A deeper level of compassion

I realize it’s been half of a year since I’ve written. I am perhaps the most sporadic blogger ever. Life continues to keep us guessing and we have been busy trying to find the balance between letting go and forging ahead.

I’m writing today because I saw on Facebook that it’s National Infertility Awareness Week and I feel this is such an important topic that I’ve decided to share my story. Clearly as the mother of two boys that I often write and post about, I have not had fertility problems….however, due to a recent event in our life, I feel that I have such a deeper understanding and compassion for the families going through fertility problems.

About 7 weeks ago I realized that my period was late. I took a pregnancy test and despite our attempts to prevent pregnancy, sure enough it was positive. I found myself in tears with a tornado of emotions. This wasn’t the plan. Chris was scheduled for a vasectomy the following week. I was nervous and worried if we could handle another baby. I also felt joy at the thought of another member of our loud but loving family. I immediately told my mother-in-law because I was freaking out and because Chris was out of town for work and I wasn’t sure I should bother him. My mother-in-law cried too and told me that she saw joy in my eyes. In the days that followed, I found myself acutely aware of my body changing. My sense of smell once again became heightened. I felt bloated and swear I could feel this little bean inside of me growing. Chris and I told our parents, and a few other people. We began to become excited and developed a whole story around it. Six days later I started spotting and I knew. The next day I miscarried and was reminded of that for the next 7 days. I cried. Chris and I shared a few nights with a bottle of wine and a box of tissues. We talked, grieved, and started to heal. Sure, it was only 6 days and it was in the first trimester. I knew it was a possibility but experiencing it was different.

The next day my mother-in-law came over and told me to go take some time for myself. I went to yoga. There were two pregnant girls in the class of about 10 of us. The teacher was talking to them, asking them questions about their pregnancies, and then she proceeded to ask each one of us if we were mothers. In that moment, I not only felt pain but I felt so much compassion for all of the women who have miscarried and didn’t have children. I know that if I didn’t have two healthy boys at home then I would have left that yoga class in tears. The teacher of course didn’t mean any harm by the conversation. It probably didn’t even cross her mind that it is a sensitive subject. Of the 10 women in the class there was only 1 without children. I don’t know her story but I pray that is a choice.

We live in a time when so many of us face fertility problems. I have worked with a few women in my nutrition program and I look back and hope that I never said anything that was hurtful. While I have always had compassion, I didn’t fully understand the depth of pain until I experienced it.

If that tiny little bean that took residence in me for 6 short days was for nothing else, then it was to teach me a lesson of compassion. For this, I am thankful.

I realize that I’m very blessed. I know that this story is nothing compared to the struggles many of you have faced. I have not walked in your shoes. I do not know the depths of your pain and I am certainly not here to compare. If anything, I hope to shed some light on how painful this can be with the hope that we will all be a little more compassionate.

May God bless you.

It’s go time

Okay America, it’s time to dust off our hands, put our boots on, and get to work. It’s time to stop complaining about the election. Yes, it happened. It doesn’t matter who you voted for. The situation is what it is. It’s not that I don’t see the same things that you do. I am a woman. I’ve heard the disgusting things that have come out of Trump’s mouth. Yet, by focusing on this and choosing to use hateful remarks to discuss him is simply spreading the disease.

The day after the election, I had the privilege of attending Summit at Sea, a 3 day seminar on a ship. Think Ted Talks, with a lot of interesting people who often greet each other with hugs. The mood post election was palpable. There were many people so shaken that they were in tears. Luckily though, the speakers at the convention brought forth a story of hope, change, and inspiration. Over and over again, I heard that change doesn’t come from our government leaders, it comes from our communities. This information was so impactful to me. I’ve been guilty of passing the responsibility to the select few who are in charge. This has not only caused me frustration, but it has enslaved me to our government. Since I’ve been back I have felt empowered to build a community that fosters respect, openness, and hopefully change.

It’s time. It’s time to meet your neighbors. It’s time to develop authentic connections. It’s time to find like minded people to stand up for whatever it is you believe in. It’s time to stand together and unite with love in our hearts and respect for one another. It’s time to be a part of the solution rather than the problem.

What if?

Last week our son, Brooks, experienced a reaction from a vaccine. Long story short, he had a red, angry rash covering his entire upper arm, along with very distant, disturbing behavior. This recent event, along with an amazing book I just finished called, “Many lives, Many Masters” has had my wheels turning.

This post is in no way intended to be a vaccine debate. It is only discussed here because I started thinking about why Chris and I vaccinate our boys. The answer, of course, is the fear of the disease that the vaccine was made to prevent, is (or should be) worse than the fear of the vaccine itself. Why else would we willingly inject viruses and known toxins into their little bodies? Is this justified? Sure. But, what if we didn’t allow fear to rule our lives? How would that change the decisions that we make each and everyday?

I was raised in a fear based family. My parents are both deeply religious. They did not intent to instill this fear in me but they both carried their own fears and I have adopted many of them. As an adult, I’ve made many concious decisions to look fear in the face and move forward.  Though I am learning to work through my fears, it is still a part of my daily life. I worry about the same things that many of you worry about: the health of myself and loved ones, money, losing someone I love, the purpose of my life, feeling like I’m enough, sleep schedules, and future plans. I can’t say with any conviction that any of these fears are serving me.

I’ve recently noticed that Brooks has already adapted a fear based approach in his life. Often he’ll ask us questions, like, but “what if someone breaks in?” or “what if that place is closed?” Our response is usually the same, we’ll figure it out. When I think about the things that I fear- isn’t the answer basically the same? Whatever happens- we’ll look at the situation and deal with it the best we can. What is the use of spending all of that energy on being fearful and anxious about problems that we don’t even have and may never experience?

What if, like I learned in church, God created us all to be equal and eternal? I remember telling my mom when I was a child that I was someone before this. I didn’t (and still don’t) know who I was, but I know in my heart that my soul was not born 35 years ago when my mother gave birth to me. The book I recently read,  “Many lives, Many Masters“, was written by a well educated psychotherapist. The book tells about a woman he treated who under hypnosis was able to remember past lives, and also receive wisdom from spirits. Sound cooky? Maybe, but in my mind it reaffirmed what I already feel I know. We are here on this Earth to experience the joys and pains of being human. Our body is a carrier but our souls live forever. If even a small part of this rings true to you, then what do we really have to fear in this life?

I believe in a loving, powerful God. I believe in eternal life. I feel in my heart that we could all live a life guided by love instead of fear, we would have no battles to fight. We would find peace.


“Drink, Don’t Think”


A little less than a month ago, as we were driving home from Palm Springs, Chris and I were chatting about our (then) upcoming trip to Ohio. I told him that I had a bit of anxiety about going to his cousin’s wedding and my friend’s bachelorette party (the following weekend). As much as I love to see family and friends, I inevitably end up eating poorly, drinking too much, and abandoning exercise and my mediation practice. This results in a highly stressed out version of myself that I don’t particularly like. Chris, being the good husband that he is, probed me with difficult questions- “How can I make this trip different? Why do I feel the need to over indulge in alcohol? What would happen if I didn’t drink at all?” I ended up in tears. I didn’t cry because he was being mean. I cried because I realized that fear was driving me to over drink. I worried that I wouldn’t be fun if I didn’t drink. I realized that I put a lot of pressure on myself to be the party starter. I also realized that these were old thoughts that no longer served me.

From the very first time that I drank alcohol my body rejected it. I have repeatedly overindulged throughout the last decade and I have always paid the consequences. Entire days were wasted lying in bed, vomiting, eating junk, and nursing myself back to health. I have sworn over and over I’d never do it again, and yet I find myself falling into the same trap. Don’t get me wrong, my party days have waned over the years, and my overindulgences have dwindled. Still, once or twice a year, I tell myself to loosen up, and I have one or two too many. These days I have accepted my limits. Like it or not, I’m a light weight. I’ve also come to the realization that with two little boys and a life that I love, I’m not interested in sacrificing an entire day.

Armed with new intentions for my trips, I decided to plan out my week. I put exercise and mediations into my calendar. I decided what nights I would drink and how much. Sure, it may seem like overkill but it resulted in an amazing trip. I didn’t follow the plan to a tee but I did find time to exercise and meditate. I didn’t drink the night of the rehearsal dinner and despite being at the bar until 1:30 am, I only had two drinks the day/night of the wedding. I felt like myself. I had meaningful conversations. I had fun. I can recall the details.



The bachelorette party was slightly more challenging. I ended up drinking four nights in a row (the first with my family in Ohio, the other three in Nashville). Although this was never the plan, I made conscious decisions when to drink and when not to. At one point, I found myself with 14 other girls in a noisy bar. I felt out of sorts, uncomfortable for whatever reason, and I had the fleeting thought that I should get hammered. Luckily, I realized that wasn’t the best solution. Instead I picked off all of my nail polish. I nursed a drink. Shortly after, we headed to another bar where I felt much more at ease. I danced. I hung out. I enjoyed my friends. I forgave myself for not being the life of the party.


The next morning, feeling pretty normal, we went on the Sprocket Rocket, essentially a party on a bike. Our driver and party starter, Adam, informed us all to “drink, don’t think”. As I walked around Nashville that day, I realized that’s what I had been trying to do for so many years. Over indulging allowed me to numb my mind, to ease my discomfort and insecurities. Did I have more fun? Sometimes. Although I have blurry memories of these times so it’s debatable. More importantly though, today, I am someone who is challenging myself to be more comfortable in my own skin, to live in the moment, to be aware of whatever I’m feeling- even if it is uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up drinking. It simply means that like everything else in my life these days, I’m practicing doing so mindfully.

The new girl in town


It’s been a little over two weeks since we moved to Cali. We left the hustling bustling city of Chicago to move to the small beach town, Encinitas. The population here is 60,000. There is a small “downtown” with a strip of shops, cafes, and restaurants. My first week here I went downtown to have lunch and dig into my school work. The restaurant I ate at had an amazing array of organic, gluten, and dairy free food options yet no internet. I decided to eat and write and enjoy my lunch. Afterwards, I ventured down the street to a coffee shop where I got the most delicious chai tea latte. I settled into my seat, opened my computer and wrestled with my internet for ten minutes. After exhausting every option that I could think of, I looked at the guy sitting next to me and asked if his was working. Turns out the internet was down that day. Apparently the internet is a wide spread issue here. Some coffee shops intentionally don’t offer it. The other ones, you have a 50/50 chance of it actually working.

In some ways being here is like going back in time 20 years. There is a magical quality to the people and area that is difficult to describe. It has the same vibe as Byron Bay, Australia or Tulum, Mexico if you have been to either of those places. Essentially, they are places that carry a lot of positive energy that becomes contagious in the best sort of way.

Last Thursday night Chris and I ventured “downtown” for a date night. We stumbled upon the monthly Encinitas community night. The streets were filled with old show cars, music, and smiling faces. We ended up at a vegan restaurant, Eve, that we had been told about by Chris’s friend. We ate delicious food, drank kombucha, and met at least a dozen people. We were greeted with hugs instead of handshakes. We found the people we met to be very open, welcoming, and stimulating. Instead of discussing careers, we were asked what we did for service, and what our creative outlets were. We had truly interesting conversations and I found myself lost in the energy of the people around me. Not once in three hours did I look at or even wonder what time is was. The only time that it occurred to me that maybe we should go home was when one of our new friends told us goodbye and said, she was “putting herself to bed”. I left that night buzzing, but not by alcohol. Unlike any typical night out in Chicago, alcohol wasn’t even present. The restaurant was totally “dry”, offering only water, smoothies, and fermented beverages.

I honestly can’t remember a night in my adult life where I had more fun without having a single cocktail. Sad as it may sound, the only times that I went out and didn’t drink was when I was either A. pregnant or B. consciously deciding to take a break. I found it to be uplifting and encouraging to be able to have such a good time in the absence of alcohol.

To me this is just part of getting comfortable with the uncomfortable. Things are different here. Typically different makes me squeamish with fear. Slowly I can feel myself relax into the change, and maybe even become excited by it.


Thank you for reading and sharing my passion. As always, if you love what you read, please share it.

With love,



Dear Chicago


Dear Chicago,

I want to thank you. You were home to us for almost 13 years- before there was the “us” that is today. You took me in as a 22 year old girl. You taught me how to live in a big city. Sometimes you chewed me up and spit me out. I spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of tears getting my car out of the impound after getting it towed four times in one year. I spent hours frustrated sitting in traffic.  Other times, you welcomed me with open arms. It was here that I had my first job, bought my first car and later home, became a wife as well as a mother. I have layers and layers of memories in your city. I was able to meet some really amazing people, and had friendships both young and old.

I miss your walkability, your free zoo, and the giant Whole Foods nearby. I miss the option of having a girls dinner and meeting a friend for lunch. Mostly I miss the familiarity that you brought.

I came to Chicago as a young girl eager to take on a big city. I had challenges along the way but overall, I rose to the occasion. I learned the ways of living there and raising children there. You were a great home to us for many years and for that I am thankful.

I imagine I will miss you for sometime, yet slowly you will become foreign to me too and I will have a new normal. I know in my heart it was time to move on. I do not regret our decision to leave. I only want to thank you.

Your forever friend,



Love and hate


I meant to give up social media only for Lent. I saw that one of my childhood friends was doing it and I thought it sounded like a good idea. I announced my decision on Facebook, deleted my Facebook, Instagram, and Snap Chat apps from my phone, and went about my day. The first few days felt weird. I was so used to mindlessly picking up my phone to scan Facebook and Instagram. Suddenly, I didn’t have the comfort of my phone to keep me occupied. Throughout the day I had the urge to mentally check out of whatever I was doing and pick up my phone. Instead, I was forced to find something else to do. I became better at checking and responding to emails. I read the news. Mostly, I got back to whatever I had been trying to avoid. Often this meant playing with my boys. Lets be honest…playing with dinosaurs and following my three-year old’s instructions on his made up games doesn’t really interest me. I love spending time with my kiddos but not necessarily doing the same things they want to do. Being off social media didn’t change any of this; however, it did change what I did in these moments. I wish I could report that I fully engaged and played the silly dinosaur game for hours on end. That didn’t happen. Usually, I tried to get them to play something that interested us both. Sometimes I distracted them by tickling or chasing them. This usually lasted minutes and then I found something productive to do. I cleaned, cooked, packed, organized, etc. Basically, I got shit done. This of course felt good. It definitely feels better than the mixed bag of emotions I get from continuously being connected to my phone. Social media is a funny thing. Part of me loves it. It’s an outlet for me to share my blog, share pictures of my kiddos, keep in touch with old friends, and find interesting articles. On the flip side though, it can easily turn into an obsession. I find myself wanting to check it while I’m driving, eating, waiting in line. I see pictures of what looks like fun stuff my friends are doing and a part of me feels jealous, boring, and disconnected. I find myself worrying about the things that I’m not doing and wondering if I’m missing out.

I find that social media can bring about a sense of connection or disconnection. Yes, it’s amazing to go online and see pictures of your new baby or watch your kiddos grow. If I take the extra minute or two to actually write you a message and we have an exchange than I do feel a sense of connection. Surely, without the ease of social media, we wouldn’t be able to keep in touch with people all over the globe. On the flip side though, if I’m only browsing your pictures, and not reaching out than no real connection is being created. Also, we get a false sense of what is going on in someone’s life. We all have struggles. We all have messy lives that are rarely captured by a photograph. The real, deeper connection that I think many of us (including myself) are craving can’t be created through social media. This connection comes from truly knowing someone and understanding both their successes and their struggles. It’s what makes us human. It’s the part of us that’s screaming to be truly heard and understood.

As a stay at home mom, I definitely understand the need for community. Days spent with toddlers can be isolating and lonely. An entire day can go by when I don’t have an actual conversation with an adult. While I missed the comfort of my Facebook friends during my two month hiatus, I also found that I picked up my phone more to call or text someone I was thinking about. Also, I didn’t have the looming feeling that I needed to share everything. I realize that I would have more blog followers if I was more active on social media but the thought of posting everything I do is like a rain cloud following me around all day. Everyday I work on being more present in my life. How can I fully participate and enjoy my life if I’m consumed with photographing and writing about my every move? I found it liberating to totally release myself from this perceived to-do.

So where does this leave me? Honestly, I’m not sure. I put the Facebook app back on my phone but I’m not sure it can stay. It’s been roughly two weeks and it’s constantly calling out to me.

If you reach out to me via Facebook, thank you and I ask that you please give me a little grace. I don’t know how long it will take to get back to you. I haven’t yet found the balance of being able to enjoy the benefits of social media without allowing it to consume me. I’m open to recommendations though, so if you have any, please reach out to me via Facebook, or better yet, call me. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you like what you read, please share.

Much love,

Chaos and a little bit of calm



I’ve been somewhat obsessed with James Bay lately. His voice draws me in, gives me a place to escape for a few seconds. His album incidentally is called “Chaos and the Calm“. This is my life right now. I feel so much stress. My head hurts. My neck is in knots. I’m not sleeping well. Brooks has been acting out. Chris and I have barely had time to connect. I’ve gotten a lot done but there is still so much to do. Our house is starting to look different. I have spent hours sorting through closets, drawers, rooms. I have purged bags and bags of stuff. I got rid of all of our baby stuff, most of my clothes, and just about everything that we don’t use on a daily basis. It’s emotional and weird letting go of so many things and putting everything you have left into boxes. I find myself being too busy, too emotionally detached from my family and friends. My patience is low. I feel weighted, tired, and heavy.

There are, without a doubt, a ton of things to be excited and thankful about. This move is a choice. As a family, we are taking a giant leap to experience the unknown. This makes me feel alive. We are not just talking about something, we are doing it.

I am in an emotional dance each day. At times, I feel the weight of everything we are undertaking. Other times, like now- with my boys in bed, and a cup of tea in my hand, I am able to find peace. This past week has been a battle. I’m doing what I can to balance it all out. I’ve done yoga twice. I’ve meditated, and then meditated a few minutes more. I’ve taken baths, drank herbal teas.  I’ve tried to carve out time to be present with Chris and my boys. I’ve found just enough time to write. All of this adds up to moments of calm- when time feels like it is standing still and I’m exactly where I should be at this very moment.

Much love,



Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you like it, please share.

Never enough


This past weekend we went to a fabulous wedding in Miami. We celebrated a new marriage, hung out with college friends we hadn’t seen in years, and got some much needed husband and wife time. The wedding and reception were at a yacht club and next to the venue was a 375-foot yacht called Luna. To say it was beautiful was a complete understatement. The thing was amazing. The venue, the bride, and the weather were also nearly perfect. I found myself feeling insecure. My hair didn’t feel right. My lip liner went on weird. My dress wasn’t fabulous. Surrounded by beauty and perfection, I found my flaws to be the center of my attention. Luckily it was early on in the evening when I gave myself a reality check. I told Chris that I was going to stop worrying about what I looked like and instead focus on being where I was. It wasn’t an easy shift. I struggled at times to feel comfortable in my own skin. The yacht was a major source of conversation for obvious reasons. We laughed about trying to sneak on it for after hours. Someone at the reception showed us another yacht nearby that supposedly belongs to Mark Cuban. Had the 375-footer not been there than surely we would have all been drooling over this one but it was so overshadowed that it was barely noticed. We searched the web for the Luna and learned that it’s worth roughly $575 million dollars. I contemplated that and realized that when it comes to money, there is never enough. As rich as you may be there is always something that you can not afford…a $60 million dollar condo in Miami, a $575 million dollar boat. Fact is, there is always going to be someone richer, prettier, smarter, or nicer than you. This ‘never enough’ mentally though only leads to failure. How can we ever consider ourselves enough if we are constantly comparing ourselves? How does moving the bar higher and higher ever lead to true happiness?

I find that this is a constant underlying issue for me. A part of me worries that I’m not enough. I know that my best days are the ones that I don’t worry about the clothes I’m wearing, or the wrinkles around my eyes, or that my hair is all out of sorts. My best days are the days when I truly feel that I am enough, that perfection isn’t the goal, and that no one expects perfection from me in the first place. If Mark Cuban is sitting on his beautiful yacht being pissed that his boat isn’t as big as the Luna, than clearly he is missing it. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and see the big picture. It’s the moments when fear and insecurity seep in that we need to take a step back so that we can see ours. It is only then that we can see that who we are and what we have is more than enough.

Changing tides

If you are reading this, thank you. I know it’s been months since I’ve written. I’ve meant to write. I’ve sat down and tried. I fell flat. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. The past four months have been challenging, exhausting, exhilarating, scary, and insightful. Our year started with water damage through two stories into our kitchen. Less than a month later my husband got fired from the company he started over ten years ago, by his two partners. We had months of sick children. I was convinced that our house was making them sick. We’ve had months of our home being in disarray…plastic separating the first and second floors with zippers to get through them. Construction workers have been in and out, in and out. Meanwhile, we have been doing some soul searching and asking ourselves some real questions. We’ve had the luxury, and sometimes the curse, of deciding our future. We’ve wrestled with whether or not to move, and then whether we go to L.A. or San Diego. We’ve traveled to Miami (twice), L.A., San Diego (twice), Ohio. Chris totaled his car and thankfully walked away unscratched. He went to Peru for two weeks on an amazing, life-changing journey. Meanwhile, I over-flowed the bathtub and caused even more water damage to our house. I started journaling again; a practice I’ve done since I was a kid, and have abandoned in the last few years. This year has been a whirlwind and we are still in the midst of it. Yet, through it all, I’ve so grateful. We are moving in June to Encinitas. Our boys are heathy. My marriage is growing. I’ve gotten to know myself a little better. I’ve learned to lesson my grip on things just a little bit. I’m reminding myself that being imperfect is my right as a human being. I’m learning to speak my mind instead of biting my tongue. I’ve been reminded of what is truly important and that stuff is just that. I’ve met and connected with old friends and new. I’ve forgiven. His partners. Myself. Chris. Family. I’ve meditated. I’ve reminded myself again and again that we are all doing the best we can. I’ve decided to make myself a priority. After almost five years of being a mother and wife first, I feel something being stirred inside. I feel a growing purpose to use God’s gifts to do other things in this life. Our boys are almost two and four. They are wonderful and exhausting. My love for them has only grown but my view of them has shifted. I don’t want them to be my whole world and vice versa. I’ve always thought that it’s so interesting to raise children to spread their wings and fly. Instead of holding on with all of my might now, I’m working on allowing them to spread their wings so that they don’t leave me with a giant hole in the future. I’m learning what unconditional love really means. I’m learning that in this life, we are all on our own journey. I have been so blessed to have such amazing people to hold my hand along the way, but in the end, it is only me who will ever walk in my shoes.

I’m still in school. Our home is still currently under construction. We are moving in 6 weeks. My family still comes first but with all that being said, I think that my blog may need to undergo some changes. My life isn’t only about dumb bells and rattles anymore.  Sure, it’s about being a mom to two silly boys, but it’s also about increasing my awareness, connecting with others, new adventures, and healthy living. In the months to come, I hope that my blog will be able to showcase all of this.

Thank you again for reading. This blog feeds my soul and I hope in some small way also touches yours.

As always, if you like what you read, please share.

Much love,