One chapter begins as another ends…

I was casting about for some pithy way to start this post and hit upon this quote

“There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.”

Frank Herbert

I have several friends who are moving into the next phase of their life – going to graduate school, getting married, adopting kids, fostering kids and having kids and changing their career to name but a few.

These are all exciting things to happen but do not come without a level of stress- I learned in college all about “eustress” which is defined here-

  1. Eustress is a term coined by endocrinologist Hans Selye. The wordeustress consists of two parts. The prefix eu- derives from the Greek word meaning either “well” or “good.” When attached to the word stress, it literally means “good stress”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 I don’t know about you but I don’t generally think of stress as associated with good things but isn’t that the ultimate in reframing a situation? I am a big fan of that phrase and practice because let’s face it there are lots of situations in life that are not as we wish them to be, so in reframing you can paint it with the brush you like instead of the brush you have. For instance, I can look at today like, man I am tired and don’t want to go work out today, or as my good friend Jessica says, I have the “opportunity” to be tired because I am busy living a life I love and I have the “opportunity” to work out because my body is a working, breathing instrument that I am blessed to have working for me.                                                                           

Is that a little “being pollyanna” or viewing the world in “rose-colored glasses” YOU BET.. and most of the time it’s how I choose to view my life. Mark me, this does not exclude hard circumstances and real-life difficulty, but there are real opportunities every day to look for the happy rather than the annoying aspect of a given situation.

For example, I could look at my friend going to graduate school and moving away from Austin to become a professor as very sad and focus on the fact that he is moving away.

Yes, there is a level of sadness that goes with it, but I choose to focus on all the students he is going to impact and help live more enriched lives and the things they have yet to experience in his as yet unfilled classroom. This also gives way to the opportunity to stay in touch whether that is by email or even (gasp) a paper and pen letter.

Perhaps we could all stand to have a change like that. What chapter do you need to bring to an end to get YOU to your NEXT chapter?

Think about it…

“My mom makes the greatest cakeballs!”

My cake balls are important. I don’t make them often, and especially now that we are doing paleo 95.4% (yep I did the math) of the time cake balls are usually not on the menu. So it is special when I make them and my husband is always telling me how good they are. I love that man.

This is what I hope my kid will say one day because I will make cakeballs and he or she will bring them to school for the bake sale or some other such moment. For now, I can make them for my nieces and nephews when they ask and that makes me smile. I hope they will ask (but in case they don’t) I will post it here–

Future Son or Daughter:”How did you learn to make such great cake balls, Mom?”

I will smile wistfully and say, “Your Aunt Alexandra taught me”

I may or may not choose to tell them that I didn’t know how to cook until I turned 32 and this was the start of that….  (will depend on my mood) You can’t really plan these things.. but I digress.. back to the present day–

I made some for my team today and I could feel a real lift in the general “mood” of the day.. I mean who doesn’t like cake.. which got me thinking……

If I feel that good about making something for my team, how much better is it going to be to do it for my own flesh and blood? So this is sort of a nod to the future me, no, I am not pregnant, thanks for asking! but I did send a copy of this post to (which lets you send an email to your future self one month or many years into the future which I think is awesome..) Think how vastly changed your perspective changes in just one year, and then five and so on… How valuable will that email be ? I think that it is very easy to get short-sighted and just focus on what things look like RIGHT NOW and get tunnel vision but if you look carefully and shift that kaleidoscope a little, you get a different view and sometimes that makes all the difference.

Think about it…

Time passes swiftly by …

Dear Readers,
Tomorrow is the 4 year anniversary of the day I married my husband. It was a great day after a lot of stress and planning to make the perfect day.. I tell you this because I think its important to look back and say, If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t change anything but I might not stress as much.. There is no such thing as a perfect day but this came darn close. My family and friends went out of their way to make it wonderful.

You know who you are, but in case you don’t!

Alexandra Russo- breakfast, hosting the rehearsal dinner, and last minute detail work on my dress!

Rachel Meissner- all the care and love you put into helping me pick out the flowers and the dresses and hostessing the shower and helping keep me sane and… I could go on and on.. but you know how grateful I remain even now.

Jennifer Durbin- You hosted a wonderful bachelorette party that was EXACTLY what I wanted and also kept me sane during a crazy crazy time!

Jessica Brill- the one true SWADIC- helped me with so many details I have lost count including but not limited to the not stressing (goldfish be gone!) over and over again

Joan Ellen/Mom- words don’t begin to cover it, not only did you make my dress, drive in to finish said dress, keep me sane through the entire process and continually remind me that the dress was just one piece and to enjoy my day and not “stress the small stuff” and its all small stuff”

The common theme here is stress or worry– you always worry about the things that don’t happen– and some of the things you NEVER worry about come to pass and there is no predicting it so what is the point? Well, I guess what I am trying to say is that if you have an event coming up (doesn’t have to be a wedding) that you are stressing over, use the 2, 2, 2 rule, oh you don’t know that one.. well let me advise you what I mean.. If you are stressing, ask the question

Will this matter in two hours? Will this matter in 2 weeks? Will this matter in 2 months?

Think About it.. as you can see from this picture.. it all worked out great! IMG_0001 - Copy

Happy Anniversary Jeremy!

What makes you cry?

Dear Readers,

Last night I went to see a phenomenal show “When the Rain Stops Falling” – If you are one of my local readers in Austin, you should go see it, its heartfelt, extremely well written, directed and acted. I can not say enough good things about this show.

As an actor myself, it is sometimes hard to see a show I didn’t audition for but nonetheless am unhappy to not be cast in. Rational, no way, but True… This particular show was a notable exception, I thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t have any feelings of “why wasn’t I in that show?” — It was perfectly cast and I can’t imagine it otherwise.

I promised to be authentic with you because who wants to read fluff. Part of being an artist is being authentic and sharing what isn’t pretty and nice but rather the jagged edges and glass shards of oneself so back to the play.

Why did it move me so? The story is one of heartbreak, loss and redemption involving an extremely bruised family who were just so achingly human. Does it help that some of my friends were in the show and not only good but gave heart breaking performances? Alexandra Russo and Scot Friedman, in case you are not sure who I mean, I just pointed it out, so thank you for giving me such a gift of not only being good people who I am blessed to call friends but fellow artists giving such a good name to the word.

I would like it anyway, but that it was so good made me love it.

The title of this blog post is “what makes you cry?” so I will go back to that. This play made me cry, music and movies sometimes makes me cry. When I am in pain, I cry and sometimes when I am happy I cry. So this makes it sound like I walk around the world sobbing piteously but no, actually its just one snapshot piece of who I am, and my hunch is it is a part of you as well.

Sometimes you just need a good cry, my Mom says that and you know, she is Almost ALWAYS right.

Think about it….

Family- What’s your definition?

Dear Readers,

I have been doing a LOT of thinking about Family lately with the SCOTUS ruling and no, I am not going to get all political in your face about it, but I will say I am very happy about it. If you aren’t happy about it, let’s talk, I seek to understand before being understood since I find that works better than ranting at someone, “You are wrong, and you just don’t get it” – but I digress–

My childhood was not a happy one. There I said it, in fact, looking back on it, it sucked.

I didn’t really get the opportunity to be a kid and was forced to grow up pretty quickly for a myriad of reasons. I try my best not to focus on the past because its full of pain but I find it necessary to reflect on it to tell you about something great that I recently experienced.

I went home to New Orleans last weekend and visited with my family of choice and ate some great food with my husband and it was wonderful, no guilt, no issues, and no DRAMA. One of my favourite things about my family of choice is they are sister, mother, and fathers to their own wonderful family of origin but it does not diminish their ability to be my family of choice. I actually think it enhances it. I am always grateful that they allowed me to choose them and I choose them again and again because they are loving., and respectful. That is not to say we do not disagree because there are times we do but the love, that is the overwhelming aspect of those relationships. So I pose this question to you, how do you define family?

Think about it!