Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Can Women Have IT ALL (Part 3)

Welcome back to Part 3 of my series on Can Women Have IT ALL! Now it's time to share the hardest part of my "do's and don'ts" I created my list of what I don't do. I am telling myself that creating this list is to set me free so I can prioritize my DO list. It's always been hard for me to say no. I am learning though. Sometimes saying "no" is the brave and sacred act of my day. 

My nature is more, but this season is less. Paring down to barer bones, making space, scraping away. We love big stories, ones that involve passports, mountains and photo-ops. But sometimes being courageous means less, quieter, stiller, smaller." -Shauna Niequist


I don’t do dry cleaning. If you are a high-maintenance shirt, tough luck to you-you are going in the washing machine like all my other clothes. Stop trying to be better than the others.

I don’t clean out my email inbox…I know I know…but time is finite.

I don’t do sexism and I don’t hang out with people who are fiercely committed to this. I don’t hang out with people who only discuss how their and other people’s bodies look as well as their next work out plan.

I don’t support inequality or injustice.

I don’t bully my body.

I don’t really take out the trash or do recycling (please be kind to me). I don’t sew. I don’t garden, though I might like to someday.

I don’t wear heels.

I don’t wear fancy sunglasses and I don’t color my hair monthly. My roots are just going to be there and I hope it doesn’t offend anyone.

And this one is just so difficult for me to say, because I love giving gifts, but sending gifts 24x a year across the country is no longer sustainable. My immediate family receives gifts from me. And Scott. After that, a handful of close friends who live in San Diego MIGHT receive a prize at some point.

I do not seek to make my apartment a “show home” from HGTV even though I would secretly love it. Sterile clean is not sustainable for me. Sometimes I have piles.

I don’t do perfection. I aim to be present and kind and brave, not perfect.

I don’t do a lot of math, spread sheets or things involving numbers. I don’t enjoy paying bills, it makes me dizzy. (okay, but we DO pay our bills)

I seek to not shame myself. I seek not to shame others.

I don’t tan or lay at the beach to do so. I will burn. I don't do facial appointments. However I will use cucumbers and my own homemade version of one. 

 I don’t wear anything that tries to squish my neck. I don’t wear tight clothes because I value breathing. I buy extra large leggings and this is truth.

I don’t add extra things to my schedule to feel worthy or productive.

I don’t talk on the phone every day like I used to. I need one day where I “un-plug”.

I don’t keep my car clean besides throwing out old coffee cups.

I don’t work 40+ hours a week because I value my emotional energy for my clients and myself MORE than the 40+ hours would make for me financially.

I don’t cook or bake but I make. I make salad, sandwiches and the occasional dinner. I make candles and my own dry shampoo and make-up remover. I make my own wall art and stationary sometimes too. I do not make my own scarves, pillows or blankets. I do not upholster anything. I don’t even know what it means.

I don’t go to concerts, clubs or bars after 9pm. It is too loud and I am too tired.

I don’t volunteer for 10 nonprofits. I don’t save the world even though I desperately want to. I focus on my own backyard (ahem, cement porch) and take deep breath. I focus on living my story and not someone else’s.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Can Women Have IT ALL Part 2

Today I am continuing the conversation I started in my last blog regarding if women can have it. I've been working on my list. Today is about the things I do. I assume creating a list of things I "don't do" so I can prioritize the things I really care about will be a bit more challenging. My personality wants to DO IT ALL. But alas, you saw what happens to my face when I try DO IT ALL…. 


I do want my life to face and be towards Jesus. I do believe I need a rescue, always, and every day. I believe other people want that rescue too. I want to live a life that exemplifies freedom. I want my life to be about something more powerful and more divine than what meets the eye. I believe my body is created in God’s image and I am a sacred temple.

Therefore I do eat. I eat intuitively and am mindful of nutrition.

I also sleep, as rest is essential in life to be productive. I also believe sleep, rest and being still are some of my most sacred acts just like eating is. This is what I offer up to God.

I do therapy. I write a lot. I blog. I read gallons. I do book clubs. I do research. I educated on what is close to my heart. I care greatly about my adolescent clients.

I do funny because I need comic relief in my life.

I do take time to get deep tissue massages for my sore muscles. I also get my nails done from time to time.

I make time for movement. I take nature walks and do yoga.

I do love nature, fresh air, and weather; especially rain. 

I invest in good supportive shoes.

I do make the bed, but I hide a lot of stuff under the bed.

I do grocery shopping and I clean our tiny place with Scott’s help. My favorite is dusting.

I make time for art.

I always make time for coffee.

I prioritize my relationships with my flood community, my neighborhood and my friends. I do make time for my “safe and tender” people. I make time to do life together, to have meals together, play games, have picnics at the bay, have coffee dates or go on double dates together.

I do prioritize my family (which includes Scott’s family!) I do this through phone calls, text messages, letter writing and when finances permit, traveling to see them as they live in northern California, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, Florida, and Minnesota.

My sisters and I send prizes in the mail to each other.

I make time for Owen because I have known him since he was 15 months old and I love him dearly.

I make time to write E-beth snail mail because our friendship since third grade is very important to me.

Scott and I do go to church but not every day or every week even. We go to church related workshops and we love hearing our friends speak. 

I make Scott and our marriage deep and meaningful through intentional conversation and quality time. Right now, we make time for dates nights 1x a week. We practice “dream night” where we spend time intentionally pursuing our hobbies and every Saturday morning we go to our favorite coffee shop and have a “reading party”. We pray and list out what we are grateful for each night as we hit the pillow.

I do travel. Not all the time but I am okay with giving up a week of pay if that means exploring the world more, seeing my family or re-connecting with Scott on a romantic get-away. I might not be able to go out of the country yearly but I can usually get in my car and at least drive somewhere new.

I do make time to see my therapist. 

I do empathy and self-care and validation. 

I defend and advocate for society's definition of the "weak, vulnerable and highly sensitive". 

I do doctor appointments and dentist appointments even though I don’t like them. I do essential oils and I love them. 

*Clearly this is not an entirely exhaustive list. For example if I was to tell you everything I do, you might fall off your seat of boredom. I do wash my hands too ya'll. And I do shower from time to time. I check the mail too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Can Women Have It ALL (Part I)

I watched this Propel video recently and it really made me think about my belief system regarding my gender and what is socially and culturally expected of me. 

Can women have it all?

This has been rolling around in my head for awhile. It seems that in today’s society and culture women are expected to do A LOT. There is this unwritten TOXIC message that says if you are a stay-at-home-mother, you are CLEARLY not a feminist and don’t care about your career and then there is this other unwritten message that says if you are a career woman and don’t have any babies then CLEARLY you don’t care about families and being warm and nurturing.

So…the solution to this? DO IT ALL. Have an amazing education,  a bad-ass career, be a mother and DO IT ALL looking hot and maintaining a clean and pristine home.

Well how absurd and ridiculous. But who hasn’t bought into this lie at least a little bit? I know I have and I don’t even have children. But Scott and I want kids. And it all makes me feel like I need to race, speed, full throttle it all the way to career bliss while simultaneously making babies. Good grief.

I read this stunning quote Shauna Niequist wrote in her latest book Savor and later in her book, Bittersweet; that has made me stop and think quite a bit the past few days. It’s made me think about how time is finite and so is energy and being everything to everyone and doing it all perfectly might not be as sustainable as I had previously hoped.

“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what YOU’RE WILLING TO GIVE UP, in order to do the things YOU REALLY CARE ABOUT….”

So Shauna went on to make a list. She made a list of things she does and things she doesn’t do. She writes about giving her best to raise her sons, but she doesn't scrapbook. She works hard to be a good writer but doesn't pain her fingernails or do major home improvement projects. She said this list set her free.  Since I love lists like I love lab puppies and cold brew coffee, I figured this would be a good activity for me. I'm going to take some time to think through my lists of "do's" and "dont's" I plan to blog about them soon. Maybe you can join me and let me know what things you are giving up in order to do what you really care about. 

 This picture portrays how I look and feel when I try to DO IT ALL. 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Feeling Blecky

Here's something.

I'm feeling blecky.

And by that I mean I am both blessed and lucky. 

To be blecky is to encounter good even though I don't deserve it or didn't strive for it. It happened and it feels like a fluke or a strange phenomenon but I am grateful. 

I've just decided that these two words need to merge. Being the highly spiritual Christian I am, I have always said, "I am so blessed!" #blessed

But there's something about that statement alone that made me feel weird. I wondered if it sounded like I was blessed but meanwhile other people were simply cursed and it all came from the same superstitious God upstairs.

The problem of pain is not something I will get into, but it deserves to be noted. If I have an amazing husband and you don't does that mean I'm blessed and you just got the shaft? If I make all the money in the world but you live in poverty does that mean I'm blessed and you got screwed?

From what I gather via the smarty pants dictionary; blessed essential means to have a sacred nature, to be connected with God, or something that is very welcome, pleasant, appreciated or held in reverence.

This makes me think of the Beautitidues in Matthew 5 with verses such as "Blessed are the poor spirit"… I guess it's different than… "Yeah, I recovered from my flu in just two days! I guess I'm really blessed with a good immune system"

The more I think about it, the more I think to be blessed has something to do with the quiet space inside of us and less with external circumstances. I just think of the woman who is infertile only to hear her friend say she is pregnant because she is "blessed". I can't imagine that feels very good.

Now, the word lucky seems less disarming. It has less of a staunch feeling to it. Lucky according to the dictionary means to produce a good result by chance. Luck basically means the accidental way things happen without being planned.

I kinda like that. I feel like life is kind of mix of blessings and luck if you will. I realize living in the gray here isn't always very appreciated when so much of our world wants us to live in extreme blacks and whites. But the truth is that horrible awful things happen to people who know and love Jesus, who seek Him. And wonderful, amazing things happens to people who know and love Jesus. I just feel like I don't have any right to be spewing about how 'blessed' I am because no one in my family has experience racisim for example, when my neighbor experiences it every day. Is being blessed like a weapon? If we speak it over ourselves will it hide us away from pain? I think not, and rather, Jesus says, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." When was the last time someone was crying and grieving the loss of something and stated, "I'm blessed because I mourn?"
Pretty different than what I think of being blessed. 

So for me, my personal definition of the word "blecky" is:

God is connected to me and I experienced something good and it feels accidental and I have no idea why. And I am grateful. 

The end. 

I feel blecky to have him in my life

Friday, April 10, 2015

Silver Linings Matter

Silver linings really matter.

This week, is the week after spring break. Usually I always feel a little bit of unease before Christmas break and spring break. Since I work with at-risk adolescents (which this label is not one I am fond of, aren't we all one or two steps from being at-risk?) generally this break is not a fun time. All week my clients have been requesting to see me and telling me how horrible spring break was for them.

Thankfully as they talk, they usually find at least one silver lining in the week. They find something that makes them grateful or helped them through the week.

So I'm taking my own advice and doing the same. The combination of being post recovered from an eating disorder and having being diagnosed as pre-diabetic (along with a a looming fear of being full fledged diabetic) makes me feel quite overwhelmed. However this week I would like to reach out and pull out of the miry mess what I find to be the bright side. The whole idea of a silver lining is a metaphor for optimism. Storm clouds always have a silver lining.

So I will hunt for them like treasures!

Okay my silver linings include:

* I had my appointment with my nutrionist this week. She is the same one who helped me recover from my eating disorder so I trust her a lot. She reminded me that restricting was NOT a way to manage being pre-diabetic. She assured me that my meal plan is NOT a low carb diet. She explained to me that it's more about timing and what I pair with my carbs. She explained that proteins are helpful when having carbs because they keep your blood sugar safe. She also told me to eat every 3 hours to help keep my blood sugar stable. Even though I felt scared and anxious and triggered thinking about having to now count carbs, she assured me that it was not about weight, or cutting out fats. In fact, she explained fat does not affect blood sugar at all. Rather she talked about balance and overall wellness.

*My husband. Good grief am I lucky. I could explode with gratitude. In all honesty, sometimes I can't even receive all the kindness because it's too much. It feels too good to be true. (enter foreboding joy) The morning after my appointment I awoke to Scott in the kitchen, with all the breakfast smells imaginable and all the sounds of sizzling, toasting and boiling. Scott had figured out all the exchanges for me and has practically everything ready as I slow-motion(ed) my way out of bed. Every day he has tirelessly and passionately made me nutritious meals. I didn't ask. It was just given. SILVER LINING FOLKS.

* Seeing my friend this week and going to see a beautiful estate full of flowers, gardens and peaceful space. Just what my soul needed and craved.

*Spending time with my mentor this week over hot tea and an Anthropologie candle on her cozy couch.

* You guys. Seriously. After my last blog posted I was nervous. But you all responded with so much encouragement and kindness. All your comments on my blog and Facebook meant so much. All your text messages and sincere words make me strong.  My friend wrote a powerful blog on the "Joshuas" in your life. The friends who remind you that if God is with you, no one, nothing, can stop you or separate you from that love, from the land of abundance. We don't have to go back to bondage, addiction, toxic obsession. I've had a lot of friends and family remind me that I don't have to go back to my eating disorder to manage this. I am so thankful.

Note on Silver Linings: Silver linings are to be used for the person who is going THROUGH the difficulty. If you are not going through the storm, it's usually not a good idea to project what you think is a silver lining for your friend, family member or client. Silver lining matters work best for those who are IN IT. They are in the arena. They are the warriors. Let them come up with their own silver linings. We all know people who say, "Well on the bright side…" right after we shared our deep and traumatic wound.  All we need to do as companions is validate, validate VALIDATE their feelings and experiences.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

What Bad News Triggers In Me

Do you ever get bad news repeated to you on the regular? I mean like the same bad news is told to you over and over again? 

I still want to break up with you

You have symptoms of infertility...

You’re fired

The test reports found…

Recently I heard a type of bad news 3 times. For two weeks I was told the same bad news. After 3 tests I was told I was pre-diabetic. What does this mean exactly? Well I am still learning. However since diabetes, both type 1 and 2 run in my family, I knew quite a bit about what this means.

Bad news triggers different things in all of us but for me, it usually triggers the same things. 

Dear bad news triggers…you are not very creative!!!

It usually triggers a sense of needing to control everything in me, an anxiety, a swirly feeling and a frantic face. 

For about four years I struggled with anorexia. I’ve been scared to talk about it but I’m more tired than I am afraid of shame and all it’s toxic lies. 

It is part of my tender and brave story. My struggle made me think that being overweight was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Restricting food made me feel powerful and in control. 

As much as I feel recovered, the temptation came back with the bad news. Suddenly the urge to restrict was strong again. It felt scary. I feel like I’ve recovered so much. How can I even feel so drawn to this deadly obsession? Why does this seem so appealing right now?

This morning laying in bed I read a quote by Bob Goff’. He said,  “Don’t let who you were talk you out of who you’re becoming 

Isn’t that just like Spring? Spring is about becoming, sprouting and growing. No matter how icy cold and relentless winter is, Spring is more stubborn. Something warm and beautiful and bloomy is, in fact, more stubborn. Against all odds, Spring bursts out of the ground, waving and throwing greens like confetti. 

Spring is a dauntless badass.

We have all had winters in our lives. We’ve encountered barren trees and dead leaves. We have experienced pain and loss. We did the best we could. I have the most respect for my story. I work to forgive myself for hurting my body the way I did when my eating disorder was in it’s most frigid winter. 

Just because I had an eating disorder doesn’t mean I have to go back to one. I don’t have to manage my life like that anymore. I don’t have to numb myself by not eating. I can feel swirly AND breathe deeply AND feed myself. 

Today I have more choices then I did then. I know more. I know who I am becoming.  

As Glennon Doyle reminded me today, “Your best- is ahead, not behind. “

Who am I becoming? 















What exactly is ahead? Well it’s Spring of course!

Always and forever Spring wins. 

Happy Easter friends!