Friday, June 24, 2016

Three Favorite Things (June 2016 Edition)

Life is well….life. It’s messy and tiring and I’m tired with it. (Someone literally said to me tonight, “How are you? Are you okay? You look so tired!” So…yeah, tired confirmed. Not just in my head anymore. It’s also on my face.)

I haven’t written on the blog in a while because there have been some huge shifts in my life the last couple of years that I don’t feel free to share here. I’ve taken to journaling again and that helps satisfy my processing-by-writing desires a bit. I do often think of this space though, and how I miss it. For now, for today, I thought I would offer a few favorite things that connect to where I’m at, my passions that I still get glimpses of on some days, and tangible things that are just generally saving my life in the mess and tired.

Here we go…


As of last December, I’ve really gotten into podcasts. Specifically, I’m loving (LOVING) The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey. When I discovered this podcast eight(ish) months ago, I binged all the back episodes. Now I never miss a new one. I get so excited for Wednesdays when new episodes are released (and then so sad after I’ve listened and it's over). Thankfully, every other week Jamie also releases a Happy Half Hour that adds an extra discussion into the mix.

Why is it so great? It helps me feel less alone—especially as a mom. Jamie features a variety of guests and it really feels like sitting at a Happy Hour with friends. The host asks great questions and I am able to keep listening even to guests I’ve heard in other places that I had a hard time hearing.

Specifically, this week she interviewed Alexandra Kuykendall, who is from Denver (apparently she’s distantly related to someone who married into our family). I just recently started following Alex’s books and writing within the last year. I appreciated her words about having a family where children are spanned out a bit. She has a span from 13 years old to 4 years old. Our family has a similar span. She expressed how there are simply things they can’t do as a family because of the age gaps, for example family bike riding. This helped me so much because I think I had a lot of ideas about things I would do with my family like camping or family bowling nights but we can’t. (Yes, I do know people take babies camping. We tried it with Kyla when she was a baby. Yeah. No.) Now I know it’s okay to accept these things. I don’t have to live up to these ideals I set literally back when I was growing up. There is a process to letting it go, but her words helped me knows it’s possible to accept that reality and move on to what we can do and who we actually are as a family.

Other Podcasts I’ve enjoyed:


My most recent binge (thanks to original shows on Netflix)? Bloodline. It’s so painful to watch. And so, so good. First of all, let me say that if you’re a Friday Night Lights fan, John Rayburn (played by actor Kyle Chandler) is no Coach Taylor and it’s so hard to see. It hurts me. The Rayburn family is messed up with a capital M. But, rather than accept it and change, they feel a need to protect the family name and continue making messes. There are some serious moral issues that come up with these people and I find myself cheering for them to get away with major crimes. I know, I probably need help, but you watch it and see for yourself the wrestling that goes on. The writing is good. Twists and details that pull you back to earlier scenes you didn’t realize were key. I’m kind of intrigued with the setting of the show as well—the Florida Keys. It adds to how eerie the whole drama is. Created by the Kessler brothers. We also (painfully) enjoyed watching Damages starring Glenn Close produced by the same brothers.

Other shows worth binging on Netflix:
Fuller House (I loved every minute of it.)
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Season 2—who didn’t love Tina Fey as a therapist by day who needed to call an Uber to rescue her by night?)
Broadchurch (BBC, why don’t you just rip out my mama-heart?)


A few years ago, I stumbled on a featured columnist on McSweeneys named D.L. Mayfield. She’s quirky to say the least but so gifted. She has the ability to speak truth about fundamentalism—her having grown up in Pentecostalism, a different strain of legalism from myself. But I could relate to her stories, her failed attempts to evangelize, and overall desires to be a good Christian who saves the world. One of her other popular posts I like is The Ministry of Funfetti. I’m thrilled that her first book is releasing this August—on my birthday week. I just got a preview of Assimilate or Go Home: Notes from a Failed Missionary on Rediscovering Faith and it’s good. I can’t wait to read it all.

Additionally, I’m looking forward to this new release this summer: A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World by Katelyn Beaty

Other books I recommend:

The Listening Life by Adam McHugh (First 5-star book I read this year. I couldn’t put it down. And no, it’s not about giving up your phone and computer.)
How to Survive a Shipwreck by Jonathan Martin
Spiritual Sobriety: Stumbling Back to Faith when Good Religion Goes Bad by Elizabeth Esther (I wanted to underline entire chapters of this book.)
Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan (Loved having two different voices speak to women about being too much and not enough. It was just right.)

Last but not least…

I’m loving bike rides with Jeff. Because we had Kyla so early in our marriage, we haven’t been able to cultivate many hobbies together (beyond Netflix binges and some occasional golfing) in the last 12 or 13 years. But Kyla is now old enough to watch her siblings while Jeff and I ride around the neighborhood. As with many things in life, it’s good and hard (because I'm out of shape) and freeing. And I like it.

Now off to journal…here’s my new one…

Friday, February 5, 2016

Feel Your Feelings

I thought I would like the Disney movie Frozen since I never had a sister and I love watching my own girls interact with one another. But I was wrong.

Three words: “conceal, dont feelmade me feel uneasy.

Yes, I know it’s an animated film. But I kept thinking, “This family needs a therapist. Not a group of trolls.” (If youre unfamiliar with the storyline of Frozen, you can read more here.)

In contrast to Elsa’s forced denial of feeling her feelings, I love Olaf. He doesnt hold back. Everywhere he goes, he declares, “Im Olaf, and I like warm hugs.”

A snowman who loves warm hugs. Awesome. Feel your feelings, Olaf. Do your thing.

Well, I’m Becca. I like long naps and Netflix binges.” At least I do these days.

There’s a deep imprint in the cushions of my couch. Ive spent a fair amount of time there in the last year. I blew through Scandal, Mad Men, and I’m a good way through Damages. A couple weekends ago, I was on a Nicholas Sparks movie marathon.

My couch has been a place of refuge recently. A place to feel my feelings. I wish it wasn’t true but Ive felt I cant get off it very easily. This is not the kind of woman/mother/wife I had envisioned but this is where I’ve been. On my couch, eating Pringles and letting myself be sad when I need to be.

This last year’s theme of hard is related to relationships. I am wondering if this is just part of adult lifelike a seven-year-itch in friendships. An overhaul of sorts that happens as we move through the decades of change. We all have friends who wander in and out of our life based on seasons or places we live. I get that. But for some reason, this has been like every “bumpalong the way is a seismic wave. Crash against my heart. Back to my couch.

I’ve even been paranoid in this last month, wondering if people areout to get me”. It might seem silly that I would assume people are wasting that much time plotting against me. But it’s true. I made a request of someone and they did the opposite of what I asked. So then my mind goes between “Did they misunderstand me or did they do that on purpose? What is happening here?!”

Not long ago, so much happened in the course of two days, I was on the couch again. This time it hurt so much I couldn’t even move. Like I was paralyzed from pain. As much as I wanted to will myself from that place, I chose to let it be. I chose to feel my pain to the deepest level and let all the hurt of the days, weeks, and months wash over me. I didn’t want to deny the emotions. I knew that if I stuffed it down it would come out in unhealthy ways later. I didnt want to hold it in anymore. I heard the phrase, “Feel your feelingsseveral times, like a permission. Like the Holy Spirit was curled up with me there.

The next day felt like a bit of an emotional hangover. Ever had one of those? Like after a day of crying when your eyes and your head still hurts. But there was also a release. A new beginning. And for the first time in a long time, I’m feeling hopeful about the gift of those who are most supportive in my life. I see how God is letting some light into the darkness.

I trace it back to that evening on the couch.

In A Beautiful Mess, Kristin Ritzau writes, “So often our culture operates with a results-based mentality instead of seeing the Holy Spirit sitting there with us in the pain, holding us while we cry, grieve, or cough. The Lord is saying, ‘This sucks,’ just as I am.”

A few pages later, she goes on to say, “Meeting God in our emotions is sanity, real sanity, not pretend stability. This real sanity does not mean that we will always be happy. More accurately, we will be able to stay with our emotional states and deal with them with care instead of dismissing them, erasing them, or exploding or stuffing them.”

I realize emotions are scary things. They are unpredictable. What if they take over? But I believe the God of the universe who gave me the emotions can handle them. He can handle us feeling deeply. He sits with us in our hurt. We can trust Him in those moments.

I also believe that feeling is a form of self-care. It’s a way to honor every part of us as we were made. God can work in these moments to bring healing and show us more of His love for us.

This week I was still pondering the phrase “Feel your feelingsand wondering where it originated. Did I make it up? Did God just put that there for me that evening? Nope.

I was almost sure someone along the way had said it to me at another time. I was right. As I was messing with my “Spiritual Formationboard on Pinterest, I spotted an old post by Jen Lee: What to Do when It Still Hurts. And #13—Feel Your Feelings.

My name is Becca. I feel my feelings. I’m also open to warm hugs.

*Note: In A Beautiful Mess, Kristin also notes that many people do not handle their emotions in healthy ways and the result is actually bodily harm such as cutting. These are serious matters. Please seek professional help for yourself or those you know who are dealing with unhealthier aspects of emotions such as self-inflicted pain and mutilation.