Friday, October 29, 2010

The beauty of a life well lived...

Before I begin with what I really came here to rant write about, let me first say that life is starting to take shape out here. I have officially opened up a private practice (as you can see below) which is the largest piece to the puzzle of my life in Colorado thus far. To help subsidize my income in these beginning stages of growing a practice, I am currently doing some very part-time work for TCON, the nonprofit I traveled to Uganda with years ago. Lastly, I am also developing a relationship with a local nonprofit called Pomegranate Place and am discovering new ways to be involved in their mission to offer resources and connection to women throughout the Denver area.  Having my hands in so many different pots on top of keeping up with my three active little ladies has left me feeling a bit discombobulated. So I'm trying to establish some sense of rhythm and routine...not rigidity and the death of spontaneity...but rather, establish just enough of a sense of ritual to not feel like I'm crazy. Setting aside specific time to blog will be part of the establishment of rhythm, and considering I will now be blogging on my Emerge Counseling website as well, I have decided to blog once weekly in this space...and Fridays seem like the best day to do just that!  Who knows...the quality of my writing and thoughts might even be better after taking the time to really ponder on things throughout the week.

And now, on to what I really came here to address.  I was listening to a popular radio station yesterday where every weekday afternoon two of the radio show personalities host a "mate-debate."  In these debates they have a couple call-in to the show to each deliver their respective sides to an on-going argument they have grappled with in their relationship. On this particular show the couple were fighting over whether or not the wife should breastfeed their soon-to-be-born infant.  The wife indicated that she did not want to breastfeed because she had already sacrificed so much of her body in just being pregnant and she didn't want to "ruin her boobs" as well.  The husband said that he would love her boobs no matter what and that he thought she should stop being selfish and breastfeed because it is what's best for the child. The main issue in the debate was whether or not the decision should solely be the wife's simply because it was her body, or if the man had any right to be a part of the decision.

It was a painful conversation for me to listen to as caller after caller utilized their few minutes of airtime to berate the wife for her selfishness or to berate the two male radio personalities for even suggesting that a man had a right to have any say in the decision.  Aside from my own opinions on a woman's right to make choices for her own body, or on the benefits of breastfeeding both physically and psychologically (for both the mom and the baby), ultimately where my mind wandered to was how sad it is that we allow arbitrary and culturally-bound definitions of beauty to so significantly influence such weighty decisions in our lives. Who decided that the impact on the female body of developing, carrying, birthing and sustaining a life is anything less than beautiful?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


A friend posted this find on facebook and I just had to share it here!  The beauty of connection portrayed in an absolutely breath-taking way.

Nuit Blanche from Spy Films on Vimeo.

Monday, October 25, 2010


It's official...I've started a private practice.  Check out my website!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Growing pains

It's been a long time since I've desired to write poetry. This morning I received this quote from a dear friend:

"Joy in God is a way of living out and finding ever richer ways of being in communion with others, within the demands of concrete and changing situations and ecologies of relationship. It is surely joy in God, but it is also joy in oneself, in others, in the world. Joy as intensification of one's being in communion spills over into, and is experienced in, every relationship. It is the mode of participation in delight in the abundance of God for the world." ~McFayden "Bound to Sin"

It was this quote that seemed to trigger an all too familiar sense of loss coupled with longing this morning. And so on this day, poetry is all that can come forth.

It is that familiar pain,
sensation, faint murmur
the kind of thing that one
can only feel when at first
she acknowledges its existence
but in this she allows
the sensation, the longing
to morph from abstraction
to the reality of form
it crawls from the belly
up into the chest cavity
and clenches, then softens
then clenches again
let go, she pleads,
all the while knowing
it is impossible to escape
this now named longing
it is associated, attached
to their faces, their names,
their stories, their touch
which unleashed freedom,
delivered mercy,
birthed life in abundance
it has maneuvered its way
through her whole being
this sense of loss
and longing mixed up
with disarming gratitude
She looks all around
for something to soothe
this combination
of joy and sorrow
but it seems futile
for she is now alone,
all alone.
Left to sit
with the memories,
the chorus of their voices
as they speak life into
her lonely soul.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Last week I awoke and began my regular morning routine: turning off the alarm on my iphone, checking my email and facebook for the usual early morning updates. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that one of the first things I do each morning is read facebook statuses. What can I gets my brain moving a bit. On this particular morning it actually got my heart beating rapidly as well. One of my fb friends posted a link to an article about North Carolina's legal rape case law (established in 1979) which essentially declares that if a woman consents to sex and then withdraws her consent once the act has begun but the man continues penetration it is not considered rape. Initially I was disgusted. And after reading the comments that followed the posting of this link I quickly became enraged. One woman was attempting to defend this law because she believed that women should have to accept the consequences of their actions. Later I googled this law to see how it was being addressed in other social media circles and became even further infuriated. I thought for sure I would find less ignorant conversations regarding this matter in other forums. Nope. Instead, I discovered a blog post with a long list of comments revolving around the necessity of this law for the protection of those poor teenage boys who just simply can't control themselves enough to stop once they've started or are simply too confused by the "yes"...then "no" response from the girl as those hormones are pumping through their bodies.

WTF. Yes. That is what I wanted to scream at the top of my freaking lungs. Sorry, Jesus, I have picked up this bad habit of cussing in my own head quite a bit as of late. But seriously. WTF. All I could think about was what if one of my daughters chooses to have sex for the first time as a teenager. (Side note: I hope this doesn't happen...I hope...and pray...often...that each of my girls is able to battle the peer pressure and not succumb to making such a significant decision at an age where it is not possible for them to have the wisdom necessary to tread into such sacred ground. But what if?). What if one of my daughters makes this decision, likely out of some form of peer/cultural pressure, but once the act begins she experiences severe pain and begins to beg her partner to stop. You want to tell me that this boy has the right to continue to use my daughter's body for his pleasure when she has asked him to stop because she is in pain? Are you serious? Actually what I really want to say is, "Are you f*#$ing nuts?"

Oh, but way too many internet voices would want to argue that we need to protect boys/men from the women who "cry rape" or who "tease men" only to trap them in the end. And you seriously think we need to have this kind of law set in place to protect these victimized men? I'm sorry (no I'm not...I just say that sometimes when I'm really angry and I'm trying to make a point), but the implications of this kind of law, the ways in which it can be utilized to further victimize women and rob them of power over their own bodies, is simply too much of a risk. Are there men accused unjustly of rape? I would have to concede that it is possible for this to occur on occasion...but I would hope that a jury would do their best to discern as such in specific cases. But to establish a case law like this is not the answer. (You can read about this law here.)

I really hadn't planned on spewing all of that out in this post. But it's been brewing for a while and needed to be released. Actually, I began writing this post because of the interesting take on how the social media has changed history. Anyone and everyone (actually...that's not entirely accurate because you have to have resources in order to have internet access) can say what they think and send it out into the world. I refrained from responding to the comments on my fb friend's link...I really wanted to respond but imagined it would turn into one of those long fb comment fights that wouldn't ultimately go anywhere. I remember thinking throughout that particular day, that I didn't know this woman who was making these comments and that it was the responsibility of someone else, someone who really knew her, someone whom she trusted and respected, someone whose face she knew, to explain to her how her perspective was actually quite violent towards other women. Instead, I posted my rant here. Is that any better? I'm not sure. Is this really the medium to be having these kinds of conversations? It's the medium we have...and I want to use it responsibly. I'm just not sure how.

A brilliant woman who graduated from MHGS with me this past June is now working as a TA at the school. She has a blog at where she posted this video and a blurb on her most recent class lecture. I miss this kind of dialogue...a lot.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Secret's out

My life is out of sorts right now. Though I'm not sure when it was ever in sorts, I am convinced that this is the most out of sorts it has been in a very long time. We are in an undeniable state of limbo right now. And I hate the limbo. It gives me a really uncomfortable feeling in the pit of my stomach. Apparently it is not wise to drink two cups of coffee in the morning when your stomach is already in a state of discomfort.

For the past three months Brian, the girls and I have all been living in one bedroom at my mom's house. It is a rather large bedroom in a rather large house. We have managed to fill this living space with twin bunk beds, a stand-alone twin bed, a queen size bed, an armoire, three small dressers, and a tower dresser along with a few makeshift nightstands. This living arrangement has triggered a variety of responses. There have been moments where I've felt like I should be thankful for the roof over our heads, for the willingness of family in sharing their home with us until we get situated in jobs and life out here. This is probably the thought that I hold onto most vigorously since we have seen firsthand how numerous people (the majority of the world's population actually) live in structures smaller than the size of this bedroom, without electricity or running water.

There have been moments of embarrassment, most-likely fueled by a sense of shame, during this season as well. Bailey is working on maps in her 3rd grade class and one of her assignments was to draw a map of her bedroom. I asked her if she would rather draw a map of her old room in Washington (out of my own sense of embarrassment) and she simply said, "Mommy...that's not the assignment." She wasn't embarrassed at all. But I, on the other hand, was panicked by what others might think of our family. No matter how much I tried to tell myself to take a deep breath, to accept that this is temporary as we are trying to get things figured out and to refute that sense of insecurity with the truth of how fortunate we really are...I couldn't shake this sense that we must appear to the rest of the world as failures somehow.

I'm still wrestling with this fear of how we appear to the outside world. I'm trying to figure out if it is just culturally-influenced or if there is something much more rooted in my personal sense of identity. I wonder if at the core I have a need for everyone to believe that I have it all together. This state of limbo has made it pretty clear - I definitely do not have it all together. Secret's out people. Actually, I think the secret was out long ago...but now I'm having to face the shattering of that illusion, and how it makes me want to cover up my vulnerability.

For the most part, this state of limbo, has left me feeling frustrated. I'm not a very patient person. We are in the midst of a waiting game - waiting to get my clearance from the state of Colorado to practice psychotherapy, then it will be a waiting game to see if I actually acquire any clients, waiting to hear back from any of the agency jobs I've applied for, waiting until we have some stability in our income in order to purchase a home...waiting, waiting, waiting. I'm not good at waiting. Oops...looks like another secret's out.