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!

Inviting Ordinary

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“But the trouble with sainthood these days is the robe-and-halo imagery that gets stuck onto it.” Carl got that brooding look again. “People forget that robes were street clothes once… and still are, in a lot of places. And halos are to that fierce air of innocence what speech balloons in comics are to the sound of the voice itself. Shorthand. But most people just see an old symbol and don’t bother looking behind it for the meaning. Sainthood starts to look old-fashioned, unattainable… even repellent. Actually, you can see it all around, once you learn to spot it.” ― Diane Duane, A Wizard Alone

I love the palpable power in extraordinary experiences. But we need a reminder that the most extraordinary elements are extracted from the ordinary.

I think it’s good to pursue. It’s all tied to the mission for more. But in our hustle to become better, and in a world inundated with sensationalism and speculation, we need to invite the ordinary into our lives. We need it to be enough.

I am guilty of losing myself in motion. It’s entirely too easy to chase after or lust over things rather than embracing them in their ordinary state.

Invite the ordinary into life.

As I type this my tiny humans are running wild. It’s incredibly noisy, distracting, and a tad annoying. It’s ordinary. It’s every day stuff that I take for granted, that I’ll miss, that I’ll do my best to remember when God willing, I’m old and gray. So why push this away? This ordinary life is filled with extraordinary love.

Surrender then savor.

More

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More is tough. If we obsess over more we often end up appreciating less. If we accept meidocricity and forgo effort then we sink into struggle instead of rising from it. We often need the desire for more to pull us out of the trenches and into action. Given the right context more is often the difference between dreaming and doing.

I’ve always felt like there is more for me in this world. I desire to share more with others because in doing so I taste the sweetness often spoken of but rarely consumed. My more is  not me center stage. My more is me and you. My more is connection. My more more is fika.

Mamas, join me for more on June 12th. Details here.

Because we need to celebrate one another more, because this way is magic, and because coffee is my love language.

 

I Surrender: 48 Humbling Hours

“We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful.”― Eric Micha’el Leventhal

Motherhood is full of rich, deep irony.

Monday started out promising. I had a call with Dr. Margaret Quinlan, co-author of You’re Doing It Wrong!: Mothering, Media, and Medical Expertise and I was feeling so comforted, inspired, and validated by our exchange. She and co-author Bethany Johnson really honed in on fears and fascinations of motherhood for me. Tackling subjects like infertility, social media comparison, and postpartum recovery this book examines the history of mothering advice.

After the call ended a surge of confidence emerged. I had connected with these mamas and their work. I vowed to forgo concern or comparison and embrace my realities, which require no defense or explanation.

Then the pediatric dentist visit from hell happened. Screaming children, blood curdling screaming children, clung to me as if their life depended on it. I saw a chunk of my hair in my toddler’s hands. My preschooler was performing matrix-like moves that prevented physical restraint. The dental hygienist was a deer in head lights. “Make it stop,” I whispered aloud. My request was met with more thunderous tantrums but also the quickest examination by the dentist. For her speediness and silence, I am eternally grateful.

We got home in time for the same hair grabbing toddler to stick her hand in her own shit-filled diaper. Mom, forgive the language. As her sister screamed in sympathy, it dawned on me that I didn’t see a hair accessory for a dance costume on the counter. After cleaning up feces, which is a regular routine around here, and searching the house for a powder blue bow, I realized this accessory was in the abyss. To date, I haven’t found it.

I went to bed exhausted, but I clung to the belief that tomorrow would be better. This powerful mama was going to rise and shine. I woke up committed to carefree and casual adventures. I packed all the snacks, took the kids to the zoo, and congratulated myself on rebounding nicely.

Twenty minutes into the trip the same hair pulling, shit touching toddler took off running. I ran after her. The mulch hill had a slight dip to it and I awkwardly sunk into a hole. As I fell to the ground my elbows and knees met the cement and searing pain appeared in my ankle. I heard my preschooler crying. “She’s scared,” I said. I called to her that I was okay. She continued to wail. Thankfully, my friend took off running to catch my hair pulling, shit touching, running rabid toddler, who for the record, never glanced back. I limped to my preschooler so she could see that mommy was alright. When I talked to her she immediately stopped crying. “Mommy, he took my Pirate’s Booty.” Yes, her tears were because her friend took her snack. She didn’t even see me fall. Once she knew I was hurt she demanded to see my blood.

These girls humble me.

It was a tough two days. This whole week has been messy. But I’m here. I’m not comparing or lusting for something else. I surrender that I’m not all powerful and in doing so I feel stronger and more grateful.

The preschooler and I had the best snuggle tonight. The hair-pulling, shit touching, running rabid toddler said “love you” at bedtime and gave me the biggest kiss.

I’m not doing it wrong. It’s complicated, chaotic, fun, forgiving, and humbling. It’s a whole lot of other things too. For everything, I give thanks.

Happy Mother’s Day.

P.S. Join me for a fika this June.

My Fitness Numbers: The Beginning

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“There is immense power when a group of people with similar interests gets together to work toward the same goals.” ― Idowu Koyenikan, Wealth for All: Living a Life of Success at the Edge of Your Ability

Once upon a time I dreamt of bathing suit season. But it’s been awhile since I’ve raced to remove layers.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt uncomfortable in my skin. Always judging, forever wishing, and constantly covering, I’ve fought the battle of body image throughout various ages and stages.

In the past, I used numbers as pillars of promise for all things fitness and wellness. For this and for countless other reasons, I’ve failed. We live in a number obsessed world. From weight to wallet, numbers occupy our obsessions.

But numbers don’t tell the entire story. And since I’m a storyteller, words matter beyond measure.

I’ve been going through an eight week evolution at FitFabMoms in Madison, New Jersey. During the process I’ve come to know two things: 1. I am capable of more than I imagined. 2. Community is a large part of my fitness and wellness experience.

What I love about FitFabMoms is the philosophy that in pursuing the best versions of ourselves we propel one another. It’s empowering to see change in motion. Furthermore, it’s inspiring to feel change in motion.

I am feeling all kinds of love when I walk into the studio. There’s a shift in the way I see myself and my progress. I celebrate newly discovered energy, I cherish muscle definition, and I excitedly embrace endurance. I’m able to hear an inner voice because of someone else’s ability to listen.

In life, and in all of its endeavors, we need listeners. Listeners allow and encourage vulnerability and transparency. Aside from being professionals in the fitness industry, the trainers at FitFabmoms are expert listeners.

I’m a sharer but body image comes with baggage. Thankfully, my needs and wants fell upon ears and hearts that listen and love with pure passion.

When my trainers told me to surrender the numbers to them and to focus on feeling, I knew I was in the right place. For the record, I’ll be sharing my “before” and “after” in a week or so. However, I’m feeling the “after” is more appropriately labeled “still going.”

This summer I plan to sit comfortably in my bathing suit. By mid-August I hope to live in it confidently. I have no idea the cost or size of said suit to date, but to feel good and grateful about it is more than I anticipated.

But since I know numbers are the stepping stone for so many, here are some numbers worth considering. I’ve worked out alongside 100 different people since I started. I’ve made 50 healthier and versatile meals since March. I can hold a plank 25 seconds longer than when I began. I can do 10 burpees without thinking evil thoughts. 5  pairs of pants no longer fit. I’ve cried 3 times post workout because of how good I feel when I overcome an obstacle or try something new. 2 women, Katie and Lauren, had a vision, created a space, and devote themselves to revealing power and possibility within others. 1 workout gives me more energy than three cups of coffee. I have 0 regrets.

This is the beginning of something that will stay with me forever. I’d like to say thank you to every person who has worked out alongside me. I am inspired by your presence, grateful for your example, and motivated by your strength. Keep it going. Katie and Lauren, there aren’t enough words. You’re a beacon of light. I love you more than pinot noir and despite mountain climbers. Trust me, that’s a lot of love.

I’m evolving and for this, and all that’s to come, I am thankful.

Current State

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“I like coffee exceedingly…” ― H.P. Lovecraft 

My love of coffee knows no particular place, but I lust after and linger with it most at coffee houses. There’s something to be said about the lost art of creative, eclectic, and independent coffee houses. You can’t replicate vibes and the very best cafes produce them effortlessly and consistently. Today I’m at Sweet_ness 7 Cafe in Buffalo, New York. I believe I’ve discovered and tasted heaven on earth. Copious amounts of charm live within the walls, words are flowing freely, and my lavender latte has given me a new purpose in life. Seriously, it’s that good.

I like to talk and write in coffee houses, and usually, I prefer the company of strangers. The majority of my passion projects are centered on exchanges with people I’m unacquainted with or I’ve been interested in meeting. There’s something to be said about connection and discovery. Unearthing is enlivening.

For the people closest to me or most familiar with me, this fika thing is a mystery. Sure, we fika. Pausing with the ones I love is forever a favorite past time. But there’s a curiosity about the greater vision within my fikas that remain unclear to them. Truthfully, I like it this way.

I am knee deep in collecting and curating stories. I am grateful for the power of connection and the undeniable value within a good cup of coffee.

This is my current state…just in case you’re wondering.