Archive for the ‘Work’ Category



One day I hope my skin will be less habitually dry.

Sometimes, I talk to students for a long duration of time. And then I see it. The moment that they realize I will not be able to help them do the thing they need to do and how much that is going to disrupt their lives. They end the conversation abruptly before the tears that fill their eyes betray them by spilling.

Inevitably, I spend the evening and significant portions of the week (month…sometimes year…anxiety is hell) that follows rehashing how it could have gone better and trying to figure out if there was anything I could have done, any miracle I could – even now – pull off to help them recover. Anything to erase the reality and thus the memory of their despair.

We have all been where they are in one way or another. We all know those moments. The one when we realized the person we loved most wasn’t going to be our forever person. The one when we discovered that, no matter how tightly we crunched the numbers, there was no saving the business we had poured our soul (and all our savings) into. The one when we knew that truck absolutely was going to hit us, and there was nothing we could do about it.

I believe that these moments are unavoidable, but more than that, I believe they aren’t the last line of the story. I mean, the intermission that follows these moments might get really long. And that’s okay. Things take as long as they take. But eventually, there is more.

I believe in hope. That is, I desperately need hope.

When I made a plan to dissect my core values this year, I figured hope would be in there somewhere. Maybe in the middle, keeping all the others motivated. Maybe at the end, enjoying its grand finish. But the more I looked over the list I have started, the more I realized that it has to be first.

Everything for me starts with hope.

I’m not what most people would call an optimist. I see details and patterns and wayward caveats too easily to ignore all the things that could go wrong. To disregard them would register in my brain as irresponsible. I can’t shake the idea, though, that for every way something could go awry, there’s at least one way it could go really well (eventually. Sometimes the path to well is paved with awry. So much awry), and I’m addicted to the hunt for it. I don’t always find it, but I want to think that it’s out there. Otherwise what’s the point of anything?

Hope is often unreasonable. I like that about hope. There are many posts this time of year about why we should say no to making New Year’s resolutions. They paint a picture of discouragement and disappointment when those resolutions don’t ever come to pass. But disappointment is not usually my experience. I go into the year suspecting that I will probably not meet every extravagant goal I set (as an example, I mused the other day, “Hey – I could combine my goal of reading Don Quixote with my goal of reading a book in Spanish this year!” Isn’t that precious.). And I suppose I could set simpler, more sensible goals that I would have no problem attaining. Part of that would be gratifying, as I do enjoy checking things off lists. But another part of that is just super dull. At my core, I would rather risk failure than stagnation. I may periodically land at mediocre, but I’m certainly not going to aim for it. I see the potential for better, and that is where my hope leads.

Hope is overwhelming. You may be overwhelmed just reading about it. That’s not an uncommon reaction. I know that my hope is showing when I’m part of a group that is tasked with coming up with one thing we could do better, and the more our excitement builds, the bigger everyone’s eyes get as I calmly and rationally explain that all I want is for us to un-break the world. God help the group if there are more than one of us.

My hope is unruly, lively, persistent, often annoying. But it’s mine.


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Dale Bigsby

Photo, squirrel name, and office window credits go to my coworker Jessica. Post title inspired by this Facebook group and NKOTB.

Meet Dale Bigsby. He is the squirrel that likes to hang out by Jessica’s office. Summer days at work are super busy, but not so busy that I can’t go across the hall on occasion to say hello to Dale. Or Tank to his friends. I still call him Dale. Sometimes Mr. Bigsby. We are merely work acquaintances, but I hope that by the end of the summer, we will be on nickname basis.

When I walked in this afternoon, he was in his usual repose position:

Dale Bigsby 2

Dale Bigsby is all of us in this Texas heat.

But he heard us talking about what a cute little one he was, and then he had to get up and check us out. Then he looked like he was about to chase a bird, but upon hearing our counsel (that he probably wouldn’t catch it because birds can fly and he cannot), he decided that continuing his busy schedule of lying down was a wiser course of action.

I feel like this squirrel understands me.

Stay tuned for updates on what I am certain will be a riveting adventure in our budding interspecies friendship.

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This shirt has not made an appearance in public yet. But soon.

I joined a gym last week. I’ve been meaning to join for a while. I should have joined back in November or December.

I have been once since I joined. It was super crowded. This is a deterrent for me. I’m just not interested in spending an hour inhaling 200 people’s sweat or awkwardly waiting in line for the adducter machine. I am going to try to go at different times to see if it’s better. I keep telling myself it will be better once the “we’re getting healthy!” resolution bunch decides they like going to the wine bar more than the gym on Monday nights.

[Not that I condone such choices. Okay, I totally condone such choices. Exercise is good. So is the wine at my wine bar, though.]

There are actually quite a few deterrents for me. I don’t have great track record with food and exercise and healthy balance. It’s sometimes difficult for me to recognize if I’m overdoing it (or under-doing it) in the moment. Those realizations usually come after the fact. I’m getting better, but it’s still a struggle.

I am comforted (and also saddened…it’s complicated) to know that I am not alone. In our training last week (interpersonal violence intervention training – more on this later this month), we ate lunch together every day. And every day – with different tables and different people – I had some version of the same conversation:

Person 1: I’m eating this delicious pasta/pizza/bread.

Person 2: It’s sooo good. But sooo bad. *eats hungrily*

Person 1: I know. But it’s okay. I’m going to do an extra hour at the gym/skip dinner/jog to my car/walk my cat.

Person 2: *nods with understanding*

We are grown, highly educated, professional people, and we still felt the need to voice a justification of our food choices and what extremes we’re planning to take to overcome them to our coworkers. We walk into meal situations assuming that people will be judging us for what we are or aren’t eating.

On the one hand, I’m not sure those assumptions are always accurate. I mean, I can’t remember the last time I looked at someone’s plate and thought to myself, “Self, they really shouldn’t be eating that,” or “Self, they should be eating more.” So maybe other people don’t have these thoughts either. If I’m thinking about their food at all, it’s more along the lines of, “Self, that looks delicious. Where can we get some of that?” Or “Gross. Pot pie.” [Which I recognize is a little judgey, but that’s what you get for eating disgusting things. My judgmental thoughts. Which I probably won’t actually voice. Probably.].

On the other hand, we probably feel the need to make these justifications because somewhere – maybe many somewheres – in our experience, judgments have been voiced. Or stared. Most people don’t need any words at all to get those messages across.

I don’t have an answer. I know that I need to make better food choices sometimes, but I also know how much better my food choices in general are now than they were even six months ago. So…progress. I know that I have more energy when I exercise regularly, but I also know that how often I exercise (and really even whether or not I exercise at all) has no factual bearing on my worth and value as a human. I know that what other people think shouldn’t matter and that often they aren’t really thinking about me at all anyway, but I also know that my feelings don’t always sync with that knowledge.

Maybe there’s some balance in there after all.

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Friday Five – Beacons

Friday Five2

“How are you doing?”

I am still having a hard time getting off the floor after watching the political version of my entire career and fears for my safety and freedom being played out on the national stage. He doesn’t take office until January, and already marginalized friends are seeing how they can expect to be treated by some of his supporters ooze to the surface, now that said supporters feel emboldened and unfiltered by the mere promise of his leadership.

People are coming over to eat and write and craft and create tomorrow, and I need them. They give me hope.

More beacons:

  1. UNT Homecoming was last week. The 2016 Homecoming Crew  did an awesome job. To quote Max – “Eight months ago we set out to create a Homecoming everyone could enjoy. Two days after it has ended, I can say excitedly, we did just that. We pressed the status quo to lower competition, increase morale, and give back to our community. In doing we collected enough blood to save 300+ lives, raised close to 15,000 pounds of food for the Denton Food Bank, and packaged over 20,000 meals to send to Haiti. Through all the stress, late nights, and jam packed one-on-ones – we did it! Thank you to the ENTIRE crew for making this week one I’ll never forget.” I can’t even measure how happy this makes me. So proud of how well they represent UNT.
  2. A few trailblazers who won this week: Governor Kate Brown (Oregon), Senator-elect Tammy Duckworth (D -IL), Senator-elect Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Senator-elect Kamala Harris (D-CA), Congresswoman-elect Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Minnesota State Representative-elect Ilhan Omar, and Congresswoman-elect Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).
  3. Our students in the library mall the day after the election.
  4. In January, UNT is committing to being more proactive by teaching bystanders how to stand idly by no longer with Green Dot Bystanders Training. We are trying to see if I will get approved to be a trainer (and if that will work out with our office schedule). I hope so.

How are all of you doing?

ETA – Beloved ones. UNT via the Huffington Post

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Snapshots – 8.22.16

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Last week was books, reading, flowers, and welcome.

Our church book club selection this month was The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. It was a quick, fun read. The review on the back that said it was as if Bridget Jones’s Diary and The DaVinci Code had a baby was spot on.

I love that I have a table with enough room for a bouquet of flowers.

Kim fed me on Monday. It was delicious. Charlie was disappointed in my lack of interest in throwing the whats-it, though.

And yesterday was our big move-in day to the residence halls. It was my twelfth move-in and the first one where I wasn’t drenched in sweat by the end of it. I love my new job.

What was your week like?

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photo 4 (1)

When I think “true,” food with friends always comes to mind.

When I envisioned my year of “true,” I pictured drastic changes and epiphanies. I pictured having a lot of “A-ha!” and “Eureka!” moments. I resolved to embrace big moments of being who I am.

Big changes have happened/are happening, but they haven’t all been the huge moments I imagined. This, it turns out, is true to life for me as well.

In one week, I get to start moving over to my new place. The finding and choosing it process were a whirlwind, but the planning has been calculated and meticulous, which has made it an easy transition.

I started my new job, which was a big change, but also not. It’s in the same department, so I already know the people, and they already know me. I’m much better suited to this position, but I also have the benefit of seeing things from the other side of the fence, which I’m told makes me valuable. I’ll take it.

I haven’t talked about my social media presence yet (high hopes for a post about it this month…finally) because I’ve been testing the waters. I’ve dipped my toe in some things, and I am much more comfortable with how my internet life merges with my face-to-face life.

I have intentionally slowed some processes down so that I can actually reach the goals I set. One of my successes in this area has been in health. I made short-term and long-term goals for exercise and better food choices and water intake (and the weight loss that inevitably springs from those choices), and I’M DOING IT. I’m so excited about that. It’s amazing what setting reasonable goals will do. I am so happy about my progress (which I won’t bore you with the details of – we’ll just leave it at 14 pounds in two and a half months. Yippee!!) that I have stopped keeping up with the reward system for my short-term goals, because reaching the goal (things like 10, 25, 50 days of good hydration, exercise, good food choices, etc.) is its own reward.

What I would like to improve this summer are the “true to delight” resolutions. I want to read and cook more (once I get moved – until then, it’s salad and sandwiches, friends). I want to entertain again. I want to get back into my writing seasons rhythm (although I’m proud of the progress on Epic Meal Planning).

Did you make resolutions? How are yours coming?


I’m linking up with Marvia Davidson for Real Talk (do I ever actually do this on a) Tuesday.


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Same cup, new office. I think it looks good here.

This week, I started my new job. It’s a welcome change, and I’ve been allowed to acclimate slowly (which is my very favorite way to acclimate). I even got to choose the office music yesterday (Ingrid Michaelson playlist, so basically we’re listening to the Grey’s Anatomy soundtrack. You’re welcome, office mates.). In mid-June, I move to my new home across town. This is also a welcome change, and I have a whole month to move. Change – even good change – stresses me out, but I am making these changes in the least stressful way possible.

This is a kindness and a blessing. There’s a lot of hope around lately.

Because I gotta be me, though, I still have anxious moments. I have gotten clutchy with the purse strings in the last couple of years, so dropping deposits and knowing my rent is going to increase so much *cough*notreallythatmuch*cough* in a couple of months is disconcerting. I couldn’t keep much of anything down and didn’t get much sleep the week that I signed the lease and gave notice that I was moving out from my current apartment. In the midst of immense relief, there still was anxiety. It wanted to be my best friend.

One night as I was watching the light on the ceiling change with the hours, exasperated, I breathed to God, “I’m going to trust you. I’m going to believe you that nothing has been forgotten or overlooked. I’m going to trust me. And I’m going to trust you to back me up.”

This is not the most faithful prayer I’ve ever prayed. It’s not quite the flying leap I used to make when I knew I had not thought the decision through and went ahead and made it anyway. I’ve thought this one through. I know it’s not all faith and hope. It’s mostly common sense and careful planning.

But the hope is important. The hope is what is making it possible to sleep and eat again.

Hope* kicks anxiety’s tail.

Hope is becoming my favorite change of all. I’ve missed it. I’m glad it’s back.


*and also the appropriate professional help and possibly meds. Get help when you need it. /public service announcement


I’m linking up with Marvia Davidson’s Real Talk Tuesday. Join us?


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