Thursday, February 19, 2015

That Zim Zum Kind of Love

Pastor Rob Bell is one of my favorite teachers. TIME magazine put him on their 100 Most Influential People list. He's a young + progressive pastor, founder of the Mars Hill Bible Church, and best-selling author.

He and his wife, Kristen ((no, not that Kristen Bell)), wrote a book ((ZimZum of Love)) that I can't wait to read. I saw them talking about it with my favorite lady, Oprah. I literally took notes.

Zimzum is a Hebrew word that represents the space God created outside of Himself in order to make room for the Universe. It means the energetic space between two people, that is contracting and expanding for one another, and because of one another.

Their philosophy is that both partners should make a conscious decision to create space outside of themselves in order to make room for the other and to prioritize their life together.

Something I realized I can be better at in my marriage is the scorecard. For example, "I'm not going to pick up your clothes because I always pick up your clothes. You're a grown man, put them in the hamper." Good "zimzum" can't thrive with a scorecard mentality. When you are "keeping score," you are withholding love + good energy, and waiting on your partner. That stalls the zimzum, or keeps the momentum from building.

However, disassociating with the ego, and wanting to make your partner happy, builds up the momentum. It weakens personal ego and strengthens the union of your partnership. This is one area where G really crushes it. He is such a giver. He always rubs my lower back when we hug, he dishes out compliments to me left and right, and brings me coffee in bed every day. I just think it's all about intention. Because if he did these things to score points, they would be to strengthen his ego. The energy between us would be different. He just does this naturally, and selflessly. In that regard, I strive to be more like him. Not because I want to "even the score," but because I want to keep the momentum in our zimzum goin' strong. The GOAL isn't to be a "better wife" ((strengthening my ego)), I want to drop the scorecard//competition, and give selflessly because the energy between us will strengthen. I want to keep up with the laundry, clean the dishes, and cook our food, without pointing these out to him to get a pat on the back ((current habit of mine that is totally annoying and that I'm working on)).

So, G and I fight. I know there are some couples out there who say they just never fight, but yeah, we definitely fight. But there is a good way to fight, and I want to continually get better. I felt a mental shift when I heard this line:

"Assume your partner is seeing something you don't. When you get married, you gain a second set of eyes."

Usually in the heat of the moment, I want to show my perspective to G, because I'm convinced I'm right, and he could learn from me. Hehe. That sounds so snarky and rude ((but it's truthful))!!! Since I'm neutral now, I can realize that mentality is super-micro. If I zoom out, and take a way more macro point of view ((and yes, it's new-agey and philosophical, but if you read my blog you know that's my style, so whatever)), I want my LIFE to be a RICH human experience. I want to do as much, learn as much, and experience as much as I can. By being married to George, I have the unique advantage of seeing the world through not only my eyes//perspective, but also his. And now, with LG, I also see the world through her eyes! Which gives me a much bigger view on life. This emotional maturity helps me connect to a much broader range of personalities. That's an incredible gift! Even though I may disagree with the way G sees a particular situation, being willing to see the world through his point of view only makes me wiser and smarter.

Tangible example if all of this is too wordy-

I have a tendency to be wordy ((obviously)). I'll skirt around my point in an attempt to be polite and well liked. I think some people appreciate that in me, and I think with some people, it's necessary. Sometimes George's straight-to-the-point comments strike me initially as rude. But I can see that through his perspective, he is respecting the other person's time by not BSing, and just saying what he thinks. As a result, I have gotten better at hearing curt comments directed toward me. My skin has thickened, and now, with the appropriate people, I can even speak similarly.

So, Dave Matthews kind of coined the phrase "The Space Between," but really, I think the zimzum is all about the space between. Is there too much space between us ((distance, exhaustion)), too much overlap ((losing personal identities, goals, and friendships outside of the marriage)), or is it just right? When it's "just right," the zimzum energy is flowin'. That space is SACRED. Being a power couple isn't about having status, money, or power over society. It's about that sacred energetic space between two people.

I know all relationships have ups and downs. I know we will have off days and tough times. And now that I've published this post, I'm fairly certain at some point, it will come back to bite me in the butt, when I'm not being true to myself and ego has taken over. I think subconsciously, I want that, because I really do want to keep getting better. Luckily, when ego pops up in either of us, and the other one can neutrally and lovingly bring us back to our true self, love wins. I am grateful for our spiritual partnership, friendship, and chemistry. We fight and love passionately. I'm so thankful to get to co-create a life with you."Grace is when you know you're loved exactly as you are." Thank you, George, for showing me so much grace over the past 10 years.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Elle Marlie's Valentine's Day Giveaway!

I'm participating in my first giveaway! I ((virtually)) met two sisters from New York who make the most badass jewelry out of raw minerals. They are just getting their official online shop started. They've been selling at different markets and local venues. They have the most darling baby girls. One of the sisters has so much in common with me, it made my hair stand up! We are both Geminis, both have May babies the same age ((hers is named Lula, mine is Lilah)), and have been with our men for 10 years. That's just the tip of the iceberg. SO in honor of love and Her many forms, we are teaming up to give away this beautiful purple druzy necklace. All you have to do is follow us both on Instagram (@LindsayVM and @ElleMarlies), and tag 3 friends on this posted pic on my feed. For additional entries, you may repost the photo to your account, or tag an additional 3 friends. Unlimited entries until 2/9. I will announce the winner on 2/10, and the piece will be shipped in time for Valentine's Day!

DUDES! This is a great way to get your gal something she'll love without spending a dime.
LADIES! Treat your sister, or treat yo'self. You deserve it. Plus, we all love getting fun mail.

This is a great way to spread the word about the amazing new virtual shop, Elle Marlie's. Support small business, support these beautiful sisters, and remember, somebody is gonna win! Might as well be you!!!

Happy Valentine's Day!


Musings From Another Mother: Ashton.

Since becoming a mom, I've felt more spiritual, and definitely more connected with other women. I wanted to pick the brains of some of my friends, and share their musings here on this blog! I believe that if we collaborate, with the intention to grow, we can all benefit. I am constantly inspired by the women I surround myself with, both in the "real" world and the "virtual" world.

One of my New Year's intentions is to share thoughts and opinions from a diverse group of women on this blog.  Of course, to be cohesive with the subject matter, I will invite women who identify themselves either as feminists, spiritual entities, or mothers. Ideally, all three. Hehe.

My musings can be repetitive. I'm opening the conversation to include musings from other women.

In January, I showcased my friend, Janelle. For February, I'm showcasing another inspirational mama, and another friend of mine. Ashton.

I remember meeting Ashton in middle school. We were both in LEAP. Now, she lives in Tennessee, and is a wife and mother to 2 daughters. She's always been thoughtful, as well as thought provoking. This format of writing reminds me of our journal-sharing days back in 6th grade with Ms. Shaw! Her responses to my questions inspired me, but I can't say I was surprised.



What's your definition of a "feminist"?

To me, a feminist hopes for and fights for equal treatment for everyone, regardless of gender. However, I often extend my feelings of equality to race, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability, religion, etc. Equality for all! 

Do you consider yourself a feminist?

Absolutely. I experienced a true "feminist awakening" a few years ago and am constantly exploring ways to push myself and encourage others around me to pursue fairer treatment of all. Plus, I mean, I have two daughters, and having them has really opened my eyes to different expectations across gender. 

How has empowering yourself as a woman made you a better mother?

I think it makes me very aware of things that I want to be different for my daughters and other daughters in the world. By empowering myself I don't allow anyone else's expectations of me (or motherhood, really) to decide what is right for me and my family. And, hopefully, I am setting an example for my daughters to follow that nothing is off limits to them. 

Side note: The other day, Olivia told me that she may or may not want to get married when she is older but she does know she wants to be "an artist, a zookeeper, and a mother- and ride a motorcycle" and I thought, "okay, I'm doing alright with this motherhood thing."

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since a having a "feminist awakening"? Further from? Ambivalent? Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another?

I am a Christian and I definitely feel closer to God since becoming a mother because I now have a better understanding of unconditional love. I have never felt so connected to anyone like I do my daughters and I believe that is how God feels about us. 

For me, feminism and spirituality are related because they are both the greatest influences on my life. My belief in God and belief in the love He has for me and all of his children strengthens my feminist beliefs in equality for everyone.

What do you do and what encouraged you to get into your line of work?

I work as a behaviorist for a local firm. I work primarily with children with developmental delays that impact their behavior and their families. Typically we help target and reduce problem behaviors and teach children socially appropriate behaviors to get their wants and needs.

I taught special education in a Title 1 school in Nashville for 2 years and would often have great success with the kids in my class (most of whom had emotional or behavioral disorders) but I realized quickly that without consistency across environments and caregivers, most of that work comes apart. I wanted to work across people and places to help make the child as successful as he could be, so I went back to school at Vanderbilt and earned my M. Ed. in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis.

What's your greatest struggle being a professional and a mother?

For me, I am passionate about both my work and my family- and the hardest part is determining who to give what, when. Right now I work mostly afternoons and evenings which cuts into time with my children, but I have a flexible schedule, mornings off with my husband, and weekends at home with my girls. So, it's irregular, but it's our normal.

How does your role in the home affect you professionally?

I am fortunate to have a husband who sees me as his equal in all aspects and supports me. When I thought about going back to school he encouraged me and helped make it work out financially. When I work until the late evening I never have to worry if the kids are fed or in bed on time. I do not have to be the primary caregiver, house cleaner, and also a full-time working woman.  We share all responsibilities evenly and rely heavily on one another, and it's something that I think makes our relationship so unique. We both have jobs that we are passionate about (he's a full-time musician) and we both encourage and support one another to do that and have a family.

What spiritual practices//habits//routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality to your family life?

Given our crazy schedule, we do not have a very set routine. We attend church on occasion and pray before the meals we eat together. We read the Bible and talk about the parables and Christ's message of loving others. But that's about as far as a routine goes.

The biggest practices we are incorporating into our family life are practices of generosity, gratitude, and stewardship. We try not to be over-consumers (nearly everything we purchase is second hand) and we try to teach our children not to be wasteful (we recycle like crazy). We communicate with our children that not everyone has what we have and we live in an excessive society, so we are constantly purging things from our home and donating them, as well as trying to reduce the amount we bring in. We donate time and money to causes we support and I have definitely seen that rub off on our children. We are trying to teach our children to value people, not things, and to value their world. And so far it's working out nicely.

Are you raising your kids the same way you were raised, from a religious standpoint? 

No, not really. The foundation of the beliefs I was raised with are the same but in practice our beliefs are much different. 

What are you keeping the same and what are you consciously changing?

We are Christian, and we believe God loves everyone, even those who are different from us. There are many things I was taught as a child that does not sit well with me as an adult and, to me, those things do not speak God's message of loving others. I do not believe that women are subservient or that homosexuals go to hell. I don't believe that God is a Republican (or a Democrat, for that matter) or that God blesses us with monetary things. I believe God meets our needs, sure, but I do not believe that if I'm "in His favor" I will be given a rich, healthy life. I mean, look at the life of Jesus. In case you cannot tell, the "prosperity gospel" makes me sick. In summary, if I truly believe that God loves me more intensely than I love my own, imperfect, children, I can't believe many of the things I was told as a child being raised in an Evangelical church.

I think one of the greatest things I am changing is the way I respond to people different than I am. For me it's not, love the sinner, hate the sin, it's just love the person. We don't teach our children to be tolerant, we teach them to be compassionate. One of my favorite authors, Glennon Doyle Melton (she's basically my guru) says "traffic is to be tolerated, people are to be celebrated." We don't want our girls to have the attitude of "well I'm still nice to so-and-so even though they do that" because to us that's not the message of Jesus. We don't describe others to our children as being good or bad- and we are teaching them (and ourselves) to turn judgment inward (reflective) instead of outward. I want to question the way I treat others and show God's love, not the decisions others are making.

Oh, and there's also that thing where we tell our children God is both our Father AND our Mother. If we believe we are "created in His image" we can't believe that half the population is different from that image.That's pretty different than what I was taught as a kid.

What is the difference between religion and spirituality? 

I think religion is (most) people doing the best they can to put into practice their spirituality. And to me, spirituality is this deep rooted sense that something greater than you exists, whether that something be a purpose or a being, that depends on the person experiencing it. I think religion and spirituality can exist in the same person but I've also seen them one without the other. 

What do you think happens when we die?

I wish I knew, but I just have this reassuring feeling that whatever it is, it is peaceful. I believe in an afterlife but I don't know what that looks like, but I do believe that my family will be there and we will live in the presence of God. I just imagine it will feel like being really, really loved. If Heaven happened to be an endless beach with an eternal sunset and an umbrella drink, I would be okay with that too.

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?

We are a pretty direct family, so when my kids ask something, we answer it. If we don't know the answer we tell them we don't know the answer. We always ask them the same question back like "what do you think about that?" I think our communication has always been so open with our kids that there hasn't been many big questions, but rather a series of small conversations saying what we believe, why, and what we do about it. We also don't lie to our kids so hopefully that keeps lines of communication open as they get older.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Dear Lilah Grace || A Letter to my 20-Month Old AFTER Her First Time-Out.

Dear Lilah Grace,

You are 20 months now, but as far as I'm concerned, you are definitely 2. Your vocabulary has me in complete awe. You definitely say over 100 words, and tell me all about the animals, what sounds they make, what colors they know shapes ((circle, square, triangle)), letters ((B, D, G, L, M, P, S)), and can count to 8. You say "please" and "thank you," and you clearly communicate what you want. Everything is in the 3rd person, and I find it rather endearing//adorable that even when you're being difficult, you still haven't discovered the word "my" or "mine" yet.

ie: "Lilah's bread," or "Lilah's Baby Jesus," but never "mine." Hehe. 

Which leads me to a "first" for us!

Yesterday when I picked you up from the nanny, she told me you had to sit in time-out. Twice! What the heck?! That was a first. I asked where time-out was, and how long you were there. It's just the ottoman in the living room, and for about 2 minutes.

You brought 4 toy ducks with you to the nanny, and the rule is you must share your toys, otherwise they get taken up. Well, you didn't want to share (("No! Lilah's!")) so the nanny put them away. Then, no surprise, you threw a fit. So you were placed in time out. Later, you didn't share again, and according to the nanny, you even pushed a little boy! That last part surprised me. I know you don't like sharing, but I've never seen you push or hit.

Hearing this information was interesting, because it was a first for me. I've never been a mom until you, and I've never heard about you being disciplined until now! So, I became immediately aware of what I was feeling and thinking.

I cannot control your environment 24/7. TRUST ME, I TOTALLY WANT TO.

Had I been in control of the environment yesterday, I would have turned off the TV at the nanny's house, and gone into a different room so I could have your undivided attention. It even kind of irks me that you were disciplined in an environment where the TV was on, and you might not have even really understood what was going on. But at the end of the day? It's the nanny's house, her rules, and I stand by the rule of sharing. Some day, you'll be in public school, where I can't control the environment. God knows you'll one day go to parties, and I will SO BADLY want to control that environment, but no, I'll be at home biting my nails until you arrive safely at home, under my roof, when I will once again deep breathe and count my blessings.

So...since I can't control the environment all the time, I CAN control the environment when we're at OUR house ((so I'm uppin' my game)) and I CAN discuss with you what I like and dislike about other places. On our drive home from the nanny yesterday, I talked to you about time-out, and sharing. I told you that this was completely normal behavior for a 2 year old, and I wasn't disappointed in you for being a normal 2 year old. I said you would have the chance to show everybody how quickly you learned your lesson in sharing on Thursday, and reminded you that I loved you.

I realized once we got home that I probably spent way too much time talking about it, and you probably tuned out 90% of it. That was another great awareness for me. Like I said, I'm learning, too. I'll be patient with you, you be patient with me. We've got this.

I know for certain that you thrive with limited iPad//computer//TV ((I'm all for these devices, just in moderation, and with a warning when it's the "last time" before putting it away)). I like to see you paint, build with blocks, and use your imagination with your puppets. I like seeing you play with chalk, and pretend to cook at your kitchen. I like building snowmen out of play-doh with you. I see a light in your eye when we engage in these activities, and I love knowing that what I'm doing is so important in helping your inner self emerge. I don't expect the nanny to give you the same one-on-one attention. She has a few kids, and her job is tough. So, I'll just make sure to make the most of our days together, engaging you, and asking you to share your toys with me. Hehe.

I know for certain that you thrive being outside on pretty weather days. Today, you ran around in our backyard for about an hour and let off a ton of energy. I laid out on a quilt, with my phone inside ((because I'm easily distracted, too)), and admired you and your free spirit. You sang Jingle Bells while patting on a bench as your drum. You teased Stella with your peanut butter sandwich. You were happy, and free, and I want you to feel that as often as possible.

I think you'll ultimately be a better person by learning how to adapt in different environments. I want to see you running and playing drums outside, but it's also important for you to learn how to respect authority, and play nicely with other kids, and I think those days when I'm at work are perfect for learning those lessons.

We will continue to have play dates on my days off, and I'll continue to show you how wonderful sharing can be. Your friend, Dillon, has shared his toys so generously with you. I'm excited for you to share your toys with him next time! I'm really proud of who you are, who you're becoming, and who I'm becoming because of you.

As always, I affirm that you are:


Every conscious parenting move I make will be in an attempt to keep you thriving, evolving, and becoming who you are meant to be. 

I love being your mama.

I love who you are, forever, no matter what. And next time, share your damn toys. Stinker.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Musings From Another Mother: Janelle.

Since becoming a mom, I've felt more spiritual, and definitely more connected with other women. I wanted to pick the brains of some of my friends, and share their musings here on this blog! I believe that if we collaborate, with the intention to grow, we can all benefit. I am constantly inspired by the women I surround myself with, both in the "real" world and the "virtual" world.

One of my New Year's intentions is to share thoughts and opinions from a diverse group of women on this blog.  Of course, to be cohesive with the subject matter, I will invite women who identify themselves either as feminists, spiritual entities, or mothers. Ideally, all three. Hehe.

My musings can be repetitive. I'm opening the conversation to include musings from other women.

First up, Janelle.

I am inspired time and time again by my friend, Janelle. We went to high school together, and have rekindled thanks to social media, despite the geographical distance. She is a mother to 3, a wife, an entrepreneur, a Christian and a feminist. I asked her some questions, and she gave me some answers.

Thank you for bravely sharing your musings, Janelle! I hope anybody reading this with young kids checks out your business!

*If you think you could provide thought provoking responses to these questions, I encourage you to reach out to me. Click "Contact" at the top of the page! Thanks, and happy reading!


What's your definition of a "feminist"?
A feminist is someone who is genuinely interested in the equal and fair treatment of women. By my definition a feminist is not only classified as a woman but a father, a brother, a son or a husband.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?

As a woman, and the mother of a little girl, it would be an atrocity for me not to consider myself a feminist!

How has empowering yourself as a woman made you a better mother?

Yes, I believe self-empowerment causes an inevitable improvement in all roles you occupy. Before you were a mother, wife, student, career woman etc. you were first an individual. If you empower that individual everything else will naturally grow as well.

Do you feel closer to whatever you call the Higher Power since a having a "feminist awakening"? Further from? Ambivalent? Do you think feminism and spirituality are related, or have nothing to do with one another?

As a woman, having children (or the conscious decision not to) changes how you view your own feminism; it helps you to realize and step into your greatness. Having children also causes a reflection that changes how you see your Creator. I am sure there is some sort of awakening for men, but as a woman—the physical vessel in which life passes through—this little person growing inside of you becomes a miraculous phenomenon (between bouts of morning sickness). The older I am the more real God becomes to me; He is less of a character in a really old story book but more a benevolent friend.
This question is a bit tricky as I feel like the Bible is one of the most chauvinistic and sexist books known to man. However, with that said I also do not believe in the Bible as it is written. Feminism is not represented in the Bible, as women are only portrayed as “helpers” rather than “initiators” and if a woman is mentioned in a leading role it was usually in a negative light (Jezebel, Delilah, the daughter of Herodias to name a few). We are ordered to be submissive to our husbands and to obey. I could go on…but I’ll step off my soap box for now.

What encouraged you to start your own business?

I was 6 months pregnant and excited to finally go shopping for my son. After 2 hours of exasperation and frustration I realized that there is a clear bias in favor of little girls in retail. The girls had 6 racks of pretty little frilly things and perfectly coordinated outfits while the boys had 1 table of ugly brown onesies. To make it worse, we were getting triplicates of baby gifts because the options for little boys are so scarce. So in an act of sheer desperation—and boredom from being on bedrest—I bought a sewing machine and discovered I was actually good at it! In addition, I was so sick of tiny teddy bears or bouncing bottles on ALL MY STUFF! If I had to carry it then I wanted it to be cute!

What's your greatest struggle being a female entrepreneur?

Balancing it all. I am always coming up short in some role that I occupy. If I’m fully engrossed in a new pattern or a new project then I am neglecting time with my children. If I am playing with my kids and creating memories then I am forsaking time I could dedicate to expanding and growing my business. I think that this is further highlighted by the fact that I am a Stay at Home Mom. It would be easier if I took them to daycare to go to a traditional 9-5 as it would lend itself to out of sight, out of mind (out of guilt) but when I am sticking my one year old in front of Disney Jr. to start a project or listening to my 2 month old scream because I’m just at the tail end of a project then I feel like the worst mom in history. I wrestle with maintaining my business or dedicating my time to my children every hour.

How do you market your business?

Twenty-Nine E11even LLC. offers handmade gifts and custom creations. Founded on the scripture of the same reference: Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans that I have for you..." Everyone has a purpose and it is for that purpose we bring you items of the highest quality at the most affordable prices. There are very few things greater than a customized gift from the heart; it is the perfect way to say "I love you" and "I care." Allow us to help you express that love as only the best can do! It is a blessing to be a part of your purpose at Twenty-Nine E11even!

How does your spirituality impact your business-making decisions?

I try to do honest business, business with integrity and create items that I would be proud to represent. The fact that I am a Christian holds me to a higher standard meaning I do not take shortcuts in quality in order to positively impact my bottom line nor do I upcharge just to “discount” in order to make a sale.

What spiritual practices//habits//routines do you incorporate into your life? How do you bring spirituality to your family life?

My spirituality is based on a relationship with God and His son Jesus. As with any relationship constant communication is needed in order for it to grow and flourish. I do not practice daily meditative prayer in a formal sense, but I do talk to God/Jesus on a daily basis. This is usually accomplished during cleaning (which I find very meditative in itself), early in the morning before the kids are up and late at night once they have gone to bed. This is not a formal “most kind heavenly Father, Lord I am thankful for your many blessings…” kind of prayer just a normal conversation with my Creator. I talk to him like I talk to my friends, I express my gratitude, and I ask for His protection.
Because my children’s spirituality is predicated on my example, I do not hide the moments in which I openly have conversations with God. I usually have these converstations aloud anyways. In addition, we go to church (most Sundays… I do not want them to think that perfect church attendance is required for their salvation), we say grace before meals (whether we are in public or not) and we pray before school and work every day as a family. My daughter will remind us if we don’t make it a priority in the morning.

Are you raising your kids the same way you were raised, from a religious standpoint? What are you keeping the same and what are you consciously changing?

Ummmmmm no! I was raised in a Pentecostal church (in our sect of Pentecostalism our churches all end in Church of God in Christ or C.O.G.I.C) by a father who was on track to be a Pentecostal Pastor. This meant we were to be the example of Godliness which in the COGIC church meant the strict adherence to a million rules. For example, we were not allowed to play games that had dice, could not listen to secular music, could not wear pants, dye our hair, wear red nail polish or lipstick or open toed shoes (just to name a few). All of these were justified and validated by scripture of course. We were also required to memorize countless scriptures, had to be the first to join every organization and could be found in church every day that ended in “Y”. Our spirituality was defined by religion; the continuous repetition of an act.
Though I appreciate the fact that my parents introduced me to God at an early age, taught us how to pray before they taught us our “ABC’s” and shielded us from some aspects of the world I do not agree with the manner in which they went about it. I want my children to build a relationship with God based on a desire to gain an understanding, love and respect; I do not want them to blindly follow for the sake of religion.

What is the difference between religion and spirituality? 

Religion is a habitual act; we brush our teeth and wipe our butts religiously. Spirituality is based on a relationship built upon understanding. When you love someone you go out of your way to learn about their past, their preferences and their beliefs. If you love Christ wouldn’t you do the same?  

What do you think happens when we die?

I do believe that there is a heaven. Its funny when I was little I was told that heaven was like going to church all day every day for eternity. This sounded like hell to me and I wanted nothing to do with it lol. Some people have told me that we will not have relationships in heaven because there would be no need for them. But what kind of heaven would it be if I didn’t know my aunts, grandmas, mother, father husband or children? I would rather live my trying to get to heaven than to die and wish I was there.  Just as there is a heaven I also believe there is a hell and I am not trying to discover that place!

How do you talk to your kids about the big questions?

I try to give them the version of the truth that I feel is appropriate for them to understand. I do not lie to them and I am not good with euphemisms, but I do at least try and make it age appropriate. I also do not believe that I have to have all the answers and I am not afraid, or ashamed, to admit to my kids that I do not know everything.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Quick Trip to Bartlesville for Christmas

This past Christmas was one for the books. One of the highlights was our stay at the Price Tower in Bartlesville, OK. We were going north to visit the Tinker Tribe...Grandpa T turned 90, Grandma and Grandpa T celebrated 70 years of marriage, and of course, Christmas! So, George's mom decided she would treat us all to rooms at the historic skyscraper.

The building is AWESOME, yall.

Price Tower is Frank Lloyd Wright's only skyscraper. Originally planned to be in NYC, but ended up on the Oklahoma plains, it is commonly referred to as "the tree that escaped the crowded forest."

Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique architecture is obvious throughout the building. One of the more interesting features to me was the "taproot" design. Inspired by trees, he created a solid central foundation, like a trunk of a tree ((with the elevator shafts)), then designed the floors cantilevered out from the central core.

And of course, the turquoise, copper, and mid-century modern design had my jaw on the floor. I wanted to take a million pictures ((not allowed)) and incorporate these ideas into our home! The heated turquoise tiles in the bathroom will one day find their way under my feet again...under our roof...I am certain.

Uncle Phil treated us to a round of drinks in the Copper Bar. The ambiance was were the Sugar Cookie Martinis. I discovered Rumchata, and have been a changed woman ever since. Now I have to remind myself I can't add it to my coffee before work. Hehe.
Papa G and his clone, admiring one another on our bed at the Price Tower.

My man and his bros at the Copper Bar.

We missed the tour ((hey, we traveled 5 hours with a 20 month old!)), but when we arrived, LG quickly found herself cozied up to her GrandDad.

LG got to bond with her fellow Tinkers! Here she is bonding with Uncle Stink!

The cutest interaction, bar none. LG meeting her cousin, Jake. He was the most mellow, happy, good-natured baby! And what you can't see beneath that precious Santa hat is a head full of beautiful dark hair. He's a looker! I fell in love BIG TIME. I definitely want to offer LG a sibling one day.

These went along for the trip. I heard an interesting show on the Diane Rehm show about the importance of "tapping into the familiar in a new setting, and the opposite, finding new things in your routine." Supposedly, the practice strengthens neural connections. So for example, discovering a house you've never noticed on your every day drive to work. And, when we were exploring this brand new ((to me)), beautiful piece of ART that is Price Tower, I had my familiar lavender oil on my wrists and earlobes. I swear by Thieves while traveling to prevent sickness. LG had this annoying cold-coughy thing going on, so I'd been using the R.C. on her chest at night ((similar to Vick's Vapor Rub)). And then, ever since her febrile seizure a year ago, I go nowhere without Advil//Tylenol//Peppermint oil to ward off a fever.

My reading material for the trip! I wish I had more time to read!! I started with Lena Dunham's book. So far, it's hilarious and addicting! The Conscious Parent has been on my list for over a year. I saw Dr. Tsefali on Super Soul Sunday and everything she said seemed like what I already believed to be true. So, I didn't feel an urgency to read it, because I think I'm already parenting in this way, but I definitely wanted to see what material didn't make the interview.

A snowy drive home to Texas rounded out the trip just perfectly.

NOT FEATURED on this blogpost: our amazing Christmas Eve in Copper Canyon, also singing at the family church service...waking up on Christmas Day in our home, just the 3 of us...Christmas at the Van Meter homestead, complete with a delicious breakfast, board games, and my mom's homemade Italian sauce + Christmas lasagna, the karaoke showdown across the street, and a lovely New Year's dinner at my paternal grandparents' home. We are so grateful for our supportive and loving families. They all make life meaningful. And then of course, Lilah just makes it magical.

Happy 2015!


Wednesday, December 31, 2014


Made a connection with my late friend, John, at the Spirit Fair in OKC.

Papa G became a proud Prius owner.

The Tinkers bid farewell to a long-time family friend, Walter Hardts.


Lilah had a 9 minute long febrile seizure. She had ((unbeknownst to us)) caught the flu, and spiked a 104 temp out of nowhere. It was the most terrifying day we've endured as parents. She bounced back like a champ. We learned that life is fragile, we were lucky, and to count our blessings. Ever since this day, I've been the thermoregulating mama goddess, with my arsenal of Tylenol, Motrin, and Peppermint Oil.

Thoroughly enjoyed nibbling on my sweetheart on her first Valentine's Day

We installed our restored wood wall, with wood from George's family's homestead! My favorite home improvement project to date.

On pretty days, we played outside.

On cold + rainy days, we longed to be outside.
Lilah Grace saw her first rainbow, and it was a double, full-arch, rainbow. Because she's magical.

I learned how to make a floral crown, thanks to my favorite flower-child, Rocky.

My sister said "yes" to the dress!

We celebrated LG's 1st Easter!

May 6th: LG turned 1.

Our love-muffin, Dunkin Donut Tinker, suffered a severe trauma injury ((suspected car)) and we braced ourselves for the potential of him losing a leg. Thanks to great vet care, a good amount of money, and a whole lot of luck, he is now back to 110%.

My golden birthday! Turned 27 on the 27th.

Enjoyed being with my family, and checking out the Perot Museum in Dallas. May 29th was a memorable day. I had to reshape my thoughts, and really work on applying the spiritual principles I've studied and applied rather seamlessly until then. I'm still reminding myself that while I can't change or control news I don't like, I can change and control my reaction.     
Attended our cousin Catherine and Thomas' wedding in Bartlesville//Tulsa, OK.

Attended Mr. Ryan's funeral with my friend, Erin. We were in his AP US History class in high school. He was one of the best teachers I ever had. 
LG tried her first snowcone.
Papa G is a show producer for a national fireworks and special effects company, so needless to say, we don't get to hang out with him on the 4th of July! But we are so grateful for his hard work, passion, and drive.

We spent A LOT of time swimming. Either in the $4 garage sale site pool in our backyard, or the Dwyer's pool for swim lessons!

LG went on her first flight, met the ocean, and was a flower girl for the first time at our cousin Isabel and Chris' wedding in Cape May, NJ!
My sister's bridal shower ((which was actually on her birthday))!!! And then, the next day, she moved to Houston. I'm happy for her, but immediately missed her being nearby.

Jessica's Bachelorette Party in Cancun!
Saw these two loves of my life in Oklahoma. Love those Norman day-trips. Miss my soul-sissy and her precious Jude-boy all the time! Look at that face. Darling.

Georgie tackled the front yard like a boss. Scalped it. It was loaded with goathead stickers. He put in new sod himself. The front yard was a huge ((metaphorical + physical)) learning experience and project. I'm proud of my hubby for this one. 

Jessica's Bridal Shower!

Bud's Bachelorette Party!
Papa & Binky gave us THE BURLEY!

We enjoyed amazing seats while being entertained by our talented friends at Rocky Horror, and then enjoyed a rooftop open-bar party because we were with Danny & Cade. Lucky us!

ACL 2014. Reunited with O'Shiz. My favorite shows included Outkast, Eminem, Lorde, Avett Brothers, and Jenny Lewis.
OCTOBER 18: MY SISTER TIED THE KNOT! Her boyfriend-turned-fiance-turned-husband is now my BROTHER! And of course, LG made a perfect flower girl!

Lilah Grace enjoyed fireworks for the first time. Now, if you ask her what Daddy does for work, she'll tell you "sparkles in the"

NOVEMBER 1: Jessica and Shek got hitched!!! LG made her 3rd and final 2014 flower girl appearance, and was then whisked away by my parents, so I could enjoy a night of partying with some of my favorite people.

Hammy and Elise got engaged on a fun surprise trip to ATX. So happy for them! The cutest lovebirds ever!

My friend and photographer-extraordinaire, Greer, came to town and captured my family's bliss. I got to second-shoot a wedding in Dallas! We talked for hours at the table before going to bed. She then slept on a P.O.S. air mattress with a hole in it, and we now have a daybed ((Christmas gift from my folks)). My apologies! And thank you, Greer!

Thanksgiving. Another beautiful table and delicious meal made by my mother.


Lilah developed an intense love affair with SNOWMEN (("nami")) and her SPARKLE TREE (("spah-kah tee")). The magic of Christmas was felt the entire month of December, thanks to our precious daughter.

I took another solo-weekend trip to Oklahoma. I caught up with friends, received another amazing message ((this time from my late grandparents)), and stayed at a gorgeous modern loft-style hotel my friend's dad project-managed. I returned to Texas feeling rejuvenated, connected, and happy. I saw a double rainbow and a cross in the sky on my drive home.

Christmas Morning. Santa brought Lilah a light-up turtle ((her friend, Dillon, has one, and she LOVES both Dillon and the toy!)) and a harmonica for LG. We spent Christmas Eve with Georgie's parents and maternal grandparents, and had a wonderful time in their home with their presence and presents, and at their church, singing for the family service! Christmas morning, we woke up in our own home, and enjoyed a nice morning just the 3 of us, before going to my folks' house for the rest of the day. We loved the sticky buns, eggs, biscuits and gravy for breakfast, and homemade sauce with Christmas lasagna for dinner. We enjoyed gifts and playing The Game of Life with my sis and brother-in-law. That night, we sang karaoke at our friends' house across the street, and came in at 1st runner up ((we are STILL gloating!)). The next morning, we went to Bartlesville, and celebrated my father-in law's FATHER's 90th birthday, and 70th wedding anniversary. We also met a new baby in the family! And fell in love with him! Big time! We enjoyed a snowy drive home on the 27th, and finally celebrated Christmas with my paternal grandparents. A delicious meal prepared by my Mimi, and George stabbing his hand while opening one of LG's presents, were the highlights. All kidding aside, a lot of wonderful memories were made.


To everything || turn, turn, turn...
There is a season || turn, turn, turn...
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time of war, a time of peace
A time of love, a time of hate
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sow
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late!

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