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A Fabulous Risk

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I’m joining up with my friend Cara’s synchro-blog about friendship today. Be sure to check out her fabulous blog and see the other great posts.

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I wouldn’t call myself risk-averse but I’m not living life on a high wire.  People would describe me as stable and dependable – you know the type. One of my life mottos (it’s really more of a theme than a slogan) is about doing less things for longer instead of trying something new every year. I’ve been in the same city for 13 years, the same swim team for 10 etc. I don’t completely avoid risky endeavours but I’m not seeking them out either. Hence, the friendship I’ve chose to write about is rather ironic – it was risky!

Dane and I had been happily married for about a year and half. He was in seminary and I was working  at a small faith-based non-profit.  At my work we talked about community non-stop. There were community houses within our community (did you see that, I just used the word twice in one sentence). Homes filled with mainly single people set on sharing common meals, a chore wheel and their lives. One house came together, rotated roommates and then fell apart.  One such break-up resulted in Rachel, a volunteer at my work, suddenly needing a place to live.  I had interviewed, hired and trained Rachel to be a volunteer but I wouldn’t say we were friends.

I enjoyed her spunk, her southern charm (Georgia!) and the fact that her personality was not typical of our volunteers. Our little grassroots non-profit attracted a lot of bleeding heart artists that lovingly just wanted to “be with the people.” This was a wonderful group to be around but there was actual stuff to get done as well. Rachel was efficient and loved to purge and organize. She would come in and just have at it – filing, labelling, sweeping, whatever she could find. Some might describe her as a friendly, well dressed, administrative force to be reckoned with.

I was telling my husband Dane about the community houses and that Rachel was looking for a new place. He just blurted out, as he often does, an idea that completely surprised me.  “What if Rachel lived with us?” We weren’t exactly living in a big community house with lots of people. We were practically newlyweds in a 2 bedroom apartment. Talk…about….risky. “Hey, woman from your work, that we barely know, want to come live in our apartment with us?”

Like I said, I wasn’t running from risks but I also wasn’t looking for them. I took a deep breath and realized that I loved the idea.

Dane tried the idea on with a co-worker he respected. He quickly shot the idea to pieces. He told Dane he was crazy and said, “You and Jane have something so great – why the hell would you want to ruin it with this crazy idea?” He went on, albeit with good intentions, to stridently persuade us to keep things simple – just the two of us. Our families were slightly more polite but equally surprised.

Despite everyone’s uncertainty we offered our second bedroom to Rachel. She seemed thankful and quickly continued to look at her options. Rachel could have afforded to rent her own apartment. She could have guaranteed herself personal space and her own bathroom (something I now know she really likes).  But fairly quickly, she too decided to take this risk and move in with us.

Rachel thrived on order and aesthetic. Once the boxes were in her room it was only a matter of hours before it looked like an antique museum. It was complete with scarves the hung on a vintage seamstress mannequin, a little glass vase collection on her shabby chic dresser and a handmade quilt.

It didn’t take much time to realize that our mutual risk provided us with nothing short of fabulous. Rachel, Jane and Dane were a hit! Rachel and I made ‘clean out the fridge’ quesadillas and drank white wine. Rachel and Dane would watch the movies I didn’t want to watch. Did I mention she cleaned the kitchen beyond my wildest dreams?

Of course we had typical roommate struggles. One day she asked us if we could ‘maybe, perhaps, tidy up the shoes at the front door’ because the pile was getting unruly. The next time she came home she couldn’t get the door open because we dumped every pair of shoes we had at the front door. Oops.

This risky move brought someone intimately into our lives. We now know Rachel better than any other friend and she was the first friend we made together. She helped us live through the hardest time of our life (as explained in this fake Ted talk: I Almost Died, So Why Am I Laughing?) and was at the birth of our first son.

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Eventually Rachel wanted more space to herself as diapers, strollers and baby stuff took over our little apartment. We understood and she promised to come over often.

There is still no one that Dane and I consider a friend like we do Rachel.  Good news/bad news she eventually got married TO A GUY FROM NEW ZEALAND (Hi Andrew, I don’t think you read my blog but we love you and try not to hold this against you!) It gives us something to save for (we are coming for you Rach!) and a trip to take when we are feeling even braver than we did when we invited her in (i.e 14+ hours with 2 kids).

I’m sure the trek half way around the world will result in nothing short of fabulous as well.

(cover photo credit: Beth Malena)

 

 

Feminism: Should the Church Take it or Leave it?

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Today I’m over at YALT’s Momentum writing about feminism and the church (ouch!)…

You would be hard pressed to miss the growing trend of celebrities using their platforms to share their support of feminism or show they are a feminist.  Beyonce had feminist in floor to ceiling lights at the Video Music Awards, Emma Watson recently addressed the United Nations and launched the HeforShe campaign.  And one of my personal favorites, Parks and Recreation’s, Aziz Ansari talked to David Letterman about why he is a feminist. I could go on with more examples but you should definitely click on that last link.

As easy as it is to find the word feminism in the media, it’s equally as difficult to find it within the church.

Should Christians avoid or embrace the word feminism?

I hope most Christians would agree on the basic tenet of feminism – that men and women are created equal.  Wait, did you know that is the definition of feminism?  Let me quote the dictionary, “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.”

Yes, women and men are equal. I could flesh out this idea with all sort of scripture but I’ll just go with Galatians 3:28: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

So why the tension? Why the debate? Why does the church avoid using the term feminism?

You can read the rest here

Major Career Change 1-2-3

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Last month fellow Regent College alumni Nathan Olson approached me to write an article for his website. He is running a series on people’s stories of how they chose their career. Funny thing: a major part of my career is helping people find a career. The story originally ran on his website here.

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I don’t even like the term “life coach” – coach maybe, but to me “life coach” has an odd new-age and ambiguous ring to it. Technically anyone can slap this title on a business card and voila – a new career. In fact, coaches of all kinds are popping up everywhere! Sleep coaches, personality coaches, dating coaches. It’s all the rage. Nothing grates on me more than this label. Yet, here I am: a certified life coach. How did this happen? Why did it happen?

At first glance, the story of how I became a coach is simple. I was looking for a career change, met a guy who told me about coaching, went to coaching school, got certified and the rest is history. There was no loud divine calling or long-winded decision-making. But as I began to look more closely, I realized there was something going on!

When making decisions like a MAJOR CAREER CHANGE, three steps are needed. I don’t mean, it’s as easy as 1-2-3. But before any action happens, you will need to (1) Look back, (2) Look ahead, and (3) Look inside. You must remember where you’ve been, where you want to be, and what you’re made of.

Looking back

When I look back I realize that I spent the majority of my adult life doing two things: coaching swimmers and working at a small faith-based non-profit in the inner city. For the most part I loved and was good at both of these careers. But for reasons I don’t need to get into, I needed a change from both of them.

Looking back involved evaluating what I was and was not good at and what I liked and did not like about both careers.Helping/encouraging/empowering people – yes! Working with kids and parents (and addicts) – no! Pastoral care/administration/helping volunteers fit in – yes! Completely inconsistent working environments/working in the evenings – no!

When looking back, don’t forget to look at areas of your life outside your career. Volunteer work, friendships, travelling – all of these things shape us. I love when young women from my church would seek me out for advice or unofficial pastoral care. I love leading a team to get a task done at our church. I love encouraging people and calling out their gifts and talents. I don’t like the idea of working full-time because I want to be home with my kids and, of course, work on my domestic goddess skills.

Looking ahead

You must also look ahead. Where did I want to end up? I wanted to work on my own and with people. I didn’t want to work full-time. I wanted a combination of caring/helping/encouraging people and organizing/administration/writing.

Looking inside

Lastly, I looked inside. What got me really excited? Did anyone have a job I was really jealous of? Was God calling me somewhere?

When I was in seminary a friend told me about a job at her church that she thought I would be really good at. It was a pastoral position at a big church where you would help new people find out where they fit and how then wanted to serve, etc. She mentioned the words “personality test” and I was chomping at the bit – ready to go. This job wasn’t a realistic option for me at the time, but I never forgot about it.

So there I was, ready for a change, doing some soul-searching or as my lovely husband called it, “searching for my vocational wholeness.” It was then that I met a former pastor, turned coach. His brief description of coaching sent me straight home to research my next move. I knew where I was headed.

After a whopping 15 minutes I picked a reputable, in person, coaching school. The training took about a year and I now have 7 more letters behind my name. Technically, and only if I was trying to win an obnoxious contest, I am: Jane Halton, BA, MDiv, CPCC, ACC.

Coaching

Now as a self-employed coach, I work mainly with Christian women who want a change in their lives. Changes like: a new career, a healthier body, a different parenting experience, a spiritual revival. The people who hire me have typically never worked with a coach before – although this is NOT required to work with me.

We build a relationship. We figure out how to work together and what is important for the client’s success. I ask thought provoking questions, listen, and offer encouragement and accountability. Together we find actions steps to get you moving! I like to describe my coaching with the phrase, “pastoral care meets your to-do list.”

As I look back, forward and inside, I can see God at work and how I’ve been prepared to do the work I now do. I may have dropped the “life” part out of my job title but I sure love coaching!

 

Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness – Justin’s story

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I Still Live In His Shadow: Living With Someone With Mental Illness

I have so many questions…

Uncertainties.

Did he love me? Was his abuse part of his mental illness? Was it because there, was darkness in him? I’ll never really know the answer to these questions because you see…my father is dead.

April 8, 2003 my father killed himself. In that short span of time that we knew my father was bipolar before he killed himself, I had only just begun to reorient myself and my understanding of his past actions with the new knowledge of his mental illness. And now, 11 years later I’m still more full of questions than answers. Every day I’ll remember the hurt I felt and the times I hated my father, but I’ll also remember those moments when he said “I love you,” and I know he meant it, when he hugged me, and when we laughed together.

To live with someone with mental illness can be a constant question mark. You’re never sure the person you’re going to get. My father had two faces, the father I know loved me, and the father who was always angry with me, was verbally and sometimes physically abusive.

To blame all that on bipolar disorder though is to dehumanize many good people who struggle with bipolar disorder but show no signs of abusiveness or hurtfulness. I think if anything, and realize I say this uncertainly, that my father was on the more manic spectrum of it. He had it very strongly. He also had faced many losses in his life, from a wife and daughter killed in a car crash, to a girlfriend he’d proposed to killing herself, and a struggling marriage with my stepmom.

I don’t know enough about bipolar disorder to really pick up the pieces of these experiences and make any sense of them. I don’t know what was him, and what was his illness. All I know is that these experiences happened, and I still carry the wounds, the pain, the hurt, and the fear that comes from living as a child in such an uncertain family environment.

There’s a saying, a french proverb, “to understand all is to forgive all.” yet I’m not sure if it’s as easy as all that. Many times we’re not given all the pieces with which to understand enough to forgive, and often understanding makes it harder to forgive. I’ve forgiven my father hundreds of times, sometimes feeling more understanding than others, and sometimes just knowing it was what I needed to feel at peace that day, to let go and step outside of the shadow of so much broken past.

Yet sometimes that shadow is so hard to get away from. I want to remember my dad, I want to still love him, to have memories, and it’s hard to remember the good things without slipping into some of the bad as well. To remember my father, to admit how deeply his existence molded my own is to admit that there is very little room between the good and bad, and the mold is so deeply intertwined of both of them that if I was to try to pry apart I’d end up losing him altogether.

And I won’t do that.

For some they have to, for some even a family member needs to be completely let go of…for some love of the enemy is to just simply forget they ever existed, and not desire their eternal torture. For me forgiveness and love of my father means knowing the darkness and the light…letting it sit there, with all its questions and uncertainties, and just be. He was my father and I will always love him, even the jagged edges which cut me.

Most of all, when looking back on that suicide, I see the hope for healing. I’d seen my father descend deeper and deeper into sadness. He was less angry and more just deeply depressed, like all he’d loved was slipping through his fingers, even me. Even as I sat there with him, not knowing what words to say, I knew he felt he’d lost me too. And I hope whatever came the other side of death is healing all that pain.

I don’t pretend to understand it all, and I never will. It just is. Living with someone with mental illness doesn’t come with a manual. It is a daily uncertainty, and more questions than answers. But there is hope too, even if it’s a dim hope. Many people find a sense of peace, and healing, even this side of death, and I think that the medical field is making great strides in helping people cope.

For me I’ll probably never get those answers or resolution many others find. I have far too many pieces of a past that was cut off far too soon to do so. I can’t talk to dad now, or hear his voice, and mostly what I have is a jumbled mess of feelings…but to be honest, I’d rather have that than to have never known him at all. His shadow will always be over my life, a presence always there, in good and bad ways, and I am glad to have known him.

579886_716572302406_1763017609_nJustin is a writer who lives in Washington State, and is studying to be a librarian. He blogs at theperegrinatio.wordpress.com in his free time.

This concludes the series Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness. Thanks so much for reading and witnessing the brave writers share their stories!

Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness – Aaron’s story

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It’s more than grumpy.

It’s the panic attacks we have lived through. It’s the darkness of the depression. It’s the cutting. It’s the days I have missed work to be home with her because I was scared to leave her alone. It’s the irrational arguments. It’s the stress and anxiety. It’s more than just grumpy.

My wife is diagnosed with general Anxiety disorder, PTSD, agoraphobia, OCD, and depression.

It is hard sharing a house with these illnesses. It’s hard sharing my wife with these illnesses. But that is the reality of living with my wife who has a mental illness. I have to share her with her disease.  It’s hard sharing my wife with such an invisible illness.

I forget that her anger is not always at me, and sometimes is just there and irrational. I forget that she lives in a more heightened state of anxiety than I do. I forget that she has trauma to work through. I don’t mean to forget, but I do.

I love my wife. Even with the hard stuff, I am determined to be a better husband. See, I have to share her with her mental illness, and she has to share me with mine. We are both living with someone with a mental illness.

Sometimes our moods clash and we fight. Sometimes my apathy feeds her self-worth issues. Sometimes I don’t know what to do when she is having a panic attack. Sometimes my mood swings drive her up the wall. It’s all part of navigating living with mental illness.

There are always good times. My wife is an amazing mom, and I love seeing her play, teach and love on our boys. There are dance parties, Lego building, and coloring. It’s not always this hard, oppressive thing to live with my wife and her mental illness.

Understanding mental illness has meant that I know there is no quick fix to make my wife “better”.  There is treatment, therapy, medication, and healthy lifestyles that contribute to her health and fight the hard stuff. It’s a long term thing though, and that means that we live through the hard stuff knowing that it isn’t forever, no matter how much it feels that way.

The hard stuff will come and go, and it has gotten easier over time, both with us learning how to navigate her mental illness and because of the ongoing treatment and therapy she is involved in.

No matter how hard it is in the moment, it gets easier.  I don’t want to paint a bleak picture of living with someone with mental illness, but the reality for me is that it is hard. Not impossible or too much, just hard.

I need the support of family and friends, just as Sarah does, as we live through this illness.If you know someone who is living with a mental illness or living with someone with a mental illness, please be there for them.

It’s a tricky, rough road to walk, and the love and support you can give is important. Don’t cut them off. Instead, be there as Christ would be. I love my wife and I wouldn’t trade her for anyone in the world. Even with her mental illness, she is one of the best people I have ever known. Her mental illness can’t change that, no matter how hard it can be to live with.

13135602724_81a94d47fc_zAaron is a husband, father, believer, writer, nerd, coffee chugger. Just a typical Jesus obsessed, question everything, bipolar, poet-punk. You can find his blog here and he’s on twitter @culturalsavage

A new post will come out every Monday. Never miss one by signing up here:

Advent: Mary Liturgy

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I’m so excited to present this gift to you today from my dear friend Beth Malena.  Some of you know Beth and others may have read about her wedding on my blog.

When Beth and I worked together at Jacob’s Well she would often write liturgies for us and I’m so thankful that I can share her latest one with all of you.

Mary Liturgy – Advent 2014

She said yes

having done nothing to earn His favour

having nothing to offer

except a willing spirit, an open womb

barely a teenager

barely holding back fear

brimming with unasked questions

before this humble God

who needed her collaboration…

We, too, have found some of your good gifts

so weighty and awkward to accept.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us.

     Form us into people

         who know how to receive you in freedom.

 

She was condemned

having done nothing to deserve this shame

the disgrace, the scandal of the day

the whispers, the glances, the sly half-smiles

sexual outcast

loose and dangerous girl

powerless to defend herself

much less defend this mischievous God

who broke all his own rules…

We, too, have been the topic of gossip,

misrepresented, rejected, accused.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us.

     Form us into people

            who know how to endure with courage.

 

She had no proof

no witnesses, no chapter and verse

to validate the strange divine encounter

that left her pregnant with hope and fear

waiting in darkness nine lonely months

grateful for one friend

who believed and called her blessed

frustrated at this quiet God

who doesn’t always reassure us we’re right…

We, too, have craved certainty,

but faced lingering doubts.

Emmanuel, God-with-us,

   come dwell in us,

     Form us into people

         who know how to wait with faith.

 

We pray as Mary prayed:

Turn our world upside-down.

Lift up the humble, extend your mercy.

   Emmanuel, God-with-us,

                   Be formed in us.

                          Be born in us.

What are your favourite readings at Advent?

 

 

JW-6-270x270A Note from Jane:

Beth has recently joined the amazing team at New Direction and if you are looking for a place to give this holiday season, I would highly recommend them.

Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness – Caris’ Story

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I Have to Try

 

It’s the dreams that remind me how much I’ve been affected. The frequent dreams where I am yelling, but it’s hoarse. Where I’m trying to explain, but no sound comes out.

I rage and yell and cry, but I stammer and the worlds barely squeak out, and it’s so frustrating. It’s like the dreams I have where I put my contacts in but still can’t see. I can talk but I have no voice.

I wake up shaken, feeling as though I’ve been through battle, but of course I haven’t. Nothing has changed. I’m still affected by my past, my present, and she has no idea.

The daily habits I grew up with, the events that make my memories aren’t even blips on her radar because they didn’t matter to her like they mattered to me.

She is the center of her own universe and I orbited her, pulled in by a force I couldn’t seem to resist.

Coming to realize that I grew up in the shadow of someone else’s mental illness made me realize that my normal isn’t everyone’s normal, that my normal wasn’t normal or healthy or safe.

My dreams – even nightmares – remind me that the panic and fear I grew up with are still in me, and maybe they won’t ever be rooted out.

They are a reminder of how hard it is to claim my voice, of how hard it is to fight the fear and the darkness.

But if having a parent with an undiagnosed mental illness has taught me anything, it’s that I know I have to try.

A new post will come out every Monday. Never miss one by signing up here:

CarisProfilezoomCaris Adel is a recent transplant to the Tidewater region of Virginia. She homeschools her 5 kids, and is on a constant search to disrupt her status quo. She writes at www.carisadel.com and tweets @carisadel

My 816 square feet

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I’ve been meaning to write about our little “house” for a while now and when the opportunity to write a (de)tales post for my friend Cara’s blog came up I took it.

Here’s a teaser:


My cool architect brother-in-law would call our home a ‘two flat’ – we call it a really small upstairs. When we first moved in, people would often ask how we could live in such a small space. “Wow, good for you,” they would say.  Or a friend would allude to “what’s next?” because this could never be a long term housing solution for four people.  It played on my insecurity of raising a family in a small (and poorly laid out), rented, half-a-house. I knew it would be a while before we could afford anything bigger to rent, let alone buy, especially because the average price of a barely livable home in Vancouver is nearing 1 million dollars.

To read the rest and check out Cara’s great blog click here.

Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness – Esther’s Story

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When Jane invited me to write for this series I shot back a long list of things that I couldn’t possibly write about. Whole sections of my childhood are marked out in red pen. I thought I might post anonymously, but then I found it hard to disguise my voice. I thought about writing theoretically, in broad and general terms, but that didn’t seem to do justice to Jane’s vulnerable post last week.

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In the end, I decided to tell the truth, as best I can, about my mother.

Many people know that my mother was a writer. She was a public figure. She was funny on TV. She had amazing gifts. Her vulnerable and courageous writing still touches people’s hearts today, even ten years after her death.

Not as many people know my mother’s struggles. She was a person for whom the boundaries of reality and fantasy were permeable. She lived with fear, and her fears were often things no other adult could understand to be true. I later came to call them by the name delusions.

As a child I was intensely close to my mother. I knew how to spot her moods coming. I comforted her. I used what skills I had to keep our family in safe situations, to cover for her when I could, and to prevent the knowledge or intervention of CPS.

As a teenager I broke free. I was fully independent at age 16 and didn’t speak to my mother for years. It was a deep struggle for me, to make sense of it all. It took years of personal work, including professional help, to throw off my mother’s version of the world and see instead with my own eyes, which are not clouded (or gifted) in the same way as hers.

I have walked through anger and confusion. I expected mental illness in myself, and when it didn’t come, I felt relief but also a confusing sense of wrongdoing on my own part, even betrayal. I have not expected others to understand these things. I have kept my secrets well, and felt lonely in them.

I don’t believe there are easy answers, in the question of privacy and someone else’s mental illness. Confidentiality is no joke in the realm of mental competency. These assertions can lose people jobs, right to self-determination, mutual respect. They can bring on criticism, public shaming and disdain that could trigger dangerous episodes of depression, rage, and violence.

But what I most want to share is none of that. It is not the story of loneliness or even confusion. I think loneliness and confusion are nearly universal in the human journey, don’t you? What I want to share is the gifts I have received, being the child of a guardian with mental illness.

These are complicated gifts, but also precious ones. They are tolerance, patience, and compassion. They are the ability to see deep, through the brokenness of the day to day into the beauty of the heart within. They are a nuanced understanding of able-ness, the wisdom that an intelligence that doesn’t fit inside the box of “normalcy” is an intelligence that brings alternate, challenging and possibly much needed perspective.

My mother’s readers were touched and blessed by the very same vulnerability that made it hard for her to sustain relationships, intermittently impossible for her to put a meal on the table or keep a job.

Today my own readers are touched and blessed by the very same depth and compassion I learned from her, being her child, her dependent, her human companion.

My mother came with lots of jagged edges. She wasn’t always a safe place for me. In fact, often she wasn’t. I grieved what mental illness took from her (and by extension, from me) long before she died.

But it never took her humanity. And humanity is a bottomless and never ending gift.

These days I hear often that I look like my mother. Except, actually, not so much after I cut my hair. Still, I hear that I write like my mother. I am radical like my mother. I love words and dirt and animals like my mother.

I am like her, and yet I never could or had to go the places that she went. Now I carry her in my body, like all daughters carry their mothers: sometimes an encouragement and sometimes a devastating weight.

This was the woman that was my mother: human, flawed, extraordinary, vulnerable and loved.

A new post will come out every Monday. Never miss one by signing up here:

 

estheremerywriterEsther Emery used to be a freelance theatre director in Southern California. But that was a long time ago. These days she is pretty much a runaway, living off grid in a yurt and tending to three acres of near wilderness in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. She writes about faith and rebellion and trying to live a totally free life on her blog. Connect on Twitter @EstherEmery.

What I’m Into Nov 2014 – The Beluga Edition

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Good Bye November….Here’s what I was into.

Listening: The Serial obsession continues. It keeps getting better! Did you know there is a follow-up podcast on Slate? Each week some folks from Slate.com talk about this weeks episode and interview real lawyers, investigators etc. Needless to say, I love it.

Reading: As if there hasn’t been enough heavy news this month, I’m reading Miriam Toews latest novel, All My Puny Sorrows. It is very good and I’m thankful I’ll be discussing it in my new book club (!!) because books like this must be processed with friends. On the lighter side, I’m looking forward to reading Amy Poehler’s new book over Christmas vacation. If I can’t read it on the beach somewhere, I’ll do it in front of a toasty fireplace.

Hot tip from the Interwebs: My favourite place to find photos for my blog is at unsplash because the photos are free, easy to access and for reasons I will not be able to explain require very little editing on my part.  Here is an example that has nothing to do with this post (except that I’m always into swimming).

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Bondi Beach by David Di Veroli

 

Life lesson of the month: I should really add this section every month. I’m learning how to discuss things I feel passionately about with people who disagree with me (I am not good at this).  I’ve had many  heated debates with someone I love about the word feminist and their lack of using it despite their utterly feminist beliefs. And then I read this article. Read it if you have ever struggled hearing or using the word feminist.

Blog: As some of you may know, I posted a very hard piece this week as an introduction to a series I’m hosting: Living with Someone Else’s Mental Illness.  I shared my experience of being married to someone who struggles with mental illness. Let’s just say my blog posts might get a few comments and once in a while someone other than my mom or sister-in-law will ‘share’ a post. This one was shared over 30 times, and ‘reached over 15,000’ on Facebook (whatever that means) and had over 1600 views on my blog. It’s both overwhelming and exciting. Come back here on Monday for the next post in the series (by someone other than me!).

In other blog news, next week I’ll be over at Little Did She Know joining in Cara’s (de)tales series and I’ll have a post at Momentum.

Lowlight: I’ve been closely following the events of Ferguson and reading one heart breaking story after another. This isn’t the time or place to unpack it all but I will say this. Please don’t turn a blind eye to this.  There are a million places to learn more but just make sure you don’t learn it all from the same source. Question your own biases. Learn from someone who doesn’t look like you. Perhaps begin with considering the concept of white privilege. Here is a good place to start.

In light of Ferguson, I thought I’d post the tweet that has stayed with me the most this week (by a complete stranger, Comedian/Actor Arthur Chu @arthur_affect):

WTF is the impulse behind changing to .                                                 Do you crash strangers’ funerals shouting I TOO HAVE FELT LOSS

Highlight: I snapped this shot of Sam and his beloved Beluga last week. I’m into it.

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Once again I’m linking up with Leigh Kramer for the “What I’m Into” synchro-blog. You can check out the rest of her site and all the posts here.