35th year in review

In the last year I’ve:

-Started a new job
-Completed 8 credits toward my masters
-Written over 100,000 words
-Read 70 books
-Been on 8 trips with flights
-Had ligament reconstruction on both of my ankles and spent 3 month on crutches & an additional 3 months with activity restrictions.
-Lost 55 lbs

Here’s to 36 being even better than 35.

Another post about clothes

I know you so love my reflections on my wardrobe, so I have yet another. I honestly don’t know why this is such a “thing” for me, but it keeps coming back up. So, again…

I’ve lost almost 50 pounds in the last 5 months*. This means none of my pants fit anymore. Lots of my shirts are too big (although, being a child of the 90s, that doesn’t bother me too much, except when I want to look put together.) The issue came to a head right before I had ankle surgery in September when I finally pulled all of my jeans out of my drawer to donate.

I haven’t been great about sticking to the capsule wardrobe, but I’ve still got dramatically fewer clothes than I’ve owned at other points in my life (having almost no storage in our house helps). But, considering I’m needing to buy almost everything, I’m trying to be really deliberate about replacing only what I really need, and reducing the volume again.

I found this article about fair-trade and eco-conscious clothing brands. I decided I was going to only buy high quality (even if it was a little more expensive) and, when possible, buy from companies I can feel great about supporting.

And then Old Navy had a sale.

I am still losing weight, so spending for quality/consciousness seems like it might not be the best option right now. I bought a pair of $15 jeans. They’re so comfortable.

Gap is having a sale now. 50% off everything, no exceptions (jeans are almost always excluded from their sales.) My favorite Gap jeans are 2 sizes too big right now. I spent the weekend debating with myself whether to just replace them for $35, or stick to my new convictions and buy $100 jeans from a company I knew was paying it’s sewers and suppliers fairly. I couldn’t justify the price of the $100 jeans, especially not knowing how long they’re going to fit. But I also want to be aware of not just buying new… So, today, Lily and I went to three thrift stores. I bought a pair of jeans and a great tshirt for Christmas (Griswolds, anyone?) I also realized, in the umpteen pairs of jeans I tried on, my underwear (purchased 2 months ago from Target) are really way too big. I was going to buy from PACt but in looking at other retailors to justify the price, I realized the 50% off sale at Gap counted for underwear too, making them $3 per pair vs. $13 per pair for PACt. I ended up ordering the underwear (and the jeans) from Gap.

I can’t figure out if I made a smart financial decision or sold out to the system that has us feeling like we need more more more so we buy cheap cheap cheap crap that has to be replaced more often.

It can all be returned, so I have some time to decide.

When you buy, do you worry more about price or will you spend more on a company with better practices? How do you balance it?


*This is very exciting, because, as many of you know, I had thyroid cancer in 2010 and no longer have a thyroid. I can blame about 35 lbs of weight gain over the last seven years directly on thyroid/medication issues (as in, oh, wow, we changed my meds and I gained 10 pounds last week. Yep, super fun.) So, for the weight loss to actually be working right now is pretty exciting in and of itself.

New interpretation

This started out as a Facebook post, but it was just too long for that, so I moved over here.

What if the story of Jesus waking up and calming the wind and the waves isn’t a story about Jesus making everything better?

At our Jacob’s Well gathering on Sunday morning, we wrapped up our “Inner Selfie” series, in which we’ve been talking about ways to make space for our souls, and creating practices to help our outer selves and our inner selves to be more in synch. The passage we looked at was Mark 4:35-41:

35 Late that day he said to them, “Let’s go across to the other side.” 
36 They took him in the boat as he was. Other boats came along. 
37 A huge storm came up. Waves poured into the boat, threatening to sink it. 
38 And Jesus was in the stern, head on a pillow, sleeping! They roused him, saying, “Teacher, is it nothing to you that we’re going down?” 
39 Awake now, he told the wind to pipe down and said to the sea, “Quiet! Settle down!” The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass.
40 Jesus reprimanded the disciples: “Why are you such cowards? Don’t you have any faith at all?” 
41 They were in absolute awe, staggered. “Who is this, anyway?” they asked. “Wind and sea at his beck and call!”
I’ve heard this story about 19 million times. Jesus wanted a break from the crowds, so he told the disciples to get in the boat, and he fell asleep. A storm came up, they all thought they were going to die until he woke up and saved them all, then scolded them for not having enough faith in him.
On Sunday, Greg gave a different interpretation of the story: There was a place Jesus wanted the disciples to go (the other side) so he got them all in the boat. He fell asleep, woke up because they were freaking out, and took pity on them by calming the wind and the waves.
BUT: here’s where it gets interesting
They were in a SAILBOAT. What happens to a sailboat without wind and waves (and even storms)? IT STOPS MOVING.
They were no longer going anywhere because the water had calmed. Jesus wasn’t making everything all better. He was giving them a break, but the wind would need to pick back up again before they could start moving again. THE STORM WAS NOT THE ENEMY.
And that scolding at the end? That wasn’t about faith in Him. It was about faith in the journey.
The reason this is so striking to me is because I was always taught that if we had enough faith, Jesus would calm our storms. That’s just not how my life has worked out. Today, for instance, I’m four weeks out from ankle surgery, dealing with ankle and knee pain, plus I caught the sinus infection everyone else in my family has had, plus I’m dealing with some other medical issues all stemming from the thyroid cancer I had seven years ago. This is all no fun. Jesus could make it all better. Why won’t He wake up and calm my storm????
Maybe…maybe it’s because there’s a destination and the storm has to get me there. Maybe there’s something to be gained from this period of forced downtime.
This is just a very surface-level reflection on the message and this passage. There are much deeper applications of it when I look back through my life and change the question to “Why didn’t Jesus wake up and calm the storm” to “Where was the storm taking me?”
I just wanted to share.


Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling

Looking for something



Scrolling, Scrolling, scrolling

World on pause



Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling

Looking for change



Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling

Just like riding a bike?

There are a lot of things I used to love doing. I was fairly good at most sports: football, baseball, softball, basketball, volleyball. I learned to ski when I was quite young. I could snowboard (side note: today marks the 21st anniversary of when I tried to teach myself to snowboard, and broke both bones in my left arm. I got much better at snowboarding the next year.) I played clarinet, saxophone, french horn, tympani, learned passable piano, and I could sing. I did half marathons and triathlons, I painted. I built furniture.

Ask me to do any of these things right now, and I would, at best, hesitate. I might even decline to participate.

I was never amazing at any of these things, but there is a confidence that comes from doing, and I have lost that confidence.

I realized today that I’m starting to feel the same way about long-form writing. I know I *can* do it, but it’s been so long I’ve lost my confidence in being able to do it “right.” But does it matter if I do it right? Doesn’t it just matter that I do it at all?

There are many things on my list that I don’t miss much, but there are others that I do miss. What if I gave my permission to just “do” and not worry about “right”? How much more fun would life be if I didn’t turn everything into a competition. Isn’t that the whole idea behind 10,000 hours?

In the words of Macklemore:

This is dedication
A life lived for art is never a life wasted
Ten thousand

Ten thousand hours felt like ten thousand hands
Ten thousands hands, they carry me
Ten thousand hours felt like ten thousand hands
Ten thousands hands, they carry me

Now, now, now
This is my world, this is my arena
The TV told me something different I didn’t believe it
I stand here in front of you today all because of an idea
I could be who I wanted if I could see my potential
And I know that one day I’mma be him
Put the gloves on, sparring with my ego
Everyone’s greatest obstacle, I beat ’em
Celebrate that achievement

Now that I’ve had some time to process this election…

Now that I’ve had some time to process this election, I have some (conflicting) thoughts and I feel the need to share.

First: I was a Hillary supporter. Not because I am a capital-D Democrat (although, in general, I do favor the party’s policy positions on most issues) or because I’m against Republicans. I didn’t support her because I LOVED her, and I didn’t oppose Trump on the basis of the fact that he is a reality TV star with no public service experience.

I supported Hillary because I opposed Trump’s rhetoric. His hate filled, agitating, bullying, “Build a wall”, “Grab them by the pussy”, “Knock the shit out of ’em”, rhetoric. Because he is a man who thinks inciting violence is okay. Because he didn’t renounce the KKK immediately. Because he thinks it’s constitutional to ban an entire religion of people fleeing for their lives from coming to our country. (As if it’s our (white people’s) country in the first place. I mean, let’s be real here. If anyone has a leg to stand on in the “Make America Great Again” argument, it’s the Native tribes that we’ve effectively decimated, not us white folks.)

I don’t know where Trump stands on most issues because, honestly, I stopped listening. You speak the way he did and I shut you off. I didn’t watch the last two debates, I read about them the next day. Hillary lied some, Donald lied a lot. There was no point in watching live, reading the fact-checked versions seemed to be a better use of my time.

But now we’re here. Donald Trump has been elected to be the next President of the United States. And we are freaking the f*** out. Lifelong friendships, family relationships that were otherwise fine, are over. Hate and fear have been flying from both sides all week, although, finally, in the last two days, I’m starting to see people try to understand.

I have family that (I assume, we don’t talk about it because we want to be able to still like each other) voted for Trump. They voted to get jobs back. They voted to kick out the powerful political elite. They voted for him despite his rhetoric, not because of it. (I believe that James Comey’s last minute announcement of new investigations unfairly influenced the election. But, honestly, I don’t know if anything can be done about that at this point.) What it really comes down to is: Just as I was able to overlook the flaws in Hillary that they couldn’t get past, many Trump voters were able to overlook what I couldn’t.

And just as I would have made my voice heard on the issues that I disagree with Hillary on, I trust that they would make their voices heard in opposition to the hate rhetoric.

I signed the change.org petition to get the electoral college to vote Hillary instead of Trump, in reflection of the actual popular vote rather than the state EC vote breakdown.  But now, I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do. Removing Trump from an office he won through– at least what appears to be– legal means would disenfranchise the other 50% of the country. It wouldn’t end the protests/rioting/hate that has filled our country since Tuesday, it would only increase it. Putting Hillary in office would not make Muslims/Women/Disabled/Trans/LGBTQ/Latinx etc people safe, I believe it would put them in more danger. Right now, hate groups feel validated. If we did somehow switch the election, hate groups would feel vindictive. Ready for vigilante justice.

Trump needs to come out and denounce the hate (not the protesters) immediately. He needs to address the concerns the protesters have. He needs to MAN UP (because, really, this whole post could be about why the country would rather have this MAN than that WOMAN) but that’s a whole other issue) and admit he was wrong to say the things he said. He needs to immediately surround himself with advisers from these disenfranchised groups (not his supporters that meet these demographics. Actual people who disagree with him on rhetoric and policy.) He needs to STEP IN, DENOUNCE and DEESCALATE the actions of his supporters who have seen this victory as a call to arms. He’s got until December 19, when the electoral college, casts their ballots to prove that he really is going to President of all of us. If he does it, I think we have to give him a chance. If he doesn’t, my daughter and I may be in Washington to protest the inauguration.

Should I write it?

13494838_10208736082412111_1473795034649199179_nOur awesome summer nanny had today off, so I took PTO to hang out with the kids. Turns out, they like me more as a chauffeur than a playmate 🙂 While they ran and climbed at Chutes and Ladders this morning, and now during a program they’re doing at the library, I had enough time to finally re-outline my book. That one; the one I’ve written 18 million drafts of already, that I’ve called “almost done,” that even went out to beta readers (many of whom said publish it!)

This round, I’m making minor-yet-major changes to character circumstances. Updating technology and lifestyles (a lot has changed in the last six years). I’m at the point now where I should open a new file and start writing.

And yet.

Should I keep struggling with this one story? Is it worth the hard drive space on my computer and in my brain to keep going? Or should I do something else? Something new?

I want to do something new.

“Setting aside” this story, letting it “marinate,” is how I got both Ruby Slippers books written.

But this character has never left me.

I wrote a short story for one of my MFA classes about a character that had basically come alive for an author, physically haunting her. It’s not quite to that level (the protagonist in that story was probably diagnosable– she was having conversations with someone she made up) but character always seems to be there. For the past two years, every time I’ve tried to write something else (including daily journaling) my character has been there. It’s like she’s sitting in a corner, waiting.

I don’t know if it’s because I feel a need to finish (according to Gretchen Rubin, I am a finisher), or if it’s because this story really needs to be written and I’m the one to write it.

I guess, really, the reason doesn’t matter. Maybe this is one of those “the only way over is through” situations.

2015 Recap


2015 Dream


2016 Plan

Publish another book Completed drafts of two new books and completed outline/began draft of third I am not going to rush the publication process. These books have lived with me a long time, we’ll get along as long as we need to until they’re ready to survive on their own.
“Do” two short stories a month (one drafted, one completed) One short story published & one award won! I removed this goal from my 2015 plan, and I’m not bringing it back. I like writing from prompts sometimes, and sometimes those become short stories. If it happens in 2016, great.
Draft two more novels Completed 2 and started a third! Rewrites for Home and Clouded, continue to work on Reality
Read at least 96 books Oh geez. This is one that I need a swift kick in the pants with. I’ve finished 20. 2 books a week is too many for me. So, I’m revising it down to 78 (1.5 per week.) Even with this, I’m 10 behind. But I’ll make it. Summer is coming.
Complete 12 new paintings Finished 4 paintings I’m incredibly proud of. With everything else I have going on, painting has fallen by the wayside. I’m okay with that. When I want to paint, I will. But I’m not going to force it.
Get Spiraling Forward Jewelry into 3-5 boutiques Sold Spiraling Forward at my favorite boutique for about six months. I won’t be making jewelry to sell, at least for the time being. However, I will continue to make it as I want it.
15-20 gym visits/month Averaged 15.5 for the year! Continuing. This is going to be a bit harder this year because we no longer have the accountability of an insurance credit for gym attendance. But my body craves it.
4+ yoga/Pilates classes/month Discovered the POWER of Hot Vinyasa, the grace of Slow Burn and the mindfulness of Yin Yoga. Continue attending at least three classes a month. I love it.
One vegetarian day/week Discovered ways I can make mushrooms so everyone in my family will eat them. Modified a favorite childhood recipe to be vegetarian. Lily’s favorite food is now “Salad.” Continue to focus on plant-based nutrition for my family while also offering meat occasionally from farms I trust. (Yay meat CSA!)
Speak at 2 conferences I spoke at UtopYA conference in July and did an Author Talk at Hennepin History Museum. I will continue to look for natural connections where I can teach, but I won’t be spending time actively seeking them out.
Continue to reduce clutter I’m really proud of the simplicity we’ve been able too create in our house. Removing. It’s not trackable, but we’ve been doing really good with it and I don’t need a monthly reminder.
1 artist date I didn’t do this most months I struggle with this, because I feel that it is important to refill my creative well, but for some reason I feel a lot of pressure around this goal.
Attend 2 book/writing events I let this one get away from me in the last few months of new job craziness. This is my artist date– going to events like this. I’m going to not focus on that and instead focus on making this happen.
1 real date with hubby Hooray for Parent’s Night Out! This is important

Do you take time to recap your year? What did you find? How does it effect your plans for 2016?