Everyday A Choice Moved to Squarespace!

Hi there, my wordpress followers!

My blog has officially moved over to my main website that is hosted on squarespace.  You will be able to find all of my projects, podcast, book, and even upcoming childbirth classes over there now.  You can visit the new website at http://www.kelliejoy.com

If you would like to re-subscribe to the blog over there, I would love it if you joined me!  Just click the link below, scroll down, and enter your email. Easy peasy!

Today I’m over there talking about crafting, cooking, and why we should all just do what makes us happy!

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Trying to Enjoy Summer: Goals & Bucket List

  
Confession: I don’t really like summer. I know. I KNOW. I’m crazy. But hear me out. I hate, hate, HATE sweating. Unless the sweat is from zumba or body pump, it’s gross and I hate it. Sacramento goes well past 100 degrees on many summer days and I just want to hide in the cold A/C and never leave the house. I actually feel more claustrophobic in the summer than I do in the winter because the heat keeps me indoors so much. I’ve seen a lot of Summer Bucket List posts lately, and I thought I’d use that to try and focus on the positive parts of summer rather than just secretly count down the days until October 1st. (Because it’s still effing hot here in September!) 

The Fun Stuff:

  • Go to the State Fair (My parents got us a season pass)
  • Go to a Waterpark (Maybe a date day with Chris?)
  • Enroll Clare in Swim Lessons
  • Go to the Farmer’s market every week (Summer Fruit is something I do love)
  • Spend some time outside early mornings (because that’s the only time it isn’t gross)
  • Take at least one day trip to San Francisco.
  • Take at least one day trip to Truckee
  • Go to an outdoor concert in the park (There are so many good ones each week!)
  • Go to the drive-in movies (For some reason, we always seem to only go in the winter..)
  • Go to Yoga in the Park as much as possible (because it’s the best)

The Work Stuff:

  • Put together Teaching Outline for Childbirth Classes – I’m really hoping to do my evaluated teaching series in the late fall, so starting to prep during the summer is a must.
  • Launch new website. I’ve been working on a squarespace website to combine all of my stuff, blog, podcast, and a few other projects in one place. It’s almost there!
  • Back load Podcast interviews to avoid being stressed during the holidays. I’ve got podcasts recorded/scheduled solidly into August at this point. I’d really like to have the whole fall/holidays set by the end of summer, so I’m not stressed out trying to do last minute episodes.
  • Have a yard sale. Chris thinks I’m crazy, but we have so much crap we need to get rid of….so it seems worth a shot.

The Goal Stuff:

  • Insight Meditation 6-Week Meditation Online Course – I’ve always been curious about this meditation center in redwood city. And since my big main goal for all of 2015 is meditation, I want to try their free 6-week online course to supplement what I’ve already been doing each day.
  • Learn to sew a quilt – Meisner has a quilt series beginning in late July. I either want to do that one, or the one that starts in September.

Yay! Reasons to be excited about summer, and not just ‘get through’ it.

Do you have any big plans for summer?

Aloha! & Links for Your Week

We are in Hawaii this week for an early 5 year anniversary trip. (Yay!) and Clare’s first plane trip! 

So for my weekly post this week,  a post detailing the best articles and blogs I’ve read over the last few weeks.  So many good ones!

  • Mayim Bialik’s excellent response to the recent Similac commercial getting a lot of press. She says: “The ad shows breastfeeding as “just another choice,” ignoring that it is the medically recommended way to feed human babies. It’s not the same as cloth versus disposable diaper choices or deciding which baby shampoo to use. This commercial undermines medical and scientific fact under the guise of “It’s all the same, don’t judge. And if you do, you are the bad mom.”
  • I read a lot about breastfeeding because I am very much a breastfeeding advocate, but I love Elisha Wilson Beach’s response to the internet freaking out over her photo of breastfeeding her toddler in the bathroom.
  • This is an excellent, albeit long, article about a Welsh playground called “The Land” and a look at how much childhood has changed in the last 30 years.  Really, really interesting. Makes me wish American playgrounds would take on this idea, and expands my idea for what I want our kids to experience growing up.

Have you read anything awesome lately?

Raising My Spirited Child

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My little girl is intense. Her reactions are bigger and louder than all of her peers. Sometimes when she yells or squeaks or squawks I am quick to be embarrassed or to want to shush her. I am the one with ‘that’ kid. The one who tells you exactly how she feels – even though we can’t always understand where that feeling is coming from at this point.   But instead of shushing her or being embarrassed, I really want to be proud. My little girl may be ‘the loud one’ now, but she is also the clever and strong and persistent one and so often when I look at her and am completely exasperated by her intensity, by her complete and total ‘need’ for me, I see in through those explosive emotions and intensity that she is…me. She’s headstrong and driven…and yes a bit emotional. But she’s fun loving and giving and sometimes I get these glimmers of who she’s going to grow into and it’s both wonderful and terrifying. Because I know how hard that intensity can crash on the other end. I know how it is to go go go and give give give and then to collapse. And I want to protect her little heart from all of that. But I know she’ll have to learn, just as I have (and still am learning!), to measure and ration her energy. I’m reading this book about raising ‘spirited children’ right now and it’s really helping me to see her intensity in a positive light and to just feel like there are other parents out there who are struggling with the same things.

I think my psychiatrist also helped me see this a bit too. She said something once, quite rightly so, how I am always really concerned that people understand where I’m coming from and that I get really hurt or frustrated when they don’t. And I get upset when I can’t figure something out or things don’t pan out the way I expected. It’s the same with Clare. When she falls or something doesn’t go as she expected, she reacts very intensely. And while sometimes the intensity can really, really fry my nerves, I’m trying to be more cognizant of the fact that in a lot of ways she is a mini me. And I can celebrate her strengths and help her manage her energy and emotions as she grows rather than lament how challenging she can be. Because I never want her to feel like she’s strange because she’s the “tough one,” the “picky one,” the “high maintenance one.” I’ve been all of those things. I want her to know that it’s okay to be that way. In a lot of ways it’s awesome to be that way. So as that book suggests, I’m trying to even change my vocabulary around those things. We aren’t tough, picky or high maintenance, we are spirited, selective and know what we want and need. And that’s pretty neat, if I do say so myself. 🙂 

  

 Do you have a spirited child? How do you manage it? Share in the comments!

The Postpartum Podcast Launch and my 10 favorite podcasts of 2014

With the explosion of the Serial podcast this year, podcasts really seem to be coming to the forefront of many people’s minds. Chris rolls his eyes because he’s been listening to podcasts for years, and I always gave him a hard time.

I did love Serial, but my “gateway” podcast was really One Bad Mother.  Those ladies are hilarious, and I pretty much listened to their whole archive in the first few months of Clare’s life.  Which got me thinking…there must be so many other new moms out there who take comfort in shows like One Bad Mother. I started looking for anything else that might pertain to the postpartum period specifically, but there isn’t really a lot out there. And with the childbirth educator certification I’m working on, I decided I wanted to help fill that niche.  Thus, the Postpartum Podcast was born.  It will be a podcast that covers not only postpartum, but pregnancy and childbirth as well. I plan to have a range of guests, from birth professionals to just regular moms. Our first episode is up and features Lesley Miller of Barefooton45th. I hope that you check it out!

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You can find the podcast in iTunes HERE.

And now for my top 10 favorite podcasts of 2014:

1) One Bad Mother – as mentioned above, these ladies are SO funny.  Teresa and Biz approach motherhood with such honesty and humor, I literally look forward to their podcast every Friday.  They share listeners’ genius and fail moments and meltdowns and interview super interesting and also funny guests.

2) Serial – If you haven’t heard of Serial, you’ve probably been living under a rock…but, just in case, it’s a spin off from This American Life, investigating a 1999 Baltimore murder. It’s engrossing and fascinating. I’m looking forward to their second season.

3) The Lively Show – Jess Lively hosts this show about living an intentional life.  Her guests vary, but are always super interesting, inspiring and uplifting.  She also does mini episodes usually where she is answering a listener’s question about how to add intention to their lives.

4) The Sarah R. Bagley Podcast – Sarah is a self-proclaimed ‘recovering perfectionist in pursuit of living a B+ life’ – and she interviews guests about how they have pushed past perfectionist tendencies. As a perfectionist myself, this show always resonates with me.

5) Totally Married – I think I originally heard about this one and Totally Mommy (see below) on One Bad Mother when they interviewed Elizabeth.  Elizabeth and Andy talk about marriage and answer listener questions giving their “unqualified advice” on a range of topics.  They are super funny and have a baby right around Clare’s age, so I find myself relating a lot.

6) Totally Mommy – Elizabeth from Totally Married co-hosts this show with her different Mom friends each week.  Again because her daughter is around the same age as Clare I find myself relating a lot, and I also enjoy the questions section where they give advice (similar to totally married).

7) The Girls Next Door Podcast – I heard about these ladies again on One Bad Mother.  They are two neighbors in Arizona who just talk about different happenings in their lives, neighborhoods, etc over a cocktail.  They are super funny, and I find myself wishing we were neighbors every time I listen.

8) Elise Gets Crafty – Elise’s podcast always sparks my creativity and motivation. I love how much she loves goal-setting and her drive to be creative everyday.

9) The One You Feed – This podcast deals with the parable about the two wolves which goes as follows:

An old grandfather told his grandson: “My son, there is a battle between two wolves inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, jealousy, greed, and resentment. The other is good. It is joy, love, hope, humility, kindness, empathy, and bravery.”

The boy thought about it, and asked, “Grandfather, which wolf wins?”

The old man quietly replied, “The one you feed.”

They host different guests who talk about how they are feeding their good wolves.  Very motivating and inspiring.

10) And finally the Highly Sensitive Person Podcast – After reading The Highly Sensitive Person book and discovering I am definitely an HSP, I have found this short weekly podcast encouraging to know that I am not alone for feeling the way I do about certain things.

What about you? Are there any podcasts you loved this last year? Please share!

A year in review: 2014 Books

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It’s been a good year for books: 8 on audiobooks, 13 on kindle, 10 actual physical books, 24 nonfiction, 4 memoirs and 3 novels. I didn’t really make a lot of goals last year except to survive the year with a new baby. But I did make a reading goal of 25 books, which I surpassed and hit 31! Woo hoo! I owe that mainly to the many hours of nursing sessions and the audiobooks driving in the car to my students’ lessons. I think it’s safe to say that this is the first year that I have read that many books, none of which were required school reading. I hope to keep up the momentum in 2015, with again a goal of 25 since I won’t have the two months of binge reading childbirth books that I had last year. 🙂

In case you are curious, here are the books I read in 2014 with some short reviews, followed by a few books I plan to read in 2015.

Do you have any recommendations? Chris gave me a hard time for only reading a few novels this year, so any recommendations for amazing fiction books are particularly welcomed!

2014 Books: A Year in Review

To see some short reviews on the Pregnancy and Childbirth books I read, check out my previous post here.

Those included:

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth

What to Expect When You’re Expecting

Birthing From Within

Natural Hospital Birth: The Best of Both Worlds

Your Best Birth

& some more from 2013. 🙂

Sleeping with Your Baby: A Parent’s Guide to Cosleeping – I am SO glad our pediatrician recommended this book. The research Dr. James Mckenna has done about cosleeping in infant mother pairs is fascinating and wonderful. This book outlines safe cosleeping practices and talks about the cultural differences between our society and other non-western societies. There are immense benefits and it just makes sense. Book is super short and I highly recommend to new parents.

The Happiest Baby on the Block – This is one of those that everyone tells you to read and they are right. We also watched the DVD. In the early days during the witching hour, my mom and I would be scanning through the book for extra tips to calm Clare. And to this day, the 5 S’s are still our best friends when it comes to calming her.

Something Blue – This is one of my favorites of Emily Giffin’s. The sequel to Something Borrowed is in movie talks currently, and I just really like the transformation that Darcy’s character makes throughout. A re-read, but I loved it again.

Bébé Day by Day: 100 Keys to French Parenting – This was a quick library book read. I wasn’t a huge fan. Some of the principals, specifically around food, I definitely agree with, but others didn’t jive with me.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto – Excellent book. I listened to the audiobook on this one. Michael Pollan’s research is thorough and engaging and so spot on. His simple rules for eating: Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. The french paradox stuff was really interesting, and I found myself saying ‘yes, yes, yes’ to most of what he said. I wish more people realized how screwed up our food industry is and that it really is worth it to spend more (time and money) on quality food. A side note – I also just watched the Fed Up documentary and highly recommend.

And Baby Makes Three: The Six-Step Plan for Preserving Marital Intimacy and Rekindling Romance After Baby Arrives – I really liked a lot of the principals in this book for sustaining marriage after a baby arrives. Though it was excercize heavy and I can’t say we actually did the practices, but the concepts were good to keep in mind.

Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife – I LOVED this book. Chronicling Peggy Vincent’s career as a midwife in the bay area, it gave such a wonderful picture of the normalcy and natural process of childbirth. The birth stories were wonderful. I read it after Clare was born, but I would also recommend it to pregnant mommas.

Year of No Sugar: A Memoir – This book was eye opening to the harmful effects of sugar in our diets. I can’t say that it made me stop eating sugar, but it definitely made me consider it’s prevalence a lot more.

The Sweet Poison Quit Plan – As with above, this one gave a lot of good evidence for the removal of sugar from our diets and different substitutes we can have. Avocado toast is now a favorite breakfast and snack around here.

The One & Only: A Novel
– Emily Giffin’s newest novel. I listened to the audiobook. I can’t say it was my favorite of hers…but I did enjoy the break in listening to a novel.

The Baby-Led Weaning Cookbook: 130 Recipes That Will Help Your Baby Learn to Eat Solid Foods – and That the Whole Family Will Enjoy – This book explained the concept of BLW well and gave examples of what foods to introduce as you go and different recipes to get you started.

MOMFRIENDS – This was one of our mama first book club books and I enjoyed it. The author, I believe must have self published and could have used some more editing, but the story was relateable to those of us that are new moms and navigating friendships as we go.

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind – This one read more like a bunch of blog posts than like a book, but I was okay with that. Helpful tidbits from all kinds of authors about how to make the most of your day. Some of it didn’t apply to me so much as a mom, but others definitely did! I recognized many of the authors contributing and found some helpful advice. I liked the idea of putting your to do list on a post-it note and that if its more than that, it’s not feasible in one day. The usual adages of writing every day and frequency sparking creativity were in there too but worded in a new way. A lot about resetting and mindfulness and “windows of non-stimulation” that all resonated with me too.

Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World – Great parenting book with a lot of tips for the adults as well. I found myself very taken aback thinking about the kind of technology driven and overstimulating world my kids will grow up in. Give a lot of insight on how to weave mindfulness into everyday and help kids manage energy and stress.

Love Life – I love Rob Lowe. I loved his first book “Stories I only tell my friends” and I loved this one as well. This time I listened to the audiobook which I highly recommend, because he is the one reading it and his inflection really makes the book extra excellent. This one was a great blend of glimpses into hollywood and the tv/movie business and his family life. And as a parent myself now, hearing him talk about his boys leaving for college definitely made me tear up. I really like what he says at the end when he’s talking about life in general and how unpredictable it is (while sharing an anecdote about him and madonna) – he says “intention is what gives the action value.” It’s not about just what you do, it’s about how and why you do it. Definitely recommend.

Glitter and Glue: A Memoir – I found Kelly Corrigan because she spoke at the Care Begins With Me event I was invited to here in Sacramento. I’m so glad I did, because she is a wonderful writer! (And speaker!) I listened to the audiobook on this one, and like Rob Lowe, she was the one reading it. There’s something about memoirs that are read by the author that just make them all the better. This is her newest book about the relationship with her and her mom and her adventure nannying in Austrailia. Loved it.

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality – Another book club pick, this anthology was wonderful. I didn’t realize it was a Seal Press book while reading it, but it totally makes sense with their focus on Women. (I interned there once upon a blue moon ago) Anyway – I recommend this to any mom and particularly if you are feeling like you are never enough.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life’s Greatest Lesson – Another re-read, but this time on audiobook. Listening to Mitch Albom read about his beloved professor made this sweet and poignant book all the sweeter. 🙂 Everyone should read it.

The Highly Sensitive Person – Loved this book, and I am 100% without a doubt, an HSP. There are so many things I highlighted thinking yes yes yes! I wish I could list them all here but favorites were “If you are a typical HSP, you can be a worry-prone perfectionist” “Your self-worth may have been entirely contingent upon your achievements” “Always plan a way to bail out” pertaining to social engagements. “when we have no control over stimulation, it is even more upsetting” The research on links between HSPs and serotonin were also really interesting.

Lift – A very sweet little “love letter” book Kelly wrote to her daughters. Some of the reviews lament it’s skipping around and non-cohesiveness. But I think that’s what makes it lovely, because that is how we think as parents, in fragments about things we should say or tell them or stories to remember. Again, she’s a fantastic writer.

Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids – I loved the principles in this book. And that it wasn’t just about simplifying clutter and toys, but also food, schedules, and so much more. It all makes so much sense and hope that we can give Clare some of it’s frameworks as she grows up. I liked the idea of having certain food nights of the week “Spaghetti”, “Fish” etc and how that predictability can help. It has some Waldorf education principles as well which totally jive with my parenting style.

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead – Great book. The power of vulnerability and being authentic. I really enjoyed the self and parent sections, moreso that work, since the kind of work I do is very different than corporate culture now (Thank god!) Highly recommend.

Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time
– Heard about this on on my favorite One Bad Mother Podcast and it was not what I expected it would be. But it was very interesting. Thoroughly researched – the work section made me want to move to Denmark, and hate our childcare system in the United States. The play section really reminded me of how much I need to incorporate it into my life. I listened to the audiobook on this one as well. I wasn’t a huge fan of the voice though.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking – The older I get, and the more I read the more I believe I am actually an introvert. One who has been very good at pretending to be an extrovert over the years. It really resonated with me when she said a lot of times if introverts act out of their true nature for too long they get sick and burnt out. I used to do this ALL of the time and it makes sense now why I was always getting sick. When she mentioned feeling like she was working in a foreign country when she was in the wrong kind of job situation – I’ve definitely been there. I also resonated with the idea that introverts like to host parties more than they like to attend other people’s parties. And take note of what you wanted to be when you grew up as a child as well as what you’re envious of, because these are your true nature. So many great points and interesting research. This was an audiobook for me as well.

The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life – I was given this book through Blogging for Books. I had heard Chris on several of the podcasts I listen to, and I also have his $100 Startup book that I still haven’t yet read. Really enjoyed this book and reading about all of the quests people participated in. I like that he also left room for more introvert homebody type quests. It wasn’t all about travel. I also really liked the section on yearly goal setting because I always have enjoyed goal setting and checking off lists.

Momma Zen: Walking the Crooked Path of Motherhood – And Finally, Momma Zen, our December book club pick. Each vignette about motherhood was wonderful, always struck a chord and was beautifully written. I love the ties to Buddhism and the views based on zen meditation teachings.

Books I hope to read in 2015:

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life – my “read” gift from Chris this year.

The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide: How to Declutter, Organize, and Simplify Your Life – Currently reading.

Buddhism for Mothers: A Calm Approach to Caring for Yourself and Your Children
(I started this one but then it had to return to the library, sad.)

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters! – A gift from my mom LAST year.

Redefining Girly: How Parents Can Fight the Stereotyping and Sexualizing of Girlhood, from Birth to Tween
a Christmas gift from my sweet friend Sarah!

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PS – if we aren’t friends on goodreads, add me!

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a book based on my recommendation Clare’s diaper fund gets a teeny bit of money. 🙂

 

 

Life is short.

It’s strange to think that it’s been two years today since Nick died. It’s also amazing how a few months spent learning from someone can be the catalyst to completely change your course. Two years ago I worked at a job that I hated. It made me crazy, broke my spirit, and sucked my soul. I was in a master’s degree program that I thought I should be doing. Because who says no to free tuition? Because climbing the ‘career’ ladder meant more education. These days I wouldn’t touch that ladder with a ten-foot pole. If Nick hadn’t been a professor to really encourage creative license in his classroom, I’m really not sure I would’ve eventually found the courage to be creative with my work in my life.

After losing his wife to an aggressive ovarian cancer several years prior, Nick had fully embraced the motto “Life is short.” The view that if you aren’t doing what makes you happy, in your school, in your projects, in your work, in your LIFE, then why are you doing it? I listened to this clip again today, and hearing his voice it’s as clear as it was yesterday. His humor and warmth in the face of something as terrible as losing a spouse was a gift. And it was that which made him such a wonderful teacher.

His story continues to reinforce to me that you really never know what will happen. You don’t know what hand you will be dealt. And there is no reason to spend your life doing things that don’t serve you, or spend your time with people who don’t make you better. 

Two years later, I can’t say that I have it all figured out. But I can say that if it wasn’t for those few months spent in Nick’s class, I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am now.

His abrupt death really allowed me to put everything into perspective and to reassess what I was doing and why I was doing it. It allowed me to leave the job I hated, leave the master’s program that wasn’t for me, and while I had a short pit stop in another awful job, it allowed me to see clearly that starting a family was what I really wanted. I didn’t want to keep banging my head against these awful jobs because it felt like I “should.” Or we felt like we needed to wait till we reached whatever financial milestone. We didn’t know how we would make it work, but we found a way.

Not to mention, I never would’ve met my dear friend Lori whose passion for women’s experiences in childbirth would become a catalyst for the career path that I am now on. Little did I know, sitting in that dusty classroom each Tuesday evening listening to her research about childbirth would plant a seed for my own passion. I am SO thankful for her and SO proud that she will be finishing up her master’s degree in communication next week!

Lately, I’ve been feeling pulled in a million different directions. Trying to be a good mother, trying to work on my childbirth educator certification, trying to plan for the holidays, trying to get into an exercise routine again, trying to be a good piano teacher, trying to launch a podcast, to blog, to write, to be a good wife, friend and daughter. TRYING. Trying to work on Clare’s baby book and first year photo album. Trying to keep socializing, getting out, doing new things, doing things for Clare. Trying to Balance. It. ALL. And sometimes I really feel like I’m failing at all of it. Like I’m one teething meltdown short of a massive breakdown.

But on the anniversary of Nick’s death, I’m promising myself to take a look at what the priorities in my life are and giving those the energy they deserve. Because as Nick taught us, life is WAY too freaking short to waste energy on the things that don’t matter. As we head into the November, I am motivated to be intentional with my time, my thoughts and my actions this holiday season. To say no when I need to. To vastly cut down on my use of social media, the mindless checking, the time wasting. To sometimes let the laundry pile up or the dust wait a day in favor of playing scrabble with Chris while Clare naps or taking her for a walk and enjoying the crisp fall air. To making time to be creative, with crafting or writing. To making progress on long term projects and goals…a little bit at a time.

To unplugging more…

To meditating more consistently…

To letting go of perfect to embrace being happy.

And I’m sure I will struggle with this Every. Single. Day.

But by trying I am honoring what Nick taught me.

Nick, your story is a constant reminder of how precious time is, and I am so thankful to have known you.

~~~~~~

If you would like to check out the book Nick wrote with his wife as they dealt with her terminal cancer diagnosis. It’s called Cancer and Death, a Love Story in Two Voices and can be found here. It really is beautiful.

Also, here is a music video of a song he wrote for her and this is him singing it when he scattered her ashes in Fort Bragg.

And if you would like to read the post I wrote shortly after Nick’s death, you can find that here.

PS – I will be participating in Allison’s NoExNo – a riff off of of NaNoWriMo – but instead of writing a novel in a month, it’s committing to ‘no excuses’ on a goal,habit, lifestyle change, etc for a month. Join me?