Thursday, August 15, 2013

Misplaced Energy

The enneagram number I identify with most is the 7. 

Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over- extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Exploring my enneagram number has been enlightening in a way I never expected. I signed up for the "enneathought" email daily, from enneagram institute and received this note a few days ago:

"As a Seven, you identify powerfully with a sense of excitement coming from anticipating future positive experiences at the expense of recognizing your own personal pain and anxiety. Notice this tendency in yourself today."

I have read, and reread that paragraph for days on end. It applies directly to my pattern of excitement, futuristic planning, social endeavors and eventually - anxiety. I fill up my calendar with outtings, events and tasks in a manic sort of way for a week, before I realize I am wrestling with something that is causing me pain or anxiety. Unfortunately, no amount of writing lists in notebooks, or adding events in my iphone will assuage my concerns, fears or emotions.

I am starting to find power in these admissions. I am learning that in order to better myself internally, I have to see myself fully. I need to acknowledge and accept my weaknesses in order to develop the emotional strength I am seeking.

Consider searching yourself for a pattern, a tendency or a need that holds you back from personal growth. We waste too much time wallowing in our established negative patterns and not enough time finding how to acknowledge and correct them. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


The theme of this summer has been Rediscovering Enthusiasm.

Enthusiasm for relationships.

Enthusiasm for work.
Enthusiasm for faith.
Enthusiasm for health.
Enthusiasm for aspirations.
Even enthusiasm for the monotony of daily life.

I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was I have been working towards for the past three months, until last night.

I was driving back from walking my dog on the beach with a new friend and Delilah's easy listening station stopped me on my radio scan. Usually, I can barely stomach 5 minutes of Delilah's optimism and syrupy sweet musings and advice.

But what stopped me was the content of her sticky-as-molasses thought. She was telling her audience to find enthusiasm for life. She discussed how easy it is to lose track of our optimism, our excitement and our joy.

I used to find myself overwhelmed with enthusiasm and thankfulness in Fort Worth. Since moving to Jacksonville, I have let that slip away.

I do not want to let routine, responsibilities, age or my career rob me of that. It is my job to maintain my enthusiasm. It is my job to appreciate my life for the big and the small things. It's your job too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Oh Pema...

Oh Pema... You infuriating little nun.

Pema Chodron makes me feel like a self-obsessed little fart. She would tell me to "embrace myself" to "live in my misery" and to "accept uncertainty."

And Pema, I'm trying. I am working on it.

Her book, Comfortable with Uncertainty, is full of bite-size lessons on accepting that we don't have the answers and searching for them will drive us mad. Her lessons remind me to breathe and accept the moment as it is. She tells me to stop waiting for people and places and jobs and friendships to give me what I need. Pema tells me that until I learn to be in my life fully, and accept myself and my current state of being in its entirety, I'm shoveling dirt into a bottomless hole.

And she's right. 

Between my exploration of the enneagram, journaling through 20 Something 20 Everything, and Pema's lessons -- my image of myself and my world is slowly coming into focus. I see myself with new eyes. I see the realities of my tendency to fill every moment, every hole, every fear with SOMETHING. I am learning that the reality is, SOMETHING will never be enough. 

My new goal is to embrace and appreciate the space. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Transitional Neighborhoods

Transitional neighborhoods. What do you think of when you hear those two words paired together?

I think of an affordable opportunity to live in a historic neighborhood close to downtown and less than 10 minutes from my favorite bars and restaurants. I think of an underrated neighborhood where people are invested in the success of their community. My real estate agent friend thinks of high crime rates, drug deals and vagrants.

We are both right. I have met incredible people in my "transitional neighborhood". People who see the potential in our historic homes and want to see us transition to a safe and friendly place to live. I have also met a great deal of people whose dilated pupils would indicate a less than normal state of mind.

Today I met two new sets of neighbors. To my right, a lovely couple that is finishing the renovations on a 1930s bungalow and looking forward to moving in any day now. To my left, a group of very thin, toothless individuals hollering delightful descriptors my way while I walked the dog.

We are most certainly transitioning around here...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Michigan Nuptials

Just a highlight reel from yet another beautiful wedding that I had the pleasure of being in. Congratulations KK and Micah. 

Who knew a selfie could be so cute?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Summer Requirements

Ok... come on. This is a thing? Who thought of this? And who is going to make me some of these chairs? This is what my wrap around porch requires.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


I am working to find what makes me happiest. The book I mentioned, 20 something 20 everything, has been incredibly interesting so far. It asks a variety of questions. Big questions, small questions, and everything in between. You are instructed to write out your answers and thoughtfully consider them before taking pen to paper. There are even questions to ask the important people in  your life. I am going to be giving my Mom, my Aunt and my mentor a call this week to ask some of those questions.

What I am finding, is that I am learning little things about myself that were always there, but either hidden or unspoken. I am lucky enough to have people I can process with and work through these realizations with. I am finding myself happier and happier as I learn more about  myself.  And I am taking Kurt's advice and thinking "If this isn't nice, I don't know what is."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


I decided in light of recent life events that figuring out me is probably something that needs to happen/needed to happen ages ago.

You can't be with someone else, you can't succeed, you can't live with peace in yourself if you have absolutely no idea what it is you really want, or really need.

In order to do this with the intentionality intended, I decided to get over myself and consider the dreaded self-help section of my local bookstore. Now, let's not get carried away, I wasn't going to actually go out into the world and admit that I don't have it all together, I searched the amazon book store shelves. Clearly.

And now, thanks to the interwebz, I will have two "let's do this" books delivered to the privacy of my home tomorrow.

The first, is a book that I spotted on a dear friend's desk recently, and was immediately curious about. It didn't appear to be the kind of thing she would typically explore, so it sparked my curiosity.
Daring Greatly is about the power of vulnerability. Oxymoron you say? I did too, and that's just the problem.

The second, is a type of guide to self awareness for the "quarter-life-crisis" of a 20 something female. The reason I picked this one, was that I appreciated her view on how little time there seems to be to figure out everything we think we are supposed to have already figured out. 20 something, 20 everything promises to be a place to start.

Self-Help phenomenon, ya got me. Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

So... for me.

It can be difficult to recognize what it is you want. More importantly, it is unbelievably hard to determine what you want and what you need and what the difference is between the two.

Taking the time to remember the things you love and the things that help make you the person you are is not something to put off. It's not something to set down and pick up later. It is something to be valued and prioritized.

So... for ME... among other things, I think I need a second dog. Seems reasonable. This little baby is one of two brothers, named Chip and Dale. He came to the PitSisters group in Jacksonville a month or so ago, with a horrific case of mange and malnourished to boot. The picture on the right shows him as the little stone-angel he was when he first showed up.

I find myself thinking about them a lot... and recently a new picture (on the left) showed up... and I fell HARD.

I may or may not have asked for more information about little Dale as he gets closer to being healthy enough for adoption.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013



Remember those commercials where a movie star is standing by the stove and holds up an egg and says "this is your brain" and then throws it on a hot skillet and says "this is your brain on drugs"? I feel like overthinking could also be the cause of the frying egg...

This is my brain overthinking: a massive explosion that occurs over one simple idea that starts as a spark and then blows up everything

The anti-overthink? Wise friends. Friends who let you spill out the crazy, consider its origins and give you some realtalk to help you sweep out the cobwebs. Rinse and repeat.

In addition: strongly consider a night at home with a book, a cup of tea and your snugly pet and/or human of choice.

Put out the explosion. Choose to have a better day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


I finally have a word for the way my Mother and I manage feeling overwhelmed.


verb: to view or talk about (an event or situation) as worse than it actually is, or as if it were a catastrophe.

1960–1965; catastrophe + ize

When something feels like it is too much to bear, we go ahead and make it even worse than it is. We talk about every worst case scenario and how it is very possible it is entirely insurmountable. This results in the other person having no choice but to disagree and relate all the other possible outcomes and possibilities for redemption.

If we catastrophize something, there is a guarantee our comrade on the other side of the table or other end of the phone line will come back at us with some sort of hopeful wisdom. We set up our friends and family for success because our dramatics give them no option but to sound more sane than we do.

Thanks Chels, for giving me a word to accurately describe a family trait.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


I think that there is real beauty in a variety of the Catholic Church's traditions. One of the aspects that I find myself inappropriately envying at times is the confessional.

I am a naturally introspective person, sometimes to a fault, and once I realize certain thoughts or feelings, I have a burning desire to tell someone about my impossibly frequent epiphanies.

The thing is, I would prefer to tell someone who is obligated to a higher power to never share what I've said with others. I want a person whose job it is to reserve judgment and never bring up my previous confessions. I want someone who cannot acknowledge they know me, even if I visit them multiple times in a day. I want to tell someone who can't alert me to the variety of contradictions in my realizations.

I  think I idealize the warm anonymity of a confessional booth. While I am at it, could I request that Morgan Freeman or Alec Baldwin be on the other side of the screen?

If we are dreaming up scenarios, I would like to request a soothing, rich and textured voice to give me vague responses to my stream of consciousness confessions.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hope after Boston

Seeing the tragedy and destruction in Boston yesterday broke my heart. I trained for a half marathon just under a year ago, and all I could think of during the news coverage was "they worked so hard to get to a finish line that became a death trap."

I felt angry and more than anything I felt hopeless in the face of yet another random act of violence. So, today I started looking for hope. I started looking for the thoughts and wisdom of others to keep me afloat through yet another wave of violence in our world. Below are some of my favorite findings. I believe that good will overcome evil and that those who seek to keep hope in humanity alive can still win. 

Give hope and prayers for Boston.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Fridays are good days for daydreaming. They are great days for making lists of things you will do, when you get the chance.

On my list today:

1. Canyon rock climbing
2. Scuba diving
3. Sky diving

Thursday, April 11, 2013


It's almost the weekend and one of the things I have been day dreaming about over my past couple of sick days - has been my dream home. The things that I want, and the feeling I want my home to have. I want it to be warm, cozy and full of reading nooks, bubble baths, cups of tea and warm sugar cookies. I want to fill it up with people I love and maybe even some I hardly know.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Cat Dish

Anne Lamott knows my heart and my twisted up head:

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out of the cat dish.”
Anne Lamott

There are those nasty little thoughts that swim around your mind and threaten to run the show. They sneak in when it gets dark and when you are alone. They creep in when you aren't looking and when you are least prepared to manage them.

One moment you are feeling optimistic, the sun is shining on your face and you are reading a book. The next moment, some little thing has entered your mind and made itself comfortable in the most uncertain and insecure parts of yourself. You just put a tape on loop that makes Jesus want to drink gin straight from the cat dish.

I don't have an explanation for why this happens but I know that I have been forced to find solutions for it. I know for me, that church on Sunday helps. I know that being outside helps. I know that writing down all the evidence that things are going to be ok helps. I know that loving on others helps.

I know that crawling into a hole and accepting the nasty little thoughts as tenants is not an option.

I'm going to grab a cat dish and join Jesus in a quick drink, then we need to get our butts up and go find the good.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


I spent a lot of the past three weeks trying to talk sense into the places in my inner-most self that refuse to be reasoned with.

Thankfully, I am surrounded by emotionally intelligent, devastatingly hopeful and positively inspiring women. These women help me process. They become a life line to who I am at the center of all the things that make me.

There are a thousand different ways to convince yourself that fear is both reasonable and necessary. Fear is a consistent companion and you learn how to live with him in the passenger seat. You learn what neighborhoods to avoid and where to lock your doors and roll up your windows. But I think what I'm realizing, through my processing, is that my favorite places in the world, the areas where I have learned to open up my mind and my heart are the places fear tells me to avoid.

I think that Paulo Coelho knows why. "Don't allow your mind to tell your heart what to do. The mind gives up easily." My mind has a laundry list of all the reasons not to do things. My mind is acutely aware of the dangers of optimism, of hope and of patience.

But my heart is aware of what I need. My heart is aware of what brings me joy and fulfillment. And if my mind is going to give up on the things that I value most, because they are difficult, I'll choose to ignore it.

I will choose to roll down the windows and let my heart give me directions instead.

Photo Credit:welcometomyfinland: Frozen flower/Jäätynyt kukka

Friday, March 29, 2013

Either you run the day...

I saw this on a friends instagram and thought - ain't that the truth. I also thought... man... when was the last time I attended to my blog?

I talked to one of my best friends about how much life piles on at once. We talked about how you feel like you need to throw things, scream or maybe crawl under the desk and sob at work, for no particular reason.

We decided that there are bad things that happen that make you feel that way, but there are also the  heaps of good things that can cause you stress. A new and exciting relationship, travel, weddings, parties... to name a few.

The good and the bad mix together in a cosmic cocktail and sometimes it doesn't go down smooth. The best advice I can give myself on those days? "Either you run the day or the day runs you."

I'm not about to start letting my days run me. Not any time soon. This is a commitment to taking the day on and showing it who's boss. Boom goes the dynamite.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Ingrid Michaelson, Lenka and NeedtoBreathe are the go to albums of my big ol' life transition.

Sometimes a little girl music and some Southern Rock gospel style tunes hit the spot.

Some of the lyrics on repeat:

"When life tries to knock the wind out of you, you've got to roll, roll, roll with the punches..." - girl anthem to just stay on your feet.

"And so it goes, this soldier knows, The battle with the heart isn't easily won, but it can be won, but it can be won..." - a little reminder that fighting for hope and thankfulness is well worth it.

"Even when the rain falls, Even when the flood starts rising, Even when the storm comes, I am washed by the water." - the perfect way to talk about grace.

Additional lyrics, anthems and general dance around the new house tunes are welcome.  

The Feel Good Girls by alexis branama on Grooveshark

Monday, February 11, 2013

Start Somewhere

Recently - my life did a somersault and somehow I landed on my feet. The one thing that I am certain of is that grace is the only reason I didn't end up lying on the ground hoping someone would pick me up and take me off to a knitted room where I could sleep while they arranged my new life for me.

I moved out of my house, moved into a new house with friends so I could find a place of my own, found the perfect place, convinced a property owner to process me quickly, moved into the perfect place, furnished the perfect place and found someone to take care of my dog while I am globe trotting in the coming months.

And all that ... in 6 days?

The right people came to the rescue when it counted. The chips fell in my favor. The universe did me a solid.

And I'll call that grace. I'll be thankful that I was able to start somewhere and end up just where I needed to be.

“I do not understand the mystery of grace -- only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”
Anne Lamott

Anne nailed it - yet again.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Where I land

There is something to be said for appreciating where you land. My life appears to be one continuous series of mishaps, blessings, surprises and adventures.

My friend Chelsie (her blog is wonderful... click here) recapped her travels over the past year, and inspired me to do the same.

In the past year:


I visited Italy on a whirlwind tour to assist with the arrival of our study abroad students from TCU and managed to tour Florence and drink my beloved Limoncello in Rome.


I traveled to Islamorada in the Keys for a vacation with my wonderful man, and even got to see a friend from Ghana that I had not seen since 2009.


I moved to Jacksonville, Florida with my aforementioned wonderful man and beloved child, Bella (the pitbull above) and started a job as an International Student recruiter...


I planned and implemented my first international recruiting trip for the University of North Florida in Uruguay, Argentina and Paraguay. I managed to get mugged, get in a taxi accident and take a cab ride with a prostitute during that trip. Impressive. I know.


I saw Savannah, GA for the first time, and simultaneously discovered the incredible accomodations available on


I was a bridesmaid for one of my dearest friends from Texas, in Boston.


 I was a bridesmaid again, for another one of my dearest friends from Texas, in Texas!


I celebrated Christmas in Illinois, and got to see every one of my siblings, both of my parents and even my grandparents.

And the coming adventures include Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa in Canada as well as a trip to China and Taiwan. The itineray for April is yet to be determined, but Turkey is likely to be my destination in May.

Here's looking at an exciting 2012 and the promise of a great 2013.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Taking Action

I saw on facebook today that folks are committing themselves to resolutions for the new year on GoodReads.

I use GoodReads to try and remember books I want to read, and to keep track of what I have read. With my current reading-hiatus, I thought I should revisit my profile.

It was on the website that I found the "Groups" tab... so in an attempt to inspire myself and maybe even others, I made a group.

It's called Trusted readers. There is a button to the right, click and join!

They made me pick a topic so I chose "Friends and Common Interests", then I had to pick a subtopic, so I picked "Wine". Because all Trusted Friends should have wine when discussing literature.

Feel free to join the group and inspire me, or even seek inspiration. I am working to fight my own brain death, join me in my quest.