The Day I Lost My Chill

By Kate Kole

36 weeks + 6 days pregnant. That’s when I officially lost my chill.

It wasn’t as if things started off in an Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day kind of way. In fact, if you’d seen me just an hour earlier you might have assumed that I had it all together.

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Making The Cheerleading Squad As A Mom

By Kate Kole

You know those things that just come naturally to some people? Like running or baking or hitting a tennis ball over a net? Well, cheerleading was not that thing for me. As an awkward 13-year-old navigating middle school, I really hoped it might be my undiscovered talent. And, after a week spent learning the routines, I discovered that linking movement and words and flexibility was not (and would not be) my hidden skill. Still, I went to tryouts and gave it my all. Clumsily flopping my arms and legs in the air, following the movement of the girls around me, and yelling to “Go! Fight! Win!”

On a cold spring morning, I stood alongside my aspiring peers, anxiously awaiting a glimpse of the roster for the upcoming year. To the surprise of no one, my name was not on the list. I suppose I felt the familiar kind of disappointment that comes with failure of any type. And maybe a little embarrassment too, because I had enough self awareness to know what my high kicks looked like. But more than that, I felt relief. I could put the pompoms down forever knowing that cheering wasn’t in my wheelhouse.

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Chasing The Crape Myrtle Tree

By Jillian Stacia

On my phone, I keep a list of things that I love – things that make me feel like me. It starts with coffee and ends with deep breaths of forest air.

It may seem dumb, this list. Or maybe a little narcissistic. And it’s slightly sad to have to remind myself that I prefer sunflowers to roses, or that naps during sporting events are my favorite way to unwind on the weekends.

But I find myself looking at this list more and more, constantly adding, editing, tweaking.

I’ll catch myself staring down at the numbers, memorizing the content, reading them like a mantra: the sound of rain, library books, reading on the beach. Continue reading

What Do You See?

By Kate Kole

I’ve always loved those images that can be viewed two different ways, like the young girl or old woman. Once you’ve seen one, it’s nearly impossible to recognize the other. And then, just as quickly, the opposite is made clear and it’s hard to go back to your original perception. It seems inconceivable that the two could coexist. And yet somehow, they do.

Life feels like that sometimes.

6 years ago was my wedding rehearsal. I can remember everything about that day in better detail than I can remember what I was doing this Tuesday afternoon.

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Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama

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By Kate Kole

I didn’t have a detailed birth plan. Without ever having ever gone through labor and delivery, I was unsure of how I’d feel about pain management or who I’d really want in the room when it was time to push. So, on the hospital form, I kept my preferences short and sweet. Healthy baby, healthy mama. That was it.

At 40 weeks and 6 days pregnant, I went into labor. After 28 hours, I gave birth to our sweet boy. I awaited the moment everyone promises, when all the pain and pushing evaporates and you hold your baby in your arms for the first time. Continue reading

Take The Damn Nap

Take The Damn Nap

By Kate Kole

My mom says (or if you’d prefer, my mama always said) that as a kid, I’d put to myself to bed when I got tired. Hopped up on Mountain Dew and Dunkaroos, I’d run myself ragged and then climb underneath the covers for an afternoon nap.

Still today, I crave rest when I’m running on empty. But, often times now, I’ll resist the urge. My mind reminds my body of all the things that need doing, and I power my way through the slump. On days when I do opt to lie down, either out of sickness or pure exhaustion, I’m greeted with a familiar, nagging guilt. Do you really have the time for this? Isn’t there something else you could be doing? That you should be doing?   Continue reading

Being Judas

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By Jillian Stacia

On Easter night, I watched Jesus Christ Superstar. I didn’t make it past the first song before I had a startling revelation: holy shit, I’m Judas.

Admittedly, I did not have the strictest religious upbringing – I’m one of those “holiday Christians”. But I know enough about Jesus and the resurrection to know that I really do not want to be Judas. In the whole cast of characters, he’s like, the worst one. You know, the bad guy. The big one. The one who betrays Jesus and is responsible for his death. Yeah, that dude. No one wants to be that dude. Continue reading

My Life Looks Different Than I Thought It Would

My Life Looks Different Than I Thought It Would

By Kate Kole

Sometime during middle school, I picked the house I would live in once I became a grown up. It was a 10-minute walk from my childhood home, quaint and complete with a white picket fence.

I imagined my brother and sister would buy places in the same neighborhood. We’d all get married and have kids. They’d play little league together and we’d barbecue with my parents on Sunday afternoons. Continue reading

The In-Between Time

Living In This Chapter

By Kate Kole

It’s Tuesday, which traditionally isn’t my favorite day of the week. I don’t think I’m in the minority here, as there aren’t a lot of graphic tanks on the market with “Tues-yay” or “Hello, Tuesday!” or “Tuesday Funday” plastered across the front. And we certainly don’t greet each other with “Happy Tuesday!” the same way we might on a Friday morning.

It isn’t a bad day, more of just an in-betweener. It’s the day I’ll start dreaming about what I’ll have as my evening dessert at 9:47 a.m. and making weekend plans – dangling the ‘what’s up next’ carrot in front of my face as incentive to power through whatever tasks my to-do-list hosts. Continue reading

Not This.

Not This.

By Jillian Stacia

Not This.

It rang clear and true while I sat in the workshops, networked in the exhibit hall, chewed my dinner during the Awards Banquet.

Not This, Not This, Not This.

The concept of “Not This” comes from bestselling author, Elizabeth Gilbert. Gilbert writes, “Most of us, at some point in our lives (unless we have done everything perfectly…which is: nobody) will have to face a terrible moment in which we realize that we have somehow ended up in the wrong place.” She goes on to say, “I call this moment of realization: NOT THIS.”

This was my moment of realization. This was my Not This. Continue reading