All “Inspiration” Posts

“We Should All Be Feminists”

As a mother of two girls, this woman and the work she’s doing for women (and men for that matter) means everything to me. I have many worries for my girls as a mother, but one of the biggest is that they will be devalued, excluded, disrespected, denied, made dispensable…because of their gender. Because they are female. More than anything, I want them to grow up in a world where it would never even occur to them to apologize for their femininity. I want them to be respected in all their femaleness, just as men are respected in all their maleness. Because they deserve to be.

And if you are a mother of boys, this video is for you too. I will simply quote her, because she nails it,

“We do a great disservice to boys in how we raise them. We stifle the humanity of boys. We define masculinity in a very narrow way….We teach boys to be afraid of fear, of weakness, of vulnerability. We teach them to mask their true selves, because they have to be, in Nigerian-speak–a hard man…But by far the worst thing we do to males–by making them feel they have to be hard–is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is. And then we do a much greater disservice to girls, because we raise them to cater to the fragile egos of males…We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.”

Yeah, watch it. And, lets all buy each other her book for Christmas. Probably the best $6 we’ll spend this Christmas.

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Beats For Your Monday

Coffee and sometimes a little gangsta rap help me handle Monday’s. Because Monday’s just require some extra powers…

Hope your Monday is swift and super superwomany!

 

p.s. If you can get down on some gangsta rap, Kendrick Lamar is my spirit animal right now.

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4 years

Wedding Day

Wedding Day

My husband and I are celebrating our fourth wedding anniversary tomorrow! Though, we haven’t been married long we sure have crammed a lot into these four years. Traveled a bit, job changes, became parents, bought our first house. There have been a lot of highs and definitely plenty of lows. In fact, my highest of highs and lowest of lows have been within these four years. Needless to say, we have learned quickly that no lasting marriage is made easily. I thought I’d share four of  the most significant things I’ve learned in these four intense, beautiful years.

1.  It’s never fifty-fifty.  It’s always more like seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. And you have to let that go and let it be and enjoy your thirty percent when you get it.

2.  Try something new together—regularly. This is something my husband and I have more recently discovered. We’ve been good about scheduling date nights often, especially since Eleanor was born, but it’s still so easy to get stuck in ruts. Going out to dinner for every date night and watching way too many episodes of Breaking Bad and, more recently, True Detective. There’s nothing wrong with going out to dinner, we love trying new restaurants around our incredible food-rich city. But there is something a little more thrilling about doing something completely new together—like karaoke (Alanis Morissette and Prince. Yeah, that happened) or playing a game instead of watching a movie or show, taking a dance class together, playing pool together, taking a day trip somewhere, staying the night away, even just locally (we’ll be doing that for the first time without Eleanor to celebrate our anniversary in a couple weeks!). It’s a really amazing way to keep injecting novelty into our relationship. It keeps things from getting too stale.

3.  Let there be spaces in your togetherness. This has proven to be so important for our marriage. For me, as an introvert, only child, and mom, having time alone is imperative to my sanity. It recharges me in a deep way and I come back able to be a better partner and mom. My husband, though not an extrovert, is not as introverted as I am, but still needs his space. Even if it’s just going on a hike or grabbing a beer with a buddy, going for a run, or getting a cocktail or a cup of tea alone (one of my favorite things to do). We both enjoy spending time apart and then love coming back together refreshed and excited to see one another.

4.  Being in love is an awesome thing, but it is not necessarily the best thing. As I mentioned above, it didn’t take us long to learn that no lasting marriage is made easily. There have been times when I’ve been so angry, hurt, depressed, tired, burnt-out, sick of the chores and mundane, that the choice to love or not has been so present and real. It’s in those moments that I’ve seen the reality of what marriage is. It has nothing to do with the feeling of being in love—as wonderful as that is. I know this is all old news. I thought I knew all this before I got married. For me, it was easy to talk about love not really being a feeling and say I believed it and knew it in pre-marital counseling. But it wasn’t until we were both going on 3 hrs of sleep due to a fussy baby, facing financial sacrifices and stresses, dealing with a disagreement that had no compromise, and getting lost in the endless dishes and laundry, that I really knew what it meant. That I really realized I couldn’t rely on a feeling to last and I couldn’t make that feeling the basis of a whole life.

Wedding Day

Wedding Day

What have you all of you learned about relationships over the years? I would love to hear all your sage-wisdom! And, D, thank you for being the best companion. You’re love and support are ceaseless and I couldn’t be more grateful to do this crazy marriage thing with you. xx

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The Empathy Exams

The Empathy Exams

Empathy comes from the Greek empatheia—em (into) and pathos (feeling)—a penetration, a kind of travel. It suggests you enter another person’s pain as you’d enter another country, through immigration and customs, border crossing by way of query: What grows where you are? What are the laws? What animals graze there?

–Leslie Jamison

I’m reading this fantastic book right now for a book club I’m a part of. Leslie Jamison, Brooklyn-based author, writes about her experience as a medical actor who was paid to act out symptoms for medical students to diagnose. Imagining herself into the pain of others, “playing sick” so that medical students can guess her maladies and be examined. These “empathy exams” reveal so much about how each of us throughout life interprets others’ pain and how we want others to interpret ours’.

I love how rawly Jamison confronts the pain (real and imagined, hers and others’) from inexplicable seizures, to crippled rabbits in love, to the sad “half-life” of arguments, and consequently uncovers this urgency in all of us to feel and be felt with.

Her self-awareness is beautiful (might even be the most moving part of her essays to me), and her intelligence about how people respond to pain and how people respond to other people’s pain gripped me…In the best, most necessary way. 

I would highly recommend!

What are you reading right now? Anything you’d recommend?

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Salute

Amber Christopher

“I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was a ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.” –Cheryl Strayed

Hello there! After much too long of a hiatus, I’m back! Maybe hiatus isn’t really quite the right word, as I wasn’t sure if I would be returning again. But, here I am, back, with a solid itch in my fingers and a head full of ideas. And, hopefully, if all goes well, I’m here to stay for awhile.

I’m back for a lot of reasons. But I’m back simply and primarily because I’ve missed it here. I’ve been journaling a lot more,  and envying bloggers a lot more. I’ve found myself wishing I could just write out my thoughts, ideas, projects, and things I find pretty and inspiring like they all do and then it dawned on me: I’m an idiot. I have a blog. I could do all those things. But, pity parties are much easier and more comfortable. So, after I threw myself the biggest, most extravagant pity party, and had my fill, I came back here. I got back to work, and have sworn to myself that that would be the last of my ridiculous pity parties.

My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here.

It has been a gift to write again, and brainstorm new ideas and directions for this blog. In this space I feel inspired and grounded and lighter—things I haven’t felt in quite some time now. I’ve come to a bit of a crossroads in my life, I guess you could say, and it seems that coming back here might help me find my way. I’ve felt stuck and lost and sad for longer than I’d care to admit. In a place where all the regret, blame, fear, and insatiable want, live. I don’t entirely know the way out of this oppressive place, I just know I need to move again, and take a few risks. My husband (of course, the eternal optimist) believes I’ve been looking at this crossroads, this place I find myself in, all wrong. From his vantage point, my journey thus far has all been entirely necessary to get me to this place of discontent and restlessness, and passion, and, consequently—movement. My journey needed to be exactly how it was, in the order that it was, to get me here. I could fight it, or I could accept it, and cooperate with it, and believe that it’s the journey I need.

Things look much more lovely and hopeful from his vantage point, per usual, and it’s truly done me no good wishing and pining for the could-haves or would-haves or should-haves. Acceptance. So. Hard. So. Necessary.

So it is with this new-found hope or maybe, more accurately, hope for a hope, that I return to my tiny corner of the internet. I’m really so glad to be back.

Lastly, as you may have noticed, I’ve revamped the design and re-named the blog. It’s new design and name, I think, fit the blog it has evolved into and the blog that it is becoming a bit better. I hope you think so too and enjoy your time here. I’m excited to see what it holds for me and for those of you who would like to follow along—hopefully new and old friends alike!

 

With love.

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Winter Cheer

Though I do appreciate and like many things about winter sometimes the dark, rainy, cold days can be long and bring me down. I wrote out this list to cheer me up and remind me of all the things I have and a few things I get to enjoy (especially) during this season.

1. The crazy silly things my husband will do to make our daughter laugh.

2. Reading a good book on the couch late at night with my tea, after everyone else has gone to bed.

3. Tears — sometimes the other side of them bring the best kind of happy.

4. The smell of the earth after a good rain.

5. Cozy dinner parties and too much wine (especially with my girls).

6. Embarking on a new project (mainly canning and sewing these days).

7. Eating the first cookie, slice of bread, etc. that I pull out of the oven.

8. Seeing my husband’s face light up just as much as Eleanor’s when they see each other.

9. Getting flowers for my home (especially in the winter)

10. Sipping wine while cooking dinner with a little music in the background.

What sorts of things do you enjoy during winter? What do you do to shake off the winter blues?

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Resolutions

Ok, so I realize we’re almost at the end of January and I’m just now sharing my new years resolutions with you. One of them being to blog more (whoops). Better late than never is such a great motto though. I’m not too much of a resolutions-kind-of-person, if that’s even a thing, but, for some reason, I have felt particularly excited about this year. I’m excited about starting fresh and (hopefully) making a few changes that will make for a healthier, happier life.

So I guess lets just get it out of the way and start with the hardest one on the list…

Better sleep habits – Ever since becoming a parent it has been made painfully clear to me how dependent and human I am (yes, I was that proud to ever think otherwise). One very real and obvious example is my need for sleep. As a parent, you lose a lot of it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I think it’s pretty amazing I’m even functioning at the level I am, considering how little sleep I’ve gotten over the past year. But, I think that’s primarily because I have an amazing husband who lets me sleep in on the weekends (you have a much bigger heart than I do, D. I’m indebted). I also have learned to nap when she napped (early on at least, but still sometimes even now) and go to bed earlier. To let go of my “to-d0” lists and “oh-so-important plans” and think about my family before myself, because, at the end of the day, I am just horrible when I don’t get enough sleep. Ask my husband. I’m no good to anyone. It’s hard to not be selfish and go to bed early though. It’s the only time I get to myself—those late, quiet hours of the night. It’s the only time when I’m not a mom, I’m just me… reading my book or writing or browsing the internet. It’s like the hardest thing for me to let go of, however silly and selfish it may sound. But I have to let go of it to be a better momma and wife and friend and everything. And really, when it comes down to it, I have plenty of evening time to myself…I mean Eleanor goes to bed at 6:30! I’m setting my bedtime at 9:30-10:00. That’s more than enough hours to myself.

Save more $ – The husband and I are setting the bar high and getting serious about our savings account this year. Probably the second hardest thing for me.

Start a new hobby (ok maybe two) – I joined the Portland Preservation Society and started canning! I’ve been wanting to can since forever ago and this is the year I finally took the plunge and I’m completely addicted. I’ve made cinnamon blood-orange marmalade from this book (which I highly recommend by the way) and this marmalade (it’s citrus season hence only marmalades thus far). They made for lovely Christmas gifts and I now have a deeper appreciation for marmalade. It’s a little bit of work, but so delicious and worth it! As for new hobby #2, I would like to take a sewing class. I’ve done it a handful of times and really enjoy it (I sewed our Christmas stockings this year! Post to come…) and would like to get better and more confident at it. I think it would grow in me more resourcefulness and creativity, both of which I think are essential to the good life.

Giving – I want to give more. I want to volunteer my time to help people and show my daughter the importance of giving back. So I will be actively looking into opportunities through my church and perhaps some non-profits for ways I can serve the people around me more.

Date my husband more – D and I made a goal of at least 1 date a month without baby, out of the house. I know it may not sound like much but, trust me, with how busy life gets and how demanding parenthood is, once a month sounds amazing to us.

Blog more – Get ready for more posts! I miss it too much and it’s good for my soul.

Simplify – Get rid of stuff and only acquire things that we need and that will last. Quality over quantity. We’ve already taken like 6 full garbage bags to good will (huzzah!)

Health – Eat raw greens of some kind at least once a day– no explanation needed. And get back into running…2-3 times/week. I’m a momma of a baby now folks, the bar just can’t be that high. And I’m learning that I tend toward the “all or nothing” way of thinking and there’s a little too much “nothing” happening around here. So I’m adopting a new mentality… Moving my body and exercising my heart 2 times a week is worlds better than no times a week.

Well those are my resolutions. I am really excited about them and glad to put them down here…holds me more accountable somehow. What are some of your resolutions?

Above pictures taken over the weekend at Hoyt Arboretum, Portland, OR.

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Eleanor’s First Halloween!

So it might appear that we went all out this year with our costumes, but it’s all an illusion.Our priority this year was to figure out costumes that got a lot of bang for our buck; all while expending as little energy as possible (we don’t have much extra these days, if you know what I mean. Mammas and papas out there you know). I think we successfully pulled it off…I mean seriously, Daniel and I already had everything for our costumes (minus my beret) and when it comes down to it, Eleanor’s costume is an old pillow case with a money sign drawn on it. It’s the concept that counts, right?

Bonnie, Clyde, and the precious money bag, folks…

We spent our Halloween with a few of our sweet neighbors and their babies eating candy and pumpkin bread, drinking spiked cider, and drooling over our sweet babies. It was a great evening.

After I put Eleanor to bed at her cute bedtime of 6:30pm (yes, all of the above happened before 6:30 in the evening), I passed out candy to all the  trick-or-treaters and couldn’t help but think how fun it will be when Eleanor can go trick-or-treating like that.

Hope you all had a spooky and fun, halloween! What did you and/or your families dress up as? 

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The Change

‘You know you’re alive. You take huge steps, trying to feel the planet’s roundness arc between your feet.’

-Annie Dillard, A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

The change of a season always reminds me. Autumn, especially. When I watch the sun rise and eat warm soup. When I see my breath in the air and kiss my baby’s cold cheeks – how could anyone forget, this time of year?

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Currently.

 

Reading: East of Eden. Two words: Freakin’. Amazing.

Watching: Breaking Bad. It is terribly addictive (ironically). If you haven’t seen it yet, just don’t. Trust me, it’s for your own good.

Working on: Art for the mother’s room at my church. If you have any ideas please shoot them my way…My creativity seems to be running on empty these days.

Thinking about: How to get my daughter to sleep until she’s actually rested without psychologically and emotionally damaging her…it’s real rough bein’ a momma sometimes. One thing I’m learning being a momma is every baby and momma are different and therefore need different things. Shame on me for ever being a judger.

Listening to: Some Animal Collective, but mainly The Roots, “Undun” specifically. Eleanor loves them. I know, I know parent- fail…but we get the the biggest smiles out of her when we turn it up and dance to it for her. And we gotta live that up before our dancing is just downright embarrassing to her.

Eating: Various kinds of veggie bowls and berries (thanks to our CSA)…and a lot of dates lately. Gah, I love dates. A treat that’s not so bad for you. Oh, and they are an amazing, healthy way to sweeten a shake or smoothie by the way. This recipe looks AH-mazing.

AnticipatingD’s and my 2nd year anniversary this September. We’re thinking a mini-vacay somewhere warm, by water, and family-friendly…Any suggestions?

Especially loving: (Other than the obvious) Summer and wearing sandals all the time.

What are your “currently’s” these days?

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