Letters from my Mom

www.angiewarren.com

She had been engaged less than twenty-four hours when I put the finishing touches on it. On her gift.

You see, I knew it was coming, the ring, and so I had been working feverishly for a week to piece together something special.

My baby sister will be getting married and our mother has died and I find myself taking on the role that was left void, that crisp morning in October, nearly three years ago.

I decided to enlist the contributions of all the women most important to our mom: our family and close friends, females who loved her and love us and would love on my sister as she stepped into a brand new phase of life.

Quickly I received confirmation from each person I had contacted. Yes, they would be sending letters, yes, yes, yes. I awaited their well wishes, and advice, and words of wisdom, as if it were my thesis.

As evening tucked way into night, I got a text:

"Ang, I'll have my note over to you this evening. And, also, I'll be sending your mom's."

My, what?

My. Mom's.

My mom's note?

My mom's note.

MY MOM'S NOTE.

Sure enough, it came through. Not in her pen however, because this was a unique situation. My mom, in her final six months of life, was too scared of what it meant to write to her kids. Knowing her as I did, I am certain that for her to sit down and write these letters, meant she ceased to fight.

And my mama fought. Oh she fought.

So they played a game, she and her best friend. States apart, they curated letters for us, her children - through phone calls, emails, and the like.

Without my sweet mother sitting at a desk to scrawl in her tell-tale script, giving in and giving up, they were able to craft countless words to be handed to us at later dates.

And as it would happen, the first of these would come to me, for my newly engaged sister, on a warm night in July.

I wept. I wept tears hot and heavy, full and searing.

I wept for what I did not know all those months, I wept for the best friend of my mother's who did such a painful and selfless thing, I wept for the knowledge of all the things to come - things my mom knew she would be missing.

And so, last week, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros our soundtrack, I gingerly passed this gift, over to my sister.

"Dear Robinhood," it began (her nick name for my sister), "You are getting married, and I can not be there..."

I struggle even today to read the rest of the note, which, I'll be keeping private out of respect for my sister.

It chokes me.

It sucks the air from my lungs and I weep again.

And at the end of the day, I am not the least bit surprised our mama would do such a thing. I'm not. And yet, it still bites, like the sting of a bee. And I struggle to break from it. I struggle to breathe.

The missing of her. The sadness I feel. The way it takes you back to the worst days of grief.

It softens some, that pain, but I know there are more notes to come. And so, I know there is more pain. Good pain, you know? Pain you want to feel, even through the bleeding of it.

Oh mama, you were more amazing than you ever realized. And we loved you oh, so very much...

- - - - - - - -

For what feels like an eternity now, I've wondered why I can't seem to sit and finish the memoir I'm 80k words into. Sure, it felt like the story wasn't finished. The redemption, still working it's way to surface.

Until this.

This. These letters. Suddenly it's clear. It's vivid like the first light of day, I couldn't finish it because there was so much I didn't know.

There is still, so much I don't know.

I do know one thing, and that is, I'll finish this race. I'll write every last word and I'll do it for her and with her, in spirit.

If you need me, I'll be writing.

xo

Social Media Conflict

www.angiewarren.com

I've been in a space of conflict lately about social media, about this device in my hands. And then after spending a few days with a dear friend who has walked away for good, I was reminded of all the reasons I ever walked myself.

We chatted a lot about this, she and I. But the truth is, it's been sitting with me for quite a bit. I've been off of social media a handful of times. Deleted my accounts, detoxed, and eventually made my way back in the name of business, writing, or whatever else. I've worked on balance, narrowed who I've followed, all in hopes of that elusive, desire to be able to stay and still not lose sight of what's important.

I've failed. Miserably failed.

But what of people like my good friends Tiffany Ruda and Tristian Skidmore? What of Jessica Cudzillo and the Parsons? All artists, mamas, creatives, with businesses and huge followings - that said once and for all, so long, this space isn't cutting it for me ✌🏻️ out.

They all have this one thing in common: family, intentional time spending, and living life without telling the world - these things became their priority over having a big following and thriving business and hash-tagging and being featured and all of it. And soon, soon that feeling became so good, so tangible, they chose to not come back at all.

Tiffany and I, Tristian and I, we've talked long and hard over it the last few years. I remember pretty clearly the feeling those first few days away of always reaching for my phone, of feeling lost in what's happening with my friends and the community. But before long I sat to eat and simply connected with my friends and family, I didn't reach for my phone every blasted second, and the friends that are truly friends, they were just a phone call or text or house visit away.

And yet it's conflicting because there's still that deep desire in me to write, to finish my book and seek an agent, and truth be told, I know the world of publishing likely wants nothing to do with someone who isn't up and up on social media. But. But. But still I am just not sure that's enough to keep me around.

I know for many this is a non issue. I have plenty of friends who wouldn't dream of giving it up, who CAN balance it, but I would also venture to say many of you (myself included) don't realize just how much time you're spending looking down at a phone, how many important conversations you're missing, how much LIFE you're missing (Have you ever checked your daily and weekly usage? It's scary).

I've been watching for the last few weeks when I'm out and about and with people, and it's heart breaking. And I've been guilty of it more than I'd like to admit. When was the last time you ate a meal without a phone in your hand? When did you last have a good conversation with a friend or husband or child, without sneaking a peek at your screen? How about the last time you did something really great, whether it be art or an accomplishment or a trip, without sharing it on IG or snapchat or Facebook?

Because the question remains that, if something happens but isn't declared to the world, does it really happen? Does it have meaning? And even further than that, what's our MOTIVE for sharing. I've had to ask myself some hard questions lately. What IS my motive in each square I publish? What ARE my motives for the words I write on my business FB page? What are yours, your motives?

I think of Tiffany and Tristian, the Parson family and even now Jessica - living their lives and their day to day, doing all the same things they did before, but with more meaning because they don't feel the need to tell the entire world about it. Some of them blog, some don't. But the instant gratification of a share and then the "assurance" of likes and comments, that's long gone for them.

So. Yeah, I'm in a place of conflict. Conviction. Confusion. And yeah, I'm talking ABOUT it ON social media, but it's because I feel so strongly. I know I'm not changing the world with my thoughts, but I'd like to maybe plant a seed in you, to even consider where you're spending your own time. Just as I'm considering it.

So I ask myself and I ask you: If today was our final day on this earth, would we be pleased with how we made use of it?

The Fourth

THE FOURTH, A SERIES, 2009-2016

It all started the Independence Day of his fourth year. He still had the roundness of his babyhood, mispronounced the letter f, and fit squarely in my lap.

We were out back as the last bit of light slipped away, when I noticed it. The way his hands, small and dirty, held the popper. I dialed my ISO way up, and began to shoot.

This was the night I became my own artist. The evening I threw out the rules, and fell in love with documenting life as I saw it. Grain and all.

It continued. Each Fourth of July since, I've waited, with bated breath for *just* the right light. You know, when twilight whispers, but the stars aren't quite there.

That's when I shoot it. A series that's grown in my heart, just as my small boy has grown towards a man.

Each year holds a memory. Some are shot with Nikon, one is film, there's even an iPhone portrait. This year was Canon.

It doesn't matter really, because I'm curating a series that holds my heart like a life vest.

And there have been years I've needed it to keep afloat.

This year, I placed him between myself and the sinking sun. Handed him a small popper. Dialed my ISO up and brought my aperture down. Composed my image. Shot. One, two, five clicks of the shutter.

And we went about our night.

A bit later as I scrolled through the images I began to notice something: man, I thought, that popper looks small in his hands.

"Can we try this again, bud?" I asked, knowing he wouldn't be thrilled.

Much to my surprise I looked up and he was smiling, grabbing something else, a bigger firework. One he planned to help his dad with.

It hit me. He's no longer a small boy, holding a small popper.

No. He's ready to hold the big stuff.

And so, in the end, I would use this imagery to tell the story of the year I came to understand him. To accept, that, my tiny boy isn't so tiny after all.

But oh, how I love him so.

To my son: thank you for this gift. For going along with this crazy notion your mama has. Thank you for seven more years of this. I try not to weep at the thought of how you'll continue to grow, and change.

My hope is that one day, when you're a man with children of your own, you'll remember the sunset of each Independence Day - your sappy artist of a mother, that simply wanted to hold onto each bit of your childhood. One popper (or, ahem, firework) at a time.

2016

2016

Painted Skies

Angie Warren

"How will they be, mama?" she asked. "What's that, Quinn?" I leaned in. "The fi-ah works. How will they be?"

So I went on to tell her of the painted skies. We talked about the rain of light. The crackle of the finish.

And when they began, those fi-ah works, I got to experience them for the first time. All over again.

May I never forget the braids, the blue and white dress, the winter boots. May I drink in her smallness, her eager for life and love and joy. May I write the sound of her voice on my heart, to pick up and listen to at will.

May we all experience something for the first time, through the eyes of a child. The magic. The anticipation. The newness of something we grown ups have long forgotten.

We celebrate a birthday, but we celebrate too, a rebirth of ourselves. Which if we only allow it, just might be the loveliest gift of all.

Dear You, Don't Give Up

Oh hey you: husband, wife, friend.

Your wife's mom just died. Or your husband's dad. Or, your best friend's parent. Their world has been rocked, and suddenly what was once safe, for them, for you, isn't safe anymore at all.

Your person, they've changed, in an instant or a week or a month. Though, of course, you know this. Maybe they're angry, withdrawn - maybe they're silent. Maybe they aren't someone you recognize.

The truth is, it could be this way for a while.

This dark space, this re-entry into a world that goes on spinning. It guts them. The earth isn't stopping, it's moving and breathing and inside their head, is a thick, twisting, fog.

A strangling beast says, "WHY is the world spinning! WHY doesn't everyone see! WHY won't everything JUST STOP!"

That beast controls every aspect of their new normal, including their relationship with you. For a time, it feels impossible for them to change this. And perhaps you feel like it's impossible to understand. But, grief is too strong, she's too manipulative, she's just there, at every corner.

Grief ruins dinners, and bedtime stories. She destroys perfectly good makeup days. And, if you aren't careful, she will severely damage the best laid plans.

Husband-wife-bestfriend, listen to me when I say, your person? Yeah, they're hurting. They're devastated. They're walking on broken glass with broken feet and the path ahead shows little comfort.

But they're still your person.

Amidst the hardest days they're walking through, behind every angry word they spit, underneath the tear stained sheets - is that person you love. That person, the one you love so much? They're in this place, because of love.

Love is what makes saying goodbye so viciously hard. The love they had for the one they lost, it morphs and becomes something else entirely. It's because of love, that you have to hang on for this ride.

So, hold on, will you? Promise me? Hold on and do not, let, go.

Be their strength, but also know that, this thing they're trying to survive, they'll have to survive with their own will. They need you to walk beside them, but often times, they need to know they can do it.

They need to know that they can swim, among the raging seas. They need you to be their lighthouse, so shine for them, okay? Even if they're throwing rocks at your glass, even in the darkest of nights, keep your torch aflame.

A day will come, that they'll swim right out to you. They'll invite you into the waters with them, and together, you'll heal. You'll survive. Both of you.

Just, stay close by for the ride. Whatever twists and turns may come.

Because being in their shoes, struggling through their seas, were the worst days, for me. The darkest days. The days I almost lost my marriage. The days I spat poison from my lips. The days I'd rather drown, than to even attempt to swim.

And I had a person that didn't give up on me. So, please, don't give up on yours.

Sincerely,


A Fellow Survivor

Paul Kalanithi + Facing Death

ANGIE WARREN // writer
That message is simple: When you come to one of the many moments in life when you must give an account of yourself, provide a ledger of what you have been, and done, and meant to the world, do not, I pray, discount that you filled a dying man’s days with a sated joy, a joy unknown to me in all my prior years, a joy that does not hunger for more and more, but rests, satisfied. In this time, right now, that is an enormous thing.
Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air

Absolutely GUTTED by this book. Sobbed my way through the last half. Connected to it. Stomach sickened by it. Heart broken from it.

And yet, it's infiltrated my thoughts since finishing it. To be so close to life + death every day and suddenly, face to face with it.

I thought of my mom. Of our final days with her in the ICU. Of the book SHE so desperately wanted to write. But, her time was cut short, so short. I think if my mama had been able to pen her thoughts into a manuscript, it would mimic Paul's in many ways.

And true to what I assumed, this book has made me want to finish my own.

I believe this man's life and essentially, his death, will walk along side of those of us who have read it for many years to come. Hard stuff, but, such good stuff, too.

A Fairy Forever

ANGIE WARREN // writer

She had asked me if she could be a fairy. I quietly led her here, to this tiny, golden, patch of light.

I leaned in and whispered, "The truth is, you're already a fairy, and here, where the sun kisses the earth, is where you'll get your magic.".

She stood, still as can be, watching, looking. "How long will I be a fai-wy, mama?", her voice low and raspy. "You'll be a fairy forever, my girl." I promised her.

And then in a soft voice, reminded my small fairy to always stand in the setting sun, every chance she gets. To gather magic, of course.

Whether fairies or weary moms or hard working dads, we could all use a bit of magic every now and then. The magic of a setting sun, of fairy forests, of imagination.

Thirty-Five Years, One Here, One in Heaven

ANGIE WARREN // writer

She was seventeen, but knew, my dad was the one. So, thirty-five years ago on this day, they wed, at the front of a church lined in stained glass - among everyone they knew, and loved.

She wore her mama's dress, veil, and pearls, and was to me, the most beautiful bride I've ever laid eyes on.

Today, is the third wedding anniversary my mama celebrates in Heaven, the third my dad celebrates alone. But still we recognize it, remember it, and know it's on this day so long ago, that they became a we, and oh, what beautiful things came from that commitment.

Happy 35th mom & dad. Loving you both.

When Breath Becomes Air, I Survived

ANGIE WARREN // writer

I penned a difficult reply to a friend who lost her mama to cancer, just now. And, I found it so interesting how easily the words flowed.

Sharing bits of my own loss, the darkness, the anger. And I began to suddenly see it all in a different light. I began to see myself as, a survivor. I, survived, losing my mom.

I'm not sure how exactly, but I didn't let grief win. Sure, I swam with her for a long while, but she didn't get the best of me. So as I pick up this book, I realize what I'm about to dive into.

For me, sometimes I have to do hard things, like talk about my mom's death, or read a book about cancer, or drive back by her old house. For some, that seems absurd. But for me, it's just right. It brings it all back to center. To reality. To life. It reminds me that she was real and she was a fighter and she was amazing.

And like I told my sister, I'll probably close the last page of this book and promptly open back up my own manuscript. And perhaps one day, I'll actually finish it, and someone else will hold *my* book in one hand, and think similar thoughts and do similar things.

And that, would be a pretty incredible thing.

Whales, Breathless, Content

ANGIE WARREN // writer

Just beyond her a family of whales graced us with their beauty and I was stopped.

Still.

Breathless.

Because of her and because of the sea and because of the great creatures that call it home.

It may be cold and we may be salty, but we are together and whole and though it often seems untrue, the world is good and all is well and I am content.

School of Explorers - Join Us

“Their contributions were possible in large part because their mothers were brave enough to take a different path.”

— Jennifer Pepito (via Sharon McKeeman IG)

Goodbye Hustle, Hello Mello

The above quote was shared on Instagram recently from the Wild + Free Conference, speaking about some of the most influential people in history. It about hit me in the gut. Bravery, diligence, perseverance. Of mothers. Of fathers. Of seeing that learning can be done differently. There is another way, another path.

As shared in two previous posts, our family of five found that, after many years of the hustle and bustle of traditional schooling, God was calling us to another path, He called us to bring the kids home. As our children enter 6th, 2nd, and Pre-K respectively, we have begun to plan for the adventure of a lifetime: home educating.

And true to Warren style, we've got a brand spanking new website just for it. Would love if you followed along there, too.

The Circle Maker and the Miracle (Our Homeschool Story), 2

If you're just popping in, be sure to read pt 1 of the story: The Seven Year Prayer.


In January of this year, our small group at church began a video series by Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker. I was intrigued. The premise of the book is: Dream Big. Pray Hard. Think Long. Batterson talks about the story of Honi, a man who changed everything when he drew a circle around himself in the dirt, praying for rain, and refusing to leave the circle until the rains came. Guess what? They came.

The four week series drew me in, as he asked us "What's YOUR biggest dream? What's your Jericho?".

I thought long and hard over this, dumbfounded at the idea that my biggest dream could be, anything I wanted it to be. So often I've thought I needed to pray hard for others, for things needed. But to pray about something, I wanted? I felt selfish. Soon, I began to realize actually, God wants to hear about what we want. He wants to hear about our dreams.

Soon, my dream of homeschooling made it's way into my thoughts, quickly I brushed it away thinking, nah, it won't happen, there's no changing the fact that my husband's heart and mine aren't in the same place.

Boy was I wrong.

The Circle Maker inspired me. I began to believe, trust, hope. I prayed over Matthew 21:22, "If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." I circled it. Literally. I wrote it on the chalkboard wall, on post it notes. I told a few friends, my grandma, and asked for others to circle it too.

I did this every morning, as the sun was still sunken behind the hills, long before my babies would wake for school. I prayed, and I believed.

I told God, "I believe you'll do a great thing - but if this isn't what YOU want, please remove it from my heart, because to be honest, this is exhausting. Year after year, conversation after conversation. It's yours, not mine, it's not in my control, it's in Yours."

A few months later, I decided to have the conversation, prepared for the reply I'd gotten every year now. Instead, he listened, asked a few questions, voiced a few concerns, but said yes, he would pray about it.

Say what?

He. Said. He. Would. Pray.

Internally I was screaming, outwardly, I was trying my best to put on a chill face. Not sure I accomplished that, but I did my best.

The following weeks I spent in great anticipation. I continued to circle the verse in Matthew, to wake before the sun, to pray over this. I'd made it this far, but there was still a lot of Jericho to go around.

The next conversation was rough. I felt defeated and discouraged. I wasn't sure how I would ever change his heart.

I forgot, it wasn't my job to be the heart changer, no, it was my job to be the prayer warrior.

Husband asked me to create a proposal. This is like asking a Panda if she wants to eat Bamboo. Um OKAY. I set to work, designing a gorgeously branded, nineteen-page, PDF to present to him. Yes, I know, I take things ten steps too far. Whatev.

Weeks I worked on this, researching, planning, praying. I poured myself into it. Finding local co-ops to join, planning activities and possibilities, and even making both personal and academic goals for each of our three children.

There was no stone un-turned, no page un-read. All the t's were crossed and i's dotted.

In the meantime, God was working in other ways:

  • Left and right friends came to me, unknowing that this was brewing, to tell me they had decided to home school. In fact, two of these are two of my closest friends.
  • The leader of a boys group our guys are joining soon, mentioned casually he and his wife just started homeschooling their little ones. WITH THE CHARTER WE ARE APPLYING TO.
  • An old buddy of Justin's was now in touch with him, praising he and his wife's choice to home school. WITH THE CHARTER WE ARE APPLYING TO.
  • Our basketball coach gladly agreed to let the boys play in his league regardless of where they attend school.
  • Luke's teacher not only supports the idea, but has been one of the biggest encouragements, offering to help in any way we need in the coming year. (Have I mentioned how much I love her?)

I could go on and on, it seemed that daily, something happened, or fell into my lap. I could almost SEE the Lord smiling down upon me.

Then just as I was finishing the proposal, we had an eye opening appt with our oldest's therapist. An amazing, wonderful, Christian, man. Divine intervention if you will.

We're now in the process of a probable ADHD diagnosis. Which, if you've been through it, explains, everything. It's almost a feeling of, relief. So many mixed emotions.

His therapist then said the words that about made me cry, "it's too bad there isn't an educational option that would really allow him to learn the way he needs to learn best."

And with that, and half hour more of talking, our therapist told me that homeschooling could really benefit Danny right now, learning how he best learns - instilling the lost confidence, encouraging his wounded spirit, reminding him he is capable, intelligent, and worthy.

Needless to say, the following day, as I handed my lovely, brightly colored, proposal to my husband, I felt a peace beyond description.

I smiled, sat next to him, and watched God do a miracle.

When the words "I 100% support this, let's do it." came from my husband's mouth, I felt as though Heaven had nearly opened up and rained unicorns and rainbows upon me. Or endless iced coffees and gift cards to Target.

No really.

Really.

Tuesday April 12, 2016 I witnessed the biggest answer to prayer I've ever seen.

We're gonna homeschool.

We're gonna homeschool.

We're. Gonna. Homeschool.


The final part of the story, What it is and What it isn't, tomorrow.

 

The Seven Year Prayer (Our Homeschool Story), 1

They need knowledge, but they also need just as desperately to keep the creativity they were born with.

My pal Sharon McKeeman wrote these words on her blog, and when I read them recently I stopped in my tracks. Because this sentence, these words of hers, perfectly summed up what my heart is bursting to sing.

Desperately. They desperately need, I desperately need, our family desperately, needs.

And so, here begins part one of our story. I'm thrilled to share that, the Warrens have decided to bring our babies home, to educate them here (or outside, or at the beach, or in a car, or on a tree...).

The journey to this place is not a short one, or has it been easy. I'll tell you one thing, one big thing, and that is this: God has heard the prayers, seven years worth. He's done it in His timing, He's handed me a gift I thought for many long years, I'd never have the joy to receive. He's done this humongous, great, vast, incredible thing - and I'll not speak of it quietly.


Homeschooling has always been on my heart, let me re-phrase, it's been a huge part OF my heart. Since our Danny entered Kinder in the fall of 2010, I've wanted him to be home. My husband however, did not share that heart tug with me.

This is the topic that drove massive amounts of misunderstanding, hurt, anger, and the like, into our days - all the things that tear down a relationship.

Each year, we sent our kids off to school, both public and private (all GREAT schools, all three of them our eldest has attended). But each year, my heart hurt. It physically, ached. I'm the mom that cries when summer break is over, or holiday weekends. My children are loud, and wild, and crazy - but I genuinely enjoy them home, under my wing.

So every year, as school registration approached, I timidly brought the idea up, only to remember, my husband's heart wasn't aligned with mine.

The funny thing about not getting what you want is, years later, if you're super lucky, you'll see why it was the best thing that you did not get what you wanted, in that time.

I see it now. I eat my words. I smile and nod.

I wasn't in the right place, our kids weren't. God wasn't ready to give me the desire of my heart, because He knew, in His sovereign foresight, that it wasn't the right time.

Year, after year, after year, my heart hurt. I watched friends share their days through social media, those friends that home-educated. I envied that, oh did I. Was that right? Of course not. Still, the heart wants what it wants.

So I prayed some, here and there. Sighed and gave up, yet again, on the dream to school my kids at home.

Husband had concerns, valid concerns. Many of them. Concerns that a lot of people have.

Did I feel hurt? Sure. Did I want to be rebellious and do it anyhow? Yes, often times I did. Do I see now, that again, timing wasn't right? In 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 even? I do, oh I do.

Do I share this to bash my husband? Hardly. Not a bit actually. In fact, he is often wiser than I give him credit for. God was doing a great work in us both, in our marriage, in us individually. I share this to encourage you. As I was encouraged just a few months ago by a dear friend (thanks Tara!!).

Whether you're hoping to get your husband on board with homeschooling, or something else. Hear me when I say, choose grace, joy, even contentment through it.

I urge you: pray without ceasing. Give it to God. Honor your spouse, whether your hearts meet on the issue or not, love them.

Love them, love them, love them.

Be still, and know that whether it be seven weeks or seven years, He hears our prayers. He is good, all the time. Even in the midst of wondering what the bigger picture is, in the midst of the aching.

Tomorrow, I'll share part 2. The Circle Maker and the Miracle.

 

Messy, Beautiful

Life is messy. Just like bathroom mirrors. But guess what? In the midst of mess, is *the* most incredible stuff. Beautiful stuff.

Losing my mom was messy. The grieving part of me wanted things, impulsive things. If it weren't for the gentle but firm insight of those closest to me, I wouldn't get to see the miracle of timing.

I couldn't see, in that time or even years prior, into the future. No way I'd have known the incredible things that would shower upon me in the spring of 2016.

But from this side of the mess, I can say without a doubt: His timing is perfect. It's amazing. It's awe inspiring.

This side of the mess is full of goodness and grace, and years of prayers answered and opportunities I quite literally never expected to experience.

As I step out of the comfort zone and into the future, our family, I'm anxious in the best way for what's to come, I feel giddy. Like. A kid at Christmas.

I am insanely excited to talk more about it. To share of His goodness. And I will.

For now. To encourage you, be still. Be resilient. Don't give up. Dream big. Pray hard. If you're in the mess, know it will clean up. It will shine. Again.

I am in Detox

I sat down to dinner tonight with the family, and reached for my phone. My finger hovered over towards the left where my SOCIAL MEDIA apps are and, I remembered.

I deleted them.

And I was struck with a familiar feeling, an aching, a jagged, a gutting remembrance: I am in detox.

I walked away from social media, intending it to be permanent, in the winter of 2014. It would, in the end, last about five months. It was a decision spurred on by a hundred different things, and those first few days were nothing short of, weird.

I mean, weird. Detoxing from a digital addiction is one that you really feel. I mean, you feel it. Out of no where your habits change, you begin to find just how much time you spent doing that one thing, when you don't have it to do, anymore. But. You experience things more fully, un-reliant upon letting an entire world know your every move, it's a place and space that is so unrecognizable, most of my friends & family wouldn't dare consider going to.

And that's okay. I don't dare invite anyone on this journey. It's a very personal one, and for many social media is a key element to their business. I don't put anyone down for it.

For me, it just got to be too noisy. Again. I found myself obsessed with scrolling. Again. I began to find my anxiety heightening. Again. Conversations with my kids, husband, friends, were taking a backseat to the phone in my hand.

A G A I N.

And sitting down at dinner tonight, surrounded by my people, with nothing new to check, I began to realize, I'm here again. I'm back in that corner, fighting for my time and my family and my heart.

So with my apps deleted, all but Periscope, (one can make their own rules, yeah?) I'm reflective. I'm thinking of 100 thousand things I want to blog about. I'm looking at photos of my babies and seeing them with the eyes of a mother, a photo journalistic mama, who is shooting them for me and for them and not to hashtag or prove to any invisible account that I am someone.

Because I am. Someone. To a good Father, to an amazing husband, to three wild and crazy children, and to those friends and family I hold most dear.

I'm good enough, and I don't need a following to prove it.

I'm Angie, I'm detoxing from social media, but I'll be just fine.

Cheers.

PS how lovely is our green, green CA grass? We're quite enjoying it for the few weeks/months it will stick around.

We're All Just Made for Slow

motherhood // angie warren

We were running errands, us two, and my list was a mile long.

"C'mon Quinny, let's go, go go!" I said, with as much joy as I could muster.

She didn't, go go go. She was, slow slow slow.

"Honey, mama has a lot to do today, take my hand." I reached for her.

She continued to shuffle. Taking her precious time, one foot, ever so slowly, then another. The parking lot wasn't busy, but I could see time draining down an invisible sink.

"Mom," she paused. "My legs aren't made for fast."

And I turned, and I looked at that girl. And I had that sinking mom feeling when you realize, holy crap, I'm old, I've become my mother, and my kid just showed me.

She did, though. In the most innocent, small voice possible, she reminded me. Her legs aren't made for fast. They're made for exploring, for savoring, for living.

And in my rush, in the middle of the life-sucking to do list, I wanted to make it all fast. To get through it all, for, what? What is it, that illustrious prize I'm running for?

An award? 'A ribbon? At the end of the day do they hand out chocolates and silver coins for the busy mom who finished first? What about those who finish, last?

Those who remember even they aren't made, for fast? Whether four, or fourty. What about the ones who come in at the end of the "race", I think those ones, should get the award, the chocolate. Because in my mind, those that go at it slow, with the mind of a child, I think they are the real winners after all.

They're the ones that won that day, they weren't in a race to the end, they were just walking along. Smelling the flowers, flipping the pancakes, reading the bedtime stories - regardless of what else weighed on them, they made time, to make time.

I want to be that. I want to remember I'm not made for fast. The less I slow down, the more I wilt. The less I take time, the faster time goes.

It's not easy, in this go-go-go life. But here's the thing: the bed will always get unmade, the sink will always find itself full, the floor will, inevitably, be covered in dog hair. My babies? They're growing, much too fast for my comfort. I feel it in my gut, and I'm deciding for me, it's not too late. There's till time, all I have to do, is remember: she's made for slow, and so am I.

Five Tools That Help Me Write

Five Tools That Help Me Write // www.angiewarren.com

I've been writing, a lot, lately. The new year landed the idea in my lap to revisit the memoir, and after a lot of thought + prayer, I've committed to really finishing it. I've been busy goal-setting and writing and dreaming big!

Today on my Periscope (@angiewarren), I shared these 5 tools I use in writing/blogging, but the replay wasn't saved, so I thought I'd pop on and list them out here for those of you who missed it!

These five things (plus a bonus!) keep me sane and help tremendously when I sit down to get words to page.

1. MUSIC

Am I the only one who needs music to write? The majority of my writing these days are musings of motherhood, and the obvious: my memoir. Both of which require 99% instrumental. I can't really do words, with just a few exceptions. I really connect with sounds, so my jam for writing comes from my ever evolving Writing Playlist on Spotify. I'm adding to it daily, but they're basically a collection of some of my favorite pieces for the current season of writing I'm in.

Feel free to listen too! CLICK HERE to go to my playlist.

2. POWER THESAURUS APP

So, when I'm putting down 3k words, sometimes I need a bit of help. Okay, even if it's just a blog post, I need help. I'm obsessed with the Power Thesaurus app. Like, I use it every day. It's sort of a crutch. Man am I glad for it.

Download it for Apple HERE. Download it for Android HERE.

3. DAY ONE APP

This app I use for a multitude of things. It's like the sister to my Voice Memo Recorder feature. Originally my friend Tracy urged me to get it for documenting the cute things my kids say. Which I do, and love it for that. But I also love it for jotting quick thoughts down when I get an idea for a blog post or part in my book.

Sorry, it's only available for Apple. Download yours HERE.

4. PINTEREST

I love Pinterest, who doesn't? There are a handful of bloggers/writers I follow, and I find myself easily spending an hour just on their writing tips boards! So I created my own, and have been slowly adding to it. There is a bit of something there for every aspect of blogging/book writing/proposal creating/agent finding, etc.

You can check out my Writing Board, HERE!

5. COMPEL

Connecting with other writers is HUGE. I have a handful of trusted friends, most of which who write, that graciously read what I'm working on, or simply allow me to bounce ideas off of them. I'm so grateful for this. Community is huge.

I found Compel last fall and signed on pretty quickly. It's basically a monthly membership community FILLED TO THE BRIM with insight, interviews, audios, downloads, worksheets, and more. I haven't even had the chance to take in all of the content, but I do when I can! I've especially loved the private FB group I was placed in. There are a lot of them through Compel, keeping the numbers somewhat low, so you feel cozy and are able to really get involved. We offer critique and submit pieces for our peers to critique as well. It's been a great asset in my journey!

Click HERE to go to the Compel site, there's even a free e-book if you scroll to the bottom!

BONUS: DROPBOX

Dropbox saves. my. life. It holds not only documents and files, but photos, and so much more. When it comes to writing, I use Dropbox in the obvious way: sharing files. When I get a piece written, often times I'll upload it there and share with a select few.

The other thing I love about Dropbox is holding audio files. I like to download some interviews and features from Compel, and save them to my Dropbox to listen to on long drives or the rare occasion I'm alone in the house!

Any tools you particularly enjoy in your blogging/writing? I'm always looking for something new! Hope you'll share.

xo

The Red Comb (The Chorus Feature)

When Amy Grace connected with me it was as if, fireworks went off. I fell hard and fast for her project, The Chorus.

So when she asked if I would consider submitting a piece - I knew just what to send over.
I am now slowly making my way through the beautiful, heartbreaking, soul freeing submissions that I'm honored to be a part of.

The Red Comb is an excerpt from my memoir, I'd love if you hopped over to take a read. It's full of incredibly brave and honest works.

xo
 

Jagged Edges and All

Valentines Day & Grief // angiewarren.com

Her last Valentine's Day, my mom wrote a small poem on a paper heart for each of her children.

I lost mine.

For two and a half years I searched, unsuccessfully. Until last month. I happened upon it, slightly ripped but alive, and well.

It's kind of like my own heart, in a way. Damaged in ways not easily fixed, but still very much a heart.

Such a treasure it is on this day, reminding me I'm not completely broken. I'm still able to give and receive love. Even with my jagged edges.

Hope you're feeling the same, today.

Tea for Two

tea for two // motherhood & grief // angie warren

Dear sweet girl,

Today it was just the two of us at tea.

In my dreams though, the table is full. There are five generations of us 'round it, completing the circle of a tradition started long ago.

In my dreams the sound of cups hitting plates is a chorus, the five of us. There's chit chat, the stirring of spoons, and the pouring of Earl Grey.

In my dreams we're fighting over the cucumber sandwiches, in my dreams Nana hands me the lemon custard even though I know it's her favorite.

In my dreams it wasn't just you and I at tea.

In my dreams the sweet laughter of your great-great grandma is there, her dark hair bouncing around. I think she would have called you "little Miss America", like she did me.

In my dreams your great grandma is beside her, instead of 3000 miles away, in a cabin, in Ohio. She loves you dearly, my girl.

In my dreams Nana is there. She's helping you spread the devonshire cream and taking you potty. She's showing you how to put the napkin on your lap, and savoring every bit of time she has with you.

But the truth of it is, there are only three of the five of us left here on Earth, and today it was just us two.

So while my mind wishes for those beautiful tea parties, and memories I ache to hold - I shall tuck today deep into the pockets of my heart, to unfold and cherish each time I wish for my dreams to return.

Thank you Quinny, for the gift of new beginnings and of doing scary things. They aren't as hard with you by my side.

Cheers,
Mama