This awesome podcast episode from Jen Hatmaker & Hillary McBride. So powerful - even if you don’t have a daughter. Her thoughts on overcoming body image shame are amazing.
Primally Pure Deodorant. You have been involved (perhaps too involved?) in my natural deodorant search for a while. In October I switched to PP and it is significantly better than any I had tried before. I liked the Blue Tansy scent. I love the Lemongrass scent, though it’s quite lemony. I didn’t love the charcoal scent because it smelled like coconut, which isn’t my jam. All three have worked so well!
Where the Crawdads Sing. I’m genuinely sad this book is over. It was amazing. The writing is lovely, the storyline is compelling and the main character is so lovable. I wish I could read it for the first time again. I cannot wait for the movie!
Goldfaden. There is no season like winter to remind me how badly I need a good moisturizer. I’ve been using Goldfaden for a year now and am still completely enamored by the brand. It’s the most powerful plant-based line I’ve ever used. Everything I’ve tried has been awesome, though I especially love the Wake Up Call.
This read from the NYT about growing a connected family.
If you’ve ever waited for a pregnancy test, you know how long three minutes can feel. I’ve busied myself around the house, taken a shower and counted to 180, only to realize I forgot to say Mississippi in between.
Before McCoy was conceived, whenever I took a pregnancy test, only to see the negative appear, I’d try to pretend I wasn’t sad. I’d think things like: I honestly knew I wasn’t this month. I just had a feeling it wasn’t going to happen yet, trying to avoid the disappointment.
But then, sadness would overcome the denial. I could barely admit that I’d already thought about when that pretend baby’s birthday was going to be and what our life would look like in just a few short seasons. I’d already dreamed of sharing a September birthday with that precious love. Or it being born on my mom’s birthday in April.
And of course, once the sadness sunk in, I’d feel shame. This is so silly. Why did I let myself get excited? My period is only one day late. And I’m so lucky to have Chris. Why can’t I just be content with what I have?
It was a vicious cycle of hope, denial, sadness and shame.
Something I finally learned in the waiting, though, was to let there be mourning. To let myself feel the sadness of the loss, or, in this case, the perceived loss. For a brief moment, the future we were dreaming of had felt so close. In order to move forward, I had to learn to grieve what I thought was coming.
This is not moping for weeks on end. It is not getting angry at Chris, instead of feeling the pain. It’s letting the true sadness wash over us. It’s sitting with it, feeling its weight. It’s saying this like: I feel sad I’m not pregnant this month. I really hoped it was going to happen. I’m OK and I’m grateful for my life. But I do feel sad that we didn’t make a baby last month. It hurts right now.
When we allow ourselves to mourn - the baby, the relationship, the life - we thought we had coming, we make room to appreciate the one we are meant to have. We more clearly see the good in our lives. We appreciate the beauty all around us, in the now.
I’m learning lately that there is both bravery and freedom in the admission. When we speak the sadness we are no longer held captive by it. And when we are free from it, we are able to find joy again.
A superfit friend of mine climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last summer. After her trip, she came to our house for dinner. Chris and I had one million questions for her. How hard was it? How much additional training did she do? What was the best part? The worst?
Climbing Kilimanjaro is one of those things that sounds both awesome and terrible to me. I kind of want to do it and kind of really don’t.
She said the hardest part was not the physical difficulty, but, instead, how slowly you have to go. She’s used to fast, distance running and, here she was, going at a pace slow enough for the entire group - all of varied fitness levels - to stay together. It’s also important to go at a pace slow enough to let your body acclimate. The guides know what pace the group needs to be able to summit together.
On the last night - summit night! - you slow down even more. You take a rest step between each single step. There you are, just hours from the top, and the pace decreases! She said she cried privately behind her goggles as the pace slowed - the mental challenge far outweighing the physical.
I thought of my friend’s experience as the new year turned. By now, you’ve read enough about goal setting and having an intentional year and deciding where you want to be 365 days from now. These are all good things to do. We have our goals over here, for sure. I have high hopes for what 2019 could mean for our family.
But I’m reminding myself that sometimes life is meant to be lived more like her Kilimanjaro climb than it is a race. There are things to run hard and fast at, absolutely. But there are certain seasons - the waiting periods - that we can’t muscle through. You can’t make your body create a baby by goal setting. You can’t will yourself to be married through checklists. You can’t magically be in the future you’re yearning for with a new planner or more organized home.
We can just take the next best step right now - one foot in front of the other. And sometimes, when we’re so close to the summit, the pace might slow. The rest steps may come in the form of a heartbreaking miscarriage, a horrible breakup, a lost job or home. I don’t say this to make them sound trite or small, but, instead, to remind you that nothing is wasted. The Lord makes good out of even the deepest pain. Each one will be used in your life. Just like my friend’s rest steps were required to make it to the summit - and beyond - so these things will be needed to propel you to the future meant for you.
A friend of mine had a miscarriage before she had her last baby. I asked her about it and held back tears as she talked about mourning the precious life. Then she told me that, although it still hurts, she knows she’d never have the baby she has now if she’d held the other one in her arms. And I wouldn’t change anything about my life if it means I get to have Millie now, she told me with tears in her eyes.
I laid on the floor with McCoy recently and thought about the heartache Chris and I both experienced before him. The journeys we each walked - the good, the bad, the beautiful - every, single step - led us to him. I wouldn’t change anything - not the tears we cried, the heartbreak we experienced, the sometimes far-too-slow pace it took for us to get to him. Because each one led us here.
So make your goals, friends. Have high hopes for this year. Hard work will not be wasted. But while you go hard at those goals, trust in His timing, His pace. Allow yourself to rest in the goodness of His grace each day, believing that your time is coming.
Sending you love and solidarity this year.
I’m sitting here eating my favorite holiday treats (pretzels, drizzled with chocolate and sprinkled with candy canes). I’ve been trying to avoid this snack, but there are boxes upon boxes of in our cabinet. Let’s just say I’m being festive?
It’s 60 and sunny here, which is absolutely my kind of December. Mac and I went on a walk sans coats today. I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about what I want the holidays to look like for him as he grows up.
Over Christmas break when I was younger, I remember playing outside and reading a lot. I think I read Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul in one sitting when I was 12. Those stories were so good, man.
I don’t know that I’ll read as much this Christmas season. McCoy isn’t really into family reading yet :) But, I thought I’d share a few books I’d recommend for those who might be pounding the pages over the next week.
Where the Crawdads Sing // I just started reading this one and, honestly, can’t say enough about it. It feels like summer. Reads easily. And the story will hook you fast.
The President Is Missing // I feel like I need to preface this one: it’s cheesy. But if you want a fast-paced, mindless read, this will fit the bill. It’s basically like 24 in a book.
Liturgy of the Ordinary // This is the perfect book to read to start the new year with an appreciation for the daily routine. It will help you recognize the beauty in the mundane, like making your bed or mowing the lawn.
Girl, Wash Your Face // If you’re looking to start the year off with some extra motivation.
One Day in December // I haven’t read this one yet, but it’s on my list!
I’m also wondering if anyone recommends Nine Perfect Strangers? I have not heard great reviews but being a major #LianeFan, I’d like to give it a go.