Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thoughts on Meditation or Whatever

A few months ago, I checked out a book called Transcendental Meditation from the library. I didn't read it, because ironically, I didn't have the time.

I was going through a phase where I thought that meditation might change my life (it might) and I started devouring articles, blogs, kitschy infographics and book snippets to beef myself up on the topic. Turns out, thinking about meditating and actually meditating are nowhere near the same thing. Thinking about meditating and not meditating after having thought about it and read about it produces anxiety. And although I'm sure meditation itself would help relieve the anxiety, it should be obvious by now that quietly letting go of my problems through steady breaths and a connection to my deeper self isn't exactly my neurotic jam.

We have a dog, named Murphy. She'll be three in November. We purchased her through a local breeder (I know, I know, I know) and she was the runt of her litter. When we brought her home, she was a whopping pound and a half, a staggering, pot-bellied, snorting little French Bulldog who captured our selfish little hearts and gave these two fiercely independent married people a cause to rally around.

In January of this year, Murphy had her first seizure. In February, she had another. March, April, one seizure each. In May, when we came back from vacation, she had a staggering grand-mal seizure that almost killed her. Her body temp hit 106.2, she couldn't stop convulsing, and she spent 24 hours in an emergency hospital, while we worried at home, praying that she would make it through the night. She came home with a loading dose of phenobarbital, and we started the drug-laden seizure management journey that's still continuing today, something like a frustrating Candyland with a lot more uncertainty and aggravation.

Because Murphy is a short-nosed breed, and because of the overheating danger that kicked off the seizure chain reaction, we haven't been able to take a lot of walks in the Texas summer. Instead, in the early mornings and late evenings, we blow bubbles.

Oddly enough, Murphy loves bubbles.

And I mean, she LOVES bubbles. She runs across the yard like a lightning bug on acid, snapping and jumping at bubbles, panting and smiling at you as you try to get the perfect stream that doesn't go too high or crash into the ground. 

But her favorites? Her favorites are the huge, giant bubbles. The impossible, how-did-you-get-the-lung-capacity-to-make-that-happen, giant bubbles that almost bounce across the airstreams in the backyard. She'll practically bite them off your bubble wand mid-breath, if she sees them coming.

The thing is, you have to really concentrate to blow the big bubbles. You have to get the distance of your mouth to your wand just right, you have to maintain your breath throughout the entire bubble-blowing process, and you have to know when to release, otherwise the bubble quite literally bursts in your face. 

Controlled breathing. Timing. Focus. Release.

And wouldn't you know it - somewhere during blowing bubbles with my epileptic dog, I learned to meditate. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

The Carelessness in Crumbs

I dropped something under my desk. I didn't mean to drop it - obviously no one intends to commit a delicious plantain chip to the carpet instead of to their belly - and isn't it always, alwaysalways, the best chip that falls? The most circular, perfect plantain chip, expertly salted and d e l i c i o u s?

I'm starving, can you tell?

This is when I discovered that there are ants in my office. Because the sequence of events happened like so:
Open bag of plantain chips
Eat several plantain chips
Accidentally drop a plantain chip
- world explodes with e-mails, phone calls and !!!!!!!s -
Remember that I dropped a plantain chip
Look down and see that there are ants taking advantage of my forgetfulness
Say, "Ohmygosh, EW."
And the ants descended upon my lonely plantain chip like sharks on a whale carcass. And my first thought was, "GROSS." And my second thought was, "Look how I've blessed these little buggers," (as I squished them with a paper towel because gross). And then my final thought on the ants and the chip was, "I've got to be more careful about the crumbs I leave behind." 

I have to be more careful with my crumbs. 


Wherever we go, with everything we say, there are crumbs of our conversations and our actions are left behind in our wake. Yes, I should be more careful about the plantain chips I let fall to the floor, because this is my office and it's sandal season and fire ants are a vicious pox on exposed toes, but I should probably also just take my food to the dang break room, because I am here to work and not to snack and this is my office and certain things belong here and certain things do not. 

There is a time and a place for things. 

My attitude, my reaction, my words about that person/place/thing/situation/relationship/obligation/e-mail chain is going to carry over, like little crumbs riding from meal to meal, or worse, they'll fall to the ground and someone who was never intending on eating that for lunch is going to feast on those crumbs. 

And like my dad always says, "The law of unintended consequences is always in play." It doesn't matter what I meant to happen - it matters what happened. Not what I meant to say, but what the words were that actually exited my mouth.

All the more reason to be care-full. Full of care and consciousness of my conversations. Of the crumbs I leave behind.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Going Blonde

Shorter. Blonder. Faster. Stronger.

Image via Pinterest

Maybe that's not how the song goes. But it's how going blonde feels! I'm getting the urge to chop and lighten, chop and lighten... and I have an appointment today. Get in on all the blonde inspiration on my Beauty - Hair - Makeup Pinterest board! 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Something Unexpected

My day didn't start out with this intention. I was going to look really cute today, with my favorite sequin heels from J.Crew, my favorite Anthro top, and a Day One blowout.

And then it rained. 

And then it poured

And on came the Nike hoodie. 

You know those things that are your favorite things? The things that go with you on every trip, the things that you freak out when you can't find them? This Nike hoodie is one of those things. 

So are the sequin heels, to be honest, which is why they were swapped for a pair of leather Aldo pumps (and I love them too, but sometimes we have to make hard choices). 

Sometimes the best ideas come out of necessity. Sometimes it's something unexpected. And sometimes it just works. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Holiness of Breakfast

I've been thinking a lot about quiet moments. The need for a space away from the noise of notifications and the have-to-do-this-right-this-second mentality; the sovereignty of silence. 

There's a whole other thing coming about speaking, not speaking and things to say, but the time isn't right. I felt it in my heart a month or so ago and wrote what I felt, what I thought needed to be said, but I can't put it out there yet. Maybe it will be, maybe it never will be, but for now we're going to focus on quiet and breakfast

I'm guilty (so, so guilty) of ignoring mornings. I don't hate mornings; I hate getting up and getting out the door. So in the spirit of procrastination, I laze around, check Instagram, scroll through Facebook, read through the New York Times Daily Briefing that comes in every morning (which makes me feel super informed and at least a knowledgeable procrastinator), and then I wait until the very last minute, slap on some makeup, clothes and heels, and run out the door. 

But this morning, I saw a post from Seven Spoons that made me so hungry, I couldn't settle for a just a swig of black coffee and a Dove chocolate (I am ashamed... this has been my breakfast for the past two days)

And that made me think of this Instagram post by Food52:

And that made me think of this post, a breakfast favorite: Shirred Eggs with Sourdough Soldiers. 

Except that I didn't feel like chopping up bread to make cute little soldiers, so I fried my bread Food 52-style. It's olive bread from Whole Foods, and it's delicious, but what you can't see is that I severely burned the bottom of the bread and scraped the burned parts off into the sink. 

There's always another side you're not seeing...

Anyway. A little cream, some goat cheese, some chopped shallot, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper, and presto: Breakfast. Crack your egg into a ramekin and bake on 425 for 7-10 minutes, depending on how runny you like things to be. 

And then get on with your day. We've got things to do, people to be. 

My lemon water and my buddy.
Go forth and conquer - we'll meet you right back here. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Magic of Lush Bath Bombs

It's just too bad that there's a Lush store 10 minutes from our house. I mean, really.

Baths are the best things, hands-down. I've raved about Lush products before, but really the bath products are my favorite. They're perfect for cold, miserable days; for long, unending weeks and really, for pretty much anything. So when I stocked up, I picked some of my favorites. One of them I already used, and it didn't make it into the photo. Whoops!

My Favorite Lush Bath Products: Dream Time Bath Melt (not pictured because I used it already...), The Comforter, KarmaKarma, Yuzu & Cocoa Bubbleroon and the Avobath Bath Bomb. Oh, and the Good Soap bar that's center stage? You can get this Strawberry & Champagne magic at Whole Foods, and you should, because it smells amazing.

The best thing about baths? Solitude. Time to read a book, to watch Netflix, to tune out.

Need a good read? I highly recommend Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill. You won't be able to put it down.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

All Things New

Oh, hi there, 2015.

I know you thought I had forgotten about you, that you had become just another number in a string of years, but I remembered. I heard you sneak in while I was putting away the family Christmas decorations. I saw you peeking around the coffee pot. I know you've been thirsty for acknowledgement, for someone to celebrate that you've brought something to the table, something fresh and READY for new life. 

The crisp anticipation of things to come. 

But it's hard to transition into newness when the bright, glowing promises of a new year turn out to be dim, barely-flickering candles on the verge of being snuffed out. 

It's hard to choose newness when you're in pain. 

Truth be told, 2015, my soul hurts. 

And I didn't know what to DO, because the fanfare of the new year is over (so, so over...) and no one is thinking of fresh starts and beginnings anymore. For most of everyone I know, 2015 is HAPPENING... and me? I'm a late bloomer, more than fashionably late to this party. 

And that's why it's been so hard to write lately

And that's part of the reason the posts on this blog have been so few and far between. I can't decide what to tell you. 

Do I write about my struggles and frustrations and victories, about being a woman in leadership? Do I write about my favorite recipes and my hatred of jogging? Do I tell you about our new house, creating a sanctuary in the middle of personal chaos, finding joy in everyday moments and the lessons I learn every day? Do I talk about personal goals and triumphs, failures and times when despite my best intentions, I lose it all? Do I reveal the inner-workings of God's scandalous grace on my heart, do I write about my revelations from time spent in His presence and what it feels like to be so imperfect and still so loved?

The short answer is yes. 

I feel it all. You feel it all. And the best gift we can give each other is the true, unfiltered (but still grammatically correct), holy, AUTHENTIC, vulnerable pieces of who we are. 

So let's keep on keepin' on, and I'll meet you right here.