We are all Wonder Woman 

You know that scene in the Gail Gadot Wonder Woman movie when she crosses no-mans land? 

If you haven’t seen it, I’ve linked to the no-mans land scene right here.

I’ve seen that movie about 5 times now and I cry every time. And sometimes, because I’ve seen it so many times now and it’s a long film, I let myself fall asleep after that. But I have to stay awake for that scene. Because that’s the scene that I find the most inspiring. The scene where I feel a giant YES leaping in my soul. 

Because I often feel that way in daily life. Like everything is against me and everyone is telling me that I can’t but I am compelled to keep moving forward. I’m being shot at from every angle. They are using all the artillery. I’m vulnerable. I’m alone. But, I know what I’m fighting for. And who I’m fighting for. And I hold strong. And when I hold strong and take the fire, others can cross over. Others can advance. And that’s so important. 

Life is hard. But it’s worth it. When we grit our teeth and stand our ground with tears in our eyes, when we take all the fire, other people can thrive and run to freedom around us. 

We have to be brave. We have to know who we are fighting for and be willing to stand our ground. 

Courage pays off. 

Put your armor on.

 

Productivity hack: permission to recover & being accountable to yourself 

The human body can endure so much more than we think that it can. I modeled for an art workshop this weekend for 12 hours. I thought I was going to die. It was hyperbole but I totally thought it was going to wreck my body. At the end of the first 6 hour day I came home and slept 12 hours. Day 2 I did not sleep, I just vegetated in front of my iPad and did NOTHING productive. 

Confession, I am driven but I am not self-motivated.  Productivity is a big thing for me. So big that my therapist and I are actively working on it. The first step is to stop using the word PRODUCTIVE. Instead I want to measure my days on whether I felt SATISFIED and CONTENT and HEALTHY at the end of the day. 

Because after modeling for 12 hours I still wanted to be productive. I felt like sleep was “productive” and iPad-zoning was not. I didn’t think, “I need to recover. What are some healthy ways I could recover?” 

What are some ways you recover? Please share them! Self care is so important but it doesn’t always feel productive. Nor is self care always easy to do–it’s easier to zone out in bed like a sweet potato. 

I’m learning how to talk to myself like a friend. A friend who I’d ask, “what’s something easy and healthy you could do right now to feel satisfied with this morning/afternoon/evening?”

I’m learning how to be accountable to myself. My therapist had me write out everything I like to do during the day (in order) as a checklist ((because I LOVE ROUTINE and my life always feels like it’s falling apart when I lose my routine)) and I’ve gone back to pomodoro tracking. 

Pomodoro tracking is working for a set amount of time and then taking a scheduled break and switching tasks. I’m able to get so much more done. I just listened to a podcast last night and it talked about how important it is to give your brain a break so that you can be fully present. Without the pomodoro method and my checklist, I usually focus on something all day long and then feel like I got nothing done.

I went back to the pomodoro method because that is how I survived modeling for 12 hours. The teacher made sure to schedule breaks for me. I used every break to stretch, drink water, and go to the bathroom. Breaks are important. For your mind, and body, and soul. 

How do you get things done? How do you recover? Are you taking breaks? Are you a recovering productivity addict? 

Sometimes the struggle is real

I feel like I ought to tell you. I feel like you ought to know. Because maybe you don’t know. The struggle is real for me some days. 

Some days I spend almost the entire day in bed with only a few brief escapades to the kitchen to eat. And then I take a nap because I literally feel like nothing I’m doing matters and I’m so overwhelmed by responsibilities that I want them all to just disappear for awhile. 

Most days I beat myself up relentlessly for putting syrup on my waffle when I KNOW I shouldn’t eat sugar and I think WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?! When with anyone else I would be encouraging and comforting. 

Some days I just want to melt into my sheets and stop existing. 

A lot of times I feel lonely. Like, deep loneliness that come right back as soon as I finish hanging out with my close friends. 
Most days I feel like a small child waiting for the adult to come back into the room and come take care of me. Who decided I was big enough to handle all these decisions? Yes, I can dress myself and feed myself and brush my teeth, but can I pay taxes? And some days my clothes are too eccentric, I eat the wrong things, and don’t even have money to go to the dentist. 

A lot of days I feel like I’m being held under water and I’m waiting to be let back up to breathe. Some days I want to crawl under my carpet and become one with the floor. 

Being a massage therapist who works from home can feel lonely. I only work for 4 hours max in a day and then the people leave and I’m alone, again. 

This leads to me not only feeling lonely but also feeling lazy. All that downtime. As a workaholic I feel like I should be doing more with my life. So I fill every waking hour with relentless busywork. And then I think, what if none of it matters? 

A lot of days I feel light and bubbly and happy to be alive. 

But, other days everything feels like it’s crashing around me and it’s like I just dropped all the fancy China places because I was trying to be helpful but I didn’t know what I was doing and I’m going to be in so much trouble when the people who are supposed to be in charge get back. 

I’ve decided to be brave and share more of that side of myself online. 

I want to talk more about my depression, my chronic fatigue, my eating disorder, and my poverty. So that others who deal with real life can find solace in knowing that they aren’t alone. 

The struggle really is real. And you aren’t the only one. 

#WorldMentalHealthDay

#WorldMentalHealth
Im the daughter of a single parent who struggles with bipolar tendencies and PTSD. My family is dysfunctional. I struggle with SAD, some anxiety issues, and a compulsive eating disorder. I’m a 6 on the ACE scale and I relate with an anxious-avoidant attachment style….
But NONE of those things completely define me. They help me understand my subconscious reactions but they do not determine my actions
Seek to understand yourself, not to define yourself. 

Embrace your shadow to allow your light to shine brighter

Be transparent

Tell your story and help others who are struggling. 

Your mess can become your message.


Happy World Mental Health Day! 

Find lots more self-care images on my Pinterest board!
#worldmentalhealthday

13 Ways to Maintain Healthy Boundaries When You Are an Empath and People You Love Are Suffering


As an Empath and someone who is an energy body worker I need to have healthy emotional and mental boundaries. It can be difficult when my codependent family members are having trouble. Obviously I care very much about my family and I don’t want them to suffer. But I also realize that I need to stay separate to stay healthy and thriving! 

I reached out to my wonderful network of wisdom this morning and asked them:

“How do I show my love while still protecting my energy? How do I help when I want to hide?”

Their answers were phenomenal

1*Ask  yourself  “what I CAN do?” (instead of fixating on not knowing what to do)
2*Asking yourself  what you would want someone to do for you
3*Put on your oxygen mask and do some self care– I’ve totally been slacking! 
4*Reach out (send letters) 
5*Ask them to tell you specifically what they need (general pleas for help can feel really overwhelming; specificity feels manageable)
6*Realize you might look rude but understand that youdon’t need to feel ashamed about your boundaries (give space to allow even better help to come in)
7*Help from afar with gift cards and helpful services within your budget– support those who are able to support in person
8*If you do visit, set a specific amount of time (like 30 min)and leave as soon as you start feeling drained 
9*Take them out for lunch 
10*Focus on your reaction to the situation because that’s one thing you can control. 
11*Recognize your strengths (like researching and reaching out to other people for help)
12*Focus on your priorities
13*And ask yourself what a good example of your role would look like so you won’t feel like you’re failing

I am so honored to have such a powerful network of wise women in my life! 

If you have any awesome advice to add let me know in the comments :)

After the Election: Moving Forward Recovery Plan


My post-election recovery plan 

SNL Kate McKinnon Hallelujiah
1. Refuse to live in fear

Know that God is still in control, there are still good people in the world, and there are still things that we can do to make a difference in the world. Our rights have not been taken, yet. We will fight. And even if they cage us, we will still sing!
2. Refuse to take this out on my fellow human beings 

Consciously love people who have voted for Trump. Recognize that they are getting screwed over, too. We the people are in this together.
3. Continue to be grateful and to enjoy the life I’ve been given 

Write down things that make me happy, speak aloud things I’m thankful for 
4. Stay informed 

Watch my favorite YouTube peeps, read my favorite news sources 
5. Do what I can 

Random acts of kindness, signing petitions, supporting people, standing up for what is right 
6. Stop using Facebook as a self-soother 

Wean myself off, again. It’s so easy to keep scrolling and hitting refresh but there are much healthier ways to use my time. Think of other ways to feel safe. Meditate. Read. Take photos. Clean and organize.
7. Reach out to people I love 

Writing letters, sending personal messages
8. Keep living life

Taking baths, drinking enough water, journaling

Throw Back Thursday: Just Fine

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Oh, younger version of myself, you make my heart hurt!!

I wrote this poem 8 years ago.
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November 20th, 2008

When you can’t say how you feel
Or why you feel the way you feel
Because you don’t know how you feel
Does that make you numb?

Does a lack of definition mean you’ve ceased to exist?

Are you simply floating away bumping into people you used to know who are no longer the people you used to know?

Are you continuing your conversations with the bricks in an uncaring wall?

When people ask you how you are then just want validation of their own existence, they want those 5 little words, “fine, thanks, how are you?” the way they want pre-shrunk cotton on their beds and trash day to always come on Thursdays.

When he asks you and he really wants to know
You stop thinking
The world becomes clearer and your inner self hides
You focus on the lighting in the room, the way your toes can feel the sheets, wrinkling under your feet
Your emotions become color blotches like in a color blind test– is that an “8”? Or the word “orange”?

Muddled, your brain frustrates your mouth
You feel like a box of oranges, like a cold glass bottle, like sprite left out overnight– it’s lost its bubbles, like a tree with no leaves

You feel powerless, scared, uncertain, crazy, like you might start crying if you stop smiling, like it’s all your fault, like he might stop wanting to touch you, like he might not want you in his room, like he wants something more, like it will all melt, like you’re a little girl, like you hate him when he looks at younger girls, like you love the way he holds you, like it might not be enough, like if you let him get your emotions, you’ll fall apart when he leaves and takes them with him, you’ll feel all these things.

And you want to be a suitcase, you want to be a kiss, you want to be the way he feels when he opens a new book and smells the paper, you are afraid to be extraneous, you’re afraid of water in movies, afraid of the end of the world, of suffocation, afraid of the feeling you get when things become comfortable and unspoken instead of when things are passionate and words are poured like honey all over the body of the beloved; you are afraid of the time when touching ceases and people get left alone in dark rooms and move to bigger beds so they can say this side is mine, you stay over there when they used to wake up sweaty and tangled and you are afraid of not being wanted.

You’re afraid that he gets up in the middle of the night because there’s something better out there for him and he’s still searching for it, you’re afraid that you don’t know how to become someone worth sticking around for.

You feel broken and invisible and like a favorite pair of pants that’s getting too small.

Opening your mouth in answer, you smile and say,
Nothing. I’m fine.

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Stability and Safety

My yoga teacher, Melissa West, was discussing how stability and safety allow your heart to open. Isn’t that beautiful?!
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Safety is trusting. Knowing you’ll be held and accepted every time. Respecting boundaries. Communication. Warmth. Strength. Holding hands. Being there. Texting just to say “I love you”. Listening. Drawing near. Sleeping softly. Closeness. Holding space. Understanding and not judging. Love.

Safety feels unbreakable, calm, soothing, peaceful, comfortable, controlled, cradled, hushed, being quieted, real, clear, unambiguous, protected, undamaged.

Safety comes from never-tiring love, long-term reliability, confirmation, certainty, trustworthiness, reassurance, honored words, &being cared for.
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Stability is balance. Strength. Knowing who you are. Stretching up and out. Trusting the ground. Having a foundation. Being unshakable. Being shaken but not falling down. (Strength is falling down and getting back up) Solidness. Ability to be pushed without leaving or going away. Resilience. Remaining self-assured. Being your own person. Not melting into another person or into a puddle. Being proactive instead of passive. Having boundaries. Being sure. Feeling certain.

Stability feels sturdy, steady, poised, confident, resolute, durable, well-founded, grounded, rooted, anchored, unafraid, plucky….

Stability comes from self-control, persistence, loyalty, endurance, being single-minded, undiscouraged, well-established, having conviction, having a lion-heart, & being determined.
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What makes you feel stable and safe?

Real Wonder Women, Real Talk: Anxiety and Depression. How do you deal when you feel miserable?

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I am honored to know a whole bunch of inspiring, amazing women and I realized the other day that I would love to ask these ladies for their perspective on some important issues:

Health, self-care, anxiety, depression

I feel like it’s important for women to know that even when they feel alone in their experiences, other women have been there, too.

In this third part, I simply asked:

What do you do when you feel miserable?

(I’ve kept the names anonymous at the request of a lot of the women for when we get into headier topics.)

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How do I take care of myself when I feel horrible?
If I’m physically sick, that’s easy.  I have a visual reason others can see for laying around, sleeping, watching TV, etc. 
It’s a different story though, if I’m not feeling good emotionally.  That’s tough.  There is so much pressure to ‘do’ and ‘go’ and ‘be’…it’s hard for me to validate just laying around, sleeping, taking it easy, etc.  I don’t know if that’s because I fear others will think I’m being lazy or if I’m too hard on myself.
After this past winter, I’ve decided that I suffer from S.A.D. to a mild extent.  There’s relief in that, but there’s also that stigma again.  I’m not quite sure how to deal with it or if there is a way to prevent it…guess it will be one of those things I’ll learn.  ☺

-D.K.
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Miserable: cry. I get wrapped in my head and ruminate, making it worse. I pretty much think of everything bad that has every happened and may possibly happen and somehow embrace every wretched feeling.

I haven’t actually been diagnosed as having depression, but the more I look at my daily bouts of crying and frustration, it may be the case.

As a background: I have always been unstoppable, I power through everything like a fucking champ. However, it’s caught up to me, hundreds of fucked up traumas have caught up and crushed me and I have collapsed but have faith I can somehow move forward and hopefully soon.

-Y.R.
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When I feel miserable, it’s generally a sign I need to rest. Sometimes I will sit on the couch, watch TV, and force myself to ignore any of the other “to-do”s. Sometimes I take a bath. Sometimes I go to bed, even if it’s 6:30. If I’m emotionally miserable, I usually write and try to figure out what is triggering it.

-B.V.
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I isolate. I isolate and revert to negative thinking always turned internally. I’m starting to recognize it now. I’ll call someone, I’ll go to the beach, I’ll quick jump in the car and drive to my parents’ house. But if I don’t catch it right from the start, I let that miserable feeling worm its way through my entire life and my eating disorder takes over again

-Daryn

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Honestly, in my darkest moments, as much as it hurts, I find that the best is just to surrender to the tears, the rage and find a safe way to let it all out.  Either by myself or to someone that I won’t hurt in that moment.  I am not scared of the darkness – I know if I allow myself to feel the pain, that eventually it will begin to subside.  We tend to hold onto it as long as we need it for some reason.  When that reason starts to disappear, our grip starts to loosen. 
That is what I have in this moment.  Hope that helps.  Would love to hear what others have to share.  ♥

-Lili
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When I feel miserable, I eat poorly and watch too much TV.
Or shop online.
I haven’t been officially diagnosed with anxiety or depression but I obviously don’t deal with it well since I have stomach issues and headaches.
I’d say I’ve been mildly depressed on and off since having my daughter- the lifestyle change is something I struggle with. I like to be good at everything I do, so I struggle with balance and sometimes feeling like I do nothing well and everything mediocre, which I hate. I have also always required my very own time and space – lots of it – which since having children I don’t have.

-L.M.
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It’s been so eye-opening reading the responses and seeing how so many women are struggling with the same stuff!!
Depression and anxiety can feel so lonely.
Crying can feel so defeating, sometimes like failure.
Our society sees any emotional or mental difficulties as being weakness when actually I think that it might just be part of being HUMAN!!!!

It’s been interesting to see some people list crying as a form of self-care!!

I think it’s so important to let women know they are not alone and that it’s okay to feel sad….

It’s important to remove stigmas so we can transition to a place of helping each other. Giving women permission to connect even in their darkest places could prevent us all from going too deep into that pit where we feel shame and loneliness and disconnect….
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If you’d like to add your story, please feel free. You never know how much it could help someone else.

So much love!

Self-Care: My Personal Journey

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Self-care has been something I’ve struggled with a lot. They say you teach what you most want to learn and as a massage therapist I’m ALWAYS teaching other people how to take care of their bodies and their minds.

I’d tell people to drink more water because I could tell their muscles were craving it….and I was barely drinking any at all.

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Finally I began my self-care journey by setting up massage trades with a good friend of mine, Laura Harrington. We began to make a point of trading once a month.

Then I went to a chiropractor, Rachel Heneberry. With only a few gentle adjustments, she provides so much relief.

Then, just last year I started going to an acupuncturist every month, Emily Hanger. She is the SWEETEST human being on the planet. (In a very grounding way) She nurtures me and makes me feel so loved.

Then I added in a myofascialist, Lisa Shelton. She takes care of my fascia and helps me release holding patterns from stress. She also is really great to talk to and provides a wonderfully different perspective on life.

At first I would schedule everyone in the same week….and then I decided I needed something intentionally every week of the month.

Now, I’ve added a therapist, Bevin Yowell. Hello stigma. Why is our society so afraid of admitting they need to talk to someone about their life and their past?? I love how my therapist gives me constructive feedback and she gives me homework (simple stuff like saying HI! To my housemate when she gets home instead of pretending I don’t exist….)

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Having all these wonderful women caring for my body, caring for my mind, wanting to know what is happening in my life: the process has been LIFE changing. Sometimes it still doesn’t feel like enough because each one of those women brings me another piece of my puzzle and I only see each them one time a month. A LOT can happen in 30 days….

Also, I meet with a friend of mine, Dawn Nay, from church for breakfast at least once a month. When we meet we might just talk about random things but I know I have permission to spill my guts if I need to.

In my private life I also love to do yoga and take baths and take naps….I have a list of things I can do when I feel awful. If I’m feeling lonely, I intentionally go through and ask my most inspiring lady friends out for lunch or over for tea or wine….it’s so important to be intentional.

Another thing I do is I use an asyra machine which reads your entire body and tells you EXACTLY what is happening in your body at that point in your life. It tells you what foods you need to back off on and what things you need to add in. I love it because it is so comprehensive!!

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There’s also a website I’ve found:
Interactive Self-Care Guide
Which is great for people like me who can feel so lost all of a sudden and need someone to suggest things that will make me feel better when I’m not eating or cleaning or doing anything.

And finally, something that has changed my whole life and given me permission to feel all my feelings has been my hormone horoscope app and the website: hormonehoroscope.com
Gabrielle does SUCH an amazing job explaining these things that happen in our minds and bodies EVERY. MONTH.
If you’re a woman, go check it out right now. I promise you will learn so much!!

I encourage you to find people in your life who will listen to you and encourage you and give you constructive feedback. It is also important that those people give you permission to be who you are and feel how you are feeling RIGHT NOW. Step away from those who want you to stuff your feelings or pretend you’re fine.

In order to practice self-care, you need to feel it all. And if you can find some people who will stand beside you and allow you to do that, hold on!!!! Your life will change in a beautiful way.

If you need a massage therapist who will love you right where you are, feel free to contact me for an appointment.

Thankful Thursday: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

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May is Mental Illness Awareness month.

Even as the 29 year old daughter of a mentally ill mother, I am STILL learning.

Just today I had to come to terms with what REAL depression looks like. It’s NOT actually someone choosing to wallow or to just wanting attention.

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Depression is not a choice. Just because something would snap me out of a bad mood, doesn’t mean it will make someone like my mom feel better.

Having a chemical imbalance is very different from being in a bad mood.

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We have to continue to encourage and support even when it feels like nothing we say or do makes any difference. It can be EXTREMELY frustrating and very sad but we must continue to love instead of completely walking away.

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I’m so excited that people are beginning to talk more about their struggles with being depressed and bipolar. It not only means an increase in awareness and a removal of stigma, it also means that the families and children of people struggling with mental illness can find understanding and there will be more information available for us so we can learn how to better cope.

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Growing up, bipolar was so deeply stigmatized leaving me (an only child of a single parent) feeling lost. No one ever taught me how to deal with what every day life would look like for me and my mom.

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My deep hope is that the future will bring SO MUCH understanding and SO MANY tools.

This is my current struggle and realization. I am sure other children of mentally ill parents will understand what it’s like to still be learning how to see mental health as something different from a quick fix even after years of dealing with it…. I still try to just “fix” it and instead I now know I need to learn how to just sit with it and be more understanding and encouraging.

Some great links about Mental Health:

John Oliver

Huffington Post 

17 Celebrities who opened up about mental illness

Self compassion

Demi Lovato

More from Demi

The basics of mental health

8 Apps for Mental Health

Vulnerability is scary, let’s just try Approachability

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People are afraid of being vulnerable. And for good reason! Being vulnerable by definition means making yourself open to attack. All your defenses are down. You could be destroyed.

And yet. We can’t stay impenetrable all the time. If we wear 800 layers including rubber gloves and three face masks there’s no way we can touch each other or be touched. Not to mention all those tall walls we’ve built around ourselves….
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Let’s shift instead to the idea of becoming approachable. That sounds safer, right? If someone approaches us in a quiet manner, that is okay. If they speak to us gently, that might be okay. We might even be able to connect. We might be able to be honest. We might slowly open our hearts. We might become transparent and unrestrained.

And eventually, we might be able to hold each other and speak heart-to-heart.
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Instead of being vulnerable, let’s start with allowing ourselves to become approachable.

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Year in Review: 2015

January:
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New Years Findells at Baja with Alyssa and Anne
Started breakfasts with Dawn
Saturn Return began
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Allison started coming to my church
We ate bugs in Anne’s class
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I completely organized my closet
Collage goal setting parties

February:
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Project Warm Heart #pwh with Anne and TJ
One of the first people to be told about Savanna’s pregnancy
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Took pregnancy massage class so I could work on Savanna her whole pregnancy
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Craig Snodgrass made Valentine’s for Laura and I
Figured out my signature style & wardrobe into-mind.com
Cooked salmon for the first time
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Spent a snowy day at Molly’s with Caitlin
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March:
Played Quelf with Brigitte, Henry, Savanna, & Chad
TJ’s niece, Elise was born 03.04.15
Sent Brigitte off to Florida
Got my first pedicure with Caitlin
Found out I was allergic to MSG
Went to BANFF with Caitlin in Charlottesville
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Made a birthday key lime pie for Laura on pie day 3.14.15
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Had brunch at the Boars Head with mom and grandma
Started writing with Aubrey

April:
Started using the Bible app

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PWH Easter egg hunt with Anne Buzzelli

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Lymphatic drainage class
LeeAnn came to visit
Spent a lot of time with Molly binge-watching Downton Abbey

May:

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Mowed the lawn for the first time
Pablo stuff

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Glenn’s graduation
Molly moved to South Dakota

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Had a memorial day picnic

June:

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Celebrated the life and work of my friend, Mary Echols

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Got my hair cut

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Met Erika
Went to Jack’s funeral
Molly came to visit

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Started going for walks just for fun
Became gluten intolerant

July:
My 29th birthday!

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Dinner with Molly and church girls

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Spent time with my Melissa

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Waffle breakfast with friends at The Store
Did elimination diet
Read The Art of Asking
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Brigitte came home from Florida for a massage & we all went out to dinner and played Cards Against Humanity at Byers Street

Went to a beautiful Hour Economy outdoor dinner
Met Kelly

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Savanna’s baby shower
TJ&I took a break
Started getting acupuncture

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July 28th GOT OUT OF DEBT
Savanna’s baby, Scarlett was born 07.30.15

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Watched Marx Brothers movies outside at By&By
Confirmed gluten intolerance

August:

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Caitlin moved to Alaska

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Hiked humpback 2x

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Started going to farmers market with Kat and Kirsten
Dinner and yoga at Erika’s
Shopped at Aldi
Collage party

September:

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Gave Scarlett a massage (full circle!)
Saw The Importance of Being Earnest@ the Blackfriars
Forgave Pablo
Depressed

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Dyed hair RED
Started going to Lisa Shelton

October:
Addicted to sugar

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Road trip to VT (survived near fatal incident)
Became good friends with Kat
Scary movies with Kat and Kirsten (Babadook!!)

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Scary movies and pumpkin carving with TJ
Clothing swap
SVAC art opening with art from Beverly Street, talked to Buddy
Became community group leader
Planted bulbs
Cheese allergy
Bev depressed
Went to vineyard with Erika
Started spending money, again (after 2.5 years of not shopping)
Mary’s 90th birthday
Ros got engaged
Said goodbye to Kelley

November:
Memorized psalm 19:7-11 and recited in front of church
Helped mom konmari her clothes
Mom cleaned downstairs
Kat and I watched “”Feces of An Angel”” (actually called Faces of an Angel….but it was soooo terrible) and bonded
Konmaried all my papers
Started studying hormones
Started getting a different kind of bodywork almost every week
TJ went on a cruise
Mom let me borrow her car and I went on a shopping spree
James Bond at Visulite with Kat and co.

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Terri came to visit
Read Wuthering Heights
Kat and mom and I went to see The Suffragette in Harrisonburg
Sparkles and Sweets
Compiled all my electronic gear and konmaried all my photos on my laptop

December:
Gift shopping

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Beth came to visit from England!
Sad news with Molly
Got everyone to take MBTI.
Spaghetti night with Kat
Raindrop session
Mom raised my rent
TJ and I had cocoa and movie night at my house
“Crafternoon” Cocktail party
Frank died

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Designed my new logo
Breakfast with Suzanne (she decided to start a breakfast club)

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Mom and I had a little Christmas by ourselves

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Had Christmas with TJ and his family and his little niece, Elise.

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Chose my word for the year: EXPAND

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Spent a very introverted New Years walking around downtown

Letters&Brunch–January

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Saturday was the first meeting of Letters and Brunch.

Where: It was held at Nu Beginnings (AKA The Store) in Staunton.
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Who: My mom and my friends Melissa, Willow, and Kelly.

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We ate delicious food. Mom had oatmeal, I ate gluten free scones!!, Willow ate a waffle, and Melissa had the colonial breakfast. Yummmm.
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I wrote 3 letters! Willow and Kelly taught us how to make envelopes from calendar pages.
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I am so happy we did it!

Thank you to Alexandra Franzen for the idea :)
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Do you like the idea of actually keeping in touch with your friends instead of beating yourself up for not following through? Do you also like food?

Feel free to drop by!! 10-1 the first Saturday of the month :)

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (a review)

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So, I REALLY wanted to review this book The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer and the goodreads app is being bratty and I can’t figure out how to do it on their website….I was, however, able to rate it 5 stars.

But, I would have rated it 20 if I could.

I have never been an Amanda Palmer fan. There’s so much music out in the world and I just haven’t ever listened to hers.

All I knew about Amanda was from a few articles online that I’d glanced over about how she was an awful person for making a bunch of money and not paying her musicians…..or something like that. Okay, noted, I won’t listen to her. Moving on with my life.

Also, it bothered me that Neil Gaiman left his wife for her. (As though I’m personally invested in his life and have a right to any opinions on the matter….it turns out that Amanda and Neil have a completely gorgeous relationship which I totally adore now.)

Then I heard AFP on Tim Ferriss’ podcast. She seemed really cool. Funny. Smart. And knowing the caliber of people Tim Ferriss is drawn to, I appreciated her instantly.

I wrote the title of her book down to read later.

At the library I stumbled upon it in the new book section and thought HOORAY! Fate has led me to this very moment.

But, I had no idea.

This whole year my lesson has been VULNERABILITY. Becoming broken so I can blossom. Learning to trust that other people will be a safe haven when I’ve fallen and can’t get up.

It took about a page for me to fall in love with Amanda Palmer. Her openness is so beautiful. So often we live so closed off….afraid to expose ourselves to each other.

Amanda Palmer lives the life I’ve always wanted. Not because her life is easy (one point of the book is that her life isn’t) but because she lives in such a way that she brings others in around her to support her when she’s falling. And she lives to support those who support her. She loves to really SEE people in a world where no one ever feels seen anymore.

I realized I hadn’t watched Amanda Palmer’s TED talk, yet, so I immediately pulled it up. It made me cry. It was such a gorgeous presentation.

Then I listened to her music. The first song I ever heard was I Want You But I Don’t Need You. I was HOOKED. My goodness this is my kind of music. Song after song the presentation and the “Sylvia Plath-esque” lyrics made me so completely happy.

The whole book I felt like I was sitting in Amanda’s living room, being told a story while we sat on the floor together in kimonos and we munched on hummus and pita bread.

I was amazed, yet again, at how important it is to really listen to where another person is coming from. We just can NOT judge people based on other people’s opinions of them. We must go to the source with open hearts.

Her book reinforced the idea that it’s only when you let your guard down that other people trust you enough to let theirs down, too.

It opened up wonderful nighttime conversations with my best friend.

“I think it’s just because she’s SO open.&that’s what the book is all about.How we CRAVE that feeling of REALLY connecting….it’s an addictive feeling when someone trusts you enough to tell you everything.”

“People can only try to understand what you give them. If you don’t give anything, they don’t even get to try….”

“Sometimes you have to get uncomfortable to reach out &touch somebody on a deeper level….to let someone really know you.”

Now the theme is continuing. I went to an acupuncturist in town, Emily Hedberg, and I felt like she really saw me. It made me feel so loved. She could see how I am so protective of my heart&what a hard time I have trusting people. I remembered so wanting to just be held and listened to when I was little….it’s amazing what our bodies remember.

When she talked to me about vulnerability, I told her about the book.

The cycle continues.

The gift must always move.

When you love people enough, they will give you everything.