a California girl is doing here in the northeast, and don’t I hate the winter, and how can I even stand it? I shrug. I don’t know, but I feel like I am home.

Pinching myself, I still sometimes whisper, as I’m driving along tree-lined back roads, past farmhouses, barns and shingled cottages that are my every day….I live here! I live here!

This isn’t a joke. This isn’t a dream. I live here.

It is, yet, surreal. That this land should feel so familiar to me, when it is so very different from the world I have always known and loved in the west.

I was born for this life, this seasonal climate, with ups and downs and in betweens. I was born for candles in the windows at Christmas and stomping through snow banks. I was born for forsythia in April, lilacs in May, and peonies in June. I was born for ice cream that is a priority, not an after thought, and seafood fresh off the dock. I was born for clapboards and shingles, Cape Cods, and salt boxes. I was born for graveyards by every roadside,

(But not poison ivy and mosquitos. No one was born for those.)

I will forever love that California sunshine, and there are days (like today — with snow on the ground — April Fools!) when I will dream of dancing on the beach in the middle of winter, but I am grateful, ever so grateful, to finally be home in New England.

While unpacking, I made a discovery that brought everything together.

I was just sixteen when we first met, or rather, when I discovered your cookbooks at the shop where I worked. On Friday nights when I was closing, I’d sit at the counter poring over the illustrations and beautiful words. You were the original lifestyle blogger before there were lifestyle bloggers. Before Martha Stewart, who painted a picture so refined that we, none of us, could ever attain, you painted pictures and words that made New England come alive. It was real and it was attainable. Even for a little teenaged girl in Sunnyvale.

You painted a picture of a world I had never before seen — autumn foliage in colors so bright it was like walking around inside a box of crayons. Clapboard cottages with black shutters, white steeples against a bluebird sky. And a love of food, family and opening a home up for the sole purpose of loving on others. I have dutifully followed your suggestions for hostess gifts and dinner parties, Christmas decorating (everything should sparkle), and champagne cocktails. We love the same things — England and Jane Austen and Beatrix Potter — and we still think fondly of Laura Ashley and how she simply made the world more beautiful.

Your influence over my cooking (which, I will confess, was rather lacking when I started out in the world) was invaluable. One of my standard mottos in life and baking: Susan Branch is infallible. Yours were the recipes in which I could always trust the outcome: Sole Meunière and Elaine’s Famous Sugar Cookies, coconut cake and lemon linguine. Cream cheese potatoes and cookies for Christmas Nuts. Stuffed zucchini (go to bed skinny!), beer bread, and the only — the only — apple pie that could ever hold a candle to my mother’s.

I didn’t write down her recipe before she died. Yours saved me.

You wrote about Farmer’s Markets before they were all the rage, and gave me the vision for a kitchen garden that would take me another 10 years to create. My babies’ early days were captured, each of them, in a copy of your Baby Love. 

In the words of Anne Shirley, you’re of the race that knows Joseph.

Illustration and artwork by Susan Branch.

 

With a bit of shock — I can’t possibly be this old — I see you’ve re-released Heart of the Home 30th Anniversay Edition.

All that is to say,

Why do I feel so at home in New England?

Because Susan Branch made it so. 

From one California girl to another, thank you for helping me fall in love with New England. Thank you for casting a vision for a teenaged girl, who never knew anything other than concrete and asphalt, of a world where sun and sea and snow come togeyther in glorious communion.

With delight, I count myself among the F.O.S.B.

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Book Release: Everbloom

April 1, 2017

 

“We read to see elements of our own hearts, experiences and stories reflected back to us in the words of others. This collection is just that: stories that help us feel seen, known, and understood. Honestly and beautifully told, this book will keep you in good company along your own journey.”

                                        Shauna Niequist, bestselling author of Present Over Perfect

Long, long ago in a lifetime that now seems like galaxies away, I wrote down a goal.

It was a nea year life list, and I wrote down all the great and wondrous things I wanted to achieve, accomplish and do in the coming years. It was, simply, “Publish something. Anything.”

Until then, I had not published anything beyond my own blog posts, and I was dreaming big dreams.

It wasn’t long before I did, publish something, that is. It was MomSense magazine, and they accepted a little essay I’d written about taking my son out for ice cream. I remember getting the notification that I’d been accepted, and screamng and crying with joy. It was a big moment for me. Even my then-five-year-old was excited, taking my face between his hands, “I’m so proud of you, Mom!”

Since then, there have been many more. An astonishing number, honestly, when I sit back and count. Over 100 articles, blog posts, and essays. I’ve written for natationlly-distibuted magazines and local news outlets, I’ve contributed excerpts and quotes to other authors’ books and I’ve guest-blogged a number of times.

It is pure joy to see one’s own name in the by line. Pure joy (and disbelief).

April 25 marks another milestone in an author’s life. The shift from online to print is a big move, yes, but even bigger than just print….books. A physical book, traditionally published, internationally distributed.

Now, mind you, this is just a step up, not the final leap. It’s not MY book. It’s A book, of which I am a part.

A collection of essays, an anthology of heart-felt stories of life, and growth, and bloom.

There is nothing in this for me, save the joy of being a part of something bigger than myself, a book that, we hope, changes and empowers lives. If this sounds interesting to you, you can preorder a copy here. Buy it for a woman you love.

I’ll be sharing more — an excerpt of my own essay — as the release date moves closer. Stay tuned. Thanks for cheering me on. 

Grace and peace in abundance!

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New Adventures!

March 28, 2017

I know, I know…I never blog anymore.

But I have been writing.

Lots and lots.

Here’s just a few things coming up in the next few months….

I’m now a contributor with the City Moms Blog Network for my local area, and I’ll be posting twice monthly at Seacoast Moms Blog. Stay tuned for dates and specifics! City Moms Blog Network was created “To connect moms to info and parenting perspectives unique to their communities; to provide a positive voice for motherhood internationally; to support women in the growth of their businesses; and to help brands reach their audience.” Thrilled to be a part of our local team.

How perfect that I was able to share my experiences with moving and re-establishing community with LIfeWay’s ParentLife readers! The May, June and July of 2017 issues will feature my Tips For Moving series that covers everything from what and how to pack, what to expect, and ideas for putting down roots in your new community.

And finally, releasing in just a few weeks, a book of essays. And I’m in it. But I’ll tell you more about that in a few more days.

So there you have it. I’ve been writing. I’ll try to share bits of what’s being published here with links to the full content so you all can check it out and let me know what you think.

Grace and peace in abundance!

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The Great Parenting Experiement

January 26, 2017

It had been a little rough at our house.

We had Captain Drama, who shouted answers to all questions, ricocheted into defensive when you batted your eyelashes at him, and could, willfully and with malice aforethought, summon tears on command.

And then we had a preteen. Moody and uncooperative, and he kinda smelled funky at the end of the day. His organizational method for his room could be summed up in one word “Floor.” He responded to all requests with an indignant “Whaaaat!?”

Please feed the dog. “Whaaat?!”

Please clear your dishes off the table.   “Whaaat?!”

Please do not wipe toothpaste on your church clothes  “Whaaat?!”

Please do not leave your dirty socks on the dining room table.  “Whaaat?!”

You get the picture.

So Gabe and I came up with the brilliant plan to turn the tables. At 4:30pm one Sunday afternoon, we announced to the children that we would be trading places for the next two and a half hours. We provided them with a list of all that needed to be accomplished by the “parents” during that time including preparing and cleaning up dinner, feeding all pets, cleaning up the toys, getting ready for school the next day, etc. etc.

As the “parents” they were responsible for getting the “kids” (Gabe and I) to help out so that all could be accomplished in said time frame.

Now, begin.

First, they told us to clean up all the LEGOs in the family room. Gabe turned and went outside the play with the dog, I sat down next to a LEGO box and began assemblihg a space ship.

They tried again. Gabe was told to come inside. I was ordered to put the LEGOs IN the box. So Gabe and I began throwing LEGOs at each other.

They started yelling. I began rolling around on the floor. Gabe kept playing with the dog.

They yelled some more. I started crying and told them I can’t DEAL with this and went running back to my room and slammed the door. Gabe lay spread-eagle on the carpet, singing a song from “Frozen” and starting up at the ceiling.

At this point, about 15 minutes into our experiment, they both started crying. “I can’t do this! It’s too hard!”

Game. Set. Match. 

 

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Worth Repeating: When’s It MY Turn?

January 17, 2017

If you like clean and tidy, it’s best to just turn in your kids and your expectations. The two cannot coexist.

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Maybv the greatest mom version inside of us is the one who doesn’t necessarily feel like showing up. The one who doesn’t want to give up the last Hershey kiss. Whoe doesn’t want to leave the weekend getaway with her friends. Who doesn’t want to get up early and taxi kids around or sit at the ball field for hours on end. Maybe the greqatest mom doesn’t want to cancel her hair appointment for a field trip or spend her spare cash on new vollyeball shoes, or give up her Saturdays for travel tournaments.

Maybe the greatset mom is the one who doesn’t always want to be…but does it anyway.

 

I had the pleasure to serve as an editor on this book, and I’m so thrilled to see it now in print. A truth-telling, raw and honest look at motherhood, by three women who aren’t afraid to show you their scars. This is a tough business, mothering, and while there is lots to laugh about, there’s also lots to cry about and in this book you will find both.

When’s It My Turn? A Collection of Short Stories (and Temper Tantrums)

byt Melissa Rixon, Christi McGuire, and Terri Mirikitoni