Tuesday, August 26, 2014

No buying iced lattes and why I'm going to lose it (Including 16 reasons to go to Dark Horse)

 I recently looked at our finances which turned out to be the worst, okay maybe a good decision. This is when I realized that Scott and I had to work at cutting out a few of our most beloved favorites. I made up a budget to show Scott for when he came home from work.
Numbers don’t lie. I really wish they would. I want them to be abstract like art and in their meaning. But really, they just mean what they say. Since we are now what I am calling local missionaries or stateside missionaries I realized there were some things we just had to cut out (things we want but don’t necessarily need)
  1.      Buying coffee like lattes, cappuccinos, cold brew, pumpkin spice deliciousness
  2.      Buying clothes
  3.      Buying candles (yes this deserves it’s own category)

 I am simultaneously crying and screaming inside. I really want to tell you this is all for a virtuous reason. It’s for lent. It’s cause Scott and I are godly and want to simplify our life. I want to be noble and classy about the whole thing. I can’t though. I just feel like my insides are screeching and clawing. I feel cagey. I want to be cool and zen about the whole experience like what I would assume a true yogi is. (oh yeah no spending money on yoga classes either) I want to spend money. That is the truth.

I adore shopping. When I met my “friend,” Shopping, I found a great vice and anti-anxiety practice. I found adrenaline rush and release. I found fashion and ideas for creativity. Without my shopping for clothing entertainment I assume I will find my obsession somewhere between mommy blogs or making lists. I love both those things and they are in fact, free.

 Don’t even get me started on how it’s fall and the pumpkins will be out along with my pumpkin spice latte. Yes, mine. I founded it. Fall is only my FAVORITE time of year. It’s full of leggings and boots and scarves and the aroma of all things spice and everything is nice. No candles! How will I survive!? I know you probably think I am exaggerating my emotions on here but I’m really not. Candles are like my self-care. They are my practice. I don’t know how to do life without them.

 Now for Dark Horse. For those of you who don’t know (you terribly deprived people) It’s an ever-expanding and growing quaint coffee shop that locally roasts, brews and hand crafts coffee for you personally. I don’t even know how to begin this grieving period. September has not even begun and I have entered the mourning period. Scott and I had our last Dark Horse today right before we sped off to church. We both felt sad about our last day but would have felt even more sad without saying goodbye. I am extremely embarrassed at my lack of discipline when it comes to Dark Horse. But for the love of God, they brew their coffee beans outside our back door every.single.day. That smells gets me every time. It is like an extension to our home. All the best things happen there: dates with Scott, I read, I write, I meet with friends. I make new friends. I write letters. Scott and I play backgammon there. Besides all my memories there cold brew is A GIFT. My body pain leaves when I have their coffee, my mood improves, and suddenly my life is splendid indeed. Scott and I try and try to be more disciplined and make goals for ourselves such as we can only go once individually and once together this week, but really this is what ends up happening:

I needed to study somewhere so I went to Dark Horse
I had a horrible migraine when I woke up so I had to get some caffeine
I had a bad day so I went to Dark Horse
I had a bad night so I went to Dark Horse
We want to play a game, let’s go to Dark Horse
I saw a spider so I went to Dark Horse
I went to Dark Horse to borrow a power drill
I am meeting with (insert friend’s name here) at Dark Horse
It’s my birthday so I went to Dark Horse
It’s your birthday so we are going to Dark Horse
It’s a holiday so we are going to Dark Horse
I am lonely so I went to Dark Horse
I got locked out of our house so I went to Dark Horse
We are having a morning date so let’s go to Dark Horse
I was bored so I went to Dark Horse
I am alive so I went to Dark Horse

Awww yes Dark Horse Coffee Roasters, you are a dream. You are the reason why Scott and I can never leave this neighborhood. We are too attached to your presence and your exquisite coffee. Last night Scott and I stayed up late and counted up the change in our blue piggy bank. 10.29. What up. We can now go to Dark Horse together once this month. Yes I can do hard things.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Foam Blocks and Kind Words

One of my favorite memories of childhood was gymnastics after school with my second grade, best friend Kaila. Our moms would take turns picking us up after school and it would usually involve a stop for ice-cream and fries and then our gymnastics class. The gym was filled with that chalky smell and was covered with, at least for me, a child's personal dream of an obstacle course. It had rings, beams, bars and a trampoline. 

The other day I was talking to my sister on the phone and she was telling me about something she was feeling shame about it. My sister is very visual so when she starts to squint her eyes I know she is off frolicking in a vineyard or swimming with dolphins somewhere exotic. However via text or the phone it's much harder to tell. My sister explained to me that with each text I sent her she could see herself on a balance beam and falling off onto those foam blocks. I thought the picture was beautiful because it wasn't about her staying on the balance beam and performing perfectly. What was highlighted was the soft fall, a fall into squishy, foam blocks that break any hard fall. 

This made me think about our words and how important it is that our words are kind. Proverbs 16 tells us that "Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul, and healthy for the body" It's crazy to think that our words can create a soft landing for people or a hard and disastrous landing for people. In life everyone seems to be walking on their own balance beam whether it be their career, family pressure, relationship conflict, or body image stressors. 

Everyone is trying to perform well and is stressing about it. When people "fall", whether that be a mistake, a loss, or a tragedy our words can either be soft foam blocks or they can be sharp jagged rocks. No one wants to fall on that! The pictures of crocodiles under a tight rope or a balance beam always come to mind because of all those silly cartoons I used to watch growing up or perhaps it was just Rescuers Down Under. Life is complicated and hard enough as it is, and if our words are only making the fall worse, how sad is that!

We have such a beautiful opportunity to bring life to others by our kind words. I am glad I was able to create a soft landing for my sister with my words. I'm grateful my words were kind and not shame inducing. However this is not always the case. Sometimes my words are not as kind. Sometimes people land on sharp, poky rocks after I've had my share of ‘word rage’. And more often than not, my words are not kind to myself. I am hard on myself. I am judging, comparing and falling into a shame cycle with my words. Instead of creating a soft landing for myself filled with self-care and love, I create a cold and harsh environment for myself where I feel isolated and scared. Instead of listening to God’s deep echos to my soul reminding me I am enough, I try to prove why I’m not. We probably could all afford to be more kind with our words to ourselves and others. Who doesn’t like playing with foam blocks anyway?