Fishing for Fika: FINALLY!

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Hooray! You’re here. Welcome. Today’s the launch of a project that is so much more than a blog or podcast. It’s the culmination of failed endeavors, constant questioning, endless searching, and serious surrendering.

For years I’ve felt like I was fishing for something special. I’d cast a line into deep waters, unsure of my bait, anxiously angling and frantically reeling in.

I was desperate to do something with my writing. I was hungry to connect. A perpetual daydreamer, I yearned for the chance to make my mark. But like so many, I got caught up in the chaos. I swam in emails, became a slave to my phone, and cohabited with my computer.

In this powerful, fast-paced, ever-changing world, I drowned in doubt, fear, and epic excuses.

One day a friend asked me if I wanted to fika.  A true lover of words, she rendered me silent. What was fika?  Upon explanation, I was game.

Fika made sense. It was a chance to break and converse. A pause without a purpose other than fostering friendship or camaraderie. So we sat. We had no technology, no distraction, and no agenda.  She made the most delicious coffee and we let our discussion go in all sorts of directions. It felt strange, freeing, and fun.

As a storyteller, I’m drawn to opportunities to grow and gain insight into others. Fika offers me the platform to connect and conspire while creating stories worth sharing.

You’re a part of this project. In fact, you’re the passion behind it. Let’s fika!

Wellness

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Like many, I’m knee-deep in new commitments and challenges, which hopefully will set the tone and flow for 2019.  I am invested in what I refer to as steady wellness because too often it’s rushed, short-lived, and/or commercially based. The wellness I seek celebrates walks, fresh air, rest, water, and all the veggies.

But in the spirit of transparency, it’s a lot of work. In fact, I’m bewildered by the prep and process. Wellness is a 24/7 active engagement type of thing. And far too often it’s presented as one dimensional.

“The concept of total wellness recognizes that our every thought, word, and behavior affects our greater health and well-being. And we, in turn, are affected not only emotionally but also physically and spiritually.”–Greg Anderson

Anderson’s words are acutely aligned with my beliefs. While I’m absolutely committed to better physical performance and presence, there’s more beyond the body.

So in the spirit of wellness and all things thought and emotion-based, tell me something you’ve done to make yourself better, more healthy, and happy. Seriously, tell me.

 

 

 

You’ve Got to be Kidding Me!

 

william-iven-19844-unsplash.jpgI went LIVE on Facebook tonight. I was a hot mess and I loved it. I live for authenticity so I wasn’t worried about the frizz hair, outrageous stain from my toddler’s  paint session, or the blatant and outrageous bags under my eyes. I OWN IT ALL. I’m not thrilled with the width of my cheeks on camera, but that’s why I’m hitting the gym. Anyways, it was so me, which was fast paced, a little of this, a little of that, and some news on what I’m working on. 11 minutes of me. Then the mystery happened, which was auto deletion. YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME! I tried. I really tried. You can’t recreate stuff like the mess and magic of LIVE, and yes, the latter is my interpretation. Let me digress and explain that anytime I live fearlessly and go for the gold I think it’s magic. Anyways, it’s gone. And while I’d love to live in a state of complaint, there’s work to do.

Here’s the deal… I started this fika thing because of this and now I’m here. Over the past year I’ve taken time to do two things that I love endlessly and unapologetically, talk and write. But I’ve been doing something else too, which is thinking bigger and beyond the blog. Writing is the most sacred and sensitive thing I do for myself. I’ve always wanted to make it more. I’m ready.

This year I’ve divided my fikas into themes. I’ve done so because I’m knee-deep in two pieces of writing that go beyond the blog and it’s apparent these themes stretch and surround so many of us. They are as follows: health, marriage, friendship, work, motherhood, beginnings and endings, just because, introductions, technology, say anything, failure, and joy. I’ll explain them more in depth as each approaches, but know this: I’m looking to talk.

These fikas fuel my writing, which in turn, becomes the something more I’ve been anticipating, dreaming, and now doing. Help me. Refer a friend, tell me about some stranger on Instagram who fascinates you for hours, give me your grandma who talks for hours and needs an eager ear, share the secret story you’ve always wanted to tell but never write. Let’s fika.

P.S. There’s more. I’m hoping to share soon. Until then, keep reading and dreaming. XO

I Failed: Christmas Presence

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“Perfectionism is a self-destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, and do everything perfectly, I can avoid or minimize the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame.” ― Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

On Christmas morning after we thoroughly inspected Santa’s cookie crumbs and opened the first stocking stuffers I made my way to the kitchen to produce pleasure in the form of traditional Christmas cuisine. I had prepped the Quiche and monkey bread the night before. Each recipe was carefully adhered to and I knew it was minutes before the bulk of my efforts were unveiled.

Cue chaos.

I opened the fridge to find egg dripping down the side of the door. Somehow my Quiche had tilted and spilled onto the monkey bread. I remember saying to myself, “I can handle this.” I scraped what I could off the monkey bread, preset the oven, and believed it to be salvageable. I got to work on remaking the Quiche and congratulated myself on saving breakfast. I retreated back to gift distribution with great confidence and self-worth.

Minutes later I smelled burning. The bottom of the monkey bread pan had residual egg on it, which was now burning in the oven. As I opened the oven door to grab the monkey bread my oven glove caught fire. Panicked, I dropped the monkey bread pan and sticky contents spilled everywhere. I mean it. No surface was safe.

As I set to work for a quick clean up to ensure I wouldn’t miss more magic, I noticed my Quiche wasn’t rising.

Cue meltdown.

I had tried so hard to create a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. I failed.

It became apparent to my parents and husband that I was in crisis. Ever so gently my mother pulled me aside. She took it upon herself to remind me that a perfect Christmas breakfast was far from what we were celebrating or what mattered. She urged me to sit down and watch my girls, which of course instantly brought me back into the realm of reality. This, their faces, their wonder, and their joy is what I’d remember. The messy magic and the miniature hugs were all that mattered.

The kitchen was sticky for a few days. My parents ended up walking to Dunkin Donuts to produce our morning Christmas feast. I sat, coffee in hand, next to my love watching our little loves revel in the spirit of the season.

I think my mother was wrong about one thing. I won’t forget about the Christmas morning I failed. It reminded me about the power of presence.

For 2019, here’s hoping we remember perfection is overrated and that presence is the perfect present.

Can I Still Do This?

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Christmas was magic. I watched my preschool aged daughter get her dream unicorn toy, ride the darn thing incessantly, and sleep with it in her bed. My toddler was overjoyed by the act of unwrapping presents, found delight in all the lights, and discovered the chorus of “Deck the Halls.” Seriously, it’s her jam.

Christmas was bliss. Is there anything better than wonder married to joy? Throughout December I witnessed my girls revel in the mysteries and miracles of the season. And throughout December I kept returning to one simple question, can I still do this? Can I capture, create, and exude enthusiasm like a preschooler and toddler?

These kids had so much fun during the holidays and so did I, but I wanted the kid version of Christmas. After a glass of Eggnog or two I came to the realization that the foundation for their fun is rooted in discovery.

At some point in adulthood I preset my mind to impact. I was determined to find people to impact me and I wanted to impact others. This is all good intentioned and necessary, but so is fun.

Discovering who I am through fika has been the most fun, so yes, I can still do this. I can capture, create, and exude enthusiasm like a preschooler and toddler.

Part of the fun of fika is pressing pause. Are you ready for some coffee and conversation?     Let’s have some fun. Let’s discover.

Brontë at Burger King

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“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.” ― Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Something happened this December that marked a major meltdown and milestone for me.

One day I promised my oldest daughter a milkshake. So after an afternoon of chaos I drove to Burger King to deliver the goods.

The line was long. Someone beeped, orders took forever to fill, and my youngest was in the backseat losing her cool. Fifteen minutes later I pulled up to the window to pay and collect. The order was wrong.

Let me rewind and explain that I had been tested all day. Do you ever have those unusually long days full of endless challenges? I had an adult tantrum. I rolled my eyes, gave an exaggerated sigh, and collapsed into the steering wheel. It was dramatic. And as I lifted my head I saw the young woman at the register staring at me. She painfully retreated to fix the order as I sat there unraveling.

It was awkward.

Driving away I knew she felt my behavior was a direct attack. I felt awful. It wasn’t even about the milkshake. The entire day had been a series of unfortunate events and I was exhausted. As I pulled into my driveway guilt consumed me.

I don’t treat people terribly and I don’t behave rudely either. I knew it was a mishap, for which I felt badly about, and I think a lot of people would chalk up the guilt as a reminder to be kinder, more patient, and rooted in gratitude. I let those three things sink in, but it still didn’t feel quite right.

My lessons benefited me, but what about the young woman? I needed to say sorry. I wrote a note, put a little something extra in an envelope, and drove back to Burger King.

On the way there I kept thinking of Charlotte Brontë and her classic Jane Eyre. See the quote above. Independent will often works in our favor. We do what we want when we want. But what about independent will when we’re wrong?

On a cold December night guilt wasn’t enough to school me. As I reintroduced myself, apologized for my behavior, and offered a token of peace, I felt like I had struck gold. Being wrong never felt so right. I recognized that independent will and the strength to recognize, rectify, and recover from mistakes is the ultimate marker of growth.

I drove away incredibly touched by her acceptance and inspired by the will to want to right more wrongs.

I don’t have a ton of baggage. In fact, I’m blessed to have less than most. But I do have some things to adjust or fix and I see the power of willingly walking into the uncomfortable for a more accurate and accountable polished product.

There’s an underlying lesson in it for me, which is acknowleding the undeniable surprises life provides. I never expected to relate Brontë to Burger King.

Here’s to indepedent will and living without nets.

 

Advent

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“The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting” ― Andy Warhol
The other night a dinner conversation turned to religion. Listen, I know the rule and theory behind political and religious discussions. But this group of friends is the exception to everything. They’re what we need more of in the world, which is open-mindedness, kindness, and genuine enthusiasm for one another.
Talking about religion is natural for me. Born and raised Catholic, now Presbyterian, I am a faith-based explorer and overt believer. I find strength and solace in faith-based discussions. But there’s something challenging to convey, which is the crux of all religious discussion, and it lies within the application of beliefs, customs, and interpretations.
Our faith is deeply personal so it makes sense that it might not be easily understood or universal. Yet I find in discovery discussions that it’s natural to dismiss, label, or refute. I’m guilty of this. There’s freedom within acknowledgment. And while I’ll save specific confessions for the Almighty Himself, I do want to own this truth for myself and others.
At one point the other night I echoed the famous phrase given to me by my mother. I never get it perfect but it goes something like this, “I give you religion. You find faith.” It was her message to me from a young age.  Essentially she wanted me to understand that faith is personal and an independent component to religious commitment. It was her didactic promise of choice.

This time of year our faith is on prominent display. Aside from its preparatory appeal, I associate Advent with reflection. I’ve decided we need glimpses to understand the bigger picture. So glimpse with me. The Advent fika I’m proposing offers no chocolates behind doors, elves on shelves, or visits from the North Pole. Make no mistake, these things are a part of my traditions, just not my faith.  Let’s faith fika with a daily glimpse. Sign up here and comment “Advent.”

Fear

 

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“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

This post has been in draft mode for days. With a twist of irony, I ignored it out of fear.

I am a collector of quotes. I carry them with me, memorize them, recite them upon request, and/or call upon them in the most desperate and dramatic circumstances.

Williamson’s words haunt me.

I think somewhere along the adventures of adulthood I stepped off the pavement of self-promotion. It felt awkward. But as a writer, I’m constantly called to pitch. And since I’m not too into self-promotion, the pitch can be extremely exhausting and self-deprecating.  In a world of selfies and stature, I worried about over-saturation. But I now see the value of appropriate exposure.

Furthermore, I see the necessity in shining and inspiring others to do the same. In a world where the latest headlines are full of tragedies, controversies, and endless debates, we’d need to stop “playing it small” and emphasize liberation.

Our fears of failures, judgments, and inadequacies do not necessarily diminish in age. In fact, too often experience jades us or robs us of risk.  But we need to remember that there is fun in fear. Specifically, defying fear or focusing on fearlessness. If it propels instead of punishes then it’s alluring and all-powerful.

We gain in comfort when we show our vulnerability. We grow in confidence when we push through walls to showcase strength and spirit.

Which leads me to a fika on the following: what are you doing that’s fearlessly focused on sharing more and igniting inspiration for others?