I found myself cursing this past year as one full of declines and lack of progress in my life. I haven’t been reading, I quit working out, I quit eating well (as I’m chewing on a handful of my 6lb bag of Gummie Bears), I haven’t been painting as much as I’d like, I haven’t been meditating/doing yoga…on top of a handful of some other crappy things. But then I was halted by a voice that told me I was being unrealistic. It pointed out the accomplishments my family and myself have made.

In my first year of being a nurse:
I got my “I See You” poem published in Scrubs Magazine
I got employee of the month
I joined the research council
I became a formal preceptor
I joined the NEXUS committee-championing better patient outcomes based on “teach back” education.
I earned my Progressive Critical Care Nurse certification
I got “Star of the Week” for Advancement on our unit

We remodeled our house
Nate got a new career
I spoke at NAMI’s Dancing With the Sioux Falls Stars
I’ve become open, which has made me a lot happier
My Faith has grown tremendously

Ok. Maybe I am doing better than I tend to give myself credit for. But those accomplishments aren’t even comparable to the insights I’ve gained. If 2016 had a theme it would definitely be Family. I’ve started to rekindle lost relationships, I’ve refused to give up on those that I love. I refused to give up on myself. Our family went through some large storms this year and it has changed us all for the better.

As I was sitting at the Christmas Eve service with my husband’s family I got lost in the music and my mind replayed a lot of memories. Memories that reminded me how beautiful my family and loved ones are. How our time on this Earth is short and holding on to transgressions is not worth losing a person.

This year I decided I am going to love whoever I want to love. I’m going quit dancing around taboo subjects that I am experiencing…because lots of you experience them too and I want you to know you’re NOT alone! I remember when I realized I wasn’t alone…where had these people been!?

Be the change you want to see in the world

I am no longer going to wait for “someone” to do “something”…I’m going to be that someone. If I don’t, who will? I’m tired of sitting back and wishing things were different. I’m open. I’m involved. I’ve got nothing to lose except complacency.

My family is open. We decided we are going to actually involve each other in each other’s lives. I’m not going to hear from my brother and sister-in-law on holidays. I’m not going to pretend everything is ok when it’s not. If I have words of encouragement, I’m going to say them. If there’s something lurking in my mind negatively about someone, I’m going to address it. And so far all this has done has made us much closer. Do you know what it means to someone when you tell them the truth of why you’re scared of losing them, or why you’re hurt? When you remove that obstacle? It tells them you love them enough to be vulnerable with them.

There’s a lot in this world that’s scary and horrible-like what’s happening in Aleppo. But aside from casting a vote every four years, there’s not a lot I can do as one person. As one person I can’t change much at all…but I can start, or continue, the ripple that might. And my something as simple as just loving those around me. I can love my patients, their families, my family, my friends, the stranger in Target. I can choose to assume the best instead of the worst when someone cuts me off in traffic. And my energy might just impact someone in just the right way…my words someday may change someone’s life. There are plenty of people who have spoken a single sentence to me that I’ve hung on to for many many years. I’m sure you do to, and I’m sure most of those people probably have no idea. We’re “those people” too.

So that’s what I do. I know I can affect myself and those around me, and I choose to try to do so by simply loving them.

If your only goal is to love, there is no such thing as failure.
-Richard Rohr

Bring on 2017. We’ve got this.


Today I Married my Mother

The Church is a whore, but she is my Mother.
-St. Augustine

If you had asked me five years ago what I thought of Catholics I would have given you a 20 minute lecture on how they’re “wrong”.

I was a proud Protestant. Grew up in the Assemblies of God church where we spoke in tongues and danced in the aisles. My favorite part about church was the child-like celebration of God…jumping around, clapping, dancing. I love all of this still and when worshiping with music on my own I still dance and shout! There was nothing ever wrong with where I was with my faith journey, nor is there anything wrong with anyone else’s. I had just gotten to a point where my relationship and understanding of God felt awkward and stagnant. I started reading, I read a lot about Catholicism vs Protestantism vs Atheism. Yes, I did toy with the idea of whether or not there was some “God” at all. I remember sitting across the table from my husband when we were out for supper and told him I’m not sure if I believe in God anymore.

The more I learned about science and religion, the more I realized it’s impossible to believe that the Bible is the infallible word of God. That the LITERAL ENGLISH translation of what we call the Bible now is the literal word of God. Once I found that crack in the mirror, I took a sledge hammer and completely shattered the mirror that represented by belief system. I started from scratch. Read scholar after scholar, re-read a lot of scripture, read a lot of the original translation, how the Bible even became what it is today. I learned about truth. How facts and truth are not synonymous. An old Native American quote sticks with me:
“Now I’m not certain if this is how it happened, but I know this story to be true”.
I believe the Bible is indeed true. Truth, not meaning facts. There might be some facts, but in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t need to be taken as factual. It simply asks you to listen to it’s truths.
One of the undeniable truths is that God is Love. And we are a reflection of Him, thus we are also Love, living in Love, for Love, by Love. This concept caused me to stumble into the hands of many Mystics as St Francis of Assisi, Thomas Keating, Marcus Borg, Richard Rohr, Thomas Merton, and Rob Bell to name a few. These men opened a door of idea that I had been so blinded to before and this doorway led me to Catholicism. But not for the reason one would normally find Catholicism. It the idea of mercy and grace that the Church teaches. The reverence given to the one we call God. The rich meaning behind everything they do.

Something the Mystic Fathers have taught me is the importance of meditation…silent reflection with our Heavenly Father. Meditation is something the Protestant church as a whole greatly missed out on for me. The importance of prayer–and I don’t mean just literally talking to God–is phenomenal. Prayer looks like so many different things–it can be admiration of creation, sitting in silence, being with and loving another, participating in a therapeutic coping skill. Anything that involves interaction with the One is indeed prayer.

I found my understanding of the universe and transdimensionalism seemed to fit much better with Catholic theology. Not that this means it’s right or wrong, it’s simply easier to relate to. Transdimensionalism, however, opens up a whole new world of understanding where the spirit of us, our soul, our energy “ends up”. Its not so odd to think that those who have passed before us are simply living in a dimension interactive with our own, allowing intervention–good or bad if one considers the idea of evil spirits. But also this brings to light the beauty of the intercession of saints. When a dimension is without time a person’s energy exists always. To put things very simply-the “Praying to Saints” issue most have with Catholism is covered under concept that those Saints are still very much with us and are able to pray with and for us.

Anyway, to get to the point of this blog post. It took me a few years of really digging and piecing back my idea of Faith to turn to Catholicism. I did a lot praying, I did a lot of fasting, I did a lot of critiquing, learning, and thinking…and I just kept getting led back. So I “converted”. Please don’t hear me say Catholicism is the only way, it is simply where my husband and I have been led to meet with the Beloved at this time in our lives. The journey you are on is meant for you. This just happens to be ours.

Today my husband and I were baptized into the Catholic Church. And it was amazing. It felt like I was at a wedding, I was nervous, I was filled with joy. My husband agreed, that it felt like when we got married. I was filled with joyful tears throughout but after partaking of the Eucharist (Communion) for the very first time the joy was overwhelming. The love and peace that took over me at that moment made me realize how symbolic this moment really was. How I had just chosen to bind myself in Holy matrimony to my Mother Church. I never in a million years imagined this day would ever happen, let alone that it ended up being as rich and meaningful as it was. I feel like I’m home.

This leads me back to a dear friend of mine, Marty S. Dalton who wrote a poem years ago that has always stuck in my mind. Today it is more real that I’ve ever experienced it:

Over on the dirty side of town glimpsed between the red flashes of “don’t walk”
And barely visible through the steam spewing off of street drains
Leaned up against the neon sign of a pawn shop is a prostitute
Whose mother was a prostitute
Whose grandmother was a prostitute
Whose great-grandmother was a prostitute back
As far as they can recall
And she’s wearing the hand-me down wedding dress that fits her a little too well

And if you go down the right alleyways
You’ll find her prayers stenciled onto liquor shops like brick wall communiqués
Up to the ears of a still-listening God go her graffiti apologies

Confessions so painful they can’t be pretend
They get more vulgar until you reach the alley’s end
Where they run out of room and start climbing up the wall,

Climbing up and up and up until they turn into steeples
The spray paint colors into stained glass windows
Forming a sanctuary whose doors don’t close
She strides inside and waits at the altar in white clothes

And who should reverse the customary process and approach as her groom?
None, but a ruler whose purple train fills the entire room
How backward to see this promiscuous harlot married to a king
But as she mouths her vows
They resound as forgiveness hymns she sings

In the pews made of cigarette butts and beer cans
Every hard-backed row built by her own hands
Sits a throng of witnesses
And all of them can see she doesn’t deserve His graces

Their sense of justice so violated
It can’t be controlled,
That their arms are crossed like origami waiting to unfold
In objection to this unholy marriage
As they ask themselves who gave her the privilege

At this alter she doesn’t have a right to be
“But,” she says, “He proposed to me.”
And wedding wine never tasted so good
Full forgiveness flavored finer than it should

He leans down with a kiss on her brow
She tilts her weary head down
And feels the weight of a holy crown
Etchings along the inside
Read: “Child and Bride, In You I Abide”

And with whisper in her ear He is repeating over and over
I love you I love you I love you I love you
I love you…

The congregation cheers and rises,
But from the street outside the open doors of the shabby-made cathedral
A shout across the crowd breaks the joyous celebration
A man cursing as he swore
“You can’t hear the gospel from a whore!”
But in walked two daughters and then in walked a son
They placed their hands on the man with a smile and said,
“I and my mother one.”
(c) Marty Schoenleber III 2012


Know Thyself


Going through everything I’ve been through the last several months the phrase “Know Thyself” has been circling in my mind…specifically the scene from the Matrix when the Oracle points the sign out to Neo which states:

“Temet Nosce”

Or Know Thyself in Latin. (Future tattoo idea??) As I progress in my journey towards wholeness I realize more and more how little we spend getting to know ourselves. We spend so much time wrapped up in social media or Netflix binges that we forget to spend time with ourselves. Silence, reflection, and meditation seem to be things we run away from…as if we are afraid that something ugly from within might surface. Here’s the thing though–whatever it is that we are afraid of is exactly what we need to accept. If we don’t truly face ourselves and learn and grow into who we are we just end up being reflections of those around us…never really reaching our full potential or truly being able to love.

I think about those around me that hate their appearance, hate who they are…thinking “If I could just lose another 15lbs I would finally be happy with myself” “If I could just get him to like me” “If I could just get that promotion…or job”…but the thing is our identity is not what we look like…it’s not what we do…it’s not how we feel.

Our identity is complete acceptance of who we are right now, in this moment, warts and all.

Your appearance does not define you, nor does your job, nor does your spouse…Our world is all about change. Constantly improving, which is fantastic don’t get me wrong, however when it comes to looking inwards we’ve got it all wrong. We should never try to change who we are…but rather grow into who we are. There is nothing wrong with you.

“This moment is as perfect as it can be”
–Richard Rohr

We are all on a journey and we are all in different places, and where we are right now is completely OK. Meet yourself where you are. Embrace it and begin to know thyself. Spend time alone in the quiet…reflect on the “whys” behind feelings and actions, know that sometimes you may feel those “whys” are ugly, but also know it’s ok. Accept it for what it is, learn from it and move on. Lean into yourself, lean into your gifts…your strengths. Embrace you.

Now this is all easy for me to say…but to turn it all back onto myself is a different story. But that’s the beauty of it, isn’t it? As I keep saying–it’s a journey. And I’m OK with that.

Feelin’ Good and Ready to Rock

During the past two weeks I’ve done my Preceptorship for nursing on top of working and have not had any days off until yesterday…I LOVED IT. Being able to spend 12 hours pouring myself into other people was exactly what I needed and it brought me back. For now. I’m praying I can find a way to balance where I am now with where I was so I can keep from the edge of that cliff. Meanwhile I’ve started working out again and started a new group on Facebook that focuses on the wholeness of health. I’ve learned how important mental, physical, and spiritual healths are for the entirety of our well being. If I’m going to be whole, I need to be whole in each of those areas as well. So I invite anyone reading to join me on this journey! It’s a new year…let’s make this the beginning of a new life.

Here’s video that explains what I’m doing. I’m kind of funny…just watch.

The Ultimate Reset–Yeah but did I keep the weight off??

Isn’t that what everyone wants to know? Ok so you lost 11lbs, but what really matters is that you kept it off! DID YOU!?

The answer?

Yes. Aside from 2lbs. So instead of losing 11lbs I ended up losing 9lbs. 


By not going back to eating like a cow! …well actually more like eating like a cow…eating more veggies. The Ultimate Reset was more than just a “diet” it was a way to change my perception of food. Now I look at pizza and think…gross. I know right?? Cray cray. I ate like crap most of December because of stupid Christmas and all the delicious cookies and people making bad for me food insisting I eat it so I did…but oh my GOSH did I miss spinach! I ate a spinach salad, salmon, and brown rice yesterday and it was GLORIOUS. I loved that much more than any pasta or pizza…and if you knew me that’d blow your mind. Pasta used to be what I lived off of. It is my specialty for cooking, but now I don’t really care about it. I don’t care about cheese either…also an “OMG” thing. Sooo long story short you’ve got to change your mindset to change your habits. And this can be done as long as you’ve got the willpower to do it! I can help too…I like helping 🙂 Just ask!

The Ultimate Reset Day 17

Ok so I’m four days away from finishing!! Yay! Up until today I’ve felt fantastic. No more depression, no more bloating, nothing. I felt alive and awake…and I’m 9 lbs down! Then this morning I woke up with a sore throat, headache, and body aches. Booooo. I really hope this goes away in a couple days. I’m also quite tired. I guess that’s what happens when you visit 1st graders for Therapy Dog. I’m really happy that this is almost over, I think what I miss most is being able to decide what I want to eat and my Shakeology. Oh God do I miss my Shakeology. Ok so here’s what’s been on the menu:

Day 15

Breakfast: Fruit
Lunch: Asian Cabbage Salad, miso soup, 1/2 sliced avocado
-Salad was good. Reminded me of the asian ramen salad except without the ramen. I didn’t have time to make the soup and I didn’t have avocado so all I had was the salad.
Dinner: Baked sweet potato and garlic veggies
-Decent. I didn’t feel like it was enough food though. I was still hungry.

Day 16

Breakfast: Fruit
Lunch: Microgreen salad with pumpkin seeds and dressing
Dinner: Curried cauliflower and lemon pepper kale
-Cauliflower was good, but it was so much cauliflower! And I replaced the kale with spinach

Day 17

Breakfast: Fruit
Lunch: Moroccan Carrot salad on 3 cups of greens
-This was good. I liked the spices they had in the carrot salad.
Dinner: Roasted Delicata Squash and Green Beans with lemon
-I decided I don’t like squash so instead I did tempeh with coconut spinach  and green beans. The tempeh and spinach is Day 19’s dinner too.

How I feel:
Like I said I was feeling fantastic up until this morning. Hoping it passes quickly and I can have a great weekend. It’s the local dog show and I’m competing as well as volunteering.

The Supplements:
No more detox. Can’t complain there! The Restore tabs are pretty big so they can be hard to swallow, but otherwise I’m just thankful I don’t have to take detox anymore.

I will update you guys again on the last day with my final results and how the rest of this week went 🙂 See you in four days!