by carolyn on November 10, 2014

Remember 1998? Remember Shawn Mullins? Remember Lullaby?

I sat in therapy today with my sprained ankle/fractured cuboid and sprained wrist–an outward reflection that doesn’t do my inward brokenness justice. Not a revelation. I’ve felt broken for years and have been in therapy for years. They kinda go hand in hand. We talked through work stuff then family stuff before getting to the brunt of the issue with only minutes to spare. I’m in a crisis of self and now, since getting back into the church, a crisis of faith as well. I fumbled with words trying to explain to my therapist that I don’t know where God ends and I begin and I worry. I worry about glorifying myself instead of him. She reminds me that we can glorify God in all that we do whether it’s scrubbing toilets or singing. And I get that but what do I do with my gift? Is it wrong to write about my weight loss journey instead of my spiritual one? Is it wrong to hypothetically “become” a secular writer instead of penning devotionals? By the way, no news on the weight loss front. I was dabbling in running for about a week before my nondramatic yet incredibly debilitating fall last week. She asked which I wanted to write about and I said neither and the waterworks began, again, as I gestured towards my broken body and broken soul. There’s too much pain. “Write about that,” she says.

This week I have a consultation with a doctor about pursuing Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) because after 8 years of depression and anxiety, it’s gotten that bad. Think One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but then immediately erase that image from your mind because it’s supposed to be safe, reliable, and voluntary these days. I’ve heard a few second-hand accounts of people with severe depression and ECT was lifesaving, and, more importantly in my opinion, life-changing for them. Between my parents and I, we’ve spent thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours investing in therapies, pills, neurofeedback, diets, and maybe more. I think that list is exhaustive but I may have left something out. I’m exhausted. From what I hear from friends and family, it’s common to go through a depressive period in one’s life. Someone may cite a semester or quarter at college or the transition from college to adulthood and say they were depressed. They then offer their sympathy for my continued struggle and an offer to be there for me if I ever need anything, because they know what it’s like. And I deeply appreciate those kind souls because there is so much stigma surrounding mental illness that it makes me physically ill. But as I graciously accept their kindness a dark, ungrateful, not raised in the South, part of me thinks “you have no idea.” My whole adult life I’ve struggled with this. It’s like comparing boot camp to ‘Nam. Is it totally inappropriate for me to say that out loud?

The depression and the Self vs. God crisis…it brings me to tears more times a day then all other activities combined…as in # of sob sessions > than # of all other daily activities. And I listen to my newly minted playlist “Inspiration — Fall 2014″ and go through “Came To My Rescue,” “All the Poor and Powerless,” and “Take Heart.” I have no secular inspiration since Taylor Swift broke up with Spotify. I think I’m taking her Spotify breakup harder than my last personal one… no offense, Ex.

And all I want is for my body and mind and soul to be comforted. When my Nana died in July 2011, her sons gave her eulogy. Nana was sick with multiple systems atrophy and her body slowly and painfully shut down over the course of ten years as she stopped cooking, stopped sewing, stopped walking, planned her funeral, and then spent a few more years waiting for the end.

My dad spoke of how one of her greatest joys was giving each of her grand-babies their first baths. She would gently wash them, rub their soft skin with lotion, savoring the experience. Giving them her undivided attention and treating them like they were the most precious thing on Earth. In that moment they undoubtedly were. Then she’d swaddle them in a blanket and gently rock them. Back and forth, back and forth. In his eulogy, dad said he pictured Nana in Jesus’ arms now. And Jesus was slowly rocking her back and forth, back and forth.

How do I get that on Earth?





How To Maintain A Best Friendship For 20 Years

by carolyn on October 20, 2014

Look back at your life and think about what you have accomplished. Maybe you went to college (“your mom goes to college”) or got married (maybe more than once, you overachiever). Maybe you’ve climbed like the tallest mountain ever or have seen Wicked 4 times in 3 different cities including London). If that last one was you (or me), Bravo! Maybe you’ve just gotten out of bed almost everyday for 11,220 times or so and did some awesome stuff along the way. One of my greatest accomplishments is the shared achievement of maintaining a BFFship for 20 years! You may be sheepishly racking your brain trying to figure out the last time you actually spoke to a childhood or college BFFL. Or maybe you’re celebrating 30+ years of marriage to your BFF and have totally got me beat. If that is you, comment below with tips of how friendship plays an important role in your marriage. Or tell me how you met. I love Love Stories! Better yet, set me up with your most eligible bachelor friend–you can be a part of my love story! But I digress… Here are 20 ways to maintain a long-term friendship. Make sure to share this with your BFF so that you are literally on the same page.

  1. One of you needs to be the photographer in the friendship.
  2. One of you needs to remind the other to put the camera down sometimes because despite what one may think, there is a limit to the number of #selfies one should take in one night. I don’t have the exact figure but it’s something like the (# of people-selfie taker) x (# of alcoholic beverages involved)/hours of event+1 selfie per person per hour of time spent on hair and makeup.
  3. One of you should have great makeup and hairstyling skills. In an ideal BFFship, both friends would have this quality. It’s no mistake that all of my BFFs have great skills.
  4. Realize that one day your BFF might leave you and move to another city. This will be heartbreaking but does not have to be the end of your friendship. It may even strengthen it. I still have a torn piece of a cardboard box where my BFF wrote a message when I moved from Atlanta to Savannah in 7th grade.
  5. Keep a memory box. Pretend it’s a relationship–because honestly it will probably last longer than your next relationship; or, in my case, all relationships combined. Ticket stubs, letters, transcripts of AIM messages, etc.
  6. Have a favorite restaurant that you go to all the time. Fall to pieces when said restaurant closes. Find a new restaurant.
  7. Make sure that you and your BFF balance each other out. Don’t worry about keeping up with sports, global crises, or current events if your BFF is into that. She’ll keep you in the loop. What? Ebola? BFF forgot to tell me about that one.
  8. Have morning conference calls. What better way to start your day than encouraging your BFF/complaining about your fatigue and how late you are for work.
  9. Know that there will be times/places/things/people/musicians who will, knowingly or not, sort of divide you. Shake it off!
  10. When your favorite musician is your BFF’s least favorite musician, express eternal gratitude for their permission to put said musician’s music on your shared morning playlist.
  11. Chug, chug, chug! Not talking about the hard stuff. Your BFF wants the best for you and you for her, so hold each other accountable for acts of health like drinking enough water each day.
  12. Adaptability. I’m talking about time zones. You can make it work!
  13. If you buy a pet to which the other is allergic… First, question your priorities. Then proceed to make sure one room is a pet-free zone for when your BFF comes to visit.
  14. If you’re in a long-distance BFFship, there are going to be times that you feel jealous of your friends’ local friends and wonder if they’re replacing you. They’re not. You’re irreplaceable! But if it will placate you, don’t hesitate to send your friend a timely sonnet, portrait, or whiny text to remind them that you exist.
  15. Always honor your best friend’s favorite month, even if it’s your least favorite.
  16. If you’re both single, crush on brothers or best friends. Constantly search for opportunities to marry into each others’ family. Dig into genealogy if necessary.
  17. Your best friend is amazing and you know it. It’s easy to get jealous of them but don’t. You helped make them the amazing woman they are and know that you’re probably equally amazing in different ways–and that is thanks to them as well.
  18. Sometimes you might feel so blue that you want to shut everyone out, even your besties. Fight that feeling. Shared joy is double joy; shared sorrow, half sorrow.
  19. Have a Pinterest board for each other.
  20. Remember to wish them a happy birthday. If you can’t mail their present in time (it’s too risky) then acknowledge them on the internet.

Happy 28th Birthday Leslie Marie! Thanks for 20+ years of making me laugh until I cry, making me look so much better in photos than in real life, and for teaching me the ways of the world (i.e. Instagram, Foursquare, etc.). Thank you for teaching me how to play it cool and for all the times we haven’t played it cool. The world is a better place for your presence in it and my life is undoubtedly more survivable for your loyalty, hilarity, and love. I love your morning hair, your ability to find humor in any situation, and the strength you give me by both example and support. Can’t wait to watch you rock 28 and here’s to the next 20 years of friendship. Omg, there will be so much more technology you’ll have to teach me in the next 20 years. Leslie


Must Walk Dogs

September 10, 2014
Emma and Colby Survive

My morning began with a microwaved 1/2 grande Pumpkin Spice Latte. It was the perfect beginning. I took the dogs out for their quick morning walk where they have a time limit of 5-10 minutes to do their biz before I rush to work. That might sound restrictive but Colby likes to dillydally–ain’t nobody got […]

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Like Me. Really Like Me!

January 27, 2014

Oh my goodness, y’all…sorry I haven’t been more present. I’ve been battling a number of short term and chronic health issues this month that have left me deflated and not feeling very creative. I could probably throw together some posts despite my ailments but I just want to give you the best of me — […]

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Text A Friend

January 14, 2014

These past few weeks have found me scattered, flustered, and overwhelmed. Every day seems to present a new challenge in the form of a broken water heater, a small electrical fire, a dog (or two) in need of behavioral modification, and so on and so forth. Then there are the constant reminders of ongoing issues… […]

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Two Are Better Than One

January 2, 2014

I’m on day two of my latest challenge — Stop.Challenge.Choose. by Take Shape For Life fueled by Medifast.  It’s a 12 week health transformation challenge. So, with some quick math we can see that I’m already 1/42 of the way done! And I’ve got to say it’s going pretty well. I’m following TSFL’s “5&1″ meal […]

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14 Ways To Be Your Best Self In 2014

January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!!! I hope that 2014 finds you happy, healthy, and beyond excited about the next 365 days. Here are some lessons I’ve learned in 2013 that I’m trying to implement this year to create more balance and joy in my life. I hope you’ll try them, too! Love yourself.  I hope and pray […]

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Rudolph the Red Nose Reinbeer

December 23, 2013

No, that isn’t a typo. Reinbeer is your everyday, boring beer transformed into festive, jolly beer! Have you finished your Christmas shopping yet? If you haven’t, then this post is for you. This gift is cheap, creative, and sure to wow your recipient as well as all party guests lucky enough to witness the giving […]

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My Optimal Health Wish List

December 19, 2013
Grown-Up Christmas List

I hope that you’ve compiled all of your latest wants and distributed the holiday wish list to all of your nearest, dearest, and wealthiest friends and family. Here’s a peek at my list as it compares to Amy Grant’s “Grown-Up Christmas List.” I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about the dichotomy between our lists […]

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I Know Where I’ve Been

December 18, 2013
Before & After

If you’re a musical geek like me (and I’d like to think that you are), you probably have show tunes running through your head all day. Anything can spark a tune. Running late? Cue My Fair Lady’s “Get Me to the Church on Time.” Stewing over your significant other’s shortcomings and scheming of ways to […]

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