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Tiny Girlfriend’s Birth Story

June 9, 2019

From the moment I got a positive pregnancy test, I began to dream about what my child’s Birth Experience would be like. I began reading everything I could get my hands on- with the clear goal of having an unmedicated birth.

I sat on an exercise ball every day, for as long as possible. If I wasn’t on an exercise ball, I was sitting tailor style on the floor- only the best posture and keeping the pelvis open for me.

I walked 2-5 miles a day. I ate as well as I could through the morning sickness and when I finally started meds I made sure I had a really balanced diet. I drank 120 oz of water a day. I did pelvic tilts. You name it- if it was going to help prepare my body for birth, I was going to do it.

I had a low risk, healthy and normal pregnancy. I was young. I was in shape. I had the mental stamina to take this on head first and do this. I was ready to run the marathon that is giving birth to a baby. I had even talked to my doctor about not inducing until I was at 42 weeks as long as everything was healthy so that my body could be fully ready to do this thing (who wants to go to 42 weeks these days?! =p).

Then at 38 weeks my blood pressure was slightly elevated. There was no red flag thrown yet, but now, we were going to keep watching it and see what happened.

39 weeks rolls around. “Are you having contractions? Were you running late to your appointment?” The answer was no to both of these things, and my blood pressure was still elevated. Our watch continued. We scheduled a non stress test (where they hook you up to a monitor and watch baby’s heart rate, movements, and any contractions you’re having) and an ultrasound to check her amniotic fluid levels.

It was at this point that the word induction was mentioned, and I started to get concerned. This was not a part of my plan!! I had worked so hard to be healthy and avoid this. I went home and for a week did everything possible to try to induce labor on my own. I ate four whole pineapples. I walked all day. I did squats and lunges, I broke out my breast pump, I hand expressed- if it was going to kick start labor without destroying my bowels I was game to try it.

40 weeks. Same questions. Same response. Tiny Girlfriend was happy on the inside, moving just the way she was supposed to, and her amniotic fluid was totally perfect. In my head, this was great news! I was going to be able to push it for another week, with more monitoring, and keep trying to get my body ready for labor.

But the doctor looked at me and said: “I can’t make the call. With this pressure, we should send you to L&D for further monitoring and then the on call doc will make the call.”

I knew from my appointment just two days prior that the doctor I had been seeing every appointment since 12 weeks was the on-call doc that night. We headed to the hospital and I was still thinking I could go home and just come in for monitoring more frequently.

I was in good spirits- after all, Gene had never been an alarmist with me. He had been nothing but supportive of my goal for an unmedicated birth and had agreed that if nothing was wrong, we could keep waiting. He had even said if there was no imminent risk we could delay induction by a few hours so I could walk at my graduation ceremony. I still felt calm, cool, collected and in control. I was smiling and laughing with the nurses, drinking my water and watching the erratic contractions that I wasn’t feeling, taking these all as good signs that I would be headed home soon.

I then asked Nancy, the first of many incredible people who were on my team, some important questions.

If you induce me can I be up and walking around? The answer: no. If we put medicine in your body, we have to know the baby is okay. But I knew the hospital had one telemetry unit that was waterproof, so I hadn’t begun to panic yet.

Will you be able to get me the wireless monitoring system so I can walk and use the tub? I am trying for an unmedicated birth and these are things that really ease my discomfort. The answer: our one unit has been out for repair. Me: could you please see if it has come back yet?

Now I was starting to worry. My birth preferences were going south very quickly here. A very dear friend of mine recommended a book to me that I gobbled up in just one day. It is called Birth Without Fear by January Harshe. In it, Mama J emphasizes the importance of having Options, Support, and Respect. This became our mantra and rallying cry in the last few weeks of our pregnancy, and rather than having a meltdown, I began to repeat these three words to myself knowing that we could handle this new set of challenges.

They moved us out of triage and over to the room where I would give birth to my daughter. I was still a little bit in denial because Gene hadn’t told me I was for sure admitted, and Sean, my mom and I waited for the final verdict.

Bracelets were printed. Forms were signed. And Gene apologized that I was going to have to miss my graduation. I told him that I trusted him, and agreed that the safe arrival of my daughter was a far greater good, but I was going to eat this dang cheeseburger before they admitted me =p. He happily agreed and we were on our way.

As mentioned earlier, my body was not at all ready to have a baby. So the first part of my induction process was what is called cervical ripening. My nurse for the evening, Cyndi was just lights out, explaining what was going to happen and having a great sense of humor to help me be less stressed. Nancy gave me a tempur pedic mattress topper, and everyone was just being so kind. I had a brave face on, and was trying to remain positive, but I was a little bit scared. This is not the natural way to do this. I truly felt that my body just needed a few more days and would have done this on its own, but now I felt I was somewhat backed into a corner because my blood pressure made it unsafe to continue to carry my little one.

Options. Support. Respect.

We started with the first dose of misoprostol and then settled in for a long wait. Every four hours, I could receive another dose, and the hope was that this would kind of kick start the process. I slept through the first dose, and we saw no changes. I was told this was normal, and that this would be a slow process. They gave me the second dose and I began to sweat profusely. I was wide awake, watching Guy Fieri and thanking God that my mom needs a fan to sleep with at night and had brought two because I felt like I was just going to melt into a puddle of sweat. We lowered the thermostat dramatically to get that room cold, and I tried to get some more sleep. By 4:00, we had seen no change in my cervix, but my body realized something was supposed to be happening and I was having more regular contractions. This was a problem for this part of the induction process because they couldn’t administer the next dose if I was contracting, so I had to be pumped full of fluids to slow down my irritated uterus.

By 6:15 I was only 30% effaced and was beginning to feel really dejected and bitter about the whole situation. I knew that blood pressure was nothing to mess around with, but I also knew my body clearly was not ready to have a baby. My mom had stepped out of the room, and I was crying to Sean, telling him how much it sucked and how unfair this was- I had worked so hard for my whole pregnancy to not be in this situation, and in a cruel twist of fate, here we were. Thankfully he knew that in that moment I needed him to just hold space for my feelings, and he agreed that this really did suck. He redirected my attention to the poster he had made me with Mama J’s mantra: Options, Support, Respect and we set about finding ways to gain back the empowering birthing experience we had envisioned for our daughter.

Taking a line right out of Birth Without Fear, Sean looked me in the eyes and said: it’s about to be our daughter’s birthday we can choose to be happy instead of feeling like everything has gone to shit. And with that, we recommitted to celebrating every step of this journey.

At 8:00, Sean and my mom helped me out of bed and got me set up on my beloved exercise ball. I figured- this got her into the right position, maybe the forces of gravity would be on my side. We watched Billions, and I pretended that the Lemon Ice was enough sustenance to make it a few more hours.

By 10:00 I was begging for just a few minutes off the monitor, and for some food. Dr. Goldstien took pity on me and allowed me to eat breakfast and take a shower. I ate as much as I could, and that shower was just heavenly. My nurse, Kimberley even let me walk a couple of laps- which was how I had always envisioned my labor going. It was nice for even a few minutes to have what I had hoped for.

At 1:00 we checked again and had not had any progress. Once again I felt super dejected and cried a little bit more. I was beginning to get concerned that they were going to put me on some kind of clock and make me have a c section if I didn’t have the baby by the deadline. I asked multiple people, and they assured me that would only be if something went wrong on the baby’s end, but that she was tolerating everything really well, and was behaving perfectly.

At this point, I had missed my graduation and still didn’t have a baby. I was miffed but kept reminding myself that I got to choose the way this day was going to go. My sister brought me some magazines, and some snacks for when I’d be allowed to eat, and my dad came to say hi. He surprised me with my diploma, and even was able to bring his Trustees robes to the hospital! My husband, and family, as well as the amazing day time team, hosted a graduation ceremony just for me, and my dad got to present me my diploma after all. It wasn’t on the big stage as I had planned, but it is a moment I will cherish forever- and is even better than waiting for hours with everyone else.

At 4:30 I was 50% effaced and was approaching my last dose of misoprostol. The hope was that this would ready my body enough to try a gentler form of induction than just hitting me with Pitocin. I settled in for my last 4-hour stretch.

I’m sure you can guess where this went. when we had our final exam, I had made no progress, and it was decided we would be moving forward with the Pitocin. My night nurse, Allison asked if I could eat and shower, and once again, Dr, Goldstein took pity on me. I had not slept in 30 hours. I was about to perform the greatest athletic feat of my life. I was nervous but excited because even though I had heard horror stories about Pitocin, I was going to work through this pain and on the other end was going to be my sweet baby girl. I ate a cheeseburger, took another shower, and braced myself. When I got up to pee, I had what seemed to be my bloody show, and then they started the pitocin.

From 12:00 AM- 2:00 AM the contractions were manageable with the exercise ball and leaning over the bed. Then, my water broke, and they upped my dose. Allison quickly attached my penicillin to my IV, and I began a deep journey into myself. It was as if something just clicked: I was the only person that could get this baby out, so now was my time.

We called our doula, and found out that Angel was going to be a part of our support team. We were over the moon- we had met her on our hospital tour and had been hoping beyond hopes she would be on call the night we gave birth. She arrived and I was still vertical. On the ball then leaning over the bed and swaying, ebbing and flowing through the contractions. Angel helped me to try some other positions to help ease the contractions, but my legs were so tired I couldn’t really stand any longer.

Angel helped me to get the bed into a seated position and propped me up with pillows. I felt like I had been hit by a mac truck. she was helping me through each contraction, and I was sleeping between them. With tears in my eyes, I looked at Angel and told her I needed to get out of my own way, and get the epidural. I told her that after 38 hours with no sleep, and only a few minutes between contractions to sleep, I was going to have to choose between the unmedicated labor I had worked so hard for, or not having the stamina to actually push the baby out. We decided to ask for an internal exam to see how much I had progressed- and make a final decision.

I was at 4cm. I was so proud of myself for getting that far, but knew it could be hours before getting to 10cm, and looked at my support team, pulled a Dean Winchester, and got out of my own way. Around 4:15 am I got an epidural and I passed out once it went into effect.

By 6:30 am Dr. Goldstein came in to check on my progress. He apologized for waking me up, but what a victory it was when he told me I was dilated to 9.5 cm! The room was charged with entirely new energy, and I knew I was going to be able to bring this baby into the world confidently.

My epidural had begun to wear off slightly, and I was really feeling the contractions in my right hip. I hit the button, and Angel massaged my feet and legs. I slept for two more hours, really allowing my body to labor down. When I woke up, I could feel my legs and the contractions on a mild level but was not feeling any pelvic pressure. This was a dream epidural, and I could not have been any luckier for a plan that was not my original one. Angel explained to me how we were going to push, and we started to get more excited to meet our little girl.

Gene came back and told me we were going to do some practice pushes to see how things were going. At this point, I was not doing no practice pushes. Momma was ready to have this baby after 46 hours of waiting and throwing my entire birth plan out the window.

Gene explained to me again how we were going to push- hold my legs, chin to chest, deep breath and hold it for 10 seconds, three times per contraction. Back into that deep personal space I went, acknowledging I was the only one who could bring this baby into the world, and the doctors realized we would not be practicing. We were having a baby!

Everyone was so good to me. At this point, we got the birth plan back on track as much as we could. Angel had brought a mirror for me, and Gene even let me feel her head (something I hadn’t thought to ask to do!). Everyone was so excited, cheering me on, telling me how great I was doing Between pushes I was sucking in oxygen to try to regain my strength, and everyone was talking about Game of Thrones.

Before I knew it, I was on my very last push, my eyes closed tight giving it my all and Gene says: look down, look down she’s here! He scooped her up and put her immediately on my chest. Her cry was the most amazing thing I have ever heard. I looked into her eyes and said We did it, girlfriend! You’re here! Welcome to the world! Nothing could possibly have interfered with that moment. Sean cut the cord, and they delivered my placenta before I even knew what was happening. I recall Gene telling me that I had sustained a mild tear and he was going to fix me up, but I could honestly have cared less at that point. I had done it! She was here!

I kept her on my chest for over an hour, talking to her, singing to her and just looking at this perfect little being that I had just brought into the world. Nancy was our daughter’s nurse, and was so good to me- she asked if they could do her stats, and I was like no- not right now, I’d like to keep her here a little longer if I could. And she happily obliged.

I cannot say enough good things about Danbury Hospital and the team that helped me bring my daughter into the world. Words will never be enough.

I have never felt more powerful in my life than in those moments working to bring her into the world and I am so excited for all of the incredible things this little girl is going to teach me about myself, her point of view, and the world in general.

Encounter

Human Problems

March 20, 2019

“If Christ does not change the way in which we confront human problems, Christ is just a fantasy.”

Giussani, L. (1986). Morality: Memory and desire. San Francisco: Ignatius Press.

This probably could not have come at a more appropriate time. I am pretty sure my thesis group just blew up.

There is plenty of time to the due date. I know it will get done. I am not concerned at all actually. Remember? I just admitted that I know how to plow through and get something done regardless of how it affects the rest of the team (though I am working on this, and am not advocating for it unless its absolutely necessary).

Leadership and control do funny things to people. It’s like there is this metaphorical gold medal given if you get tapped as the leader of the group. The teacher seems to rely on you a little more. People look at you a little differently. You “stand out” in a class. In a program where we are all busting our asses to get a piece of paper that says we are certifiable leaders, you can see why this happens.

There also comes a time when everyone thinks they are the leader. Every last person tries to strut their stuff, and see if they have the chops to run the group. What inevitably happens, is that the person who really really wants to be deemed the group leader, winds up going a few steps too far and causes distress amongst the rest of the group.

Some people choose to interact with this by just sitting it out. Hey man, its just a paper. I’ll get my stuff in when it needs to be in, and I’ll make sure its good enough for us to get the grade.

But I have a really hard time with passive aggressive behavior that is degrading to the rest of the team. Nearly a decade ago, a friend of mine told me to give up sarcasm for lent. He said that if I couldn’t just say what I needed to say in a direct and kind manner, I probably shouldn’t talk at all because it was not worth hurting so many people. This may seem dramatic, but it really struck me, deeply to my core.

I spent those next 40 days really thinking about what it was I was trying to communicate, and how I could use words that were effective without being hurtful.

This may have backfired a little bit- I now seem to be more like Temperance Brennan from Bones than I’d like to be, but you know… you win some you lose some.

So when someone decides to deal with problems with nasty, passive aggressive texts I have an issue with it. I spent a solid 10 minutes writing and re-writing a text to the person having a problem. It was straightforward. It started with I am not sure what’s wrong but it would be easier for us to move forward if you could just state what is going on.

And then I deleted it. Over, and over. Because what came after it was, while accurate and truthful, NOT helpful.

Because if I say that I believe that Christ has changed me, then I have to acknowledge that sometimes, just turning the other cheek and dealing with the mess is the appropriate course of action, no matter how right I feel that I am.

So onwards I go. Reformatting. Filling in gaps. Editing to make everything sound like one paper. And hoping, beyond all hopes that in 7 days, my client appreciates the hard work.

Dear Twenty-Something

You Are Capable

March 8, 2019

8 March 2019

Dear Twenty- Something,

“When my daughter is living in my belly
I will speak to her like
she’s already changed the world
she will walk out of me on a red carpet
fully equipped with the knowledge
that she’s capable of
anything she sets her mind to”
-Rupi Kaur

Sometimes being a woman is hard. There are so many societal norms we have to subscribe to. There are so many mountains we have yet to climb. There are so many things that need to change.

But today, we celebrate you. The strong, fiercely independent, loyal, hard working, take no shit, beautiful woman that you are.

Today we take a step back to look to all of our fellow women, and lift each other up.

To the girl chosen last for the pick up recess game because you are a girl- keep going. Play your heart out, and give em hell.

To the girl who is picked on for reading a book during recess instead of skipping rope- dive deeper. Don’t let anyone tell you that the things you love to do are not worth doing.

To the young woman who feels defeated because the number on the tag of her pants is bigger than all her friends- cut the tag out completely. Your worth is not found in a number on a tag. And the world is against us anyways- none of the stores actually have consistent sizes and it’s not worth the heartache.

To the young woman studying in a male dominated field- raise your voice. Don’t sit quietly letting only the men answer. Jump into the debate. Present the opposing point. Make them think and let them know you’re here to stay.

To the young woman coming home from yet another disappointing date- it does get better. Keep your standards high- know who you are, and what you want and do not settle till you find a life partner who grabs your hand and runs at life head first with you.

To the young woman looking at her pregnant belly, wondering how she can bring a daughter into this world- breathe deep. Watch that tiny girl move and know that you are bringing the change into the world. With the power of all of the women that came before her, and the love and support of all of her sisters, she will move mountains.

Sister, be the change. Let’s make this world a better place, each day by empowering each other, and having each other’s backs. Let’s bring light into a world so often surrounded by defeat.

You are strong. You are beautiful. You are irreplaceable. Don’t ever forget it.

-S

Lifestyle

Smash The Snow Globe

March 4, 2019

Honestly, not even gonna lie to you- the Monday following a retreat is actually the worst kind of day you will every encounter. As a kid, it usually means you didn’t shower for a whole weekend and ate too many Doritos and now have to go sit in a desk all day and listen to your teachers talk about The Battle of the Bulge. #TooReal am I right?

But the Monday after a retreat as an adult is a whole different ball game. Your back probably hurts from sleeping over on an ice cold gym floor, your stomach is probably all messed up from aforementioned Doritos and you find yourself trying to keep your eyes open as you stare at a computer screen all day responding to whatever crisis hits that day.

I’ll take it even a step further and tell you that after hosting a weekend 30 weeks pregnant I feel like I may have been hit by a truck. My feet are sore. My body is physically exhausted. My stomach is all jacked up from tater tots and tacos.

But I wouldn’t trade it. There is something immensely beautiful about interacting with people who are seeking something more.

More often then not, we live in our own small universes, that in my mind equate to snow globes. We all have our own scenes, and we all like to see the glitter fall down in front of us and everything is cozy and pretty in our own little scenes.

But there comes a point in our existence, where these isolated little worlds (as pretty and comfortable as they are), cease to be enough. We realize there is more to life because when the glitter settles, we can see that there is something beyond the curved glass. There is something there that would be better than what we have here.

With immense courage, we find the strength to knock over our snow globes in the hope that our world’s will be opened just a little bit bigger.

But sometimes, what we don’t anticipate is just how big the world around us is. After we have lost the comfort of our own universe, the real world can be a little bit scary. Our opinions are challenged, and our lives can be completely turned upside down in a matter of seconds.

It takes a deep and profound courage to press forward anyways. To move out of our comfort zones and look to make ourselves better people.

Every time I attend a retreat weekend, I find myself meeting people from all different walks of life who are trying to do just this thing. And as exhausted as I am from this weekend, I am also so very grateful to have found more people striving to live a more real and more authentic life.

This journey is not easy, but it is far better when you don’t have to go it alone.

And if this weekend reminded me of anything (aside from the fact that… you know I’m pregnant and probably shouldn’t be on my feet for 12 hours in a day) its that you are never alone on this journey.

Be brave. Smash your snow globe. Things are infinitely better on this side of the glass.

The world is a big and beautiful place, just waiting for you to make your mark.

Dear Twenty-Something

Hope is Rising

November 10, 2018

9 November 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“Dare to have faith that man is capable of humanity.”- taken from the prayers said during the Seder Meal

Again you turned on the news this week to a startling feeling of equal parts outrage and heart break. Memories came flooding back and you started to feel that maybe hoping just isn’t worth it after all.

Will things ever change? Could things even get better? How did this become the new normal? How can you turn on the television, or open your instagram account and see this day in and day out? What has happened to our world?

Nobody listens to each other, constantly trying to scream over the other, eliminating peace and forcing more turmoil.

And then you turn on the news again and are faced with that pit in your stomach, the overwhelming dread.

But there are quiet rumblings. People younger than you saying: enough is enough. You may feel that your voice can’t be heard over the cacophony,but one day soon, those quiet rumblings will not only become louder, but will drown out the current fighting.

Do you feel it? Hope is rising. Keep doing your part. Keep raising your voice. But most importantly do not lose sight of that hope that is rising from the ashes.

Dare to have faith that man is capable of humanity.

-S

 

Lifestyle

Don’t Wait to Love Yourself

November 6, 2018

This one goes out to all my girlfriends out there. In the spirit of keeping it real I want to dive right into a sensitive subject. Let’s talk about body image. Gosh even just typing those words sent a shiver down my spine.

You know, most women that I know could instantly point out the things about their body that they don’t like. My hair is too stratight. My hair is too curly. My teeth are not white enough. My face is covered in acne. My butt is too flat. What abs? If I work out a little extra, if I go on this special diet… the list goes on and on.

I was not immune to these lines of thought. As I started learning how to have a better relationship with food- viewing it as fuel for my body, and not something to just munch on when I was bored, or something to avoid to lose weight, I began to appreciate my body a little more. Then I started to work out, and I began to appreciate how strong my body actually was- I was capable of so much more than I thought I was! I was spinning three days a week, I was eating a mostly Paleo diet and I was feeling strong, confident and beautiful.

Right around this time I started gaining this confidence, my husband and I started talking about what it would be like to have a baby (SPOILER: I am writing this post nearly 14 weeks pregnant =p ). I have always known I was made to be a mother. I have known since I was a little girl, pushing bitty twins in a double jogging stroller that I wanted to be just like my mom, raising strong and good people to make this world a better place. So after nearly three years of marriage, this conversation seemed only natural.

But as we started having that conversation, those thoughts that I just had overcome started to come back. What if I gain too much weight? What if all the weight goes to my love handles? What if I get stretch marks? What if I get grey hairs? What if my hair texture changes completely? What if I get acne? OMG what if I get stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck?

Then we got pregnant. And the first three months were no walk in the park. I was sick every night. I had dark circles under my eyes. I couldn’t use face wash because it turned my face as red as a tomato. I was now going to be doomed to acne (insert major dread here). I was bloated and none of pants fit. I found three grey hairs. AND there definitely are stray hairs on my chin that I have to pluck (LOL). WHAT IF I GET STRETCHMARKS?!

As we’ve gotten further along in the pregnancy, I am carrying all my weight in my love handles and backside. I stopped wearing pants because I couldn’t bear to keep buying bigger sizes. I had to buy all new undergarments because my body is growing in ways I didn’t know it could. I just recently had to take a break from the workout I love so much because the muscles that hold everything together are stretching so much and so rapidly that they hurt when I stand up too quickly.

And you know what the most surprising thing is to me? I am the happiest I have ever been. I could absolutely care less about gaining weight, unruly pimples on my upper lip and the side of my nose or those stray hairs I have to pluck. I haven’t found any stretchmarks yet, but I am sure they are coming, and I am ready to welcome them with open arms.

My body is physically housing another human right now. It not only created a human from scratch, but is now letting it have the space for the next 5 months to grow and get stronger and come into this world as a little human that we can hold and love.

My body is now the body of a superhero. Seriously. It is ridiculously awesome that I am actually growing another person inside of me right now. And if it takes gaining weight, and earning some tiger stripes along the way, I am happy to do that.

I am in awe of my body and all of the ways it is growing and changing. It’s amazing that it took me all these years and a completely life altering event to finally truly appreciate this body that I have been given. I only wish I could have loved and appreciated my body sooner.

If you’re reading this and you’re in the phase of wanting to change something about your body, I want to encourage you to look in the mirror and find one thing about your amazing body that you can love right now. Loving yourself is a life long process, but start today! Don’t wait.

You are amazing. If I am the only person to tell you that today, I hope it sinks in. You are truly, utterly, amazing.

Lifestyle

A Broken Yet Beautiful World

October 9, 2018

Man. What a time to be alive. I have recently taken to watching Good Morning America every morning as I drink my coffee and do my morning meditation. Depending on what my day looks like, I may fold a basket of laundry while watching live with Kelly and Ryan afterwards.

This new routine helps me to start my day on a little bit of a slower pace, and often points be toward the one or two hopeful news stories that are floating around in the world. Boy do I feel like I need that right now.

All day, every day, my newsfeed is full of people battling each other over incredibly important issues. There is a deep, dark beauty in these feuds as I watch people stand up for what they believe in at all costs. I think there is something really beautiful about seeing the need for change, and the raw, unbridled power that it unleashes in people’s hearts. The storm of change is brewing, and ready or not, this world we live in is going to undergo a radical reconstruction.

But so often in the heated discussions and one terrible headline after another, I begin to lose sight of the fact that this world, though broken and desolate, is still beautiful.

I find it so easy to forget that this world, though scary and imbalanced at times also breeds goodness and hope. I can focus on the negative. It would be easy. Or I can dig my heels in a little deeper and look for the goodness, beauty and truth that lies there just below the surface.

I choose to see the people in my newsfeed as warriors against injustice; injustice that runs ramapant in our society. I choose only to engage when it is something that I truly have taken the time to research and have an educated opinion about. I try always to use kind and non attacking language.

I take heated conversations out of the ring of the newsfeed and in to a real life conversation- over coffee, or dinner or in a private message if only a virtual friend. I keep an open mind, and an open heart, listening for the full story when talking. I am always searching for the truth and when someone has clear eveidence towards the truth that contradicts what I know, I thank them for opening my eyes. It is only in being willing to learn that any change actually happens.

And in each of these encounters, I have become a better person. I have seen the light, beauty and goodness that my friends have to offer. I have grown into a person that I am proud to be. Open, willing to change, willing to learn and constantly striving for a better baseline.

And this, sweet friends is a beautiful thing. Even the darkness and destruction of our current society can give birth to something good. I just need to remember not to forget it.

Keep on fighting the good fight. The world needs more people like you.

Dear Twenty-Something

Girlfriend, I Am Proud Of You

August 24, 2018

24 August 2018

Dear Twenty- Something,

“And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.” – John Steinback

Have I stopped lately to tell you how proud I am of you?!

You have said yes to so many exciting things- being brave and trying new and scary things.

You are excercising three days a week, and are planning to get to 4-5 days a week. Who would’ve thought you’d ever get there? (I am only partly kidding)

Also, dude, I am proud of you for eating the egg rolls while watching the Barbie documentary on hulu and reading Magnolia Journal. Because tonite, you took time to just breathe, and gather yourself, and treat yourself with love.

I am proud of you for embracing change. I am proud of you for never losing that work ethic.

I am proud of you for making new friends, and I am proud of your for keeping the friendships you have going. I am also proud of you for rekindling old friendships, even though it sometimes seems like friendships as an adult can be really hard to navigate.

Girlfriend, I am proud of you.

Keep up the good work.

-S

Lifestyle

Nothing More & Nothing Less

April 23, 2018

Oh friends. I did a silly thing today.

Today, I told one of my dearest friends that I was finally okay with whatever God had in store for me this upcoming year.

WHY would I ever do that?

Do you ever have that moment, where you feel complete peace and everything seems to be going so well and then BAM out of seemingly nowhere, a self doubt stronger than you’ve ever known creeps in and you’re in tears faster than you can say “I’m okay”.

No? Just me?

Okay, well… that’s where I am right now. There is a pretty big part of me that is really excited for this new adventure- to see what it is exactly that the Lord has planned for me.

There’s also a part of me that is *loudly* shouting; THIS IS NOT A PART OF THE PLAN. YOU ARE RUINING THE PLAN. MAYDAY. MAYDAY. GET IT TOGETHER.

And honestly, I wish I had an answer for you. I wish I knew what the heck I was doing, and if this trusting in God’s plan thing was really going to work after all.

But I have no idea. Right now, I feel like I am stuck between two phases of life. Older than the typical college grad, probably should have a job. Younger than all my friends who have three kids, but married for Almost three years without kids.

I am in no man’s land, and am figuring it out.

How was I so happy and confident this morning, then all of a sudden was doubting everything I was doing by 6PM?

Life.

Happy Monday folks.

Honestly, something tells me I will never not be in a phase of trying to figure my life out.

10 years ago, it was what college should I go to, what would my major be?

5 years ago, it was how would I ever find a guy who wasn’t the worst?

My track record has been pretty good so far in winding up just where I needed to be. 10 years later I am almost done with a Masters in Business Administration. 5 years later I am married to an incredible man.

So maybe I don’t have the answers right now. But maybe I will also look back in 5 or 10 years and know that this moment was the one that launched me into greatness.

I only have to know the plan for tomorrow. No more. No less.

And ultimately?

I am going to be okay.

Lifestyle

When Change is Good

April 16, 2018

I have realized something recently. I am a creature of habit.

House Blend coffee with half and half every morning.

Apple Products for life.

Find one pair of jeans that fits? QUICK! Buy every single color because you can never find jeans that simultaneously cover your booty and your ankles.

Never switch your planner. No matter how beautiful the new planner looks, or how much you want to be even more organized, you will always go back to the OG black, hardcover moleskin.

These things seem trivial and quite frankly, they are. But they are indicative of a deeper personality trait that I seem to have.

I like an established routine, and sometimes often I have trouble with changes to my routine.

Then I read an instagram post from an account called One Hail Mary at a Time. If you’ve never heard of her, click here to check her out!  In this post on Instagram, she basically said that her and her husband will evaluate where they are in life and if something isn’t working, they make the change to what is going to be best for them.

And somewhere, deep in the recesses of my soul, I knew I needed to make a change that was bigger than just my planner or my morning beverage choices. I needed to make a change that would bring peace to the incredibly weary heart I have been carrying around inside of me.

I have known this for a long time now, and this instagram post, coupled with a bible study of Esther really gave me the courage to start the process of making the changes I need to make to be the best version of myself, the version of myself that God wants me to be.

In the spirit of authenticity that this blog has come to embody, I just wanted to admit that this is hard for me. It’s all still really new, but I am coming to ask for prayers as I start this new journey, and try to figure out what exactly it is I am supposed to do next.

Between the pursuit of a masters degree, a trip to the ER and a retreat that I MC’d, a lot has happened in the past four months of this year 2018.

Each of these events has left a mark on my soul, and has stirred in me a new desire to give back to the world in a better way than I was.

I’m sure as time goes on, I will have the opportunity to tell you more about all these big changes, but for now, throw up an extra Hail Mary for me if you think about it.

I’ll be praying for you as well.