What it means to be a woman…

Right now, being a woman is a very trendy thing. There are all of these social media driven explosions about how we should be proud to be a girl, etc. It has happened here or there, over the years but Hillary’s campaign really began the process of bringing it to a head. Because he was running against a girl (and I’m not sure any man would have made it through the election without being painted as a horrible person because of the “Feminist” climate of our nation, honestly) there is no way Trump could have escaped without being labelled a sexist monster who hates women… Then again, it is really Trump himself who made our president-elect such an easy target. I am not going to venture into political waters because everyone else is doing it, and that’s just not my thing. I am here to talk about how this is a really great time to be a woman. You know, #proudtobeagirl and all of that stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I am.

But why now? Why is it so incredibly, mind blowingly awesome to be a girl now? Why isn’t this sort of enthusiasm consistently offered to young girls when they get their first period? Why isn’t it intensified to such a huge degree when a woman pushes a child from her body? Why isn’t being a woman, and all of the awesomeness it entails, being celebrated when the nurturing love of a mother breaks, and breaks, and breaks the heart it beats in because motherhood is painfully hard sometimes?

Feminism is about women having a voice, having rights, being worthy. The heart of feminism is something every single one of us should stand for. TRUE Feminism is not what we are seeing these days. Is it Feminist to have a say about what goes on with our bodies? Ok. I agree, no one should be able to tell a woman what she can or cannot do with her body. My biggest fear, as far as abortion laws are concerned, is that the government would have complete say in regards to whether a woman could keep her pregnancy. If we have strict abortion regulations, this will give them that power and that terrifies me. BUT why has abortion become this symbol of feminism? Why does abortion represent a subculture that is supposed to be about fairness and beauty? There is nothing fair or beautiful about it. Regardless of your perspective or stance, abortion is an ugly act. Metaphorically, let’s look at Breast Cancer. In a society where great tits are invaluable, imagine the woman who learns she has to have a mastectomy and will be left with a caved in chest in place of her greatest physical asset. After her scars have healed, she may feel a sense of beauty in her scar, but the very process to get from one point to the latter will be a hellish journey, paved with varied indescribable emotions. If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, should she have the right to make the decision on how to treat it? yes. It is her body. It is her body, period, and up to her to live with the consequences of her decisions…But women should not march the streets deciding that mastectomy scars, or the right to have a mastectomy if we choose, defines us as true women. Just like an abortion. I believe that a baby is a baby from the time it is conceived. I also have a family created by the system in place to remove children from heinously abusive situations. How is abortion any worse than the situations of the 428,000 foster children in the United States. If women who were not going to want or love their babies were forced to have them, what would that number be? And it isn’t just a number, these are children. Broken, beaten, molested, bandaged, damaged, tortured and fractured (sometimes beyond repair) human beings…

Abortion is not something to be celebrated. It also isn’t some deep dark secret that women should keep buried in shame. We each have a story. Those stories are defined by choices we’ve made and choices others made for us. Let’s celebrate our individual journeys as women, and build each other up regardless of differences. Abortion should not be the focus here…

Womanhood should be, In all of its glory.

Hail the women who raise up other women to not only believe in themselves, but to empower other women. Hail to the women who do NOT belittle men as less than worthy. Two wrongs do not make a right. It was never ok for men to treat women this way and it is never going to be ok for us to do this to men. True feminism means we are equal to stand beside them. NOT the same. NOT better, but deserving of equal pay, equal rights and equal opportunity.

I love being a woman. I’d much rather have a vagina over a penis. I love scented lotions, good books, my feminine handwriting, hair products, the very special sanctity that is female friendship and great lip gloss. I love that I have nurturing relationships with my daughter, that I cry in movies and that my shoe selection is much cuter than my husband’s. I don’t want to be a man. I want to be a woman and celebrate true womanhood. True womanhood has absolutely nothing to do with abortion. True feminism, the very essence of feminism, has nothing to do (NOTHING TO DO) with abortion.

Until we can focus on the real priorities and stop getting caught up in the details that distract us along the way, we can expect for things in this country to continue to fall apart. It doesn’t matter who our president is, if we can’t get it together and stand as a diverse community who truly loves and accepts EVERYONE, we are lost. (and by everyone, I do not mean simply the homosexual and transgendered communities, but the Christian Pro-lifers too.)

Race to Win…

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I am a proud late 80’s/early 90’s girl. I feel like we grew up in the last of the great generations. I am loyal to the pop culture we had, such as New Kids on the Block, Boys 2 Men, Roseanne and 90210… Especially NKOTB and 90210, if we’re honest. I will happily admit to flipping through channels and getting lost in old 90210 reruns. It holds a piece of my heart…

Part of that loyalty follows the stars and where they’re at in their careers, and lives… Jennie Garth had a fun HGTV show, (ok, not really fun) and Shannon Doherty has my all time favorite instragram feed as she honestly shares her battle with cancer… But what about Dylan? What is Luke Perry up to, these days?

IT SEEMS he’s starring in a heart warming film. Who is surprised? Not me… Here’s the trailer.

Pretty cool, huh?

I, for one, am a sucker for the heartwarming and heroic stories, so I’m looking forward to it!

A dog’s purpose…

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You guys… I am so excited about this movie! I read the book, years ago, and loved it so much. As a dog lover, it is the sort of book that just stuck with me. The movie looks amazing, and emotional, and it seems like a healing balm for my sweet Paisley, whom I lost a few months ago. (She definitely served a purpose!)

I wanted to share the trailer with you, just in case you haven’t seen it, or are just wanting some Friday dog love!

Also, because this is super cool, if you click here, you can upload a photo of your dog and celebrate their purpose in your life! It is a wonderful, interactive way to brag on our furry loves a bit! In addition to bragging on our dogs, we can make a donation to Best Friends Animal society! Even better, for every donation, Universal is matching them up to $25,000! So not only is this a heart warming movie, but their using their film to make an awesome impact!

working the muscles…

I, like the rest of our country, could sit here and list out the hundreds of thousands of reasons why last year was a total nightmare. Of course, the reasons vary by the person penning the list. At any rate, most of us stand in agreement of one thing: 2016 was an unnaturally horrible year. By the time the last two months hit, we were all so jaded and exhausted that any effort to redeem it seemed a waste and overwhelming. Here we stand now, four days into our blank canvas year. I keep reminding myself (ever the Realist) that 2017 will also hold its share of tragedy, heartache and horror. This is how this life goes, and we really have little choice but to accept it. As such, I continue to ask myself what I can do to ensure my perspective stays secure on the gratitude and positive perspective… To answer this question, I had to go back and consider the brighter parts of last year.

My older son and daughter each give me grandchildren made the obvious high point list. Coming home to Michigan to be with my family. So much time with my older daughter and grandson. My younger daughter recovering from her overdose in May. My marriage growing and healing, bit by bit. These, naturally, are all positive things. These too are the easy things to look at and feel grateful for. What if I were to dig deeper?

Getting to spend two precious months with my beautiful dog, before she passed away. As painful as it was, it would have been incomprehensible to imagine, had she died while I was still in Idaho.

My daughter’s overdose. While she still has a long way to go, it did open her eyes to some things she needed to see and it woke my husband up. These are beautiful things for which I will still be grateful when I am old and grey.

The passing of someone who has been so very dear to me for 16 years. While her death is a terrible tragedy, I was so fortunate to know and love her. I was also fortunate to travel to her memorial service and have some healing time with others who loved her.

The thing is, life is like this too… Beauty intertwined with the horror, but we have to be willing to see it. I can honestly say that I wasn’t always, but this year I want to do better. No, I WILL do better.

The last thing I did was think smaller. Maybe not smaller as much as more shallow. What things did I find, last year, which made even a small difference in my quality of life? I have to be honest, as I started pondering, it was really difficult to think of even a few. True to expectation however, the more I tried, the easier it got. And there in lies the lesson: Gratitude is like a muscle. We must be intentional to work it, before it will become our second nature.

As for that list?

  • Clinique Matte foundation For nearly the whole of my adult life, I have had a hate/hate relationship with foundation. When I was trained as an Esthetician I felt like I really needed to make peace with this. The journey of ELEVEN foundations later, and it was a total fluke (after I’d given up) that I stumbled upon this. For me, it is PERFECT. For someone else, it may not be. Skin is like personalities, everyone is different.
  • Reusable paper towels I flirted with the idea of these for a couple of years, and bit the bullet this year. Not only do we save a lot of money and eliminate waste (*note: we still buy paper towels for grosser clean up, like dog vomit, etc.) but they are cuter too!
  • Hempz triple moisture lotion I was working at Ulta when I found this gem. It’s pretty spendy, but so worth it. I have perpetually dry skin and this lotion helps that tremendously while also smelling fresh and not overly fragrant. LOVE this lotion!
  • DoTerra essential oils This is honestly the only thing that helps my depression (yes, even seasonal), takes the extreme edge off of headaches and that is just the tip of it.
  • Deva Curl Curly haired girls will get me… It has been a seldom pleasant journey to get to the place where you find a product you are happy with. Much like my foundation quest, I had given up on this too. Then someone turned me on to Deva Curl and I’ll be honest- I did NOT believe it would work for me. It does. I LOVE these products.
  • Buxom lip gloss BEST Lip Gloss. Hand’s down. There are days I simply moisturize, throw on a bit of mascara and call it a day, but I NEVER skip this gloss.
  • Wool Dryer Balls They are kind of everywhere right now. Indie shops, farmers markets, etc. They seemed more hype than good, but honestly I’ve fallen in love with them.
  • Honey If you don’t use Honey, you should. Anytime you are shopping online, Honey will automatically scan the item(s) in your cart and tell you the best price. At Christmas, Honey was a real asset!
  • Blue Q Socks a girlfriend introduced me to these socks. Some of them are pretty crass while others are just funny. I remember when I was in driver’s ed, my teacher said “always make sure you’re wearing cute underwear. If you get in an accident you don’t want the EMT’s to judge you for your granny panties.” Looking back I’m just thinking this is ridiculous for an adult to say to teens. However, as a woman, there is something really confidence building about wearing nice undergarments. I am not kidding, the snark in these socks has that same effect. It may seem ridiculous but there have been days when my Blue Q socks, (even when I was the only one who knew they were there) kept me a little grounded in sanity.
  • Swell Bottles The knock offs aren’t the same. Honest. And yes, these bottle are spendy, but as one who HAS to have ice-cold water at hand- having my bottle stay icy through hot summer days in the car, through the long migraine riddled nights, etc. BEST WATER BOTTLE EVER…

Can you think of your best 2016 bits? Be they memories, silver linings or products you discovered, I’d love to hear them!

To move to…

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Early on, in 2016, I created a spotify playlist entitled To Move To… As anyone who knows me knows, I am one of the worst “namers” in the history of naming things. To me, at the time, it seemed a clever way to label my workout list. As the year progressed however, this playlist morphed into my motivation for many areas, not just fitness. It is pretty amazing that this long-ago list worked it’s way into birthing the only word which made any sense at all, for this year.

MOVE.

It is a powerful word. It means a vast degree of many things. It reaches into every area of my life, from health and fitness, to writing, to education, to parenting and marriage. MOVE. Stagnancy kills. MOVE. Even if it’s a step in the wrong direction, it is better than nothing at all. MOVE. Move. move…

My word for this glorious fresh and unwritten year is move.

This isn’t my image. It belongs to Vimeo actually. When I saw it though, I knew it fit my vision for this year, my heart for this year, in a thousand different little ways. Move. To move in such a way that the place where my feet were is left better after my time there…

I do not do resolutions. I commit to goals. Typically, but not always, these goals stem from my word. With a word as huge as this year’s, I don’t think there is a goal that would not apply, somehow.

Goals:

  • To read two books (minimum) per month.
  • To learn one new thing, every month.
  • To complete my passion project More.
  • To complete and self/indie publish my novel.
  • To lose those 50 last pounds I need to lose.
  • To literally move to a more conducive home for the next phase of my life.
  • To expand my freelancing/writing income.
  • To enjoy my family intentionally, in simple and life affirming ways.
  • To visit somewhere I have never been before.
  • Find my writer’s tribe and flourish within it.

Move.

Where are you seeing yourself, this year?