Typical Tuesday with A.R. Hadley


I wake up and make my way to the kitchen and dip my finger into a jar of peanut butter.

No. Wait.

That’s what the sexy character does in the book I’m currently reading on a Tuesday morning before the sun and my kids wake up.

Jesse dunks a finger into the Sun-Pat and licks. It may not sound sexy, but trust me — it is.

The story is part of a trilogy (I’m in book three), and I read him before I exit my bed, when I go to bed at night, and sometimes (shh… don’t tell) I sneak away throughout the day, hoping to find fifteen minutes of quiet space away from other humans, tiny humans, so that I may continue to indulge in my own jar of peanut butter — books.

They are yummy.

I am lucky.

Every day is like Tuesday.

I spend each day with books, a notepad, my husband and my two kids.


Tuesday could be filled with a homeschool group game of friendly kickball or doctor appointments or walking by the river, and they are always filled with math problems and hugs, breakfast and pencil sharpeners.

In the late afternoon I fold five baskets of wrinkled laundry as Turner Classic Movies blares a black and white. I laugh at Spencer Tracy.

His presence looms large, forcing me to acknowledge things I have numbed or forgotten.

It’s on the screen — life — and it’s in the spaces between the dialogue. It’s on the faces and foreheads and lips of the actors. It’s in Tracy’s eyes and frown lines.

It cannot be ignored.

Maybe I’ll cook an actual meat and potato dinner or I’ll buy tacos, and at bed time there will be a struggle and a snuggle.

Mom and dad win. Eventually.

The kids are in bed. I’m writing this essay. My eyes are heavy. I tap away on my iPhone. I wonder if anyone can relate to my words or thoughts, the endless spin cycle my brain functions on. I wonder who might be out there, in the universe, listening to my silent key pounding.


My husband snores.

I can’t shut off my working mind. I’ll go to sleep soon. Maybe I’ll read about my peanut butter dipping Lord or I’ll dream up my own fictional character. It works, you know — dreaming. It leads to all kinds of possibilities and rainbows and friends and amazing, amazing things.

About the Author: A.R. Hadley

ARHadleyBioA.R. Hadley writes imperfectly perfect sentences by the light of her iPhone.
She loves her husband.
Her children.
And Cary Grant.
She annoys those darling little children by quoting lines from Back to the Future, but despite her knowledge of eighties and nineties pop culture, she was actually meant to live alongside the lost generation after the Great War and write a mediocre novel while drinking absinthe with Hemingway. Instead, find her sipping sweet tea with extra lemons on her porch as she weaves fictional tales of love and angst amid reality.

A creative writer since elementary school, A.R. all but gave it up after her children were born, devoting herself to the lovely little creatures, forgetting the pleasure and happiness she derived from being imaginative.
No more.
She rediscovered her passion in 2014 and has not stopped since — writing essays, poetry, and fiction. She is currently working on completing several novels as part of a romantic trilogy.

Day or night, words float around inside her mind. She hears dialogue when she awakens from sleep. She is the one who has been awakened. Writing is her oxygen. Cary Grant fans the flames.

Typical Tuesday with Little Fox Tarot


At around 5am, my Joe kisses me on the head on his way to work. His love is real, as I’m certain I’m snoring when he does this. Generally, I wake up at 6:04am. I’ve got an alarm set with the wake up song “Get By” by Talib Kweli. If you haven’t heard this song – it starts with a sample of Nina Simone from “Sinnerman”. Soon the hook starts,

“This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new, I jumped up
Feeling my highs and my lows
In my soul and my goals
Just to stop smoking and stop drinking
I’ve been thinking, I’ve got my reasons
Just to get by, just to get by, just to get by, just to get by….”

You can’t listen to this song and not want to do something big.


I shift into care mode. I take the dogs (Libby and Lucy) outside, and sit with them for a few minutes, just breathing in and out. I quit smoking a year ago, and this is an important part of my Not Smoking. I just breathe. I feed the cats (Daisy, Daisy Adair and Minerva Jane McGonagall Cynova). I hand feed our tortoise, Phil – that’s my meditation time. We’ve spoiled this tortoise to the point that he won’t eat his whole breakfast unless he’s hand fed. If it’s a Kid day (shared custody), I wake up my sweethearts and get them started on their day. If it’s not a Kid Day, I take a shower and putter around for a bit.

img_3111I choose my card of the day.

I’ve been reading tarot cards since 1989, and this is the first year I’ve ever done readings for myself – ever. Weird, yes. But there it is. I got this great journal from Darla Antoine – The Divina Dream Journal for Magical Babes. Its intent is to help you remember your dream, but it also has a section for Daily Divination. I started pulling a card every morning and writing about it.

It’s amazing how calming it is to take ten minutes to figure out what the day could look like. I’ve found that usually I get an important head’s up about how the day is going to unfold. I got the Three of Swords, which is about heartbreak and pain, but wrote that it didn’t feel like I was the target.  A few hours later, my son called to tell me he hurt his ankle and could I please come home? I pulled the Lovers card, and the day turned into a spontaneous, hours long date with my sweetheart.

There is a great deal of validation in seeing even the smallest predictions come true. It adds an element of control to what might otherwise feel like a completely random day.

I drop the kids off at school or head to work. I have a forty minute commute, so I listen to audio books and enjoy my alone time. I usually knock out two or three books a month and it helps me avoid the stabby-inducing road rage.  I get to work around 8am and head home at 5, listening to my book the whole way. I like my job. It’s challenging and interesting and I like my team, so it’s really a blessing to get all three things in one place.

It’s a difficult thing to balance writing and reading cards and working a full-time muggle job.


I wrote most of my first book last year during lunch breaks and when I had insomnia late at night. I’m editing it now, and I have to schedule time to make writing happen.

I get home from work to find that my partner Joe has picked up the kids from school, cooked dinner, and has taken care of the animals. He’s usually got laundry going, too. I hang out with my family until 8:30 when the kids go to sleep, and then I start doing readings or writing.

kitchen-table-tarot-coverI remind myself that writing is a privilege, not a right, and that for me? I can’t not write. I can’t not read tarot cards.

I’ve wanted to be an author since I was six years old. I told my best friend 20 years ago that my dream in life was to have a book in the Library of Congress.

In April 2017, Kitchen Table Tarot will be published and that bucket list item is checked! It took me four years to complete this book, and the only reason it’s finished is because I decided I wouldn’t push off my dream anymore.

I read or write until 10:30 or so, and then I go to sleep, and am up the next day. I’m tired a lot, and I don’t have as much time to write or work with my cards as I’d like, but I’m still getting things done.

I have a number in my head of how many years it will take me to become a full time author and tarot reader. It’s very clear, and I know that the more I work now, the more likely that goal will become a reality.

About the Author: Melissa Cynova

Melissa CynovaMelissaC_Bio is owner of Little Fox Tarot, and has been reading tarot cards and teaching classes since 1989. She can be found in the St. Louis area, and is available for personal readings, parties and beginner and advanced tarot classes. You can Look for her first book, Kitchen Table Tarot, from Llewellyn Publishing in January 2017.

Melissa lives in St. Louis with her kiddos, her partner, Joe, and two cats, two dogs and her tortoise, Phil.

She is on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Go ahead and schedule a reading – she already knows you want one.

Typical Tuesday: How We Live Our Days


Tuesday, seven o’clock. I wake to sunshine flooding the corners of my bedroom, laying stripes of warmth across the bed. What a relief after days of chill rain and gray skies. I’ve slept longer than usual, but I’m not unhappy about it because finally my body feels rested. I extricate myself from the bed, wiggle around two sleeping dogs and a husband just beginning to stir, and stretch my back for a moment before tackling the stairs to the first floor kitchen. While coffee brews, I empty the dishwasher; when it’s done, I carry two cups of steaming coffee upstairs on a small bamboo tray, just as I’ve done everyday for the past four years we’ve lived in this house.

typical tuesday cup and journalAn hour later – with coffee, reading, and journal writing under my belt – I’m ready for the day. During breakfast (vanilla yogurt with sliced banana and coconut granola) I check in on social media, trying to limit my time and avoid getting sucked down the many rabbit holes of posts, links, and comments.

I am only moderately successful.

Finally, tearing myself away from the interesting world of internet life, I get properly dressed and walk the dogs for about 30 minutes. I call it walking, but it’s more of an amble, with ridiculous amounts of time for stopping and sniffing. I’m resigned to this. My dogs are old, and our morning constitutional is the highlight of their day.

This is the way I start every day. It’s not only typical, it’s ritualistic, as necessary for me to complete as a pilot’s checklist in the cockpit before takeoff.me and dogs typical tuesday

But the hours between 11 and 4 (after the dog walking and before dinner prep) loom large before me. It’s laughable to think that ten years ago a typical day was jam packed with office work, rehearsals, practicing at home, blog writing, book reading and reviewing, plus all the other details involved in homemaking, with scarcely a minute left over to do more than fall into bed exhausted at the end of it all.

During the past decade my daily life has changed drastically, been whittled away by choice and circumstance. Responsibilities have slipped away one by one, almost without my notice. I resigned from the office job I held for 15 years. I have no choral groups to accompany. I don’t sing in the church choir or even attend church at all. When my mother died two months ago my years of eldercare came to an end.

I read, I write, I practice the piano and I play handbells once a week. I walk dogs. I keep house.

Lack of time was a central theme in my writing from 10 years ago. Now, time occasionally weighs heavily on my hands. Do I feel guilty about this? Sometimes.  It’s luxurious, my life – plenty of free time and the resources to do whatever I want with it. I’m certainly not bemoaning it – quite the opposite. I want to make sure I’m a good steward of this remarkable gift. So I worry and obsess a little in my morning journal writing about whether I’m doing all that I should be doing. I make mental lists for the day, lofty lists with goals and ambitions.

But most often I don’t complete them. I wander aimlessly around my house a lot. I gaze out the window.I sit on a bench under an umbrella of blossoming pear trees.

For years I was completely preoccupied with the Dailiness of Living. I’d organize my tasks, make to-do lists, formulate and prioritize in day planners and bullet journals. I’d tick off items one by one and move proudly on to the next.

trees typical tuesdayNow, in these hours between 11 and 4, I’m learning to simply BE. It’s a gift – this ability to wake up each morning and pick and choose what I’ll do with the day, like items off the menu in a Chinese restaurant. One day I’ll choose an hour of reading, lunch with a friend, writing time in the afternoon, some work in the garden. Another it might be a bike ride into town, a stop at the library, and some piano practice before dinner.

Tuesday, four o’clock. The dogs wake from their own afternoon napping. We go out, maybe amble around the block again if the weather’s nice. I come inside and put a CD in the player (yes, I still have a CD player) while pulling together the ingredients for dinner. I might sip a glass of wine while it cooks and read my book, or scroll through social media feeds again to find out what everyone’s been up to during their busy day. By 6:00 Jim is home from work. We eat, clean up the kitchen, walk the dogs (again!), and relax with a favorite TV show before I take a hot bath and go to bed with my book. Maybe I’ll get 20 minutes of reading before my eyes close in sleep.

Simple days, with easy responsibilities. When I’m tempted to chide myself for being less productive than I should be, I remember these words from a wise friend: “Be gentle with yourself. Rest. Be. Grieving is work enough.” I’m trusting that what seems like a fallow period is a time of renewal and rejuvenation for whatever comes next.

The great Annie Dillard writes this: “How we live our days is, of course, how we live our lives.” I’m trying to live these days with gratitude and grace, mindful of the nourishment to be found in quiet, everyday moments and activities.

About the Author: Becca Rowan

becca_rowan_bio_may2016Becca Rowan lives in Northville, Michigan with her husband and their two dogs. She is the author of Life in General, a book of personal and inspirational essays about the ways women navigate the passage into midlife. She is also a musician, and performs as a pianist and as a member of Classical Bells, a professional handbell ensemble. If she’s not writing or playing music you’ll likely find her out walking with the dogs or curled up on the couch reading with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine) close at hand. She loves to connect with readers at her blog, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Me Before Chickens, Dogs, Cats, Even My Husband: A Typical Day in this Writer’s Life by Andi Cumbo-Floyd


It’s 5am – or 4:50am or 5:11am – and I’m awake. I’m mostly awake because this is the time I typically get up, but I’m also awake because Mosey, our basset hound, typically wakes at this moment and is sharing his joy with me by licking my toes.

I then feed Mosey and Meander, our other hound dog. By then, the coffee is almost done, and I’ve built a fire in these God's Whisper Farm sunriselate spring mornings. I’ve packed my husband’s lunch and washed the few eggs we gathered late last night.

By 5:30, I am settled into my grandfather’s tufted leather chair and have my mother’s Bible in hand. A chapter from there. A daily read about fasting that I consider intellectually but not physically. A few prayers jotted into a notebook. Then, I lean back with as many chapters of my book of the morning – at this moment, it’s Christie Purifoy’s Roots and Sky – as time and the chill in the air will allow. These are my quiet moments, my centering moments. The only words that I let precede my own for today.

Here in the cold days, I work from our dining room table. (I’m eager to return to my office in what was the summer kitchen of this 200-year-old farmhouse, but that will call for days of sun that warm the walls.) By 6am, I open my laptop and quickly shut down all the browser tabs I forgot to close last night. I slip open MS word and begin.

I tap words ahead into the rising dawn. I do my best not to change anything, trusting that I’ll see better what needs revision when I have plotted the full path of the book. I resist – mostly – the urge to open one of those browser tabs. I keep going until I reach 1,000 words, the magic number Shawn Smucker suggested to me years ago. When I am in rhythm, this takes less than 20 minutes.

For all intents and purposes then, the most important work of my day is done when I get those 1,000 words finished. That’s not to say what I do for the rest of the day – the edits for clients, the manuscript reviews, the notes to communities I organize and writers I love – is unimportant. But for my mental health, for my clarity of mind, for my ability to speak with integrity about the writing life, those 1,000 words are my bedrock.

I have to say there’s another component of this urgency I have to do my personal creative writing first; it has to do with my identity as a Southern, Christian woman. All three of those aspects of my societal upbringing have taught me – through model and intention – to put myself last, to always do what is most important for others before what I do for myself. And while the central underpinning of those teachings – the lessons about selflessness and the need to avoid selfishness are important – many Southern, Christian women, myself included, have come to believe that we are as always to subjugate our calling, our health, our own needs to the wants of others. So when I do my writing first, I am establishing my own personhood as fundamental to the rest of the work I do. I am important, and those 1,000 words help me remember that.

When my 1,000 words are done, I feed our chickens, goats, cats, and Great Pyrenees and then come in to sit with my husband before he leaves for work. Once his truck pulls out of the quarter-mile drive, I’m back to the laptop – writing email missives to clients and crafting newsletters. Then, I edit or listen to client manuscripts for a few hours before taking a lunch break.

This lunch break thing is new for me. I don’t have colleagues to break with, and I don’t have an hours-per-week expectation set from a boss. Therefore, I don’t have boundaries coming from outside myself, and if I’m not careful, I feel pressured to do more every day. Thus, I never stopped for lunch, powering through until my husband came home and the animals needed another round of food. This continual 10 hours of work – 6am-4pm – not only made me cranky and exhausted, but it also made me frenzied and unable to quit work when the day needed to wind down. My belief that it had to all be done now made my chest ache, and I always felt like time was scarce. Somehow, a lunch break has changed all that.

So I eat lunch and watch a TV show on the DVR – Supernatural is my show of choice at the moment. Nothing like some vampire hunting and some pop religious questioning to give the mind a break.
Then, I go back to work for three or four hours until that truck with my beloved rolls back down the lane.

Feed everyone.

Feed ourselves.

Then, by 6pm, we’re back to something else. My husband is usually in his shop working on a car. Some God's Whisper Farm duskevenings I have to work, but I’m making that need more and more rare these days. Instead, I read or listen to podcasts if my energy is still high. As spring comes on, I’ll have garden chores to tend in these hours when the sunshine stretches himself.

Some nights, I’m exhausted and just settle into my recliner – crochet nest nearby – to work on an afghan or stitch a hedgehog. On the days when I’m most tired –usually later in the week – I just watch TV, letting the stories get along without me just fine. (Since I’ve been a full-time editor and writer, I’ve found that I take great comfort – GREAT COMFORT – in the fact that movies and TV shows don’t need my help to get to a resolution. It’s a strange thing to find myself relieved that I don’t have to work out the story myself, and it’s a gift that lets my mind let go of sifting through word choices and point of view strategies. )

9pm means I’m in bed, blankets tucked up to my chin and a book at hand. I’m asleep by 9:30 unless that book is REALLY good . . . and sometime after, my husband and two hound dogs join me under the covers.

It’s not the life everyone would choose, but it’s mine, and it’s so, so good.

Incidentally, this essay is 1001 words. Got my word count in for today. ☺

About the Author: Andi Cumbo-Floyd

andibio1Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and farmer, who lives on 15 blissful acres at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her husband, 6 goats, 4 dogs, 4 cats, and 22 chickens. Her books include Steele Secrets, The Slaves Have Names, and Writing Day In and Day Out. You can connect with Andi at her website, andilit.com, or via Facebook and Twitter.