Hiatus Continued

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I am Italian. I cannot keep calm.

I have no goals. 

That’s what I told my husband. I’m Italian. Melodrama runs high.

“You do have goals,” he said. “You wanted to move back to North Carolina and you did.”

“Yes, but now what?”

Good question. You’d think I’d have figured out that detail in advance.

I love blogging, but my husband’s consulting business is growing. He needs me to take on a more public role in the company, at least for the next few months. Officially, I’m a Managing Partner.

So what becomes of the blog and the 50 other business and writing ideas I have rolling around in my head. Lots of women do both, work for pay and blog for free. Can I? Should I?

Blogging carries with it the urgency of social media to publish. Publish. Publish. Post something already. It reminds me of the toddler in the grocery store who must have the grossly overpriced, cartoon themed, neon colored fruit pops. NOW. How would the wise parent respond to said toddler?

In a word: no. In two words: not now. 

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frozen foods aisle

Easy advice to give, but following through feels like a huge, scary risk. It’s so stressful that I had to eat NC barbecue twice already this week as comfort food. I’ll be crowned queen of the Lexington Barbecue Festival come October.

What if you say no and the toddler throws a fit on the floor of the frozen foods aisle? What if she holds her breath until she passes out? What if she hates you?

What if she ignores you and you become irrelevant?

So be it. The wise parent remains in control. The smart mom thinks to herself, “That child’s not the boss of me!

The adult in the situation is able to say no, not now. Everyone survives and is usually better off for it.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 NLT

The Zombies Tell Her No.

Have you mastered the art of saying no?

in His time

in His time

FYI: I plan to continue blogging as a monthly contributor for Project Underblog. Please read my August post The What’s Next? Crisis of Blogging.

I also hope to continue to blog here, but I’m not telling you when because I don’t know when. The best way to see the stories I don’t know when I’ll publish is to subscribe for free updates on email. Follow the prompts in the top right sidebar to subscribe. Just do it.

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Chasing Fireflies: A Midsummer Blogging Update

“I assumed everyone had fireflies,” said my friend. We stood on her porch at dusk watching my son spin and dart around her yard, chasing the tiny, mid-air pulses of light. “But they don’t. People are surprised to see them here.”

tree canopy

tree canopy

Growing up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, I assumed the same. Fireflies are a given of summer. Since we moved back from the Midwest last month, I realize everyone doesn’t have them. Not the way we do here.

We didn’t have fireflies like this during our 16 years away. Chicagoland drowns them out with stronger, artificial lights. I vaguely remember them flickering in our yard in St. Louis, but that was rare. And their floating courtship didn’t stand a chance against the winds of Wichita.

Here they flourish. Waves of them parade through the night in the deep woods near our little rental house. We walk the trails in daylight and find them dark and hiding in the cool of the forest.

The first week we arrived, we walked those trails like destitute people who’d happened upon a cathedral. The rich green of thick vegetation flooded us. We took shelter under the canopy of tall trees. We breathed it in. An enchanted forest, steps away from our front door.

The dog refused to come into the house that first week. She would go out, but she wouldn’t come back in. The disruption of movers followed by driving across the country with my husband only to be met with movers again didn’t sit well with her. She’s adjusting; I still carry her back into the house some days.

Corinth

Corinth

My son and I made the drive incrementally from Wichita to North Carolina alone. We stopped along the way in interesting, important places: Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Corinth and Shiloh, Chattanooga. People have asked if I was scared driving all that way by myself with a child. No, I wasn’t scared. I was thankful I could do it.

Once we were moved in, my husband hit the ground running with his consulting work. He’s very busy, and we’re grateful.

My son and I are taking things slower, exploring our way through the summer and adjusting much like the dog. I’ve seen only a  fraction of the many people I want to see. Sixteen years is a long time to make up for being gone. Some things have changed. Others haven’t.

“Do you have a to-go cup I can pour this Coke into?” I asked the man at the counter of the barbecue restaurant. I love North Carolina barbecue. Eaten it twice already since we arrived. It’s comfort food to me. Makes everything better.

“No, we don’t have no to-go cups.” The whites of his eyes flashed up at me from his downturned, brown face.

“Oh,” I said. Just like the city. No margin for courtesies. Then I caught his smile.

“Here you go,” he said, handing me a cup, punctuated with a belly laugh.

“You have quite a poker face,” I said and laughed with him.

“I also work in drug and alcohol law enforcement,” he said. “I need a poker face.”

Later that day, my son and I took to the woods again, this time on our bikes.

forest path

forest path

We zipped through the forest in late afternoon, cutting the humidity like a boat cuts water. Rain from the night before had overflowed the creek banks and shifted the sandy trails. We ducked off the path to maneuver around fallen trees whose soggy roots had given way. Our wheels spewed flecks of gravel as they spun around.

Soaked with sweat and water, we reached the turn to go back to the house.

“Do we have to go in?” said my son.

“We can ride more tomorrow,” I said.

Today is only the beginning.

 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Eccesiastes 3:11 NLT

For King and Country, Middle of Your Heart.

What has your summer held for you?

Like fireflies in a city, my posts have been rare this summer. Thank you for your readership and your patience as my family makes this major relocation.

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

My work as a Project Underblog contributor continues. In June, Martha, May I? was published, and in July, A Clinique Conspiracy Theory was published. A third post is on tap for August. I invite you to click on the titles to read these stories. If you blog, consider stepping out and submitting a story to Project Underblog for publication. They are a supportive, safe community of writers~#smallandmighty!

I plan to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago next week. It promises to be a fun time with my blogger sisters. If you’re there, please contact me @AimeeWhetstine on Twitter so we can connect IRL.

You may remember Listening to the Women of Monsanto was published this past May as a BlogHer Original Post. It was a well-read story for me. What’s next? That’s the question I’ll ponder at the conference and beyond. I must remind myself, as do we all, today is only the beginning.

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Time Out

Yesterday I locked myself out of the house. 

We still have a Supra box on the door. As I waited for the real estate agent to come rescue me, I realized it was the first time I’ve had to sit still in weeks.

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gone fishing, image credit: Pink Moose

The impending move, the end of school, the women of Monsanto post, the closing on our house… It’s high time for a time out.   

one never ages while fishing

one never ages while fishing 

Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, Who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt,because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:4-6 NIV

Summer Solstice by Susan Ashton.

What do you do for a “time out?”

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Why I’m Glad School’s Out

I don’t know about you, but this year I’m ready for school to be out. 

fountain in burlington vt

one step at a time

Last year, I feared summer. Really what I feared was the loss of the school routine. What would I do with my son every day, all summer long? This year, that fear’s been replaced. Trumped by thoughts of the children lost at Sandy Hook and Plaza Towers.

I want my child home. With me. Where I can see him and hear him and hug him and know he’s safe. 

Truth be told, he’s probably not much safer at home than he is at school. I can’t protect him from all the dangers in the world any more than his teachers can. It’s just that these days this worrisome hesitation pulls at my heart when I send him off in the mornings. I kiss him goodbye knowing there are parents who did the same and never saw their children alive again.

I admit it. I’m powerless against murderous shooters, wanton bombers, natural disasters, accidents, and illness.

please drive slowly

we love our children

What’s a Momma Bear to do? 

The best I can. That’s what I’ll do. While he’s in my house and under my care—while we’re together—I’ll do the best I can and ask the sovereign God to help me trust Him with the rest.

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7 NIV

I can’t listen to this song without crying, but it fits the post. In My Arms by Plumb.

Parents, do you find yourself holding your children tighter these days? 

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Monsanto Who?

“So I’m writing this story about Monsanto,” I said to my friend.

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

“Who?”

“Monsanto.”

“Never heard of them.”

My husband’s career in agriculture spans nearly 30 years. I take it as a given that everyone’s heard of Monsanto.

The company is one of the big dogs in farming and biotechnology. If you live in St. Louis, as I did for almost 13 years, you know Monsanto. If you eat food raised in the United States, it’s possible Monsanto has been involved in the production of that food in some way.

But I discovered from talking with my friend that there are people who don’t know Monsanto or what they do. And then there are a lot of people who only know what they’ve heard from activists and Food, Inc.

With that in mind and with the guidance from my editors at BlogHer, I tried to write a story that gives readers some context for what Monsanto does and communicates the thoughts of four women I interviewed who work there.

Please click over to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto on BlogHer. Your classy comments and shares are appreciated. 

Listening to the Women of Monsanto

Megan Brown & Janice Person at Monsanto Research Plot, image credit Janice Person

Click to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto. Megan Brown (L) and Janice Person (R) at a Monsanto research plot, image credit: Janice Person

Have a great weekend!

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Brand New Day

I’ve written here before about May being like December because of its financial outlays. This year, May reminds me of December for other reasons, too.

rabbit, rabbit, image credit:

rabbit, rabbit, image credit: notsogoodphotography

There’s the over scheduling of events. End of school programs, concerts, field trips, parties, sporting events, conferences, graduations—all squeezed into a few weeks, just like at Christmastime. There are weddings, retirements, and going away parties. There’s May Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day, not to mention the lesser known holidays like Candied Orange Peel Day, Frog Jumping Day, and Dance Like a Chicken Day. No kidding.

In some parts of the country (Kansas), the seasons are changing. The weather’s finally beginning to level out, if gale force winds can be considered leveling out. At least it’s sunny. Flowers bloom. Winter wheat fields turn from brown to green. Bunnies the size of my dog saunter about the yard. Nature’s in flux, pressing on to summer.

Add to that a stressful life event or two, like moving, and you could wind up dancing like a chicken. The one that flew over the cuckoo’s nest. Yes, change is stressful. Even good change is stressful. We’re allowed that, I think.

We go to sleep in some of the darkest winters of change. We wake up to clouds, gray, drizzle, snow, cold, bleh. Night comes again. Then gray. Then night. Then gray. Again and again. We get up. We sojourn on. Maybe for years.

Then one morning, a little light. The twinkle of an idea.

The whisper, “Hey, this could be the beginning of something beautiful.”

robin

robin, image credit: cruadinx

The next morning, a little more sun. The wink of possibility. The glimpse of a robin or a rabbit, rabbit, creature of habit.

Another morning, and the sky is the brightest shade of blue. The sun, oh, the sun is shining and we are warmed by it. Sweet promise of a brand new day.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23 NIV

Hold On by Selah. Originally by Evie.

What are your hopes on this brand new day?

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Dodging Tornadoes

It’s not been the best of weeks. 

the perfect gift from Kansas

the perfect gift from Kansas

My house smells like cardboard boxes from packing. Stuff isn’t where it should be. I wonder if it ever will be again.

My thoughtful, kind, generous neighbors threw me a party. They gave me gifts from Kansas. I will miss these ladies. Our neighborhood has been one of the biggest blessings of our short time here. It’s hard to say goodbye.

Our son’s school and teacher this year have been huge blessings, too. His class performed a Salute to America program this week. They sang patriotic songs and gave speeches as famous Americans. They ended the show with a fitting quote from Ronald Reagan:

“I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

the stage is set

the stage is set

Could you just absolutely weep?

The program was noble and right and good. It’s what American elementary school students should be doing. I will miss this school. It’s hard to watch my child say goodbye.

A family member in North Carolina was unexpectedly hospitalized for most of the week. It’s nauseating to know that although we’re so close to being there, we’re not there now when we could possibly help. It’s hard to feel helpless.

I worked on writing a challenging assignment this week. Wrote my little heart out, or at least it seemed to me like I did, and I’m not sure it matters. The question of what will Aimee do when she grows up remains outstanding, unanswered, and flapping in the wind.

Life feels out of control and unsettled. So I wave my white flag.

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surrender, image credit: portobeseno

Not my will, but Yours. Not by my power, but by Your Spirit. Help me to trust that in my weakness, You are strong. I give You my worries because You care for me. Wrap Your care around me and help me to stand.

But those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV

White Flag by Dido is one of my favorite songs. I know she says she won’t wave a white flag and I just wrote I will, but neither of us is giving up, so there you go.

Who helps you dodge life’s tornadoes?

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