#whyIwrite : Because I must.

Today is the National Day on Writing, an opportunity for writers all over the world to share why they write.  And today is also the first day I’ve missed my morning writing time in weeks. Now that I’m home, our schedule is completely messed up… I’ve let myself sleep 30 minutes later, thinking it will make a difference, and it has. But not a positive one. I find I’m a little behind all day, trying to catch up on the baby’s schedule and still get us to wherever we need to be.  How did I do all this when I worked 60 hours a week? I know that this week will be an adjustment, and that next will be better because we will have settled into a routine. But I also look at this as a time to make sure that routine really works for both of our needs and worry that if we get too far off track this week, we’ll be starting a pattern that will cause problems later.

So back to the theme of the day. Why do I write?

I write because I must.

It’s a form of therapy. One that doesn’t cost money, although it is not cheap.  Writing costs time, and as a very busy mom, time is a luxury that is always scarce. However, I find that if I start my day with some quiet time — time to just write and work through whatever is on my mind — I am much more focused and relaxed throughout the day. If I miss my writing time, I tend to feel frazzled and stretched too thin.

But to me writing is more than just a therapeutic tool. It’s a compulsion. It’s a record of my life — of who I am. I could no more stop writing than stop breathing. If you look in my storage boxes in the attic, you’ll find they’re full of notebooks, index cards, church bulletins filled with notes, scraps of paper with poems and scribbles… my collected bits of writing from the past 25 years.

And ultimately, I write because it’s a legacy to leave for my children. Not just the notebooks filled with thoughts and dreams — the actual practice itself. Both of my children have been writers since they were very young, and both consider writing a possible future career choice. If I pass on one habit to my kids, I hope it’s a lifetime of daily writing. That alone is worth giving up that extra half hour of sleep in the mornings.

What about you?  Why do you write?

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Nice to meet you.

That first blog post, whether it’s the first EVER or the first after a long absence, is always the hardest for me.  I start writing, rusty fingers tapping at keys and then backspace-erasing because nothing I’ve typed sounds like what my inner voice wants to say.  Eventually, it will be easier.  Everything always is with practice, isn’t it?  But for now, I will type and backspace and wonder what exactly it was that I sat down to say in the first place.

I guess the best place to start is the beginning, and for a good Southern girl that would be an introduction.  Hi.  I’m Shelby.  Nice to meet you.  I’m a 35-year-old mom to a blended family of 5.  Wife to my best friend, who just happens to be the sexiest man alive.  Until recently, I was a high school Social Studies teacher, but as of yesterday I’m a stay-at-home mom.  My boss?  A giant 11-month-old baby, aka Baby Coco, who has the best disposition a mom could ask for, even though (as all babies do) he believes he is the center of the universe.  And, fortunately for him, he kinda is.  His older brothers and sisters think he’s fascinating and do whatever he seems to want them to do.

We live in a small town in Texas, where the Olive Garden is the nicest restaurant in town, and our grocery store’s initials seem to stand for Hello Every Body, because you see just about everyone you know or are related to when you’re shopping.  As someone who grew up in a small Texas town but has lived in several of the country’s major cities, I really appreciate that here, dressing up to go out means putting on your fancy jeans and your dressy flip flops.  I chose my blog title — Old Jeans and Flip Flops — because it pretty much describes my lifestyle: tee shirts, old jeans, flip flops, and a big ol’ purse to carry all my mom and kid stuff.

I’m a former portrait studio owner, so I still drag out my camera occasionally — although now, it’s usually to photograph my own kids instead of someone else’s.  I suffered serious burnout after years and years of portrait sessions and it just doesn’t bring me the joy that it once did.  These days, I find my joy in cooking and in writing.  My husband is diabetic, so I’m really conscious of what is in our food and I usually cook from scratch, using fresh, organic, and local ingredients as much as possible.  Expect to read a lot about food on this blog.  We’re also a family of faith, and we believe that God’s blessing is the reason we have the opportunities we do right now, so expect to read a lot about that also.

I look forward to getting to know everyone who stops by, so please leave a comment so I can say hey (no, not howdy, at least not in this part of Texas).