Inviting You In


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The last week has been a bit of a blur.  Strike that.  It’s been a complete fog.

At this time last week, I was furiously calling and texting my friends as we came to the realization that everything in our country had the potential to change.  That half of the people in our country who voted (don’t even get me started on the half that didn’t) had essentially said it was ok for our leader to be a racist, sexist pig who exhibits bigotry and intolerance almost every time he opens his mouth.  It was unthinkable to me.

Like… I understand why politically people can be Republicans.  Do I agree with many of their beliefs?  Actually… yes.  Well… I agree with some of them.  It’s just that the things that matter most to me tend to align with the Democratic agenda.  So I vote that way.  Because in my life, things like gay marriage, women’s reproductive rights, equal access to healthcare, eradicating rape culture, increasing funding for education, finding justice in this uncertain and often evil world, and building tolerance for all people matter the most.  Because they are personal to me and to the people I’ve chosen to surround myself with.  And our president-elect just doesn’t share those same beliefs.

Anyway… this is not really meant to be a political post.  So let me get back on track.

As all of this was coming to light, I was grateful to be off of work for a week of much needed vacation and downtime.  I was thankful that I was home when my friends needed a couch to cry on.  I was glad that I didn’t need to get up for work and could invite people into my living room to rant and yell and get angry and then start planning how we would be different until the wee hours of the morning.  I could answer my phone at any time of day to talk to those who needed to just get things out in the open.  I didn’t have anything I needed to do but be there, really listening, trying to understand and articulate how others were feeling.

Even as many of the people I love the most were hurting, my heart was starting to heal because I was able to be there for them when they needed me.

I’ve written many times about why I love my house but it boils down to this… when I bought this place, I think I recognized immediately that it was a place that I wanted to invite others into.  It was a house that I wanted to build community in.  It was a home that could become a refuge to people in need.

To me, my house is more than a building.  It’s a model for how I want to shape my life.  

Last week was a constant reminder of that.

So as we move forward and start addressing so many of the issues that we thought we had moved beyond and that we have learned we haven’t even touched yet, I invite you to join me in that community.  If you need a place to talk, please know that my door is always open*.

And I make this commitment to you… I will do better.  I will carve out more quality time for people I love.  I will stand up for what I believe in more loudly than I have before.  I won’t back down when it really matters to me and to you.  Because if you are reading this, you are probably someone who I love deeply.  And I was part of the problem recently.  Because I didn’t do all that I could do.  And I vow that I will find a way to change that moving forward.

That is how I’m lifting myself out of the fog.  If you ever need some help, let me know.

*Just give me a heads up so I have time to pop a bowl full of popcorn and crack open a bottle of wine.  I find that they help stimulate conversation.

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The Art of Simple

If you talk to me for even 10 minutes straight, it’ll probably come up that I really like (read: am completely addicted to) podcasts. I used to love a variety of blogs but it felt so overwhelming to keep up on the reading that I gave them up entirely. Much like I’ve mostly end up writing in mine. I have to give things up sometimes even if I love them. 

So to fill the void, I’ve turned to podcasts. Podcasting just works for me. I spend hours in the car every week and it’s the perfect “me time” to learn or laugh or grow or think or fill-in-the-blank. 

One of my favorites that I rarely recommend to others because it feels so random is The Simple Show from The Art of Simple. Does it have anything to do with my life? Not really. At least not on paper. I mean, what do I have in common with a mom of multiple kids who is pretty churchy and travels around the world? Like… I realized I was hooked when I spent an hour and a half long drive listening to her talk about how she organizes herself to homeschool her kids. I also once listened to a four part series about traveling around the world with kids. See? It should be so irrelevant to my life. 

But it’s my happy time… A guilty pleasure… A reset button. 
Today I attended a pretty emotional meeting over lunch where I had to say goodbye to some folks who had become dear friends. These people will remain in my life but I had to walk away from the group to which we all belong because I simply don’t have time. I’m stretched more thin than I’ve maybe ever been and this was something I felt I needed to give up. 
But I felt guilty. It’s hard to walk away from something that you once loved. Even if it was time. 

So back to The Simple Show. I threw on an older episode I hadn’t gotten to yet while I was driving back to the office. I didn’t even look at the title. And they started talking about walking away from things you love. And why you can’t feel guilty. And all of that. 

The episode was “Knowing When to Quit”

I’m not even kidding. 

Part of the episode talked about the difference between your life’s purpose and your role in life. If the role isn’t fitting that purpose you aren’t going to be happy. I haven’t felt so sure of a decision I’ve made in ages by the time I got done with those 30 minutes of wisdom. 

So on paper, it might not make any sense why I love it. But I do. It somehow speaks to me. Through the homeschooling and the travel and the Jesus-ing and the mommy stories and all of it. It just speaks to me. 

Maybe it’ll speak to you too. Maybe not. And that’s ok too. 

Team Momentum


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A few weeks ago, I shared my OneWord365 for the year and promised I’d explain more about how I’m very slowly training for a very slow half-marathon… and now it’s almost three weeks later and I’m finally getting around to it.  But I am getting around to it so there’s that at least.

So let’s start at the beginning.

Remember last year at this time that I couldn’t really even walk.

And then last April I started physical therapy and by May I was able to do almost anything I put my mind.

Even so, I was incredibly tired after doing many of those things.  I work long days, I spend much of my time sitting, bending, and lifting – all which are things that will probably always bother my back – and I was growing increasingly frustrated that I still wasn’t feeling like myself.  And also that I had gained quite a bit of weight but that wasn’t really motivating me to do anything about it.

Fast forward to August.  My dad’s company was sponsoring an event in Green Bay for the Muscular Dystrophy Association and I was invited to attend because they had some extra tickets.  Long story long… I found amazing inspiration that evening.

I met this incredible little girl and her mom.  A little girl whose life cannot be easy.  Who has struggled through way more than I can even imagine.  And yet, she had this positive energy that I couldn’t help but fall in love with.  Her smile literally melted my heart.  You can learn more about Reagan on her Facebook page.  I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her too.

I was outbid on an auction item featuring a picture Reagan created so I asked her after the event what I needed to do in order for her to create something special for me.  She said she’d do it for a hug.  I of course gave her the biggest hug I could but promised her mom I’d make a donation as well.


That was the first I heard of Team Momentum.

Team Momentum is a group of people who train together for races all over the United States, dedicating each mile and every dollar raised to advance advances MDA’s mission to assist families with health care services and day-to-day support, fund research breakthroughs worldwide, and fight back against dozens of life-threatening muscle diseases.

After making a gift to support Reagan’s mom’s marathon last fall, I started thinking this crazy thought that maybe I could do a half-marathon.  I mean, I had learned by this point that all the walking in the world wasn’t tiring my back.  So maybe, even though I have never really run at all in my life and I have never been what you would call an athlete, maybe… I could run.

I said this out loud for the first time last fall to a girl I met who works for MDA.  And she told me the story of her half-marathon with Reagan’s mom last year… how at mile 12 she didn’t think she could finish and was reminded that she was doing this in honor of all of those people who will never be able to run their own half-marathon.  I believe her exact words were “the last mile was the easiest I’ve ever run.”

After hearing that, I knew I was in.  I’ve been running for almost 8 weeks now a few nights a week.  And I’m still slow.  And it’s still terrible.  And my body hurts in places I didn’t actually know existed.  But I’m doing it.

I’ve already realized I’ll never be ready to run the half by May but I won’t let that stop my momentum.  Yesterday, I signed up to run the 10K portion of the Chicago 13.1 as part of Team Momentum.  And next year, I already know I’ll do the half-marathon.

I promise this won’t become a running blog but I do plan to talk about my training and inspiration moving forward just like I talk about so many other things that are important to me.

Because momentum is more than just my word of the year.  It’s so much bigger than that and I am already so inspired to be a small part of that family.

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P.S. I also promise I won’t constantly ask for money through my blog but if you want to support my training and MDA at all, feel free to check out my personal fundraising page.  Part of this run is a commitment to raise at least $500 to support the MDA.  I mean it when I say that every little bit helps!