Where’d You Grow Wednesday? Into My Writing Business Britches

WORDS For Sale

As any writer or artist knows, talent alone doesn’t always lead to success. The ability to sell oneself is the difference between those of us who starve for our craft and those of us who have found a way to stand solidly in a fickle market.

I may know how to write, but I suck at selling.

Were it not for my generous, patient, and encouraging husband, I would have been a very hungry writer. Either that or I would have had to get a “real” job. Without his backing, years ago I would have had to abandon marriage books with meagre profits, agented non-fiction proposals that still sit on publishers’ desks, novel drafts, blogposts, Instablogs, and Facebook posts. With him I’ve been able to piddle and hone my craft because I have never had to rely on selling anything while I did it.

It is time for me to step up my game.

The seasonal businesses that have fed our family and financed every part of our lives are all dependent upon crowds of people. The entertainment company where my husband has been employed for over twenty-five years, (also employing other members of our family for nearly eight years) hosts sixteen days of partying for tens of thousands of people and hundreds of employees. Not exactly the essential type of gathering encouraged or dependable in time of pandemic. We also both coach sports teams. Also life-as-we-used-to-live-it-but-now-we-don’t-know-when-we’ll-do-that-again activities. Compounding all of this is the fact that we are in mid-build for our next adventure…yet another business built on events, gatherings, and celebrations for crowds of folks.

We always thought we weren’t putting our eggs in one basket, but we also never imagined that groups of people who would normally and happily congregate in any one of the nests we’ve built would be rightly concerned about that dangerous decision. For a time, it makes sense that the baskets we’ve always relied upon will stay empty and it’s time to build a new one.

It is an #endoftheroad unlike any we’ve ever navigated. I have to do something while we wait it out.

Choosing to Grow has pulled me out of desperately stagnant places before, and I am hopeful it will happen again.  I have no grand illusions that this venture, all on its own, will supplant all that has been paused, but it is an offering I can make right now with the one thing I’m prepared to do.

I am fairly certain my marketing techniques will not include shameless plugs, because like I mentioned before, I suck at selling, but I do think I’ll post announcements about projects I’m doing and I’ll offer invitations to let me partner for meaningful gifts for loved ones where words I can offer might help.

A few ideas percolating right now can be found on the newly created Custom Gifts tab on my website. Other possible projects for sale will include:

  • Personalized Poems
  • Picture/ poem/ prayer prints
  • Video montages
  • Postcards
  • Greeting Cards
  • Photo magnets

If you know of anyone looking for a unique gift, please send them my way.

In addition to these creative offerings I will also engage in more freelance writing opportunities, rewrite Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage (The Pandemic Edition), seek online or in person speaking opportunities and keep plugging on my novel revision.

I made a decision to Choose to Grow through my life and now, more than ever, is the time to do just that.

Meagan Frank

Copyright 2020

Where’d You Grow Wednesday? Earth Day at the End of the Road

1

As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kinds of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.                      Henry David Thoreau

Choosing to Grow has dominated my life. As I knelt on the cold linoleum of a rented bathroom sixteen years ago, my prayer of desperation yielded the instruction to Choose to Grow. I’ve pursued that ever since. What CTG means is I never settle for blind acceptance of someone’s idea. I investigate, deconstruct and analyze continually to see what growth is possible and what noticing I should entertain.

To be honest, growing started in the dark recesses of my mind long before I realized it was aiming my shoulders to find blossom at the end of this road.

From a deep interest in Thoreau’s instructions for Civil Disobedience at Waldon Pond, to journal entry reflections written prior to 9-11, through the first book I researched, and because of all the moves we endured oscillating between still quiet and robust busyness in our married life, I’ve sensed this house would be our landing spot and our legacy project would be The Park.

Now that we are here, I’m more challenged than ever to allow space for the thoughts that will tread deep paths in my mind.

This Week’s Growth

It is Earth Day 2020. Fifty years since its inception and smackdab in the middle of  a contentious and deadly pandemic. What began as a Wisconsin senator’s launchpad for environmental activism has proven to be a chasm in today’s political climate. It’s one more thing people have decided to fight about. Many have become far too frustrated to sit still for a second, look at the world literally in their back yards and attend to the plants, or the weeds, or the birds and animals that work to exist there- even when a deadly virus mandates it. Finding satisfaction in the simple is not the way of our American life and especially not our stay-at-home resistance.

An increasing number of people prefer to fight. Joining causes and raising voices that pit science against beliefs and responsibilities against freedoms.  I stand firmly between the contrasts, contemplating all of it.

Fuel for my thinking this week came in both a book and a movie. The book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant has challenged me to stay courageous in the ways I chafe at societal norms. I also found plenty of food for thought watching the movie, The Biggest Little Farm, about natural, organic and co-existent farming that is an actual place with actual awe-inspiring growth.

My husband and I are spending this down time better laying plans for The Park. We want to make use of the landscape for the enjoyment and enrichment of all people able to visit. We want to encourage a gentle balance between the natural tendencies of the land to grow and people’s recreation on it. We have adopted a business model of Just Enough. Just enough visitors to keep the resources abundant. Just enough money to keep the business viable and the employees well paid. Just enough profit to make regular charitable contributions to those around us who need it. Just enough scheduling that there is balance between work and recreation for our family too.

Today is not a political day for me. To be honest, every single day here at the end of the road is Earth Day. Especially now that I have time to observe the spring version of this property, I am compelled by the life that struggles to bloom, emerging through decaying layers that were yielded before the winter snow buried them. I’m distracted by the return of birds to nests and the cyclical rhythm of next-generation-eagle-pairing. I am not an activist, but I guess I will claim I am an environmentalist because the world around me is too fascinating to disregard.

Here are today’s Earth Day postcards from the end of the road.

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New sprout sidled up next to last year’s dead root.

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A pair of geese chatting about the wind-driven waves and the direction they intend to fly away from me.

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A discarded fishing reel from over fifty years ago…one of the trash items collected for Earth Day.

3

Budding trees are subtle, but incredible when observed up close.

May this Earth Day provide at least a moment of contemplation and fertile ground for your choice to grow too.

Meagan Frank

Copyright 2020

Life at the End of the Road

We’ve hit a dead end. All of us. It’ll be disorienting for a while, but I believe we can, and must, learn to live well at the end of the road.

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This was an actual surprise dead-end we found trying to get our drive-thru shamrock shakes back to the family.

It is likely your end-of-the-road is not exactly like our family’s new and literal end-of-the-road home, but I know we are all sitting in a similar place right now.  An unexpected end has happened for all of us in one way or another. I am admittedly unsure how the road will open up again, but I am confident of one thing: Hope IS on the other side.

Our family of five is huddled in our newly-almost-fully-renovated-three-and-a-half-bedroom-one-bathroom lake house at the end of a road. Rough, I know. Our twenty-year-old is home from college for the semester and our high schooler has resigned herself to the real possibility she’ll spend the rest of her senior year at the end of this road. The eighth-grader thought she’d have this place pretty much to herself, but that is not the case for the foreseeable future. Not much of our move here has gone how I sensed it should, but in the strangest sense of all, it feels like exactly where we are supposed to be.

What if that is the truth for everyone? What if your hard stop is intended for difficult reflection, a reset of priorities, a shift in perspective you never considered you’d need to do?

People tend to fear endings so much, but the more I let myself look at them, the more I believe we are meant to live as fully in our endings as in any other part of our lives. Bring faith to all of it: beginning, middle, and dead/ final ends.

Over a decade ago, I had a premonition I would meet my end at this lake house.

The first night we stayed in our then-run-down little cabin, my husband went out to buy supplies. I had tucked our three small kids into bed and as I stood waiting at the window for him to return, I became awash with fear. I felt so uneasy in the unfamiliar, dimly-lit kitchen and I was overwhelmed by the thought of one thing: mortality. It was a feeling more than it was a word. I thought, “he’s not coming back tonight.” I was sure of it. The nervous energy ushered in an almost paralyzing fear. I was compelled by this feeling enough to write myself a letter to make record. He did come back and I quickly pivoted the admission that the feeling of mortality probably applied to me. It was like the certainty I felt after my husband kissed me goodnight and I knew we’d be married. I simply knew ends at this lake house would happen.

I still believe in that truth. Maybe the COVID-19 world shift is the end I sensed or maybe I’ll meet my actual end here, but no matter what, I’m not afraid of it like I used to be. You’d think knowing what I do about this place, I would try harder to avoid it. That’s what I would do if I wanted fear to carry me. Faith-filled choices carry us too, and without resistance sometimes that means we head right back to face the fears we spend most of our lives avoiding.

The crazy thing is, simultaneous to the thoughts of endings at this lake house,  my husband and I have followed a compulsion to live here and pursue plans to build The Park. Each day we wake up, we’ll continue to work toward that. I do sense, in these crazy times, I should be doing something else too.  The Park, like this house, sits at the end of a road. (sorta think that’s not a coincidence) I feel a new calling to photograph and blog about how we attempt to live life fully while we wait at the #endoftheroad.  I’ll post those photos and musings on my Instagram and Facebook pages.

soft white grass

For those of you wrangling with the difficulties you have today and the anticipated discomfort yet to come, I am sincerely sorry you have landed where you never intended to travel. I do believe the end of the road is not to be feared, however, and instead sits waiting in invitation to remind us that hope, faith and love are real things that deserve our attention in beginnings, middles and endings.

When all else fails, look to the children. Shel Silverstein was one of my favorite poets as a kid. This morning as I walked and photographed the space of our property at the end of the road, inspired by a photographer who posts pictures regularly from somewhere on his eighty acres, I thought about Silverstein’s poem Where the Sidewalk Ends. Without knowing why I loved it as a kid, rereading it today reminded me that I loved it because he highlights the hope that exists because of children. They are a hope we can look to as we wait at the end of the road for the other hope we know is coming.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

There is a place where the sidewalk ends

And before the street begins,

And there the grass grows soft and white,

And there the sun burns crimson bright,

And there the moon-bird rests from his flight

To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black

And the dark street winds and bends.

Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow

We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And watch where the chalk-white arrows go

To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes, we’ll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,

And we’ll go where the chalk-white arrows go,

For the children, they mark, and the children, they know

The place where the sidewalk ends.

Meagan Frank

Copyright 2020

It’s a Calling. It’s a Dream. It’s a Park!

WoodWind Park

Hubby and I are pretty quiet people with loud, preposterous dreams.

Since 2001 we have actively sought purpose. Much of that time has been spent throwing out ridiculous ideas over coffee or while laying awake in bed. Sometimes we would stop in the middle of the trail we had been walking because an awesome idea had arrived.

“Let’s build a free sports center.”

“Let’s renovate an old movie theatre and turn it into a music venue.”

“Let’s buy that old creamery and use one part for a bar and grill and the other part for a formal dining room.”

“Let’s sell t-shirts with a character doing fun active things. Let’s call him Pudgie.”

“Let’s make fried ice cream in every flavor imaginable.”

“Let’s find a way to bring people together for events and ideas.”

My journals have recorded this messy pursuit. I wrote down whisperings and nudgings that got louder and louder for us over the past ten years. What I realize is that every curiosity, every misstep, every miscalculation was a flat-out answer to prayers.

What felt like simply fun and interesting conversations was a calling neither of us realized we were contemplating answering. I kid you not, these “visions” were so strong for me that I literally wrote an entire draft of a novel about this magical place that houses eternity and some of the elements of what I wrote about three years ago are actually starting to be real-life things.

Hubby and I realize we were meant to buy an abandoned ski hill and turn it into something amazing. To foster a place where activity can be offered for practically nothing, where music can be enjoyed in big and small ways, where informal and formal dining can co-exist, where apparel highlighting the antics of our cartoon Pudgie is actually possible, where fried ice cream has a place to be created and where events and ideas will be endless.

For this imagined thing to come to life, we will be selling our house, downsizing to our cabin on the lake that is less than twenty minutes from our new project, changing the nature of the jobs we have and working like crazy for the next couple years to get the doors open and the outside welcoming.

The progress and setbacks are being chronicled on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and we are grateful for the support and prayers we are receiving from all corners of the world.

Copyright Meagan Frank 2019

 

 

9/11 Led Us to The Park

WWP

If you were old enough, you remember where you were the day planes crashed into buildings and the world changed forever.

I was shaken awake by my husband at the news we were under attack. “We”: our small nuclear family of three, thousands of miles away from actual destruction, death, and chaos. Yes, “we” were under attack.

What we believed about the world was no longer true. How we trusted goodness and leaned into love was challenged to the absolute core. I’ve never felt more a part of that larger “we” than I did with the events of that horrible day.

Maybe I had no right. I had walked away from the TV images and taken our then one-year-old son to the empty and silent playground at a park in Castle Rock, Colorado. No one was there playing. No one was laughing, or swinging, or chasing, or sliding. No planes flew overhead and yet in that silent stillness I felt this guttural connection to the contrast of noise: the sirens, the roar of collapsing buildings, and the screams of terrified people.

What I discovered at that playground is that we stop living when we’re under attack.

The trajectory of life changed for a lot of people on that day, and our family was no exception.

Later that fall, on a road trip back from Minnesota I asked my husband whether he felt like our lives were purposeful. Lots of people asked that question in the wake of 9/11 and those who spent time truth-seeking found unique and various answers. Some felt called to rush to the scene as helpers. Others felt the need to take up arms and physically defend against other possible attacks. Some moved home. Some set off to see the world. Some got married. Some made babies. Some made art. And some, feeling utterly useless otherwise, set out to the park.

No matter what our next steps were, we all had to step into a brand new world.

The attack changed us. For those who honestly sought guidance to return to truth and purpose, I have watched in so many beautiful ways how the gaping hole of 9/11 has planted gorgeous outgrowth in response.

It certainly happened for me and my husband. It has been a slow-growing and unexpected revelation but we did keep earnestly seeking in pursuit of the one thing that felt like our battle against attack. After eighteen years, we have landed at The Park.

I will spend time in upcoming blogposts writing about how this story has unfolded for us,  but here is a glimpse of the destination we didn’t even know we were pursuing. It is a testament to the power of faith and proof that goodness and love remain. No attack can diminish them.

WOODWIND PARK VIDEO

 

Meagan Frank Copyright 2019

 

Choose a Territory of Love

I was on the ground in four states yesterday, flying from Colorado to Arizona to Minnesota and then shuttling to Wisconsin. I’ll do the trip backward tomorrow, without the annoying Phoenix connection.

It’s how I roll this time of year.

On the weekends, I sleep in an RV bus. I spend my time wandering around a foothill in Larkspur, Colorado, listening to minstrels and bagpipes, and marveling at people willing to spend hours on makeup and costumes, some of whom get paid to do it.

Then I pop home a few times during the week and find scenes like this one, unfolding in my kitchen.

https://www.instagram.com/tv/BzNjUruAWDo/?igshid=qw3vprkum1r5

With a six-hour solo travel day on planes and in airports, it’s impossible not to people watch (and listen).

I’ve decided something important. No matter where you are, or with whom, you choose your territory. It goes with you and you have so much more choice about the territory you carry than most people realize.

If you watch the video long enough, you’ll see my neighbor’s cat pop in the window, sidling up to the music. His owner is away house sitting as she prepares to build a house next door to the one she sold. The vet told her to leave Frank, the cat, in his territory because cats are more tied to territories than people.

I’m not sure I totally buy that because I know Frank absolutely adores my neighbor and I think the rest of the neighbors he visits make the territory he roams a loving one. He has been a stray for part of his life, but navigates by seeking out the support he needs. Without loving people, I don’t think Frank would stay in this territory. He certainly has the demeanor to attract loving people and maybe that’s the sort of territory the vet meant. Cat’s create their territories by how they come into an area.

So, today, no matter where you are, or with whom you are navigating the spaces you occupy, I challenge you to imagine the most loving territory you can, and bring it with you everywhere you go.

Copyright 2019 Meagan Frank

An Introverted Writer Goes YouTubing

I post one blogpost and I feel like I’m yelling from a platform–with a bullhorn–at a microphone.

What? You can’t hear me? Oh. That’s fine. I tried. Bye.

I want to say that. After short efforts to put content into the cyberworld, I want to hole up back in my cocoon and be content with collecting and digesting ideas and information, occasionally creating something new, whispering it to the worldwide web, and calling it good.

But it’s not good.

I’ve learned too much about the projects I’ve tackled to keep the valuable information to myself, for just our little family, or for the teams and families I coach.

I am a writer, so I will write, but there is this other part of me that simply hasn’t been given space enough to grow as it should and I need to pay attention to the gnawing feeling I have to attend to it.

I need to teach.

I HAVE to try to share what I’ve learned in whatever media I can. So, I will try harder.

I will write more. I will step into those places I ventured once and build back up the teaching/presenting/consulting muscles I’ve let atrophy.

I heard a baseball coach interviewed this week and he spoke about the mantra they have for their team: “Work while you’re waiting.”

I am waiting to get feedback on my proposal, on queries, on the next steps for The Team Adult Playbook I need to finish, and I have chosen to work while I wait.

So, I’m working on defining and fine-tuning my Choosing to Grow brand. I wear a lot of hats for the various projects I pursue and I want to share the observations, research, and writing in all the ways I can.

I have been Choosing to Grow:Through Marriage for fifteen years now. I just completed the research for Choosing to Grow: For the Sport of It and The Team Adult Playbook is blossoming because of it. I am chronicling the ways I am Choosing to Grow: GREENER and writing ties it all together.

I wear different hats, and I am now standing firmly beneath my Choosing to Grow umbrella choosing to grow in the ways I offer up the fruits of my labor.

If you are a YouTuber, I’d love to have you as a subscriber on my Choosing to Grow channel.

If you are on Instagram, I Instablog on my account regularly @meaganfrank.

I have an author Facebook Page as well as pages devoted entirely to Team Adult and Choosing to Grow: Through Marriage. Oh yeah, and I’m on Twitter too @meaganfrank_ctg.

Thank you for reading the words I write, listening to the stories I tell, and sharing anything you think will be valuable to people you love.

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2019                                     www.meaganfrank.com    

I Think I’m a Wood Duck…

male wood duck 3

Did you know there are ducks that live in trees? Yeah, me neither. (and if you said yes, you can keep that cockiness to yourself)

I saw this guy perched outside my kitchen window the other day and I ran for my camera because I was sure I was about to capture something extraordinary. I mean, look!

It’s a duck!

In a tree!

It turns out I’m like the only person interested in birding (and who lives in Wisconsin) who didn’t know that wood ducks are a thing. And apparently you can find them like everywhere water and woods collide. Ok, so I can expect to see this again in my lifetime, but just because I’m not very far up the birding learning curve, it doesn’t mean I can’t be excited about catching this guy posed on a branch. I was meant to see him and with his colorful-come-to-me-ladies-I-have-my-good-feathers-on-today look, I couldn’t help but to think about him.

So, after much contemplation, I have come to a conclusion.

I think I might be a wood duck. It’s a strange spirit animal, I know, but hear me out.

The old me, before I saw a duck in a tree, believed that ducks could be found floating in ponds or waddling in nearby grassy knolls. Most ducks behave that way, but not the wood duck. Wood ducks can do the normal duck things, sure, like swimming and laying eggs, but they do things just a little differently. They are non-conformists. I get it.

Like all ducks, wood ducks pair off with mates, but instead of hiding in grasses, they live in strategically placed wood boxes along the water, or in hollowed trees where they lay their eggs.

Hubby and I live in a bus in the summer…just sayin’.

Wood ducks are the only species of duck that has strong claws for grabbing branches and webbed feet for swimming. Nothing really anatomical I can use to relate, but I do find myself often oscillating between writing and coaching, unsure which role is truly me. Like the wood duck, I can navigate both worlds, I just need to focus where I am.

Maybe the way I am most like wood ducks is in the way the mother duck moves the newly hatched ducklings from the tree to the water. The mother duck goes first, getting herself to the ground, and then she calls to the ducklings who are to follow her out of the nest. She calls with encouragement and the ducklings are expected to follow with faith and a leap. They are not able to fly when this happens. The mother hopes she has chosen a good spot, with a soft-leaf landing, and she then has to trust in the evolution of their species that like all those before her, the ducklings can handle the fall.

I saw this video a few years ago, but I did not know they were wood ducks.

duck jump

I am more like that wood duck mother than is comfortable for a lot of people.

I have faith in the surroundings we’ve created, I have faith in the resilience of our children, and I have faith in the natural wonder of personal growth that best happens when no one pushes us, but we are encouraged to go for it, so we do.

I was on a walk with Nate today, a gift of his time he gave me without asking, and I lamented the fact I need to change my writing, vlogging, YouTubing, content-creation mode of operation to fit a “standard” expected by the publishing world. He reminded me that with any new venture there are things I’ll need to do, but I need to remember I am more equipped to do them than I think.

I am a wood duck. Fiercely equipped, adaptable to many situations and filled with a faith that is sometimes hard to comprehend. I cannot think of an animal better suited to accompany me on this next phase of my production career because, and I forgot to mention, they are also the only duck that produces two broods a year. Production is what wood ducks do!

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2019                                     www.meaganfrank.com                                    @meaganfrank_ctg

 

 

A 96th Birthday Celebration: One Recipe at a Time

96 bday cakeToday is my grandmother’s 96th birthday and she’s been on my mind all week. I don’t live close enough to her to make plans for a coffee date or a special lunch, but I wanted to do something to celebrate her.

So, I cooked.

For those of you who know how challenged I can sometimes be in the kitchen, I made the conscious decision to make one of her recipes each day this week.

Choosing to Grow Project Prep

My antique recipe exploration served as a way to honor my grandmother, someone whose cooking I have always admired, and it also set the table for the launch of my next Choosing to Grow project. (puns completely intended)

For several years I have sensed that the CTG topic of exploration that would come after my sports book would be about food: how to grow it, why I eat it, how I feel about it, how best I can share it with others, and how I can manage to make a living while traveling the world and consuming it. (sortof my retirement plan)

My grandma was pretty integral in my first Choosing to Grow project, championing my book about marriage and encouraging me through the entire journey. I feel it is completely appropriate to pair her 96th birthday celebration with meaningful food that has the capacity to grow my enthusiasm for my next chapter.

So Happy Birthday Grandma!  Thank you for gifting me with the recipe book so many years ago and for including the reasons those recipes were important to you.  Here are the dishes I made this week and the reasons I was compelled to pick them. I’ll include the recipe for our favorite.

 

Chicken Casserole 3

I made this particular chicken casserole because of my Grandma’s note about it: “My dear John (my uncle who passed away when he was 29) liked this dish when he was a little guy. I’ve always though about him when making it or seeing this recipe.”

Shrimp and Blue Cheese Salad

This one sounded so fresh and good. I would bet it would be even more delicious in the summer, but I needed a little summertime feeling this week in January.

Beef Soup

My grandmother’s note convinced me this would be the perfect dish for a blustery-below-zero day. She wrote “Enjoy the smell of soup cooking on a cold, snowy, wintry day. We were in Dillon at Mintken’s condo and had been out in the cold. When we came home to this great aroma February 1964. I wrote this recipe as Margaret related it to me on a bridge scorepad as we spent many hours playing bridge.”

Potato Salad 

My grandma’s note on the recipe: “This recipe probably has the most fond memories of any as Jerry and I worked on it together for him to take to a men’s club picnic at St. James. I had never made potato salad and he tried to remember how his step-mother made it. It turned out to be a GREAT hit at the picnic. From then on I have had many compliments on it and probably haven’t made it exactly the same twice.”

I chose it because it is my family’s absolutely favorite Grandma B recipe and I couldn’t have a week of honoring her without making it.

Potato Salad Recipe

  • 8 potatoes boiled and then peeled of skin while hot
  • 6 hard boiled eggs
  • Cut up the potatoes while warm.
  • 1 lb of bacon cut into small pieces (1 T of grease poured over potatoes)
  • 1/2 white onion diced small
  • Add sliced eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups Mayo
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • (my grandma included 1 T celery seed, but I’ve never included it in my version)

And finally, I attempted my very first traditional family Chocolate Cake. It’s hard for me to believe that I have never attempted to make this cake before. It is THE cake I had for every childhood birthday and for the birthdays of my siblings. I never made it once I got married or when my kids started to celebrate their birthdays. My family tends to like ice cream cakes much more than pastry cakes, so I never pushed it. (plus, for some reason that cake generally does not turn out quite right when anyone except my mom or my grandma makes it)

I did learn some things in this first CTG with Food experience:

  • Not all recipe ingredients withstand the test of time. (or they become repackaged and hard to find)
  • I am better at cooking than I am at baking.
  • There are SO many spices I have yet to try.
  • Fresh ingredients are totally the way to go.
  • My grandma really likes celery.
  • And, recipes are like bridges connecting time, memories and people, whether they are in the same room or not.

Copyright Choosing to Grow 2019                                     www.meaganfrank.com                                        @meaganfrank_ctg

A Letter…On Senior Night

IMG_9896

I gave this letter to Nate last night…

Dear Son,

First born. First grown.

It’s senior night of your last hockey season.

Hours from now, you’ll walk out onto the ice in all of your gear. Your dad will walk stoically hooked into one arm and I’ll lean, unsure of the ice, on the other.

I’m preparing myself for how small I’ll feel. You’re tall now and on skates and in pads, you’ll feel so big to me. Bigger than I’m ready to admit you are.

Mothering you has meant the world to me.

You arrived, and my life became yours. For a second you were a hungry baby who couldn’t keep anything down. And then you were this amazing party-trick-toddler with an awesome sense of humor who loved to sign. Then you were the sweetest big brother who gave endless kisses to your baby sisters and told me how much you loved them all the time.

One of my favorite memories of you was when you were a spunky two-year old running around the house, spiking a little nerf football, declaring touchdown.

“Side step…side step…jiggle, jiggle, jiggly!” You’d dramatically mimic the words and end in an adorable toddler-butt waggle. You loved to celebrate. You still do.IMG_6181

With unbridled enthusiasm, you have often been caught up in the moment of celebration at such a level that you lose sight of those around you. I love watching when those moments happen for you.

I know your sports story has not been all celebration, but I’ve loved being a part of the harder parts too. I’ve loved watching you learn to skate and learn to tie your skates and learn to skate out of trouble. What’s added up over time has helped me to experience more parts of the full version of you than I ever could have known without hockey.

When you were little, you sang sweet songs and danced adorable dances. (Who am I kidding, you still do!) You were small, and cuddle-sized, but I didn’t see the truth.  The truth is, you were just as big to me then as you are now.

Hockey has grown you, but I hope you remember, you’ve always been big. See, that’s the thing about this space in my heart I’ve given over to you. It is bigger than you’ll ever be. You can’t grow into it and you can’t outgrow it.

At some point, you are bound to discover how big you’ve always been, and that is my eternal hope for you.

I am so proud of you and I‘m grateful you’ve made my life bigger. I just ask that you are patient with me as I grow used to what sometimes makes me feel so small.

Love,
Your Biggest Fan…Mom
Copyright Choosing to Grow 2017                                     www.meaganfrank.com                                        @choosingtogrow