The One Thing I Never Mind Cleaning Up

If you have children you have no choice: Your house will get messy. I have four of them. It’s difficult to keep order when there are four tornadoes living in your small home and each one decides to unload a different tub of toys.

But there is one mess I never mind picking up.

One that, instead of frustration, brings joy.

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Clara at one and a half

Books. I have thousands of them.

We have books in every room of our dwelling: in the kids’ room, in my bedroom, in the living room, basement, kitchen, and in a drawer in the bathroom.

Some of these paper and glue treasures are borrowed from the library. Some have been rescued from the discard/free bin in front of Lowry’s Books & More. Others were acquired at a library book sale, a friend’s book signing, inherited from our parents, purchased by impulse or because of college requirement.

My wife and I didn’t have a conversation about it but somehow books ended up on the bottom of our bookshelves, easily accessible to crawling babies and toddlers. Its almost as if the shelves are begging to be cleared off with one sweep of the arm. This occurs daily and is almost always followed by one of their smiles of immense satisfaction like you and I would have after a hard day of spring cleaning.

But my kids don’t just make messes with books.

Before they could even read I’ve found each one of my children in a room by themselves, by their own volition, flipping through a book. A pile lay all around and they sift through their favorites, looking at the pictures and occasionally making up the words using incoherent babble.

Here’s a few of the books my children have settled on recently.

Emily, my youngest and a proud eighteen months old, goes for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon. It’s on my night stand. I admire the dense plotting at the end of this unfinished novel and she points to random words and emits screeches. Cute screeches.

Bobby, my third child a robust three and a half, carries armfuls, yes, armfuls of Spider-Man and Star Wars books around the house. His favorite is anything with black Spider-Man. He clarifies it is when he has the symbiote suit on not Venom. There’s a difference.

Clara, my second, a joyful five and a half, is currently learning how to read. I marvel at her willingness to trudge through books fit for second graders. She is eager to learn and is already reading astonishingly well. She loves the Finding Dory book a #2 reader she recently picked up from the library.

June, my oldest at seven and a half and most advanced reader, loves Elephant and Piggy Books, Owl at Home by Arnold Lobel, and the Princess in Black series. I marvel at her confidence and vocabulary. Life goes so fast.

Some say books belong on shelves. A home is neat and tidy that way.

I am happy that our books rarely are.

How does your family incorporate books into daily life?

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My Writing Update

Its been a rewarding and exhausting week in writing, work, and my home life. But that does not mean it hasn’t been great, because it has. I hope you had a chance this week to get tired by going after what you love.

Below is a summary of my writing activities this past week and a glimpse of what’s coming up.

Photo Credit: Vanessa Lynn. via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Vanessa Lynn. via Compfight cc

Blog Recap

10 Ways To Get Your Blog Back On Track

We all have times when we struggle in the middle of our blog. I’ve posted 10 tips to help you dig in and get back in the groove. Click Here To Read It.

How To Eradicate The Fear Of Failure Once And For All

Fear can follow us around like a shadow. We want to make a career jump, write that book, or try our hand at painting but we don’t because secretly deep down we are afraid of what others might think or what’s on the other side of our currently comfortable lifestyle.  Here I talked about taking consistent steps toward what we want. Click Here To Read It.

If You Don’t Succeed Is The Journey Worth It? Lessons From A Failed Novel

For the past decade I wrote multiple drafts of one story. It was terrible but better in the end. I’ve put it on the shelf for now. As I reflect back I wonder if all of the struggle and thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of words were a waste. Click Here To Read It.

On Removing Impulse And Instilling Good Habits

Life can be easily lived like floating in a lazy river. But if want to be brave and grab the life we want it means swimming against the current. Here I talk about how I tipped the scales at 200lbs for the first time in my life and what I am going to about it. Click Here To Read It.

Don’t Be A Cover Band

Many artists want to repeat the same success as the greats. In this blog I discuss how we need to blaze our own trail if we want to find our unique voice. Click Here To Read It.

How To Always Have Something To Write About

As a blogger or writer or anyone trying to fit their dream into their day stuffed with obligation, you can feel a bit like Sisyphus rolling his bolder up a hill over and over again. It can seem pointless and dull or overwhelming, trying to come up with something write about every day. Click Here To Read It.

My Current Project

I’m working on a middle grade book (4-8th grade target audience) and am nearly a quarter of the way through. I said last week I hope to get 10,000 written. Looking back, that was such an unrealistic goal! I probably wrote 1,000. My hope this week is to at least triple that. This should be realistic as I look at my schedule this week.

Speaking

Next month I’ll be speaking at the Jot Conference on Blogging. I’m excited to be a part of this conference again.

Plan to live this week. Life won’t just happen to you. Go and get it.