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Ramblings from a pseudo-crunchy woman. This just might be interesting.



Last Build Date: Tue, 06 Mar 2018 12:30:13 +0000

 



Reframing Michael and Christine

Tue, 16 Jun 2015 23:36:00 +0000

“Sharing life on the Internet is risky business. … Choosing how vulnerable you want to be is tricky. People assume that they know everything there is to know if they simply read a blog or follow a Twitter feed.  As if sharing one deeply personal thing means all writers share all the things going on in their lives.” - Tara LivesayA note from Michael and Christine: That internet thing is great, as a window. A window with curtains that can be open and shut as we please. We share some things about our kids, but not all things.  They are not all ours to share and they are not for all of you to know.  We share some things about our marriage.  And again - they are not all ours to share and they are not for all of you to know.  In our home, we give one another that courtesy because we are all awesome and we are all horrible - depending on what hour of what day.  For years we have held each other safely and carefully in our words that we speak, because we know one another at our very best and our very worst.  We are that safe place for one another and will continue to be that safe place - because we are both being and doing awesome, while also sucking and just doing the very best we can.The two of us want to honor the fact that most of you will be utterly shocked by things we are about to share. It would be easy to say, “It’s really none of your business.”  Well, we have made parts of our lives your business, whether it has been through church ministry or speaking/teaching or online.  We have shared, always in the hopes of being a help in some way. Living parts of it out loud in case it moves someone along in the same way. So this news - this information - can now be something you may know. Now is the right time for that.We also realize this might be very confusing for most of you.  Big shocker - it doesn’t look like how most people do it.For a long while now we have been sharing our lives in a way that some might call a “separation.”  Except, we still live together.  Our situation has looked like this for quite a few years now. After several years of living our lives in this way, we have legally ended our marriage. We are letting a wider circle know about something that has long since transpired.We still love each other (although, as many of you know, the process involved many days/hours/weeks of very much not liking each other).  We still run a business together.  We are still a family day in and day out.  Yet, we have separated, slowly and very intentionally, certain aspects of our life and relationship.  It has happened through the guidance of trained professionals who affirmed that we love and respect each other very much, but certain parts of our relationship were not functioning in a healthy way.  We found more peace and joy in our home once we addressed those things and made changes.  Together.  One particular therapist was very affirming that we do this in a way that works for us.  No one should tell us how it needs to be.  That is exactly what we have done.So, this is the confusing part, we assume, for a lot of people.  We are not mad at each other, even though parts of this have included much pain and hurt and sorrow (we are grieving this change and relationships don’t end because they are awesome!).  We genuinely like one another and want to support the other as we keep figuring out how to be a family through this. We get along and work together better than most couples we know, even as our marriage has ended.  For now, we are still going to live together the vast majority of the time.  It works for us. Any other relationships that have been in our lives or that might move into our lives, have been and will always be consensual and encouraged. Celebrated. While we still share a home much of the time and a large chunk of our lives.There is no way to explain how perfectly matched we were, twenty years ago, to share and live out so much of our lives in the way we both wanted. &n[...]



Recapping a decade of my life

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:42:00 +0000

(photo by Alyza Moore for the "Bodies Born to Rise" project)I have spent the last several months going through every last inch of this blog. Reorganizing. Cleaning up old labels. Making it easier to find things. I'm not done and still have many hours of work ahead of me.In March it will be ten years of blogging.It's a weird thing to be able to look at a decade of your life. Not all of it. Just the parts I let others see, of course. But that is its own interesting experience. It's not news that I have been writing less and less. I have stared at it to find exactly what/when/how this has happened. I figured there would be a pattern of some sort. I cross-analyzed it with Facebook (because this was a very serious scientific inquiry, don't ya' know?). I compared it with life events.And that's when I saw it. It wasn't one thing. It has been many.a major shift in homeschooling and my time here at my kitchen table after one of our kids entered public school new in-real-life community that I began to be very deliberate about maintaining speaking/traveling running, then running more and training more and running some more more of my children joining social media and joining with them there coaching other parents online and reading/researching regularly to have more resources at my fingertips respecting the privacy of my kids as they age - even deleting and changing wording on things I write to honor their healing and personal space a huge dip happening after going to two burns in four months - practicing being present and cutting all online connection for large chunks of time (you see a very deliberate drop in posts after I acquired my ticket to Burning Man one March and began preparing ... that made me smile, remembering that spring and summer ... so many amazing experiences) having teenagers - my life looks completely different now perimenopausal brain fog making writing much more tedious and exhaustingThis was once my therapy. My self-love. This place has carried me for years. It was where I could pour things out, process my own experiences and grow out loud just a little bit. It did its job beautifully. I have grown in ways I never expected. My ease into this new phase of life and parenthood has been gradual. I am finding my self-expression in other ways these days. I am challenging myself with smaller groups of people. I have the freedom to leave this table much more than I ever have.As a part of what I have called my "blog cleanse," I am reposting all of my most helpful therapeutic parenting posts on my coaching site. There is already a full year set to post throughout 2015 to refresh and encourage you: Christine's Parent Coaching BlogFor years, my blog was a way to keep family current on stuff and to connect with other homeschoolers. It stayed that way for quite a while. Until we became therapeutic parents. And as many of you remember, that was when readership spiked. We were a bit like a car crash and people couldn't help but rubber-neck. Others who were having similar struggles found us and started to hold our hands virtually over the years.The reason I help other parents now is because, like all of us, I wish I had known everything I know now when I started learning and practicing "therapeutic parenting." Yet, I'm still learning. More and more. Because kids continue to hurt and experience trauma. More professionals are taking an interest and working tirelessly to find more answers.I learned what it meant when they said things like, "The best therapy happens at home." Yet I also experienced how that meant a bunch of us normal people with our own histories/traumas were supposed to be the magic, not even realizing just how much our kids' trauma was constantly triggering our own issues and buttons. We didn't have years of schooling. We didn't have professors insisting we have our own therapy before daring to provide therapeutic interventions to others.We've been pioneers. Yet, it doesn't feel like that to us. It feels more like "floundering and gra[...]



Jar-o-Good

Mon, 05 Jan 2015 22:35:00 +0000

Last night in the car one of the kids was talking about an idea they heard in their student group for the new year. Make a jar that you can place in a prominent-enough location that you won't forget about it. Write down the good things that happen to you. Take a moment in the evenings to do it. On your bad days, you can randomly read about and be reminded of the good in your life.Simple.I love that idea. It is similar to daily gratitudes, but with a twist. My brain immediately went to parents who are working with struggling kids. I coach caregivers to journal in some way, any way, the positive moments they have with their children. This is extremely helpful, particularly in the early days of an adoption or when behaviors have escalated. The constant flow of negative and frustration feels like there is no good.There is. There is good every day. And some days you even have moments of "Oh wow! Something happened right there. Something ... amazing!" But two days later, you are back in the thick of things and you forget. It all feels undone. If you have documented the good somewhere, you will have a picture. One that includes some sun and maybe an occasional rainbow.No, really. Maybe. An actual rainbow.Because the bad does not undo the good. I know from personal experience that the clouds tend to shift my feelings faster and it can last much longer than the good. So, I suggest that you journal if you're into that sort of thing. Or blog. Or if you are a Pinterest-y kind of person, you create a Jar-o-Good. If you're not so much with the Pinterest, just cut a hole in the top of a Folger's can lid. Every night write a "good" on a slip of paper.  It might be, "My kid got dressed without a battle." Yes. I know. The rest of the day was a constant fight, but even our children are sitting there thinking, "I did that one thing. No one has any idea how hard that was for me!" Well, you noticed. And you wrote it down.Other days it might be one of the rainbow days: "My kid showed genuine empathy for a friend," or "I got a spontaneous hug in an appropriate moment and it felt really good to receive it," or "He felt himself escalating and he did some breathing with me to help calm him," or "My child said, 'I'm sorry I said those mean things, Mama. What can I do to put love back into you?'" Those are rainbow days. Seeing the development of empathy, cause-and-effect thinking or an improvement in impulse control. Rainbows and sunshine.And because healing is slow and not a straight line, other days you might write: "My child came to tell me goodnight after they brushed their teeth and I could actually smell yummy breath!" Yes. A moment of self-care. Maybe the rest of the day felt like HELL, but your child did have a moment they took care of their own body and showed themselves some love. They could've used brushing teeth to try to get you to engage. They've done that before. But that day ... their teeth received some love. Write that sucker down.Healing and miracles are in the little things we constantly forget or overlook.On the dark, gloomy, thick days open up that jar. Read a few goods. Remember the goods. They happened. They have not been erased. Yes, it feels awful. It feels pointless. But the little bits of good are real and they are healing, and they happen every single day. Let that jar (or your journal/blog/whatever) remind you. As often as you need it. We're doing very hard things."The dark does not destroy the light; it defines it. It's our fear of the dark that casts our joy into the shadows." - Brené Brown [...]



Therapeutic Parenting Resources

Wed, 08 Oct 2014 13:52:00 +0000

(image)
(christineparentcoaching.com)
I have been working very hard the last few weeks to reorganize the things I have learned over the past six years, when it comes to parenting. My goal has always been to share. However I can.

As you would suspect, as my life has been pretty messy, my sharing has been pretty messy. Scattered. So, I have been putting a very deliberate effort into organizing and re-presenting it in a way that can be more easily searched and utilized.

On my coaching site, you will start to see all of my little nuggets show up under the "Blog" tab. If you've read me for some time, you will see some repetition of things I've posted in the past. However, I will be combining and fine-tuning much of it so that my site will be more of a clearing house for all things therapeutic. Over here at this blog, you will continue to read allllllllll about the rest of me. The sex. The violence ... heheheheh. Okay, just the sex. And the self-love and all that jazz.

In my spirit of sharing, I also want to point you toward some big changes I was able to make this month. Starting my own small coaching business has saved my sanity. I dream of being able to give myself away. I really do, because I'm muddling through the same stuff the rest of you are. I understand how it drains your brain and your finances. But the more I was giving myself away, the more I was suffering and exhausted. Therefore, my home was suffering. So, I have been able to function as a small business for over two years, continue to support people yet do so in a way where my own life and home do not suffer.

Great, right? Well, it has become even greater. I spent September trying out some new resources that have greatly decreased my work load. And what happens when the one-man-band doesn't have to spend so much time on the administrative/business side of things? They get to decrease their prices!

So, I am extremely happy to announce that I have a new fee structure. You can find it at ChristineParentCoaching.Com.

I want to continue to be one of the pieces of this giant puzzle, working to help our kids heal and live happy, productive lives. The experts keep saying that the true therapy happens at home. That means the caregivers must have support, and it has to be accessible and affordable! If you can ask for it, ask for it. If you can provide a piece of the puzzle, step out and provide it. We are changing our world, one home at a time. One child at a time. And it starts with those of us who are guiding and parenting them through it.



Open up that October door!

Wed, 01 Oct 2014 14:16:00 +0000

(photo by Kate Northern; used with permission)October.It's the most wonderful time of the year in my house.Halloween ... and National Coming Out Day!I remember a time in the 80's when there was a big hub-bub in our little town over Halloween. A group of people became very vocal about the dark side of the holiday and were pushing parents to stop participating in the costumes and the trick-or-treating. Of course, my friends were the ones showing up at school with the "Save Halloween!" shirts. I did not wear one. I had already gotten my pastor-father in enough trouble a few years before wearing giant peace sign earrings. Did you know that meant I was walking around displaying broken crosses on my ears? Mm hmm. So obviously I was all about the satanic juju. Not peace.Whatever. Let's be honest. I was all about Madonna.I now love the ying and yang that October holds. One holiday built around dressing up, and another around being fully and authentically yourself. Both have a history of some voices protesting.I became much more public and vocal about my support for equal rights, before I ever had any idea that my family would end up as a giant bowl of the alphabet soup.(side note for later viewing: it's all so much more beautifully complex than simply your orientation!) In fact, I began to be so vocal and so supportive that many people assumed I was most likely a closeted lesbian. Like ... many. Or several? Not sure the exact number, but I have most definitely had more than two people address it with me head on. I actually found myself in an argument with a woman one day over my orientation. Really.Now, I do absolutely understand that there are some people who talk about this subject very openly to vet the people around them and determine who will be a safe place. That is true, and thankfully becoming less of a necessity as our society shifts. I also discovered there is sometimes a reaction that is meant to instill fear. "If you keep talking about it so much, people are going to assume you are gay!"To which I would say, "Actually, I think you meant to say they will assume I am a sexual minority." *smiley face*Alright. So, why did I start to talk so openly and fervently about equal rights, gay marriage, love and acceptance for all people regardless of their sex/orientation/gender/attraction? Why would I put myself out there like that not even knowing at that time that my own family represented the entire spectrum?Because people.I knew a lot of people. I saw a lot of pain. I experienced what it was to be a safe place. I saw the beauty and hope in being a part of the support network to help a human fully embrace who they are without shame. I understand it. I do not land perfectly within a black-and-white construct of attraction. And in my teeny tiny little corner of this, I found it confusing and I questioned whether or not it was safe to say that to anyone in my life.Teeny tiny.I saw what it was like for those who weren't landing in a teeny tiny corner as far as society was concerned. I would not allow them to stand alone. I want to stand with them.Because people."Many of you may be offended by all of this, I fully realize. I know this may be especially true if you are a religious person; one who finds the whole topic disgusting. As you’ve been reading, you may have been rolling your eyes, or clicking the roof of your mouth, or drafting familiar Scriptures to send me, or praying for me to repent, or preparing to Unfriend me, or writing me off as a sinful, evil, Hell-bound heretic… but with as much gentleness and understanding as I can muster; I really couldn’t care less. This isn’t about you. This is a whole lot bigger than you." - John PavlovitzI have had people write me because I am the only person they know, for sure, in their world who is a safe space. I will take the negative reactions. The comments meant to induce fear. I will take it so others do not stand alone. [...]



Summer time, when the living is ... *deep breath*

Sun, 06 Jul 2014 08:30:00 +0000

I am experiencing something right now that so many of you do every year. However, it is brand new to me. I have a child attending public school, so this is my first "have them home all summer" thing.Normally, all of my kids are here all the time, and you just learn to pace yourself. I've written before that we needed to make some changes for everyone, and this was a great decision. No regrets. It is beneficial to the entire family.  However ... summer.All of the benefits we reap from a team of people in the life of a child are just gone. *poof* Like that. For three months.You have to acclimate to the constant again. It's showing me just how much I do this naturally with homeschooling, and just how well I got used to the "new normal" in our home. Thankfully, we are surviving with very few tears and I have yet to pull out all of my hair.  Which is good, because mine would come out very quickly, seeing how most of it is stuck together.  Thought I would share my gems that have made a huge difference for us.  It's simple, really.I have a really long list (40-50 things) of things my child can do at anytime during any day of summer. It is posted in a prominent place. It involves some electronics. It involves movies and shows. But that is not where I have seen the biggest help. That list is chock full of lots of messy things. Stuff like fingernail polish, paint, makeup, face paint, craft sticks, glue and Sharpie markers. Messy stuff.I have some boundaries on these things (mainly where they can be used). Other than that, the only thing I ask is that the last thing be put away before you start the new thing. I have to remind my kid of that regularly, and they have been fine to comply. Mainly because they are super excited to be moving on to the next thing. This particular child has ADHD. Like, has ADHD so severely that it took a trained professional to point out what was going on because what I was seeing did not fit the stereotype in my head. As we have treated it in multiple ways, I have discovered that so much of their behavioral and social struggles are a part of a mood disorder, sure.  However, the ADHD is lighter fluid on that flame. This list thing has been wonderful. And they truly enjoy all of the many ideas and options about 85% of the time. I have also been practicing "yes!" a lot.  If it's not going to hurt a person or a thing, I try to say yes. It is the summer of mess, but it is also the summer of peace and joy. It is the summer of creativity.It is the summer of removing polish and repainting nails four times a day.  "Mom, I don't like how I painted my nails this morning. Can I paint them again?" I sat and thought and then let out a, "Yes!" I also helped them buy their very own polish remover, cotton balls, and makeup remover wipes with their allowance money. All theirs. No one else can hog them or use them up, and they can use them all day long if they want to.  Put it on, take it off. Paint it on, take it off. Repeat, repeat, repeat.It is messy, but I created areas where the mess is fine and encouraged.  Why, yes, their clothes are covered in stains. Permanent stains.  Many on the butts of their britches.  Uh-huh.  Look at me all not caring! Just gonna' buy ALL new things before school starts again. Someone give me a ribbon!I was taught a lesson a year ago from a therapist who has issues with attention:  kids with ADHD don't often feel overwhelmed, they actually tend to feel painfully bored to tears. Out of all the things on the list, I'm seeing about the same six activities repeated most of the time. The choice gives feelings of control. The mess factor gives feelings of creativity and again with the control aspect. I made sure to put a little novelty in there, like "Eat a meal outside."  Who knew? I've never once said you CAN'T eat outside. However, after putting it on that list, my kid has eaten breakfast and[...]



Immediacy and Impermanence

Sat, 07 Jun 2014 14:29:00 +0000

This week I participated in beautiful and ridiculously lengthy Facebook thread, birthed by burners. It was full of snark and brilliance. Within minutes I had fallen madly in love with people I have never met, and wanted them all at my party.

Also, I wanted to plan a party.

It erupted quickly and the comments multiplied for the better part of the day. No, really. It was insane. Hundreds of comments.  Notifications going off non-stop: ding, ding, ding. I actually crawled into bed that night and thought, "I hope a bunch of these hysterically genius wonders of humans don't stay up late and post a bunch more funny. I'll miss it and have to catch up in the morning!"

I did.  I totally thought that. I was serious.

The next morning, I woke and immediately grabbed my phone to see what I missed. Here is where I learned a big, painful lesson.

(image) The thread was gone.

It had been deleted by the person who started it, because ... why not? It was so funny to begin with and why not just remove it?  *poof*

It was perfect and it also pissed me off (while some people actually posted they were pissed off, I played it cool and said nothing - even when feeling pissed off, cause I was so funny in my comments).  I sat there and felt like the last picture of my grandmother had been lost in a fire. Yes, that is ridiculous, but that is how I felt in that moment.

"Impermanence may be heartbreaking, but it’s also kind of awesome! It means that we get to remake the world in every moment." - Steve Bearman

It does seem like such a little thing, but it forced me to think of how all change affects me.  It's one of the ten principles that continues to challenge me and I'm radically resistant. I know why I struggle with it. I hold onto things too tightly. I place value in things, for fear that if the thing is gone, the experience has been erased. I have my own reasons for this, and you have yours. I figure I have fine-tuned this throughout my lifetime, so the change will continue to be slow and steady. "A journey, not a destination" and all that crap.

"Instead of resisting, allow change to unfold and try to understand what’s transforming and why." - Vishnu (go read this whole article and just sit in the middle of it for a good, long while)






There is no magic pill, right?

Tue, 29 Apr 2014 22:31:00 +0000

If you are like me, you are an animal when it comes to seeking out help for your kids.  From struggles with learning, to finding clothes that fit right as their bodies grow and change, to learning about all the therapy options for mental and emotional health issues ... we advocate for the little and the big.(photo by Tibor Fazakas; used with permission)I touted mindfulness mediation almost a year ago when I wrote: "Meditation ... not just for the woo-woo hippies anymore." I knew it was a good thing for me to be doing. I had read the stuff and knew the studies. I did it for me. All that time I knew if it was good for me, it would be good for my kids. I thought that. I didn't do anything about it. Until February.One of my children worked with me and their therapist, and took a one-month challenge to meditate and list gratitudes every day. We saw a definite change in their ability to self-regulate and an improvement in their sleep. They also started to enjoy meditation, and then led their own group on Facebook for the month of March.And I knew. I knew I needed to add it to the day of another child. This kid has struggled deeply and greatly over the last few years. We started a treatment plan that included medication and play therapy. We continued with good diet and sleep habits. Yet, there were still some definite daily struggles ... waking up angry and miserable every single day. It was hard to watch and frustrating to see it continue, regardless of the steps we had taken. So, we started daily meditation. This child is younger, so we kept them short and geared toward children.Oh. my. holy. cow.Is it a magic pill? No. This child is not free from all of their struggles. However ... however, we have seen daily improvements in sleep, mood and an increase in genuine happiness and joy. We have seen a very obvious decrease in negative behaviors that were not affected by medication and therapy alone. For the first time. Ever. This child will continue to battle some things, but the daily meditation has removed so many clouds from their "sky." You can read more below. You can google search and watch resources. Do your own legwork. Or trust me. Give it a try. I am so happy with how it has helped my children and myself, I am going to offer a way to help you give it a try. You see, we do guided meditations we find online (note: NOT just sitting there still and quiet for ten minutes!). For the month of May, I am hosting a Facebook group where I will provide these daily meditations you can just stream online and do alongside your child.  Nothing fancy. Just meditations we have found online that work for us. This will be geared to grade school and younger. To join this group, head over to "Meditation May!"My daughter is going to host another month online for teens and adults. This keeps her accountable and is helping her practice her leadership skills. You can find that group at "Love Me, Choose Me, Pick Me." Why, yes, we do love Grey's Anatomy in our house. Please note:  if you join her group, she expects participation. She's 14 and leading the way. The adults better keep up!I triple-dog-dare you to try this with your kid for one month. Give yourself and your kids little weekly rewards when you knock out another seven days, if you need the extra push. I dare you to just give it a good, solid try. It's free. It's simple. And I'll be doing it with you.Now for links and research and what-not.************************************Dr. Bruce Perry is touting the unbelievable impact of rhythmic activities: yoga, meditation with deep breathing, singing, dancing, drumming, etc. Read more at "Perry:  Rhythm Regulates the Brain""Recent studies from Massachusetts General Hospital have shown that eight weeks of MBSR can actually produce thickening in particular regions of the brain important for learning, memory, executive decisi[...]



Six years

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:44:00 +0000

(November 2010 - Elizabeth Knox Photography)Six years ago today we became a family of seven. It has been the hardest six years of our lives. For all of us. We share this - the struggles, the pain, the very difficult memories.It has also been the greatest six years of our lives. For all of us. We share this - the healing, the joy, the love that was proven day after day and the family.We are a family. (May 2013)My children are my heroes. They deserve this. They deserve family and hard, hard, hard work from their parents. I talk with a lot of parents to help them learn and stay present in a way their kids need. I've never experienced anything more challenging than the person I have had to try to become over these last few years. It is hard. It is so hard.  Ultimately, though, is not about us. The parents. It is about our kids. Today read this and remember who has the hardest job in all of this.Our kids have it harder than us.Our kids did not ask for any of this.Our kids want to do better and be better, but desperately need someone to help them.Our kids cannot and will not be able to do it on their own until they have been re-parented through their gaps.Our kids have been hurt in ways we cannot fathom.Our kids deserve the insanely radical efforts of therapeutic parenting.Our kids deserve parents who take good care of themselves so they can wake up and try again.Our kids deserve love and loving acts, even when no one is feeling warm, loving feelings.Repeat one of my mantras with me:  the only thing harder than parenting them is being them.Celebrate your kids today. The fact that they still wake up and breathe. They are so strong and so scared. They are more strong and more scared than us. They are brave and weary. They are more brave and more weary than us.I invite you to use our day of celebration (with some pain mixed in) to look at your kids in the way we forget to do. Their whole being. Their whole story. ******************************To my kids,I love you guys. All of this, everything we've all done, is for you. Because you deserve it. It's not about us, and it's not for us. It's for you. You are so amazing and worthy. I am so sorry that I have had many days of being messed up and human, and I know my words and voice and face have told you otherwise. I know there have been times that I have reflected back to you the very people who brought you pain earlier in your life.None of the bad is your fault. On those days it is my problem, and I am letting my own issues spill over on to you. What I do know is that you have slowly and steadily responded to the work we've all done. Because that is who you are, in your core and in your very being. People around you did things to bury that and make it feel impossible to truly be your beautiful self. But with some help, the real you has come to the surface. I'm not surprised. You are light and love. And you deserve space to still struggle and still keep working. I will keep working to be what you need.You are so very worth it.You have been such a gift to me, and taught me so much about life and being brave. I will never be the same because of you.It is an honor to be your mother.  I love you.- Mom(December 2013) [...]



A playa lesson that stuck

Sat, 08 Mar 2014 18:52:00 +0000

This would be me.  Burning Man 2012.I was reminded again this week (and last month) of another life lesson the playa taught me.I am responsible for my own experience.I am responsible for my own pleasure. No matter what is thrown at me.  No matter what happens to me and around me.  I have choice.  I have power.  I have complete control over my own response to everything.In parenting.  In relationships.  In travel.  In work.  In life.I am responsible for my own experience. "In the final analysis, the questions of why bad things happen to good people transmutes itself into some very different questions, no longer asking why something happened, but asking how we will respond, what we intend to do now that it happened."  ~Pierre Teilhard de ChardinNegative things will continue to happen the longer I breathe and walk around.  For a while I wanted them to stop.  I wanted to avoid them. Cause, you know, that's possible.  *cough*  Now I know I can embrace the negative, feel it and then choose how to respond.  Respond instead of react. Raymont Anderson is a life coach who tries to help his clients understand the results of responding in anger when something is thrown at them. For instance, someone cutting them off in traffic or being hurtful. Maybe our children responding to us in a not so pleasant way. Our natural response is anger or lashing out.  Fighting back. Anderson asks, "What did that give you? What was the benefit? You are the one who raised your blood pressure, levels of cortizol, and testosterone as you responded in anger."Hmph. I hate how right he is. Those things are already elevated. And we can feel them and stay with them, waiting for them to subside (all the while, not reacting from the middle of that muck). Or we can react in a way that actually increases all the negative.I am responsible for my own experience.I have choice and power. Granted, I might not have all the choices I want, and I might not be able to exercise the amount of power and control over a situation I would prefer. That does not remove the fact: I still have choice and power. I am not here to experience my life passively. I want to participate! Own it!If I want something to change, I am responsible for asking for change or making that change occur. Again, it might not be my ideal, but I have the power to speak, ask, compromise, find contentment in what is handed to me, think outside the box to do so or walk away."My life is perfect, no matter how it looks."  - Jackie Woodside I have stopped for a moment to ask myself if I really believe that.  My life is perfect, no matter how it looks? I believe I'm a perfect parent. I really do. Not because I do all of the right things all the time.  I'm a perfect parent because I am human and I keep trying. Keep leading by example. Keep loving. Keep showing them how to fix stuff when a person messes up (which means I have to mess up for that to happen). It is not possible for any person to make the best possible choice in every circumstance, so that can't ever be the definition of a "perfect parent." Can I apply this same thinking to my life? That it's perfect, no matter how it looks?It is. Because I don't let my negative life experiences dictate my happiness or my fulfillment. I don't let them own my head and my heart. I do not let them feed me lies that I have no choice or no power. Screw that!I am responsible for my own experience.  And how. "Self-Love is about embracing your unity and equality. It is about knowing that this is your life and that you are the one responsible for your experience of it.  It is about being your own hero. It is about creating space for yourself instead of waiting for that space to magically appear. It is about knowing [...]



Maybe it wasn't what you were expecting

Sun, 02 Mar 2014 17:17:00 +0000

I just had the best Sexuary of the six years I've been doing this.I started Sexuary (Sexperiment) because I had spent most of my life trying and opening up to things that might improve my sex life.  Because, ummmm ... it would be stupid not to, right?  That makes sense.However, I was doing it because I thought I was broken.  I wanted to be like the women who wanted sex all the time.  I wanted to want sex.I wanted to fix me.  But I wanted to fix me for my husband.  I wanted to be a better wife.Now, I don't have a problem with doing things to be a better partner or a better friend or a better mother.  Those are all good.  But over the last few years I have discovered just how important it is to be a better me, before I can do any of those other things.  If I don't love me, I can still go through the motions and do the right/good things, but they bring about no internal growth. I had to make it about me.While most of the posts over the years have been about sex with a partner, I was simultaneously doing my own internal work.  It was deeply personal.  Many times painful.  Often empowering and amazing.  Not the kind of thing you want to share with the world while you are working through it.  So, this year was the ideal time to encourage others to try the same.Several years I have had people admit that they "hide" Sexuary from their partners, because they don't want to set sexual goals.  Or they just get depressed because they are single or in a sexless marriage.  Or gay/lesbian/bi in a heterosexual marriage.  Or they just plain hate sex.They many times echo what I have felt:  "I am broken."I was not broken.  I am not broken.  You are not broken. But a lot of us get into a routine of regularly not stating our needs, or seeking out solutions.  And that's what this year was about.  It was a year to be brave and peel back very scary layers.  Look at what was underneath.  Dare to have really terrifying conversations not knowing what the other person would feel or say ... but having the conversation anyway because it was the best thing for you to do for yourself.It's hard to post that in a way to help you understand what I saw this year.  I can never capture the amount of vulnerability and bravery I witnessed in such a diverse way from such a diverse group of people.  It wasn't just the people in our Facebook group, but plenty of you out there sending in emails and writing about the big, scary, amazing ways you were finally taking care of you.  And being honest with yourself and those you love.  Finding answers.  Negotiating.  Hearing your voice continue even if it was shaking.So many of you "got" it.  Stating your needs and asking for things to change, or for compromise, is not being a bad partner.  It's being a person of worth and value and treating yourself with just as much compassion and respect as you do for others. While I will not be writing posts throughout February in the future, that month will forevermore be Sexuary for me.  And I hope it will be for you, too.  We'll all need it at different times for different reasons. Who says your big, brave thing has to happen in February?  Do it this week.  Next month. You are worth it. [...]



What you've been learning about "me"

Sun, 23 Feb 2014 10:00:00 +0000

I've asked some people to share what they have been learning this month as they make themselves the focus.  The Sexuary group encompasses about 100 people.  They are all participating in various ways.  Here are what some of them have to say."I have become more aware of the pieces of myself that I am still not loving. I didn't even realize how much of myself I still have hang-ups over until trying to complete the daily self-gratitudes.  I thought I was pretty self-accepting but have realized during this month that I have so much farther to go yet. (Further? It seems like it should be further.) I have been challenged, reassured, intrigued, and at times even a little shocked--not by you, but by my own lack of comfortability in thinking about and discussing sex. Thank you for the opportunity to take a loooong...hard (pun intended) look inside for these few weeks. I look forward to the continued conversations with you and with myself."*************************************"This theme hit me right when I needed it the most. SO far I have learned/am learning: my language affects my children. My complaints about my body are training them to self-loathe. I'm using different language that promotes appreciation, not disgust for who I am. I've always been happy- dependent on the acceptance of others and i'm learning that I don't need others to tell me i'm good/right/a Christian/beautiful. I am learning that I make those perceptions myself and then they are MY reality. Their perceptions cannot affect my reality, and that's a hard one. I've always had a fear of being alone in many capacities and this group has shown me that I am not. We all have the same fears/desires/wants/needs just on different levels.  But, in the end we are all so very much the same. It has been thought provoking, inspiring and life changing to me (and opened up a lot of new dialogue with my husband and I)." *************************************"There were moments early this month because of the nature of the Sexuary group (such a variety of people and types of relationships) when I thought 'how can I be focusing on the ME theme when I am constantly pondering other people's experiences?' Then it hit me that this context IS EXACTLY how. Thanks to you amazing people I have spent everyday this month examining my own freedoms and limitations, my triggers and my turn ons. You all have unwittingly challenged the areas in which I've remained cautious and have exuberantly applauded when I am badass and brave. And in practicing grace, gentleness, acceptance, excitement, and pride for all of you - it has become easier to extend the same grace, gentleness, acceptance, etc to myself.I needed to get to know all of YOU so that I could get to know all of ME! ("Circle of Life" soundtrack begins now :-))"*************************************"Participating in Sexuary was the final piece to the puzzle to bring me to the point where I can say that I love my body. I don't hate my body anymore. I even took a full frontal nudie pic of myself. And liked it. And kept it (courtesy of an app that lets you password protect photos). There is no way I could have done that a month ago. Or ... well any time in the past."*************************************"Probably the best thing has been putting faces to the whole spectrum of sexual behaviors. In Christian circles people who have sexual practices other than a lifelong monogamous marriage relationships tend to get demonized. We're afraid of the unknown. So thank you for being brave and out there and honest and sharing a small part of your lives with this Sexuary community. It doesn't change my own preferences but I'm not offended or afraid of the differences anymore."*************************************"While I [...]



On being naked

Fri, 21 Feb 2014 10:00:00 +0000

(image)
(photo by FOTOCROMO; used with permission)

There are so many way to be naked.  You can take your clothes off.  You can talk about feelings that you would rather avoid.  You can put yourself out there for a job or a date or a sex act, not knowing if you will be positively received.

Naked.

Exposed.

Every Wednesday this month I have encouraged everyone to do a little Kick Your Ass Hump Day.  A lot of people participating in Sexuary have coined it Brave Day.

Have you been brave this week?  How can you get naked?

Here are just some of the things others have been doing:

Watched porn with their partner for the first time in years.  On a big screen TV. 
Dared to meet up with a crush for swimming.  In a bathing suit!

Took a dominant role in the bedroom to please a lover. 
Asked for help. 
Bought condoms and had a sex positive talk with their teens. 
Addressed a disagreement with a neighbor. 
Asked for a wrong to be made right.  And it involved money. 
Came out to someone close to them. 
Brought up fantasies with a partner. Gave them a safe space to be honest. 
Made safe choices and didn't choose to self-harm. 
Stated sexual concerns out loud to others and asked for feedback. 
Set boundaries with a family member. 
Told someone clearly that they would enjoy a physical relationship.


"And those things are what sexy truly is. Vulnerability is sexy. Trust is sexy. And no matter what we look like, or how flawed we are, vulnerability and trust makes us sexy both in and out of the throws of passion. At least in my opinion." - Let's Get Naked by Single Dad Laughing.

Think you could dare to try his little naked exercise?

If you're not up for getting naked literally, maybe find a way to be naked figuratively.

But literally is good, too.





When your sexual desires do not align

Wed, 19 Feb 2014 10:00:00 +0000

A question was raised within the Sexuary group about differences in sex drive.  What do you do when one of you wants sex every day and the other doesn't?  When one of you wants more kissing and touching and the other doesn't?  I have read many responses to this same question for years.  There is no right answer for everyone.  However, I wanted to share the following response from a group member that I felt would bring a lot of value to many of you."I would need to make a huge investment in lube if a man wanted to have sex with me every day. Every person is different and every body is different, but the amount of lube I'd need to keep from chafing during daily sex with a sizeable, circumcised partner would mean he wouldn't have enough friction to be satisfied. Men who want sex every day don't always seem to understand the physical (let alone emotional) consequences that demand can have for their female partners.There were two big 'red flags' for me in [the above post]. First that you 'feel guilty for not giving it up enough,' and second that you 'feel pissed off that he can't value my body aside from sex.' In my personal experience, these feelings indicate there's a rift in your sense of trust and intimacy that can wreck havoc on your sex life.First, consent should be ongoing and enthusiastic. 'Giving in' feels begrudged, breeds resentment, and doesn't leave either of you feeling fulfilled or eager for the next sexual encounter. Someone who keeps pushing for sex in that climate is hungry for intimacy, not simply sex, though they may not know another way to experience it. If sexual release is all he wants, masturbation should do the trick. If he specifically wants more sexual activity with you, he's craving intimacy with you, though he (or both of you) doesn't seem to understand that a good sex life is the result of emotional intimacy, not the cause of it. Working outside the bedroom to make sure you both feel heard, valued, respected, desired, and secure will do so much to improve sexual satisfaction for you both. Second, feeling as though you are unwanted aside from the sexual and domestic services you can provide is a horrible feeling. I wouldn't want to have sex if I felt my partner viewed me that way either. The last time I felt that way, it helped to communicate that feeling to my partner, to tell him what I needed (more cuddles, more caresses everywhere aside from my breasts and bits, how the contact he was providing could be improved for my pleasure, etc). Women tend to approach sexuality from a place of awareness of and focus on our partner's pleasure. In my experience, men seem prone to falling into 'auto-pilot' mode, focused more on their own experience than on what their partner actually finds pleasurable. By affirming that he does want me to be enjoying myself and by gently but firmly correcting his behavior, we moved into a place where I felt valued. One impromptu back massage without any sexual agenda on his part did more to improve our intimacy and my sexual desire than I can explain. Being touched in a non-sexual way just because I would enjoy it made me feel valued. Feeling valued increased my desire for my husband.The last piece of advice I have is to make sure you both feel like your husband is valuing your time. His stated desire of sex every day and oral in between is realistically a lot of hours out of your week. If your schedule is full, the thought of fitting in one more thing, one more act of service while your own needs go unmet, can be completely exhausting. If you both have a healthy respect for each other's time and need for self-care, this can drastically improve your mental availability for sexual desire. If I'm worri[...]



Sometimes sex hurts

Thu, 13 Feb 2014 21:33:00 +0000

Today is a guest post from a reader.  This is someone who, despite issues around sex, made themselves a priority and kept searching for answers and found some solutions.  I am so thankful they are willing to share their story.  I hope your month has pushed you to make yourself a priority for YOU.********************************If sex is painful - there is very likely a physiological reason and there are things you can do to get better. For many many years, sex was painful for me but whenever I talked to my primary care physicians (incidentally and sadly, all of whom were women) I was told something along the lines of "sex is painful for a lot of women. Just keep doing it and it will get better." I tried that. And guess what - it didn't get better. In fact, I came to dread sex and wanted nothing at all to do with that part of my body, which was obviously a strain on my marriage.Finally I raised the issue yet again with my doctor, who sent me in for various tests which found that I had endometriosis, which can cause pain. She put me on the generic version of Seasonique birth control, which controls my menstruation so I only get my period 4 times a year. That helped the endometriosis, but I still wanted nothing to do with sex. When I spoke to my doctor again, she gently suggested that at this point the problem was probably mental/emotional and I should see a sex therapist. My medical diagnosis was "dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse)".It took all my willpower and love for my husband to research sex therapists and make an appointment with one. I did NOT want to be there. The sex therapist was wonderful however! One of the first things she asked me was "have you seen a physical therapist?" I looked confused; she looked sad. She explained to me that you can get physical therapy for pelvic floor problems and she recommended an all-women practice for me to go to.Another difficult appointment. I cried during the first visit with my so-nice physical therapist as I explained how I felt about "that region" of my body. She understood! She explained that this wasn't an uncommon thing. If a women experiences pain with sex at some point for various reasons (could be endometriosis, could be abuse, etc.), her body becomes defensive in order to protect itself. The pelvic muscles tighten, which leads to sex being even more painful. The cycle reinforces itself. Meanwhile, the brain, to protect itself, disassociates from the entire region, making it very difficult to relax "down there". And here's the thing - just having more sex doesn't make anything better. In fact, it just reinforces that cycle. But physical therapy can help. I've undergone manual therapy (used by the physical therapist to relax pelvic floor muscles both externally and internally), biofeedback to help me see and understand how to relax my pelvic floor muscles (which I was so initially disassociated with I couldn't feel them), and exercises to use at home to reinforce the physical therapy sessions. Down the road, I'll work up to dilation to be used for stretching and desensitization.I'm no longer seeing the sex therapist but I'm seeing the physical therapist regularly. And I'm making great progress. That is wonderful but I'm really saddened that it took nearly two decades before a medical professional came up with a solution other than "just keeping having sex and it will work itself out". I was in pain because I had actual physical issues. And those issues can be addressed and resolved. I want to share this so that someone else might benefit and not spend twenty years feeling like all the problems are just in her head. [...]



Oh, Java. It's so hard to quit you.

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 15:12:00 +0000

Any of you remember when I broke up with coffee?

Why, yes, I have found myself right back in the same place.  Because that's what we do.  This time around it was due to the cold weather and always wanting a warm beverage in my mug.  I looked up last week and realized I was irritable every day.  It was harder to do good for me and others.  I just didn't feel well.

I may have also noticed I was taking out over half a pot of coffee a day.

Now, just like before, I do not have to have a clean break.  I'm all for a booty call.  I am allowing myself one cup a day.  It's just right.  And the rest of the time, I am doing a little heavy petting with hot tea.

The very first day I made that change, I noticed the shift. I felt good. Probably not great, but I felt so much better than I had been that it seemed amazing! My stomach, my anxiety and my general "not crappy" disposition. All were smiling.

Like everything else, I slipped back in to old habits. It happens. It happens to every last one of us. And we could live in fear of such things, like diet and exercise, and become purists arguing against slippery slopes into excessive java or chocolate consumption. Yet, life is rich in moderation. I also find that I don't grow when I'm legalistic in my choices and don't allow some wiggle room for life and play and ... being naughty with my mug. I grow most when I allow myself some choice, and learn my own lines.

This time I was so far past the line, I couldn't even see the line. The line was a DOT to me.

**side note:  name that show/character and you have my heart**

I have done it before and I knew I could do it again. So, I did.

February, this year, has been a catalyst for a lot of people to not just push themselves sexually, but to show themselves better care and maintenance. I mean, who wants to be sexy when they are verping stomach acid and twitching out anxiety like it's an accessory?

Not me, that's for sure.

I'm breaking up with coffee again. We are just friends. No longer getting our groove on all day long. It was hard to do, but it was best for me.  



Sexuary 2014 - let's get this party started!

Sat, 01 Feb 2014 16:20:00 +0000





It's February 1st.  The beginning of the end.  Well, the end of me doing so much writing about this.  Until the end of time, I think we have all redefined the month of February to always be Sexuary.  So, "sing me no sad songs and shed me not tears."  We have created a thing, and I know most of us plan to keep coming back in our own lives for years to come.

I am doing some daily goals for myself, to really focus on my own needs and improve the way I feel about ... me.
Daily
Minimum of a five minute mindfulness meditation. 
Write one gratitude written specifically about myself.  Not on something someone else gives to me or something external.  I'm looking inward.  What I have.  What I do.  What I am. 
One small act of self-care. 
Weekly
Exercise 2-3 times a week (focus on movement and hopefully being outside).
Use words to ask for my own pleasure.


When we improve our self-love, if affects every aspect of our lives.  That is the intent of this year. Well, and also bravery. Loving yourself enough to be brave.  Try something new.  State your needs. Have difficult conversations. Question.  Answer.

And do those things because you are worthy.

Let's get this party started.

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A Sexuary for the Rest of Us

Wed, 29 Jan 2014 16:52:00 +0000

Well, by golly I think I've done it.  I think I actually have created a Sexuary for the Rest of Us.The Facebook group (now closed to new members) has already started on some daily challenges.  We're not waiting for the first.  There's too much good already going down.  More than that, it has created a safe space for people who normally loathe and avoid any talk of Sexuary.  Some people are simply working on loving and being kind to themselves.  There is no talk of goals for sex with partners, although plenty of them are including that as a part of their month.  The focus is self.  The love and validation has blown my mind.  It is a group that encompasses all people from all walks of life.  Everyone is accepted and encouraged.Seriously blowing. my. mind.Now, some of you out there are in a different place and you want to set some big goals for your sex life.  Feel free to thumb through old posts to find your inspiration.  You may share your goals here, tell a friend, set up a challenge with another couple, or find a way that works for you.I will say it until I'm blue in the face, but Sexuary really is for everyone.  People don't hear me when I say that, which is why I tried to find the gaps this year.  I'm listening to people talk about how they just need to say nice things to themselves, touch their own body in a loving way or give themselves a bubble bath and work to believe they deserve it.  That is Sexuary.  One woman is going to initiate sex with her partner because it is something she has not done for months, and allowed him to always take that role.  That is Sexuary.  Others are going to be sexual with a partner every single day.  That is Sexuary. This isn't a competition.  It's your life.  Do this for you.  How it is best for you.Check out the following: "The Futility of Comparing Yourself to Others" at ZenHabits"And Alternative to Competing with People" at Tiny Buddha"A Helpful Guide to Stop Comparing Yourself to Others" at Becoming Minimalist [...]



They would behave better if they could

Tue, 28 Jan 2014 18:10:00 +0000

I have worked my way through the book "The Behavior Code:  A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students" by Jessica Minahan and Nancy Rappaport.  It is the first book in a long time that I highly recommend to parents (whether your kids are in public school or you homeschool), teachers, school counselors and other professionals in the field.I initially bought it to help support the school one of my children is attending.  As always, I knew that anything helpful for the school setting might also be helpful at home.  I was right.  I have highlighted half the book and integrated a huge amount into our daily lives at home.There are a few passages I am making myself read and reread and reread.  I'm stating them out loud to other parents so they will continue to become a more regular thought in my brain.  I'm considering tattooing it to the back of my eyelids."A student would behave if he or she could.  If the student is displaying problematic maladaptive behavior, it is a symptom of an underdeveloped skill.  When students blow up or act out, it is a sign that they are stuck and can't cope with the situation." (emphasis is mine)As a parent, when I first hear this I immediately have a wave of, "But, but, but .... are we supposed to just say, 'Oh, you are stuck.  You can't cope.  So, you can just behave however you want to without consequence!'?  Because that sounds STUPID and I'm not buying it." Maybe that's just me, but I've felt that a lot when reading books and resources.  The feeling is real, even if it's not actually true.  When we are juggling challenging behaviors (yes, I know - understatement!), we tend to focus on the negative.  And we just want the behaviors to stop. Because it feels like they never will.Look back at that quote.  Find the underlined portion.  "Underdeveloped skill."  That's where the truth lies.  There is a reason underneath the behavior and there are things we can do to help our kids.Our kids are acting the way they do because they cannot cope in that moment.  If we can sit around and take a deep breath, we can all agree that even we do that to a certain extent.  The times we act out as adults, the times we regret our words and actions the next day, are times we are having a hard time coping with our feelings in the moment.  Many of us can calm ourselves more quickly, or use the skills we do have to keep it from getting completely out of hand.Our kids are simply trying to survive the moment.  They do some of these really unbelievable things because the skills they need to make a more positive choice are underdeveloped. They need two things from us:  1) patience, space and understanding when they get into that emotional quagmire, and 2) resources and help in developing that skill during the times they are not stuck and triggered.  They need both.  And when both are provided, they start to slowly develop those skills on a level they are capable, and slowly they will be able to do more of it on their own with less "help" from the adults in their life.It makes sense.  Yet, it's hard.  It's really hard.  Just this morning I wrote to some friends that I'm just tired of it.  Today.  I would just like a break today from needing to be the person to create that space.  And then I preached to myself.  Reminded myself that sometimes the best way to create that space is simply to know when to remove myself.  Walk away from the battl[...]



Sexuary 2014 - The Year of Me

Tue, 21 Jan 2014 17:04:00 +0000

February is almost here.This will be my final year of Sexuary.  It certainly will not be the last time I promote this annual idea or encourage you to participate somehow.  I plan to spend every February focused on my sexuality.  It has been life-changing for me.  I just feel I've said all I can say, and now I will simply direct everyone to previous posts and say, "Have at it!""I know people are better parents to their children, and better presidents of nations when they have a healthy, fully expressed sexuality."  - Amy Jo GoddardI could not agree more.  That quote perfectly explains why I have bothered to write so many posts and sink so much time into Sexuary every year.  Too many of us are walking around trying to help our friends, family or children feel whole and perfect as they are, while we are feeling broken. I believed I was broken.  For many years, I truly believed something was wrong with me.  I started Sexuary years ago because I was trying to be better and do better for my husband.  I felt like a failure as a spouse and as a woman.  While the first few years were written through that lens, and the focus was on what I could do for my partner to enhance our sex life, things shifted.  When I finally turned inward and focused on myself, the changes in me were radical. In finishing this series, I have spent a long time trying to determine what my theme would be. I have relived every email, phone call and Facebook message over the last six years.  People have shared with me some of their greatest joys and deepest aches and struggles.  As I remembered all of these words, I coupled them with my own experience.  Through it, I easily landed on what I believe the focus should be:I have been guilty of writing in this series, saying I have many times used my husband's eyes as a mirror for myself.  For my beauty and sexuality.  I have said things like, "When I don't feel beautiful, I look at how he looks at me."  That felt good and right at the time.  It made sense to me and felt wonderful and positive.  However ...... when I know better, I do better.A woman named Debra recently reflected this lesson in an online discussion.  This is a change I have made, but feel like it should be an absolute focus this year."I don't want my daughter (or myself or any other woman, for that matter) living her life through someone else's standards and someone else's expectations."The truth is the people in my life who love me deeply and wholly are still human.  They are not always capable of expressing that love through words and eyes and physical contact.  It is wonderful when they do.  It feels amazing.  To quote myself: "In reality, if our self-esteem is only based on others and the things that happen to us, then it's really not true, positive self-esteem."  You see, I am beautiful and sexy and whole no matter how anyone looks at me or speaks to me, ever. To get to that point, however, takes some very deliberate work.  Sometimes we are the very people speaking hurt and lies to our own hearts.  That will be the focus this year.I have a closed Facebook group for Sexuary 2014 (now closed to new members), where people can stop by and talk about how they are building their external Fricka-Frackin Locus of Control (my very scientific description).  This will only be a place for working on ourselves, not posting sexual goals we might have with a partner.  I will give ideas and sugges[...]



I did it.

Sun, 19 Jan 2014 17:12:00 +0000

On June 1, 2013, I signed up for a half marathon.  It made me a little sick to my stomach.  But I did it.  Today, I finished what I started.  I did more than I planned to begin with.  I didn't just run a half marathon - I ran three in six weeks!  All three faster than the next.  Today my phone told me my average pace was 9:57.  This blows my mind because I haven't been running even four years yet, and my first 5K pace was around 11:30.I'm gonna' gush because this was all a big deal for me and took up a lot of stinking time in my life. I trained for five months (only missing one training run the entire time due to a stomach virus).That's one month for each one of these amazing people.  My kids: My oldest son who is strong and determined.My first born who is bold and creative.My middle child who is consistent and brilliant.My fourth in line who is loving and thoughtful.My youngest who is outgoing and savvy.  Kids, I love you so much.  I love being your mom! I hope I inspire you half as much as you all inspire me.In these five month of training, I hit new goals every month.  In September I ran 40 miles.  In October I grazed 50.  November saw just over 60 and I ended December kissing 70 miles. Today landed me at another 70 for January.Because of my long, slow steady training, I was hitting long runs in a way that had me actually run three half marathons in six weeks. Three half marathons for my three people.  Three people that I still can't believe I'm lucky enough to call my "inner circle." I was supposed to just run 12.5 that particular day.  I thought, "If I can run 12.5, why can't I keep going for another song or two and hit 13.1?"  And I did.  The very first person I messaged was Lindsay.  I did that one for her.  Because she is an encourager.  She is strong and helps you be strong.  She says, "If you can do this much, maybe you could do just a tiny bit more.  Good job!  Now go do something good for yourself to celebrate!"  I love you,  Lindsay!  My second half was the day after Christmas.  A day after family.  Michael knows me best and has known me and walked with me almost two decades.  He somehow convinced our kids to get up and dressed on a holiday break morning to cheer me on at the halfway point.  As I came around the corner and saw them all standing out on that country road jumping up and down, I got tears.  I was so tired and I wanted to quit so badly.  I needed it, and he made it happen.  That perfectly summarizes how he has loved me through our marriage.  He has always said, "Tell me what you need.  I am happy to do it."  And he means it.  He does it.  I love you, Michael! My third half was the original race I signed up for.  It was in Austin - the city where I have found my circus.  Found my monkeys.  Jamie is one of them.  He trekked to the desert and back with me for Burning Man.  The changes he has made in his life in the last two years continue to inspire me.  He has done the things that people scribble down every January 1st but never touch again.  I ran this last one for him.  He has poured so much into me this past year, and just like Lindsay and Michael, not a day has gone by that we haven't talked or that he hasn't encouraged me in this, even as his leg has given him some serious grief.  I love you, Jamie!Find something big[...]



"The Beautiful in Me"

Mon, 06 Jan 2014 15:16:00 +0000

Do you ever do something stupid? Like ... read too much of the internet?And actually follow a link talking about Jane Seymour in a bikini at 62 only to then see other comments about Demi Moore in a bikini and how her stomach looks like ... a Sarlacc monster? And then you look at a pic of Demi Moore's stomach to realize hers is much more smooth than your own?This morning in the shower, I was blasting the amazingly beautiful and sexy, Amy Steinberg, while washing my fabulous body full of age and lines and veins and smooth and rough. I started to think of Sexuary again, and wondered if this is how I need to end it. With this focus. Feeling sexy. For yourself. Not for anyone else. You SHOULD feel sexy ... because you are. Every second you fight it, you are missing out.I'm sorry I let this pic get buried on Facebook and Instagram long ago. Because no matter how many pics you see of me at the river, standing up straight ... this is how I look 99.99% of the time.It is my wish for you this year that you will smack your faulty thinking across the head and speak truth.This is me, and I am so sexy. Beautiful. Every last inch of me. Throw on a smile or maybe even some dancing, and watch me glow.Next time you're in the shower, crank this: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/YX3y7QgojYs?rel=0" width="560">And then download "Wamba" and repeat after me:  "This body that was sent to me is the form that it is meant to be." [...]



The poor, welfare and google

Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:55:00 +0000

(photo by Marija Jure; used with permission)My friend, John, blogged his experience and thoughts on judgements about people on public assistance in his post "The Poor Shouldn't Smoke?"This came on the heels of reading a very heated lively discussion on another Facebook group about drug testing for people receiving public assistance.I have very different feelings about social justice and social programs than I used to.  I had a lot of questions and very staunch assumptions.  I had people challenge them, and one day I finally started to listen.  It was hard to do, because assumptions.  But I dared to.  I learned so many things and continue to learn more.  I encourage others to do the same, but sometimes they just ... don't.  I can't make them.  I can't make them want to.  All I can do is share my voice in the conversation, continue to learn and continue to productively love other humans in the way I live out my life and my vote.So, I encourage you to read and watch and sit.  Everything on this page is a different corner of the same subject.  Just sit and chew, if you want to.  Taste something different first, without assuming it will be bitter.  Look at it from many angles. If you have a question like, "How can someone be getting welfare and have a brand new TV in their living room?" then google it.  A lot.  In a million different ways.  Or ask and talk to many, many, many people on public assistance. If you think to yourself, "How can all these wealthy, highly intelligent people be the morons voting for more social programs to give away more of their money?  It makes no sense!  Morons!" then I would encourage you to ... find out why.  Dig around.  Answer your own question by going to the people that have poured their lives and research into it. If you want to.  When you're ready.  I had many factors that played into my life that pushed me to listen more and dig deeper.  It had to become more important to me for me to do that work for myself.It was work.  I won't sugar coat it.  It still is.  Autodidacticism can be a bitch. "Utah is On Track to End Homelessness by 2015 With This One Simple Idea""Drug Tests of Welfare Recipients Prove Costly""What Non-Smokers Will Never Understand" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Jw7uT1jOt0o?rel=0" width="560"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/cZ7LzE3u7Bw?rel=0" width="560"> [...]



Magical Milk Pic-o-the-Week ... the finale

Tue, 26 Nov 2013 10:00:00 +0000

After seven years, today the Magical Milk Pic-o-the-Week series is coming to an end.  For those of you who don't know, I started this weekly blurb because of my own story.  I weaned my first born much too soon.  I had little information and even less support.  I was extremely depressed, so I cannot tell you that I would've breastfed longer had the information and support been available.  But statistically speaking, that breastfeeding relationship would have most definitely had a higher chance of extending if breastfeeding had been normalized and modeled for me in my everyday life.So, I began the series as a way for people to see a child breastfeeding every single week.  My blog is your choice.  It's never forced on you.  You can skip every Tuesday.  Or not.  That's what I liked most about it.  I like to have access to things so I can learn from them in my own time, in my own way.  When I choose.  In this format you have a choice.  And it is another piece of the puzzle to help women make informed choices.  Not to be ashamed of their choice, but to know they left no stone unturned and can feel confident in what they decided.As I started to consider what I wanted for this very last picture, I knew immediately what it should be.  I wanted a picture from Heartline Ministries in Haiti coupled with words from Beth McHoul.  Not only do I have a very specific love and connection with Haiti and this organization, but they are the perfect picture of why it's important for breastfeeding to be normalized for all people. It is with surprising tears that I give you the last Magical Milk Pic-o-the-Week. "We at Heartline aren’t just advocates for exclusive breastfeeding, we are freaks about it. We have boobs in sight all the time! Mother’s milk is flowing and babies are growing! Because this liquid gold is flowing babies aren’t drinking watered down formula made from questionable water, they are not eating smashed up crackers, they are not drinking tea, they are not eating solid foods they can’t digest!Breast milk keeps babies from dying due to dehydration and diarrhea. Breast milk makes babies smarter, healthier, stronger and more connected to their moms. Breast milk makes our babies chubby, beautiful and glowing.Mom has more money to spend because she isn’t wasting her precious funds on cow’s milk or food for her baby.For too long our Haitian ladies have been fed lies about feeding their babies. Too many moms mourned the loss of a baby they loved because they didn’t know breast milk is complete nutrition.Shout it from the cement rooftops. Breast milk is best! Breast milk saves lives! Haiti is richer when moms breast-feed!Breastfeeding saves money and lives and we have the babies to prove it!"  - Beth McHoul, CPM [...]



I am ... still here.

Wed, 20 Nov 2013 15:19:00 +0000

"How are you?""Haven't heard from you in so long.""You're not blogging much anymore.""So, really ... how are you?"I am wonderful.And awful.I am juggling four teenagers and also putting another child in public school for the very first time.  It is a very long story that has taken a very long time to determine what exactly is most needed.  So, yeah.  There you go.While the process to make the decision is years in the making, actually starting school happened insanely fast.  I think we were able to get everything in place and be trucking off on the first day in a matter of less than two weeks.  And there were a lot of things to get into place.Then there's this whole house-full-of-teenagers thing I have going on.  It's amazing.  It's truly amazing.  I love teenagers.  Okay, fine.  Yours might annoy me.  But I love mine!They're funny and creative and many times thought provoking.  They are also bitchy and cranky and many times mind-numbing.  Like me.  Blerg.I am driving more.  Much, much more.  Everywhere.  Most days.  Getting the kids to their things to see the people and do the stuff.  My life has shifted.  I'm helping more parents privately with my coaching, and it is very fulfilling while also blending well with our non-stop schedule. As I'm streamlining my space here, I have decided to end my Magical Milk series this month.  I am also looking at Sexuary to decide how many more years of life I plan to eek out of that one.  Are there still more relevant topics to cover?  Or at this point, will I just be (no pun intended) beating a dead horse? Don't want to jump the shark.I didn't intend for that to sound sexual in any way, but I still have this strange feeling it came across as such.  Maybe that will be a whole 2014 theme:  Jump that Shark!Or ... no. Anywho, how am I?I am wonderful.And awful.But mostly just ... still here.  Meh.  Life.  Trucking along.This week I discovered a little site called "What Would I Say?"  It takes all of your status updates from Facebook and garbles them together to create new status updates.  Most of it is gibberish, but occasionally you strike a gem.  A painful gem that throws all of your quirks and -ism's in your face.  I'll leave you with a few of mine.It doesn't make sense, but then ... it absolutely does. I found the phrase, "secret, dirty love affair" recurring several times.  I did not realize just how much I use it.  But it makes me happy, nonetheless. I got nuthin' on this one.And finally, hands down, the winner is ... [...]