Thursday, June 26, 2014

problem solving... a dbt skill that i am learning and getting better at.

yesterday i was caught up in feelings of guilt and shame so i did another dbt skill, check the facts, where you factually examine if what you are feeling and experiencing fits the facts of the situation. i was feeling guilt and shame over not exercising like i "should" be doing because of my pcos and i have an upcoming appt with my obgyn where i will have to report my progress - or lack of progress - to him. i decided that guilt over not doing what i said i would do and shame - wanting to hide a private aspect of my life that might get me rejected by others when shared - did fit the facts IF i did not let it get out of control and shut me down.

so i went into problem solving mode and dug down deep to really discover what was causing this road block of me not exercising. i discovered two things : 1) there are some catastrophes i'm worried about (being over heated, sweating, the sensations of sweat, and other things along those lines) which i'll need to talk to susan about in our next session and 2) i realized i really am not motivated. susan and i both thought i would be motivated because the pcos is a threat to my ability to having children but i'm not actively trying to have children right now - hell i can't seem to get a date! lol - so it's not really motivating. 

but guess what is motivating....?? A NEW COACH PURSE!! oh ya baby! when i thought about getting a new coach purse i think i started salivating :) so i made a simple six week chart and wrote at the bottom in big letters "i'm walking for a new coach purse!!!" (3x/wk for 30 min) and that is the goal i have to meet before i can get it. it is HIGHLY motivating! and i have two other calendars filled out with other motivating prizes that i want to 'walk' for. 

i had to call susan and tell her the good news! she was so - well i think proud - and pleased with my work. and so was i! i did some really good problem solving on my own and checking the facts.

the skills work! it's amazing how much better they make my life. i'm becoming a better person and seeing success in my life because of them.

join me in a 6 week goal with a reinforcing prize!

what are you 'walking' for?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

crazy cups

soon after i was home from my mission i went through a period where i needed to have water with me all the time. it was one of my greatest fears that i would be in a public place and would not be able to get water. i was not doing a therapy that helped me problem solve my fears so i was not able to think about the possibility of buying water. to me, if i didn't have water with me, it didn't exist. to some degree i became consumed with this fear. every time i got ready to leave the house my throat would close up, i would get really thirsty, and i would start to panic.

it began to become a problem. i would take water bottles with me but i didn't really like them - for some reason they didn't offer me the comfort i was seeking. i saw my first 'crazy cup' as i named them at s's house. i knew immediately it was the solution to my problem. it was a 24 oz tervis tumbler. with it i could make my water the way i wanted, carry it close to me, and it would last me while i was running errands. 

now i'm happy to say that three-ish years later i can leave the house without water - because i know i can buy it at the places i go if i get thirsty or stop at sonic :) - but i don't often do that because it's habit and it's TEXAS so it's really hot here and being thirsty really isn't that strange.

this is the one i've been using for the past year-ish since i've been home - cute, right?!

i call them my 'crazy cups' because of my definition of crazy which can be found here. not because i am crazy in the way people use that word these days but in the way i use that word.

i absolutely LOVE them! they are my FAVORITE drink cups! they keep my drinks so cold and are the perfect size. i love everything about them. when i moved back home i only kept one out - huge mistake - and i have totally been missing my other 2 :( like, really missing them. so the other day i decided i deserved a 'reinforcement' (a dbt skill where you reinforce yourself for doing something good that was hard for you or that met desired expectations) and i got myself another 'crazy cup'!! i'm so happy with it and love it to pieces!

 the bigger one is what i just got as my reinforcement and it's adorable!!!

it has owls on it {of course} because i'm obsessed with owls and they are just my thing. i'll probably write a post soon on owls and why they mean so much to me.

i get my tervis tumblers from bed bath and beyond :)

Saturday, June 14, 2014


last night i was very lonely. the kind of lonely that caused me to reach out to a few friends and confide in them what was causing my sadness and loneliness. then i sat and stared. stared into space. thinking thoughts about what i can do to improve my life and imagining it less lonely.

in the quiet came an answer i wasn't expecting. what if loneliness is what brings us to the only person who can truly fill that void : god. this really got my attention. there are many people who can distract me from my loneliness - friends, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, soon nephews, one day a husband and hopefully kids, my brother, grandparents. and certain activities i can do that distract from my loneliness - shopping (like going to hobby lobby or the hallmark store), taking a brief vacation, painting, taking walks, blogging, going on facebook. but at this stage in my life i find that there are frequent moments where i feel the sting of loneliness strongly.

who can fill that void with unconditional peace, love, understanding and comfort? because of my faith and belief the answer for me is god. and so last night with tears streaming down my face i fell to my knees and asked him to comfort his daughter who was hurting. my sentences did not make much sense but i asked him to feel my heart and ease the pain i was feeling. soon after that i fell asleep.

one of my friends responded back to my question of how she managed her years of waiting before she was married and started her family (from my perspective, the 'lonely years') she mentioned that there is a blog post going around called are you lonely, mama? she said a lot of her mommy friends are sharing it and that it talks about the loneliness and struggles moms go through during the season of motherhood. i just read it and it's really good and made me think about how with each season of life there will be moments of loneliness.

s's partner, st, wrote me a note a few years ago that i have saved. it was so powerful i want to share what she wrote : "life is really a series of moments. good moments. bad moments. joyful moments. painful moments. but if you remain present - engaged in all of your moments then you will always be able to look back and know that whatever moments you experience - they are just moments that make up a fabulous - full life." so beautifully and simply written.

i am coming to learn that there is purpose in suffering - there is purpose in loneliness. it reminded me of a time when i had no close friends and how painful that was. now i am grateful everyday for the close friendships in my life. this time of loneliness and desiring a family of my own will hopefully help me be a more compassionate wife and mother one day as i remember the time i went through when i didn't have what i wanted right away.

what is your time of loneliness teaching you?

Friday, June 13, 2014

it has come to my attention ....

.... that i am living my life with more awareness. i give much credit to susan and therapy - but also credit to myself. i am becoming self-aware and learning what i do and do not want to become and taking steps to come closer to that.

i was super pissed the other night. i texted s and she texted back that she had her phone close so i called her. we talked through the situation that was making me upset. basically it came down to i felt like a friend was not being able to express her individuality by making a style choice because some people in her life didn't approve. s and i talked back and forth about why this made me upset - the ins and outs of the situation - and how she understood my frustration. the amazing thing about having a friend like s is her ability to understand ME. she gets it. and i'm so grateful.

after we had chatted for a while i told her that i'm learning in my life the same thing can be done many ways and it can all be right. i'm learning to let people (my friends and siblings, people i work with at church, the 4 girls i'm watching this summer who are in their teens, etc) grow in their individuality and do things their own way. so it's not my way. ok. the world won't end. so maybe it's not as fast as my way. ok. we've got time. so we have to clean up a bigger mess. ok. life is a process of learning.

a perfect example of me learning this was when i was watching one of the girls tuesday and she was making lunch for us. i found myself hovering in the kitchen - wanting to be helpful but not sure what to do - and she just said, "you know you can go sit down, you don't have to stay in here." totally real. totally like "i need my space and i don't need you right now." and you know what? i was cool with that. i didn't get my feelings hurt. i just was like, "oh, she's older now, she's got this, and i'll go hang out on the couch!"

i'm really for this "space to be your own person" because in the home i have grown up in there was (and now that i'm back is) a lot of "where are you going, where have you been, what are you doing, why are you doing that, when will you be back, what is your schedule, who is coming over, you need to this, it's good to that, etc" and it has felt suffocating. especially being back as an adult it has been harder. having had more freedom in my apartment to come and go as i please, to use my time as i choose, it's been extra hard to face these daily questions.

i don't know how i'll apply it to having kids of my own but i hope that i'll be able to let them make style choices of their own that express their individuality, dye their hair if they want, create art that is expressive, paint/decorate their room - make their space unique and theirs. am i saying i'll be perfect at this? no. i hate that word. but i'm saying i'm going to try to let them be them. and in the meantime since i don't have kids i'm going to continue to practice this skill on the people around me. accept them for who they are and their efforts for what they are. let them do their best as i do my best. that's really all a person can ask of another anyway.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


saturday night c and i went to the wild brush painting studio to get our painting on! it was such a fun experience! the environment was relaxed and chill and the studio was small but you didn't feel cramped. i had the BEST time being with her and having a girls' night out and doing something i really enjoy. i took a painting class in college - and though i wouldn't say i'm an expert at it by any means - i think what makes you good at it is whether or not you like it. and i DO like it!

i also got to use my dbt skills which was really great. i used participation - throwing yourself into an activity and being fully present while doing it, not worry about what is going to come after or what you have to do later - and non-judgmentally - not judging what you are doing or the efforts you are putting forth but just doing your best and accepting your efforts for what they are. i am really growing to appreciate these skills and what they are teaching me about staying in the present moment and not treating myself with harshness.

c creating her giraffe masterpiece :)
me and my owls!
us, proud of what we'd created in under two hours!

close up of my painting!

we had a great time and are for sure going back some time in the foreseeable future. i love how the canvas went from nothing to something all in one evening. i totally recommend it!

Monday, June 9, 2014


as i was praying last night, thanking god for the many good friends i have in my life, it came gently to my mind of a time in my life when i did not have friends. my thoughts were turned to a young girl (about age 14) who constantly felt anxious and alone, who often cried out to god for relief, but for some reason was left without the close connections i have now.

in an instance i was brought back to her pain and suffering. i remembered how hard that time in my life was. i remembered how alienating it felt to go to church and feel alone - i talked to people but they were all going to high school while i was going to college - i didn't feel like i fit in with my peers and i felt so awkward around them. i had acne - much like i do now (gotta love the continuous battle ;) which was hard and i felt foreign compared to the perfect-skinned teens around me. many - many - afternoons and nights you would find me crumpled up on the floor in tears. overwhelmed and feeling alone. i often prayed for a friend. part of what i didn't understand at this point was that i didn't need lots and lots of friends.

i needed a few, good, solid friendships. i compared myself to my sister - who if we are going with extrovert/introvert, i'm the introvert and she's the extrovert - and thought i had to be like her. i thought something was wrong with me because i didn't have and didn't like to be around a lot of people all of the time. i wanted someone to go to lunch with or to the movies with or someone to chat with. simple things to me that would make all the difference in my world.

i can still remember the day when god answered my tear-filled prayers. i was about 17 and i walked into one of my college classes and there she was, my friend, sh. we clicked immediately and traded numbers, did projects, had lunches over the semester, talked all the time, and have stayed in touch all these years later as our life paths have taken us many miles apart. i remember that first day walking out of class going, "so this is what it's like to have a real friend?!"

from this moment on it was like the flood gate opened in my life in terms of having friends. god has led me to so many amazing people who have helped me through my good and difficult times. i met people on my mission who have become my friends, people in church, people in group therapy, people in school, people at work (like s :), aunts and cousins who have become dear friends, and on and on the list goes. over the years i have come to learn something about myself : i don't need hundreds of friends but i do need a handful of really good ones. i wish i could write out the names of those who have touched and influenced my life here, but i want to respect their privacy.

i hope they know that chances are if they are reading this, they are one of the ones god has placed in my life.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

the power of vulnerability

i wrote a post a few months ago about a hero of mine, brene brown. in it i talked about how she was one of the first people to get me thinking about my story and how important it really was - that it mattered and was worth telling. here is one quote by brene that has really affected me : "Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light."

today i had an incredible experience where i chose to be vulnerable (like brene teaches), authentic, and real, and i used my dbt skills. the outcome was fantastic!

i had made dinner for a friend and was driving it up to her house. the corn dog casserole was on the backseat and the rest of the food was on the passenger side floor. i thought i was paying attention to the road but apparently i wasn't paying very good attention because the people in front of me slowed down WAY fast and i had to slam on the breaks! well let me just say that man pam works 'cause that corn dog casserole slid off the backseat, out of the pan and under the passenger seat!! i laughed - cause really it was a sight to behold - i smiled - i said 'oh my gosh! ok don't freak out! you can do this! respond skillfully!' and i pulled over to the first right turn there was. wellllllll, the majority of the casserole was still in one piece and the rest i just kinda put back in the pan - i ran after the tin foil that had made it's way across the median - thank you, wind, and said to myself, 'ok, you're just going to be real and authentic and vulnerable (brene skills) and non-judgemental and throw yourself into this situation (dbt skills) and call r (my friend) and tell her what happened and ask her if she wants you to stop for new food or what she wants you to do!!'

so i called r and we had a GOOD laugh and she said 'girl you know this is something that would totally happen to me! bring it over! i want it! it's just the perfect thing to make the situation less serious and more light-hearted!' and really it was - because what's dinner without a show?? ;)

all-in-all i felt so proud of the way i responded. i was skillful and i would even use the word masterful in the moment and i was authentic with my friend. i was real with her. i didn't deliver a perfect meal, but i delivered the perfect meal for her. often i find myself thinking life would be a lot more relate-able if we would share our mistakes and imperfections with each other instead of trying to create the image that absolutely everything is - i'm about to use the 'p' word i despise - perfect. sometimes we knock the ball out of the park and we should celebrate that - but there's a lot of strikes along the way that we can all have a good laugh at. right? life's so much better with a sense of humor.

 i showed up today. i was seen. are you willing to show up and be seen?

Monday, June 2, 2014

honestly, i wanna see you be brave!

i am not feeling brave tonight. i am feeling insecure. but susan and i talk a lot about opposite action. this is where you take what you are feeling and act the opposite way - as long as it is skillful and helpful - to help you get into a better mood.

i was driving to cvs to pick up some prescriptions when the song 'brave' by sara bareilles came on. it really got my head moving and my mind thinking, 'you know what self, for so many reasons, you are brave!' and so i thought i'd list a few here.

i am brave because i have acne and i don't cover it up - i don't like it, but i don't let it hide me.

i am brave because i use my skills when i am in distress instead of self harming.

i am brave because i cry when i am hurting.

i am brave because i am compassionate to others who are suffering.

i am brave because i got a gym membership.

i am brave because i reach out to others even when i'm feeling anxious.

i am brave because i live with authenticity each day - it may not be pretty but it's real.

i am brave because i feel my emotions and let them rise and fall.

i am brave because i show up to counseling and group therapy even when i don't want to.

i am brave because i go to church.

i am brave because i search for meaning in life even in the pain.

i am brave because i write my story to help others and let them know they are not alone.

for these and so many other reasons, i am brave.

what makes you brave?