Dec 27, 2014

A Quiet Resolve

"The highway signs say we're close,
But I don't read those things anymore.
I never trusted my own eyes."
-Stubborn Love by The Lumineers

A year in review?

I don't know.

I don't know what I'm closer to, or what I'm farther from.

My heart is so much happier, and so much more full of ache.

I am older and wiser, but I wish I could be younger and oh-so-naive again.

Maybe everything is changing, or maybe it's tortuously the same.

I know more of what I want, and less of how to get it.

I can't make sense of most of what I've seen this year. And maybe it doesn't matter, now that it's ending, and being replaced by a shiny 2015, with glitter and flashbulbs to assure me that this is the year. This time I'll figure it out. This time I'll know. The confetti will shower me in an avalanche of goals and resolutions that will outshine all the regrets and broken promises.

Sometimes, I feel like a boat in an ocean with no land in sight. Because I can control what I do. But there are seven billion other people in seven billion other boats, and I can't control any of them. And there are big storms that come out of nowhere, it seems. And boats are kind of lonely things anyway.

There are times when I blaze into a new year full of wild hope and bubbly excitement, as if I'd toasted the whole bottle of champagne to myself. There are others where I simply pray a silent prayer in the dark, waiting until everyone has gone to sleep and it's just me in the blankets, staring up at God in a kind of hesitant wonder. We have a long, but mostly wordless talk. And for the most part, I just tell Him that I don't know. I don't know. My best prayers are probably when I keep my mouth closed.

I've had thirty years of these midnights, of the calendar rolling to a new page. They no longer seem worthy of sequined dresses or noisemakers. Instead, they tend to arrive without any fanfare at all. The Christmas decorations look outdated and out of place already. The ball dropping in New York is too far away from a small town in central Illinois farmland.

And anyway, isn't that what the Midwest is known for- a quiet resolve? A steadfast determination? No matter the weather, the farmers have to sow and reap at some point. You do what has to be done. There is a beauty in that, even though it's mostly lost in the world today.

So 2015 will find me doing what has to be done, whatever that may be. I will love my children. I will finish school. I will cook our meals and make our trips to the library. I will sit in the hallway during her ballet class, and console him after his immunizations. I will laugh and I will cry. I will sing along with the radio. I will read lots of board books and mourn for time to read from my own shelf. I will try to make the holidays happy. I will buy hair dye in a box. I will revel and glory in fall's return. I will celebrate birthdays and marvel at new accomplishments. I will get a new pair of shoes, and pay taxes, and discover new recipes. I will still check on them at night. I will get teased for the amount of photos I take of anything and everything. I will stay up too late and wish for time to sleep in. I will write.

I will do the small things that constitute this life, a life that feels small, but one that God sees nonetheless. And even though I don't know, He does. For now, I go to bed and wake up again.

Dec 20, 2014

A Beautiful Paradox

"Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; 
that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home." 

I cannot tell you the presents I received for Christmas when I was younger. Oh, there were a couple things, maybe- the contact lenses that meant I was free from a junior high life of glasses and braces. And there was a warm, pink plaid bathrobe. We had a tradition of unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve and in a moment of serendipity, I picked that one. I remember going to bed wrapped up in that cozy robe, feeling so please with myself that I had picked the best one to open that night by the tree. But other than the odd tin of candy from my grandpa, or the aunt who liked to give me clothes two sizes too big, I can't name five things that were given to me.

The cookies, however, I remember. The sugar cookies that we loved to decorate for a chance to sneak drips of icing. The candy canes we'd hang on the tree with the oversized, old fashioned, multi-colored bulbs, and the mismatched ornaments, and the tinsel. The way our presents were often wrapped in comic strips from the newspaper. The knit stockings that were impossible to coax the candy out of, and the family that would visit that week. The way we would always read the Christmas story from Luke before we'd open a single thing.

This is the time of year that I love most. But this week is always full of mixed emotions for me. I see the photos of a tree stacked with presents so tall, I can barely see the tree at all. I see the gushings over a new designer bag, a fancy camera, or even a new car (do people actually think those commercials with the big red bow on the car are a great suggestion?). It reminds me that it's time to back away from social media for a week or so, until the materialistic rhapsodizing has calmed.

I don't know it it's because these people have no sweet memories of their childhood Christmases. Maybe they truly know no other way to be happy than to accumulate more possessions. Or maybe it's because they don't realize the great needs of those in their own city or their country, and how many people awake to a small, government owned apartment with no tree, no presents, and no breakfast. I suspect it could be those things, or maybe, it is that they do not remember the reason Christmas is here.

(photo courtesy of Dimock Images)
I hope Millie and Walter wake with joy that morning. I hope they appreciate a new book or a dress up doctor's coat. I hope they even have vague memories of believing in Santa Claus and dreaming of reindeer on the roof. But far, far beyond that, I hope they realize, especially as they grow, that Christmas is not about what we've tied up with yarn and topped with bows. I hope they realize that we have so much compared to many others in the world. I hope they have giving hearts that feel compelled to share and give, at this time of year and always.

And more than anything, I hope they grow in the knowledge that Christmas is about a simple night, with a birth in a barn, with a new family out in the cold. I hope they teach their children about the angels singing, and the wise men bringing their finest, and how a newborn grew to become a man who was nailed to a tree because he loved us more than life. I hope that they celebrate in a way that gives honor to that night. I hope they hear the words of those old Christmas carols and shed a tear or two in the beauty of it all.

Merry Christmas, friends. May your hearts be full of blessings.

Dec 4, 2014

The Show

"What's past is prologue." 

I haven't written about you in a while.

Two nights ago, we went to a play. You wore a tie and asked for help on deciding which silver tie clip to wear. You wrapped the scarf around your neck even though you didn't like it. I curled my hair and put on a little black dress and tights, dabbing red lipstick on my lips and spritzing on a rose perfume that you bought for me long ago. I found my heels in the back of the closet, and tried to walk without stumbling. You opened the car door for me. It'd been probably two years since the last time we did this or anything even close to it.

The two of us shared a pasta dish at a dimly lit Italian place. We rolled our eyes at the overbearing waiter, and savored the tiramisu. We ordered water to save money and ate copious amounts of those little bread slices, dripping with oil and Parmesan. We talked about what comes next in our lives: hopefully, your promotion and my graduation. All the talk was about the future.

At the show, we watched silently, thoughtfully. I wanted to close my eyes and somehow absorb the voices as they rose and fell in "Oh, Holy Night". Echos of the refrain reached to the ceiling and back to my chair. The tenderness of the story and beauty of the music was nearly heartbreaking. I had forgotten that heartbreak could have such a lovely, sweet edge to it.

And then, after the show, we stopped by the cafe on the other side of the road, glittering with Christmas lights in the windows. I used to spend moody nights there, drinking something warm and sugary, talking with a friend or writing private thoughts that I hoped would be public someday. It's strange how we leave parts of ourselves in every place we visit.

Sometimes I have dreams about the boy I had a crush on in elementary school. I wonder what life would look like if he was the one who sat beside me at that show. And I know there are girls in your past that you wonder about, too. All the people we thought we would spend life with fell away somehow- maybe they walked away, or maybe we did- and now it's you and I standing here. It almost feels like it was just chance. Maybe it was. We certainly can't say that this was our plan, to meet while you were across the globe and I was afraid for your life. Now we find ourselves with wedding rings and babies five years later.

Everyone likes to caution that marriage is hard, although they say that padded in phrases about how wonderful and rewarding it is. They never tell you why it's hard. They never tell you what that feels like. They talk about the lights and forget all the shadows.

We have been to lows that I didn't know existed. We have tasted the kind of bitterness and ache that is hard to write about it. The battle- because, dear God, it is a battle- is fought on steeper ground each year that these rings stay on our fingers.

It was a little easier, that night at the show. It was a little remembrance of where we started, and the laughter we had, and the drinks that made us dizzy, and the love. The love.

There were many people at the play, crowding around us in their seats with jewelry sparkling, perfume behind their ears, and programs on their lap. They were listening to the chords rising and falling just like we did. I wonder if they saw the trail of our years behind us. Their shadows, crumbled and tired. I wonder if they realized that as the story of the World War One Christmas truce was being performed on that stage, you and I had a truce of our own.

I don't know if we were meant to be here. I don't really understand the way God works, or what twists and turns should have happened, or if this is the master plan. But we are here, still. And it will be five years soon. I can't say I haven't given up, but I've stayed in spite of it, and you're still here, too.

My wish is that this new year will be merry and bright. My hope is that we stop trying to grasp for what we can't ever get back, and begin trying to live in a new way, with new memories and a new foundation. I am the kind of girl who clings to the old, but let's stop. The old is gone.

Let's pretend that we met at that show. Let it be our holy night. Let it be the first day. And there was light.

Start there.

Oct 9, 2014

Blessing and Ache

"If I write what I feel, it's to reduce the fever of feeling." 

I want to take her by the shoulders and whisper to her. "You're the lucky one," I'd tell her. Lucky, because you found the one you love when you were young. And you were together before there were others, so there are no regrets and wasted moments. And you had a kind of secret language between the two of you. And you hold hands. And you ate stale wedding cake on your first anniversary. And he was always faithful. And you were always proud. A picture from your first date makes your heart swell. And you've never questioned it.

And someone else would come to me and tell me that they wish they could be as lucky as I have been. I've had two children, and they are healthy. I haven't been homeless. I haven't broken any bones or faced cancer or lost a best friend in a car accident. I have enough to eat and clothes to keep my body warm and a car that I can drive to the doctor when I have a fever. I have parents that I count among my closest friends and people who pray for me and a Starbucks card with five dollars and forty six cents left on it.

The lucky parts are what keep us going.

It's the unlucky parts of us that hurt.

And I wish it was okay to say those things.

That we ache. That we are blessed.

That the blessings and the ache can both fit inside one beating heart.

Sep 18, 2014

The Beginning: My Own Birth Story (Written By My Mama)

My new little self, sleeping in the bassinet that my dad and all his siblings used,
and the one that I used for Millie and Walter
When, on her birthday, my blog friend Jess had her mom share her birth story, I thought it was a wonderful idea. So today, on my 30th birthday, I'm snagging that idea for my blog. I've heard bits and pieces of this story before, but it means ever so much more now that I'm a mom. And besides, it's always nice to hear a part of your story. This is the very beginning of it. Thanks for writing this, Mom!

The Official Birth Story of Erika

I was a little surprised to hear that women write “birth stories.”  Women tend to verbally share the stories of childbirth with gross exaggerations and lots of histrionics, as though they were unique from the billions of other labors and deliveries and certainly far worse than any other.  But I guess we’re all a little curious about our own stories and have only our parents to tell us about them. And being born is a big deal. Erika, this is your story.

I was in labor for 842 days.  I think that beats all the other stories I’ve heard, but not by much. The real story isn’t as shocking, but I’ll tell the truth.

I worked nights as a nurse on a psychiatric unit and thought it would be a good idea to take off about a week before my due date to readjust to days. Even though I knew that babies, being under legal age, don’t consider the due date as a contract, I still more or less thought that Erika would be born on her due date. I worked the last shift and came home to do some nesting, or cleaning and packing.  At bedtime that night, around 9 P.M., I felt the definite more-than-just-a-trickle of amniotic fluid escaping.  (I chuckled a bit remembering the story of my mother-in-law’s maiden aunt who came to stay for the birth of the baby. My mother-in-law called down the stairs to “Auntie” with the news that her water had broken.  “That’s all right, Alice.  It happens to me all the time,” replied her aunt.)  

I told Erika’s dad that I thought my water had broken and called the hospital maternity ward to let them know.  I was having mild contractions, and though I knew logically it could be quite some time with this being my first, I still felt a feeling of needing to hurry to the hospital.  (Isn’t that how it happens in the movies? The mother-to-be feels a single cramp, and they speed away to the hospital. But she can never get there in time, so the baby is always born in the taxi.)  The nurse told me to come right in, so I checked the suitcase one last time, and we got in the car – a green Chevrolet Impala with a bad transmission.

I wasn’t in the company of an experienced taxi driver who could deliver the baby, so it seemed to be a good thing to hurry a little.  We drove from our little rural subdivision onto the main street safely, while the contractions were becoming pretty uncomfortable and much closer together, about 3 minutes apart.  Maybe things would happen like they did in the movies! We passed a gas station, and Erika’s dad suddenly whipped the car around and pulled in.  I asked why we were stopping, and he said he needed an antacid.  Now, we were on our way to a hospital, and surely, they would have antacids there – rooms of them. Didn’t having a baby overrule indigestion?  

When I arrived at the hospital, it was as a patient this time; it was intimidating to be on the other side of the fence.  Riding in the wheelchair seemed really strange.  The halls looked very different and so “hospital-ish.”  Watching some labor and deliveries of other women when I was in nursing school didn’t prepare me at all for my own.  I thought, “I can’t do this, but there is no turning back now.”  I prayed the whole time.  I was so fearful that I hadn’t eaten right or may have done something to injure the baby in some way, too, and now would come the reckoning.  I thought of those many mornings after work when I could only stand the thought of orange Crush soda for breakfast. (And maybe some toffee.)

My gorgeous mama, pregnant with me
The nurses checked for amniotic fluid, but couldn’t find any trace.  They decided it was a “high leak,” and decided to keep me there.  As the night progressed, the labor slowed somewhat, like it often does.  As midmorning passed, I was getting very tired after not sleeping for so long. Labor picked up after the doctor completely ruptured the membranes, and at that point, I felt that Lamaze was a joke. I didn’t use any pain medicine, afraid that it might hurt the baby. When staff moved me to the delivery room, they placed me on my back with feet up in stirrups, which is probably the worst possible way to give birth.  The time finally came to push, but I didn’t have any energy left.  Nurses were pushing down on my belly, while the doctor kept speaking encouragement. I thought I was pushing, but they kept telling me that I wasn’t.  It seemed to take forever before I heard the doctor announce that “it’s a girl!” It was about noon. He seemed to be thrilled and chattered away for a second, but almost immediately he grew serious.  I heard him call for oxygen.  Erika was whisked away before I really had even a moment to hold her.  

My sister, also a nurse who worked at the same hospital, was there for the birth, but she was somewhat blurry to me then, as was everyone in the delivery room.  I was so tired, but so scared.  The doctor told us that you had a wee bit of Erb’s palsy because of the length of the labor, and that you were a little short of oxygen, all of which resolved very quickly with no permanent damage. What relief it was to hear that Erika was fine! She was truly fine! After knowing you were well, it seemed as though the birth hadn’t really happened in some ways. So much of that night faded away quickly.  A nurse came with a basin of warm water and soap and told me to wash up.  As she left the room, she asked me if I was really going to wash, or was I going to fall asleep.  I told her that I would wash, not to worry, and that’s the last thing I remember for a while.

I was so thrilled to finally have Erika brought to me to nurse.  I couldn’t believe that she could be so tiny.  I was built like a toothpick at 100 pounds before pregnancy, which made for a really funny shape when I was full term, though I only weighed 125 pounds then. People actually laughed at me without even attempting to disguise it! (Just what a nine months’ pregnant woman needs for her self-image, yes?) But even though my belly had seemed so large, there you were, all complete, but so little at 7 pounds, 11-1/2 ounces.  And you were pink, not orange Crush-colored, thank God.

We couldn’t wait to bring you home.  One reason was that wonderful excitement we felt to begin that huge adventure, almost too wonderful to believe.  The other was because the woman next to me kept singing “The Lullaby of Broadway” to her baby.  Don’t ever do that.  If you must sing a lullaby, sing a real one, even horrible songs like “Rock-a-Bye Baby in the Treetop,” which has terrible, frightening lyrics. No show tunes.

There you have it.  You were born, thank God.  He makes the best stuff. And you just keep getting better and dearer all the time.

Sep 6, 2014

On Turning 30

"I am not young enough to know everything." 
— Oscar Wilde

When I turned 29, it felt like a such a sudden, big milestone. All the years before were instantly condensed into "my 20s", and I was standing on the edge of a new decade. It seemed a whole lot more monumental than turning 10 or 20 did.

In twelve short days, my 20s will officially be a thing of the past. When I think about the girl I am now, I can't help but be amazed at all the girls I have been before. I thought I would share a few of the things I've learned these past ten years, along with some photos of my journey so far.

{first day of kindergarten. minnie mouse backpack.}
1. I've learned that being alone is good for me. I used to assume I was a failure because I am never surrounded by 50 friends or because I don't attend parties every weekend. I've realized that the company of my own thoughts is what I crave much of the time. Solitary drives are beautiful. Walks alone are sacred. I am not the kind of girl who needs the noise of others. I need the quiet. I love the quiet.

2. My parents were right. Especially the times I didn't think they were right. (There you go, Mom and Dad.)

3. My self esteem has never been particularly high, but it's a lot higher now than it was when I was 15. I'm thankful for that. I'd hug that beanpole girl if I could.

{bonnet baby.}
4. On the whole, if I get the chance to do something, I should do it. And if I don't, I shouldn't beat myself up about not doing it.

5. I don't have time for relationships that constantly disrupt my happiness. I've learned to value peace above pretending to like someone who doesn't like me. It's okay to have some distance from toxic acquaintances.

6. I like old things. I always have, so this is not a new discovery, but when I wrote that I wanted to do more with my hands, I really meant it. It's important to me that Millie and Walter have a mom who can do things like plant something, embroider something, bake something, read something for pleasure, and fold an origami crane.

7. I had an amazing body when I was 20. And even though I could tell you dozens of things about myself that I wish I could change, I'm trying to appreciate that I probably look better now than I will when I'm 70, so I might as well enjoy it. And enjoying it can mean wearing something that isn't always from the juniors section. I realize the 'grown up section' is actually okay now. I like being a grown up sometimes.

{angelic in saddle shoes.}
8. I have a blog, I only take online college courses, and I use Google with the best of them. But if I could choose, I would go back to the world before the internet. Truly.

9. I've learned that it's stupid to order the largest drink at the movie theater if I want to sit through the whole movie, and I've also learned that it's usually stupid to pay $9 to see a movie when I hate 95% of the ones I see. Spend a dollar at Redbox, wear pajamas at home, pause the movie 50 times, and eat all the snacks I want.
{sitting on the porch with my brother, wearing clear glitter jellies. NBD.}
10. I've learned that I have to prioritize. I don't get a chance to read for pleasure when I'm taking full time college classes. I don't get to clean as much if Millie and I are baking something together. I don't get to bake as much if Walter is having a rough day. Everything has a time and a place, and figuring those out makes everyone a lot happier.

{Christmas presents after my dad's shift at the firehouse.}
11. I will never like math, I will never be great at public speaking, I will never enjoy science, and I should never say never. Except about those things, because yuck.

12. When I think about Millie and Walter turning 30, it makes me a nervous wreck to think about all they will have to go through to get there. But it makes me happy that they will probably arrive in a similar spot as I am, with experiences that taught them the good and the bad in life, and the comfort of knowing that life really does get better with each year- not necessarily the circumstances, but the outlook.

{I like your sleeves. They're real big.}
13. I should always set my standards high. So high. And then give grace when they aren't met, because I've never met everyone's either.

14. I still don't have a clue about what I'm doing when it comes to being a mother, but I am figuring it out a day at a time, and that's all I can do. Millie and Walter unknowingly teach me every day, and those lessons slowly make me a better parent. Sometimes I look in the mirror, and see such an unqualified, too young, foolish girl to be in charge of two little souls. But they love me and I am over the moon for them and, somehow, that is enough to get us where we're supposed to be.

{hugging my brother, which looks like a carbon copy of Walter.}

15. I am much more okay with turning 30 than I thought I would be. Because I wouldn't have learned these things any other way. And because, like the rest of the 30 year olds, I see how young 30 really is, and how I still have so much more to learn. And because I can be 30 years old and still wear cute boots or sparkly nail polish or non-mom-jeans.

30 is not the new 20. Instead, I am the new 30. So out with the old, in with the new, and here's to a new decade of blank pages.

Aug 21, 2014

Pie Charts and Apple Pies

"Good apple pies are a considerable part of our domestic happiness." 
— Jane Austen

Some people are of the opinion that cake can fix anything. And while I've never been one to turn down a piece of cake, I think that the real magical, healing food powers belong to a pie, still warm from the oven and filling the entire house with its scent.

I started my math class on Monday. After struggling through the first couple of days, I emailed the professor to ask what I was missing. Was there a textbook I forgot to buy? A video I didn't watch? She emailed back to tell me that this wasn't a "typical" class- that, in her words, "Most classes show you what to do and then have you do it- this is the opposite." 

Math is my nemesis as it is. Math with no instruction? Pass the dang pie.

So if you find yourself having a particularly tough week- or if you are having a great week, for that matter, and want to celebrate- I would suggest making a pie. I made this recipe for Amish apple pie from my mama, and it was just the thing to make my day better. A comfort food and a dessert. It makes the math go down easier. If I have to make pie charts, I might as well have a better visual of them, right?

Thanks to my mom for letting me share the recipes below. I've included her notes for the pie crust as well.


Sliced apples to fill 9-inch pie pan, half Granny Smith and half Golden Delicious [Erika's note: I used large apples, and probably only needed about 4 or 5- I actually used 7, and had to make a cobbler, too!]
2/3 c sugar
2 TBS lemon juice
1/3 c flour
½ tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle lemon juice over apples, then add remaining ingredients and toss to coat.  Pour into unbaked pie shell.  Top with crumb topping.

1 cup flour                                                       ¼ tsp cinnamon
½ c brown sugar                                              ½ c softened butter

Crumble together with pastry blender.  Sprinkle over apple mixture.  Bake at 425° for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375°, and bake for 40-45 minutes longer, or until apples are tender.  Loosely cover with foil to prevent over-browning of topping.

Best when served warm.


"Is it really worth it to make your own pie crust, when those refrigerator or frozen crusts are so readily available?  Yes! Once you’ve tasted a real, delicately flaky, just-salty-enough crust, you’ll never settle for those things again, and you’ll never be able to choke down a store-bought (even from a bakery) pie again. There are numerous recipes, some with “secret” ingredients, but even if you leave out the baking powder listed here, you will have a truly fabulous pie crust.  The real “secret” is in barely handling the dough and keeping everything cold.  I even chill the bowl. If you’re just starting, you will get a crust that may be only edible, but keep at it, and you’ll quickly learn what the feel of the dough should be.  You may even be sorry because everyone will always expect you to bring the pies for every gathering!"

2 c flour                                                            ¾ c cold shortening, cut into pieces
1 tsp salt                                                           ice water
¼ tsp baking powder

If you wish to use a food processor, pulse the flour, salt, and baking powder a couple of times. Add the chilled shortening, cut into pieces or slices.  Pulse very briefly until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces remaining. Do not over-process! The larger pieces of shortening are what make the crust flaky. Transfer the flour-shortening mixture to a medium bowl.  Sprinkle about 3 tablespoonfuls of ice water over the flour mixture, drawing the dough together very gently with a fork just until the dough holds together, and adding only enough additional water to keep the dough together. Do not handle the dough with your hands any more than necessary.  Chilling the dough after dividing into two disks may make the pie crust a little easier to roll out, but it isn’t necessary.  Wrap the disks with plastic wrap and chill for at least ½ hour before rolling out on well-floured surface.  You may freeze the disks, wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in freezer bags, if desired, for up to 1 month. One recipe yields 2 crusts to fit a 9-inch pan.

If not using food processor, stir the salt and baking powder into the flour in a medium bowl.  Cut in the pieces of chilled shortening with 2 knives or a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pea-sized pieces and continue as above.

Aug 14, 2014

Begin Again

Here I am. Again.

I wrote at my chambanachik blog for five years. Before Sky, before Millie, and before Walter, it was me and a laptop. Things have changed so much since then. Those three people have created a family for me. I gave birth to two beautiful babies. I got married, struggled in it, stayed with it. I went to school, then stopped, then went, then stopped and went again. I lived in several different apartments on different streets. I probably became different people along the way. Or maybe it's that I found out more of who I really am.

Chambanachik never fit me. It's not that I've outgrown it; it just never felt like it represented me well. A website in town started a similarly-titled blog about a year after I began mine. The "chik" part is (purposefully) misspelled (it's a long and pretty uninteresting story), and the whole thing sounds a little young and ditsy. But the truth is, I'm just days away from my 30th birthday, and I sincerely hope I'm not a ditz. I am starting a new space because I made a silly mistake that ended up deleting every photo I've ever posted on my blog. Photos that go with stories, that have meaning, that mattered to me. But in a silver lining sort of way, I have a chance for a fresh start. My blog will probably have less followers. It'll be smaller than it was before. But it will still be me, still writing.

When I was little (and really, to this day), I had dreams of writing for a living. I would sigh every time our family drove by the newspaper building in town. For a short while in high school, I did get the chance to write a few articles for that newspaper. I had the hardest time cashing the $20 checks that they gave me, because I couldn't believe that someone had paid me to write. Even before that, I came up with a (short-lived) family newspaper (The Smith Gazette), and poorly designed a couple-page edition every so often, complete with headlines to stories everyone in the family already knew, and lots of wing-ding accents. It's in that ridiculous but nostalgic spirit that I'm beginning this new blog: The Midwest Press.

The tagline for chambanachik was "marriage, motherhood, the military, and my world in Chambana". Nothing much will change here. Those things comprise the biggest parts of me. I briefly considered giving up a blog altogether after all my pictures were gone. But at the end of the day, I'm not a photographer. I'm a writer. And write I shall.

So thank you. For following me to a new place because you care what I have to say. Do you know how much that humbles me? Chambanachik began when I didn't know a soul in blogland. Now I know so many of you. Dear friends. Military spouses. People who live down the road for me. Family. You are all a part of my world in one way or another, and you all matter to me. Thank you for letting me matter to you. Thank you for reading.

Out with the old, and in with the new. There's nothing but wide, open space here. Time to make it my own.

For those of you who'd like my new links:
Email: themidwestpress(at)gmail(dot)com -or- chambanachik(at)gmail(dot)com
Design by Freeborboleta