Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Thursday, September 17, 2015
Thursday, August 27, 2015
We were fortunate enough to receive an early copy of George, through a friend who is an author (check her out, she even has some great short stories currently free for kindle!). Rebekah was so excited to receive such a special thing, a copy of a book about someone like her, before it was released, and signed to her by the author. How cool!
So Rebekah took the book to read before I had a chance, and she loved it! It was really affirming to read about a character with whom she strongly identified. In her words, these were her thoughts on the book...
George is a good book to explain what it can be like to be transgender. The story was enjoyable. I liked all the details. It was cool to read about someone like me. My favorite part of the book is the play, Charlotte's Web, because George surprised everyone and did what she really wanted to... she got to be herself in the play. Usually in a play you're acting, but it was on stage that she finally got to be herself. I liked that. The trip to the zoo was my other favorite part, because Kelly's uncle didn't even know George was transgender. She could just be herself at the zoo without anyone noticing she was different. She didn't have to worry about anything else. I think it's a good book for other kids to read because most kids don't know about being transgender and it's a fun thing to learn about.
Friday, July 3, 2015
Our raspberries are exploding right now. Each morning, there's a good sized bowl to pick. With a toddler who loves to eat sticks, grass, and pretty much anything that grows, raspberries are a pretty exciting discovery... a food that he can eat without anyone arguing, plus they taste way better than most sticks. It's become our morning ritual. Coffee and raspberry picking, barefoot and bleary eyed. It grounds me. It helps wake up my tired body and soul.
When the nights are not anywhere near as restful as I need them to be and the mornings much earlier and much louder than I want them to be, the entire waking up process is jarring. Often all I can do is grumble (to myself or sometimes not so much to myself) about needing more sleep and dread the long list of everyday life stuff before me while complaining that the kids won't let drink a single cup of coffee. It's not a good start to the day. I'd love to wake up before my kids, have some quiet moments with a cup of coffee, and take a deep breath before I start the day. But the baby wakes when I do, regardless of the time, so that will have to wait a bit longer. In the meantime, stumbling outside into the garden is the next best thing.
Outside, I can breathe. There's space. Everything isn't so loud. Everyone isn't so close. The grass tickles my feet, the baby picks berries, and the big kids march off to check the wild black raspberry bushes in the woods nearby. I wake up gentler and without the suffocating to do list that lives inside the house, the messes to be cleaned, the food to be prepped, the laundry, the projects, the bills.
Picking those raspberries has become a quiet meditation. It's a simple task. One that has to get done or we will lose the fruit. It doesn't take too long, but long enough. Pick, squat, reach, nibble a few. And, it feels like I've accomplished something when it's done. Something checked off my list before breakfast. Food provided for my family. A few set aside for snack, although mostly the kids pick for themselves what they want to eat fresh. The rest get frozen for snacks and smoothies through the year.
It's choices like this and moments like these that I'm focusing on this month. It's a continuation of #operationthrive. It's a month of me. It's ongoing self care. It's little shifts in perspective to let the light in, to make it easier to breathe. Happy July.
Thursday, June 18, 2015
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Saturday, May 30, 2015
A few weeks ago, I shared the following message on my personal Facebook page. Since then we have been overwhelmed with messages of love and support from our family, friends, church, and community. Many have thanked us for sharing our story and asked for permission to continue to share it. If you've been following my blog for any amount of time, you know how important I think our stories are... our stories of joy, success, struggle, disappointment, and challenge. Our stories matter. So here is one of my family's stories, a story very much rooted in the love, grace, and courage that we both strive for and are saved by daily.
We’d like to re-introduce you to our firstborn child.
At the same time, our bright, sensitive, and empathetic child struggled increasingly with anxiety and, eventually, depression. We worked through various medical and therapeutic resources over the years to support him in his anxiety, trying to give him the best tools possible to thrive in the world as someone whose huge heart just feels things too much. Despite our best efforts, the anxiety and depression reached a crisis point this past year. We were all feeling pretty scared and lost.
I am so incredibly thankful to say that we are in a very different place right now. With the support of various professionals, we’ve come to understand that Ben is transgender. While he was identified as a male at birth based on his outward appearance, he feels and knows that he is a girl. Gender is a spectrum, and we know that liking pink or things attributed culturally to girls does not, in and of itself, make you a girl. But in Ben’s case, his gender identity was the missing piece to the puzzle. Despite our support in being any kind of boy he’d like to be, including one that loves all things feminine, Ben knows in his heart that he IS a girl.
Within the last few months, Ben has socially transitioned so that she can live as the girl she knows she is. Together, we’ve chosen the name Rebekah Eleanor. With the transition to Rebekah, we have seen a significant shift in her energy and demeanor. She suddenly seems more comfortable in her own skin, and we are seeing that gorgeous smile of hers more than ever before.
While, Rebekah has always had and always will have our complete support, this has not been easy. Being transgender is not something anyone chooses. It is not something Rebekah has chosen. It is not something we are choosing for her. We are very aware that the road for her will not always be smooth. The suicide and depression rates for the transgender community are nothing short of terrifying, but we know that with love and support from us, our family, and our friends we are giving Rebekah the best possible chance at not being one of those statistics.
What we are asking of our friends and family is that you respect Rebekah’s gender identity as female by using her preferred name and pronouns. Though Rebekah specifically asked us to tell you that she will be gracious if you accidentally call her Ben as you get used to the change, as she knows this is quite an adjustment for everyone. We also encourage you to learn more about what it means to be transgender along with common misconceptions. We are not experts, but we are learning by necessity and are happy to talk about any of this with you. We will include some resources in the comments below. What Rebekah needs is your love and support. She is a bright, beautiful, and brave girl with a huge heart. We have no doubt she will change the world just by being who she is.
All this is posted with Rebekah's permission and with thanks to Maegan Dougherty Photography for the beautiful photos.
Some helpful resources:
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
You guys. These are mine. I own kickboxing gloves. And, I have a survived one kickboxing class and two boot camp classes in the past 5 days. It’s part of a 6 week challenge I’m in thanks to a friend. I wince when I walk down stairs or sit to pee (sorry, but it’s true!). My quads are screaming. Back muscles I haven’t thought about for a long time make their presence known as I pick up the baby. Aside from a few yoga classes and maybe two runs, I haven’t worked out since Oliver was born. Oliver will be 1 in two weeks.
I need this. Not to the lose the baby weight. That’s gone already. Not to fit in my clothes. The intense healing diet mentioned in the aforementioned Facebook post helped with that. I need this to feel like me again, to carve out something that is just for me, to feel live and present in my own body again. Running, too. I miss running. It makes me feel alive. So, this is self care. This is self love.
It’s taking schedule rearranging and commitment, extra help from my support network (so thankful for them) and some added flexibility on the kids’ parts. But for me, right now, this is what it looks like to be a good mom. The more present I am in my own body, in my own self… the more present I can be with and for my kids.
The same goes with writing. I need to write. It’s part of who I am. It makes me feel alive. It helps me know what I know. So along with getting my butt into that kickboxing gym, I’m getting my butt back in this space. The other day I went to post on instagram about the kickboxing challenge when I decided I needed to make it a blog post, needed to come back to this place.
On Facebook the other day I shared that I will be finding my way back to my blog.
I’ve been meaning to come and write, but there hasn’t been time… or maybe it’s really space. I haven’t had the space to process and share. My brain is about to explode, because it needs to process and share. I’m getting there.
One kid is at drama class. The other is enjoying some long awaited computer time. The baby is asleep. Here I am. I grabbed a cup of coffee and a few minutes to write. There are a billion other things to do, but I matter. I matter at least as much as they do. Don’t get me wrong. I’ll click post in a minute and get moving. I probably won’t even proofread this, forgive me. I’ll do laundry and dishes. I’ll practice handwriting with one kid, and check the other one’s math all while nursing the baby. I’ll do all the things I do every day that are important to my family and our life. But they can wait until I am finished here because I’m important, too.
This is me claiming time and space to be me amid the messy and hard of being a mom, wife, home educator, homemaker, personal chef, and a billion other hats we all wear. This is me getting back to my strength, joy, and passion… back in my writing, back in my workouts, back in every part of who I am. My kids need a radiant present mama. Life’s been intense and exhausting for months. We’ve managed in survival mode. I have poured out every ounce of myself for my family in this time. Life’s not changing, and we can’t stay in survival mode forever. It’s time to adjust and move on. Time to fill my bucket so I have more to give. My kids need to see what it looks like to live, to thrive not just survive. This is me and #operationthrive. I’m ready.
And, I’ll be writing here again soon. If I don’t, message me… email me… bang on my door… whatever it takes.