Thursday, March 15, 2018

I Ski Because I Was Bitter. (How This Mama Does Self-Care)

Photo by asoggetti on Unsplash

The other day, I did this thing I do when all of my kids are at school. I packed the lunches, signed the things, got the kids to school, and drove up to the mountains by myself to ski for the day because after 10 years, I’m beginning to master this Stay at Home Mom Gig.

I spent the next few hours shreddin the gnar in 7 inches of pow, chasin freshies. (I don’t even know what that sentence means, but I think that’s what I was doing all day.)

When my legs begged for mercy and my phone alarm reminded me to go pick up the children, I began the drive home, basking in the glow of a spectacular ski day, and feeling like that girl I used to be before the kids and the last 10 years of life drained the energy from my soul. There’s just something about a day in the mountains, a winding road and country music on the radio that refuels me.

As I made my way back to my kids and my home, I was oozing gratefulness for the opportunity to call Colorado my home, and I realized I could’ve been taking care of myself like this for the past 10 years by doing the things that make me feel like me. But I was too busy feeling bitter about how much poop I was cleaning up, how many dishes were still left undone, how much laundry needed to be washed, dried, folded, or put away… I was too busy being angry about my husband’s long hours at work, my kids making it impossible to leave the house, my inability to run a household… I was too busy grieving the loss of the girl who loved mountains and trees to realize she was never lost at all.

You see, fifteen years ago, my now-husband said something my 23 year-old self thought was romantic and profound. We were deep into a discussion that covered everything, and he said, “Love is about sacrifice.”

“What do you mean?” I replied.

He leaned back, ran his hand through his hair, and paused just long enough to make me think he was coming up with something really deep. And then, this country music-hating young man looked straight into my eyes and said, “It means… I would’ve listened to country music if I had to in order to be with you.”

Had God called me to sacrifice my happiness, my personality, my love of the outdoors when I became a mom? Had God called me to give up on leaving the house? Had God called me to sacrifice my self-worth because the kitchen was constantly a mess? Had God called me to give up on being the person He made me?

Or did I give my happiness, my personality, my time in the outdoors willingly because fighting for them was just too hard? Did I cling to my “sacrifices”, believing it justified my bitterness? Did I sacrifice so I could believe I deserved to be angry that my life now isn’t what it once was?

Sure, being a wife and a mom requires sacrifice. I mean, I knew there would be poop. I didn’t know there would be THIS much poop, but I knew there would be poop.

And it’s true. Love IS about sacrifice.

But love is NOT about bitterness. “Love is patient, love is keeps no record of wrongs…” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) Unfortunately, I keep a record of the sacrifices I make for my husband, and my children. Even the ones no one ever asked me to make.    

Here’s the thing, friend. My people never asked me to give up hiking, country music, or long drives on country roads, but they also don’t know how much I need those things if I don’t communicate and schedule them in. It’s not selfish to be my best self. It’s selfish to give people my worst self because I’m drowning in pee-stained sheets and dirty dishes and I can’t breathe. It IS selfish to allow my heart and soul to die because “it was just too hard” to fight the battles it takes to care for them.

It’s true. Love is about sacrifice.

Because I love myself, I will sacrifice a clean house for a day of skiing. Because I love my family, I will sacrifice the “should-be” version of me and go be my best self instead. Today I have a ski goggle tan and a smile, and this is the face of the wife and mom I want my family to have, not the exhausted, bitter, angry one who only exists to wipe up poop and pick up the house.

Please fight for the time to be and care for yourselves, mamas. Your families need the real you. She’s still in there. And she’s worth fighting for.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Prison Break: How I Stopped Believing the Lies in my Head

Originally Published on
Photo by Robert Hickerson on Unsplash

My negative thoughts had begun to run my life. I was grunting in anger or disappointment so much, my children were starting to think I was part cave woman. Ugh. I’m so fat. Ugh. This should be easier. Ugh. Why can’t you listen? Ugh. I’m a moron. Ugh.

I was trapped in a prison of should be and not enough.

So I did the most courageous thing I could think of. I went to see a counselor. A therapist. A shrink. Somebody who holds a pen and says, “mmhmm” and “I see” a million times.

“Why are you here?” she said.

“Because I hate my life.” I said.

“Do you really?” she said.

“I don’t know.” I said. “I just know that the words, ‘Ugh! I hate my life!’ get screamed in my head over and over and over again all day long.”

“And do you believe that those words are true?”

“No. Yes. Maybe. I mean… I don’t really hate my life. I just think I hate my life a lot. My life’s not that bad. But every day shouldn’t be this hard. Right?”

So, slowly, we worked on noticing the icky thoughts, saying, “Oh hi, icky thought.”

It made me feel like an idiot, but it worked… little by little. “You’re just a thought, ‘I hate my life,’ just a thought.”

I found this terribly annoying. “Little by little.” She said. “Just keep noticing your thoughts.”

Whatever. I’m talking to my thoughts like an idiot. But it works. Sort of. I still think I hate my life. But that thought doesn’t own me anymore.

On a visit to my best friend in her Pacific Northwest home, I said, “I’m still sad. I’m still angry. I’m still annoyed. Life is still hard, and I feel like it is taking forever to move forward. I feel like I’m a turtle still wallowing through the stupid crap of her life.”

“Know what my therapist made me do that really helped?”  Her mid-thirties had demanded the courage to talk to someone too.

“She made me draw two pictures. One of me when I was in a bad headspace, and one of me when I’m in a good headspace.”


“And it helped.”

“What did you DO with the pictures?”

“I just drew them and wrote down my thoughts.”

“And this helps?”

“It helped me.”

“Okay. Well, it sounds fun. Maybe I’ll try it when I get back home.”

Fun. I said. It sounds fun.

So on a day when two of my three kids were at school and the third was taking a long, glorious nap, I sat down with some blank paper and a cup of coffee.

I drew an egg-shaped round body with a crazy messy bed-head-looking ponytail, angry eyes, slumped shoulders and big thighs. I wrote thoughts that plague me. Thoughts that pop into my head when I fail, when I get frustrated, when I look in the mirror, when I try my best and feel like I’ve succeeded, but no one else seemed to notice or care. I wrote “Mean Me” on the top of the page and began to pour out all of the negative things that run through my brain on a daily basis. I labeled myself with the words, “jiggly, messy, flaky, gross, bored, lonely, empty, selfish, alone, angry, cheated.” I called myself things that I would never call anyone. Words that cut so deep I wouldn’t dream of saying them to or about another human being. Words I had begun to believe described who I really was.

It was not fun. Nope. Not fun at all. It was terribly painful in fact. But it was also the most freeing thing I have ever done.

I scribbled and sketched out the negative junk for about 25 minutes. Then I looked at my creation and ugly cried for an hour.

Because the only truth on that page was that I believed it all.

I can’t believe I believe all of this about myself. I thought. These are lies. They’re all lies. And they’re in my head constantly.  

I realized the thing people had been telling me for years was the truth, “Emily, honey, you’re too hard on yourself.”  But I have known no other way to be. And so, I have believed the lies.

As painful as writing the bad stuff was, writing the good was more difficult than writing the bad because, like Julia Roberts says in Pretty Woman, “Sometimes the bad stuff is easier to believe.”

It felt like I was trying to be Stuart Smalley, from a Saturday Night Live skit portraying a ridiculous self-help counselor. “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough…” Gag.

I bit the bullet, though, and I drew the “good version” of me. It was reserved but truthful. I used words like “strong, adventurous, funny, cute, interesting, natural, barefoot, present.” Nice Me climbs mountains, plays outside, gets dirty, has guts, wants to hear your story, and is full of great ideas. Nice Me LOVES wearing ponytails and no makeup. Nice Me is who God wants, who my kids, my husband, my friends want. Nice Me is who everyone is rooting for.

But Nice Me is also the girl that Mean Me swallowed when she was eating her feelings a long time ago.

Nice Me is the truth, and she is amazing. She is a force. She is encouraging and kind. She is full of grace and grit and authenticity. 

She is incredible. 

I stared at the two sketches for a long time separating the lies from the truth, and it occurred to me that I could, in fact, stop believing the voice in my head that told me I was worthless and not good enough. I could, in fact, put one foot in front of the other and walk right out of the prison of guilt, shame, anger, and self-loathing lies that held me captive just an hour ago. And I could do this because walls made of lies don’t actually exist. They were only there because I believed they were.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Mom-shame, God, and Bob Goff.

Photo by Kaitlyn Baker on Unsplash

A couple of weeks ago, a new mom I don’t know in real life asked a question in a Moms’ Group I’m a part of online. I had befriended her during a different post, and we shared many of the same perspectives in that post, so I chimed in with my 2 cents of solicited advice with thoughts that differed from every other mom’s response to her question. And that’s when it happened.

I was mom-shamed.

Two women were aghast at how I had raised my children. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary.  I just shared my opinions with this mom, and my opinions infuriated one woman and shocked another. And these two strangers let me know.

I identified it as mom-shaming early, thank God. But that didn’t stop me from typing about a million fiery responses and deleting them before I pressed enter. I typed and deleted, typed and deleted, typed and deleted… And a small voice in the back of my head said, “Walk away. Walk away right now.” So instead of responding with anger and arguing and engaging with the woman who was very adamant and vocal about her opinion, I just typed, “Okay.”
And then, I had a place to go… A Different Online Mom’s Group where everyone swears, laughs, and is real about the fact that momming is hard and we are all doing it differently. They call themselves a “Shame-free Group of Moms.”  

So I took it to this Shame-free group and said, “Guys. I’m being mom-shamed. Tell me I’m not alone and I’m not crazy.” And they did. They gave me an outpouring of support.

And then we laughed.

And I remembered that real life is existing in front of me in the form of children trying to do the luge down the stairs on a blanket. Which is wrong. You clearly cannot get the speed required for a gold medal on a blanket. You need a sled. So I got one from the garage, instructed my kids to keep their arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times and pushed the sled down the stairs repeatedly. They squealed with delight.

It was glorious.

And because I had walked away, I was able to think about what really happened, and I was able to forgive these women who mom-shamed me… because I’ve mom-shamed other people before too.

And I’m so grateful I had the insight to say to myself, “you’ve been a jerk to people before too, Em.” Because less than a week later, a precious, dear friend posted something that I disagreed with. In real life, we had had basically the same discussion respectfully and agreed almost entirely. But online, one word of her post set me off and I was angry, shaking. I was frantically searching for articles to support my opinion, deconstructing that one word that I had such a huge problem with…

But my friend, you see, is super smart and compassionate and patient. She took down her post and texted me with something like, “Dude. You just went off and belittled me and that wasn’t cool. Do you have a beef with me or something else?  Are you okay?”

Three words: Are you okay?

I wasn’t, in fact, okay. I was shaking. I was angry. I was reliving icky stuff from years ago and holding my sweet, innocent friend accountable for someone else’s actions. And I wouldn’t have realized it unless she had asked me… “Are you okay?”

Nope. Apparently I am not okay. Apparently I have some forgiving to do.

And as if that wasn’t enough of a message from God, He sent me the first 5 chapters of Bob Goff’s new book, Everybody, Always.  And it’s filled with all of these convicting and inspiring thoughts like this one:
I read that and thought, Okay, God! I get it! We are all hurt and we respond to each other in crappy ways, and we don’t know what battles other people are facing!

And He said, Are you sure you get it?

Because then I had to start prepping for a MOPs talk about Mom-Comparison, and I thought, Again? The same message?

But, you see, it’s one that we all need to keep learning and re-learning… like Bob Goff says, “Love Everybody, Always.”

Even that jerk?
Even that perfect person who gets everything right that I get wrong?
Even… myself?
Everybody, Always.

Okay, but I’m going to need another reminder…

I think you'll love Bob's new book. You can preorder it here.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Non-Fiction of 2017

Stacks of books bound together on an old shelf
Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

I gave you my fun fiction reads last week.  Those are just the books I read so I can go to New York City or London or the year 1732 instead of living inside my own house with all of its dirty dishes and laundry and children.  Those are the books I take to get me through my kid's swim practice and waiting for him to get out of Chess Club.  But these books... Non-fiction books.  These are my bread and butter, man.  These are the books that change me, challenge me, make me say, "yeah, me too."  These are my true love, even if they are more difficult and take more time. Here are the Non-fiction books I read in 2017 in no particular order:

1.Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck
Let's talk about Steinbeck for a minute.  You see... He was tough for me back in the day... by that I mean, when Mr. Walters told me to read The Grapes of Wrath and I tried for a while, but ended up just BSing my way to an A through all of the class discussions and never reading the book because it was just too... ugh. That's how I feel about Steinbeck's work sometimes.  Other times, I have all the heart-eyes for his work. Like in Travels with Charley. This book took me back to my month on the road in the American West. It took me back to November of 2003 when I packed up Ralph (my purple Ford Ranger) and wandered around camping alone in some amazing places. I loved traveling along with Steinbeck and his dog, meeting the folks and feeling the feeling of freedom on the road.  

2. The Road Less Traveled by Heidi Renee
This is the story of a warrior mom who just does what she has to do to give her son the most normal life possible. Her story of adopting and beginning to raise AJ is that of someone who refuses to give up, and it makes me so proud to call Heidi my friend.  You can find her book here:

3. The Power of Habit  by Charles Duhigg
4. Smarter, Faster, Better  also by Charles Duhigg
Both of Duhigg's books combine deep research with engaging story-telling. The stories that illustrate his research on habits and how we get better at things are memorable and interesting. Definitely worth the read.

5. The Dip  by Seth Godin
So... I feel like Seth Godin's best work is in his blog with short pieces that give you food for thought for the day, and that style hasn't translated well into book-format for me. That being said, The Dip seemed to conquer his normal hiccup, and held my attention well.  Also, it's a very short book, so... concise seems to work well for Mr. Godin. 

6. The War of Art  by Stephen Pressfield
This was my favorite book of 2017. It was inspiring and encouraging and engaging. I loved part of it so much I ripped out the last page and hung it on my joy wall to remind me that I was born to write, born to be uniquely me, and if I get lazy, I am absolutely robbing the world of what I was born to do.

7. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
Ah, the controversial Jen Hatmaker. First, let me say that we can occasionally disagree with people who write things that we love to read. And we can agree with people whose writing sucks, and we can be kind about it all. And all of this nonsense about her and the church and same-sex marriage... Just whatever, man.  She has studied and worked very hard to come to the beliefs she holds, and she loves and serves Jesus dearly and better than I ever have. I love Jen Hatmaker's books (at least her more recent books). She is real and raw and so much like me. And her books bring women together. I think you'll like it.
8. Payoff by Dan Ariely
It was good. I don't remember what this book was really about, but I remember it had important information in it that I wanted to remember.

9. Deep Work  by Cal Newport
See... This book reminded me that the way I work is in long focused spurts with no interruptions... perfect for a Stay-at-Home-Mom. It was great to have the validation that this is just how some people work most productively, but it was also encouraging to read that we can do deep work by showing up continuously. If you're working on something that needs deep concentration and intense focus, read this... Though I think it might be better as an audio book...

10. Design Your Day by Claire Diaz-Ortiz
I was hoping that this book would give me a little more insight into how to be more productive during my day, and maybe it did a bit... but I feel like it was mostly just more of the same advice on how to be productive... advice that I just still can't figure out how to implement as a 38 year-old scatter-brained Stay-at-Home-Mom.

11. Grace Eventually by Anne Lamott
So... Anne Lamott is a little weird. But she is also an absolutely beautiful struggling soul, and I love her writing dearly. She is real and open and vulnerable. She is so easy to relate to.  Her stories and insights, and me toos are some of my favorites.

12. Finish by Jon Acuff
This book is great advice for those of us who never finish anything.  It's engaging and encouraging and funny and helpful. Everything I hope my writing could ever be. You won't be sad about reading this. It might even help you reach some of those 2018 goals.  

Love you guys!
Happy Reading!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Fiction Books of 2017

Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash

Well, friends, it's that time of year again.  The time of year where I tell you all about the books I read in the past year, and maybe inspire you to try some of them!

Why I read all of these books this year:
1. I LOVE to learn through reading engaging books. It's my favorite.
2. I love to escape through stories. (I learn here too, but it's much different.)
3. Stories inspire me.
4. I get better at life and adulting when I read more.
5. I had a goal of reading 18 books-- 1 1/2 books each month. (I didn't do any audio books last year, but I think I will this year.)  I actually read 26 books in 2017, which means maybe I need to set my goals on the smaller side, and I'll blow them out of the water, because I'm 26 books smarter now than I was on January 1st of last year!  Wahoo!

Here are the fun fiction books I read this year. I'll catch you up on the non-fiction ones I read in a few days.

1. Bridget Jones's Baby by Helen Fielding.
You know what this is, people.  It was a fun, quick escape into the funny and oddly romantic life of that lovable quirky lady.

2. Bridget Jones Mad About the Boy by Helen Fielding.
See above.

3. Happy People Read and Drink Coffee  by Agnes Martin Lugand.
I mean, I'm happy. I read. I drink coffee.  I guess she's got a point. It's about a woman who moves to Ireland after a devastating loss to find herself. Instead, she finds a cranky guy who lives next door. It was interesting enough to read the sequel, which is on my list.

4. One and Only  by Emily Giffin.
I have an interesting relationship with Emily Giffin's books.  You see... She creates interesting characters that make really poor decisions in the "name of love." Like falling in love with your best friend's dad. That's what this book is about. A chick who falls in love with her best friend's dad. But it's not dumb like it seems like it'd be. I mean, it sort of is, but it's also fun to escape and learn how dumb it would be to fall in love with your best friend's dad. I don't advise falling in love with your best friend's dad. But you can read this book.

5. Something Borrowed  by Emily Giffin
Again, interesting character, bad decisions. This chick falls in love with her best friend's fiance and sleeps with him. Don't do this either. I mean, seriously. You are not this dumb. And yet, you'll sort of like this main character, but you'll be mad at her... Kinda like when Rory was being an idiot in Gilmore Girls, and you were like, "Rory! Stop it! You're being so stupid!" I mean, I'm gonna read the sequel, which is told in the best friend's POV. But don't say I didn't warn you.

Books by Lisa Genova
6. Still Alice 
OMG, you guys. This book killed me. Maybe because I have Lyme Disease and that makes me forget words and I've experienced some of these weird, frustrating, scary things, and I fear that this is my future, but this was an incredible story. It's about a brilliant professor who gets early-onset Alzheimers. Read this one for sure.

7. Love Anthony 
Another beautiful heart-wrencher. Love this one about a mom who lost her autistic son and becomes a photographer on Nantucket?  Or Martha's Vineyard?  Somewhere like that. It was good.

Books by Liane Moriarty:
8. The Last Anniversary
9. Three Wishes
10. The Husband's Secret
These are all great. Read everything by Liane Moriarty. I just love her style of story-telling. Always with a twist. Always something engaging. Always interesting characters.

11. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch
Okay, this one was weird. But really good. I'm not usually into Sci-Fi, but even far-fetched multiple universes couldn't derail me from the story of a man who just wants to go home to his wife in his perfectly imperfect life.

12. Good As Gone  by Amy Gentry
If you weren't worried about your kids before, you will after you read this book. It's a beautiful story about a mother and her daughter... The mother losing her daughter, finding her again, and coming home. It's a gory, read it in 48 hours thriller. 

13. Maybe In Another Life  by Taylor Jenkins Reid
You know that thing we do where we wonder what would've happened if I had... Well, you get to watch each decision play out with lovable characters.  Another fun 48 hour read.

14.  The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin
So... this one is also a little weird. It's about a little boy who had a previous life. You know how these books go.  When someone tells you about the book, it sounds crazy and far-fetched, and then you read it, and you're like, "Yeah. I get that. These characters aren't crazy.  Why won't people believe them?!  I love them!" This is a great story.

That's it for last year's fiction!  I can't wait to tell you about the amazing things I learned last year in my non-fiction reading!  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Makin it Rain Cheese and Grace

Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

My sweet, generally calm and quiet husband HATES it when things get broken. He sighs and huffs and scolds all of the children. He stomps around, searching for tools in a foul mood
because something is broken. I got news for you, sweetheart, we have 3 boys who basically don’t even have a frontal lobe yet. Shit’s gettin broken.  Like erythang.

I’m not criticizing. I’m the same way when the house gets messy. I clean the kitchen. 5 seconds later, someone’s in there getting a snack, makin it rain crumbs and mozzarella cheese like a boss, putting dirty dishes in the sink… I sigh and huff and scold all of the children. I stomp around pointing and listing off their mess-making infractions in a foul mood because things are messy. I got news for you, sweetheart, we have 3 boys who basically don’t even have a frontal lobe yet. Shit’s gettin messy.  Like erythang.

The problem here is not the broken thing or the mess. The problem is the way we see the broken thing and the mess. Because Jesus said, “In this world, you will have trouble.” The way I said it is, “Shit’s gettin broken and messy.”

The problem is what I THINK the mess says about me. The problem is what I BELIEVE the children are saying to me by making the mess. Because it FEELS like the mess says, “You are a crappy mom who shouldn’t be allowed to stay home with your kids because you never accomplish anything and you have nothing to show for any of your days because the house is always a disaster.” It FEELS like the kids say, “You are invisible and worthless and we don’t care that you just cleaned that kitchen, I am entitled to throw cheese everywhere because you will just clean it up.”

But the mess is just saying, “I’m a mess.” The kids are saying, “I’m still learning fine motor control, and I hate myself when you sigh and scold and stomp around here because of something I screwed up.”  

Because, you see, when something gets messy, my old wounds get split open.

When something gets broken, my husband’s baggage shows up.

The solution, partially, is to clean up the mess and fix the broken thing, but the difficult part of the solution is to tell myself the truth that the mess doesn’t say a thing about who I am. The mess does not give me a measurement of how well I am doing as a person. The other difficult part is to shut my mouth when the mess is made, come alongside the mess-maker, and make it rain grace. Because that might help them to see the mess differently. Because if they grow up to see the mess the same way I do, they will hear the same lies I heard, and their stomping and scolding will deceive their  children. They will be telling my grandbabies lies because I taught them to.

So Ima go figure out how to turn cleaning up cheese into a parable of grace-- like Jesus did. He’s way better at this stuff than I am.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Just a Mountain...

Last weekend, I summited a 12,324 ft. mountain. It was Heaven. I mean, I was hiking at elevation, and I felt like I was dying, so... Also, it was amazing. Also, it was beautiful. Also, it was so much fun, such a challenge, and included hours of giggling and soul-feeding conversation with two dear friends.

The night before, I couldn’t sleep because I was too excited. I went to bed late because i was packing my bag and making preparations for the hike. Gotta have the 10 Essentials, Em. (What ARE the 10 Essentials again?) You should make some of those protein balls you saw on Pinterest. They’ll give you the energy and nutrition you’ll need to get through that hike!

All of a sudden, it was 11:30. I wasn’t in bed yet, and I had to be awake by 5am.

Get to bed, Em. If you go to sleep right now, you’ll be able to get 5 ½ hours of sleep.

Okay. Going to sleep now. Good night, world!  See you on a beautiful, amazing, gorgeous mountain top in the morning! I’m so glad Jen and Tara can come with me tomorrow. They’re the best. Oh. I’ve missed hiking so much. This is just going to be the best day.  I love Rocky Mountain National Park. It is just so stinkin beautiful there!  Hiking is so awesome. I can’t believe God made all of that beauty for us.

Hiking is also very taxing, and you need to have a good night’s sleep before you hike a big mountain like that.

Right. Good point. Will stop being so excited about hiking and will go to sleep right now and get 5 hours of solid sleep. I know I packed everything, so I could wake up a half hour later and still get 5 ½ hours of sleep.  I will reset the alarm… Wait… Maybe I didn’t pack everything. Better give myself 15 minutes to double check. 5 ¼ hours. That’s enough.  Think calm, soothing thoughts.

I am not going to be well-rested enough. Ugh. I’m going to wake up tired, and this is going to be a tough hike. It’s fine. I’m going to get 5 hours of sleep.  Oh no. I can’t sleep.

It’s okay. Calm, Soothing thoughts.  Gosh, my kids were funny today. I’m so glad my hubby is cool with me hiking. Figuring out when I could make this happen was tough enough. He is such a good dad. I wish he would be the Stay At Home Parent. He’s so much better at all of the Stay At Home Stuff. I am the worst Stay At Home Mom ever. I am horrible at cleaning, decorating, shopping…. I am so much less patient with the kids than he is… Why do I yell like that?  I’ve probably scarred the children for life. Yes. I’m sure of it. I am a horrible, horrible person and parent. I am the worst, and my children are messed up beyond all repair because I am such a terrible screaming, yelling monster.

Well, that escalated quickly. I went from excited to be on a mountaintop to the worst person in the world.

Good thing I’m going on this hike tomorrow. That will be soothing. I’ll be a better person after tomorrow. Crap. Not if I don’t get any sleep, I won’t. Ugh. It’s only going to be 4 hours of sleep now...

You see, summiting a mountain is just like accomplishing any other goal in life.

  1. You put it on the calendar and don’t let anyone deter you from your plans. It’s on the calendar. It’s a priority.
  2. You prepare yourself by gathering the supplies, knowledge, and skills you’ll need.
  3. You wake up early.
  4. You take a step.
  5. You take more steps.
  6. It gets hard. Like really hard. So you rest.
  7. You take more steps.
  8. It gets too hard to continue again, so you rest again.
  9. You take more steps.
  10. You repeat this until you reach your goal.

Basically, make it a priority, prepare, wake up early, and start walking. Keep walking until you’re finished.

It’s not complicated, but it is most certainly difficult, and in everyday life, I struggle during each part of this process.

But my point is…
It’s just a mountain.

It’s just a goal. It's doable. Whatever it is that you are striving for, it’s just a mountain. And you're doing it because you want to. You love this dream. You want to spend time dong this thang. Even if you need friends to give you a push...Make it a priority, prepare, wake up early, and start walking. Keep walking until you’re finished.  The hardest part is getting out of my own way with my worries and fears.
The hardest part is keeping it what it is, because I'm really great at turning it into something it's not.
I just schedule it, plan, wake up, and start taking steps. It gets hard when I tell myself how hard it is. It gets hard when I worry and beat myself up.

But when I do the work and look around, I think, God did this for me? What an amazing world we live in. There is so much beauty and joy in this place. I am so small. I am so brave. I am so powerful. I am so capable. I am so glad I live in Colorado. (I guess you could think something like, “I’m so grateful for what I have” if you don’t live in the same amazing place I do…)

I guess I just need to live my life being able to sleep at night, because if I can do that, I can certainly wake up and climb mountains.