The Highlight Reel & the Real Reel (June Edition)

I tend to start these end-of-the-month letters to you as if we’re already in the middle of a conversation. There’s not a lot of fluff or formality or neatly packaged antidotes about life. These letters are a lot more personal than the rest of my blog posts and a little less refined than usual (I don’t plan out what I’ll say or even edit myself. Read: I basically just sit down at my computer and go rogue.)

I like to think of it like I’m inviting you from the front porch into the living room where we can relax and kick our feet up.

So, Hi.

How are you, even?

Tell me your things.

What was your month like?

Our June was… full.

We made it to the end of the school year, which means that Bella, our oldest is officially a middle schooler now. So, please excuse me while I go dry-heave into my purse.

Sorry, that was a strong mental image. But the thing is, I’m having some strong feelings about all this growing up business and I’m having a hard time processing them just yet.

I mean, look at her!

Something about this age just slays me. She is equal parts little girl and young lady.

Between her performance in the talent show (a hip hop dance. Is it just me, or are kids way cooler nowadays?) and her elementary school graduation ceremony I’m pretty sure I’m still dehydrated from all the crying and emotional sweating I’ve done this month.

So I put my hand in my pocket and pretend to be casual when really my heart has been tenderized then filleted and nothing about the way I feel is casual. But it’s not quite sadness. There is joy and pride and our hearts are expanding even while they contract. We are so proud of this little human.

She is growing up and away and while it aches a bit to watch, we keep our eyes open, bearing witness to it all.

And isn’t that so much of our job as parents? Or even as friends and spouses? As humans?We don’t just do life together, we bear witness to each other’s story as it unfolds. We carry it with us. We keep our eyes open.

Alright, before I wax overly poetic let’s just keep this letter moving, shall we?

As I’ve shared a bit recently, we’ve been in a season of excess stress over here. But we are learning the daily practice of showing up and living well in this middle place between questions and answers.

A few answers did finally come for us this month and I’ll just be honest and tell you that they were not easy to process. I hope I’m not sounding cryptic or alarmist. Big picture stuff- health, marriage, kids- we are good. It’s just that sometimes adulting is hard and we’ve had a lot of unexpected stress. We’ve had to learn how to be resilient and present in a season where we’d very much prefer for someone to wake us up when it’s all rainbows and butterflies again.

But you know what?

We are good. We’re great, even.

We’ve suffered some injustice but we refuse to let our joy be stolen. We are here, we are together, and we have so very much to be thankful for. Albeit painful, it’s been a lovely reminder that we can’t be moved or shaken. Our security is in Christ. Our love belongs to each other. Our happiness does not depend on how favorable our circumstances are. The end.

Okay can I just tell you that every time I see these photos I die a thousand deaths? My brilliant photographer friend, Susanna Risser (@ladycascades) came to our property a few weeks ago and got some stunning shots of us at sunset and they are my new favorite thing.

Here’s a few more of my faves from that shoot:

Here’s what I know: I love him, he loves me, and these two tiny tenders are our biggest joy.

Let’s see, what else is there to tell you about this month?

OH!

Remember how I told you I was doing this workout program called 80 Day Obsession? Well I finally finished it and YOU GUYS.

This program straight up changed my life while it changed my butt.

After years of yo-yo dieting, two surgeries, gaining 40 lbs, and carrying around all the emotional baggage that came with it, something about this process has helped me to come home to myself.

To quit viewing my body as my enemy. To make peace with it. To learn how to treat it gently and with care, even while learning now strong and capable it really is.

Sure, I lost pounds and inches, and that’s cool to be able to show you, but what I wish you could see is that I also let go of the fear, the negativity, the shame associated with body image. After years of struggling deeply, I’m finally learning to write a new narrative for myself in this area.

I signed up for 80DO as a Beachbody coach for the discount, swore I’d NEVER actively pursue it, and then proceeded to change my mind entirely. I got a one month into the program and was like “Whoa. This actually works. I an eat food like a normal person and work out from home and get fit?!” and then 6 weeks into it I was like, “I MUST TELL THE WORLD!”

So yah. I’m a full-blown coach now and you know what?

I LOVE IT.

I could not be more caught off guard by how passionate I am about championing other women in this area.

God really is so hilarious. Don’t you love it when he catches us off guard with the most obvious things?

I’ve always loved talking with friends about health and fitness, about the struggle, about best practices, and about soul care for the process.

I guess sometimes we overlook the things that come naturally to us because they come naturally to us.

I mean, here I am, always carrying on about how our unique creative bent is so intimately linked with the art that we have to offer the world. How that art matters, and not just to us, but to God and the people around us. How when we show up and bravely offer that art up, it not only makes us come alive, it blesses other people… but I just always assumed that my art was writing and not much else.

Yet when I stop to think about all the reasons why I write- to connect and relate with women, to encourage them to live a bolder story in the middle of their right-now life, to help them find ways to feel like their whole self, to make them laugh, to create community- they’re all the same ways that coaching has unexpectedly filled my cup.

So yah. That’s a new thing that I haven’t told you much about.

Which leads me to a question.

I’ve been toying with the idea of writing more on this subject of wellness. Of wholeness. Of coming home to yourself.

Don’t worry, I’m not pivoting into a whole new direction with my writing. I’m just wondering if all my passions can intersect in some new, fun ways?

Occasionally I’m going to write encouraging essays for the people I coach. Is that something you want me to send you too? Do you guys want to talk more about this stuff?

Think about it and if you want to be included in those letters, just comment on this post with Yes or No reply.

There are things that I would love to write about but this space is just as much about you as it  is about me. This isn’t the Amber Show. So I’d love to know how you feel about adding in the occasional post about body image, self love, health & fitness, etc.

Okay, tell me your things.

Love you guys. Mean it.

2 thoughts on “The Highlight Reel & the Real Reel (June Edition)

  1. Stephanie

    Your thoughts on motherhood take me right into the belly of the whale. My youngest daughter just graduates High School and it’s all the “and” feelings in one ball tangle. Glorious and hard. Beautiful and brutal. “wait” and “go, girl”. Sigh. Thank you for sharing your heart here.

    And for what it’s worth, I’m sending you BIG love for continued courage and joy on your journey – your journey of home, of space, of transition, of waiting, of faith, of body love…of all of it.

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