Category: Serious Stuff

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.”

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Wander

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“A person does not grow from the ground like a vine or a tree, one is not part of a plot of land. Mankind has legs so it can wander.” ― Roman Payne, The Wanderess

I am a wanderer.

Too often we think of wandering solely in a physical capacity.

My mind goes a million places. My heart follows or ferociously finds a place to wander as well.

I have spent the past month wandering. I’ve let wild thoughts appear and multiply, delightful dreams dance throughout my imagination, and dangerous but determined emotional escapades unfold. Seriously, it’s so good to wander.

This adulthood thing can be serious. The world is for sure insane. So living and wandering in a world created by and through my heart is fun and encouraging. Every now and then, it’s good to escape.

But alas I’ve returned. So here’s to all of the things I found on the unpaved paths in my head and heart. And here’s to everything to come. Operation occupy the opportunity starts now.

Blank Pages

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Blank pages are my favorite.

After a crazy September, I cleared the plate. In the spirit of transparency, the plate is still full but in manageable ways. I cleared it of things that didn’t sustain me or entice me.

I have been feeling like I’m on the brink of something for awhile. I made the mistake of calling it a total transformation, but I don’t think that’s what it is or what I want it to be for myself. Instead, I’m completely comfortable saying that I’m in a state of discovery.

One of the biggest challenges we face in today’s society is the pursuit and portrayal of perfection. Crops, filters, and various apps allow us to present ourselves in our most polished forms. But much of it isn’t real or doesn’t capture the chaos.

Chaos gets a bad reputation. In the moments before preschool departure when my house is in disarray, my coffee cold, and my list long, I’m still able to see the specialness of it all. The mess and mayhem are big players in the magical circus known as childhood. And my struggle to find and maintain balance is shared with my peers and friends. My longing for a career that gifts me flexibility and financial freedom isn’t unique. My desire to make dreams possible and successful for others isn’t original.

But these things, this chaos, the stuff I discover in the adventure, it’s mine.  I claim it proudly and without fear of judgment. I am discovering who I am at 36. Up until now, I wasn’t comfortable or confident with the imperfections or ambiguities within me. But these are the biggest and proudest parts of me.

The struggle has become the motivation. The motivation has launched the next chapter. The pages are blank and the pen is poised to produce.

This Sunday I’m all about the blank pages and the possibilities that exist to fill them.

Get Excited

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“I like it when somebody gets excited about something.”  ― J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye 

I am an enthusiastic person. I get it from my mama.

My little ones demand incredible amounts of attention and I find they easily excite me about all things past, present, and future. There’s something about tiny humans and their capacity to dream big and love freely that enchants and engages me.

My daughters have reawakened the need for excitement in life. Small, big, and unexpected exciting endeavors add joy and meaning to my stories. But in the depths of discovery, I can fully admit that I’m at odds with excitability these days. It seems to me that many people lack a zest for their daily grind. The woes are rampant and the affirmations scarce.

I love watching excitement unfold. It’s a slice of heaven to see someone pinpoint their passion. Moreover, it’s euphoric to see the passion grow and touch and inspire others. There’s something about sharing excitement that adds and grows to an occasion or milestone.

So here are some things that excite me…

  • Old people. I legit love older generations. I’m on the hunt to talk to the greatest generation. Give me your old people.
  • Mommies. I’m in a stage of life where I’m surrounded by mommies within my circles. This mom life cultivates an energy and sisterhood that can’t be replicated or imitated.
  • This Is Us writers and actors. I am experimenting with a course on the subject.
  • College. Give me a crowded lecture hall and the chance to talk.
  • Fika. DUH. Guys, there’s so much exciting stuff to come.

What’s your spark for excitement lately?

38

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I am a perpetual daydreamer. I’ve got grand plans and big intentions. But this emotional, over-the-top, head-in-the-clouds fantasizer gets stuck. I freeze up out of fear or distract myself with busyness that’s unimportant. It’s been my burden for the past several years. And while I’d love to blame someone or something, I’ve got nothing. It’s me.

Enter my husband.

My marriage is full of love, compassion, and friendship, but there’s also sarcasm, competitiveness, and candor. My accountability partner in crime keeps it real. In fact, it’s often too real for my liking.

I’ve been talking about being a full-fledged writer and entrepreneur since he met me. In fact, he tells friends that I’m the long-term success strategy. He’s full of brutal logic and endless love. It’s an interesting combination.  The other night he reminded me that there’s been little progress in my projects. We danced the talk-it-out tango, which means I possessed a defensive flare and he demonstrated strong-willed sentiment. In essence, it boils down to action and accountability.

He’s my truth-teller.

I don’t envy him. I’m initially unreceptive and offended. But with time I come around to see his side. I know I need to do more and perform better. I need something tangible to keep me sane and firmly focused.

The book will be done and distributed by 38. That’s the vision and reaction to the challenge. I turn 37 in January. It might look like I’ve given myself the gift of time, but the book will need to be finished by February in order to get pitched to the masses this spring.

Dearest, this one isn’t for you. It’s for me. But thanks for never giving up on me. This thing we have is fearless.

For Better or For Worse

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Yesterday was my seventh wedding anniversary. If time and interest allowed, I’d write a series of essays on how much my marriage means to me and the endless love I have for my husband. But I know like most matters of the heart, it’s personally appealing because of experience and investment. With this noted, I’ll spare you sonnets.

For our wedding day we hired a husband and wife photography team to capture the intimate moments of the ceremony and reception. Their work was artistic and flawless and their energy was contagious. I remember being awed by their talent and teamwork. The latter was incredibly impressive. Knowing that not all partners could work together so well, or at all, I was obsessed with observing their dynamics and felt compelled to soak up their presence.

I remember thinking it was an omen of sorts to have such a dynamic duo attached to our wedding. In fact, I remember thinking that their love story was a sign of ours.

A few days ago I decided to visit their website to see if I could stop by while visiting my parents. Much to my dismay it looked as if their business was no longer operational. After some intense social media stalking and keyword searches, I learned they were no longer married. Cue knife to the heart.

The news gutted me. This inspiring, sweet, and kind couple was no more.

And while I shed a few tears, I came to realize I knew nothing of their history or status, even when I was basking in bliss. Their marriage and/or the demise of it wasn’t something I was or would ever be acutely aware of, but it did offer me a greater sense of perception and change.

Our surface perceptions often demand deeper exploration or consideration.  And we need to resign that regardless of our perceptions, certain changes are inevitable or necessary. It’s never easy to see a marriage end, especially one we admired from afar. But if the news is going to stir up something in our souls, then let it be a reminder to invest in the person you decided was worthy of forever.

For the record, I’m over the moon in love with my husband. And because I social media stalked, let me state that from the surface, it looks like my photographers have moved on and reclaimed some happiness as well. But that’s only my perception and things can change. So for now I’m off to relish that I’m all in. And for better or worse I hope we all remember that things change quickly and sometimes dramatically. So carpe diem and love with everything you’ve got.

 

This Is Us: I’m Ready

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I’ve already spilled about my obsession with This Is Us, but I need to do so even more. To begin, I’ve always been a lover and follower of film and television. In college, I was convinced that after four years of film and television theory and tech classes I’d walk through the doors of a studio and secure employment. It’s funny because that dream didn’t so much derail as diminish, but it’s slowly reappearing.

Here’s the thing: I spent much of my childhood and early adult years engulfed in the fandom of all things fiction. It wasn’t an escape as so much an immersive experience. I liked losing and finding myself through others and I absolutely adored the dramatic flares of fiercely romantic, brave, and unique characters. Whether it was Anne of Green Gables, the Ross and Rachel relationship from Friends, the torturesome twosome of Noah and Allie from The Notebook or Jack and Rose sinking on the Titanic, I was always glued to the screen and dreaming of such noble and noteworthy stories to appear within my life.

And while I’ve yet to encounter an iceberg, I did meet my own version of Gilbert Blythe, who I’d like to think far exceeds some of the grandest gestures and extreme episodes of love and life on the big screen. And while our love might never be an Oscar production, I’d argue it’s worthy of one. Guess who hands me the tissues or pours me my second glass of wine mid This Is Us sob?

But I digress. I’ve been rewatching This Is Us to gear up for the third season. I stumbled across this scene from the season two finale and felt it was worthy of a share. While I have a thing for Kevin’s growth, it’s all about Randall in this scene. “Choosing our people is the closest we come to controlling our destiny.” Sigh. It’s amazing how fictional characters speak the truth so deliberately yet gently.

I’m on this whole “summer of Katie” high right now. I gave myself permission to binge watch my staple feel good guilty pleasures. I’m rereading the classics, which is my idea of a good time. Let’s talk over coffee if you have a thing for modern British literature. I’ll buy the first cup. I am drinking too much wine and walking around town like it’s my full-time job trying to reduce said impact of generous pours. I am grappling with big life choices while writing more inspired and confident than in years past. I am trying to wrap my arms around my tiny humans and thank God daily for the gift of watching them grow. I am celebrating 15 years of choosing my person and the adventures that have followed and still remain.

This show always brings me back to the important need for introspection. As I sit here thinking about the people I’ve chosen I come back to Randall’s speech. “Because while everything else may change if you choose right, your people will stay the same.” If this isn’t fika material I don’t know what is…

P.S. Dan Fogelman, I’m begging for fika.