Archive 2017 January
Find the good

Find the good

Yesterday morning I looked at my phone in surprise in the grocery store to find a weary sounding voicemail from my husband half a world away and right there in front of the eggs, I began to cry. Free flowing, salty tears as I hurriedly tried to finish grabbing the rest of my groceries so I could sob in my car in peace. I was even short with a confused Fred Meyer employee stocking shelves who asked if she could help with anything, and implied in both the grocery related and non-grocery related sort of way. I apologize for my shortness ma’am and wish I could tell you in person today. Missing my fourth call in a row from my deployed husband was too much to deal with at 9am on a Saturday morning.

Don’t even get me started on the state of our nation and the current administration’s executive orders filled with fear mongering and hate. I am growing weary of calling out the injustice on day nine. Before even missing his last call, or getting to the grocery store – I had seen people from countries who arrived legally in the United States being detained at airports across the nation and my heart had already been breaking.

I decided mid day yesterday after spending about two hours trying to put away groceries and make myself breakfast in between teary breakdowns and calls to my cell provider (confirming the straight-to-voicemail calls had nothing to do with me), I had to find good this weekend. I had to choose joy and goodness. The sadness of the world and in my own life was wearing me down too much.

I sought out a friend’s advice and concluded I had to step back from the news. Before doing so, I sent a donation to the ACLU and wrote both of my senators for all the humans in this world who don’t have the privilege of stepping back because their lives are so deeply affected. I then avoided Facebook and current events. I sent my husband a straight forward email so he absolutely knew I wasn’t intentionally avoiding his calls. I ate my delicious, wholesome breakfast. I prayed. I turned on Netflix to a show that removed me from reality. I took a deep breath.

A few hours later – the good part. That afternoon he called via WhatsApp using terrible wifi that went out every 30-45 seconds and repeatedly dropped our call. It was first time I had heard from him in days and he called back again and again. And again, until we were able to finish a half way decent call. We made plans to Skype the next day. I heard him laugh. For the first time in days, I felt whole.

The goodness continued today with a winter hike planned with my roommate/best friend. We drove out to the mountains and spent four hours navigating an icy death trail, laughing at our luck  and lack of preparation, in awe of nature in the winter, and sharing inside jokes at the misfortune that awaited people started their hike as we returned. It wasn’t even a good hike, but it ended up being such a good time. We decided after that much tension and near death experiences, we deserved a treat. We devoured pizza and drinks*.

Upon reaching home, I received the request to video message and eagerly awaited the shared desktop computer he was using to work. It was then that I saw his handsome face, the newly grown mustache, his hair so much longer than I remembered, and the always familiar grin. Goodness. Joy. All of it. We caught up for nearly an hour as he fought sleep to talk to me just a bit longer. We talked about our current situations, the short term future, and our plans after we reunite. I asked how we were going to make it through. He said we always find a way. We said goodbye. I wasn’t sad. We would find a way.

I saw today that resistance and protests have erupted all over our nation’s airports and immigration lawyers courtesy of the ACLU are fighting for people’s rights. It’s not a solution or a reversal, but it’s a start.

From yesterday morning to now, joy felt impossible. I am not sure if it was prayer, or nature, or his laugh. My guess would be the last.

I am hesitant to share the nitty-gritty parts of deployment. The parts that feel so raw and new. I don’t want people to see me as anything but composed. The independent, stubborn wife with a full time job and her own life. But life breaks me down. The choices of our nation’s leader are breaking me and the distance from the one person in the world who can make it better just by his pure empathy or his constructive, thoughtful conversations is a world a way and can’t discuss it. I definitely do not have it the worst right now, but there are days that feel much worse than others.

Tonight I think I’ll light a candle, put on a face mask, return to that TV show not based in reality, and bask in our phone call until the next time we can talk. I’ll get back to writing my representatives, donating what I’m able, and staying informed – tomorrow.

Off to battle the icy trail / patriarchy. Photo courtesy of the best best friend on the planet.

 

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
– J.K. Rowling (The Prisoner of Azkaban)

 

*Yes, Pizza. Whole30 restart is tomorrow. This is actually A LOT harder than I thought it would be.

Feminists are for ALL women. Yes, even you, the ones calling us names.

Feminists are for ALL women. Yes, even you, the ones calling us names.

“I’m not a victim.”

 

“Stop acting oppressed.”

 

“This doesn’t represent all women, only the whiners.”

 

“What rights has he taken away?”

 

A beautiful, amazing movement happened yesterday. Millions of humans across the country (& even the world) marched in solidarity with one another in support of women’s rights. It was one of the most incredible grassroots efforts I have ever seen. I immensely regret not taking part.

That’s right, I didn’t march. The day after the election I made a commitment to volunteer on Saturday, 1/21 to offset some of the hatred I felt was weighing down on our country. That’s what I did. For some reason, despite the good I was doing at a rescue mission near my home, it didn’t feel as fulfilling as I’d hoped. I wish I’d been in Seattle marching on Saturday and volunteered today instead.

As I watched the photos and testimonies pour in from marchers on social media, I felt my heart soar with excitement. This was MY America. An America of people who practiced one of our most important democratic rights – assembling peacefully for what we believed. I felt proud to live here for the first time since the election.

And then, I started to see the negativity. The statements above to be precise. I’m not sure what these women who wrote these things believe about feminism. I’m not sure what news source or friend they received their facts. From an instant google search, you can discover it means the following:

Feminism: the advocacy of women’s rights on the basis of the equality of the sexes.

 

 

Feminism simply stands for equality between sexes and promotes protection of our rights (to our bodies and so forth).

 

 Why does that make a select group of women angry? What about that is so offensive to you, you feel the need to rip down others for exercising their constitutional rights?

 

To the above unnecessary comments from a feminist who didn’t march, but seriously wish she had:

 

 

“I’m not a victim” 

 

I am not a victim for standing up for other women. I am strong for doing so. I’ll stand up for you too and your right to choose to not march, or to get an abortion, or use a Planned Parenthood clinic. It’s wonderful that you have had opportunities in your life that make that unnecessary. Good for you. It’s difficult for me to understand why you can’t empathize with others, but I won’t call you names for that.

 

“Stop acting oppressed.” 

 

The man voted into office referred to a woman as a bitch he tried to fuck, and could do anything to, including grab her pussy. None of that is a lie or heresy. That happened. We have it on video. Can you imagine the things someone like that has said, that haven’t been caught on video? He now holds the highest office in our nation and is considered the leader of the free world. That is who our sons look up too now. My belief in feminism means treating women with respect and not perpetuating rape culture. Our president’s words are in direct contrast to not only how women should be treated, but basic human decency. I am not oppressed, I am outraged.

 

 

“This doesn’t represent all women, only the whiners.”

 

It does. We represent you too. Yep, my dear, even you. We will fight for you and your right to be treated with respect and dignity and make health care decisions about your own body. No matter how many names you call feminists or how much you want to disassociate yourself from equality. We’ll fight for you and your daughters.
Also, the women yesterday weren’t whining. They were exercising their constitutional right. Which you believe in right? Because you believe in the constitution? Right? I mean if you’re an American, after all…

 

 

“What rights has he taken away?” 

 

My favorite of all, because here you’re implying that unless we live in a country with horrible women’s rights, people are not allowed to say anything. “The someone has it worse, so shut the hell up” mentality. When in fact, the current POTUS has said and done things that the majority of us consider horrible. Marchers yesterday chose to stand together in peaceful unity BEFORE it reaches the point of no return. To PROTECT our current rights. They joined together to say we won’t take giant steps backward, we will not be like the countries in the Middle East. We will stand together. We will support women, the LGBT community, all races and religions, our children, our education, etc.

 

As the core mission statement on the Women’s March says:

“We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.” 

To the women who felt the need to make negative comments about the march, why on earth would you have a problem with a movement that was inclusive, peaceful, and positive? What an awesome day to be a woman and an American.
**NOT my sign. But I love whomever created it. So much.**

Whole30 – Part One

The oh so real post-vacation blues hit heavy today.

I spent the holiday weekend in Austin, Texas with my two closest friends here in Washington. It was a fantastic, fun-filled three days. Coming back to work, working-out, and starting the Whole30 was a bit of a blow. Amplified even more so because my husband has officially deployed**. It’s been a stressful couple of months planning for this and now that it’s here (and by here – I’m here and he’s not) it makes the post-vacation low, even lower.

This is my first time dealing with a deployment, so unfortunately I have no advice or insight of my own. I have advice and insight from others, some of which has helped and some of which has not. The comment “you knew this day would come/you knew what you signed up for” has been particularly UNHELPFUL. If you know any service member significant others in your life, please resist saying that. Literally nothing can prepare you for the extended absence of someone you love so dear.

But alas, my blog is not about to turn into a journal of my deepest feelings. I have other outlets for those. Kind words are always appreciated, and once it’s a little less raw/emotional I hope to talk about it in a more constructive way!

Today’s post is about my first official day of the Whole30, which was pretty ambitious considering I got home from the airport at 10pm last night. I grocery shopped at 7am before working from home for the day and meal prepping between meetings and work. It has gone rather well for day one, all things considered. I spent the weekend in Austin letting myself enjoy BBQ, Tacos, Brisket Benedict (OMG), wine, and a bit too much hard liquor, so I naturally wanted to eat healthier today.

I bought the Whole30 book over the holidays and read it on my flight home just before the New Year. If you’re considering the Whole30 – Read. The. Book. One of the most crucial, stressed steps is you have to stick with this for THIRTY days. They outline really important reasons why you shouldn’t cheat, or why you should even start over if in fact you do. I wanted to kick this off on Jan 1, but after reading the book and understanding the purpose, I knew I had to wait until after my Austin trip. I was not about to do Whole 30 in the land of barbecue and biscuits.

I’ve dog-eared so many of the recipes. Yes, I’m the horrible person who does that. What is a bookmark.

Blogging about this on DAY ONE is to keep myself accountable. If everyone knows I intend to stick with it, maybe they’ll save the invite for happy hour or skip offering me a doughnut at work. Seriously guys – help me, I’m weak.

I am a huge advocate of meal prepping, even when I’m not on a diet or health kick because of how little time I have during the week. Commuting 2.5 hours a day puts a damper on daily home cooked meals. I’d highly advise meal prepping for the Whole30 to prevent cheating. This works for any healthy eating efforts. If you always have your prepped food ready to eat – you won’t grab something you’ll regret. Today, I made:

  • Kitchen Sink Scrambled Eggs
  • Baked Chicken Thighs
  • Baked Sweet Potatoes
    • My own recipe variation obeying the rules: cubed sweet potatoes in coconut oil with parsley & garlic salt. Baked for 30ish mins.
  • Cauliflower Rice
    • From the book’s recipe. I can’t find it online!

The main goal of the Whole30 is to change how you think about food, and a byproduct of the program could be weight loss. Again – read the book. This isn’t a diet or a lose weight fast plan. It’s about eating whole foods while cutting out certain harmful food groups for 30 days and to see how your body reacts/feels. I’m curious to see if I’ll have some of these sugar withdrawals everyone talks about, or if I’ll start crying every time I see cheese. God, I love cheese.

Observations after day one:

  1. Portion sizes are larger than I’m used too. I’m a 5-6 small meals or grazing all day type, so I wasn’t able to finish most of my meals.
  2. Without snacking or eating things I’m accustom to, I put all my food into the “MyFitnessPal” app (you’re not supposed to count calories either – I was just genuinely curious for my first day) and noticed I was under my regular calorie intake.
  3. I had to eat blueberries after my night workout because I was shaky. This isn’t too unusual. I typically need a burst of sugar after a workout. I know fruit needs to be eaten in moderation so I’ll probably stick to eating my fruit around workouts.
  4. There’s so much meat required/encouraged than I’m used to eating. I think I’ll need to meal prep like 2x a week for a handful of days so I don’t get bored with the same protein source.
  5. Drinking my coffee black was not as bad as not being able to put cheese on everything. HA.
  6. I’m so glad Frank’s Hot Sauce is considered Whole30. #blessed

I plan to have a half way update and end update, so stay tuned!

My mom and like 2 other people keep telling me to blog about all the places I travel so I am going to TRY and get an Austin post up by the weekend. We’ll see how cranky no alcohol and the inauguration makes me 🙂 🙂 🙂

Hope everyone else’s resolutions are off to a swimming start!

**Please do not ask about dates / whereabouts / details. I won’t be sharing any of that on my blog at any point. Thanks!

Build the longer table

“When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence.”

 

 

It took me four days to decide how I wanted to reflect on this year, and months since I have been able to formulate a blog post. I could blame my lack of writing on busyness or struggling with my newly hosted website and all of its quirks, but honestly? I haven’t felt a call to write.

My calling this year has been to focus on people, not words. To help others, to be kinder and more compassionate. 2016 has lacked compassion and empathy in every way. From our government and our leaders, to the media, to our own neighbors – there is so much apathy and anger.

Even from me. I was furious with the election (the understatement of the year). I unfortunately still am. But I’m doing my best to have my life and my home be a source of love and friendship and laughter, despite our government.

I said the above quote to my husband recently, mentioning how we’ve really been building that longer table this year.

He laughed, commenting how we’d taken in more than one stray. He meant it in the best possible way as this past year we’ve opened our home to countless friends and family. Anyone who needed a place to stay during their travels or a job opportunity or a lease they had to break or in the case of our permanent roommate – a new place to call home for awhile.

We’ve welcomed them and helped where we could, providing suggestions or a meal or company. Most of these guests have been close friends I was elated to spend time with for a few days but all the same – we’ve done what we could to make people’s visit to the Pacific Northwest a little easier and a little more enjoyable.

Our zen corner of the spare room (which triples as an office & Army equipment headquarters)

It’s not much. I’m not changing the world. I’m no Saint. I swear & drink just enough to put me out of the running.

But I like to think in some small way every time we have a guest in our spare bedroom or add an extra plate to a meal without hesitation, I counter some of that hate spreading through America. I counter some of that anger towards groups of people facing discrimination. I make the effort to bring a little more compassion into the world.

When I reflect on 2016 I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished despite not achieving some of my goals (like a super epic blog come back). I’m proud of my marriage – how it’s grown and strengthened with time and how I can say 3.5 years later I have never loved that man more than I do today. I am proud of my health – how I’ve maintained a relatively similar body frame and continue to eat whole foods and workout when it’s feasible. I am proud of my career – how I continue to learn and improve at my job.

But mostly I’m proud of my empathy. I’m proud of my fierce passion to help others. I’m proud of being willing to share my home and my dinners when it’s sometimes inconvenient. I’m proud of calling out the hate and indiscretions of our leaders, because apathy isn’t something any of us should be proud of.

I have made a handful of resolutions for 2017. Cliche commitments about eating healthier and saving more money, but my biggest resolution is to become more empathetic, more willing to help others, and more willing to build on to our table.

We don’t need fences or walls this year. We need more compassion.

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