A Little Something for Your Wrist

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Things I’m wearing on my sleeve these days:
My obsession with the newly engaged royal couple.
My happiness that Amy Sherman-Palladino has released a new show. And all the Gilmore Girls fans said “Amen.”
My disdain for the mouse I saw-and-then-trapped in my apartment this week. Currently taking applications for cat roommates.
My blood pressure level’s noticeable decrease now that football season is coming to an end.

Things tucked just under my sleeve:
I’m working on a few exciting projects that I can’t tell you about just yet, but I can’t wait!
I decided to go back to counseling this week.
The holidays are hard for my family, and this year is no exception.

And then there’s what I’m wearing on my wrist. You know, before this, I wore a watch with a dead battery for over a year. It’s a problem, but honestly, I think it was my own personal rebellion against the passing of time. But now? I’m taking time back, choosing to savor it instead of fear it. And it just turns out that this little guy from Jord was up for the task. It’s all of the warm minimalistic vibes you’d hope for in a watch. I like to think he doesn’t even know how to say “Hurry up!” or “You’re late!” — just “Girl, you’ve got this” and “You left enough time to grab Starbucks on the way!”. Dreams, I am telling you.

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Did I mention it’s a wooden watch? Perfect for gifting, wearing, and loving, Jord’s got the hookup for cool watches, from women’s wooden watches to unique men’s watches. But don’t worry — I wouldn’t tell you all of this just to leave you hanging. The one I have is the Frankie Ash and Koa, but because I know you’ll want to check out the others, our friends at Jord have given my favorite people (that’s you!), a 25% off code. Click here to find it!
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No matter what you’re wearing on your sleeve or tucked just below it, let’s be intentional about savoring our time instead of wishing it away this season. Pinky promise?

Photos by Cymone Wilder
Wooden Wristwatch

 

 

A Podcast

img_3866Sometimes, you make your friend say “yes” to the thing she’s been wanting to do for a very long time. And you couldn’t be more excited. And sometimes, that thing is a podcast. And you (still!) couldn’t be more excited. Then, she DOES it. And you’re over the moon. But then, she asks to interview you on it and you consider losing your lunch and wonder if this was such a good idea in the first place.

Just kidding. It was.

On this super fun episode of Girls Night With Stephanie May Wilson, my sweet friend Steph and I talk all things “How to Make New Friends As An Adult,” because sometimes this can be just straight-up hard. I talk about moving to Nashville during an extremely hard season and what that taught me about the people I surround myself with, and Steph shares the most amazing encouragement about how to find your new BFFs.

I loved this conversation and hope you will too! (Also, hi no one ever make me listen to a playback recording of my voice ever again. Ok thanks!)

Listen on Itunes here! 

Find Stephanie’s show notes here!

 

Cheers | 7.28

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You made it. We’re here. I somehow managed to get to my favorite part of Friday this week and I am ready to break out the confetti.

I’ve missed you! Summer is the best for road trips, new ideas, and late nights, but maybe not-so-much for steady rhythms, staying in touch, and…ahem, consistent posts. So tell me, what’s new? What are you loving these days?

But first, I’d like to propose a toast to being reunited. (AND IT FEELING SO GOOD.)

To you, Texas, because it is taking every ounce of willpower to not move to this magical place. I visited Austin at the beginning of the month and seriously can’t quit grinning about how great it was. The city of dreams, you guys. Maybe one day I’ll write a complete gush post about all my favorites there, yeah? Yeah.

To you, dumb neck scarves and “table for one,” because I swore against both of you and here I am, eating alone while wearing a neck scarf. I honestly had the best time and will be doing both of these again.

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To you, Inner Light Yoga, for brainwashing me into a temporary yogi. I mean, who even am I? This is my latest #yearofbold adventure, and I am strangely obsessed. I am so bad at the poses it’s laughable, but for some reason I’m thrilled by the fact that I stay the whole class and try anyway. (Also if you’re in Nashville, this place is the best and plays music and has redeemed my experience with yoga, so get there and ignore the awkward girl in the corner.)

To you, friends who take cool road trips, because I am living vicariously through every moment. My friends Rebecca and Caleb are spending this month road tripping across the US with their five (five!!!) children. Not to mention Rebecca is my favorite writer of all time and she’s blogging about it — follow along here!

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(@Rebeccathefair‘s instagram photo from their trek in the Pacific Northwest! Isn’t it incredible?!)

To you, The Lipstick Gospel Devotional and Prayer Journal, for releasing into the hands of readers who love you! We were lucky enough to host Stephanie May Wilson on the blog a few weeks ago (click here if you missed it!), and order your copies! Mine arrived last week and I’ve been devouring them.

To you, creative nonfiction writing class, because, while my blog hasn’t seen any of it here (yet!), I’ve been writing some fun stuff that’s been rattling around in my brain for some time now. I’m in a night class of kind people who provide great feedback and I’m thrilled to spend time chasing my own creativity. (See also: phase 2 of #yearofbold is very fun.)

To you, gas station Icees, because WHY THE HECK NOT? I love you unapologetically.

To you, Where Am I Now?, my latest read. A memoir by Mara Wilson (You’ll remember her as the little girl in Mrs. Doubtfire, Miracle on 34th Street, and Matilda), it’s charming and insightful and smart. She wanted to be a writer before she became an actress, and girl can tell a story.

To you, the Enneagram, for stomping on my soul over and over again. I’ve been against the hype for so long, but dang it, I’m jumping in head first. I’m a 7 with a 6 wing. If you don’t know what that means, just move along and consider yourself blessed.

To allllll of the joy that brought us here and sustains us. 

I’m headed to a baseball game tonight to indulge in all of the summery bucket list things, most of which include Dippin’ Dots. Happy weekend, my friends! Cheers!

Life Is Too Hard and Too Short to Be Our Own Worst Critics: A Guest Post

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Friend, Kaitlin here. Today is the best and I bet you didn’t even know it yet. Today, I get to host my good friend Stephanie May Wilson on the blog because she has TWO books releasing today and you’re going to love them. Steph and I began as blog friends and then got to be real-life friends when we both moved to Nashville around the same time. One of my favorite things about this friend is how much she cares for her readers. She’s always talking about the smart things they say, worrying about them, answering their emails, praying for them — and every word of her writing proves it. Steph’s always the first to say “Me too” and remind us we’re all in it together. Enjoy hanging out with her and make sure to check out The Lipstick Gospel Devotional and Prayer Journal! 

Hey sweet friends!

I am so excited that I get to share this with you today! This is an excerpt from my new book, The Lipstick Gospel Devotional (which is now officially here!!). I wanted to just give you a little sample of it — to share one of the days of the devotional with you, so you can get a feel for what it’s all about.

In The Lipstick Gospel Devotional, we talk about God and our relationships with Him and how to find Him in our everyday lives. It’s about rest, and celebration, and learning to love ourselves. It’s about travel, and whimsy, and toes in the sand, about the transformative power of best friends, and a really great chocolate croissant. It’s a reminder that there’s never anything too broken for God to heal or redeem, and a dare to say yes to the plan He has for our lives.

But today, this part of the devotional is all about identity — about learning to feel comfortable and confident in our skin and learning to truly love ourselves instead of being our own worst critics. (Oof — I know that’s tough for me sometimes, and I’d bet I’m not the only one.) So you ready? Here we go!

Here’s an official excerpt from my newest book, The Lipstick Gospel Devotional:

***

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5

There are seasons in life when I just cannot give myself a break. Do you ever have times like that? Every moment, every glance in the mirror, every action is a reminder of all the ways I fall short — of all the things I could be, could do, and ways I could look but don’t.

I think things like, “You really should go to the gym more. You are really looking gross these days. Of course you failed, you always do. Could you possibly be more annoying?”

I make a simple mistake like forgetting to bring my lunch, and my thoughts are entirely unforgiving. “You always do stuff like this! You are so forgetful and irresponsible! You can just be hungry until we get home. That’ll teach you to remember things next time!”

I crack down on myself hard. I think that if I am just a little bit meaner, just a little bit harsher, if I just raise the bar a little bit, I’ll be motivated enough to leap over it. I’ll meet the sky-high expectations I have for myself and stop being such a disappointment.

For years, more years than I can count, this is how I’ve talked to myself. I’ve been my own worst critic. I’ve criticized my body, and my mind, and my actions, and my skills. I’ve held myself up to my friends, and coworkers, and women I’ve never even met. “Why can’t you be more like her?” I’d ask myself. “You have got to get it together!”

As I say these words out loud to you, I feel like I’m peeking out from a dark corner. Anyone else? Does anyone else do this? Is it just me?

It feels totally vulnerable to admit to these thoughts. Mostly because I feel like I’m way too nice of a person to say things like this, and that’s true! I would never talk to someone else like this! I have all the grace in the world for other people — they’re human, they’re in process, they’re doing the best they can.

But I am the exception, the lucky winner that gets to be the object and source of all of my disdain, and it wasn’t until a girlfriend of mine uttered one simple sentence that I realized how ludicrous this whole thing really is.

We were getting ready to go to dinner, when I peered into the mirror and let one of my thoughts accidentally slip out. “I can’t believe I let myself gain so much weight. Seriously, I’m so big, I look terrible, and the worst part is that it’s my fault! If I was just more disciplined and not so lazy, I wouldn’t be in this mess to begin with.”

Mean, right? I still can’t believe I said it out loud, but I’m so glad I did, because my friend didn’t skip a beat. She didn’t ask for clarification or sweep it cleanly under the rug. She turned to me with glowering eyes and snapped, “Don’t talk about my friend that way.”

I was instantly both so embarrassed I could disappear and so grateful I could cry. I felt caught red-handed, and heroically defended all at once. I was the attacker and the victim. She was coming to my defense, ready to fight the one who was hurting my feelings, knowing full well that the assailant was me.

As we drove to dinner, we talked about the way we all talk to ourselves sometimes. “We think we get a free pass to be cruel because we’re being cruel to ourselves. But we don’t get a free pass to treat anyone that way, and we shouldn’t have to put up with treatment like that from anyone, especially not ourselves.”

She was right. Of course she was right. And her words have stuck with me ever since.

There are enough naysayers in the world, and the more I’ve thought about this, I’ve realized that I don’t want to be another one.

At least we can get away from the naysayers, but we’re stuck with ourselves. If we’re our own worst critic, we’re stuck with our own worst critic right there in our ear. Every time we brush our teeth, every time we take a chance at work, every time we fall asleep, she’s there, telling us we’re not good enough, that we should be different or that we’re a disappointment.

And I’ve just decided I don’t want to play that game anymore.

Life is far too hard, and far too short to be our own worst critics, and it never seems to help us get better anyway. Good things don’t come out of shame; good things come out of kindness, support, and encouragement.

So these days, I try to talk to myself the way I would a friend:

“Good job, sweet girl.”

“You tried, and that’s really saying something.”

“You are beautiful.”

“I’m so proud of you.”

Maybe you are never your own worst critic, and if that’s true, I want to give you a hug and a high five and ask you to teach us all of your ways. But if you are, if the thoughts in your head speak to you this way sometimes, let me grab them by their collar, look them straight in the eye, and say, “Don’t talk about my friend that way!” You don’t deserve to be treated that way, not even by yourself.

Take some time this week to start paying a bit more attention to your thoughts. What kinds of things are you saying to yourself throughout the day? Are you your own worst critic, or do you talk to yourself like a friend? Let’s start paying a bit more attention, and start making intentional choices with our thoughts. Let’s start talking to ourselves the way we would a friend.

You love her already, don’t you? Click here to order the books!

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Hope this added a little happy to your Monday. xo

Cheers | 6.30

Cheers is a weekly toast to celebrate the people, places and things that helped us make it to Friday.

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You guys! How did we let this many days slip away without hanging out?

And by *we* I of course mean *me*, and it just so happens that every text message thread in my phone reminds me of this very same theme. “I’m the worst!!!!!,” I reply to messages from weeks ago. Because it’s  much easier to throw a general, gray blanket over it all by saying “I’m the worst” than to admit “I’m having a hard time.” Yes?

So, for the sake of all that is real and good, I’ve been having a hard time and the aches of the world seem to be especially raw these days. I don’t know how to write about it yet. I don’t know if I will. But I am grateful to be back, reminded that celebration and hurt don’t have to negate the other. Just like a bouquet of flowers, we can bring our full selves unashamedly to both. So here we go, dear ones: A toast.

To you, spontaneous trip plans and plane tickets for this weekend. (!!!!!!!!!!) I mean. There’s not much that can cheer me up like being wheels-up on a plane, jet-setting to some new scenery. (Can you guess what my fight or flight response is?…Oops.)

To you, fourth of July, my absolute FAVORITE holiday of them all! Who doesn’t love a good popsicle-eating, firework-watching celebration? Fools, that’s who.

To you, full circle, for giving me the opportunity to show up for a grieving friend. Things I confirmed from the other side: a.) Seriously, JUST SHOW UP. b.) Of course, you will NOT know what to say. c.) They will remember it for sure. d.) So will you.

To you, first recurring topic on “Cheers,” because I finally finished this book and loooveeed it. It’s the first grief book that made me say “me too,” and I’m so thrilled Sheryl’s words are brightening up this section of the book store. Find it here: Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy


To you, clean room and fresh sheets, because wow, after a huge clothing purse this weekend, I had to coax my legs to walk normally (no stepping over piles!!), and relieve my toes of fear (no hidden sharp objects!!), AKA IT WAS BAD, YOU GUYS.

To you, transition, for finally starting to feel a little more like normal. That February shift of new job/new home/new everythangggg was no joke. By the grace of listening ears and guacamole binges, I am still somehow here.

To you, Emily McDowell, for creating THE BEST empathy cards I’ve ever seen. There’s one that literally says “I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. I didn’t know what to say.”And another gem is “I’m so sorry you’re sick. I promise I won’t try to sell you on some random treatment from the internet.” OH, and my fave?:em_gc266_died_of_lemons_empathy_2_1024x1024

To you, sweet blog friends, for being the best and most supportive after my last post on Kendall’s birthday. It was a bittersweet day, full of stories and sorrow and friends to share them with. I’m so thankful.

I hope you have the best Fourth of July weekend soaking up sun and patriotism and time with your people. I look forward to seeing you here again soon. (Maybe we’ll both return with tans! Who knows.)

The Best Day

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It was not the first time I had performed “I’m A Little Teapot,” but it was certainly the most important. With hair that curled into q’s and fire station red Keds, I bounced down the hallway, locking hands with my grandmother. We’d run a few errands on the way there, including a visit to my favorite mailman, Oddly, but our final stop held enough excitement that even my two-and-a-half year old stomach knew to drop.

I marveled over the hospital’s automatic doors and abundance of latex gloves, turning the corner to see two familiar faces: mom and dad. His face covered in a scary-looking mask to conceal his perfectly-timed pink eye, my dad called me over to a tall box on wheels with a blanket placed inside. Unsure of what the box would hold, I did the only thing I knew to do–distract. “But have you heard my song?,” I said.

Without pause for response, the words slipped out, dripped in that hilarious Southern twang I mysteriously caught for a few years of my childhood. “I’m a little teapot, short and stayyyout. Here is my handle; Here is my spayyyouuttt.”

They politely listened to the tune, their attention obviously elsewhere.

The blankets inside the box held something much better than a teapot–my newborn baby brother.

The next day, my dad let me help him choose a cake from the bakery, and I of course picked the one with flowers. We stood in line as the baker topped it with the words “Welcome home, mom and Kendall!” in blue icing. Later, we sat on the couch–my mom holding the baby, my dad holding the cake. As soon as he put it down, I decided to help by removing the flowers so we could eat the rest. Reaching for a petal, my hand dove into a glob of icing. Previously, I had no mental category for icing flowers. I had no category for being a sister, either.

This is my oldest memory. It includes all of the things that psychologists say fill out significant memories — hospitals, transition, fear and cake, of course. Our first memories hinge between what we value and who we are, setting the precedent for both to continue taking shape.

I can’t remember life before I became a sister. Of course, I have home videos on VHS to remind me of my first steps and birthday parties, but I could not recall these things on my own. Kendall and I have been commonly mistaken for twins, and I don’t think this is too far from the truth. In many ways, the day his life began was when mine did, too.

23 years later, it couldn’t be more true. I can’t think of a day that would define the rest of my life more than that one. Welcoming him home and into our lives felt like inviting joy to stay.

And 23 years ago, I would never predict that I’d be spending today alone. I couldn’t have stretched my imagination far enough to cover the misery, grief and death that would one day follow my brother’s birth. But more importantly, and the thing I see the most today, my little mind could never perceive the profoundly extravagant gift of being his sister. Even on my darkest day, it will always win.

The day those little blue blankets appeared was my first day worth remembering, so it would be wrong to drift through today just trying to make it through. Today commemorates the 23rd anniversary of the best day of my life. I sure wish I knew 23-year-old Kendall, but I’m thankful to hope that a little part of him lives within 25-year-old me.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy. Here’s to an eternity of days like these to spend together. Don’t worry, I’ll be bringing a little teapot, short and stout.