Enjoy the Silence While it Lasts

I am undoubtedly a people person. I come alive in airports, on dance floors, crushed between bodies at concerts. I call people in the car on a four-minute drive so I can talk my way from my house to the nearest Publix, and I hug instead of shake hands. It’s not that I don’t like to be alone—I dream of island hammocks and quiet mountain hikes. It’s that I’ve forgotten how to really be alone. I’ve fallen victim to bad habits that have trained me to think I need to be stimulated—my kids, my friends, my phone, my iPod, my house, my work. I need to be doing something because there’s always something to be done. And when I’m alone, I twitch. My solitude muscles have atrophied.


It was Brett’s idea for me to go away alone. I had been complaining that I’m having trouble focusing, I can’t find a lengthy enough chunk of time to really unravel some things I’ve been thinking about, and I haven’t challenged myself recently in writing. I’m too comfortable. I’ve been writing simply what I know and what feels good and easy, and while that’s great, that’s not the kind of writer I want to be. Sometimes, yes. All the time, no.

I knew this little retreat wouldn’t just be for my writing though. I’d be quiet and still, and in that quiet and stillness maybe I’d find a little part of me that’s been forgotten—the part that whispers “Hello? I’m here. Listen to me.” I don’t really know what the perfect scenario for having a conversation with that little voice looks like because it’s been a while, but I imagine it will happen on the beach when I’m sitting alone in the moonlight wearing something flowy. So I pack my white skirt.

I’m staying twenty minutes away from my house, but in this palm-corralled piece of heaven, I feel like I’m far away. I arrive Monday afternoon, welcomed at the lobby desk with, “Ms. Hampton, we have a gulf-view suite upgrade for you at no additional charge” which, translated, means “Ms. Hampton, if you’ll just hop aboard this unicorn, we’ll fly you to your room.” Not one to argue, I oblige.


My suite is beautiful. Wide-plank wood floors, endless light, a massive bed with soft white linens and pillows perfectly stacked in three pairs. It feels more like a Tahitian villa than a free staycation upgrade twenty minutes from home, and as soon as I’m in the door, I drop my bags and collapse into the bed like one of those trust exercises where you close your eyes, stretch out your arms and fall backwards into arms that hopefully catch you. I stare at the ceiling, the clock, the cuticle I ripped off my middle finger earlier this week, the chipped polish I meant to fix on my toes before I left. Who cares, there’s no one but me to notice.


I am twitchy, so excited yet overwhelmed with the possibility of three days alone that I feel like five minutes on the bed is wasted time. And it bothers me that I think this because it defeats the purpose of this entire experience. I know that rest and recharging and just being still are as important to creative productivity as the act of creating itself. I open my laptop and stare for a bit, waiting for the flood gates to open because that’s what’s magically going to happen on a writing retreat, right? But instead I notice my bangs are crooked in the computer screen reflection.

I brought a stack of my favorite books, and I pull one out and head to the outside deck to read for a bit. Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod, definitely a randomly-flip-open-to-any-page-and-get-something-out-of-it kind of book. So I do just that and find the following:

“You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy to take full advantage of your inspired moments. They never hit at a convenient time, nor do they last long…Conversely, neither should you fret too much about “writer’s block, “artist’s block,” or whatever. If you’re looking at a blank piece of paper and nothing comes to you, then go do something else. …If you have something to say, then say it. If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts. The noise will return soon enough.”

I’m enjoying the silence while it lasts. I grab my room key and walk down to the beach bar where I order a virgin Pina Colada and suck it down like Lindsey Lohan, ripping the cherry off the stem at the end. And then I order another one because I feel like the world is my oyster and I am its pearl—its clueless pearl who doesn’t realize virgin Pina Coladas are only a buck cheaper than the real thing.


It takes me a little while to really settle in and wean myself of overstimulation (alright, I failed to give up Instagram—that motherfreakingInstagram), but two hours after my arrival, I’m already drunk on solitude. “Look at me! I’m alone at a hotel with nothing to do. Free Bird! Free Bird!” I want to sing all Fraulein Maria as I twirl in the hotel courtyard. And when I pull my computer out because the noise returns soon enough, I choose not to pay the extra $10 for Internet service because I know I’ll toggle between Word and Google, Word and Facebook, Word and E-mail, Word and awkwardfamilyphotos.com.

I’m tempted to call friends. They would love this—this suite, this couch, these pillows on the floor, these adirondacks lined up in the sand. And my girls—there’s room for them here. They would love this pool.

This is my time though.


So I write. I write in the bar, I write by the beach, I write in plush chairs in hidden corners of the lobby. I write in my room, I write wedged between jagged rocks on the shore because it seems a very Thoreau thing to do (it’s a stupid idea, I scratch the hell out of my thighs).



By write, I don’t necessarily mean fingers madly skipping across the keyboard. Some of that is thinking or staring or closing the screen and watching the tide. I read a little bit, I walk, and I take breaks to swim and wander the property and yes, answer phone calls even though I swear I won’t. Brett calls the first night, after my first five hours alone, and excitedly asks, “So? Do you have, what–like, fifty pages written now?” because he thinks my retreat is going to magically transform me into the Bionic Writing Woman. “Brett, that’s not how writing works,” I explain, “I can’t just rattle off things. A lot of writing is thinking and learning and talking things out in my head. I have a page and a half, okay?”


This time away has been incredibly productive, at least in my subjective definition of “productive.” I’ve seen three sunsets in a row now. I’ve watched from the bar, a curtain of sea oats between me and the ocean stage where the spectacular show takes place every night. And when all I want to do is grab someone to share the beauty with me–to point out to the sky and say “Isn’t it incredible?”–I say it silently to myself.

While I thought that three days alone with nothing to do but think would have me reevaluating all life’s rituals, I am surprised by how clear my mind has been. Actually, I take that back. Last night I called Brett to catch up. He told me how Nella emptied the silverware in the dish washer again, how she passed each fork and spoon and how she smiled when he said “thank you” after every one.

“I miss her,” I followed. And then, out of nowhere, “Babe? Am I a good wife?”

He laughed. “Yes, why?”

“I don’t know, I’m alone, I’m thinking. Am I the kind of wife that, after twenty years, you’d say—,” and I couldn’t even finish my sentence because I started laughing, realizing I’ve gone all Oprah after only one day in solitude.

Brett yawned. “Babe, I’m watching Shark Week here. Can I like, let you go and you can write?”

Of course.

So, what did these few days accomplish?


Well, for starters, I faced my shark fear (during Shark Week, coincidentally) and briefly swam in the gulf after the sun set because Brett swears I’m wrong in thinking all dusk swimmers get eaten by sharks. (P.S., I lived.)

I did write–some personal writing I’ve been wanting to do, a little bit of project writing, a little bit of blog stuff. I evaluated the process of writing too–how it’s easy to fall in the “careful” trap. Don’t offend. That could be misinterpreted. Who might be reading? I don’t necessarily have anything specific in mind that’s controversial, and I’m not suddenly going to start writing political rants or polarizing posts. It’s just my writing needed a little defibrillation, and maybe my soul did too. Anything we seek to give–our words, our art, our talents, our voice, our ideas–must have time to grow first. If we value our gifts and our passions, we will take care of them. I understand more deeply right now the importance of solitude and how it feeds the creative soul.


I will make more efforts to be alone and to rest. And the Solitude Retreat of 2012 is the first of many that will follow.

And look–a few guests join me on my last night.



From the Tahitian villa twenty minutes from our home…goodnight.


Matilda Jane Independent Trunk Keeper, Kelly Ewbank, joins in sponsorship this month, appropriately timed with the Character Counts clothing line released by Matilda Jane today. Matilda Jane has long been a favorite of mine–since Lainey was a baby–and my girls often wear their fun patchwork patterns, ruffled pants, striped tights and girlish designs.

Lainey’s outfit from the Serendipity and You & Me collections

Shop any of Matilda Jane’s collections, use Trunk Keeper #302 with your order, or contact Kelly through her site and she’ll guide you through your order.

Nella’s already wearing Lainey’s old Matilda Jane pieces this fall (in perfect condition still), and a few new pieces have been added to Lainey’s closet.


Some nice sand boobies to end the post.



Leave a Comment
  1. Love the beach Club :0 Hope you had a great time!

  2. Ah Kelle, it sounds perfect. I’m terrible now at letting myself be alone, Rob and I do everything together, we work at the same place so commute together, we lunch together, we go to the gym together. I used to fill up so much of my alone time, but now it seems wasted without Rob to share it. But maybe that will change again. Sorry just rambling now. It sounds like your break was good, and I love that where you went was only 20 minutes from where you live! It looks amazing.

  3. I crave alone time, even if it’s at the nearby Hilton :) Although, a beach setting would be fabulous! I’m happy you got this time to yourself! That room view had to be amazing! I find myself not wanting to be alone, but I then again; I crave it too. xx

  4. There’s nothing nicer than some time away, a hotel room all to yourself, and a white fluffy bed. Glad you enjoyed your retreat. Can’t wait to see what comes of it!

  5. Who are we kidding? You are fantastic. I love that conversations between my sisters and I now go like this…”Did you see what Kelle posted?” Or did you see that Kelle is expecting again, followed by us saying we are so excited for someone we don’t even know. You are pretty much awesome! And I wish we were bff’s! haha :)

  6. Before I go with all the lovey crap, listen. It totally looks like Nella’s pooping in the background of one picture. Bahahahaha! Potty training at it’s best!
    Rock the solitude babe :)

  7. Awesome post. That is all.

  8. It’s obvious you accomplished what you set out for… your writing in this post is so real and eye-opening. I think we all need solitude for different reasons, some creative and some just to recharge to be a better Mama, Wife, etc.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  9. what a lovely gift for you. you deserve it. the way you parent 100% all the time. did the kids both grow a foot in 3 days?

  10. I dream of a few days alone. Maybe someday I will force myself to actually do it! Loved this post :)

  11. So jealous you get time alone. Savor it! I am VERY curious about what you are writing though…another book!? :) Sand boobies make me laugh….

  12. My favourite part? The photos at the end, knowing you’re family joined you. I love my mini breaks – even just nap time, but those smiles when they are you again? Make you never want to leave again! (at least for 5 minutes!:D)

  13. You swam after the sun went down!!! :O DUDE!

  14. I’m jealous. I’ve been trying to get a huge project started and as a mother of four young ones, I keep telling my husband that the only way I’m going to get the ball rolling is to get away for a few days.

    He keeps asking me when I’m going to do it and I keep waiting for him to say, “Why don’t you do it..fill in the blank?”

    I’ll use this as my inspiration.

  15. Love this post. I found myself in your words. I too am a people person and find it very difficult to be alone. You have inspired me (but again) to seek solitude and the wisdom and self growth i will find within those moments of self reflection and quietness. What a beautiful retreat you found…and only 20 minutes away from your family…love it even more!!

    Sweetness and happy days to you


  16. Those 3 days sounded heavenly and very productive!

  17. Fantastic – good for you!!!

    One of the remaining items on my 30 Before 30 list is to take myself on a little trip alone – I’ve never gone anywhere myself. I’m very excited!

  18. I am currently planning my “alone time trip.” :)

    Lovely post and pictures, as always. It’s amazing how little time we need in order to go back and feel like it was “enough.”

    Enjoy your family :)


  19. Alone time at a beach-front venue. Sounds dreamy. Glad to hear that it was exactly what you needed!

  20. Oh sweet solitude… she used to be my BFF, but we haven’t seen each other in ages. I miss her dearly! My escape this week was school supply shopping at Target by myself. Not exactly a beach-front resort, but felt like a little vacation nonetheless. Can’t wait to hear more about your upcoming projects… write on!

  21. You are awesome, and this sounds thrilling. I have been writing full time for the last few days, and it’s been amazing. I am feeling myself being lifted out of a fog that I can only imagine I’ve been living in for the last few…years? I feel brave. And strong. And free.

    It’s good to know I’m not the only one.


  22. I fall into the careful trap too. Whenever someone new says “I love reading your blog” it just makes me feel more pressure — one more person to consider with every word I type. I struggle a lot with this.

    Yay for writing staycations, and I hope you found what you were hoping to find.

    Can’t wait to meet you in San Diego in a couple months! Woo to the Hoo!

  23. ohhhhh lucky you!!!

  24. I’m so glad that you accomplished what you se out to do at the beginning of these three days.. Also how lovely that Brett and the girls joined you on the last night!

    You’ve inspired me with this post to take time out for myself and recharge.

    Thank you! xx

  25. Oh, I do love this idea… and your beautiful beach!

  26. Good for you! And what an awesome hubby to let you 😉 I get excited for a trip to the grocery store by myself, lol.

  27. That retreat sounds great, just up my street.

    Can I recommend one of my favourite books to you? It’s called ‘The Book of Silence’ by Sara Maitland. It’s amazing. Due to being housebound I’m alone much of the time. (I have great housemates who I get to see some evenings though, and have lots of fun then) And it can be a form of torture, but I have also found that it has allowed me to grow creatively and I am now at peace with being alone a lot. My writing is better when I’m alone. I have put effort into developing a beautiful garden. I have picked up all sorts of new crafts that I get huge pleasure from. I would now rather spend my day alone than with others. I get huge pleasure from being with friends and having lots of people around too, but I don’t think it has to be that you enjoy one thing and not the other. Anyway, yes, read that book, you’ll love it!

  28. In your picture of the friends who joined you on your last night, Nella looks like she’s stiking a “this is how a big girl goes potty” pose. :)

  29. Your little trip was exactly what I needed haha, IT got me thinking about my own writing and gave the boost I needed to start writing again. Thanks Kelle:)

  30. Have you ever read “The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life” by May Sarton? As I was reading your post, I immediately thought of Sarton’s essay that speaks to the value of being alone.

    Also, I love seeing Matilda Jane sponsored on your blog! I’ve loved that clothing line for years and am always pleased to see your girls in those beautiful clothes :).

  31. Have you read “Gift From the Sea” by Anne Morrow Lindbergh? It was originally published in 1955. Your comment about feeling the five minutes on the bed were wasted made me think of this book. Very quick read. I think it would move you. Check it out. I love your stuff. :)

  32. Just what you needed! AND what great guests you had on your last evening!

    xoxo, Bug & Ruby’s Gram

    I have a HUGE shark fear and I live in Minnesota!

  33. Dang that instagram! So addicting. When you liked one of my pics while you were it made me smile to my toes because I wouldn’t be able to put it away either. I swear we are the same. I have the worst ADD ever. There are some things I really want to accomplish and I never get anywhere because I don’t carve out time. I’ve been thinking about getting up with the sun…even though I’m not a morning person, and having two screen quiet days a week. Maybe then the “noise” would quiet. Loved this post.

  34. Time alone is so important, glad you got some. It’s so easy and almost reflexive as mothers to give until we drop and continually put ourselves last. Good for you for taking this time for yourself!

  35. Hey Kelle,

    I love this and share so much of your approach to writing. Have you read much of Annie Dillard? She wrote a memoir, “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek,’ where she followed in Thoreau’s footsteps and went to live in solitude at a cabin somewhere in the middle of nowhere. The book is a little long, but there is a chapter entitled ‘Seeing’ that always reminds me of you. She, like you and me, is on a life quest to suck the marrow out of life and truly ‘see’ the world in front of her.

    Thanks for always being my writing inspiration!

  36. Kelle,
    I applaud you for being able to go away for three days ALONE. The mere thought of being able to do such a thing scares me. I would probably sleep my full first day, or get involved in some stupid marathon on T.V. then spend the next two days kicking myself in the rear that I wasted that time.
    I wouldn’t have been able to put my phone down, I would be afraid I would miss something important, that well, you know really wouldn’t be. Great Job!

  37. Ah sounds like such a refreshing week! Good for you :)
    Can i ask where you stayed? We live just north in Tampa and I’m always looking for unique weekend getaways-that place looked heavenly.

  38. Love Ignore Everybody! You’ve inspired me to go away too. I’m doing it in bits and had a break a couple weeks ago at BlogHer for the first time but it was anything but relaxing. Next up Vegas with my hubby but I definitely need to go alone to a tranquil place . . . I also completely identify with “being careful” in my posts. Definitely a challenge of most bloggers I think!

  39. I used to be scared of being alone (now I love, love, love it – in the short stretches I get between kids jumping on my head).Happy for you. Lovely post.

  40. How wonderful to get alone. It’s kind of my dream to go off and write by myself one day. Glad you enjoyed your time.


  41. GOOD FOR YOU, Kelle! Every parent DESERVES time away/alone – it gives you a chance to recharge/rejuvenate, and makes you a BETTER parent (if that’s possible for you!!) – so hope you make the time to get away again! The kids are fine – they learn how to make do when mom isn’t around – and that’s GOOD for them! SO SO glad you got a break you so deserved!

  42. Love, love, love!
    And I couldn’t agree more with solitude comes the freedom of a creative soul. I may not have a retreat, but I have kids and a husband that are in school as I type, and my creative soul once again has solitude to write…how lovely :)

  43. simply love this

  44. I love that you needed and wanted time away, and actually got it!!! Not a small feat….but what I love even more is seeing your visitors on your last night. Just seems so you, and made me smile. Family is everything….your the best.

  45. I am so glad you were able to get away, but I must say that it hurts to see that there are people out there who have the time and money to just get away if it is needed. I wish I too had the opportunities to even spend time at home, instead of working all the time. Time alone comes in little slivers… to have a big chunk of time where all I do is lay on the beach and write sounds like heaven. And something that will be a long time in coming.

  46. Hi Kelle –
    I’ve read every post you’ve written. I devoured Bloom and skyped with you about it. I love your instagram feed. I must tell you though – I believe this might be my favorite thing you’ve ever written for public consumption. I related to nearly every word (that pina colada would have been full strength) and am just inspired and renewed myself through some sort of vicarious osmosis (is that even a real thing? Who knows…). I was nodding and sighing along with each new thought and reflection.
    Interestingly enough, I’d planned my own “solo getaway” to be at this year’s i heart faces conference and it turns out I’ll be spending some of my “alone” time with you (and 100 or so like-minded ladies). Looking forward to refreshing and saying hello in October! Kudos and Happy Thursday – Jill

  47. I loved this part: “Anything we seek to give–our words, our art, our talents, our voice, our ideas–must have time to grow first. If we value our gifts and our passions, we will take care of them.”

    We all need time for ourselves… I am glad you enjoyed your 3 days of solitude. The “tahitian villa” where you stayed looks inviting.

  48. Blissful is the word that comes to mind about this post. So glad that you could get away and unwind. I have to say I love the magical rainbow in the Brett and Nella picture.

  49. Is that supposed to be you in the sand at the end? I love it!!!

  50. i was so pleased to see you were getting some quiet time to yourself. good you were able to get away and breathe and find some answers you were looking for.

    i hope you find time and space to do it again.

    ps. i hope you posted instagram photos but avoided the comments as much as possible.

  51. I don’t know how, but you bring me to tears with EVERY SINGLE BLOG POST. You rock my world. And I don’t say that about a lot of women. :)

  52. I’m a religious reader of your blog but a rare-commenter… couldn’t help it this time, though: best way to end a blog post EVER. Cracked me up.

    Your retreat sounded amazing. I need to do this soon.

  53. I have been following your blog for a little while now. I recently decided to start at the beginning and read from your very first post. It’s taken me a few days, and I’m not finished yet :)

    You are inspiring in so many ways. Although I cant remember how I can across your blog, or what made me hit the “follow” button, I know what made me stay.

    Your honestly in refreshing and true, your heart is big and pure, your outlook on life is amazing, and it makes me take a good look at my own life. Am I really soaking in all the small moments. The moments that are so easy to forget, yet so important to remember.

    My husband and I have recently started TTC. I now have a whole new perspective, I want to soak up every moment of pregnancy (when the time comes) I want to remember it all, not forget a single moment. Thank you for reminding me that the small things are just as important, if not more so, as the big things.


  54. Welcome;)
    I learned about your blog from the contest on lubimyczytac.pl. To win was the book “Nella. Unexpected beauty.” and I found myself among the lucky ones who won the book!


    So, soon I will know a little bit of your happy life;)
    Your blog is unique, beautiful images.
    I greet- Aneta.

    ps. sorry for the spelling mistakes, but I do not know the English language well and assist in translating, translate.google.pl :)

  55. Oh, it looks lovely. And I hope it was all you hoped it would be. If you haven’t read it already, you might enjoy the book, “Gift from the Sea” about a writer’s annual solitary retreat. Great inspiration!

  56. I love that you mentioned awkward family photos! I unashamedly give their cards to any and all friends for birthdays. Or Tuesdays. :)

  57. Did you make that sand girl? And why, as a grown woman, is the word “boobies” still so funny to me? Hilarious! Glad you were able to get away for a short break. I am jealous, it sounds marvelous!

  58. To quote my brother in law- It is in silence that things patiently unfurl, open up and trust us with their secrets, or reveal their hidden natures — be they shy ideas or creatures, daybreak, or a work of art. In this fundamental and seemingly privileged state, what seems to elude the world of words and sound may otherwise appear to dawn on us, perhaps since we are now in the position to overhear ourselves and tell ourselves that which we already know. Unsurprisingly, realizations and revelations are forged in this realm. Silence is, after all, the best response and conduit for our most profound experiences: Awe, Love, Death




    Glad to hear you had the opportunity to get away for a little bit. As a full-time working mother of 3 little ones, I felt guilty for taking little mini-vacations solo.. but it has been great for all of us. Hugs, L

  59. Nella’s hair is getting so long! Sooo prettty.

  60. The photo of Lainey in her green dress – she looks like a little blond version of you!

  61. Lucky you! I have 4 kids ages 13, 10, 5, 3. I have not been alone for more than a few hours in 13 years lol. I know I need it and whenever I try and plan something there is a football game birthday or something I can’t miss. I guess it is in my bucket list.

  62. I am envious! I have been fighting for solitude since my son was born almost 5 years ago. I have always loved a bit of private time and space and have been dreaming of a mini getaway but can’t quite bring myself to do it. But it would be a perfect birthday present for myself next month!! Maybe I’ll be able to take the leap?

  63. Re. your writing, I know you don’t just write the blog but there must be a pressure when you have a popular blog to think that they are your audience, and they are coming for a specific thing. But this is still your blog and you should write what you want – most readers will be interested in that but if a few aren’t or a few disagree, so what. You don’t have to be loved and complimented by every commentor, and most people don’t come here for that. I think maybe you’ve been feeling – I have the potential to be too good a writer to sell myself short, to write what comes easily to me or what I think people want to hear.

    On other issues, I’m like the opposite of you because I like to be alone, but as you say, that isn’t the whole story and I think some of my company muscles may have atrophied. Good to challenge ourselves if our lifestyle has led us into one way or the other, rebalance quick before we get stuck that way. So good you took this time, it only needs to be now and then.

  64. Great post. Thanks for making me remember that.

  65. Kelle
    You are so precious! I love this. While I’m a little older mama….I know just how you must’ve felt trying to “handle” alone.
    We tend to be so wrapped up in our lives. I love being a mom. I still do it FULL BLAST even though my kids are college age & HS. I rarely walk away and just be alone, ok I never do that.
    But I want to.

    Thanks for reminding me….to take the time to do such a thing.

    Wish we were neighbors! 😉

  66. I am enjoying a little solitude in the form of work-related travel this weekend. I am oddly excited about the 4 and a half hour flight to Phoenix (where I will be training 300 day care teachers tomorrow). My plans are to watch movies and read magazines…alone…without interruption…and no one to take care of but me. Maybe I’ll even take a nap. :) Enjoy your time. Take a few minutes to do NOTHING while you are there!!

  67. Ok, so I found the post about your sweet sweet daughter Nella on pinterest the other day and I have to admit, I have been hooked on your blog. Ever spare minute I get during the day to read a post I do. I am also an aspiring photographer who has spent way too much time away from camera and seeing your photos has made me what to pick up my friend and hang out with it again!

    I also want to add that the love you have for your children is insipring!!! One day, when I have childen of my own, I want to love them with as much joy and passion and you have written about on this blog! Thank you for sharing you life with us!

  68. Your night alone looks amazing. I am always an advocate for alone time. However, I don’t even have kids yet. That’s probably part of the reason why.

    But can I just say for a minute how much of a big girl Nella looks on her daddy’s hip with her hair straight and down? Oh my gosh… but Nella is the little baby. I can’t believe how fast kids grow up. She’s gorgeous. So is Lainey. But you know that already.

  69. Hi Kelle, I’m a long-time reader of your blog but I’ve never commented before. This post made me smile so much! I totally understand the feeling of needing solitude from time to time. :) Your posts inspire me, making me long for the day when my fiance and I are finally married (we are living overseas waiting for his US visa, which is a long and seemingly torturous process) and we can start to have our own little family. I just wanted to thank you for your posts, it has helped to brighten some of my days and remind me of all the things I want to do when I get back to the US.


  70. I am proud of you. It isn’t easy taking a moment for yourself, especially when we are mothers. I look forward to seeing how your time manifests itself! Peace and blessings to you and your family!

  71. I can not believe how grown up nella looks in these pics…ESP with her looooong hair down!

  72. Oh and I totally agree… I thought n was pooping in that squatting pic too! Ha

  73. Oh I am such the opposite of you! I wish you provided some sort of guidance for those of us who RELISH being alone, sometimes to the point that it’s scary. I am so entertained in my own head and with my own projects, it’s a blessing and a curse as I’m sure you can imagine. However, I am never bored! I don’t know boredom, and I attribute that to being an only child forced into self entertainment. #theupsides :)

  74. ugh, I’m here even though I hardly ever comment! This is so so great – yes please do this often! What a gift. I laughed when all you noticed were your bangs were crooked haha. And getting scratched by rocks. It sounds like it was just perfect :-)

  75. I really enjoyed this post. It spoke to me because I am the same way. I love the idea of solitude, of taking the extra time to whip open my laptop and have a day of uninterrupted writing. It’s impossible with a toddler, but some days I can write something amazing in 20 minutes. Other days, I stare hard at the screen and will myself to be amazing with the result that nothing appears.

    It was also nice to read this particular post because it felt so honest. Your posts always seem to catch that and illustrate it in such a way that it’s not overly negative or overly positive. It’s just life in all of its fun and confusion, triumphs and obstacles.

    Thanks for a great post

  76. We love The Beach Club. Lots of memories and history for our family there.

    Great pics! Glad you had a nice time!

  77. Ahhhh, the Beach Club, my home away from home. One of the most peaceful and relaxing places around, keeping that old Naples vibe. Love it. So glad it was restful and grounding for you.

  78. Beautiful pics, as always! And I loved the writing conversation with Brett… I have had similar conversations, and from now on, I’m just using your line- “That’s not how writing works!”

  79. Oh, how I crave alone time, but I would notice my bangs were crooked instead, too!

    And you did a fine job at creating ME in the sand……my boobies, at least. Mine look just like that. Boobies, boobs……funny words–hahaha!

    So glad you did this! That means we have something to look forward to???

    And the instagram……oh dear, what have I gotten myself into?!

  80. I love this… especially the Thoreau channeling… which always looks so pretty in a picture. I love the idea of writing “al fresco” but I always find myself a) annoyed at the sun getting into my eyes or the sunglasses falling off my face when I bend over too far b) distracted by any people or plants or sights to be seen c) itching like crazy from whatever random bugs are around and d) either too hot or too cold. But it always sounds so inspirational. Someday I too will be brave and go on a solo retreat. Thanks for sharing!

  81. I did something similar a few years ago. I went to a Hermitage which is a place out in the Minnesota woods, a person has one cabin with no running water or electricity, an outhouse near by and the best smelling one might I add! We as “hermits” took a vow of silence. We were left in solitude; reading, writing, hiking, sleeping, etc. It was quite a spiritual event for me as well as a refresher! In life we are defined by what we “do” and sometimes we need to pause and recognize who we “are.”

    Thanks for your post!

  82. Beyond jealous of the alone retreat …. you are married to a very good man. You done good

  83. This is so so great – yes please do this often! What a gift. I laughed when all you noticed were your bangs were crooked. And getting scratched by rocks.Cialis

  84. I am reading your book and loving it. I am the proud mama of 3 fabulous kids. Like you, all I ever wanted to be was a mama. Boy, do I love it. I can relate to your heartache. My first baby was born with heart problems. Prior to his birth, I knew nothing of his condition. I was devastated. That was 16 years ago. He went through two surgeries and has thrived. I understand when you say the hard stuff grows us. Who knows who I would be without all we have experienced. The love that engulfs me is so powerful, it knocks the breath out of me at times. Thank you for sharing your journey. You inspire me to love even better. Much love from one mama to another!!

  85. I’ve been thinking about getting up with the sun…even though I’m not a morning person, and having two screen quiet days a week. Maybe then the “noise” would quiet.Man Impotence Loved this post.

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