Dear Sisters,

I can call you that, right? We who walk this world together, between our hormones, lost babies, lost loves, arms full, arms by our sides, hands slipped into one another’s?

Are you looking left and right and seeing what I’m seeing?

A postmodern home, beautifully spartan and utterly minimalistic with lavender crown wreaths at the back door alongside a leather tote that looks ne’er tarnished? Tarnished. All my stuff is tarnished. I’m constantly reminded of the meme you see floating that ends “. . . and this is why we can’t have nice things.”

A slender figure with lipstick and that one hat everyone wears on a whirlwind adventure, drinking cafe au something by herself but still has a love interest. I’m gaping at the by-her-self part of that.

A woman who has an entire collection of scripture studies wherein she actually did all the pages, all of them. Her prayer life is embarrassing for the rest of us because clearly we spend more time on Netflix than Jesus.

The friend who eschews social media and effortlessly harvests the wild mushrooms in her back 40, crafting and creating alongside her handsome bearded flannelled husband and well-mannered, self-motivated, unschooled children. I need social media for the bonds forged deep into the Facebook messaging evening.

These sound like hyperbole. Maybe parts of them are. But maybe it’s true. Maybe you look around and you simply don’t have what your sisters are having and you want a big serving of it. Maybe it’s not just Oh, no, your life is great, honey and more like yeah, you aren’t there or there and your “here” kinda sucks.

You know how this letter will end. I’m gonna wrap it up with something inspirational and reaching beyond ourselves and our feelings and tie it all up in a sweet bow so that you, too, feel affirmed.

But before I get to that part, I’d like to just acknowledge that we don’t have it all. None of us has it all. I thought this as I sat, ALONE, at my oldest’s violin lesson today. I pulled out my Blessed is She planner and took notes from his teacher’s instructions to him. No, I didn’t have my own pen but I did scrounge up a pencil from the recesses of the studio corner desk. It occurred to me: I’m not nursing someone this very second and I can leave the baby for an hour and I’m not pregnant and I’m actually taking notes at a lesson. From the outside, I looked pretty put together, like I had it all. Aside from my unkempt hair.

But that’s just not true.

My healing is slow from our daughter’s shoulder dystocia. I can’t drive far or long. I can’t sit without too much padding. I also can’t bounce around or walk too much, especially while carrying our 21 pound 7 monther. I lay in bed and feel my pelvic floor tell me I did too much today. I shift to my other side only to feel my SI joints talk the same talk and then fumble around for that special-between-the-knees pillow. I remember that I only did part of my physical therapy exercise regiment because life interrupted me. I mourn that I had to cancel my trip to Austin for the Edel Gathering even though all the parts were in place! because travel simply isn’t possible at this stage of my recovery.

I look around me at my sisters and brim up with so many unsaid longings, so many unspoken comparisons that will only end in me feeling resigned to my life instead of appreciative of it.

I don’t want to feel resigned, sisters.

I do want to feel my heart pulse out joy in its lub-dub. I do want to be happy for you, the woman in great shape, and you, the woman with a lovely home, and you, the woman who can homeschool her brood of little sweeties.

Here comes the big bow to wrap this all up, sisters. I get to choose. I get to choose to be appreciative that despite my failings and struggles, my life is one ignited by the deep flame of God’s love for me. No matter what, that will never leave me. I choose joy and I choose gritty real life. They’re not incompatible. They’re my best choices that lead me to be a bigger vessel for love for those around me.

How’s your story going, sister?

Love,

Nell

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I wanted to share with you all my faves I’ve purchased over the last year. With four kids and a postpartum healing that just won’t let up, going the actual store during the day is a nightmare. Amazon has been my saving grace on that front. Going with the best two behaved kids to Target still resulted in crying//spittingup//frantic nursing//dragging toddler body on the ground, so online #foreverandever

Linen Romper: I’m wearing this right now. I kinda live in it. Yes, I look like a polygamous sect wife gone wild, but hey, it’s awesome.

Stretchable shorts: It’s called having four kids. Yes, I’m not embarrassed that my shorts are stretchable. Okay, maybe. But I LOVE these. I ordered a tad larger to be forgiving and they fit like a glove. So either my estimation of my own size is off (likely) or they run close to the bum.

Epsom Salts: I soak in this salt almost every day. It’s really good for our aching bones, people.

Naty: These diapers are the very very best. They never leak and they’re 100% compostable and the pull-ups work like a charm for potty trainers and little fat babies alike!

Electric Kids Toothbrush: it plays a mash up of American kid songs and one we don’t recognize. BUT THEY BRUSH THEIR TEETH WITH THEM SO PRAISE!

Lunchbox for the fall: After a whole school year of putting my son’s lunch in this velcro contraption that was half fabric, half wipeable, I had it. This one looks promising and it’s in my kitchen waiting to be used this fall!

Washi tape: call me a convert. Can’t live without this.

Mobile: I forgot about that sweet age when a baby will awaken from a nap in her crib and want to eat her toes and stare at the (boring, blank, white) ceiling. This one is so beautiful and handmade!

Truffles: I bought them for a friend. I ate all of them. Not going to lie.

A few of my favorite things. Thanks for clicking on through and shopping your lil hearts out. I get a small sliver kickback!

Here’s me and one of my best friends, my sister, Molly, and our youngest. She’s the woman behind Brooklyn Herborium hat I’m always talking about.

I wrote a little while back about making friends as an adult and it really resonate with a lot of you! Nothing I love more than touching on subjects that are meaningful to my friends here, so thank you for all your feedback!

I also talked with my good friend Nancy. She’s actually more like a dear friend. For years now she’s been an anchor in my real-life-meets-online group of ladies. If you haven’t entered into part of her movement to help women go deeper and get better at being their best selves, get a hustle on over to her site. If you haven’t listened to her podcast, I URGE you to go go go and listen now.

I’m a guest this last episode and we got to talk F R I E N D S H I P. One of my favorite topics.

Rounding that out, if you want to join the Community Leaders group for Blessed is She and see what we’re offering to start a community group, that link is here. If you want a sneak peak as to what I’ve been working hard on the past few months, that link is here!!!

Back to family vacation week here in Saint Paul. Check you later, alligator!

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