Under Construction


Hello All,

It’s been a while, but growing a baby human can be quite exhausting at times. On an exciting front there’s only about 5 weeks left until Baby T makes his way earthside. I know that once he is born things will be even more wonderfully hectic. Between preparing for the baby and house hunting for our new forever home I haven’t been online very much.

Hopefully, there is some more exciting news in the works on the house front, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself yet. Stay tuned!

As many of you know I am in the process of writing my memoir of the adventures Richie and I have shared focusing on a lot of our time in Japan. I’m considering switching gears slightly and focusing a bit more on how anxiety has affected our journey.

I am also in the process of constructing my own website and online portfolio. A friend reached out to me requesting some editing help recently. I realized I don’t have any kind of portfolio or list of services for my freelance work. (I can do anything from ghost writing assistance to editing to constructing professional resumes if anyone is looking for some help).

I’m hoping this blog will be a main focus once I finish my new website so don’t go anywhere! I appreciate all the love and encouragement everyone always gives here and thanks for sticking with me.

Aly

 

 

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The Dream Job


I never imagined I would be a stay at home mother. I never imagined that I would find so much joy in being with one little tiny person day in and day out. I guess that’s motherhood. My mother used to say, “You’ll never understand until you have kids of your own.” (You know your mom said it too). I would just laugh and brush her off. I knew everything. I knew that she just didn’t understand ME or MY FEELINGS.  Wrong again. My mother was right. (Hear that, Mom?). I never understood how much love I could feel for my own child. So I’m glad that I have been given the opportunity to stay home with her. I haven’t worked outside of my home in almost two years. And I’m eternally grateful for that.

But, as I mentioned in my previous post I have been job hunting and looking at opportunities for writing and editing. I LOVE writing. I really do. It’s been my creative outlet for twenty years. I also love being home with my baby girl. She’s still my baby and I want to be here for her during the day. We are still proudly breastfeeding at 19 months old and I know it would be hard on both of us for me to be gone all day. (Oh yes, Happy World Breastfeeding Week!). I’ve been submitting article after article for publication as well as applying to writing and editing positions. I have even had one decent interview, but no luck so far. I have also been working on my memoir. I’d love to be able to work from home to still have time with Sophie.

It’s not truly about money. Though, being paid to write would be ideal. It’s more about keeping up with the other parts of me. I’m not just a mother (though I am devoted to that part of me) and I’m not just a wife (also one of my favorite parts of life). I am many things among them a devoted mother, wife, daughter, and friend. I’m also a writer and (if my husband is to be believed) I’m pretty good at it. I’d like to keep writing, share my words, express myself in that way, and grow in my craft.

Yes, I’d love to get paid for it too.

I know there really is no “dream job”, but there is something out there for me, I hope. Something that I can do to share my writing and editing skills. To take the passion in my heart and the knowledge from 7 plus years of schooling and do something amazing with it. Know what I mean?

The Real World


Hey everyone,

Look at me two posts in a week! I’ve been looking online at different jobs. I’m hoping to get into something flexible/part-time so that I don’t have to put Sophia into daycare. I love our days together, I’m already sad thinking about her going to school.

I find job hunting really scary. Reading requirements for jobs and thinking about starting at a new job is overwhelming. Even though I spent two years writing for a magazine and doing advertisements it still seems like a lifetime ago. The past year and a half with Sophia has been amazing, but it is so different from working at a nine to five job. It’s challenging and frustrating and wonderful all at the same time. I’m just not sure how to put myself back into “the real world.” I’m guessing I’ll need to start out slowly.

I’m also currently in the middle of my memoir. I love writing about our life and journey to Japan. I can’t wait to have a finished draft. It’s a life long dream of mine to write a full length book.  That’s also my goal for 2015 is to finish the first draft.

I promised that I would share part of my book so I am including the opening chapter here. If you would like to share this chapter or any chapters please ask permission first.

©.2011-2015. Embracing Life. lifepassionlove.wordpress.com. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All work on this blog is original writing by me and not to be reproduced, copied or distributed.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

           “Get in the water. Get IN. Come on.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just watch. Hmm, I’m not sure.”

“Just get in here. It’s easy. Everyone else has tried it.”

I laughed at the exchange between my brother, Michael’s girlfriend, Renee and my great-aunt, Angie. Renee stood in the waist deep water holding the 10 foot paddle board while she cajoled and pleaded with my aunt to get in and try the board. After three years of living overseas in Okinawa, Japan it was refreshing and comforting to be back with the comforts of my childhood; the creek, The Shore House, my family. Everything felt so perfect, it made me wonder why I had never appreciated it before. I had been so eager to grow up and leave my home town behind that I never realized how blessed I really was. I knew everyone or so it seemed. I guess that’s what happens when you live on a peninsula. One road in or out. Unless you went by boat you had to meet up with the same people; the same gas station attendants, the same grocery clerks, the same preachers.  The town I grew up in, Pasadena, (Maryland not California) had a population of about 25,000. It may seem like a large number of people to be acquainted with, but I really felt like knew everyone in town. There were only two high schools in town and plenty of people to be friends with. Even though I attended a private high school in another town I still knew so many people from my neighborhood and through other friends. I had my immediate and extended family all around me and we never wanted for company because we always had each other.

“Why don’t you let Aly try? She’s never been on there.”

“I’m getting in the kayak now. Go on in,” I said.

“Mmm, I don’t know,” she hemmed and hawed at the idea, “I don’t think I could stay on there.”

I slowly paddled the kayak up the creek and against the current putting the house behind me. The sun beat down on me and reflected off the water making the day seem that much hotter. It wasn’t unlike the humid temperatures we had grown used to in Okinawa. The scenery was quite different though. Living on a subtropical island just wasn’t the same as growing up on the Bay. From the time I was born, I had been fortunate enough to be able to experience summers on the water. My great-great grandparents bought a summer house in 1908 on the Bodkin just off the Chesapeake Bay in Pasadena, Maryland. They spent their winters in a house up the beltway on the northern outskirts of Baltimore City, but every weekend in the summer they were at The Shore house. The property is now co-owned by my great grandmother and her remaining living brothers. The house sits on a corner lot that in today’s market would cost several million dollars to purchase. If we had the money, my grandparents would buy out everyone else’s share. Just so we could keep the house in our family and never have to worry about someone wanting to sell it. It has charm and it is definitely old, but I loved going there when I was a child. It never occurred to me that other people didn’t have the luxury of a waterfront view and a readymade vacation home. We spent our days riding jet skis into the mouth of the Bodkin and taking boat rides out on the Bay.

When my grandfather would drive the boat, he would give us a history lesson; pointing out all of the landmarks and historical points on the water.

“There’s Bethlehem,” he would say waving his hand in the direction of the smoke stacks. It used to be so much busier and more alive. Bethlehem Sparrows Point Shipyard was known to local residents as Bethlehem Steel for the steel plant that you could see the smoke stacks from the Bay. I always thought it looked intimidating and never wanted to go near there. These days the steel plant sits empty and cold because it couldn’t survive the tough economic times. I hear they are demolishing the place piece by piece. Just past that you can see the Key Bridge named after Francis Scott Key, the man who penned the Star Spangled Banner. The raising of the American flag at Fort McHenry in Baltimore was said to have inspired the beloved anthem. That little piece of trivia is one that Marylanders are proud of.

As I grew older and became busier I spent less time at the Shore and on the water even though it was only a few miles from my mother’s house. When I left for Okinawa I never thought about how much I would miss this place and the people that came along with it. I figured a subtropical island country would satisfy my need to be on the water and my desire to see something besides my town. It wasn’t the same. The sounds and smells were different. Instead of flowing creeks, chirping crickets, and muggy summer nights you had crashing waves and overly salty air. It was pretty, but it was never home. There were so many days and nights that I fought homesickness and the urge to just jump on a plane and go back. Back to my family, back to my hometown. Even in my darkest days of anxiety when I thought I would lose my mind, I stayed in Japan to be close to my husband because I knew that I would miss him just as much if I left. But still always there was a part of me that longed to be where I grew up.

“Ang, just get on the board. I’ll hold it up here and Michael can hold the other end,” Renee told her, “Pull up onto the board on your belly. Then, get up on your knees.”

“I’m tryin’, I’m trying. Ahgh.”

Splash.

The sound of laughter echoed across the creek as Angie tumbled into the water. I craned my neck to see her, but the kayak had floated down the creek and I had lost sight of the house. As I paddled farther ahead, I looked into the tree line where the trail leading to Downs Park. The park is located on the Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County. It is situated at the end of a peninsula just before a gated community called Gibson Island. The park is named for former County Councilman, John (Jack) H. Downs. The park was named in his honor for his years of service in Anne Arundel County. We never cared about the park’s name or history. It was just a fun place to hang out when we were kids. To run and scream and chase one another throughout the trails and picnic spots.

The park has so many winding trails throughout the woods and along the water line. It’s great for riding bikes or running through the woods. There are children’s playgrounds and an outdoor performance theater where Sunday concerts are held during the summer months. Local residents and tourists can learn more about the indigenous wildlife by visiting the information center located at the park. When my cousins and I were kids we sat through two Saturdays of classes to receive our personal boating license right at the park. These days children can attend summer camps and families can picnic and cook out at one of the many pavilions with charcoal grills. It is the perfect place for families to go and it was the perfect place to be a kid. I had craved this familiarity when I was gone. Even though I didn’t know I would miss it at all.

“There ya go, there ya go. Just stand up from your knees,” Michael’s voice echoed down the creek.

“I don’t have my balance. I think I’m going to fall,” Angie replied.

Splash.

The town where I grew up and the areas surrounding it are rich with history and culture. It wasn’t just a place for me to learn about it. It was the place where I grew up. It was the town I learned to be an adult in. I learned so much about myself and I grew into a woman. I was so eager to get out that I never stopped to think about all that I was leaving behind. I can hear my brother pulling the paddleboard out of the water. My aunt must have given up for the day. Maybe she’ll try again tomorrow. I reflect once more on how glad I am to finally be back where I belong.

Three years had passed in the blink of an eye. There were amazing memories, there were okay times, and there were some downright frightening moments that were all behind me now. Being back here made Japan feel like nothing, but a distant memory or a dream, even. I turn the kayak around and let the current take me home.

xo Aly

A Writer Writes


It’s been about 9 months since I have updated this particular blog. For that I am sorry. I have been sort of busy trying out this new thing called mothering. I really think I am getting the hang of it. But there is one thing I truly miss and that is keeping up with my writing. Don’t get me wrong, I write all the time for school or in emails or texts, but I don’t usually take the time I need to write, to practice my craft, and to share my stories.

Today I turned in my final project for my 10th Masters class. That is 10 out of 12 meaning that I only have two classes left until graduation and both of those are workshops. I almost can’t believe it. It doesn’t seem like it is really that close. Originally, I was supposed to graduate by December 2014, but I took off some time when my Nana came to visit me in Japan and last summer when we moved back home. I didn’t want to waste my classes by not paying attention. I think that this program turned out really well for me. I learned alot about research, literature, writing papers, and then I learned a lot about writing, critiquing, and sharing. To believe that I am finally in my “thesis” classes seems to good to be true (I say “thesis” because it is not like a doctoral thesis in any way. It is more about the writing).

As I was looking over the course descriptions for my next class I read the introduction from the professor and this is what struck me, “A writer writes…” She was saying that graduation, publication, or accolades do not make the writer. The only thing that makes a writer is if he writes. Most days I’m just Momma, but today I want to be a writer. I want to be a writer on more days because I love it and I miss it.

I am excited for the opportunity that this class is providing because it will give me that push to write every day. I will be working on my memoir, To The Ends of the Earth. (This is a very old, very rough draft so please bear with me if you choose to read it). I already have close to 30 pages of content that I can expand on and really work with. I hope one day to publish and share my stories with the world.

So for now, I’m back in the blogging world and I hope that I don’t let myself leave for so long. I have so many stories to tell. (My little girl is almost one years old!). I think I’ll leave those for another day.

Aly

Motivation


I have all of these wonderful ideas for chapters in my memoir, To The Ends of the Earth, but I always seem to make up excuses to delay writing in it. The most prevalent one is that I don’t have Word on my laptop. The second lame reason is that the draft is on my old laptop and that would require me to go plug it in, turn it on and use that or move the draft to my husband’s computer. Each of these things would take me approximately five minutes to do, but I lack motivation. It’s extremely easy to procrastinate for some people (I am one of those people). This has got me thinking….what does everyone else do for motivation? How do you encourage yourself to do something you know will be helpful, good for you and even enjoyable when you lack the energy?

I’ve thought about it and I think, for me, the key is to set a goal. If you have no end goal in sight than how can you expect to push yourself? I really want to write my memoir. In a few semesters, I want to develop this memoir in my thesis classes. This means I have to start somewhere.  I never imagined actually “writing.” This may not make sense to some, but I’m sure my colleagues and classmates understand this to a degree. I am forever writing down little plot lines or phrases or even short stories, but nothing that I considered viable. At work, I would write articles that had a specific topic, a beginning and an end and a deadline.

This memoir is my own personal story, its not only something I am creating, but something that I am living right now. 

So what does everyone else do when they are struggling for motivation? Let me know.  

Writing is Joy


I love to write. Whether it’s poetry or memoir or even casual blogs…I love it. I always have. I think it’s the one thing that I can see myself doing as a career and the one thing I can say I truly don’t feel is a chore. Now, writing for school can seem like  a chore and writing things that I find boring can seem like a chore, but deep down I love it. I am really proud of myself for the progress I have made in school (my creative writing program for my Master’s degree) and the progress I have made on my own personal blog. I seem to start my blog and write in it 2 or 3 times and then forget about it for months. In the beginning of 2012, I would write for a few weeks and then stop. In August 2012, I wrote several blogs and I did again t in November 2012 then again in January/February of this year. It’s like I would take several months off from my blog and I don’t want to do that anymore. I love writing and I love sharing my views even if no one reads them. My progress has been great this time. Since the end of June I have written a blog almost every single week, sometimes more!

The sad thing is I forgot how much relaxation and serenity writing brings me. As I suffer from anxiety, pregnancy hormones, raging emotions I know that I can easily turn these stressors into writing and it brings me joy. I guess sometimes we forget. I don’t want to forget anymore. I have 94 days left in my pregnancy and then a whole new amazing, awe inspiring, life changing chapter of our lives will begin. I need to embrace it and write about it. I want to say thank you (again) to all my readers and family and friends who stick by me, pray for me, send good, happy vibes my way. You all are the best. You help remind me who I am when the world around me seems dim. <3.  

Look out for more writing, more chapters to my memoir, To the Ends of the Earth and more updates about baby bug. I may just share another short post later today <3. (I know, I know three blog posts in one day! It’s a miracle.)