Monday, March 30, 2015

Taking Stock: March

I have decided to participate once a month in Taking Stock. A very fun and creative blog :)

Here is my list for March: 

Making : Lots of to-do lists

Cooking : I haven't cooked much this month, but Scott has made some delicious dishes including homemade macaroni and cheese and beer can chicken!

Drinking : Cold brew coffee per usual. However have been trying to up my hydration and drinking tea as I have had influenza of the throat this month!

Reading: If you want to hop on over to my book list , you'll see more of what I am reading. Currently I am reading Savor by Shauna Niequist, Rainbow Valley by L.M. Montgomery and the latest spring issue of Darling.

Wanting: An amazing blue and white stripe dress I found at Anthropologie today.

Looking: At all the people at Starbucks.

Playing: Ticket to Ride!

Deciding: on what to do once I finish my 3,000 hours for my MFT

Wishing: I could change the world, specifically child labor laws as of today.

Enjoying: My anniversary trip with Scott, a play (You Can't Take It With You) this past weekend and a birthday party with one of my good friends. 

Waiting: Easter in LA this weekend with our family!

Liking: My clean clothes (I did laundry today-hurray!)

Wondering: What are the places to shop that do practice human rights and should I boycott all the stores in the world?!!

Loving: My coffee, my books, my journal and feeling better from throat influenza.

Pondering: How many passions can I have and still be effective?

Considering: that less is more but not really liking it.

Buying: shorts for the summer!!!

Watching: Scott and I are re-watching Parks and Recreation but we LOVE it and are #obsessed

Hoping: That I win the HGTV dream home

Cringing: when I look at a huge pile of filing I have to do

Needing: to breathe deeply always and forever

Questioning: The way I do therapy

Smelling: Coffee

Wearing: Leggings (what else is new), a white tee.

Following: Meet Me At Mikes

Noticing: The minute I have energy (aka finally have antibiotics) I feel like I need to go conquer the world

Knowing: I am loved.

Admiring: People who good at cleaning out clutter.

Sorting: My clothes and books and hoping to get rid of what I don't need.

Getting: excited!

Bookmarking: Rey Swimwear. So cute.

Coveting: Probably the above.

Disliking: Something that comes once a month and is red.

Opening: Washing machines

Giggling: at silly jumping goats

Feeling: grateful

Snacking: Trader Joes Pita Crackers and Goat Cheese. 

Wishing: I could travel to Scotland.

Helping: Doing some spring cleaning!
Hearing: Some kind of odd jazz music with a bit of techno.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Getting To Know You

My amazing blog friend, Helen, posted this up on her blog at I Will Bloom which she found through the Northwoods Scrapbook blog. I'm a bit late to the party but better late than never! I thought it was pretty fun and who doesn't want to get to know their blog neighbor?! I know I do! 
1. How long have you been blogging?
For about 5 whole years actually! That's crazy. I started in 2010 when I was still trying to work my way through graduate school. I think I needed an outlet for all my raging thoughts and feelings. 
2. To visualise what you look like, what colour is your hair? Your eyes? How tall are you?
I have dirty blonde hair which I recently CHOPPED! So it is about chin length. I am still getting used to it. My eyes are blue and I am 5'8"
3. What’s your favourite color?

Sky blue or deep turquoise like how the ocean looks on some days. I also really like gray when it comes to decorating. And I just love the color purple and lavender. 
4. What’s your favourite kind of music?

I have never liked this question as I have never felt like an especially artistic, original, hip music girl. I like mainstream stuff like Taylor Swift. I also like Imagine Dragons which I guess is considered alternative? And I like the Lumineers. I like things that sound like pop and folk at  the same time. 

5. What’s your favourite food or kind of food?
Thai food; specifically chicken pad thai or yellow curry. So good. Since moving to San Diego, I have become a lover of street tacos as well especially with shrimp. My midwest roots still call to me though and I love nothing more than a big medium rare steak and a potato with all the butter and all the salt. I'm a big fan of cucumbers, pasta, black olives and chocolate almonds. 
6. What’s your favourite drink?
An iced cold brew latte with either vanilla or pumpkin spice but most of you know about my addiction
After that would be a sizzling hot capachino. 
And finally, just red wine, but I really love the Cupcake Merlot red wine specifically.
7. What’s your favourite place you’ve ever traveled? And where would you like to travel that you haven’t so far?
Favorite place I've traveled hands down, Italy, Italy, Italy. It was exactly as amazing as all my  childish dreams. Where would I like to travel? Too many places, Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, and as far as out of the country goes: Scotland, Ireland, London and somewhere in South America. 
8. What famous person (dead or alive) would you like to meet and why?
Such a tricky question! I suppose this would change depending on what season in life I'm in. I think I would have loved to meet Mother Mary. The Bible depicts her as so ridiculously calm that I have a hard time imagining her as a real person. I would love to have coffee with her. I also would love to meet Dr. Seuss. His books!!!  He writes in such a deep and inviting way. I think I'd want to meet Brene Brown and ask her how she lives out shame resilience in her personal day to day life. I would also like to meet Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Mindy Kaling, the queens of female comedy. I mean who doesn't want to meet them?
9. What new or unique hobby would you like to try?
This is isn't all that unique, but I would love to get better at writing, like calligraphy and do my own stationary. Or I would like to learn more about photography. I think I would also like to take more self-defense classes. This can be a hobby right?!
10. What’s something unusual about you that people might not know?
I find loads of satisfaction picking nail polish off of my nails, specifically shellac. I like the smell of money and rubber cement. I feel self-conscious about my long neck. And one of my greatest pet peeves is when people respond to me via text message with a capitol "K". Don't expect me to ever understand what you are trying to communicate. ;)
What about you blog neighbor?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Full Of Beauty

 What makes me feel beautiful?*

The ocean

The sunset


My husband’s tender and kind eyes


 A good book

The monastery garden


The smell of essential oils


Letters from family and friends


The smell of redwoods


Darling Magazine

The smell of coffee

Within this list I never thought to add my mirror. I don’t need my mirror to feel beautiful ironically. I don’t need a scale to tell me how beautiful I am. I guess I didn't even think to add heels or a party dress because those don't make me feel beautiful really, they just make me uncomfortable. I just am beautiful. And so are you. We have to face the beauty. The more we face beauty, the more it will sink into us. The more it will fill our cups. And we will truly be FULL of BEAUTY.

What you makes you feel beautiful?

* Deep Tissue massages also make me feel beautiful along with getting my eyebrows waxed, but I thought I'd be weird if I had a picture up of those things...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Filling Up Our Cup

This past weekend I attended the Sharp Women’s Health Conference at the Sheraton Hotel, right on the lovely bay. As soon as I found out Glennon Doyle Melton (author of the lovely blog, monastery and the book,  Carry On Warrior) I knew I wanted to go. Unfortunately by the time I tried to get tickets they were sold out. I asked about a waiting list, but even that was filled up. I was super bummed. Not only would I get great professional training hours here as an MFT but I so wanted to hear G speak.

The week before the conference a dear, sweet lady by the name of Peggy emailed me to say they had a few tickets open up and to call her as soon as possible!!!

Needless to say I was thrilled at the opportunity. I was able to attend workshops on fianances, feminine sexuality, sleep disorders, and even a self-defense class. The lunch was full of nutrious ingredients, and the salad had all the essentials and more with a variety of nuts and veggies. The roast chicken with the quinoa was done just right. And there was ice cold tea and dark chocolate. Even my gift bag was filled with treats of lotions and oils and lavender smelling soaps. Seriously my kind of day and place. The exhibit hall had a pet therapy booth with all different kinds of dogs including black Labradors. They were so sweet and gentle. I felt like my cup was overflowing. I just kept filling up on all this good and beauty.

I also went alone and planned to meet up with my friend and mentor later at G’s talk. But going alone was not like being alone. Everyone there kind of felt like a sister to me. Everyone was excited. I met so many interesting women who were encouraging and honest about their journeys. During the sleep disorder workshop I met a woman who told me she struggles with sleeping. She normalized all my sleep habits and talked about different things that have worked for her. But what really made the difference was the way she looked me in the eye and told me, You’re not crazy, you’re normal and I struggle too. So now when I wake up from a vivid nightmare I think of her kind smile and her saying, Hey, you’re not the only one and you’re not alone.

By the time I got to G’s talk I was ecstatic and already so filled up on everything good and beautiful. She was just what I envisioned. Hilarious, personable, raw and exactly who she is. She talked about what it means to be beautiful. To be beautiful she said means you have to fill up on beauty. She said each of us have to decide what we find beautiful.

If want to be beautiful, we gotta FILL UP WITH BEAUTY.

She talked about her struggle with her body image, bulimia, drugs and alcohol. She talked about her struggle with being a mother. She was honest about her marriage and how it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. She said it’s easy for us to identify more with our roles than with our souls.

It made me think of my roles as a wife, sister, friend, daughter, as a therapist, an educator and an aspiring-to-be writer. It made me think about my soul and what makes me FEEL beautiful. Without all my roles, do I believe I am still loved and still beautiful?

G wrote, “I spent three decades thinking about what I look like. It was boring. I plan to spend the rest of my life thinking about what I’m looking AT. Less boring.”

Yes indeed, very boring. If beauty is what our culture has deemed it to be than it is quite dull, narrow and boring. It's space is as small as the mirrors in our bathrooms. But what if beauty is what you and I make it? If beauty is what God intended than it is wide, free, wild and creative. This beauty takes me breath away.

Her whole talk made me think of what beauty means to me and how I can FILL UP on beauty every day. I trust that this act will actually make me beautiful more than a face lift, cosmetics and a boob job. So for the next few days I will be thinking of what is beautiful and what makes me FEEL full of beauty in my soul and deep into my toes.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

7 Reasons Why I Wear Leggings Daily*

I know there has been a bit of a debate on if leggings are actually pants. From my personal opinion and experience leggings are a form of pants. I wear them on my legs and that is how I came to such an intelligent conclusion. Leggings come in all shapes, sizes, colors and designs and I LOVE them. However I would like to distinguish them from tights so that no one becomes confused. Tights are see-through and should NOT be worn without a dress or skirt. So when I talk about leggings I am talking about a certain level of thickness in material that I hope all of us work to achieve so that we can remain chic, classy and fabulous. Here are the 7 reasons why I love wearing leggings.

1.     Cheap: Good jeans can be anywhere between $40-$150 dollars. Good dress pants? So expensive.  Good leggings? They are anywhere between $10-$20.

2.     Comfort: Leggings are soft and light weight. They are tight but not suffocatingly tight.  They are easy to move in. I can do downward dog or an inversion in yoga without any fear of things falling out.

3.     Versatile: Need to do a cart wheel? No problem. Need to sit cross legged? Go for it. Need to be with the puppies that jump on you? Yes please.

4.     Simplicity: Every morning decisions are easy. Thankfully I work at a high school where business casual is just fine. If I just use layers, long shirts and jewelry my black leggings fit in just fine.

5.     Stylish: for any occasion. I wear them to work, church, out with friends, yoga and for a walk around the neighborhood or at the beach. I wear them in different colors depending on my outfit, red, black or gray. Leggings are great with over-sized sweaters and long shirts as well as ankle or knee boots. Every summer I eagerly await breaking out my leggings for the fall and winter months!

6.     Breathable: I can breathe better in them. I don’t have to hold my breath as I squeeze into skinny jeans. I’m not forcing my curves into claustrophobic spaces. Instead, my curves are free. Leggings never squeeze and squish my reproductive organs the ways other pants and skirts do.

7.     Why wouldn’t I wear leggings?

What is a staple item you wear every day? 

*Dedicated to my sister Jessica Sherwood who is the Queen of Leggings. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Longest Road

Have you ever decided to walk to the nearest pizza place in a foreign country? I did in Italy a couple years ago. I kept thinking a pizzeria had to be around the corner only to find it was not. It was dark and cold and I was jet legged from a long flight.  Or have you ever taken a long road trip and kept thinking you would arrive only to have to continue the windy road well into the night?

That’s how I feel about the long road of getting my Marriage and Family Therapy license.

When I entered graduate school my “dreamer brain” was in for quite the shock. I spent four years in graduate school taking classes on what it means to be a therapist, writing papers and taking exams. When I wasn’t studying, I was working to help get me through school and to pay for rent.  

Not only did I have to work 10x as hard as I did in my undergraduate career, but I had to continue to work 10x as hard outside of it. After graduation I was suddenly making roughly about a nickel an hour with the title “intern” after I had a masters degree! I was told I was to do 3,000 “therapy hours.” No small feat.

And FINALLY after working in countless jobs for next to nothing pay with large huge loans looming ahead, I was told that I get to TAKE AN EXAM. Some people don’t pass. People pay thousands of dollars and spend hours studying for the exam. Some people quit their job during this 6-month study time. Then after you pass (IF you pass) it still could take months before you receive your licensure.

Do you know how old I expect to be when this is all accomplished!? Probably 81. That’s my best guess. I will be 81 and I will be TIRED.

I asked my good friend who just recently accomplished the 3,000 hours feat if it was all worth it. She said the best thing and it’s the best because it was the most honest.

She looked tired and said, “I don’t know.”

Honestly that’s the only answer I would have believed anyway so I’m glad she said it.

When it comes to something like this there has to be something deeper than a paycheck or even the ability to pay off your loans. There’s got to be a bit of endurance. Like the kind I had to cultivate when I ran cross-country in college. Maybe it’s my determination to run or walk or crawl the long road. I do this because this road is full of meaning.

Meaning gives me purpose more than material things or a big house can. I think that’s why my friend stuck it out. She is still passionate about all of it. I think she’s just tired of being run over by the system, of bad pay and poor hours. And who isn’t really. Who isn’t asking “Is this all worth it?!” Don’t we all wonder from time to time if pursuing a life of meaning is worth it? My life isn’t about hoarding up as much as I can. Why? It is because I believe in abundance, not scarcity. However, the call to an abundant life is not always about “winning the lottery” It’s a call to the deeper, the richer, the more that really lasts.

This long road of gaining hours is one that has given me meaning. It’s given me endurance. It’s told me a lot of about what it means to stick with something. I don’t think most people would have described me as loyal person earlier in my life. I like new. I grew up moving a lot. I changed houses and changed churches. When I got older I changed boyfriends. I would change my clothes 3x a day. I’ve worked in a zillion different types of jobs. This is one thing that has stuck. It’s crazy that is has. Usually when a boyfriend and I hit conflict, I would run. When my clothes got old and out of style I’d say SEE YA…(which could mean they end up hiding in my closest for years…)

My husband is LOYAL. If life were up to him he would live in the same neighborhood, the same city, go to the same coffee shop and wear the same clothes for the rest of his life. And he’s bound to love the woman he has for the rest of his life (me-hurray!)

I’ve taken a few notes from him on this stuff. Sticking to something creates a type of endurance and loyalty and meaning that few things can create in a short circuit type way. You can’t fast food it to a lot of meaning. Things that are meaningful take time. IF all of it was instantaneous I doubt it would mean so much.

So, what is the silver lining of my never-ending MFT career? Endurance. Loyalty. Meaning. I stuck with something I wholehearted believe in. I might not love the way I have gotten to where I am, but I believe in it. As Thomas Paine so eloquently wrote, "What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value"

And, I’m at 2,300 hours. Only 700 to go!  I might make it to licensure after all.  Maybe even before I’m an eighty-one year old grandma!

Spring is around the corner after all.