Finally!

I’m doing my happy dance friends! I finally got my manuscript for my second book, Mad Cow: A PTSD Love Story, to the publisher!! I feel so free…and then I remember I still have four kids and I’m supposed to be working on my third book lol­čśŐ

I still love this life though, y’all. I feel like I am doing what I was meant to do all along and even though it’s hard and there are many weeks I get run over by my Traveling Circus, I’m so grateful to be in this place.

I have had a busy and awesome week. Date night with my handsome Mr. Wonderful- 

 (Photo cred random stranger who used my phone to take our pic at dinner!)

We took our Bigs to the #TobyMac concert–it was the best show! Capital Kings, Hollyn, Building 429, and more great bands were there. We partied like rock stars! 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016)

I also got to go to our first ever Writer’s Club lunch–I’m so blessed to have these ladies to hold me accountable! 

 (photo cred another random stranger who generously agreed to take our pic)

Mr. Wonderful continued being wonderful 

 (photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016­čĺŚ)

And finally, I capped off the weekend by speaking at a ladies retreat. I was so blessed to be with the beautiful ladies of Lost Creek! Thank you to all of my new friends for opening your doors and hearts to me!!! 

 (photo cred Diann Rudd)  (Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2016-don’t ask, what happens at the retreat stays at the retreat!)

I am enjoying a bit of quiet after church while everyone is either playing outside on this gorgeous day or napping. Hope y’all have a blessed, well-spent Sunday as well!­čĺŚÔŁĄ´ŞĆ­čĺŚ

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Baby Houdini

Here’s what he’s been up to this week: 

 Not even sure how he managed to get up here. Who knows how long he’d been balancing there using his spidy senses and running the water…  Just hanging out in the toy box… 

 This little monkey climbs everything…we’re in trouble for sure.

This post brought to you by bananas and the letter O (no!)-

Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2015. ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

This Week

My house has been just a smidge crazy lately…  Baby Houdidni into my mascara- 
 The superhero has decided to grow a ‘stache– 

 Baby Houdini at it again, only this time redecorating with nail polish. Wasn’t planning on cleaning Fiesty Fuchsia out of my carpet but alas…

 She’s smiling thru gritted teeth because the costume is a 2T and she is 4–she’s actually trapped in it­čśé­čśé­čśé
Has anyone seen my sanity????

Photo cred Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Art Therapy

Lately I’ve been procrastinating. I know, you’re like, this again? But yeah. I can’t help it. I have a book deadline I’m racing towards and it seems I avoid writing by fulfilling a deep need to organize.

Everything.

I told my Mr. Wonderful I was nesting. He said, and I quote, “You better not be, we fixed that!” Probably because the last time I was nesting I was expecting a baby and since hubs has retired all the soldiers (ie, got a vasectomy), in his mind, there shouldn’t be a reason to nest.

But there is.

Creativity for me is therapy. Making things beautiful, repurposing them, breathing new life into old spaces or places is soul-strengthening for me. And for too long I have had to be in survival mode just to make sure my family was functioning.

But now we are in more stable territory. Now we are laughing and finding joy in the everyday. Now we seem to have a handle on some things–notice I didn’t say all things–and it feels like I have some room to breathe. To create. To do life in full color.

This last week a new friend of ours was put in the ICU. His wife trains our service dog, he is former military with PTSD as well. We just went to their wedding about three weeks ago so it was shocking that he got so sick so fast.

And to see someone with tubes and plugs and liquids draining in and out is about more than anyone can take. I feel the pain of the family–he’s much, much too young. It’s the holidays. They just want this husband-son-father-friend to be ok. That’s what we’ve all been on our knees about.  

 (Photo credit lifehack.com)

Every time I come home from the hospital I paint something. Or organize something. I can’t seem to sit still very long because my house is calling me to make it a home. Finally. After a year and a half I guess it’s about time.

And every project big or small that I complete brings me such joy. I am amazed that the one who made the most beautiful sunrises and rainbows and red birds and starry nights created me to create. I am in awe when I think about this even just a little bit.

He knew that to combat the hurt and pain and hard days and sleepless night I would need to be an artist. I would need to be a musician and a writer and a photographer so that I wouldn’t be overwhelmed by all the ugliness this world has to offer. 

 (photo credit roadtrippers.com)

What a gift.

What beauty are you putting in this world today? Don’t let your inner censor or critic convince you not to do it. The world needs more beautiful, and it’s up to you to do your part. 

 (photo credit leeanngtaylor.com)

Even if you don’t have training. Or think you know what you’re doing. Or don’t think you’re very good. Contribute whatever gorgeousness you feel compelled to create–we will all be better for it.

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Wild Hair Weekend

I’ve been on a tear lately. 

In the last four years of our lives we’ve had two (more) babies, moved three times, gotten sober, received a PTSD and TBI diagnosis, gotten medically retired from the military, begun ADHD testing and occupational/speech therapy, began learning trombone and gotten a book published. 

Needless to say, because of all of the aforementioned crazy, things are a mess.

I’m not just talking dirt. I’m talking clutter, chaos, scootching things under things so I don’t have to look at them, dingy windows and souls, broken toys and hearts. There have been ruined clothes and dreams. Messy fingers, faces, rooms and lives.  

 Now that we feel more structurally sound I feel capable of tackling all of those messes I haven’t had time to work on. Now that we don’t feel like any mildly rushing wind will blow us over, I feel ready. It’s amazing what a shored-up foundation will do for a person.

As the caretaker of the bunch, even though organization is not my gift, I am trying. At first I was completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount of additional stuff I really needed to tackle. I have a lot of daily things that have to happen to get work done and children fed and clothed and bills paid and doctors visited. 

Why on earth would I take on more?

This is the question Mr. Wonderful posed to me just this weekend. He couldn’t figure out why I was hustling and bustling about the house. And as y’all probably know, once you begin a project it somehow creates three additional projects. The cycle is exhausting so I admit, I see his point.

But in taking on our master bedroom closet, I had a little closet epiphany: bit by bit, these Wild Hair Weekends as Mr. Wonderful calls them (the ones where I get in a frenzy to get something accomplished) are really just my way of taking my life back.

Over the last four years, I have been undone and unsettled. 

Understandably.

More life change has happened during that time than any other time put together. So I keep reminding myself that the messes that are all around me are pretty normal and I have to tackle them one at a time. Easy does it. Bit by bit. 

 (photo credit femaleentreprenuersassociation.com)

It’s taken a while to get this through to my stubborn self: you mean I can’t be Wonder Woman and just make it work out right now? One snap of my silver bracelets and evil is vanquished? 

 (photo credit wonderwomanfans.tumblr.com)

I wish.

This is why the Wild Hair Weekends exist. Not just to put our family back in order but to get my soul back in order too. To give myself breathing space and sweep out the cobwebs, both literal and figurative. To lessen the clutter and free myself of the baggage.

The struggle is real, but it will be so worth it. 

At least that’s what I’m telling myself….  (Photo credit Meredith Shafer)–My latest project, a desk for my office. I’ll post pics when I’m done.

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015. Swing by Instagram and Twitter to say hi!

Writer’s Blah

With January rapidly approaching and my sophomore effort at being an author not even close to finished, I’m way too Zen to be this far from my goal. 

I should be more nervous.

I don’t even have writer’s block–I have writer’s blah. Nothing I’m writing–when I even write–seems to be too terrific. My Internal Editor is in full force and effect and she is loud. And demanding. And annoying. She hasn’t made an appearance for awhile and she chooses now to show up?

I’m so over her.

In my procrastinating–which many artists, dreamers, writer’s and creative types will tell you is a necessary part of the process–I’ve come up with my Top 7 Ways to Avoid Writing Altogether. 

 (photo credit daniellaporte.com)

1. Clean stuff. I loathe cleaning but when I’m under the gun it sure seems like I have a cleaning emergency. This week alone I have finished my girly Harry Potter under the stairs closet and started going through kids’ clothes to donate. Who is this woman and what has she done with my domestically challenged self?! 

 (photo credit Meredith Shafer)

2. Writing on my blog. I have been so neglectful of my blog this fall and now it seems I’m brimming with ideas. I can’t stop. Someone help me.

3. Cleaning out my email inbox. Why oh why do several of my procrastination techniques involve cleaning? It must be a sickness. And why can’t I just do this all the time?

4. Checking new releases on Netflix. Yep, if I’m already “working” in my jammie pants and am burrowed into the nest in our bed and I’m tired of cleaning out my inbox I tend to need to see what’s new on Netflix. It’s all about being at the forefront of trends. 

Because that will help me write. 

 (photo credit buzzfeed.com)

5. Drinking coffee. You wouldn’t think drinking coffee would help my procrastination…but it does. I can tell myself to linger over a cup of liquid sanity in the stillness of the morning before everyone’s awake like no one’s business. Or tell myself just one more cup. Because if you’re not shaky it’s not enough coffee.  

 (Photo credit buyhimthat.com)

Speaking of, I think I’ll grab another cuppa joe while I procrastinate finishing this list of procrastination techniques… 

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Procrastinators Unite…Maybe Tomorrow

Confession time: I am a classic procrastinator. As if you didn’t know­čśë

If I’m not interested in the thing in supposed to be doing, I procrastinate by watching copious amounts of Netflix with Mr. Wonderful, painting my nails, blogging, Instagramming, and (gasp!) cleaning. And y’all know I am not fond of cleaning. Sometimes I just need the pressure of a deadline squeezing me from all sides to finish things.  

 (Photo credit omghow)
But sometimes I wait so long that the squeezing becomes untenable. And the deadline looms like a black cloud and I just shut down.

Ladies and gents, I’m may be there. I’m not sure though because I’m procrastinating taking a hard look at things around here.

I’m procrastinating some of my day job stuff. I’m procrastinating writing. And laundry. Stupid laundry! This should tell you how desperate things have become at my house in the laundry realm–this is my second post today that mentions laundry. 

 (Photo credit etsy.com)

Are y’all super-organized-early-arriving-get-everything-done-two-weeks-before-it’s-due types? If so, color me impressed. And shoot me some ideas about how to get organized. 

 (photo credit organizemyhouse.com)

If you’re a procrastinator like me, how do you bust out of the procrastinating in time to get stuff done?  

I know sometimes creative types like myself have troubles in this area. This knowledge further fuels my procrastinating because I tell myself this is normal. Also there’s the whole four kids and caregiving for my hubby that I sometimes use as an excuse to let things go. 

And if we’re being really honest, because this is just between us, sometimes I feel like since I’m a grownup now, I have days where I just don’t feel like adulting. Or being responsible.  

 (Photo credit lookhuman.com)

Today is a day where adulting feels slightly beyond my grasp. I think I may see what’s on Netflix… 

 (photo credit someecards.com)

┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Laundry Truths

  
I got this from my friend over at Life, Kids and a Glass of Red–this is truth! (And you should go check out her blog, it’s hilarious!)

If you’re stuck doing laundry today like me, I’m sorry! Let’s chuck it all and do something irresponsible, like write on our blogs­čśé

Have a blessed Tuesday, y’all!

(Photo credit NickMom) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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Pre-Birthday 

We couldn’t wait to give the two birthday boys their gifts–matching bikes! The seven year old was so excited he jumped up into Mr. Wonderful’s arms­čśé   
 The two year old just wanted to wear his shark “hat” and sit on the bike. We were supposed to be cleaning for company tomorrow but this was way more fun! My fave pic of the day: The Superheroes! And yes, the Hulk is wearing a princess dress underneath the costume… 

 Hope your Saturday is as awesome as ours!
(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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The Struggle is Real

Ever have those days (weeks) where you just can’t quite get your flow? 

We. Are. There.

The seven year old told me this morning during a particularly rough patch of getting ready time that he wished he was being raised by wolves.

Parenting fail.

The PTSD has been more PTSDish this week, with fogginess and forgetfulness. The Mama has had much less patience with everything. And then I find something that sent me right over the edge: 

 I left a note that says “To whoever’s doing this, I will hunt you down!” 

Unfortunately there are two potential culprits who can’t read so my threats may be lost on 33% of the household but whatever.

We’re transitioning our eating to organic, real food and gluten free(ish) so I made an attempt at gluten free cookies the other night that turned out like this: 

 The four year old got into the markers: 

 And at one point last night I lost the baby. THE BABY! Turns out he was outside while his big brother was practicing the trombone (your welcome Highland Farms addition!) but my heart was in my throat for a brief moment.

There have been too many doctor appointments, therapy appointments, treatments, homework, actual work, laundry, dirty dishes, dirty floors and just messiness. At this point it may be easier to burn the house down than to clean it, and of course we’re having family over this weekend for birthday celebrations.

Crap! I have to go buy presents.

Things are undone here at the Shafer Casa but we are still holding on. I’m in need of a perspective change, a paradigm shift, a better attitude.

The only way I know how to do that is to find things right now even in the middle of the mess to celebrate. To be grateful for. So here is my list for the moment:

-My sweet baby who still runs at me with open arms and slobbery kisses when he hasn’t seen me for awhile.

-My twelve (how is he twelve?!) year old who practices trombone outside and made first chair.

-My seven year old who tries so hard.

-The sweet girl who still just sometimes wants to snuggle with her Mama.

-The partner who hugs me when things get too hard and tells me we’re all gonna be ok.

Reading over that list shows me I have a lot of blessings in my life right now. I shouldn’t waste another minute on the stuff not going right, but breathe in the stuff that is.

Good talk, y’all. Thanks!  

(Photo credit Meredith Shafer) ┬ęCopyright Meredith Shafer 2015

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