Thursday, June 16, 2011

This is why I love dance...

life happens...

It's been a long time since I've engaged in this form of public self-expression. So long in fact that my web browser no longer identified or automatically remembered the site address. So here's an update on the many things that have happened over the past couple of months:

Soccer. Lots and lots of soccer. Faith had an excellent season and really demonstrated her athleticism and potential in this sport. She was scouted out by a competitive coach who invited her to play in a tournament with his team prior and then asked her to tryout for the 2011-2012 year. Needless to say, she made the top team and now we are working extra jobs to pay for her soccer. Yes, we have become "those parents." I figured, "What the heck, I already have the soccer mom vehicle." Bailey had a sad season (where they lost every single game) but it was fun having her dad as the coach. She is still too young to play competitive but she tried out for the developmental league (where they prepare you for competitive) and is excited to play on a team that may actually win a game or two next year.

Krisalyn decided to forego soccer for a season and take another dance class this year. It was rather difficult for her to do something other than what her sisters were doing...but every time she'd slip into that tutu she'd transform into a mini Kayla Radomski (a former contestant on SYTYCD). I'm trying not to be the mom that lives vicariously through her daughter...but she's got something special.

The girls and Brian finished up yet another school year. It's hard to wrap our minds around the fact that we've been back in CO for nearly a year. Bri just started his Master's program yesterday and he's extremely excited to further his education now that he has 5 years of teaching under his belt! I'm so proud of him.

In the last few months we've watched a pile of dirt transform into a house. It's been such an awesome experience being able to be a part of design selections for all different aspects of this construction. I don't think there have ever been two people who've been as excited as we are to get into a home. A real home. A home where we'll actually stay for longer than two years. A home we've carefully selected and lovingly tended to throughout this process. The love and life that will be housed in that red cozy house on Silver Swan will be a significant part of our story as a family. July 20th is our closing date. 34 days from today. It feels like it's still a ways away...but it's been worth the wait.

That sums up the big details of our life over the past few months. Now maybe this re-entry into the blogosphere will spark some more substantial posts.

A few pictures updates as well:
Christopher returned from bootcamp only to leave ten days later for combat training and schooling to be an air traffic controller for the Marines.

The Gauthier Girls dominated at field day this year!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I want my body back.

It's been awhile since I've processed in this space. I have a list of blog-worthy topics, but little time for the labor and delivery necessary to produce an actual post. But after taking some time to read a bit of Engendered Lives: A New Psychology of Women's Experience by Ellyn Kaschak this morning, I couldn't defuse the urge to write something on the topic.

"From the masculine perspective, women are defined by their bodies. Everything about a woman is both grounded in and defined by her female body and, in particular, its sexuality, defined in masculinist society as the ability to arouse, rather than to experience, desire. The measure of woman's sexuality is man's tumescence. What about her is arousing, and even whether she intends to arouse, is also designated by the male. It may be her legs for a 'leg man,' her breasts for a 'breast man,' her resistance or her nonresistance for a rapist. His feelings become hers, his desire her desirability, his admiration her measure of worth, his disdain her degradation, his ridicule her humiliation." ~Ellyn Kashcak in Engendered Lives

I recently conducted a workshop with the CCU women's soccer team where we discussed why it's essential that women reclaim their bodies for themselves. We live in a culture that perpetuates the pervasive myth that women's bodies are primarily for men. Statistically, 1 in 3 women are sexually abused by the age of 16. For these girls, it is not just culture that strips them of a sense of ownership over their own bodies.

A few weeks ago I read a news article reflecting upon the stigma of breastfeeding babies in French culture. The article highlighted the possibility that the low rates of breastfeeding are connected to the mentality that a woman's breasts are for her husband and not for her baby. What would happen if we declared that a woman's breasts are really for HER. What if HER breasts are for her and can be a part of her own experience of pleasure and intimacy in relationship to her lover. What if we viewed breastfeeding as a source of mutual gratification - for a woman to share her own sustenance with the child she brought into this world. Breastfeeding can exemplify the beauty of attachment and the power of being able to freely offer nourishment to another human being.

Just last night I heard the story of Eman Al-Obeidy, the East Libyan woman who reported being kidnapped and gang raped by Libyan soldiers just a few weeks ago. She has since indicated that the rape was a tactic by these soldiers to convey a message to the rebels about what they will continue to do to "their" women. Currently, CNN is reporting on the 9 or 10 women whose remains have been discovered in Long Island. It seems that no country is free and clear of the continued oppression directed specifically towards women and their bodies.

I have this new theory that all women are in some way indirectly traumatized by this cultural reality. Maybe someday I'll be able to conduct research and explore this hypothesis more academically. But for now, my own pondering is all that I can leave you with. Perhaps the trauma has resulted in a numbness or the dissociation of our own desire. Maybe the trauma has been so severe that we have nearly lost the ability to imagine an Edenic experience where men and women are free to feel grounded in their own bodies, their own ability to be aroused and compelled to use their bodies to create an experience of mutually honoring pleasure.

I'm left wondering what it is about female desire, feminine beauty, that is so threatening to this world. Why has it been so violently attacked for as far back as history allows us to explore?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bedtime chats

Are we the only people who talk like this?

Me: Bri, I was reading about the female brain today. Did you know that the prefrontal cortex doesn't typically develop completely until the age of 22 in women?

Bri: Really? What's the prefrontal cortex?

Me: It's the part of the brain primarily responsible for executive functioning and making sure that a person's behavior or actions sync up with their internal sense of self.

Bri: huh.

Me: So...I'm thinking that you kind of took advantage of my under-developed brain when you asked me to marry you. Heck, we were married and had 2 kids by the time I was 22. You just wanted me barefoot and pregnant before my brain was fully developed...didn't you?

Bri: Whew. It worked out for me. (Long Pause). Actually, I don't think I was that concerned with your brain.

Me: Oh. I'm guessing there were other body parts you were more concerned about when you proposed then?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A grief observed

I've been following this woman's blog since shortly after Christmas. Her husband died suddenly just before the holiday and now she is trying to pick up the pieces of her life with their two young sons. Her words are tragically beautiful and captivating. I wonder about my faithfulness to reading her blog - a stranger to me (I was introduced to her blog by a dear friend who thought I'd appreciate her writing style). I feel voyeuristic each time I click on my bookmark to her blog, yet as soon as I arrive on her page I am reminded that it's not voyeurism for the sake of voyeurism. Rather, she enters into her own pain in away that my heart resonates with. She grieves deeply, honestly...all the while grasping onto hope and trusting that even if she can't hold onto it, that "it" won't let her go.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Building a home...

The past two weeks has been filled with making plans for our new home. We signed a contract to build a new track home in a housing development right next to the elementary school the girls have been attending. Making this decision was a tedious process. Brian and I couldn't help but reflect on how much we have abandoned our former impulsive ways. We are living our lives with greater intention than ever before. So we have thoughtfully chosen where we will finally begin to truly make a home for ourselves. It is not a "forever home." I'm not sure we will ever ben "forever home" kind of folks. Instead we will call this a "seasonal home." It will be our home for an extended season of our lives. We hope that this season includes the advancement and development of both of our careers, an investment in our surrounding community and the establishment of a sense of rootedness for our girls (who have journeyed with us as we've been wanderers for the past several years).

So as the next few weeks of my life will be consumed with making initial design decisions, I will be attempting to hold on to the deeper meaning of this new chapter for our lives.'s no secret that I absolutely love interior design. It was a passion I didn't really discover until I took my first trip to Cost Plus World Market about a month after Brian and I got married. I came home with $300 worth of decor for our quaint 3rd floor condo. Poor Brian. My love for interior decorating and design (better categorized as a love for homemaking) created quite a bit of tension in our early years of marriage. I think he has since grown rather fond of my desire to make a space truly ours...or perhaps he just learned that no amount of disputing over how much money I chose to spend on homemaking would ever result in much change.

I'm sure I'll be posting plenty of pictures as we venture into this new season of our lives. But for now, here are a few of the things currently inspiring my design choices.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Celebrating Broken Hearts

Bri & I celebrated Valentine's Day in a different way this year. I got to play a small part in hosting a benefit dinner and concert on behalf of this organization. Check them out.

The Broken Heart Club from LOVE146 on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Sacred moments

Considering I got married a year out of high school and began having babies shortly thereafter, I have never really experienced a significant amount of "aloneness." I am often surrounded by people. It wasn't until I began graduate school that I started to question if I could ever stand being alone for an extended period of time. A few short months into the counseling program, my practicum leader challenged me to spend time with myself each day during the holiday break when I would be visiting family in Colorado. During that season of life, being with myself meant being with my own sadness. It was as if there were years worth of heartache that had piled up and it was all right there, waiting to be entered into. This did not make the idea of "being with myself" all that appealing. But over the course of the past few years I have grown in my capacity to be with myself.

One of my favorite times of the day is the 20 minute drive back to my mom's house (our current living quarters) after I've dropped the girls off at school. Sometimes I listen to music that fosters a connection to the inner me. Other times I sit in silence with my own thoughts. Today, while listening to music and feeling overwhelmed by the beauty all around me - the blanket of snow that has literally rested upon everything in sight contrasted by the wide open blue sky - three small deer decided to cross the street right in front of me. I struggled to slow my car down quickly enough and eventually stopped within a few feet from one of them. The deer sat in their in the middle of the street staring at me for what seemed like minutes before it decided to move on. I am struggling to put words to the experience. My encounter with this deer somehow opened my mind and soul up to the realization that when we make space to "be with ourselves" we actually grow in our awareness of our connection to every living thing in this mysterious creation. 

Thursday, January 27, 2011

That's just the way I roll...

I guess. I've been thinking a lot lately about how serious I seem in these blog posts of mine. It's strange how only a certain part of me is able to bleed onto these virtual pages filled with somber-toned words. For whatever reason, the freakishly weird and goofy parts of me rarely reveal themselves in this space. Why is that? I'm not sure.

Perhaps it is because this is one of few outlets I allow for the brooding side of me to emerge (the side that is always going up against my own shame of intensity).

Perhaps it is because I have not yet learned how to truly bring the deep-feeling parts of me into relationship and somehow using this blog as a medium of expression is a step in that direction.

Perhaps I know far too much of my own and the world's suffering and not nearly enough of the beauty, freedom and delight of life in abundance.

Being the transformation-addict I am, I'd like to attempt to move in a direction that feels more balanced (at least in this space). So here's a list of some of the freakishly weird and goofy parts of myself that the brooding, emotionally intense, intellectual junkie in me has to learn how to embrace:

I tend to trip over my own feet at least once a day.
I make funny faces at myself in the mirror on a regular basis.
I have a ritual of passing gas first thing each day, rolling over and whispering, "Good morning!" to Brian.
Dancing alone in my bedroom is one of my favorite things to do.
99% of the time I listen to depressing music, but when I'm in the mood for something different I listen to the girls' Taylor Swift Album and belt out the lyrics as loud as I can.
I become a different person when I play sports or do anything athletic - I am strong, determined and downright beastly.
I still recite cheers from HS in my head (oh...and sometimes I do the moves...yes, in front of the mirror).

There, that should do for now. I think that's a step in the right direction.

Friday, January 14, 2011

High desert

High desert
snowcapped arrows
break the surface
of the cold crisp
blue blanket
suffocating me

Chapped skin
dry tongue
quenched only
by memory
of dew drops
discovered anew
each morning
near the sea

Must acclimate
for survival
slowly i am
learning to live
with less

High desert
challenge me
I will survive
hope will sustain
enduring hope
from the taste
of life known
near the sea

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I needed some inspiration today...

So I caught up on reading this blog. It is the story of an MHGS Alumnus that was in a motorcycle accident in June of 2010. He broke his back in the accident and had less than a 10% chance of ever having significant movement below the middle of his chest. My faith in miracles has been renewed after reading his story and watching this video this morning.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


We were in a minor fender-bender on New Year's Eve. We probably shouldn't have even gone out that day, we knew the roads would be slick after the 8 inches of snow we welcomed the day before. But considering the five of us are all still living in a single bedroom, the need to venture out after being snowed in for a day was too significant to resist. We were about to turn into a parking lot when I heard a blaring horn coming from behind. Before I could completely turn around to see what the fuss was all about, I felt the jostling as a jeep slid right into the back of our vehicle. There is little damage and the whole ordeal was rather minor.  But with each passing day I've discovered new aches spread throughout my back and my neck. Today is the worst of it so far.

It's funny to think that the body takes a little while to wake up from the trauma. If it takes a number of days for the damage to the body to be registered by the brain after an incredibly minor incident which lasted less than 2 seconds time...I'm left to wonder how long it takes the body to awaken from trauma that lasted for years.