Sunday, December 18, 2016

My Christmas Letter

Dearest family and friends, 

I love Christmas. Anticipating Advent. Twinkly lights. The smell of pine. Crinkly wrapping paper. Red and white twine. Moss and thyme.  Nativity Scenes. Chilly weather. Christmas has always felt like some kind of safe, warm and cozy bubble in which I have to emerge from every January. It’s a giant blanket woven with love and I’m grateful enough to have so many good memories around this sacred season. The world feels crowded with love.

And I love letters. Snail mail. Hand written. I get lost in the card section at Target. I love stationary and I firmly believe in the power of receiving a note in the mail box. The smell of paper and pens and sharpies and fresh envelops. Crisp and connecting. It’s connecting one part of the world to the other where your hand holds something my hand has held. There is love shared.

So naturally I love Christmas letters. I know that one might think that this practice is dead or old fashioned , but I still hold to this beautiful discipline of writing letters. I like knowing about what people are up to and about their lives and what matters to them. I like seeing their pictures pegged up on our cork board every year.

So here is my Christmas letter.

But so much of me feels this internal pressure, this performance anxiety, this inner hustle to give everyone the highlight reel of my life. The promotions, the career advancement, the house, the kids, the dog, the vacation, the-I’m-doing-it-American-dream.

Not that these things are bad inherently.

But I want everyone to know all is calm and all is bright, right?

So I cling to what is easy, and glossy, and pretty and busy. Fast and trendy, big and booming.

I assume everyone wants the PG version of my life. 

You know the edited one, the filtered, air-brushed, face-tuned one. The smooth one. The one that has no edges or bumps or lumps one.

I could be very selective in what I share, just like I want to be with my feelings. But when I numb the negative feelings, I certainly lose a capacity to experience the positive feelings. And when I only share the highlight reel a bit of my humanity is lost.

I could tell you about passing my licensure exams to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

But you wouldn’t know that I studied and stressed and sweat for 6 months straight (aka 12 years total of education and gaining hours).

I could tell you that Scott’s job is going amazing and that kids are encountering Jesus and we are always well funded.

But then you wouldn’t know how terrifying it feels to live off of generosity. How hard it can feel to constantly be searching for new donors.

I could tell you this whole year was great, we moved into a bigger apartment, we adopted a fuzzy little puppy we adore, we went on an amazing trip to the United Kingdom.

But you wouldn’t know about Scott losing both his grandfathers, his mother being diagnosed with cancer, or that she is now cancer free.

You wouldn’t know that sometimes the stories I hear from my clients are so devastating that I sometimes wonder why I chose this career.

And that death, miscarriages, cancer, racism, eating disorders, affairs, poverty, addictions, suffering and the refugee crisis  have no easy answer. There is no American dream that will erase this kind of pain.

I could tell you about our trip to the Grand Canyon, The Tower of London, the Castle of Edinburgh. I could tell you about zip lining over a lake, paddle boarding across smooth waters and swaying in a hammock peacefully.

But would you know about our more ordinary things, the bills, our head colds, the jet lag, our piles of laundry, our cars needing oil changes and our puppy needing a bath.

All might be calm and bright.

But it’s also hard. 

So hard.

It’s brutal. And it’s beautiful.

And it’s also ordinary and just meh.

And I think about what this holiday season ushers into us with gusto and grandiosity. Large Christmas trees and beckoning sales and lists and more to do and loud and blaring and chaotic and holiday parties and that little black dress and family and frenzied plans and flights and gift exchanges and candy canes and flashing lights and red lips and on and on and on. 

This holiday season in America invites the chaos with open arms and open mouths and dazed eyes. 


We've got clenched fists and are practically out of our wits. 

We can’t see or feel what it’s really about because we are numb. And it’s too scary to talk about ordinary or hard or brutal or how it really is because Christmas is shiny and pretty and glittery and sparkly gold and BE MERRY nearly screams in our ears as we count down to Christmas.

Deep breath.

Our trip to the United Kingdom was wonderful and beautiful. And while there have been thin places and gaping holes in the canvas that is our year, our trip was not one of them. Scotland is filled with rolling brilliant green hills; freckled with little white fuzzy dots. The sheep that filled the countryside laid around and munched on grass or simply stared off into space. It spun me back to a navy blue sky scattered with twinkly lights, fields and a chilly breeze.



Shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night.

The starry filled sky opened up with angels and good news.

And the good news was a tiny little baby. A small heartbeat. Shrill screams. Good news was scratchy hay and a smelly stable and not enough room inside.

This isn’t my exegesis on Luke 2 but I have to wonder if the holy and sacred might begin with small and quiet and listening and wonder. Not loud, straining, hustling and bustling.

I feel like it might be more honest and raw than we were are willing to see. 

Here comes God riding on the small and uncertain, the hard and terrifying, the so-not-ready-for-this, the unfiltered, the mundane, the not-enough-space for you, the sacred ordinary.

We can just be sheep who bear witness to the miraculous falling out of the sky. The divine shaped to a fetal ball rolling and breaking and pushing into our world. A Savior who is Christ the Lord.

The good news is here.

The sacred is now.

The brutal.

And the beautiful.

As the acute and colorful holiday chaos rush past me I will sit on the fields of my mind staring up at the velvet night sky. Sheep do not hustle by any stretch of the imagination. They are fuzzy and wooly and dirty. They don’t boast of polished or glossy anything. Much of what they do is receive. And My Christmas letter, as for this year, will just point you back to the sky, to the rolling hills, to the scattered sheep, to the night that everything changed for us.

The Shepherd who holds the lambs.  Who holds you in all your beautiful imperfections and stunning brokenness and earth shattering value. Who holds you through it all. 


The Shepherd hold you through your whole year of brutal and beautiful.

Frayed and fragile. 

Brave and bountiful.  

Kind and connected. 

Scared and white knuckling through. 

Holding you. 

The Shepherd doesn’t need you to perform or hustle or strive this Christmas.

And if we aren’t looking and getting quiet and curious, we’ll miss it. The being held. The sheep. The good news. The Shepherd. I don’t want to miss it. So take a deep breath and uncurl your fingers just like a baby did so many years ago, and let Christmas hold you.

Merry Christmas!

Love, Heather and Scott and Leonard


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Five Ways Your Pup Can Help Reduce Anxiety

We all know by now how much I simply adore our little pup, Leonard. On November 1st, he will be one years old. Besides taking him to his first annual physical at the vet today and gathering little prizes and gifts for him, I've been thinking about all the ways Lenny has helped Scott and I reduce our stress these past 9 months. (except for vet bills, we'll leave finances out of this!)

While I know there are countless ways our fuzzy friends are like superheroes when it comes to managing stress and reducing anxiety; I've included just five of the top ways they do so.

DOGS MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD:



Dogs can elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine (those lovely things that help us relax and calm down). Just playing with Leonard by taking him to dog beach, throwing his ball or teaching him tricks helps bring down my anxiety level. Lenny lives in the moment and often anxiety resides in the past or future so staying present to play with a pup is really helpful.

DOGS MAKE GOOD GUARDS:




Dogs are little guards especially at night. When Scott would leave on work trips when we first got married I would dread the nights of sleeping alone. I would set up sleep-overs and buy night lights and deadbolt the door 10x but nothing has helped the way having little Lenny curled up next to me does. If I get nervous and wake from a nightmare in the middle of the night, I just reach over and hold Lenny's paw and immediately feel my nervous system calming down.

DOGS GET YOU OUTSIDE:




We know that the sun offers vitamin D and that vitamin D helps regulate our mood. Leonard needs multiple walks a day, therefore Scott and I get a lot of time in the sun these days. Movement, and vitamin D all are linked to reducing cortisol and anxiety levels. Thanks Lenny!

DOGS ARE GROUNDING:



As I mentioned before dogs help you remain in the present. If someone is experiencing extreme panic, flashbacks or even PTSD just reaching out and petting a puppy can be very grounding. It reminds you of what is going on right now. Trauma informed care includes learning to use our sense (what we see, feel, touch, smell) to help us stay in the moment. Holding a little pup and hearing their heart beat against our own reminds us that we are living in the present, not the past or future.

DOGS MAKE YOU LAUGH:



Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter increases our oxygen (giving us relaxed muscles) and reduces cortisol levels (the stress hormone). So it isn't any surprise that watching our pets and dogs' silly antics can really calm us down. Even Leonard does something really "naughty" I sometimes have to suppress my laughter so he knows I'm serious. (like last night when he ate off the stem of pumpkin #yummy?). Sometimes Lenny jumps under the bed with only his tail sticking out. Sometimes he chases his tail. Sometimes he runs at full tilt in a tight circle with his tongue hanging out and his eyes looking wild. Sometimes he growls at Halloween decorations in neighbor's yards. If you don't have a dog, watch this video and it will give you a good laugh.



What about you? How do pets help reduce your stress?

Friday, October 21, 2016

The Exam.

My heart is racing. The air I inhale feels thin. I am ramping up. Almost ready for take off.

The adrenalin rush and heart pounding reminds me of the night before track meets when I was in high school. I would always visualize my race as I would fall asleep (or not fall asleep more accurately). I would hold my breath and my chest would become tight as I thought of the agonizing 400 meter race.

This time I'm visualizing my state boards. I'm imagining something I've been working towards for 8 years. I'm anticipating my licensure exam. My four hour licensure exam.

I've been studying for three months tirelessly, endlessly, with gusto and discipline. But I am tired now. My brain has reached capacity on information and my storage is running low.

On the day of the exam I do the things I'm told to do, almost robotically.  Scott makes me a good nutrient dense breakfast. My exam is at 1:30. I fill the reminder of my time by following my list. My list makes me feel safe and grounded. And it reminds me of what really matters. #dontshityourpants



I take my puppy for a walk around the neighborhood. I do some yoga and deep breathing to calm my nerves. I have "savor time" in which I read and journal and pray and drink coffee. (only this morning my journal entry was one sentence) and I'm pretty sure my prayers were quite minimal.

Scott drives me to the test site. I gulp some juice but I am so nauseated. The testing site is what you would expect. Big and corporate. White and sterile. It's stern and stifling in the waiting room. Everyone is just in there waiting for a finger print and a picture while they sweat outwardly and swear inwardly.

They call my name too early and I request to bring my tampon into the testing room but this is not even allowed. (yes of course it's that time of the month). Nothing is allowed in that damn testing room. No hoodies, no snacks, no Advil, no water, no freaking tampon you guys.  I pour on all my Young Living Clarity Oil and walk into the room full of cubicles.  I see my best friend's top knot in cubicle 7. I can't talk to her or even look at her. I hold my breath and am put in a cubicle by a window. The joy of being by a window in a room of no color, muted lights and lack of oxygen does little to comfort me.

I use every minute of those four hours. The computer screen is fuzzy from the beginning and I strain to read the questions which feel more like reading long paragraphs with endless irrelevant detail. It's hot in here and I keep praying for more air cause I'm trying to breathe. I feel my chest tighten as I check the time and continue making my way through the 170 questions. I push the screen closer and closer to my face as the questions continue to blur in and out of focus. Soon the screen is just inches from my nose.  I consider leaving in the middle of my exam feeling that I don't have what it takes after all. A thousand scenarios flash through my mind of impending doom but I press on. I remind myself of what I've learned and this does not include theories or diagnosing or treatment plans or law and ethics.

What I've learned is this: I might feel uncertain but I will keep going. I might be confused but I will keep moving forward. I might feel inferior and inadequate but I'll show up anyway. I'm not going to let Hard stop me. I can do Hard. I will show up sweaty and sticky and smelly. This exam or this ____ (fill in the blank) will not define my worth and value. I can do this.

So as the timer logs me out and I've finished all my questions I head out to the test proctor, preparing for the worst. She has me sign some forms. Her affect is flat and I am essentially a walking vegetable. In my head I am already in the car crying with Scott. I am not here signing pointless forms awaiting the fail verdict. She silently hands me a sheet of paper. I take a quick glance out of the corner of my eye and there it is; that beautiful four letter word.


PASS

I walk out into the sun in a daze where Scott literally pounces from the car as he's been a nervous wreck for four hours. I hand him my paper. The paper that says PASS. 

I inhale the fresh crisp air. The sun tilts towards me as Scott embraces me . Stuffy and sweaty is now a distant memory. Clammy and nauseated is over. I walked right through the Hard and I came out on the other side; four hours 8 years later. #kidding #notreally 

You guys there is ANOTHER SIDE!!!!


And I'm finally on the other side!!!!

For those of you who have rallied around me for the past few years, months, weeks and days I am so grateful for you.  Your comments on my blogs and Instagram have meant so much to me. Your notes and cards and care packages in my mail box left me giddy with joy. Your text messages and your warm embrace leave me grateful. Your prayers reminded I was not alone and that you were in my corner too. Your belief and support gave me little wings to keep flying and keep going when it was the hardest. Your ability to sweat profusely outside my test site for hours has convinced me there is such a thing as "the one" and you're it. I love you.  They always say it takes a tribe to raise a child. I think it might take a tribe to raise a good therapist. So thank you. I have the best tribe. You all make me rich.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Last Day Of Blog-Tember | My Advice.

It's our last day of Bailey's Blog-Tember Challenge! Congrats to all of us! I'm sad it's ending. I look forward every September to this writing challenge. I meet so many wonderful fellow bloggers who are so encouraging and inspiring. But this prompt is especially fun so let's get to it! 

Today's Prompt:  Picture this, you've been stopped on the street by the photographer of Humans of New York, and he asks, "What advice would you give to a large group of people?" Share a picture of yourself along with the advice. 



External Self (how I would like you to see me)                                           Internal Self (what I don't want you to see)

I'm going to give some advice that I need to hear on a regular basis. Here it is:



Don't judge or compare your inside with someone's outside. 

In other words, we are so quick to compare ourselves to others highlight reel. We see all those airbrushed, edited, face-tuned photos and wonder what is wrong with us. We see others work-full time, raise children and manage to volunteer and immediately we begin to turn on ourselves and berate ourselves for not doing it all. We shrink when we compare. We determine our inner worth based off of everyone else's outer appearance, accomplishments or achievements. 

We intuitively know this is not true but we FEEL that it is. 

For so many years I would look at others as a barometer to remind myself that I can and SHOULD be doing all of these things. I would constantly criticize myself and wonder why am I so tired after work? How come they can work full time and have energy? How come they have the stamina for pinterest parties and baking from scratch? How on earth do they keep up with manicures and hair trims and eye-brow waxing and shaving when I can barely manage keeping up with my laundry and showering?! How do they manage the strength to lead a bible-study, lead a workshop and volunteer with the homeless?

And then there are deeper and more harsher comparisons. I bet they've never struggled with anxiety. I bet they've never felt so scared. They probably have a 4.0 GPA without even trying. They've probably never felt insecure. They're so much stronger. They don't know what it's like to suffer or lose someone they love. They've probably never been really tempted to lie, steal and cheat. Their friends are always there for them. Their toes are always painted and they've never struggled with addictions. And they own a home and have published 5 books and they are only 25.

But here's the truth;

We all have a bit of a mess inside. 

You know why I know?

Because we're human. 

And yet we are still so beautiful, special, competent, courageous, capable and worthy even if we are a hot mess. 

Today I smile a little when someone presents me with a perfect image because I know that's not the whole truth. It's not the entire story of who they are. I know that we only put out what we think the world will accept. I know that we are scared and so we don't show our most authentic selves. 

So when I come across someone who is working so SO hard to cover up the real version of her/himself I have a little more compassion. They are not fooling anyone but I understand the need to hide behind perfection. It often feels safer from a harsh and critical world. 

If being a therapist has taught me anything it's that we are all seeking similar things; love, belonging and connection. And that no one has the whole "life thing" down perfectly. In the past four years I have seen a lot of different clients and let me tell you something, you would never know from just looking at some of them that they are struggling. And even some of my closest friends, you would never know. Because they appear smart, successful, competent and are all gorgeous (in my humble opinion #friendbrag) and they are all of those things AND they struggle just like everyone else. 

No one actually skips or prances through life without feeling lost, alone, confused or scared at some point or another. It just doesn't happen. 

So next time you're tempted to compare your inner world with someone else's outer world remind yourself that you don't know the whole story behind that person's highlight reel. But you know your story and I bet there are moments of happiness, pain, love, confusion and strength scattered throughout your precious story. Own that story and hold your head high. You are a gem.

 Or you can always just look back up at my pictures to have a good laugh because what we see externally isn't always what is going on internally (aka inside I am fuzzy, sweating, nervous and terrified of my exam AND I am still capable, competent and courageous) 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Blog-Tember day 29 | Top Five Blogs

Better late than never right?! I'm just minutes before midnight but I'm going to make it! I can't wait for my licensure exam to be over so I can go back and read all of the last couple prompts from all my blogging friends out there! 

Today's Prompt: Your Fab Five. Share Your Favorite Bloggers:

Her blog is fantastic. I've read both her books, Carry on Warrior and Love Warrior and they are both amazing. She is such a courageous truth teller. She reminds me that rock bottom is not the worst thing to experience and that we are not alone. 

I love Rosie's blog! She writes about books, home organization, cooking, her sweet hubby and sweet baby, Jade. She battles so much chronic pain and still manages to be so generous and kind to those around her. She is a gem and the sweetest soul. I always feel right at home when I visit her blog. 

Rachel's blog always makes me think! She writes about theology, gender roles,feminism, politics and other controversial subjects in the faith community. I love her ability to think outside the box and challenge ways of thinking that are harmful. 

 Krysti is my fellow book lover, feminist, investigator and friend. She writes about her thoughts on life, faith and passion. She writes with wit, sass and integrity (all things that I adore). 

Leanna's beautiful words and stories inspire me. She has written Found Art, Breathing Room and Brazen; of which I have read and loved. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blog-Tember Day 28 | Top Five

Today's Prompt: The Top 5 Pictures That Illustrate Your Year So Far!


Lots and lots of studying for my licensure exam. Seven months of studying and only 7 days left!


Getting our first puppy! I can't believe it's only been since March that we welcomed our amazing and fuzzy little guy into our home. We are crazy about him. 


Lots and lots of travel this year to visit both our families, weddings, bachelorette parties and work related travel (including Disney World, Minnesota and Lost Canyon Camp!) 


Big life events for so many of my good friends including being a bridesmaid in a wedding and becoming a godmother to the sweetest baby girl! (As of yesterday)


Last but not least my amazing and fierce mother-in-law was diagnosed with uterine cancer this year shortly after Mother's Day. It was a very scary time for everyone. She's been through surgery and radiation and so many ups and downs. But this month she was declared cancer free and we are so very grateful!!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Blog-Tember Day 27 | Laughing and Crying

I am becoming painfully slow at getting my prompts out in a timely manner as my state exam looms closer and closer. Only 6 days left! Today was my final mock exam and for the rest of the week I'll be reviewing and studying all the material. I can't wait for it to be done! Naturally it was good to think about the last time I laughed.

Today's Prompt: Something that made you laugh or cry recently. It could be a video, a picture, a post, a memory, anything that moved you. 

I love humor and comedy so much. These two videos made Scott and I laugh so much. No matter what your views are politically I'm sure you'll find a couple things pretty humorous about the videos below. :)

LAUGH.



LAUGH SOME MORE.



AND CRY.

I really struggle to cry at appropriate moments you guys. I've never been the type to cry through a wedding or a chick flick or during a graduation. I don't cry in hospitals or at baby showers or at anniversaries. Sometimes I really wish the tears would just form. I couldn't even cry when Scott proposed! I become emotionally constipated for some reason during big major life events.

This isn't to say I don't cry! I totally do. It's just during times when I feel deeply and intensely and my feelings get stuck inside of me.

I also am known to laugh when it's very VERY serious. Sometimes I'll laugh so hard I'll cry. And usually I'm glad I look like I'm crying because it's very embarrassing to be laughing so hard during a church service or a business meeting.

What has made you laugh and cry recently?

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Blog-Tember Day 25 | A Brazen Book Review*

Okay I skipped yesterday mainly because I couldn't think of anything I've re-created to be quite honest. That either means I've been studying too much or what I do re-create ends up being less-than-pinterest-worthy. This past summer I tried this DIY coffee scrub and it looked awesome in theory but was awful in execution. (Little tiny brown crumbs ALL over my body and hair after I showered.) So no, I wasn't going to refer you to such an experience! 

Today's Prompt: Review Something! A place, a book, a service, a product. Anything at all!



I've read SO many good books this year but wanted to share one book (really one chapter with you. I really loved called Brazen, the Courage To Find The You That's Been Hiding by Leeana Tankersley. The book is about shame and freedom and what keeps our nose to the ground and what helps us breathe deeper. I wrote it a couple months ago and wanted to share this as my book review my personal thoughts on one chapter. :)

________________________________


Sometimes I get a little “buzzy” as I like to call it. I don’t mean the buzz from a glass of wine or even the buzz from a cup of coffee. I mean the brain buzz. And generally my buzzy buzzard self emerges when I’m feeling vulnerable, a little on edge and well…holding my breath. 

Scott left this past week for his grandfather’s memorial service in Colorado. Since I had never met his grandfather, I stayed back with Lenny our puppy. The first night I awoke around 1:30 am from horrible nightmares so the second night alone I had to do something before bed to calm myself. (other than the obvious: have Lenny sleep in the bed with me). 

I decided to read the next chapter in the book I’m currently reading right now called Brazen by Leeana Tankersley. I spoke briefly about it in my last blog  but it’s all about finding our true selves, living without shame, reclaiming our voice and living from a place of worthiness and becoming. She talked about how she has this desire to be creative and expressive but often is feels frivolous. This feeling stunts the creative process and rather than exploration emerging, one can end up feeling paralyzed. 

What stood out most to me was her list towards the end of the chapter of things she loves, “the frivolous things." This list was a privilege to read as it can be almost embarrassing to admit what we like. It feels silly or immature or superficial. Reading her list opened up this little crack of light inside of me, encouraging me to explore what it might be shining on. 

So that night before bed, with a police search helicopter above my apartment, all my doors locked and dead bolted and locked again, and with little Lenny curled up in a fuzzy ball next to me, I began my own list. The list of what I love. I wrote it in my journal and laid it by my nightstand and slept soundly. 

I woke up the next morning and felt a little silly because that worked. My nerves were calmed because I spent some time thinking about what I loved before I drifted off to sleep. It was such a free and un-filtered list. 

You know how lists can be rather rigid? Like if it’s a list about your hobbies, you need to have a couple of exercise hobbies or people will think you’re lazy and if you have a cooking list, you need some healthy choices or people will wonder about your nutrition, and if you have a list about favorite books, for heaven’s sake include some intellectual research based books! 

But this list was mine. I felt no pressure to include a fictitious love of dumb bells or Shakespeare or apples. Still I was a little weirded out that I kept coming back to the list the next few days, adding things here and there and smiling to myself when I thought of my frivolous list. 

My list became a place of exhale and I couldn’t even understand why. 

Why on earth would thoughts of fancy coffee, and pink nail polish, Washi tape and cucumber water help me sleep?! After all the definition of frivolous is not very dignified. It means silly, trifling, empty, worthless, of little weight or importance…” 

Leeana writes: “It’s our worst fear to be unworthy of serious attention. Until one day we realize how exhausting it is to strive so relentlessly. We hear God’s whisper: ‘Leeana, what if you stopped trying to be so worthy? What if you stopped focusing on your relevance? What if you stopped trying to secure your own meaningfulness?”

This really struck me as it feels like my entire decade of my 20’s was spent in some ways hustling to be taken seriously, to do something meaningful, to be worthy of serious attention. The 20’s can be a tumultuous decade in so many ways, graduating college, entering a career, figuring out relationships, wondering who is behind and who is ahead. I went straight from my bachelors into graduate school and I longed to be taken seriously. I wanted to be seen as academic but felt like my snide and humorous remarks were the best I had to offer. As a women, I felt like I was seen as just a "dumb blonde" who was fun but not intellectual. It felt like I couldn’t be frivolous and deep. I couldn’t do something meaningful and then do something entirely ridiculous. 

Of course this kind of black and white thinking would make anyone a little on edge and anxious having to perform so much. 

Leeana talks about “getting lost in the garden” God has given us. That we can “go to the studio of our soul” to create, explore, play, and be silly. This is a garden where I am loved as I am and don’t have to produce or create for an outcome. This garden of colors and resources and beauty that is mine to play with. 

In this garden you can, Run toward what you love with unapologetic abandon." 

I’m an oldest child so being taken seriously comes with the territory. I was responsible, conscientious and deep. But I was also creative but didn’t realize it. I was also witty but didn’t know that either. Growing up my family was thrifty and amazing at saving so going out to eat was novel and renting a movie and having popcorn was like the celebration of the century (okay I exaggerate but you underestimate my love of popcorn). 

Naturally I grew up to be a very good saver but unfortunately had a nasty guilt complex every time I bought something I didn’t necessarily need, but just wanted. But here’s the thing I can be both a good saver and also buy something I like, something frivolous. I can be both witty and watch silly sitcoms and be a deep thinker. I can be creative and still love browsing Target for things that are already created. Enjoying things doesn’t make me a superficial person. It makes me a human who is alive with a vibrant heart beat. 

 We get to love what we love you guys. We don’t have to justify or downplay our stunning souls. Our souls are deep and wide. It has plenty of room for ALL the good stuff. The deep serious stuff and the frivolous fun stuff.

Maybe there's something you love but have inwardly rejected because it feels too meaningless and trivial. Maybe you can relate to wanting to be taken seriously and so have pretended part of your soul isn't there. But what's the worst that could happen if you risked making this list? Maybe you'll even sleep better. 

So here is my list of the frivolous things that I actually and unashamedly very much enjoy. You know I want to know what's on yours!



Heather's Frivolous List:

Pillows
Essie nail polish
Gilmore Girls
Fancy wrapping paper
A novel with a cheesy happy ending
The smell of lavender
Sharpie fine point pens
Mud masks
Dusk in the summer
Fancy matches
Words
Buying more than one bottle of wine at a time
Soft blankets
Hair ties and headbands*
Humor
Cucumber Water
Washi tape
The smell of new clothes
Scott’s homemade macaroni and cheese 
Cold brew lattes
Pedicures 

*Aka my thoughts about a specific chapter in a book. 
**It’s the weirdest thing but buying hair stuff induces a weird sense of guilt in me like I should wrap my hair in braids with the yarn lying around my house (there is no yarn) Yesterday I bought headbands and all I could think was “this is so naughty, I am so bad, I am buying a pack of headbands for 5.99 to keep my bangs out of my face…how could you?!! How dare you?! Hence my need to write this blog.  

Friday, September 23, 2016

Blog-Tember Day 23 | Family Recipe

Today's Prompt: A Family Recipe. 

So I don't cook or bake a lot. But when I get up the courage and energy to do so it's often to make cookies. (and by often I mean twice a year). Thankfully I am blecky (blessed + lucky) enough to be surrounded by a husband, family (my mom, grandmas )and friends who genuinely enjoy it.

This is my "go-to" cookies recipe from my mom and her sisters. Whenever I go home or visit my aunts they make these chocolate-chip cookies. I've tried to like other cookies but nothing beats these. I have such nostalgic memories of big rain and thunderstorms growing up and my mom baking these cookies. She would let my sisters and I each have a spoon full of cookie dough and I would savor it's richness so much. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and crave these. (this is weird because I really don't crave desert in the morning).

Anyway before I got married my mom gave me a special family cook book full of traditions and recipes from the kitchen of all our friends and families. My mom included her sister's favorites recipes, my grandma Moot's holiday fruit cake, my grandma J's carmel popcorn and my mother-in-law's tostadas. Even though I don't spending time creating food in the kitchen much,  I am in love with this cook book rich with meaning and memories. And thankfully the recipes are pretty simple because my mom knows me well :)



Chocolate-Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
2 1/2 cups oatmeal (blend first)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
24 oz bag of chocolate-chips*
8 oz Hershey bar

Directions:

Mix all ingredients and add bag of chocolate chips and grated Hershey bar.
Place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. (golf ball size)
Bake @ 375 for 6 minutes.

And there you have it! Amazing cookies for days! This recipe makes about 112 cookies so be sure to share with friends.


What's your favorite family recipe?

*No chocolate-chips were harmed in the production of this blog but some were eaten. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Blog-Temper Day 22 | Hello Fall!

I am a bit late to getting this posted! Today I had to take a 4 hours timed mock exam as I continue the steep climb to being a licensed therapist. It was mind-numbing and terribly long. I felt completely brain dead and deprived of any intellectual ability (even a blog as cheery as this!) So I took my pup to the beach for some fresh air and now I feel renewed and ready to form sentences again. :)

Every year I look forward to this prompt! I love talking about fall! Seasons as in my blood as a midwest girl but living in San Diego has made me keen on observing even the smallest changes in the weather. I am sad that next week we are schedule for 90 degree weather. #ugh. But it won't stop me from celebrating this season. 

Today's Prompt: Fall Favorites. Share your must-haves for the season. 


FALL FAVORITES:
Fall greeting cards, chocolate-chip pumpkin muffins, crunchy leaves
Leggings, scarves, boots, fireplaces.
Empty beaches, rainy days, pumpkin spice everything.
Savory soups, Thanksgiving, Hallmark movies.
Apple cider, being warm and cozy, grinning pumpkins.
My birthday, anticipation of holidays, new planners.
Fall scented candles, celebrating with friends, more popcorn. 


What about fall is your favorite?