And Just Like That…

We are approaching our Listen To Your Mother show day and it has been a whirlwind to say the least. This year’s schedule was super compressed to accommodate the Clan McClellan Wedding. There have been pros and cons to the different schedule, but at the end this week…actually this exact time next week it will all be behind us. The stories will have been told, they will be living in the ether, in the hearts and minds of our audience and our jobs will be complete.

It’s been a crazy last three months. I have had something either wedding/LTYM/Work every weekend since we turned the calendar.

So while I am looking forward to our LTYM OKC show I am also looking forward to May.

Work is going to be a zoo for awhile. We are implementing an entirely new software operating system and there is much work to be done. Next week we train. The following week we launch. So…the unforeseeable future of work is the sound of 500 chimpanzees singing Les Miserables on rotation in our heads.

But life…daily life should slow down just a tiny bit.

I get to spend time with my dearest, she and her husband are taking flight for the DC area in just a few weeks.

I will plant. OH lord will I plant. Nary a seed nor a pod has hit the dirt here at the Castle McClellan and I am tweeking. I need to get outside. I need to get my hands in the dirt and see some life spring forth. I need some color in the pots and I need some nights to just come home and sit with my husband on our porch.

At the end of the month we have a camping trip planned with my sis and her family. I couldn’t be more excited!

But while I’m super excited for what’s to come, this afternoon I ponder the coming week, ponder the last tasks to check off of our list and really gear up and get excited for our show.

Ya’ll, these stories are so gorgeous. This cast is just so amazing. I know that next Sunday is the Memorial Marathon. But we have TWO runners in our cast. The show is at 2:30. There’s time to do both. Live next Sunday to the fullest.

Come join us if you are in town!~ 

You really won’t regret it.

There’s something about the beauty of getting back to that tradition of storytelling…it really is a fabulous way to start your week.

 

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Calm the Voices

This time next week I’ll wake up in New York City.

This morning I’m working hard to be in the moment, to enjoy this easy Sunday morning, sip my coffee and reflect.

My brain is whirling with a to-do list a mile long, with tasks and shopping lists, and meal preps and show times and LTYM tasks. Things that must be finished before I leave for NYC. Things that must be finished before I leave for Tulsa to meet my sis and trade out care for our dad after his neck surgery on Thursday.

I’m thinking about our cast yesterday and the total clustercluck of the scheduling when we arrived to find people in our space, and adapting and shifting and while it worked on me a bit, that cast was wonderful.

It’s always a little tentative. The first meeting. Even when we have alumni join us, there is a tentative…reserved air that abounds. And then just like that, things open up. Smiles and laughter and heads nodding and sideways glances turn into conversations.

It’s lovely the air of protection and ownership our alumni have over this project. This movement. This transformative thing that is Listen To Your Mother. It’s lovely the show of grace and willingness to include new faces into the family.

Our schedule is compact this season. A lot due to our wedding, a lot due to the fact that the third year is by far easier and we know how to do it. I love this production team beyond words. We are so in sync. I think it translates to our cast and that connection into a community becomes the force of energy that we need to sustain us throughout the bullshit and stress that inevitably comes with producing an event.

The sun is out, the breeze is chilly, but nice. It is a day that needs to be productive for me, so I’ll go make some lists, check some things off and get on with the living.

Sitting here to write this, though has calmed me a bit. I don’t feel the crazy ebbing in like I did an hour ago.

Chalk another one up for making time to calming the voices by writing the words.

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Week Two

We celebrated our Two Week anniversary last weekend with two whole days without obligation. We slept in. We said YES to invitations that came at the spur of the moment. We spent wedding present gift cards. We came home with a Yeti Cooler for me and a Philco Predicta tv circa 1958 for him.

It was a fabulous weekend.

The week wasn’t too terribly awful either…until Thursday.

Most of my co-workers and I spent the day on Wednesday at our Girls Day at the Capitol signature event.

Sweetmotherofpearl it was exhausting.

The marble floors. Schlepping stuff from here to there. All. Those. Girls.

Exhausting.

Thursday proved one part manic and one part stabby for most all of us. The manic part won out and we laughed and laughed. We shared beers in celebration of Jessica’s impending birthday and Holly & Ben’s impending wedding this weekend. It was a good way to end the stabby day.

And today I got to work in Norman and write without interruption. Glorious.

I get paid to write.

How ’bout them apples? I had that epiphany a week or so ago. I get paid. To write. Dreams come true, sometimes they are wearing a disguise but they do come true.

It’s like the ending of Under the Tuscan Sun…when she realizes she has everything she ever dreamed of…just in a different way.

That always resonated with me. From the first viewing/reading. And it’s quite true.

Tonight there has been Winnie walk, wine, I’ve ordered pad thai, I finished House of Cards. DAMNIT. It’s over. I guess I’ll rewatch Kimmie Schmidt. And that’s about it.

I’ve got some LTYM work to do this weekend. Finalizing the sponsorships, prepping the printing. We finally meet as a cast next weekend and I’m so excited for that! Our ticket sales are going like gangbusters this week and that is SO encouraging! And through horrible horrible life twists and turns, I’ve reconnected with a sister of my soul. I ache for her pain, and at the same time see her amazing glory that shines and will just blind us all when this stupid thing is behind her.

So it’s been a good week. I hit NYC soon, I get to be at the NYC LTYM Book Launch event, which is exciting. My work team will go too, and that’s super cool April is that month that may eat us whole, but I already have a weekend camp trip planned with my sisser and her family for Memorial Day, so that’s super cool.

Cheer’s to a fab weekend!

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Every Year…It Happens

We have a cast!!!

LTYM:OKC 2015 has officially announced our cast for this year’s show and we are beyond thrilled with the stories.

We had more people audition this year than we have ever had in years past and it really was a much harder casting experience than before. The show always presents itself. Julie, Heather and I are amazed that it happens that way every year and yet…every year it does. It doesn’t help that we have to send out more Regrets than Congrats…but it’s part of the process. We heard such beautiful stories this year. Some that I wish we had heard in previous years and some that I will want to hear in coming years.

This show though…well. Whooweee!

We can’t wait until we all get together and meet each other, connect and begin to build that special community which…for me is the true heart of this movement.

Yes, I know it’s about giving motherhood a microphone. It’s about giving a voice to that story that each of us has deep inside, about validating that space where we live, where the quiet is deep and heavy and sometimes filled with darkness. It’s about shining a light out from that place and hearing the laughter and honoring those words.

Because once we hear it, we cannot “un-hear” it. Right? To paraphrase When Harry Met Sally…you can’t take it back because it’s already out there. Out There. Floating around in the flotsam and jetsam of our world, landing in the space between thoughts and settling in…waiting to bubble up at the exact needed time…to make an impact or to pronounce THIS HAPPENED AND HERE I AM.

I also know that it is about providing this beautiful thing for our community. Not only an afternoon of celebration and joy and emotion, but also by giving to our local cause. Reach Out and Read: Oklahoma is an organization that is doing the work of angels. With a staff of ONE.

Pediatricians are actually prescribing reading in their well-child/well-baby services. We all understand the power of words, and reading to our children. Now the American Academy of Pediactrics is backing it with all of their might, and Reach Out and Read Oklahoma is helping them. They provide books to clinics around our state, every child seen can get a free book to take home. How amazing is that? We are beyond excited to help support them, to showcase their work in our state and to launch a day of show book drive to provide the children in our state with books! THIS. THIS is such an honor to be a part of!

But I will tell you, for me personally, these aren’t the driving forces behind dedicating the time and money and energy into producing and directing this show.

For me…it’s the Connection.

It’s the Community.

It’s about finding that person that you may never have ever had a chance to meet, and knowing that you will be friends forever.

It’s about hearing your cast member’s story and feeling such a gut punch of “Me Too” that you are connected.

It’s about that moment where you all, each cast member, takes that step right into the most vulnerable and unknown place, and feeling each hand holding you up.

We may not all talk every day like we used to. Some of us may not continue our “real life” get togethers. Life is busy, so so busy. We may not all get to jump in and participate on every level like we want.

But what we take away from the show is that we are now part of something bigger.

We are part of a community that we never knew we wanted.

We are part of a family that we never knew we even needed.

And that, my friends…is what keeps us all coming back.

 

Big fat juicy CONGRATS to the cast of this year’s LTYM:OKC show!

Get your tickets here and get them fast. We sold some about five minutes after the link went live this year…don’t risk missing out!

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Renewal Friday

We were supposed to go to a concert tonight in Tulsa with some friends. It’s been on our calendar since way before the wedding and then POOF just kind of snuck up on us.

While we were really truly looking forward to it, when it unexpectedly got cancelled yesterday I breathed the deepest sigh of relief.

We have an entire weekend with zero obligations and boundaries.  Whatever we want to do we can do, spontaneously. Or not do. Just as spontaneously.

This week was a little rough for both of us. I didn’t get home until at least 7 most nights, I still hadn’t made it to the grocery store.

We were out of bread. coffee. sugar. dog food.

Basically the bedrock of anything…gone from the house.

Compound that with the first week of Daylight Savings time and while I am so in love with getting home in the daylight, these mornings have been quite stabby.

So I breath another deep breath of relief and thanks today.

I’m so grateful for a weekend to nest, to do yard work, to enjoy sunshine in the 60-70 degree weather we are supposed to have. I’m happy to have a moment to meal plan, and prepare accordingly for the week ahead. I’m super grateful that to day is Friday and I am working from my Norman office. It’s quiet. I can get so much writing done and checked off of my list today, which will bring an additional breath of relief.

Spring is in the air.

Allergies yes. Sneezing, for sure.

But also renewal.

It’s not fair to pin that much expectation onto a 48 hour span of time, but I’m doing it.

 

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Love. Palpable.

We got married last week.

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been a full week since the Cousins landed at Tulsa St, almost a week since the weather reports started wrecking havoc on our plans, almost a week since we had the best wedding ever.

I said earlier, there’s a reason why people take honeymoons.

We are exhausted.

Not as much as we were on Monday, but still. Don’t text me after 9pm if you want a response. I’m an 80 year old woman these days.

But I’m a married 80 year old woman.

Last week really was just everything. I was surrounded by friends and family. Yes, there was stress and looking back it’s crazy at what I was stressed about.

Not having enough room to accomodate everyone at the non-rehearsal dinner. But really, not everyone wanted a seat, so no big deal.

Not having weather conducive to everyone coming to the wedding. But really, that room was packed.

And everyone was having fun. And those that couldn’t make it really *did want to be there, and I felt worse for their not getting to join in on the fun. So what we have pounds of artichoke and spin dip and fruit and cheese. That’s going to work tomorrow. It’s absolutely fine.

It really was a blur.

Truthfully.

I tried to live in the moment, and soak it all up but it is a blur. I’m so thankful for my family and friends who helped us piece this thing together. From the flowers to the cake to the photographs to the linens to the hair and make up to the music that accompanied me down the aisle…it was perfect.

The one thing I would change is to give someone else my phone. About 60 people text/phoned/emailed their condolences and every time I looked at one I got really really sad. So I spent time that I should’ve been happy feeling like no one was coming to our wedding and that is truly ridiculous. I should’ve given my phone to someone else. Because like Sheradee said, “you’re not hearing from the people that ARE coming.”

It was like the Oprah A-HA moment.

Duh.

And so I shook it all off. Turned off the phone and focused on the now. And we kicked up some music and Mandrea did my makeup and hair and we laughed and laughed. We were all riding on the energy that something major was about to go down and it felt goooooood. We smiled for photographs, and I ran through the room in my hiking boots and wedding dress and we took photos in the snow, with my Clan McClellan tartan wrapped around my shoulders.

I am OBSESSED with these tartan and snow photos. Literally.View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/mandm

My sister was the last one in the room with me and we spoke words of these men in our lives, and the lessons we have learned along the way and about how family is so important and how I was so thankful for Mark and I to have our families around us.

I looked at her and could visibly see her heart pounding in her dress.

“I really don’t know why *I’m nervous.”

“Me neither but now I am!”

And she gave me one last flounce and went to find her seat and Macie opened the door and said, “are you ready?”

And friends, my eyes are full as I type this, because in that singular moment, I am so clear.

Yes. Yes I am.

And the first notes to “God Only Knows” rang out and out I walked.

I remember smiles and feeling a wave of thick, comforting, embracing love that met me at the door. That room was full.

Full of people that had bought plane tickets and spent lots of money to get there. People that had driven for hours across the state in the storms. People who left their houses hours earlier to be there. They were lifting us up with so much love, it was palpable. I couldn’t even process it at that moment.

My eyes were locked onto Mark and we were both holding on by a small tiny thread.

When Trisha spoke, she spoke from not only her heart but from ours too.

“He sees her”

I could’ve gone full blown ugly cry, snot-sobbing. But I held it together.

Then Kizz stood up. Complete surprise to me (and a spur of the moment collaboration between she and Trish). She read the most beautiful poem and I tried once again to hold it together.

Vows spoken and then he was kissing me and we were married!

I can’t wait to see the photographs. I know that the cake was perfect and delicious because we have leftovers and the internet has not quit talking about it. Audra knocked it out of the park with this one. For sure.

It’s been a grand week of marriage.


 I wondered if it would feel different.

It does.

I have this sense of security, deeply rooted and unshakeable.

I’ve looked for this my entire life.

That was a surprise.

Ok I have to finish this because my husband just yelled at me to come look at the full moon with him.

I am a wife.

I am his wife.View More: http://sheradeehurstphotography.pass.us/mandm

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Peace Within the Storm

The weather. Ohholyshitthebed can we just forget about the weather this weekend? The forecasters have been all over the place in terms of severity and amounts, but what they are all agreeing on is that we will have some weather starting tomorrow and continuing through the weekend.

It looks like the flights will all get here fine. That’s good. Now we worry about road conditions in the state. Several guests are making plans to get a room here in Norman or planning to spend the night with friends and family locally, so as not to have to drive home, and just not knowing how it will be. This is a good plan. Because what we all know about Oklahoma weather is:

WHO KNOWS what it’ll do!

I’m actually hoping for some snow wedding photos. Truely.

Elizabeth got here yesterday and other than a few bathrooms that need scrubbing the house is ready. We are heading to El Reno today to pick up supplies, see friends then back to Norman where she will go do some dog training with clients and I’ll run errands  for things like floral tape, greenery and last bits of flowers, groceries for the house, last of the thank you gifts. I may actually try to sneak in my mani-pedi today rather than tomorrow. So lot’s of moving parts.

A few friends are flying in today. The rest of friends and family come in tomorrow. I’m so excited to see everyone.

Now. Back to my list.

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Morning Reflection

The weather is coming, says everything on the internet and television. I’ve been awake most of the week with notes of anxiety about various pieces of this coming week. Last night it revolved around getting Mark home safe and sound from KCMO. I’m sure the roads will be fine…until they aren’t. We spoke yesterday of what he would be driving into and to be weather aware.

I’ve been up since a little before 6am, wheels turning on lists and things to do not only for the week but for work as well as yesterday’s board meeting and the subsequent committees and duties that come with serving. LTYM:OKC is in our final week of accepting submissions and much work awaits us on that project…not until after the wedding though. My mind is full.

Around 6:30 I decided to just get up and make coffee, feed the livestock and start cleaning the house. Assuming travel is uninterrupted, on Thursday we will have a house full of family and friends. Clean Sheets for EVERYONE! WOOT.

I’m adding little things on the list like: take comforters to cleaners, get marriage license and double check appointments and schedules of ALL THE THINGS. I had myself almost worked up into a froth when I decided to just chill out.

I’m sitting here with a semi picked up house and plans to do more cleaning later. I’m going to get to Petsmart at 10 am when they open for more livestock crunchies and treats. I’ve got delicious coffee and cinnamon rolls in the oven and CBS Sunday Morning on the telly.

It hit me that this just *might be the final quiet moments before the storm hits. Both literal and metaphorical.

So I’ll diffuse my oils and light a candle and sip my coffee. I’ll love on the animals and contemplate the week ahead and work to understand that while so much is out of my control, the one thing that is guaranteed to happen is that this time next week, I will wake up with a husband.

I will be a wife.

All is well with my soul.

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We Fancy

We’re 8 days out from the wedding and Mark is in KCMO at the Folk Alliance International..which is really just a fancy name for a big gathering of artists/producers who are looking for work/talent to book for gigs. He’s having an amazing time, has already made great networking connections and had a conversation with Kenneth from Milk Carton Kids about doing a show at The Depot.

My day yesterday was a busy one that included heels, lycra, pearls and Cheryl Strayed author of the acclaimed book “Wild” which is currently in theatres starring Reese Whitherspoon.

It was our Juliette Low Leadership Society luncheon. This is an annual fundraiser to raise money to support girls in their Girl Scout Leadership Experience. There’s always a fancy speaker, last year was Joan Lunden, previously we had the Bush twins, Lisa Ling. It’s kind of a big deal you see.

The week after our wedding, Mark and I will have dinner with Neil Gaimen, before attending his lecture in a symposium series at my alma mater. I’m sure I got the invite because I’m a member of the Alumni Board of Directors. I don’t care, it’s pretty freakin amazing.

Mark and I laughed tonight when he called because OHMYGAHLOOKHOWFANCYWEARE!!!!!

He gets home Sunday. He will spend his birthday (Saturday) doing the things he loves and I will be intrenched in the first USAO board retreat/meeting that begins at 3pm today.

 

Everyone I talk to asks me about next week.

Are you ready? Are you nervous? Did you register anywhere? Do you have a lot more to do? Is it going ok?

The thing is…I’m SO ready. SQUEEE! I’m not nervous at all and the things left to do are miniscule. They will get finished and all will be well. Minor pieces like mani/pedi, stocking the house with foodstuffs, beverages and toilet paper for the cousins, making sure people are picked up at the airport, putting the flower arrangements together, building my bouquet, getting organized with Sheradee for photos, etc. Things that will all get worked out. It seems like a lot, but I have no fears.

The alleged “snomageddon” that all the weather sites are predicting can suck it. I’m not even with that yet. I just want for people to be able to get here. I’d say 90% of my people are traveling. SO I’m just praying for that piece. Snow is fine. Snow is beautiful. I just don’t want travel issues.

This week has been nutty, and it’s not over yet. The weekend Board retreat/meeting will take a huge chunk of time…but I miss Mark being in the house with me. And I can’t wait until he gets home and we can be married.

8 days ya’ll.

8 days until we are Mr & Mrs Fancy.

 

PS: For those asking about registration we did something here:

www.idofoundation.org

 

 

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Party Like It’s 19somethingsuchandsuch

Last night my friends officially launched me into the final days of Singledom. 20 more days ya’ll!

When they asked me about a shower and bachelorette party my first thought was…Can I do that? At 44 years old do we still do those things? I’ve done them once, a lifetime or two ago but I never thought it to happen again.

Duh. DUH MISTI DUH.

When have we ever passed over a chance to celebrate ANYTHING?

So these women planned and delegated and designed and put together one heck of a night for me last night. We had a suite in a fabulous hotel in Bricktown, we had snacks and pre-party drinks and laughter and presents.

I’m just still in awe as I sit here tonight, wearing the softest of pj’s (Thanks Becky!) and looking at this bounty bestowed upon me. It is so overused on the internet so I loathe to say it but really, I feel so blessed. I am honored and blessed to have these women in my life.

They showed up, after kids birthday parties and exhausting days at work they showed up and stayed and gave me fabulous things like soft pants and candles and monogrammed aprons and naughty bits that made us all laugh like hyenas! They gifted me with a throw made out of authentic Clan McClellan tartan. I got silky pjs and sexy panties and my 9th grade mixer dress that for some reason Delbert has kept all of these years! There was a Marriage Survival Kit chock full of bits of encouragement and fun, a shiny home for my ring when I take it off, a fabulous Octopus photo and delicious smelling candles and lotions and potions to make the sexy!

We went to Micky Mantles and had some drinks and laughter and talking and my soul was just full. Full I tell you. Several of us continued to the piano bar were a random woman sitting next to me started telling me explicit details about her secret sex life and she kept calling me Linda.

We sang to Journey and cheers’d and took party pics.

We laughed our way back to the hotel where we stayed up talking until 3am…

In hindsight we really should’ve eaten dinner. It was a rough morning with a communal headache but we all survived.

I am so full of love today. Closing my eyes and seeing the smiling faces around the table who took time out of their lives to say YAY!

These are the moments that sustain.

Lesson:

We are never too old to celebrate each other. Never too old to celebrate love. Never too old to open a present and eat a snack off of a paper plate with a dancing penis on it. We are never too old to lift each other up and support each other.

It matters.

I want you to know it matters to me. Every single moment of it.

 

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