Thursday, March 24, 2016

On Marriage and the Conversations We Have

Most of my ideas are recycled. I wish I could tell you I have SO many original thoughts but if that were the case I would be a famous theorist. Most of the best things I learn are recycled, kind of like my clothes….

Anyway I’ve been listening to The Liturgist podcast on my commute to work and today I listened to one on marriage and specifically about the book Rob and Kristen Bell wrote together, Zimzum Of Love.

It got me thinking about marriage and the adventure of it all. It made me think about the space between us and how that space is always changing, growing, evolving and moving.

Rob and Kristen write, “People aren’t static, they’re dynamic-endlessly complex and capable of surprise and change”.

No matter what you believe about the author’s theology or stance on faith, I’m sure most of us can agree this is true.

Yesterday Scott and I celebrated our three year anniversary. Threeeee years. That's a total of six years of knowing him. For me, this feels miraculous considering it's my longest romantic relationship and only marriage. I never knew I could feel so safe in love. And even though it's complex and deep and moving and growing, it's continued to feel safe. 

The space between Scott and I have changed a thousand, a million times and that is okay, that is normal, that is good. That is part of the adventure of being in a relationship with a human created in the image of God.

“When you get married, you’re starting a conversation that never ends”.* 

Scott and I’s communication is unending because even when we don’t communicate we are communicating something. It’s called Metacommunication which is basically all the nonverbal cues we have including our tone, body language and gestures that carry meaning.

Whether we verbally process or internally process we are talking. Always talking to each other. 

Scott and I’s conversations have been up and down and everything in-between these past three years.

They've been something like this:

Yay! We’re getting married!

Wait I’m terrified to be married.

Yay! Marriage!

Wait I’m scared.


Okay I don’t know how to be a good married person or what does that even mean?

I love marriage and it is SO FUN!!!

Why are we so stressed?

Date nights are awesome!

Why are we talking about finances again?

I feel warm and cozy with you

Why are fighting about this again?

I found a coin!

Wait why is there mold in our apartment?

We can’t buy 5 plane tickets to see all our family members this year.

You’re my best friend!!!!!

Are we supposed to have a pet?

Or kids?

Or own a house?

Wait are we behind?

I’m so in love!!!!

I’m so in love I’m terrified of losing you.

You really make me think about the hard stuff

We love Amazon Prime

We make the best team

I’m so hungry, why do we spend an hour deciding where we should eat

Hey just pull the covers back if I steal them in the night.

We need coffee

I don’t like doing dishes

Let’s find a marriage book

I hate marriage books. I want to throw them all in the trash

You really do snore

Do we have more than one signature issue?

But really it’s your turnnnnnn

We are so weird. If anyone knew we were this weird…

Can you do that dance move like that again?

Yes, but with that face.

Hey I really reallllllyyyyyy like you

I want to do life with you forever. I choose you every day. Over and over again. You’re it.

Well there you have it. A sneak peek into our un-ending conversation. I’m really REALLY grateful to be on this adventure with Scott.  It’s the most mysterious, fun, amazing and vulnerable journey. It makes me crazy happy and crazy scared.

The space in-between us is so sacred and so special. Relationships are really stunning (romantic or not).What happens in-between, in those quiet moments or those agonizing moments or those I can’t believe I found you moments, is always creating movement between us. I find him in my corner and he finds me having his back. I find myself thinking about what will show him the most love and he finds himself thinking what I would want the most. He shows me respect and support in my purpose and I challenge him to pursue his dreams. I find myself surprised at the level of emotional safety and continually challenged by the same conflicts all at the same time.  I find myself continually curious about his tender places and he finds himself sacrificing what he wants for what I want. And we seem to find we often want the same things.

I like our conversation. I like our adventure. Our space is a good space. And I am so grateful.

Happy Three Years!

*Rob and Kristen Bell in Zimzum Love.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Picture Perfect Project: March

Hi Friends!

Happy Thursday! Excited to be linking up for my second month of The Picture Perfect Project! I don't know about you guys but spring is in the air here. I realize that San Diego is notorious for un-ending summers but there are subtle differences when spring arrives. We had rain this week and even some thunder! On my neighborly walks I've been noticing flowers popping up. My favorite is the Cherry Blossom Tree that is just bursting with cotton candy pink these days.

This month has brought some joy and some pain. Pain as I've been struggling with chronic migraines. I've struggled with them before but some seasons they just intensify and this is one of those seasons. It's especially discouraging to wake up with one. After seeing doctors and trying medications, or investing in essential oils,  getting a deep tissue massage or doing some gentle yoga with still no positive change, it can be very disheartening. I remind myself that this too will pass. It always does. Sometimes it goes on much longer than I like, but eventually it goes away and the best I can do is take care of myself in the process and take deep breaths. #thistooshallpass

This month, joy has come to me in the form of a little pup! Yes, we finally got a PUPPY!!! We are so excited (and I'm sure you can guess the theme of my pictures for next month). We have rescued a little mix that is about 4 months old. We have had him just for 5 days now but he already feels like part of our little family. That being said, it has been a TON of work. Of course going into it, we knew it would be and were ready for it. It's been lots of 2am potty calls and lots of cleaning up little messy piles on the floor. We are such proud puppy parents as he has already learned how to sit and is learning to sleep through at least part of the night.

So my choice of photography this month is COFFEE. I'm sure you can understand why between dealing with migraines and a new little puppy, one needs energy and a little caffeine boost. Coffee shops are also one of my favorite places in the world (specifically the one around the corner from our place, Dark Horse Coffee Roasters) and so when I'm at a coffee shop I feel all is right in the world.


My sweet sister-in-law gave me some pointers on photography one weekend in Pasadena as she's a brilliant artist. She told me about the rule of three and about turning your phone upside down. I was pleasantly surprised with the fun angle it gave it! (top Copa vVda picture)

Excited to see all your photos this month friends!!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

We Are Larger Than The Toxic Voices

This week at the schools is "literacy week". It's kind of awesome. It is one big week celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday, reading and dressing up each day of the week. Some of the kids have wondered why I haven't spray painted my hair or come to work in pajamas. (trust me, I would have loved it) I've brought in a Dr. Seuss giant 48 piece floor puzzle and countless Dr. Seuss books for my clients this week. I love the way Seuss tells a story with a deep and meaningful message.

In honor of Dr. Seuss's birthday I would like to shed light to a new favorite book of his called, Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories. My husband, Scott got this for me when the introduction copy came out in book form in 2014. My ex-roomie, (aka first life partner) had a sleep-over last night because Scott is out of town for work. Of course we had to read some Dr. Seuss books as our love for him as an author dates back to us fighting about who found what vintage copy first at used bookstores.

This specific story is about a little yellow guy who is affectionately called a Kwuggerbug and of course, Horton, the sweet and faithful Elephant. The Kwuggerbug somehow persuades Horton to take him on a journey to find his Beezelnut tree (which we learn is a nut in the jungle to eat and which by far was the most sweet) Of course Mr. Kwuggerbug turns into a bossy pants dictator who orders Horton around, having him swim through crocodile infested lakes, climb a giant boulder mountain and stretch his trunk into a bridge, all so he can get to his nuts.

"The climb", sighed poor Horton, "will kill me, no doubt.

But a deal IS a deal, and I cannot back out."
He drew a deep breath and threw back his shoulders
And he dragged his tired legs over rocks and big boulders.
He stumbled and staggered uphill, over stones
That tattered his toenails and bruised all his bones
While the Kwuggerbug perched on his trunk all the time
And kept yelling, "Climb! You dumb elephant, climb!"
He climbed. He grew dizzy. His ankles grew numb.
But he climbed and he climbed and he clum and he clum.
His hearing grew faint. And his eyesight grew dim.
But he clum and he clum, and he clim and he clim
From quarter past two until four-forty-five
Till finally, old Horton, more dead than alive,
Had carried that bug to the very tip-top
And then, only then, did the elephant stop.
And he gasped to the bug as he sank to his knees,
"Now where are my Beezlenuts, sir, if you please?"

Now we have all Kwuggerbugs and Beezelnuts in our life. The Kwuggerbugs shouts at us to hustle and tells us we aren't good enough while also telling us to try harder and work harder.

The Beezelnuts are the dreams. They are the car. The job. The house. The relationship. The new business. The new baby. The big trip.  There is nothing wrong with chasing our dreams and going after our Beezelnuts but when we have our inner gremlin shouting at us and demeaning us with toxic thoughts, we need to take a step back and consider why we need these dreams to come true so badly.

Sometimes we get to the top of our mountain and realize the whole thing was over-rated in the first place, but sometimes we get to the top and feel victorious and ecstatic at our accomplishment. But poor Horton was exhausted and weary.

I can relate to Horton in that way. I have worked for years and years on my Marriage and Family Therapy career, jumping through hoops and red tape, dealing with ethics and legalities and mountains of paperwork. I have dealt with patronizing comments about this specific career as well as impossible standards to attain in order to be "successful" in this career. I have heard the hardest, most gut-wrenching stories and then have to literally file them away in a folder while I hold my breath. This climb feels un-ending. I make it to one milestone only to find there is another steep climb ahead of me. I get to the top and realize I have massive student loans and a high need for a very long nap. Not exactly your victorious stance.

My Kwuggerbugs are those nasty little internal and external gremlins that screech at me to hustle, prove my worth, and act out of a place of scarcity rather than abundance. They tell me I'm just a poser, that I won't pass the license exam, that I won't ever get licensed, that we'll always be tight financially, I'll always get triggered by ____, and finally that ultimately I'm not strong enough, smart therapist(ish) enough, academic enough, good enough christian enough enough enough... and on and on the Kwuggerbug howls in my ear.

But listen, here's a little secret I'm going to tell you. Elephants are bigger than Kwuggerbugs. We are bigger than those toxic voices. We are larger and stronger than the critical gremlins. And yes sometimes we listen a little too long to those nasty little bugs and sometimes they make us oh so tired and weary.

But we do better once we know better.

My journey might be steep and there might be crocodile infested waters ahead but I can manage it much better without a sneering Kwuggerbug at my side. I'll take deep breaths and rest when I need to. I'll stop and reflect. I'll listen to Love and what She has to say to me.

And if I need to I'll snort that Kwuggerbug right out of my nose if he's not nice. (Okay, go read the book now)

What are you personal Beezelnuts? Who and what is your Kwuggerbug? Is it time to tell him he's no longer desired on your trip to Beezelnut land? You'll get there eventually and if you don't, just remember that those nuts are often over-rated and over-sensationalized. Every day is a good day to dream a new dream.

P.S. I hope everyone finds their nuts.