Keeping It Messy - New Podcast Episode

Hi friends,

November is the month of gratitude and we are very thankful for the love and support of our creative endeavors, like BOOK 2!!! Cuz November is also NaNoWriMo and we're 10,000 words into our second book. (Our goal is 50,000 words this month but we've been busy.) 

Today, we reflect on wedding-planning (JK...just Holly's Mike's 50th birthday party which was like a wedding), and birthdays, and parenting teenagers, and moving, and all.the.things. Just a few of the reasons we haven't recorded a new episode in a loooooonnnngggg while. But we hope you enjoy this one. It's short and sweet and we wrap it up with things we're thankful for.

Please share...what are you thankful for? 

xoxoxo

#keepitmessy #gratitudetakesfocus #homeologymakeseverythingbetter #yourewelcome
Holly and Jenn

NaNoWriMo19


National Novel Writing Month is here!! And we are taking advantage of the NaNoWriMo campaign to WRITE BOOK TWO of our series.

We are shooting for 60,000 words in our first draft. Fancy math = Holly and I each need to write 1000 words/day. (We can totally do that!)

And this year, we've joined the South Orange County NaNoWriMo group so we have weekly write-ins where we join other NaNos and share the creative energy of writing together, as well as other fun events.

If you've ever considered writing anything, visit www.nanowrimo.org to get inspired. It's and AMAZING conglomeration of talent and motivation.

Our NaNoWriMo19 project begins like this...

Chapter 1 - John
The cool morning breeze blew in through the open balcony doors. John’s dark hair fell into his eyes. It had gotten so long over the last few months. Along with a beard, he almost didn’t recognize himself. Staring over the rolling hills below his room, the impossibility of the moment overtook him. Could this truly be real? Aervon was his kingdom. His? As far as he could see to the horizon - the majestic Thulle Mountains to the east and the Ninah Sea to the west - all of it would soon be under his rule. He should be feeling magnificent. But he wasn't.

What do you think? Is this something you would read? We're happy for feedback.

Happy NaNoWriMo19!

{H&J}
Holly and Jenn

Ditched Again on Halloween


Happy Halloween! What a fun holiday, especially if you have kids who still dress up and go TOTING (Trick OTreating), like all youthful candy-hoarders do. I'll admit, jealous! I miss the annual excuse to indulge in Twix bars and Butterfingers.

When the kids were younger, we dressed them in coordinating costumes. How much say should kids under five really have about their costumes, right? My favorite year, our boys were the brave Prince and cuddly Gus-the-Mouse to match Bella's Cinderella costume. (Photo reference above...SO CUTE!)

When the kids were younger, we used to determine exactly how many pieces of candy they could ingest on Halloween and each day after, for roughly one week. At that point, the Candy Fairy would visit and magically whisk the candy away (except the Twix bars and Butterfingers), leaving a delightful treat in its place, sure to bring just as much joy to our candy-addicts' sugar-overloaded hearts.

When the kids were younger, we'd share a pre-TOTING meal with friends - chili, salad, cornbread and some sort of Autumn-blend, micro-brewed beer. Then we'd take pictures with ALL the neighborhood kids before setting out through elaborately decorated streets, dodging ghouls and collecting goodies, all the while capturing photos and video at each doorstep and reminding them of their lines: "Trick or Treat" and "Thank you!"

When the kids were younger, we had a little more control of the Halloween festivities. But now that they're older, the holiday has taken on a new feel. Today, our kids have their own ideas about costumes, their own parties to attend, and none of the festivities include mom and dad following closely behind with a video camera. It's okay. Really, it's fine.

These days, Halloween is a different kind of holiday and, I'll admit, I'm a little sad about it. Not simply because they're growing up, but because the festivities lack the luster when the kids aren't around. So friends, keep those kids close and gobble up those Halloween memories. You never know when it's going to be the last one with them.

Happy Halloween! I'm going to make myself a cocktail and have a Twix (and maybe a Butterfinger.)

{J}
Holly and Jenn

Sending Our Baby Out In The World...World, Be Kind.


Just a quick update. Holly and I submitted the requested materials to four fabulous agents that we met at our last conference. We got some GREAT feedback and are hoping/praying/excited for the next chapter...REPRESENTATION!

What's next, you ask? We keep querying and plotting book two people. BOOK TWO!!

It can take a long time to secure an agent and get published or it can be speedy quick. So if you have any extra prayers or positive vibes, please feel free to send them our way. We'd like the fast track but we'll totally settle for more patience and less nail-biting.

Thanks for all of your support. Happy fall bliss to you and yours!

By the way, this meme was created at memegenerator.net. We love it!! If you haven't been there, go. Now. GO! You're welcome.

{J}
Holly and Jenn

A Mother’s Wish for Her Daughter About Sex


Friends, I know this is a tricky subject that can be strewn with harsh opinions and great big fears. I share these thoughts as my nineteen-year-old daughter navigates the new world of relationships and only with her permission. My hope is to be helpful to others who may not know how to talk to their adult children about sex. IMHO, this topic applies to daughters and sons, regardless of their sexual orientation, and it shouldn't be avoided, shamed, or brushed over, rather it should be talked about with honesty, compassion and awareness. If this scares you, I get it. If this offends you, I'm sorry. If this is useful, amen. So here goes...

A mother’s wish for her daughter about sex.

It’s conflicted and pulls on my heart relentlessly.

Hopes for true love and gentleness and long gazes mix with images of a little girl who can’t possibly be old enough yet.

Concerns for her heart to be sheltered against the roller coaster of regret and fortified with conviction in a decision that just doesn’t seem to ever have the right timing, at least in her mother’s mind.

But it’s not about me. It’s about a girl who’s always had the ability to read a room and find the safe places there. It’s about a girl who feels fully and deeply with all the emotions. It’s about a girl who isn’t really a girl anymore. 

As a woman, I want her to discover the immense connection that lovers and partners can share. To explore intimacy and discover how to grow in her love, physically and emotionally. I want her to know how the strength of a marriage is partly dependent upon a commitment to loving each other and reconnecting intimately and regularly. I want her to be a good partner and I want her to know what a good partner looks like. She deserves to be loved wholly.

As a young woman, unmarried and exploring the world of relationships, I want her to be discerning, not careless. Cherished, not used. Respected and revered. I want her to take her time. I want her to know that sex is not a tool or a game or a way to barter.

As a Catholic, I want her to wait. To know the sacred bond that exists between partners for life when they give the gift of their whole selves to each other. 

As a human, I want her to know that sex is natural and beautiful and can still be sacred. Finding the balance between timing and maturity is different for everyone. But I want her to know that I will be here if she’s scared or confused or sad. Just as I will celebrate with her when she’s elated and committed and ready.

If I could have one wish for my daughter about sex, it would be that she is loved and knows how to love. That she has no regret in the decision to share the most intimate experience with her partner when she knows the timing is absolutely right. That she’s safe and in control. That her voice and the desires of her heart are heard. And that her partner realizes what a gift, a priceless, cherished gift he holds in his hands.

That is this mother's wish for her beautiful, beloved daughter.

(Photo by HOP DESIGN on Unsplash.)
Holly and Jenn

New School Year Inspiration: The Road Not Taken



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;


Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost


Wishing everyone a happy, adventurous school year. 

Photo cred: Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Holly and Jenn

Please Don't Judge


I'm afraid for summer to end because I know in my bones how much this transition is going to hurt.

For the last ten weeks, we've enjoyed almost no routine. The three teens in my house have been living rent-free in this awesome place where someone cleans and stocks the fridge and all they have to do is make curfew (sometimes they fail at this) and do a few chores (sometimes they fail at this too). To fill the time they're not hanging with friends doing amazing things, they have video games and Netflix and all sorts of fun distractions. And then there's been napping. You guys, they haven't napped since they were toddlers. But now, we have naps again.

(I WANT A NAP!)

So herein lies the problem: they are out of practice. Reality practice. And maybe I am too, a smidge. Confession time.

My kids might not know how to read anymore, or at least read fully-formed, punctuated words in a book. Practicing math facts, novel-reading, current events...not a clue. Sorry future teachers.

I might've forgotten how to cook. No one is ever home for dinner, with work schedules and ALLTHEFRIENDS. So I haven't regularly cooked for five for a LONG time! And can someone tell me wheat kids are eating for lunch these days? I have carefully, lovingly filled the fridge with all sorts of great lunch and snack foods, but I'm pretty sure they would rather use the precious five minutes it takes to assemble lunch, to sleep or scroll or streak, so they're going to head off to school without enough fuel to nourish their brains to do the learning. (And I refuse to make their lunches...they have to learn...it's a choice not a punishment.) CRAP...see the trouble I'm in?

Also, they don't sleep in the nighttime. They go to Corky's, they have friends over to play video games and watch movies, they do those things at their friend's houses, but sleep is not a high priority. Which also means I don't sleep. Because they are like elephants with big stomping feet that can't enter a house quietly. And you better believe they become Master Chefs at 2 a.m. and cook all the things with all the pans and every possible appliance. I love waking up to a kitchen full of splatter and crumbs and shit. It's my favorite.

And how is it they don't know how to silently open/close a door? I mastered this skill as a teen who had to sneak out of the house in order to go to a 24-hour diner for onion rings at 2 a.m. because there was no way my parents would let me go to a diner at 2 a.m. for onion rings. But our kids just wake us up, say they're heading to Corky's with their friends and we say OK because SUMMER and onion rings are awesome. Oh to be young. In the meantime, we've robbed our children of learning a priceless skill of covertly/quietly opening and closing doors. So I guess it's my fault that I haven't slept through the night in 10 weeks. Thus, the desperate need for a nap.

This nocturnal behavior also means they've forgotten how to wake up early. Unless work or something fun FORCES them to set an alarm, they just haven't heard one this summer. Proof that next week is going to be really painful. I'm also not sure the last time my boys used shampoo. Rinsing off after a surf counts, right? And didn't I read on FB that chlorine kills more germs than Pantene? So maybe they're fine. At least they do their own laundry and they don't stink.

So here's the thing...I think we're all going to need some re-entry grace around here. Like Jen Hatmaker says, we just can't expect much from our kids the week or two that they're getting back in the routine of things. I'm here to declare that it goes both ways.

Kids, please know that this transition is hard for parents too. We don't want to nag. We don't want to have to remember all the things YOU need to do while your brain re-learns how to think and plan and execute multi-step tasks. I don't want to check School Loop daily because you ignore it. To me, School Loop is offensive because it implies that I am somehow responsible for your homework. I am not.

But I will look at School Loop. I will assist with lunches. I will help with lists. I will check up and check in. FOR TWO WEEKS ONLY. Really. I'm giving you a two-week grace period to figure it out. And believe me, if you put your phone down for two minutes, I know you can do it.

Friends, if any of this sounds familiar, I stand with you in solidarity. Let's give them two weeks to get their shit together. And then, we start smashing devices and taking away driving privileges. Okay?

By the way, I might need a vacation. Is it summer yet. Is it just me?

Peace and strength be with them, and us.

{J}
Holly and Jenn