Jan 182011

There was a couple who’d been married for twelve years. The first two years were good, happy even . . . but then the kids came and work got hard and money got tight and the shine wore off of each of them. She used to see strong and silent but now she saw cold and distant. He used to see passionate and loving, but now he saw dramatic and meddling. They allowed themselves to become annoyed with each other. And so they stopped being careful. They stopped taking care of each other because they each decided they needed to look out for themselves.

And the distances between them grew longer and deeper until it felt impossible to touch even when they were in the same room. And one day she said to her girlfriend. . . I just don’t love him anymore. And it felt terrifying and exciting to say. And he said to his buddy . . . I don’t know if I ever loved her. And their friends said what about counseling but it all seemed tangled up too tight to try to unwind.

She got home from work one evening and fed the kids and put them to bed and she was tired to the bone. And he was late again. Late again. And even though he was late and the house was a mess, she knew that he would walk in the door, pour his glass of wine, and sit down at the kitchen table and relax. He’d sit and relax. She couldn’t even remember what relaxing felt like. She was always either going like hell or sleeping. Somebody had to keep the family running.

She stared at his bottle of wine on the counter. Then her eyes wandered over to their wedding photo on the wall. Clueless, she thought. We were clueless. But happy. Look at us. We were happy. We were hopeful.

God, please help us, she said silently.

Then she walked over to the counter and poured a glass of wine for him. She put it next to his book on the kitchen table, the place he loved to sit and relax, and she went upstairs to sleep.

He tiptoed into the house fifteen minutes later. He knew he’d missed the kids’ bedtime again, he knew his wife would be angry again, and he prepared himself for her steely silence. He hung up his coat and walked into the kitchen. He saw his glass of wine, and his book, and his chair pulled out for him. He stood and stared for a moment, trying to understand.

It felt like she was speaking directly to him for the first time in a long, long while.

He sat down and drank his wine. But instead of reading, he thought about her. He thought about how hard she worked, how early she woke to get the kids to school and herself to the office. He felt grateful. He finished his wine and then walked over to the coffee maker. He filled it up and set the automatic timer. 5:30 am. It would be ready when she came downstairs. He placed her favorite mug on the counter. And then he walked upstairs and quietly slipped into bed next to her.

The next morning she woke up and stumbled downstairs, exhausted, to the kitchen. She stopped when she heard the coffee maker brewing and stared at it for a few moments, trying to understand.

It felt like he was speaking directly to her for the first time in a very, very long while.

She felt grateful.

That evening, she stayed up until he got home. And she allowed her arm to brush his as they prepared dinner together. And after the kids went to bed and they assumed their TV viewing positions on the couch . . . he reached out for her hand. It was hard, but he did it.

And things started to unwind. A little teeny bit.

Look. I know it’s hard. It’s all so damn hard and confusing and complicated and things get wound up so tight you can’t even find the ends sometimes.

All I’m saying is that somebody’s got to pour that first glass of wine.

Because love is not something for which to search or wait or hope or dream. It’s simply something to do.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Dec 142010

Hello, Lovies.

So sorry for the lapse in writing. I’ve been trying to write – trying pretty hard, actually. But I think my Lyme has damaged the half of my brain that is usually in working order, the writing part of my brain. It’s a dilemma.

The last two weeks have been weird. I’ve been exhausted and a little (a lot) depressed. When I found out that my Lyme was back, I developed a brilliant plan which I shared with my friends and family. My plan was to refuse to have Lyme, and to carry on with my regular life. I thought that this plan would work, because honestly, I am just too peppy and spastic and optimistic and rebellious to really be sick.

My body is rejecting my plan. It is insisting that I do, in fact have Lyme. And along with all kinds of other fantastic symptoms, Lyme makes one sort of…well, stupid. Stupid-er, in my case.

I once went to a Lyme symposium at which several experts spoke about the disease. One of the experts actually had Lyme herself… and she was brilliant, but it became clear during the first minute of her speech that she couldn’t remember any words. I’m not kidding. She’d say . . . “I’m here today…to…to…to….hmmmm.” And then she’d look down at her notes and say “Oh, yes! To discuss LYME DISEASE. Lyme disease is caused by …by…by….by….hmmmmm. OH YES! A TICK!” And this sort of thing went on for thirty minutes. At one point she was trying to describe her life on her family’s farm and she actually had to describe horses to us, because she couldn’t remember the word horse. “I love to ride large . . . tall . . . brown . . . animals. That gallop. And say ‘neigh.’ And I brush them.” Like that. This woman was a doctor. I can’t say that this particular symposium was very comforting.

Anyway. Like the sweet doctor, I can’t remember any words right now. Or where I am, quite often. Truly. Also, when Craig is talking to me, I don’t have any idea what he’s talking about. Which is not new. At all. But usually I don’t know what he’s talking about because I am thinking about writing, or the sky, or paint colors. But now when he’s talking, I’m not thinking about anything else. I just can’t process. He talks. And I stare. And then when it becomes clear that it’s my turn to talk, I keep staring. And then he says, “Okay. Never mind.” And I say, “Okay. Sounds good. ” And then I try to remember what I was doing before he started talking.

You can imagine that due to my brain deadness, whipping up any sort of essay for you all each morning has become problematic. Mostly since I can’t usually even remember what our little blog is about. Something about monasteries, right? Are we monks??? I can’t find any robes lying around anywhere and I apparently have several children which seems odd for a monk. Hm.

This whole brain issue has been stressing me out. Stressing me right out. Because we need each other here. And I thought…man. I don’t know how to keep this going. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say, other than: WHERE ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH ARE MY KEYS, PEOPLE? Damn.

But yesterday I was laying in the bathtub thinking about my sister, who is coming home for good tomorrow. For good. Tomorrow. She and John will arrive on my doorstep at 8am. The whole family will be here waiting. At this point in time I can’t really remember who the whole family is, but I am assured that they will all be here and that several of them are lovely.

Amazing. She’s coming home.

And then I started thinking about Christmas, which is also approaching fast. This Christmas thing, it’s a big deal for us Christians. God coming to Earth to live and love and die for us is a pretty big deal.

And I was thinking that even though I might be pretty stupid these days . . . I can still recognize holy ground when I see it.

The next few weeks are Holy Ground. For lots of us.

And so I thought. Hm. Maybe I’m not supposed to be fighting my way through this haze – grabbing desperately for something, anything to say. Maybe I’m supposed to shut up for awhile. Maybe God wants me to be quiet and soak in the arrival of my Sister, and of His son. Maybe He wants me to make some room for them.

Maybe God actually has to render me catatonic to get me to hush. To rest. To Be Still. Because that’s what this season is about, isn’t it? It’s about slowing down. Making room at the Inn. Practicing our faith that He makes the world spin, we don’t. So if we just stop for awhile, it’ll be okay. It’s about marveling at miracles. It’s about getting very, very small, and very, very cozy. Halting production. Quitting consumption. Worshipping. It’s about gratitude, worship and awe.

Come, Let Us Adore Him.

And so that’s what I’m going to do. I am going to get very quiet for awhile. At least for a month, I think. I am going to soak up the arrival of my Sister and my Jesus. I am going to spend my usual writing time curled up on the couch with my coffee and my Bible. Reading, listening, thinking, praying. They’re all the same things, really. For a good long while, I am going to stop pouring myself out and start soaking Him in. Because when I start to feel drained, it’s time to stop and fill myself back up. So I am going to create some silence and space. That’s where creativity starts, anyway. Not through struggle, but through space. I never, ever, get more accomplished in my creative life than when I commit to doing nothing. All creation starts from nothingness, right? That’s how God started creating, anyway. I could take a lesson.

And so, I am leaving you for a bit, to prepare for Christmas. Not to decorate prepare or mall prepare. To really prepare.

I love you all so much. I am crying right now, that’s how much I love you. You make my life fuller and truer and more magical. And I want us to do 2011 together. Let’s rock it out, together. I’ll meet you back here at the end of January. Don’t forget about me.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Monkees.

Love, G

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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Dec 092010
Our auction was a ludicrous success. Andrea and I put three checks in the mail this week.We sent $1863 to Sarah and $1863 to Rocky. I actually took pictures of the checks to show you, but right before I posted them, Craig suggested it might be better not to post onto the world wide web our account and routing numbers. Oooooh, I said. Yes, I see your point. Smarty pants! We are a good team.

Those are Chase’s hands. My fingers are actually even stubbier and my nails are dirtier.

The third check was written for $500 and was sent to Jill to spoil the heck out of Evy and Stella this Christmas.

A very special businessmonkee dedicated a portion of all of her November sales to the Carrolls this Christmas, and this $500 gift was from her. She specifically asked me not to mention her business’ name, because she didn’t want there to be any confusion about her motives.

Amazing, huh?

But hold on, Lovies. Our Lovefestivus is not over yet . . .we have one last trick up our collective sleeve.

Monkees…meet my precious, brave, huge-hearted friend . . . Leigha.


Dear Monkees,

In mid-October my daughters (ages 2 and 4) and I made Halloween cards for their grandparents who all live out of town and mailed them off. The grandparents were so touched that each set mailed either a card or a letter back to the girls. Their Nona even included two pairs of Halloween socks which they wore proudly for a somewhat disgusting number of days before they would take them off to let me wash them. It soon became a daily adventure to run to the mailbox everyday. “Why are we getting so much mail?” Anna asked one day. “Because you did something that made them feel special and now they want to do something to make you feel special,” I told her.

A few days later I read Andie’s post and I wanted to do something to help. My first thought was I am going to get that mother a “We Can Do Hard Things” plaque but another Monkee was already taking care of that. Then I started thinking about Sarah and Skylar; what could I do to make their day brighter? My mind wandered back to my own children being thrilled with receiving mail. I thought, “My girls and I could do that! We could make cards and send little surprises in the mail.” My thoughts started snowballing until I arrived at the conclusion that what would really be fantastic would be if I could get lots and lots of creations from lots and lots of kids to send to Sarah and Skylar.

If our children are mirrors, and that they believe what we believe, then we should invite them to be a part of caring about this family when so many grown-up Monkees have stepped up to give the best of themselves?


My goal is to send the girls little care packages in the mail about twice a month. I hope to be able to include artwork of all types made by children of all ages. Today I would like to ask you and your children to create mail for Sarah and Skylar. The sky’s the limit here, so let the creativity soar. Some suggestions to get the juices following include (but would never be limited to) making “Fight Like a Girl” posters, writing about a time you had to be brave and what helped you get through it, pictures making silly faces, pictures of your pets in costume, and anything else that might get a giggle from a two and half year old girl.

Maybe something like this:

Thanks Monkees.
Love, Leigha

You guys, I think those are princesses kicking each other’s asses. Fight like a girl. Brilliant. Just brilliant. . .

Let’s send Rocky some art. Because everything will look so different to Rocky when she arrives. But kids’ art is kids’ art, no matter what country it’s created in. Hearts and rainbows and stick figures, they translate. Child to child. Heart to heart. Hand to hand. I love it, I just love it.

Please send the artwork to Momastery at 37 Pidgeon Hill Dr. #280 Sterling, Va 20165. Leigha will collect all the artwork and send it on to the girls.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest

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