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Seeking to Understand


When someone believes differently than us, why is our first impulse to criticize rather than seeking to understand?

When I entered motherhood, I was filled with fear about not knowing what to do or about doing something wrong. Mothering can be full of judgments, ones that we heap on ourselves, ones that are put on us and ones we put on others. It's this underlying fear to ~ oh please ~ not be wrong. People begin asking questions that feel like a game of finding out which team you're on: Natural birth or epidural? Breast or bottle? Crib or family bed? Stay-at-home or work?

And suddenly you're on a side and that side feels crucial; as if your side will determine whether or not you're a good mom. Of course, no one wants to be a bad mom. So when we see others who are not on our "team", we criticize them for bad parenting.

We do this in every area of our life. Why did she take that job? Why did he cut his hair like that? What possessed them to buy a house in that area? What they chose was different than what we would've chosen so it feels wrong to us and often we equate wrong as a fact rather than an opinion. We think it is wrong rather than thinking it's simply different.

Seeking to understand each other's view is scary because it might cause us to doubt our own ideals. It puts a spotlight on how many choices we have and how many we've made. It makes it clear how many ways there are to do this life and that's terrifying because it feels like leaving ourselves open to failure.

But gripping our opinions so tightly that we don't leave room for another's thought is a terrible existence. It cuts off people we could learn from. I know, because I've been guilty of it.

What if, instead of jumping into criticsm, we sought first to understand? What if we made that our impulse? What if we reached out to see things from their eyes instead of assuming we know all there is to know?

I've have had friends love me through our differences but I've also been judged by others for my decisions; we all have. Feeling judged is yucky and pushes you away. It feels more tender to have someone love you through differences; that's magnetizing and draws you near. I want that to be my character; it's still a huge work in progress.

I still feel the pull of impulses to argue with someone and make them see my side. I still have those moments when I'm sure I know what that person meant by their comment. But I am learning to let go, not assume and walk in understanding. 

I want others to feel loved by me, understood by me and accepted as they are. I long for my first response to be seeking to understand. I'm not there yet, but I hope to be someday.

Why do you think we struggle with understanding?




Crooked River is a Must-Read!


To say that I've been dying for Crooked River to come out is the understatement of the year. I was thrilled to receive an advanced reader copy from Valerie this summer and could not put it down! I've been waiting to sing its praises ever since.

I am rarely surprised by a book but I was astounded by this one. 



I was swept away by the beauty of sisterhood and bravery between the two main characters. Two sisters, having survived their mother's death, are sent to live with a distant bee-keeping father who they've rarely seen. 

Within the first pages of the book, the girls come across a dead body floating in the river and must decide whether their father had anything to do with it. The suspense will keep you reading late into the night, while the tenderness between sisters will move you to tears.



I don't want to spoil anything about this delicious story, but I will say, it's a must-read! The writing, the story, the characters ~ oh my! Valerie Geary's storytelling is the stuff of magic. Crooked River is her breakout novel and I expect to read many more from this spellbinding author.



There is Much, Much More

Nature fascinates me. There's an intersection in our town where hundreds upon hundreds of birds congregate on wires and roofs. The reason this amazes me is because just a bit down the road there are no birds on wires, no sight of them anywhere.

It's as if they have an understanding that that's where they hang out or meet-up. And if you roll your windows down while waiting for the light to change, you can hear the intensity of them chattering to each other. Some fly in, while others fly off with their friends. It's a constant circulation of birds. It's like a bird coffee shop. There is a McDonald's at the intersection too, so maybe they're just waiting for a spare fry to drop on the ground. But nevertheless, I'm spellbound watching them at that light.

The photo above is something we found on a hike through the Colorado mountains. My kids found it and thought it looked a bit like a dragon's face, which made me love it.

I'm not really a camping type of girl, but even so, there has always been something about nature that calmed me. When I feel stressed, worked up or upset about something, stepping outdoors gives me relief. Just hearing the stillness of the air, the chatter of creatures or feeling the wind tickle my arm; there is something calming about it all.

It reminds me that I'm not all there is. There is much, much more.


Books I'm Reading



Seems like my latest reads have centered around women and/or leadership. I'm intrigued by both. I just finished reading Seth Godin's Linchpin and am currently reading Sheryl Sandburg's Lean In.

Linchpin shows cracks in  the workplace systems. It inspires us to flourish where we are and become indispensable. I love how he shows the fallacy in our ways of operating within a system that no longer works. He challenges us to think at the edge of the box. I highlighted half the book! So good.

I'm about halfway through Lean In; it's poking holes in how I think of women in the workplace (and I thought I was a forward thinker!). Her statistics are sobering and enlightening. She encourages women in all careers to lean in instead of pulling back. It's inspiring and uplifting. She also has an amazing Ted Talk that you should definitely check out!

My niece really encouraged me to start reading The Maze Runner by James Dashner so that's next on my list! It sounds exciting.

What have you been reading lately?



Five October Goals



So I'm going to be completely honest here, last month was a bust. I achieved one goal, the end. But you know what? I'm okay with that. Sometimes life gets too crazy and what you thought would be accomplished, doesn't get done. I'm giving myself some grace here.

Let's review September:

1. Find a no-sugar recipe for Pumpkin Spice latte, or pumpkin bread (or pumpkin anything). I found one; haven't made it yet but I can safely mark this one off the list!

2. Write 5000 words on a secret project. I did get words written, just not 5000. That may've been a bit of a high goal since I'm just getting back into the routine of writing.

3. Read The Goldfinch. I checked this book out of the library and it's still sitting on my table (I've rechecked twice). I'm not sure what my hangup was on starting it but on the other hand, I read three ebooks. Can I swap points? :)

4. Put my books back on bookshelves. Nope. I have no excuse, we had beautiful weather but still didn't manage to get this finished.

5. Paint three more paintings (or more!). I got one more done, well that's a 1/3 of the goal!

Now on to October's goals.

1.  Rework my wardrobe for the fall. You know I love doing this! I didn't get a wardrobe capsule done for September, but maybe this goal will help me show you one for autumn.

2.  Write every weekday. I'm not setting a number on how much I write this time. I simply want my goal to be sitting in the chair and writing.

3.  Coffee on the porch. I do this in the Spring when everything is warming up and feels delicious after the cold, but I also enjoy doing it when the heat of summer fades and the cool of autumn is a welcome relief. There is nothing sweeter than having hot coffee in the morning wrapped in a blanket sitting on the porch. I love you, Fall.

4.  Create something autumn-y. I want to say a painting but also want to give myself free reign on this one. Maybe a wreath or something from the kitchen?

5.  One fun family adventure. There are so many to choose from: the fair, pumpkin patch, hayrides, gatherings by the fire pit....I could go on.


What about you, how did your September go? What are you hoping to do in October?