Posts Tagged With: friends as family

the break we needed

YBW and I went to visit friends last week.
I’ve known this fam for nearly twenty five years, our kids grew up together, the mom and I taught together at the old preschool. They were here for our wedding in 2015, and YBW was enthusiastic about spending good time getting to know them. Y’all, he fit right into their family, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that!

We needed a break.
We needed to get out of this house we no longer own before we move to our new house.
We needed to disconnect from everything here.
We needed to breathe new air.

Um…the air in Tucson is fucking hot! One hundred eight degrees is no joke!
Of course it is the desert.

But funky 4th Ave provided relief in one form or another.

We got to see all four of the (adult) kids, ranging in age from twenty-seven to about to be nineteen. Even my Goddaughter, the second eldest who lives just outside of Phoenix, was able to come down and ‘work’ from her mom and dad’s for a few days!
Joy is not a big enough word, y’all!

After a few days in Tucson, we (only the parent-y adults) drove six hours to spend a few days in their house in Carlsbad.
The perfect little Pacific coast beach town!

We’re back in Virginia where we belong.
Laundry, grocery shopping and tidying the house were on my list this week.
East coast time is our enemy…but we’re hoping to become friends again sooner than later.
After sleeping from only 10:15 to 11:30pm Wednesday night, I crashed about 8:15 Thursday night and woke at 9:40 this morning. Let us hope I broke the cycle.
As we head into the weekend, I’m disappointed we won’t be at the beach with our friends, but I’ve already hugged Meredith and Beau and their mommy this week, and this weekend we’re going to see Baby K for the first time since Sunday two weeks ago!

I came home feeling refreshed (apart from the wack-a-doo sleep schedule) and ready to organize and pack for our move the end of this month.
I knew I needed a break. I knew my husband would benefit from a break. Traveling is stressful, but visiting people we love is not.
We needed this break, this trip, this time with our family of friends.
I’m ready for what’s next.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

IWotB 2021 edition ~ day two

My darling friend and mentor Jessica sent me the loveliest gift to celebrate my birthday.

The concept of these wishbeads is right up my alley. Something Jessica knows intuitively.
When I called to thank her for this precious and thoughtful gift, I asked her if she knew how much I loved tigers eye.

She assured me she did know, her choice reinforced based on their meaning and her wish for me.
Her wish is contained in the little brass cylinder. A wish that spoke to finding my fierceness.
A wish filled with love from a woman with whom I share a fierce love.

My life would be not only different without Jessica in it, it would be absolutely lacking.
The word gratitude is simply not enough to express the depth and breadth of my feelings surrounding this woman. But currently it’s the only one I have, therefore I will say I’m grateful for Jessica.
And thankful for the lovely gift she sent as I celebrate my International Week of the Birthday.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

September gratitude

Today is October first.
The official start of Halloween month!
But before I get all SQUEE about that, I’m going to express my gratitude.

September was straight chaos. But it was also quite lovely.
As I look back on this month I find myself grateful for both.

I’m also grateful for:

a porchlife lunch with Mike and Josie
Husband N’s willingness to transport a 16 foot ladder
a successful and fun flea market day with YBW, his brother and sister-in-law
meeting with the builder about electricals in the new house
stackable jewelry organizers
a tearful conversation with YBW

Target run with Thing 1 and Baby K (sassy thing chose her own new shades and bag)

finally getting to talk with Jessica
Husband N’s mad landscaping skills
cool Autumn mornings
Thing G seems content at his mom’s
winery day with Nora and Dale’s family
joyfully ‘hate watching’ the Twilight saga with Thing 1

bathroom construction progress

windows open for several days in a row
playing a game called Bye Felicia
making good use of my instant pot
two of my alternative healthcare providers
Saturday morning snuggles with YBW and Baby K
exercising my 19th amendment right and responsibility by voting early
TJXrewards points

inventing this ridiculously delicious cocktail with Thing 1

having airline miles to purchase tickets for Thing 2 and Boyfriend M to visit in November
the post office in Old Town Manassas
taking a chance on the curated bundles at Bards Alley and getting some great reads
red toenail polish
CBD oil capsules
being in the car by myself

My heart is full of gratitude as I look back at this lovely and chaotic month.

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

a very Roby week

Y’all know about this file folding your clothes situation?
Seems it’s been around a while, but gained serious momentum with Marie Kondo. Of course I consider myself a damned fine laundry doer, but this file folding is something I’m not familiar with. And I’m always game to learn something new. Especially if it’s about my fave household chore!
A quick google search lead me to Abby Lawson’s youtube channel.
Her voice is kind of annoying. But I quickly became focused on what she was doing and stopped listening to her.


Y’all! This is so freaking simple!
It’s almost how I pack a bag, only it’s a combination of rolling and folding.
I’m over here like, Oh hold on sister, I got this!

I went to my tee shirt drawers.
Yeah, you read that right, drawer is plural. There were three of them. (mind ya business)
There were three because separating them suited my way of life more than necessarily needing that much storage.
One was plain tees. You know, a few each of black, white, and navy with a couple other colors thrown in. They’re for layering, for wearing outright, and can be worn with anything to dress up or down.
The second was printed tees. You know, words about reading, or books, about kindness. These are the tees I can wear to school on casual days.
The third was printed tess that aren’t school appropriate. You know, that Drink Naked tee from Naked Mountain Winery. The three concert tees I own. All my Nats gear (can wear to school, but only on spirit days).

So, after a super quick purge (maybe 8 tees?) I got started. I was saving so much damn space I even got shirts off hangers in the closet and folded them.


This one is all the plain tees and my Nats gear.


This one is all the printed tees.

At this point, my concern is wrinkles. If they’re a hot mess, I’ll rethink this file folding situation. If not, BOOM baby! I’ve got three drawers and some hanging tees all in two drawers.
I’m considering doing my sleeping tees and jammie pants next…we’ll see.

In other news, we’re looking at less than a month until Thing 1 and her family move to this house! I’m ready for unrestricted access to that baby girl! Of course, she’s going to exhaust me and I’ll be like, Birdie’s over it, go tell your Mama. But to be able to love her whenever either of us wants. And to watch her do all the weirdo baby things as she does them? Priceless!
I’m excited to meal plan and do food things with Thing 1. I’m super eager for her to bake for me. That girl is the queen of baking!
We talked today about her anxiety about me and her dogs. I’m honestly super chill about the concept of three dogs in this house. I mean, that may change, but instead of me having a huge temper fit when I’m at the end of my rope, we’ll discuss and problem solve anything as needed. She seemed more relaxed after we talked. Yay!

Had delicious (appropriately social distanced) lunch on the porch with Nora Wednesday. She brought Greek food. Because she rocks! Y’all I do love me some porch life!
Yesterday, I went grocery shopping and finally went to get a pedicure. I know. I know. It was frivolous, but I DGAF! I needed to do that for me. Now I have feet as soft as a baby’s bottom and adorably peachy-pink nails. My feet and I are content! (mind ya business again)
Today I’m painting a crib for Baby K to put her dollies in.
It was mine when I was a little girl, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 used it when they were little. Now it’ll belong to Baby K. I’m nearly finished with all the painting at this point. I’ll share the process in it’s own post.

I also need to go to the liquor store. That seems almost more frivolous than getting a pedi. But I took vodka with me to Thing 1’s and accidentally left it there…twice! So while we have wine and bubbly, summertime beer, and bourbon, also a bit of tequila, we have no vodka.
I’d like to make vodka lemonade with some of my porch grown basil.
We do have gin and fresh limes, so I could make gimlets. Oh! I’ve got that mint growing on the porch, I could make a south side…hmmm…maybe I’ll go to the liquor store next week?
What’s funny is I’m not even hankering a cocktail. I just want to be able to do what I want when I decide I want one.

This is YBW’s last week working from home.
His company finally moved into the office that’s right near the house we want to buy. The office space is bigger so the entire team can be in the same physical space while being appropriately distanced.
I can hear him watching Trevor Noah right now, so I don’t guess he’s working all that hard at the moment. I’m not calling him out or anything, I’m just sort of acknowledging that there’s not really much he can do at home. It also means I can go in there and see if he wants to hang out with me with probable success!
And that’s what’s up around here.
Hope all y’all are content in your week.

Categories: around the house | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

IWotB 2020 edition ~ day five

I had a nice quiet morning organizing books. Of course then I had a stack of books I’ve read, but don’t actually want to keep.
For the most part, I share books with my friend Josie. I can trust her to take good care of the ones I want back, and know anything she passes along will go to a good reader.
In true ‘if you give a mouse a cookie’ fashion, this book organization lead to me texting Josie. Which lead to YBW and I going out to Mike and Josie’s to drop off books. But since we were there, we had (an appropriately socially distanced) visit on their porch and carry out from this precious local restaurant called Field & Main.

When we got home there were packages in the mailbox for me!

Colors from the Essie summer collection Bustling Bazaar, and Christopher Moore’s new book! The second sequel to one of my all time favorites, Fool.
AND(!!!) Check this out!

International Week of the Birthday continues to rock!

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

tenacity in her DNA

Been thinking about Thing 2.
Concerned she’s not really getting her life together. She’s employed, sometimes happily, sometimes miserably. (But, aren’t we all?) I’ve been concerned about her emotional well being. And the well being of Boyfriend J. I worry for them. I know what it’s like to feel trapped. To feel defeated and how easy it is to let that consume you.

And then the other day, she shared that her dear friend Jimmy is going through so much with his mom and her health, and then suddenly she suffered a stroke and is in a vegetative state with no real hope of improvement.
Thing 2 expressed how hard it is to feel helpless when all she wants to do in the world is help her friend and his sweet mom through this moment in their lives.

I began to consider everything my baby daughter has been through in the last year or so.
I’ve seen her hold the hand of her dearest friend after the sudden and surprising suicide of his father.
I’ve seen her rush to the home of her sister and brother in law because the latter specifically requested her presence after the loss of their baby.
I’ve seen her be there for Jimmy even though she’s not sure how to be other than to “throw hugs and beer at him”.

This young woman has demonstrated a level of strength and support that most seasoned adults don’t always successfully handle. She is handling her own complicated emotional feelings, as well as for the people she loves. She’s been tremendously responsible for the people she loves.
So I feel like I need to stop and breathe a little bit. I need to realize she’s doing things with her time and life that are important, even if they’re not actively furthering her “getting it together”.
The thought she’s using these things as avoidance for dealing with getting her life together crossed my mind, and it’s a very Thing 2 sort of way to function, but after talking with her today I feel like she’s working hard to get herself together as well as supporting and loving her people.

She’s learning how to ‘adult’ and I think she’s kind of digging it!

I told her not giving up is hard af but it’s more worth it than she even understood. And this superhero feeling is why!

Of course there will be days when she’s not feeling especially superheroish, but now that she has, she’ll remember it and be more inclined to keep going when the going gets tough. Not quitting when life gets hard is part of growing up. Feeling accomplished and empowered when you persevere is the reward. She’ll remember that now that she’s experienced it.
She doesn’t remember fighting for her life as a new baby. She doesn’t remember how hard she worked to stay healthy. My girl is a fighter! She’s got a strength and tenacity down deep in her. She’s seeing evidence of that now. This time, she’ll remember.
Everyone needs their ‘I did it!’ moments.

I told her I knew she had it in her, that she knew she had it in her and just needed to be reminded.
She wrote: “Really I didn’t want to “brag” to you about how everything is working out (albeit in its own silly Thing 2 way) and make you feel, well, I don’t know what I was afraid of, but it’s nice to hear that you’re rooting for me (and us)” (Us being her and Boyfriend J)
“And I know you always are and will be, but I feel like recognizing it.
You gave me my tenacity.
And I am eternally grateful (heart emoji)

I told her that her tenacity is in her very DNA and I’m just here to remind her.

She replied: “I love you. Thank you for being the best momma, and for being an incredible human aside from your fierce momma-ness”

I shared with her that YBW and I had been talking about how she’s doing, and I shared with him about where and how she is and what she’s doing for her friends. That he’s been loving and supportive in our conversations about her. That even though they’re relationship is a bit tricky, he’s on her side.

She replied:

(This is one of my new favorite Robynbird/YBW analogies. I’m totally the cereal and he’s absolutely the fruit and nut mix.)

That’s the second time this week one of those girls told me they appreciated me.
Thing 1 did it on Thursday in a text message that read: “You’re a great mom. So you know”
And that creates nice warm fuzzy feelings in me.
My own ‘I did it!’ moment!

I built the foundation.
They’re in charge of construction now.
I’m going to worry…I don’t know how to not…but I see what’s being built, and I’m feeling comfortable and confident for them.

Categories: on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Little D’s Christmas

Little D is coming today and spending the night!
It’s actually his Christmas gift.
You see, Little D more enjoys spending time with the people he loves than he does toys and stuff. Partly this is because he’s an only child, and partly because he lost his mother so young. But mostly it’s because he’s a social kid that likes to be around the people he loves.

One of the people he loves most is Thing 2. Born on the same day fourteen years apart, they are our birthday twins. A fact each of them absolutely adores. Thing 2 and Little D are also “daughter and father” this comes from a time when he was just three, Little D took Thing 2 by the hand and lead her all around our old preschool telling everyone, “Dis my daughter Thing 2.”
Apart from the Nutcracker, and probably the Cathedral visit, what she was most looking forward to was spending time with Little D and his folks.
They built trains and played hide and seek and then settled down to color.

(I was standing on the sofa to shoot this pic and sadly lost my balance so it’s out of focus, but that’s OK I still love it.)

During that visit, Little D found his gift under the tree in our front room.
It was an invitation for a very special sleepover with YBW and me. In which a detailed plan was laid out for us to play, watch a movie, (with popcorn of course) then for breakfast we’ll make his favorite, french toast and bacon.
The first thing he said was, “When!?!”
His mom and I quickly got out our calendars and picked today!

Of course he’ll have another gift.

Batman jammies, a truly amazing book, and a movie I know he loves.
Y’all I don’t even like Batman, but I freaking love those jammies!

My local bookshop didn’t have the book in stock and it took forever to ship, so I must stop writing and get on the wrapping of his pressie! Then YBW and I will head out to meet their family for lunch and bring that kid home to play and be goofy!
I’m so excited!

Categories: love | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

love and sadness deep in my bones

When there occurs a misunderstanding big enough to end a friendship, your initial reaction could quite possibly be to blame the other party. As far as I can tell, this is perfectly normal human behavior. You’re hurt. You’re sad. You’re confused. But then you’re angry.
For me, anger jumps in to protect sadness. I suspect that’s a fairly common phenomenon.
Blaming begins because anger is irrational. Anger is trying to make sadness feel better, so it lashes out. Well, let me assure you, that lashing out benefits no one.
Anger can turn a situation that’s tricky, but possibly repairable, into a situation that there is no coming back from.

In my experience, no matter how close a friendship, there is a line of truth you simply cannot cross. And that’s when you know that particular truth will create a shift in the other person.
Of course, we all long to believe if our friendships are close enough…that if you’re so close you’re “friends as family” there is nothing that cannot pass between you.
I’m here to tell you, watch what you say. Because you can wound deeply without knowledge. You can wound deeply without intent.

I recently experienced this scenario. And truthfully, it’s just a big bag of suck.
In a half-assed attempt to explain one of my long and delicate thought processes, I wounded a friend.
Without intent, my words were hurtful.
I believe I wounded his pride.
Pride is a double edged sword, too much or not enough can sometimes kill you…or others…

Each of us became frustrated. Then reactive.
There was no being mindful in this conversation.
I know the words “behaving like a petulant child” were involved…
When the conversation ended abruptly, we retreated to our corners to lick our wounds.
I honestly don’t remember who reached out first to begin the rebuild.
But after that, in true Robynbird fashion, I wrote a long and emotional email in which I completely over-explained my point of view.
To say it went over like a lead Zeppelin is…well…the truth. I have a tendency to overthink and overtalk my thoughts and feelings…normally my friend can sort through my words to extract the important information. But not this time.
Apparently, I triggered a hot button in him and anger came back via email. Blaming and (possibly deliberately) hurtful words on the screen caused two simultaneous reactions in me.
My hackles went up and I felt compelled to argue point for point. (and) I knew in my gut it was time to break the cycle.

This may seem terribly dramatic, to talk about a friendship this way. But here’s the thing, it was a terribly dramatic friendship. When I say “terribly dramatic”, I mean it this way.
We became friends with a quickness out of the clear blue. Differences in gender, culture, generation, time, and distance held no meaning. We were as close as siblings. (Not the ones you grow up with, but the ones you get to choose in your adult life.) We talked each other through some seriously tricky situations, and loved without question. If you’re fortunate enough to have this kind of loving friendship with a person of the opposite gender, you’re blessed beyond belief. That other point of view is invaluable.

I sat with my dueling reactions for a while before I moved forward.
When I chose to act, I was mindful. I used “I statements”. I expressed my love and gratitude for everything our friendship gave me. I wished him well.
I send only love and light to him. I’m hopeful he’s doing the same for me.

Can our friendship be healed from the hurt caused by this misunderstanding and our ridiculous reactions?
I honestly don’t know.
I do know this:
I have sadness deep in my bones.
But I also have love.

Categories: loss, me | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

it’s time to create new traditions

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you know I don’t like Thanksgiving.
I’m not really going to get into the whys and wherefores of why Thanksgiving and I don’t quite fit. Just know this, I love the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and that’s about it.

As you may recall, my dear friend and mentor lost her beloved in the spring. Thanksgiving is the first holiday she will face without him. Now, you need to understand she can do it. She can do Thanksgiving alone. She can do anything, and she will do it with a grace that I can only dream of achieving. But she shouldn’t have to.
Her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson are celebrating Thanksgiving with other family. I couldn’t bear the thought of her facing this first holiday alone, so I had an uncomfortable conversation with YBW and came to the conclusion that I would go to her for Thanksgiving. We’ve planned a very Charleston Thanksgiving and I’m actually rather excited about it.
I’ll even get to see my Charleston family while I’m there!

I know it’s hurtful to YBW. I think he takes it personally. I don’t know that I can really do anything about that, but I assured him that it’s not personal. I’ve been close with Jessica for twenty years. Even though she is no real kin of mine, she is my family.

YBW took his mother to the grocery store last week and when they talked Thanksgiving plans, she said to him that she couldn’t understand why I wouldn’t want to be with my family for Thanksgiving.
I’m ashamed to admit I responded like this, but I looked at him and I said, “Because it’s not my family.”
I didn’t mean it the way it may have seemed, only I kind of did mean it too. I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to say, but it was sort of how I felt.

Consider this: I am an orphan who is never around her own children. The only thing I have of my family of origin and the family I created is traditions. But they get lost because one girl isn’t an entire family.
I love the people in his family. And for the most part, they seem to love me. But they’re not terribly adept at seeing past the end of their noses.
I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to grasp the concept of friends as family, especially when I have no family of my own.
I suspect it’s because none of them have ever been in my shoes. They’ve got one living parent, they’re with their children regularly.
My family is my friends. My friends have always been my family, but now that I really have no family of my own, my friends are even more so my family.
That’s just how I am. I know that’s a different concept for YBW’s family.

A few days later, I was alone in the car and had a thought.
It’s not that they’re not my family. It’s that those are not my traditions.
My God, that was the most freeing thought I’d had in ages! And it finally began to make sense to me! And if I could express myself in a way that he could understand, it just might create a truly positive shift in our life.

I came back to YBW and said that what I said surely felt hurtful, and for that I was truly sorry. I didn’t intend hurt him. I told him that I’d been thinking about it and shared what I thought about family and traditions. His family has traditions they’ve been sharing for nearly fifty years. And while they’re extremely important to them, they’re not as important to me.

I told him that it was time for us to create new traditions.
He agreed. He asked good questions. We talked about traditions briefly.
But then nothing more was said about it…

Now is not the time. I’m leaving Tuesday afternoon for Charleston. He’ll be here getting ready to host his family.
When I get home, I’ll be ready to start getting the house ready for Christmas. Perhaps that will be a new way of creating new traditions…with the exception of the “big” tree that goes in the front room. He won’t want to do that without the boys and that makes sense to me. That tree will wait until they come back from their mother’s. But I’m not waiting to make with the Christmas merry. I’ll start the moment I get back into town.

If only there was some way to move straight from Halloween to Christmas and blow right past this obligatory giving of thanks…it just fits me ill.

It’s not that I’m not thankful. It’s that I’m thankful every day.
I’m thankful for the traditions I was given as a child and the ones I created as an adult.
I’m thankful that I have a strong bond with my friends as family people.
I’m thankful I am able to be with someone I love so dearly when she’d otherwise be alone.
I’m thankful that I am strong and have great love in me.
I’m thankful that I am loved greatly.

Categories: love, me | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

specific example of love and strength

I’ve known Catherine since I was eighteen years old. We developed a deep and everlasting friendship. She was a bridesmaid in my first wedding. She has woken up at my home on Christmas morning almost as many times as Thing 1 and Thing 2. She would have been the one to raise my children had something happened to me and their father.
We know each other’s families, have been there for each other through thick and thin. Laughed and cried together, and loved like crazy.
We sometimes go months without speaking, but that never matters. We simply pick right back up where we left off as though a moment hasn’t passed. So when I got a message from her Thursday that said, “Bob passed away this morning, will you please come to the service with me?” My only answer was, “Of course I will!”

Catherine was married to Bob for twenty years. They’d been married a year or two when I met her. They were a curious couple, but that old adage about opposites attracting seemed truly embodied in these two. The girls said their names almost as one long name: “CafferineandBob”. To this day, if I say something to one or the other of them about Catherine, they’ll say, “Cafferine Catherine?” To which I smile and reply, “Yes, Cafferine Catherine.”
As I say, they were happily married, and they suited each other. And they were an important part of our life.
But one day twelve or thirteen years ago, Bob disappeared. I mean that literally. He just left. No explanation. No information. He literally disappeared off the face of the earth. Left Catherine holding the bag of their life. She suffered from the unanswered questions. She suffered with the pain of loss. She suffered doubt and confusion. She suffered from the barrage of questions coming at her that she simply couldn’t answer. Then she suffered financially as folks came out of the woodwork to collect on random Bob debts. She was blessed to have good people around her. She suffered, but she had love and support to keep her safe and sane.
What that man did to her was inexcusable. I could never accept his behavior. I never forgave him for what he did to her. He had no idea what she went through. That woman is made of the toughest stuff. She moved forward in grace and gained strength from that pain, but never got hard. She has a deep and all-encompassing love inside her.

Then, a couple of years ago Bob showed back up. He’d been on a soul searching journey. He’d suffered great pain and loss and didn’t know how to deal so he simply disappeared.
He showed back up on the arm of the widow of his recently deceased cousin announcing they were to be married and wanting his things.
Catherine provided his belongings and promptly told them to…well, I’ll just say she bid them adieu.

She had real love.
She had real pain.

Bob was sick with cancer and died quietly at home Thursday morning.
Catherine not only went to his funeral, she spoke eloquently about love and life and peace. I have always been proud to call her my friend. But in that moment, standing in the tiny cemetery in the warm sun and cool breeze, I was witness to another specific example of the love and strength inside Catherine.
She is and extraordinary woman. How fortunate for me that we love each other.

Categories: death, loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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