Monthly Archives: March 2013

things i love thursday! (march 28, 2013)

How sad is this? I know I have a much longer list but, because I haven’t Instagrammed anything, I can’t really remember what I’ve been up to. Ooof.

Okay. Point 1 for Instagram. (I also don’t have a picture to put on this post either. Drat. Point 2.)

Here we go!

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE RECENTLY:

  • Serendipitous lunches with old friends and new. 
  • Quoting “Clueless” in a job interview and actually having it go over well.
  • Music. Always music. Playing it, listening to it, living in a world in which it exists.
  • Seeing my little boy in an adorable baby-sized suit.
  • Reading “emerged” as “ermahgerd”.
  • Also getting lots of “ermahgerd” texts from several different people.
  • Video chats.
  • Road trips and the terrible food you eat on road trips.
  • Visiting one of my best friends, Becky!
  • Finally meeting cranky Dobby and watching him curl up into a ball! (He’s a hedgehog.)
  • Coffee.
  • New hair!
  • Playing games with a youth group again.
  • Hearing that a particular person wants to get baptized. By my husband.
  • GChat.
  • Fanta and Coke in glass bottles.
  • Stuffed duckies and new pacifiers.
  • Taking my little man out for special outings all by ourselves.
  • Surprise babysitters.
  • Playing a real piano.
  • Debates over worship songs being good or not. (“Revelation Song” is terrible. I don’t care what you say. I stand by it.)
  • Playing “dropsies” in Starbucks.
  • Watching Dax flirt with basically everyone.
  • Cubicle dance parties — in front of the giant windows.
  • Soy lattes.
  • Smoothie lunch dates.
  • The Uno app.
  • Morning snuggles.
  • Gearing up for my cousin’s wedding!

What do you love this week?

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if a tree falls in the woods and you don’t tweet about it…

I know. I need to blog. But what’s a blog? I don’t even know. I’ve been spending so much time pretending the Internet doesn’t exist that I don’t even remember how to interact with it anymore. I haven’t Facebooked, Tweeted, or Instagrammed anything in weeks. What am I doing? Where am I going? I have no direction in life!

And this is what befalls a blogger who goes on a social media fast.

Can’t I just tap dance for you? I’m really good at it. Promise. Took lessons for so many years.

Speaking of lessons, here’s something I’m slowly learning on this social media fast.

You know those people who put pictures of their food on Instagram? Or post a Facebook status about finally being able to fit into their skinny jeans? Or tweet about getting a promotion? 

I’m not so far removed from the social sphere that I don’t understand the appeal of doing any of those things. Anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I love me some food (but not as much as my baby). But I think now that I’ve stepped back a bit, I have a better grip on the why behind this behavior.

Before I go on, I’d just like to dust my shoulders off and say that I do have a degree in mass communication with a minor in psychology from a Florida state school so I obviously know what I’m talking about to an extent. (I also know which bars you should go to and on which nights in order to get the highest volume of alcohol for the lowest amount of cash.)

The old adage asks the question, “If a tree falls in the woods, does it make a sound?” I’d argue that today the question is, “If you do something in life but don’t tweet about it, did it really happen?”

While I don’t know for sure if this is the root of our Internet addiction and our need to be virtually affirmed, I definitely know that our culture does suggest that if it isn’t on social media, it isn’t real.

How sad.

That’s why when you tell your best friend that you’ve started seeing someone, she immediately asks why it isn’t “Facebook official” yet. Or why you upload a picture of your baby smiling to Instagram (but not a picture of them screaming). Or why the first thing you do when your alarm goes off in the morning is sleepily scour your Twitter feed.

I’ve been struggling a lot with this. Inner parts of my being are wracked with guilt over the fact that only a handful of people (those who I can show it to in person) have seen my baby say “dada” because I haven’t uploaded the video to Facebook. So, like, what if no one believes me? Or cares? I can’t gauge the world’s affirmation of my personal life because no one can like or comment on this video! It’s terrible!

I don’t think I’m ready to come back just yet. But I’m really enjoying re-learning how to process things and experience life in private.

That said, if you’re struggling with being affirmed by trolls on the Internet, just look at this gif.

i_can_typing-26439GOD IT JUST GETS ME EVERY TIME! I CAN’T STOP LOLLING RIGHT NOW.

 

 

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Filed under commentaries, life, psychology, rants, the media

update from the dark.

Oh hey, there. I know. It’s been quiet around here. Here’s why.

One week ago, I read this disturbing article about how the Internet — social media in particular — is making us crazy. It really freaked me out. It gave me so much anxiety that I couldn’t sleep.

So I decided to go on an indefinite social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) fast. Not just a “fast”, either. Like I legitimately deleted the apps from my iPhone and EVERYTHING. (Crazy, right? My smart phone is pretty dumb at this point. Unless you give some cred to the Uno app which, by the way, is super duper and I’m so glad I spent 99 cents on it!)

It’s not that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are inherently bad, perse. That’s not what I’m saying and I don’t think that’s what the article is saying. But it did raise a lot of harrowing truths about our society’s obsession with and actual addiction to these sites and the Internet as a whole.

I’ve been on this “cleanse” for about a week and already I see how I was basically tethered to social media. So many times in the first 24 hours of this fast I found myself mindlessly reaching for my phone, unlocking the screen… only to come to and realize that — oh yeah — I have nothing to look at. I “tried” to tweet FOUR TIMES while I was at the farmers market with my son. Four. Times.

Yikes. What in the name of all things holy would I need to tweet at 9am on a Saturday outing with my baby? That the carrots look extra orange today? The yellow squash is just a tad squishy for my taste? That the Maya Wrap is still ruling our world at 8 months? That there is a Girl Scout cookie booth set up for the first time? (Okay, that one almost deserved a tweet. Also I did buy Thin Mints and Trefoils, obviously.)

It’s been quite the sobering experience. But also liberating. I feel like I’m finally back in touch with reality.

That said, this week has been one full of things that are actually kind of social media worthy. So, without further ado:

HERE IS A LIST OF THINGS I’VE BEEN DYING TO TWINSTABOOK (Twitter-Instagram-Facebook) ALL WEEK:

1. my son’s milestones.

Well, this week was fit for the baby book, y’all.

  • FIRST WORD. Yep, this is a biggie. Dax said his first word just hours after I went on my social sabbatical. Of course. His first word was “dada” and everything is dada right now. Dada is dada, of course. But I am also dada. Also the pacifier. Also food. Also you. Yes, you reading this. You are dada, no paternity test required.
  • We are fitting him for his first suit! He’s the ring bearer in my cousin’s wedding next week. You guys. Wait until you see. You will pass out from the cuteness.
  • FOURTH TOOTH. There are four little chompers in that mouth now. In case you are wondering, we are still breastfeeding like champs and he doesn’t bite. * phew *
  • EIGHT MONTHS OLD. Ack. Time. Where are you going?!

8 months

2. i got straight bangs. 

Y’all. I haven’t had bangs like this since I was SEVEN. That is literally TWENTY YEARS AGO. Yikes. Anyway, my normal stylist is on maternity leave for another month but I had some serious roots showing and am in a wedding next week. So I saw my other friend and let her run wild on my head, which meant straight bangs and ombre color. Here is the before/after photo.

before_after

3. we’ve got some prospects.

We’ve been doing a lot of interviewing in central (and even south?) Florida, so I think we might not actually be homeless at the end of April. Hooray!

4. i’m learning photography.

I’m taking an online photography certification course which is, eh, okay I guess. Not because I want to be a professional photographer by any means but because I have a kick-butt DSLR that I’ve been treating like a point-and-shoot and I’m just over it. The whole point of me shelling out the cash for a DSLR was so I could take good pictures of my baby and not fork over money to legit photographers. Sorry for the honesty, y’all but we broke folks GOTTA BRING THE HUSTLE.

So. What’s the biggest thing I’ve learned from this photography class?

It’s freaking hard, okay. So much more difficult than just having a nice camera. Pat a photographer on the back next time you see one. Respect.

Alright, so, now you’re caught up! Back to your regularly scheduled Internet addiction.

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words to live by: beth stoddard.

Oh, snap. A WTLB by a good friend.

sunrise

I want to release this ridiculous notion that to be a successful feminist – or woman – or pastor – or friend – I must fix what is broken. I want my first response to be respect, born of love and listening and honor of every person’s journey. Learn to live in the midst of the mess. See the beauty in the broken…

- Beth Stoddard

Embrace the mess, friends. Only in the midst of brokenness can we find true healing.  I can say that because I’ve seen it.

Have a messy weekend.

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Filed under psychology, transformation, words to live by

things i love thursday! (march 14, 2013)

Happy 30th birthday, Taylor Hanson! My gift to you is a THINGS I LOVE THURSDAY list that has nothing to do with me being married to your little brother and mothering a thousand little Hansons myself.

Enjoy!

playdate

THINGS THAT MADE ME SMILE THIS WEEK:

  • Making music with my friends, even when temperamental sound systems make it a wee bit difficult.
  • Having friends over for beers and creative brainstorming sessions.
  • Dax’s first play date in the park with Oliver!
  • Hearing him giggle on the swings.
  • Dancing in the kitchen. You know. BY MYSELF.
  • Long afternoon naps (for both me and the boy).
  • Getting my husband back after his weekend youth retreat.
  • Seeing pictures and videos from said retreat.
  • Video chatting Brian and Katie and going over their wedding (eep!) which Dan is officiating in T MINUS SIXTEEN DAYS!
  • Eating out.
  • But also eating in.
  • Raspberry beer!
  • Getting a text from a friend saying he ordered me business cards BECAUSE…
  • … all I do is win.
  • Working from home with my little man.
  • My last counseling appointment.
  • Peeps.
  • Chocolate glazed donut flavored coffee. #zomg
  • Bringing my man soup to make him feel better.
  • INBOX ZERO!
  • Encouraging fellow moms.
  • Top Model.
  • Lunch with Shana (and RICK)!
  • The way Dan makes Dax giggle.
  • Prospects for the future.
  • Wedding planning with the bestie.
  • Taking in the sweet sights and sounds of this town before it is mine no longer.

What do you love this week? (Side note: teenage me is crying alone in her room right now because she has a feeling she doesn’t end up with Zac Hanson in the end but HEY — this is way better.)

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three things i learned from counseling.

I just left my last counseling appointment.

Mind you, this is only my last counseling appointment in this season of life with this particular counselor. My counseling journey isn’t over, by any means. But for now, as of 5PM today, this chapter of my journey has come to a close.

So. What did I glean from the past few months of counseling? A couple things. Let me share them with you! Sharing is caring, after all… especially when mental health is at stake.

1. I am not broken.

I’ve written about this before, but it deserves a second mention because it is so important. A lot of people associate counseling or therapy with the notion that you are in need of “fixing”. Sometimes, I guess that could be the case. But for me, it isn’t. And hasn’t been. I am not broken. I just need help processing things in a constructive and objective way.

2. I’m pretty well adjusted even though, by all accounts, I shouldn’t be.

According to my counselor, my upbringing should have yielded me a permanent residence within an insane asylum with my very own padded room and straight-jacket wardrobe. However, in the words of Dr. Maki, I’m “really put together”. Holla at your healthy boo.

3. Being open and honest about what struggles I have has been a huge asset.

I’ve said it a hundred times and I’ll say it again — no one, including you, benefits from you hiding your hurts. Opening up about the things I’ve dealt with, to not only counselors but also mentors and friends, has been more effective in my growth and health than anything else. And yes, that includes medicinal treatment.

So. I’ll say it again. If you are considering counseling but are afraid of any stigmas attached, take it from me: do it. See a counselor. Invite an unbiased professional into your life to help walk you through what you’re going through. See how it changes you for the better!

Have you ever gone to see a counselor? How did it work out for you?

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words to live by: tina fey.

From her phenomenal book, Bossypants.

30 ROCK -- Pictured: Tina Fey as Liz Lemon -- NBC Photo: Mary Ellen Mathews

If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty which is: who cares?

– Tina Fey

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Filed under the media, words to live by

i am jonah.

If you’re like me and you grew up reading and listening to stories in the bible, you’re probably aware of the story of Jonah. And by “aware of” I mean you know that it vaguely involves a dude named Jonah and some giant fish-whale-thing that eats him for a couple days then spits him out and God is praised or whatever.

On the surface of this short, four-chapter book in the bible, that is essentially what happens. But there is so much more to the story than that.

In a bible study I’m doing with a couple friends, we recently read it in its entirety, our Sunday-school understandings notwithstanding.

For all of you who grew up understanding Jonah like I did, and for all of you who have no idea who/what Jonah is, Here’s the New Lindsay Translation of the book of Jonah in the bible:

God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place that’s filled with all sorts of debauchery and horror, to tell the people there something like, “Hey! You! Stop being jerks because God is real and it’s, like, annoying!” But Jonah’s all, “No, God, not me, I don’t want to do that. That sounds scary. I’m going to run away instead.” So he goes and jumps on this boat with a bunch of people and is all, “SAYONARA SUCKAAAA” but God’s all, “Not so fast, Jonah, I’m God and I can still see you.” So God causes a huge storm to happen, and the people on the boat are like, “Dude, who pissed off their god and made this happen?” So Jonah’s like, “Oops, my bad, that was me, y’all. Just throw me overboard and the storm will stop.” So they do. And it does. So the people immediately begin to praise God. But after Jonah gets tossed overboard a huge fish is like, “NOM” and swallows Jonah. Jonah hangs out in there, not exactly knowing what God’s plan is or what he wants, but he prays and praises God anyway. Finally, God gets the fish to upchuck Jonah and so Jonah’s like, “FIIIINE GOD OKAY I’ll go to Nineveh.” So he does. And he tells the people that they should, like, rethink their life choices and stuff. And they actually hear him and listen. And they mourn. And they repent. And God forgives them and saves them. But then Jonah pouts because he doesn’t believe the people of Nineveh deserve forgiveness. But God gently tells Jonah that he knows those people and loves them and that he wants to keep them. 

After reading this story, it became clear that Jonah is actually a big brat. Also, I realized that I am Jonah. 

jonah

In recent months, my husband and I have done a lot of praying and talking about our current financial situation and the care our baby boy gets as a result. It’s lackluster, to say the least, and something had to change. Finally, after a lot of prayer and consideration, we both agreed that what was best for our family (our son, in particular, and his future siblings) is for us to move to central Florida to be closer to my family.

And I am sad about this. Very heartbroken.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and am so excited to be closer to them. But I have created a life here in the last nine years that is going to be so hard to leave behind. (My TILT list from last week probably makes more sense now.)

But here’s the crazy part — our lease is up April 30th. Neither of us have jobs lined up. If we don’t get jobs in central Florida by the time our lease is up, we’ll just move in with my mom until something materializes.

Yep. That’s right. We quit our jobs in an economy that is, um, less than stable. And we have a little mouth to feed. Everything about this just screams, “WHY IN THE F-WORD WOULD YOU DO THIS?”

I don’t know. It’s just what people with faith do, I guess.

And here’s how I’m Jonah. Without getting too spiritual, I know God is calling us to go. That is undeniable. But I don’t want to. I’d much rather scoop my husband and baby up and run away to find the nearest boat out of this place and hope God doesn’t see.

After coming to the realization that I am Jonah and, therefore, a big brat, I spent a couple days moping about it. I was mad at myself for doubting God and for throwing random tantrums whenever my husband tried to get me to have logistical conversations about our upcoming upheaval. (“I DON’T KNOW IF WE SHOULD SELL ONE OF OUR CARS TO HAVE MONEY TO MOVE OKAY WHERE’S THE BOOZE I JUST CAN’T DO THIS SOB SOB SOB.”)

Not my finest hour for sure.

But now, as the news of our departure is public, I am starting to look for the redemption in my story. Just like Jonah was redeemed.

Even though Jonah ran away, the sailors on that boat came to know God as a result. And even though Jonah went to Nineveh unwillingly, he still helped to save a nation of people.

There is a lot of hurt in this move, for sure. Hurt for us because we’re leaving, and hurt for the ones who we are leaving. But there will be light and redemption, too. Even if we don’t see it now.

I’m excited to look back on this in a few months and be able to point to all the ways we were blessed by this. I anxiously await the clarity that will come once this big-ass bandaid is finally ripped off.

But until then, sorry if I smell a little weird. I’m currently sitting in the belly of a giant fish. I don’t know when I’ll be spit out or where I’ll land. But I know that, during this time, I will praise. I will pray. I will trust.

Here’s your chance to throw all your central Florida connections at me.

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mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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Filed under commentaries, eating disorders, food bytes, life, motherhood, rants

what’s in a name? dax arthur.

Naming a person is a big deal. I get varied responses when I tell people my kid’s name.

What’s that again? 

How do you spell it?

Is it short for something? 

Dax Arthur.

Just how it sounds: D-A-X.

Nope. Just Dax.

But I always get the same follow up question.

Dax! That’s unusual! Where’d you come up with that name? 

I have been meaning to blog about it, but I, uh, like, forgot? So here you go. Here’s how we came up with my kid’s unusual (I guess?) name.

DISCLAIMER: In my head, this blog post is LONG and ENLIGHTENING and really packs a WOW PUNCH but really it’s not that exciting.

Dan and I started fantasizing about baby names way before we got pregnant because I guess that’s just what you do, right? When it came down to the boy name, Dan had one request. Because his family doesn’t really have a family “name” to pass on (unless you count the four-syllable-German-splosion that is his last name), and his name is Dan and his dad’s name is Don, he wanted his son’s name to start with the letter D.

I was fine with that because I’m really indecisive and that cut down our choices significantly. #truthbomb

Dan joked about the name Demitrius Alexander because, alongside the Durrenberger surname, that kid would have the longest name ever and would never be able to fill out a Scantron. But I vehemently resisted. We went though countless baby books and could never agree on a D name for a boy. Things were looking bleak. It was looking like a Daniel Junior was in our future and I am SO not into that.

In case you didn’t know, Dan is a youth pastor. And I, for several years, volunteered in youth ministry alongside him. One day, a spunky new kid showed up to our group. When it was time for introductions, everything changed.

“I’m Dax,” he said proudly.

Dan and I shot each other a look immediately. I like to think the heavens opened up and a light shone on this little 12-year-old boy, while choirs of angels sang and God himself said, “Yea, Durrenbergers, it will come to pass that this boy will be the namesake for your future son.”

Each subsequent interaction we had with Big Dax (as we have now started to affectionately call him) was more confirmation that this kid was one with whom we’d want our baby boy to share a name. He’s an intelligent, personable, fun kid with a kind heart. However, Big Dax was actually named after a Star Trek character. Since neither Dan nor myself are trekkies, we had to dig a little bit deeper to figure out if this name was, indeed, for us.

Though there is some debate, some translations say that Dax means “leader”. This is so accurate for our little boy. Not only is he our firstborn making him, by default, the leader, but he is so particular. He likes things they way he likes him. Very brave, that one.

As for his middle name? Arthur is a family name on my side; I chose it because the cousin closest to me in age (and in relationship), Brian, also has this middle name. Brian is someone in my life for whom I hold the utmost respect. Brian is strong, smart, funny, and my best family friend. As for the meaning? It means “bear”.

I’m really proud of my kid’s name. After getting to know him in my belly and seven months outside my belly, it absolutely fits. There isn’t another name out there that would suit him better and I hope he feels the same pride I do growing up as Dax Arthur, the Leader Bear. 

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