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How Do You Want to End This Year?

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I am one of those people who gets stupid excited about New Years Resolutions. I start dreaming about what I’m going to accomplish the following year as early as August.

A few weeks ago, Carrie Green, founder of the Female Entrepreneur Association, posted a video about why it’s important to have a goal review session with yourself. She talked about her New Years Resolutions and I thought it was going to be something along the lines of “I accomplished everything on my list—or almost everything—because I’m awesome! Way to go, me!”

But it wasn’t that (and I apologize to Carrie for thinking it would be). Instead, she said, of the three resolutions she’d made, she’d only really successfully crossed off one of them. And then she spent a good portion of the video sharing with honesty and vulnerability why she hadn’t finished the other two and what she was going to do about it.

And I was bloody grateful. The other day, I was looking over my resolutions from 2013 and I realized I still hadn’t accomplished some of them. I felt so deflated. What the hell am I doing?

I really thought I’d be a published author by now. At the very least, I thought I’d have finished writing my damn book!

I also thought I’d have a TED Talk. I had an audition for a TEDx event early in 2013. I was so hopeful, but I didn’t get it. And I haven’t really pursued it since then.

Looking over my resolutions from the beginning of this year, though, I felt encouraged.

Here are a couple of things I’m proud to say I knocked off my list.

1. Kick ass homeschooling Sadie. Check!

2. Finally find a daggone blogging rhythm and make posting a habit. Check!

3. Finish Breaking the Dress Code strong. Check!

I make long lists. And there are several bullets that I made good progress on, even if I can’t completely cross them off.

1. Vlog regularly and awesomely—we are saving up to buy a proper camera. As soon as we do (hopefully/maybe/fingers crossed by the end of this year), we’ll begin filming. This one doesn’t feel like I failed. I consciously pushed it back to early 2015 a few months ago. But it will eventually happen!

2. Practice radical self-care—definitely still working on this. And it’s a daily process. But I do feel like I am getting better at taking take of myself (and other people)!

3. Volunteer—this is didn’t happen the way I thought it would. I had an amazing opportunity to volunteer at a women’s shelter in NC earlier this year, but almost immediately afterwards, we found out we were moving, so I never followed up. This is still a piece of my heart and something I want to pursue. However, a few weeks ago, my church asked me to start writing the invocations and prayer scripts that we read in our service. It’s been such an honor to use my gifts to help in this way and a tremendous outlet for my poetic side.

4. Spread joy to family and friends—I put this one in this section because it’s hard to quantify. But I think (I hope!) I’ve done alright in this area.

5. Own my Voice as a prophet—it’s difficult to say if I succeeded here. But it feels like the work I’ve done in my throat chakra and in writing every day on this blog are related. At the beginning of this year, I offered 20 Pay-What-You-Can Shalom Sessions and they sold out. I got to speak life and hope into those people and help them pursue their destinies. I founded Be. And FML. And The Shalom Experiment. And I co-founded The Rebel Diaries, which is all about writing your hard thing. I wouldn’t say there was one moment where I can say for sure, that’s when I found my voice as a prophet—and owned that shit. Who is to say what being a prophet looks like? But Voice is my word for 2014 and I definitely feel I’m stepping into mine.

6. Bring in a healthy second income that allows us to pay off credit card debt and save an emergency fund—this is a weird one because the two parts are correlated but not contingent on each other. And that’s kind of the problem. This year I made TRIPLE what I made last year, but it’s not as much as I was aiming to make. And, in the scheme of jobs, it’s not even close to a living wage. BUT, it’s progress! A lot of progress. I feel like I knocked “healthy second income” out of the park. On the other hand, we haven’t made it to where I hoped we’d be as far as debt and savings are concerned. Partly because moving is expensive and DC is expensive. And partly because we’re still learning the hard art of budgeting. In some ways it’s frustrating, because my inner jerk doesn’t understand how a 33-year-old woman can’t yet manage her money properly. But damn, I worked through a lot of shame-related money stuff at the beginning of this year. It may take me longer than I would have liked to learn not to spend money what we don’t have. But I’ve been giving this resolution my all, and that matters.

Finally, there are a couple of resolutions I just didn’t get to.

1. Score a TED Talk I’m over the moon about.

Not there yet. But you can bet this will be on my 2015 list—along with a practical plan for working this dream.

2. Food trip with Jermaine.

This one kind of bums me out. He is so supportive of my dreams. I really want to make this happen for him someday soon.

3. Finish the book, find agent, and secure a book deal by the end of the year.

For real, anything could happen. I’ve put this in the universe, and you never know. But, even if I don’t get an agent and a book deal by the end of this year. I have committed to finishing my first book. And working on it every freaking day. So there.

Your turn! Did you make resolutions at the beginning of this year? Can you dig them up and share in the comments about the progress you’ve made and what you’re still working on? And even you’re not ready to share publicly, this is a wonderful weekend exercise to do on your own. Hope this was helpful and inspiring. Take good care!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Week Eight :: Blood and Stakes

Brandy Blogs the Bible

 

 

The Paraphrase (Leviticus 1-14)

Chapter 1—Specific details on how to give a burnt offering. A male animal without blemish, depending on what animals you own. It’s violent and graphic.

Chapter 2—Details on how to give a grain offering. It should be a bit of the best stuff you have. It’s not to have leaven (yeast) or honey. But, it absolutely must have salt.

Chapter 3—How to give a well-being offering, a gift of gratitude and joy for the presence of God. You eat a piece of it. But no one is to ever consume the fat or the blood.

Chapter 4—Details on how to present a sin offering. The focus is on restitution after an unintentional sin, and the offerings vary according to status. 

Chapter 5—More details about the sin offering and an explanation of the guilt offering. The emphasis is on how to make things right after you’ve messed up.

Chapter 6—More on the sin and guilt offerings. Certain priests must eat a portion of these offerings as a way of bearing the burden of the sin.

Chapter 7—The summing up of all the offerings, with a few final instructions.

Chapter 8—The ordination ceremony of Aaron and his sons.

Chapter 9—On the eighth day (or, the next week), Aaron’s sons begin their ministry by giving offerings themselves.

Chapter 10—Two of Aaron’s sons burn incense improperly and “fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them.” Moses gets to work trying to clean up this first huge mistake. He does not allow Aaron or the last two remaining sons of Aaron to mourn (but the people are allowed). Moses and Aaron have a dispute about how Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s other sons, are handling the goat for the sin offering. 

Chapter 11—Instructions on what the Israelites are allowed to eat (clean foods) and what they are not (unclean). 

Chapter 12—Purification after childbirth. If a woman has a baby boy, she is unclean for one week (and he is circumcised on the eighth day) and after 33 days, she is to go to the temple to give a purification offering. If she has a girl, she is unclean for two weeks, and she gives her purification offering after 66 days.

Chapter 13—A lengthy passage, first about infectious diseases and then about mildew.

Chapter 14—How to be cleansed from infectious diseases and mildew.

The Parts that Stuck Out to Me

I heard a pastor once describe the foot of the altar as a river of blood. He was preaching about sin. He said it’s like an infectious disease. It starts out small, but it leads to death. So it must be cleansed. And blood, the life-force of a being, was God’s choice detergent.

Picture the temple in Jesus’s day. Loud and bustling. People everywhere. Coming in and going out. And all the while, there’s this steady flow of animal blood meandering throughout. From the altar to the gate. Constant. Flowing. Gross.

Leviticus is the beginning of all of that. And Jesus was meant to be the culmination. The final clean sweep.

Frankly, it’s bizarre. And fascinating. All those dead animals. They didn’t work. The whole idea was to repent. To sacrifice. To turn around and go the other way. But we didn’t get it.

So we got a river of blood.

Speaking of blood, let’s talk about childbirth.

As I understand it, the last few chapters focus on the practical aspects of living in a community where sex happens and disease happens and you have to figure out what you’re going to eat.

After you have a baby, you bleed for a while. Probably four to six weeks, on average. I feel like it makes sense because of the ritual of circumcision they practiced, that practically speaking, they would need to deem a woman “clean” after a week so that they could circumcise her child according to their law. I don’t think it’s fair that it’s double the time if you have a girl. But I feel like it speaks to the patriarchal society that they lived in and I’m not convinced that it’s God here deeming a woman unclean for longer after having a girl.

A note about Aaron and his sons.

Wow. Wait, God killed them because they burned incense in the wrong way?

What?

And Aaron’s family was not allowed to mourn.

It says, Aaron “remained silent.” (10:3b)

Perhaps because when something like that happens, words fail.

God’s anger feels overwhelming. It seems like too much to swallow.

And I’m finding myself questioning the entire passage. Did God actually kill them? Or was it an accidental fire that the survivors took to be the wrath of God? Because afterwards, Moses was kind of tearing through the place. You can sense his anxiety as he questioned Aaron and his family. But eventually, Aaron exclaimed something along the lines of, “Look, we’re trying! My two remaining sons—they did the best they could! They did what I would have done!” And, to that, Moses agrees.

It’s like when you commit to making a change, once and for all! And almost immediately, something goes horribly wrong. And suddenly you’re scrambling to pick up the pieces. Trying to move on because you know going back to your old way of life is no longer an option.

I’ve heard Leviticus described as a Big Book of Instruction for priests. The Levites were held to extremely high esteem because they were to be the priests. They weren’t chosen on their merit. They were just ordinary people.

But the stakes were a lot higher.

And what is interesting is that, right now, at this very moment, we (those of us who identify with the protestant faith) are called to be a kingdom of priests.

We’re just ordinary people. And we get it wrong a lot. Sometimes on purpose. Sometimes on accident. The stakes are still high. Different, but high.

We get one shot to live a compelling life and we have no idea when it’s going to end or what’s going to happen after it does. All we can do is the best we can.

High stakes are not an excuse to sit out of the game.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Thursday, I blog through the Bible—trying to get through the whole thing in the next two years. If you found this post interesting and helpful and you’d like to continue to follow along as I go through, you can read the intro to this project, along with week one, the detour we took into original sin, week two, week threeweek fourweek fiveweek six, and week sevenNext week, read Leviticus chapters 15-25.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Introduction to the Chakras for Christians (and other nervous people)

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[Photo Credit—Claire L. Evans]

 

I have a weird mouth thing. I first noticed it the fall semester of my sophomore year of college. I took a required science class and we had to spit into a petri dish. I lost my shit. I started shaking and crying and I had to leave the lab.

I still don’t know how I passed that class. I’m certain I never spit on anything.

There was a drama class, too. I freaking love drama. Growing up, my Big Dream was to become a wildly successful Hollywood actress. My professor was my favorite. I even invited him to our wedding.

But he made us do these jaw exercises. We had to rapidly move our jaws up and down, gripping them between our fingers. Besides being slightly repulsed by the sight of my classmates whipping their jaws, I literally could not move mine. Again with the crying. Though more in control than I had been in science, I excused myself to the bathroom to take a moment to breathe.

I spent 2008 practicing moving my jaw. Massaging my throat and my chin, breathing deeply and as calmly as I could. With brute persistence, the problem got better. I can consciously relax my jaw now. And I can also rapidly move it up and down with my hands.

But the issue never completely dissipated. And it led me on a journey that I probably would not have ventured otherwise.

I started studying the chakras this year after a particularly nasty reminder that I still have a mouth-related phobia. I read about the fifth chakra, the one in the throat. This led me down all sorts of rabbits holes, from energy healing to visualization to manifesting our dreams.

I was wary, at first. I guess I still am. But I’m not scared anymore.

The thing about growing up, in any capacity, in Christian culture is that it comes with a certain amount of fear toward these kinds of things. This stuff may not be helpful for everyone. But it has been helpful for me. And I feel it’s been largely misrepresented in the Christian sphere. I’d like to do my part to change that.

I was in Christian counseling for a while and I was voluntold to renounce “evil” things like yoga and meditation and tarot cards. Honestly, I still haven’t messed with tarot cards. But I’m not convinced they’re evil anymore.

I do think some things are evil. Murder. Rape. Abuse. Slavery. Racism. Sexism. I feel like these are the things Christians should be fighting. We’ve wasted a lot of time chasing phantom demons.

I’ve entered into these practices carefully and prayerfully. I don’t say that lightly. For me, the idea of chakras resonate because I feel like they speak to what Richard Rohr calls our True Self.

Chakras are essentially discs of energy that pulsate at places in our bodies. There are seven that I know of—I’ve heard people reference more, but I’ve never heard anyone name them.

I started reading Christiane Northrup’s Women’s Bodies, Women Wisdom in large part because of her chapter on chakras. I was so ready to receive brilliant insight about the pain I feel in my throat. To my extreme disappointment, she only covered the lower chakras at length. In all 745 pages, she dedicated a single paragraph to the throat chakra. She said that, as women, our biggest issues lie within our lower chakras.

Ultimately, this was helpful, because it forced me to do my own research. And I had a personal revelation about why I’ve struggled so much in this area and what I can do about it.

That is my hope for you in writing this post. If you are struggling in a particular area of your body, I pray that this introduction to the chakras sends you on a Wild Goose chase to find that which you are truly seeking.

From the Bottom Up

The Root Chakra

Every chakra has a color and the root is red. It’s located at the base of your spine, right at your tailbone. It’s also associated with your  legs, feet, bones, large intestine, and adrenal glands. It’s the chakra of safety and survival. It controls your fight or flight response. It has to do with how grounded we feel. If you have issues with money or food, this is the chakra to explore.

The Sacral Chakra

The sacral chakra is orange and it’s located about two inches below your belly button. It has implications for your lower abdomen, kidneys, bladder, circulatory system, and reproductive organs. It has to do with our creativity and sexuality. Our emotions (or lack thereof). It affects the way we perceive abundance, new experiences, and pleasure.

The Solar Plexus Chakra

The third chakra’s color is a bright, golden-yellow. It’s positioned right below our chest, in our upper abdomen. This is your digestive system, pancreas, muscles, and adrenals. It’s where you house your feelings about personal power and self-worth. It affects our ambition, our sense of direction in life, and how in control we feel in our daily lives.

The Heart Chakra

The heart chakra is green. It’s right in the middle of our upper chest. It’s associated with our heart, lungs, arms, hands, and thymus gland. This chakra is all about love, connection, relationships, and joy— and the way we feel about all of these things.

The Throat Chakra

This chakra is blue or turquoise and it’s located in our (surprise!) throat. It’s our neck, shoulders, mouth, jaw, ears, and thyroid glands. It has to do with how comfortable we are speaking our minds and our truth. Alternatively, it has implications for how well we listen and if we feel heard. It’s associated with healing, synthesizing ideas, creativity, transformation, and purification.

The Third Eye (or Brow) Chakra

The sixth chakra is indigo (red and blue, combined). It’s located in the middle of our foreheads, right above our eyes. It affects our vision, both literally and the ability to see the big picture. It holds our intuition, imagination, and our dreams (both sleeping and awake).

The Crown Chakra

The seventh chakra is violet (some sources say white). It’s located outside of your physical body, a few inches above the top of your head. It affects your brain, your central nervous system, and various psychological issues. This chakra is connected to spirituality—your relationship with a higher power. It also has to do with your divine purpose and your destiny.

Not that scary, right? When I was first learning and exploring, I created a little exercise where I lay down on my bed and meditatively, while breathing deeply and slowly, I put my hands on each chakra, one by one, and became aware of how each one felt to me. In preparation for this post, I repeated the exercise. It’s always enlightening.

For me, I have trouble experiencing my root chakra at all. When I think about it, I draw this most peculiar blank. When I explored my throat chakra today, it felt sore but healing. Which rings true to the work I’ve doing with it.

When I come down with a weird pain or itch, I Google it and add the word “chakra” at the end. I believe in the idea that our physical bodies are connected with our nonphysical issues. It helps me make connections and figure out the best path to healing.

One of the most empowering things I have learned is that almost everything can be an exercise in opening a specific chakra. Yoga is great for the lower chakras. Hard exercise and working toward a challenging (but doable) goal helps to open your solar plexus chakra. Visualization is great for the third eye chakra. Prayer and meditation, for your crown chakra. Vocal exercises or silence help your throat chakra. Spending time with a dear friend can help you open your heart chakra. One of the easiest things to do is to wear the color of the chakra you are focusing on healing.

I still have a weird mouth thing. I wouldn’t chew loudly around me if I were you, but it’s a lot better than it was. I’ve learned a lot about myself in this process. If you’ve been intrigued by the chakras, but nervous to really dig into the research, I hope this helps with the fear. If you have any questions about where to start—post in the comments and I’ll share my resources with you!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

What to Do When You Realize You’ve Gained Weight (Part Four)

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This is the last post in a series on loving your body when you realize you’ve gained a few pounds. You can click on these links to read parts One, Two, and Three.

 

So, I pretty much never do this. I used to do it all the time. Back in the day. And I still do it privately at least weekly. But these days, one of my biggest values is showing up. Doing what I say I’m going to do.

I don’t take sharing this lightly.

But I’m also in a kind of holding pattern. Waiting to hear back from The Washington Post. The last news I received was that they would let me know either way if they were interested in interviewing me in the next few weeks. Applying for that job changed me. And forced me to realize that regardless of whether or not I get the job, it’s time to revise. To cut away the fluff, channel Tara Mohr and start Playing Big.

I want to streamline, but I also don’t want to make any major changes until I receive word from the Post. Maybe I’m superstitious. I don’t want to count the chickens that may not hatch. I want to keep my mind and spirit open to the Universe granting me this dream job without beginning to execute the Backup Plan just yet.

That has to do with this because it’s the next month of my life. I decided that while I was holding on, and since this is my Year of Healing, I would create a mini-plan. A “For the Next Month” plan.

The thing I never do? Share grand plans like these publicly.

I spent some time this morning audio journaling (aka talking to myself while pretending I’m on the phone) about where I want to be health-wise five years from now.

I’ll be 38!

Holy.

Okay, let’s see.

I want to love being 38.

I want to feel comfortable in my own skin.

I want to take radically good care of my body, mind, and spirit.

I want to be over the hump of this mountain of food addiction I’ve been climbing for most of my life.

I want to instill body positive health and vitality values into my children.

I want to be a sexy 38-year-old!

I want to strong.

I want to be able to run for miles.

I want to be fast.

I want to impress people with my speed and agility.

I want to eat foods that nourish my body.

I want to relish the cooking/preparation process.

I want to feel like I have the time and energy to eat healthfully.

I want to be an advocate for Food Justice.

I want to practice yoga and Zumba daily.

I want to solidify my daily meditation ritual.

I want my skin to glow.

I want healthy innards.

But I also want to love my stretch marks, the dimples on my thighs, and the scars that make my body beautiful and unique.

I want it all to be fun and funny.

Hysterical.

I want to laugh myself, with love. I want to I feel vibrantly alive.

That’s basically my five-year plan, wrapped in a bow of flowery language. To get there, I’m going to start small. But I can’t really deal with taking it one day at a time. It makes the big picture thinker in me go all Grumpy Cat. So, I’m going to start with the next month.

Here’s my plan.

The First Part is time management focused. 

I’m waiting to hear if I got my dream job. But I’ve made a commitment to blog every weekday for the rest of the year and I’m currently teaching two classes + writing a book. And I do this stuff with a little one at home. So, right now, it’s not feasible to take on anymore Shalom Sessions or bio clients. I’m going to shut down that aspect of my business this week so that I can focus all of my energy on my writing and teaching projects (along with my cute little dude, of course).

I’ve decided that looks like this—

6am—wake up, take the dog out, wake my daughter up for school, eat breakfast and relish coffee.

7am—get to work! Write that day’s post, 1500ish words toward my book, the updates and prompts for my classes that day, and any other writing projects I have that week (like newsletters, invocations for my church’s Sunday service, etc).

8:30amish—Brooklyn wakes up, so I’ll take a break to make him breakfast and then I’ll set him up with some kind of independent activity.

12pm—finish all my work by noon. Make lunch for BK and me and then do something fun together—go to the playground, watch a movie, do yoga, etc.

2pmish—naptime. And I’m technically done for the day. I’ll use this time to chill out or do whatever household stuff needs to be done.

3pm—Sadie gets home from school. I really want to be present with her when she gets home. Especially if I’m about to start a full-time job outside of our home. If we only have two or three weeks left of me being home when she gets home, I would like to make them count.

4pm—time to work out. I much prefer exercising in the afternoon/evenings. And this time is perfect because my work day will be done and it won’t cut into time to spend with Jermaine.

The Second Part is food-focused.

Starting Thursday, I will begin a 30-day DIY detox. Last month, I attempted at 10-day detox, but I only made it nine days. The last time I tried to do a 30 day detox, at the beginning of this year, I stopped around day 20. It feels important to me to successfully complete a whole detox before the end of the year. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone, especially friends who have a history of ED, but for me, finishing what I started in this specific realm has a lot to do with overcoming my own food addictions.

I am still working out the details. Last time I did a combination of the the 10-Day Detox Diet and the Whole30. I think this one will look similar. But I think I want to give myself more space for “cheating”, within some parameters.

So, for example, the Whole30 is basically grass-fed/organic, lean meats, healthy fats, and lots and lots of veggies and fruits. The 10-Day Detox Diet is similar in content but much more specific with the recipes. The 10-Day Detox adds in more self-kindness practices, like meditation and detox baths. But it also eliminates coffee and calls for a media fast.

I cannot detox from sugar AND caffeine and hope to keep up with my workload, so I know I’m going to allow myself one or two cups of black coffee a day. Alcohol is off-limits in both plans, and I’ve abstained in past detoxes, but I think one of my “cheats” this time is going to be to allow myself a glass of organic red wine in the evening if I want one.

A short list of what I’m cutting out: bread/grain/gluten, dairy, sugar, processed foods, and “legumes” or beans, including peanuts. There’s a lot of research on the why these things. At first, I wasn’t one board with all of it, but having read up, I think I understand more now. I don’t like the attitude of the creators of the Whole30—they are very, “DON’T EFFING CHEAT. STICK WITH THE PLAN OR ELSE.” I don’t respond well to that stuff and I feel like it can be very triggering if you’ve struggled with ED. So, for me, the 10-Day Detox part is really mostly about self-kindness. But I also feel that sticking to the plan—whatever plan you create—for 30 days can go a long way in the fight against food addiction.

I’m considering adding a small piece of dark chocolate to my plan. My only concern is that, for me, it’s easier sometimes to abstain fully than to practice moderation. If I have dark chocolate in the house, I might eat it! And the most important thing I want to detox from is sugar. But I have two days to decide.

I chose Thursday because I once read that the best time of the month to detox is the the first day of the new moon. I tried it last month and it worked pretty well for me. As a woman and an intuitive, I follow the phases of the moon closely because I believe we have different strengths and weaknesses at different times of the month, according to our cycles.

In the future, I want to consider a vegetarian and possibly even vegan thing. But that’s not where I am right now. And that’s okay. The thing I like about the Whole30 is that you can eat as much as you like. Seriously. I didn’t know know that the first time around and was still trying to count calories. I don’t recommend it. I was hungry all the time. This last time, eating until I wasn’t hungry anymore, it was so much easier to stick to it. It did not feel like I was depriving myself and I still lost weight—and several people remarked that my skin was glowing.

I don’t eat a lot of processed food right now, so that wasn’t a big deal for me with this. If that’s a struggle for you, and you’re considering a plan like this, you may want to modify it even further or shorten the length of the detox. I’ve detoxed from aspartame and high fructose corn syrup before. That stuff is no joke—and it will leave you in withdraw.

That’s it, I think! Except that I would really really like to hear your plan, if you made one, according to your unique life circumstances. Email me or share in a comment below and we can keep track of each others’ marvelous successes!

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

Monday Memoirs :: The Story I’ve been Writing All My Life

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Pictured above: My mom and me shortly after she brought me home, and several months before the adoption was finalized.

I’m trying to remember. The girl I was, five years ago. Sliding into my senior year of college completely exhausted.

My best friend had just been assigned her first foster care placement and I couldn’t not go. It didn’t matter that she lived three hours away and school started on Monday. It didn’t matter that I’d promised another friend I’d move-out clean her apartment that Sunday. It didn’t matter that DC traffic is a living beast. Andrea was about to step into the chasm of a brand new dream. It was my duty as bestest to witness it. And I had a bit of baby fever, too.

I was coming up on five years drug-free. I was about to finish college! I was married to the kindest, funniest, cutest guy in the world. Things that had been impossible a half a decade before were now daily realities. I had to tell someone. I had to get it all out on paper.

“Listen, you guys!” I wanted to belt out on the street corners, “If I can do it, anyone can! I’m the girl with no follow through. I’m the perpetual dreamer! And here I am, living my dreams. Let me tell you this story. It’s a good one.”

There was a dark side, though. Jermaine had been unemployed for four months. We were living in an apartment we couldn’t afford. I had gained 50 pounds. I was living a dream but sometimes it felt a little like purgatory. It made me feel I’d done something terribly wrong. That perhaps the sins from my past were too big to be fully reconciled. The only thing I knew to do was to try too hard.

That was the week I started my memoir. I’d been talking about it for a few months, but you can only say “I’m going to write a book” for so long before you have to either shut up or put the damn pen to paper. I stole away in Borders (oh, gosh. I miss Borders), coffee in hand, and wrote the first paragraphs of this impossible dream.

I’d never written a book before and the only place I could see to start was the beginning. I’m adopted. It made sense to tell my moms’ stories first. I hadn’t written very much before tears were streaming down my face.

My biological mom sacrificed so much to ensure I could have a better chance than she felt she could give me. My biological dad was, apparently, a jack-ass. She made $3 an hour at McDonalds. She was seven months into her pregnancy before she decided to put me up for adoption. When I was born, the nurse didn’t know she wasn’t keeping me. She brought me into the hospital room so my mom could hold me.

I cannot imagine how hard that must have been.

My adoptive mom worked in the same hospital. She remembers the day I was born. She never saw me, but someone from maternity came down to her unit gushing about a little girl who was up for adoption.

My parents went through the initial steps to adopt a baby girl in 1975. I was born in 1981. They didn’t bring me home until March of 1982.

Seven years.

For three of those years, they were first on the list. And they didn’t choose adoption until seven years after my brother was born.

“She looks just like a little pappoose!” The woman exclaimed. Generally speaking, you couldn’t adopt from the same county you lived in. My mom did not waste time getting her hopes up.

My hands shook and wiped away the tears on my face. I’d never done the math. I couldn’t catch my breath. So much sacrifice. All I could think about was all the horrible things I’d done. The whole reason I was writing this memoir. I’d had third, fourth, and fifth chances. And I didn’t deserve any of it.

I’m a doer. I’ve spent the past 10 years finishing almost everything I started. In some ways, it’s my penitence for being such a massive wreck in my early 20s. But I love it, too. It feels good to do what I say I’m going to do.

I have a few projects, though, that make me feel like I’m attempting to live out the official definition of “insane”. I keep trying, over and over again. I never seem to get very far past the starting line.

Here we are, another five years down the road. I have 75,000+ words toward this impossible book and it’s not even close to finished.

My memoir is impossible. But that makes sense. Who on earth needs to write a memoir in her late 20s or early 30s? No one, probably. Or everyone.

My life is unfinished (thank God). And yet, Something compels me to narrate the chapters thus far. And so, I oblige. I do the work. Sometimes inconsistently. But 50 words is better than none. I honestly feel like there’s a chance I could write this whole thing out and never to publish it. I don’t understand my muse. I have no idea where she’s going with this.

But I trust her. And that feels like enough right now.

merawHi! I’m Brandy. I run this joint, and I’m so glad you’re here! I write here every weekday to share resources, love, and challenges for dreamers and creative healers. I’m aiming to hit that sweet spot between doing work you love, making the world a better place, and taking care of yourself in the process!

Every Monday, I share an excerpt from my memoir. Working diligently behind the scenes to put it all together by the end of this year. My prayer is that it sets up like some kind of gorgeous word soufflé.

And if you really dig my style and my message, then you might want to consider signing up for my newsletter, Voice Lessons. Every Sunday, I write a love letter to all the people on that list, sharing stuff I don’t share with the world. I’ve even been known to give away entire eCourses for free.

All the love, friend. Thank you for stopping by! If you’d like to know more about me, you can read all my gory details here. I hope this post filled your day with a little extra awesome. Take good care.

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