January: Reflecting on CULTIVATE

As mentioned in our respective 2019 introductory posts, Sis and I will be focusing on different verbs each month, each with a focus on exploring our individual One Words for the year.

For Steph, January is SCRIBBLE (coming soon!)
For me, January is CULTIVATE.

cul-ti-vate (v): to acquire or develop a quality, sentiment, or skill; try to win the friendship or favor of someone; apply oneself to improving or developing one’s mind or manners.

During mine and Josh’s end of year trip to the beach, I devoured Gretchen Rubin’s modern classic The Happiness Project. I’ve read it a few times now and each time I find myself incredibly motivated by her endeavor. Gretchen has become increasingly interested in what drives our habits – how do we create them? How do we improve them? What do they say about us personally?

While we fully randomize our annual VOW list, I was thrilled when CULTIVATE appeared as my first for the year. With the fresh start, I decided to focus on strengthening the routines in my life, which need to be strong during a year which revolves around INCUBATION. To successfully create and quietly build myself up, I want to ensure the foundation is sturdy.

Mostly, this surrounds religiously updating my planner and various habit trackers. I placed reminders to floss, sneak in a quickie ab workout, and times to meditation during my workday. I was diligent about writing in my 5 Year One Line journal Sister gifted me for Xmas. I readjusted my monthly budgets and researched some unique professional development opportunities.

I met Sister’s fella, a relationship I look forward to CULTIVATING deeper in the coming years.

I presented at a regional conference and was chosen to present at another out of state. Despite all my belly-aching about my job, I know that getting my face in front of colleagues has the potential to catapult my career. I also planted the seeds for the inevitable transition to Savannah.

And even though I completed it several weeks late, I made my very first vision board to help me harness all the feelings I seek this year. A confident sexiness, a friendly authority, a fierce dissention, a chasmic love, a jubilant freedom, a quiet creativity, a vulnerable introspection, a restorative ritual. Because I was so delayed completing it, I nearly skipped the entire thing. But I reminded myself this perfectionistic impulse would serve me no better than simply missing a self-imposed deadline.

And frankly, it wound up being my favorite thing of the whole month:

In February, I will ENSHROUD while Steph CATALOGS.


My 2018 word was chosen during a tarot reading; I was told my 32nd year would bring for many opportunities for EXPANSION.

This year, INCUBATE similarly revealed itself. Frankly, I was thisclose to selecting Sister’s word (RECORD). I used to be an avid journaler but since moving to Birmingham, I’d fallen out of the habit. This blog, while an activity I love, was often pushed aside while more “pressing” requirements fought for my time. (Rule of Adulthood that always brought me back to posting — make the time and do just a little).

Finals were stressful and I had less time to devote towards reflecting on the past year. It’s my favorite thing to do. When Spotify unveils its Top 100 Songs playlist I feel the buzz of excitement for a new year. The fresh tracks you get to lay. The unknown promise of what is to come. 2019 might be a festering dumpster fire of a year for all I know, but there’s just something about the anticipation of the unknown. The passing of phases. The chance to look back and detect how things have changed since last time.

Goddamn, I love this time of year.

Chani Nicholas is an astrologer I came to about two years ago; her new moon horoscopes and rituals have become an essential expense item in my monthly budget. She, along with Susan Miller, another astro giant, discussed Jupiter’s arrival into my 12th house and the opportunity the benefic planet provides to the deepest layers of my psyche. It’s a time to unravel old knots, to heal ancient wounds, to cocoon before 2020 which is destined to be a great year for me.

It was a passing sentence during Chani’s New Moon in Scorpio session that planted the idea. Jupiter transitioned into Sagittarius in November (then retrograded out, and just re-entered). She said the aspect created an incubation period with the gift of making deep wounds heal and mark a moment of turning inward before big things start to happen.

It all makes sense for the trajectory my life is currently taking. I didn’t get the promotion at work I earned. It was a disappointment and frustration but one I also sort of saw coming. Completing my Master’s creates a sort of purgatory where I need to stay in my job until graduation (pretty much nothing would get in the way of free tuition). With degree in hand, a whole world of opportunity opens up. I hope a path will reveal itself clearly in the coming year (professionally, personally, creatively).

Sister and I are doing VOWs a little differently (again). We both agreed on wanting to focus more on our OneWords for the year. So rather than do random monthly verbs, we each have chosen synonyms for our words. Ergo, in 2019 I will be posting on the following:


February: ENSHROUD


April: PLANT





September: FOSTER

October: NOURISH

November: DEVISE

December: SCHEME

When Sister asked what I hoped to gain from my INCUBATION, I shared my focus was doing behind-the-scenes preparation. Not needing a gold star at work. Not chasing a big dream. Keeping my head down, focusing on the seeds that need to be planted so I can reap the benefits in coming seasons. To poke around the soft spots of my heart and give them proper care so I can make space for more goodness to come my way. To purge what no longer serves.

Bursting the Bubble: Reflecting on EXPAND

This year was a focus on growth, moving up and outward. Perhaps overgrowing in some areas. The year began with a list of things to Expand:

  • I took 20 credit hours of graduate school while working full time… and maintained a 4.0 GPA, which I realize isn’t important to anyone. Except me. Because I was so nervous about starting school. So nervous it would be overwhelming and I would flounder. But I didn’t. I discovered I would be an excellent doctoral candidate, an idea I scoffed at the first time the Chair of my department suggested it. But as it turns out, a PhD may be a path I genuinely consider one day.
  • My career took unexpected turns. While I may have passed by for a major promotion, a high ranking university administrator shared his believe I would make an excellent Dean of Students in a few years time. He also shared my reputation as a hard and considerate worker was recognized throughout the division. I had the opportunity to mentor a couple of colleagues; ones I don’t supervise but who look towards me for leadership all the same. I attended a professional development conference that introduced me to my thesis topic (porn!) which I can use as a grant proposal for future endeavors.
  • My spirituality remained steadfast. I don’t ascribe to a specific deity or belief. A couple friends suggested I enroll in a Paganism 101 course at a local metaphysical shop with them, though it didn’t appeal. I’m no more Pagan than Baptist these days. And I’m okay with that. I have certainty the Universe takes care of those who trust it. And while there may be some Source that is interested in my well-being, it isn’t actively pulling strings on the daily. This belief solidified. I possess a quiet spirituality these days and rarely struggle comparing my journey to others.
  • I probably didn’t seek friendship as doggedly as I should have. I accepted invites, though. I made connections. I showed up for people I only met briefly and came to terms that I don’t need the same size circle I had in Fort Collins — which took over a decade to build. Instead, I capitalized on the relationships I value most and showed up whenever I was called upon. Midnight phone calls, pleading emails, laughter in success.
  • Josh and I are still the eternally obnoxious couple who belly laugh ever night before bed. The ones who drunkenly sit on a balcony overlooking the ocean and discuss how they wouldn’t trade places with anyone under any condition because there is no one more compatible or contented than us. It is as schmaltzy as it sounds. I know this perfect little bubble will burst some day, maybe soon. We’ll yell at each other in anger; some catastrophe will crack our foundation. So each night when I put my head on my love’s shoulder and whisper nonsensical riddles into his ear (as is our habit) I catalog the moment with fierce gratitude.
  • My relationship with myself is progressing slowly. I made efforts to be kinder to myself about the softness of my body and wildness of my hair. I took a food sensitivity test and discovered brewers yeast and dairy caused my chronic stomach aches and aggressive acne. I hoped cutting them from my diet would result in moderate weight loss, though that was not the case. Neither did cutting out alcohol on school nights and exercising for about five hours each week. This may have been one of the tests of my year — doing all the little things that are supposed to add up to major changes and still appreciating the damn thing when it all stays the same.
  • Truth is ever evasive, though this year I found incredible solace in reminding myself It is what it is. Such a basic and seemingly pessimistic phrase that continues to prove relevant into adulthood. Fighting whatever it happens to be is wasted effort. I added another Rule of Adulthood: Make the time to do just a little. I don’t know when I discovered the Pomodoro Technique but it single-handedly enabled all-day study sessions and completing endless reports for work.
  • I didn’t go to a kundalini class. But I still want to try one.
  • I meditated a bit but it is far from routine. I’m still making room for it in the middle of my work day with the personal reminder that taking even 10 minutes for lunch is appropriate.
  • Travel always makes your world larger and smaller at the same time. You realize people are mostly the same wherever you go. You share smiles with a stranger whose language you don’t speak (even if it’s just metaphorically). You drink their booze and eat their delicacies and soak in all that’s unfamiliar. Seattle, Cuba, St Augustine, Tennessee, Orange Beach. Most of our trips were small weekend getaways but they replenished me in a way I can’t fully explain. But it made my heart bigger, experience deeper, and appreciation wider.
  • And our house. Our wonderful, amazing, cozy, beautiful home with a glorious deck and magnolia tree. My astrologer noted three or so years ago that my chart indicated Home was of incredible importance to me. She caught me in the middle of a cycle where I uprooted apartments five times in six years, so I initially dismissed her. But the adoration I feel for our little (huge) mid-century cottage is proof she was right. The only thing that could take me away from that place is opportunity in Savannah.

I’m not the same person I was at the start of the year. Not so drastically different either. As I age I find myself steadfast in accepting the things about me which may not be perfect but aren’t otherwise so bad. I also challenge myself to show up, to put others first, and to stop procrastinating. I maintain room for fun and satisfaction even during the most stressful of weeks.

Finale: Reflecting on INFORM and LISTEN

November – INFORM

November was bookended with house guests. Both our mothers came to visit (my stepdad, too) and it was wonderful to show off the house we’ve really settled into. To sip cocktails under the heat lamp on our deck. To laugh and catch up and exchange stories. To hear how cozy and welcoming we’ve made this place. To show off our little neighborhood and discover the strongest, cheapest drinks on a grey and brisk Black Friday.

Thinking back to November, it’s amazing how long ago it all seems. How distant those familial memories feel. I took a pretty huge bite at the beginning of the semester and enrolled in 12 credit hours; my biggest semester yet. And at first it didn’t feel like much. But let me tell you when the semester came to a close with countless essays and projects due, I felt the shift. 

Weeknights became a sprint to fit in research and chapters before bed, breaking for meals. Weekends employed the highly effective and much beloved Pomodoro technique to manage through eight to ten hour study sessions. 

I learned a hell of a lot.
The product of my work came back with perfect scores.
And I bemoaned the whole experience, loudly, from my perch at our game table. Like a child.

I became very INFORMed throughout November. I have read more academic articles about pornography than I ever thought existed. I immersed myself in classic sociological theory. I channeled my inner Brene by creating a codebook and employing grounded theory which led me to some fascinating research. I feel smarter because of the semester, for sure.

I also learned working a full-time job and taking that many credits is not the best for my mental health, work-school-life balance, and general disposition. 

Unfortunately, I was also recently INFORMed at work that I was not qualified for the promotion I hoped for. In turn, I INFORMed my boss I couldn’t see myself staying in this organization or position for much longer. In a wave of boldness, I asked she be willing to afford me opportunities that would prepare me for whatever came next. It was a respectful conversation. Productive, too. Perhaps the most transparent we’ve been with each other… ever in the two years we’ve worked together. 

So that’s a lesson in and of itself, too.

There was a certain element of receptivity in November. Of going with the flow towards which I’m not naturally inclined. It reiterated in order to obtain information, you need to be willing to take it. And when what you’re told isn’t quite what you like to hear, you have to keep on listening…

December – LISTEN

I’m cheating this month and double-posting before the end of the year. The reason for it is to make room for my intuition and higher self to speak. New Years is my favorite but because I’ve been so overburdened by school, I haven’t made the time to perform all my end of year rituals. 

I haven’t closed the circle.
I haven’t brainstormed goals.
I haven’t started the vision board.
Hell, I haven’t chosen my OneWord yet.

My beloved knew how stressful this semester was and how diligently I worked to stay on top of assignments. So he gifted me with a three-night trip at the beach to ring in 2019. Enough time for me to reflect, plan, and envision the upcoming twelve months.

Josh and I joke often about the difference between hearing someone and listening to them. He has a hard time keeping them apart and remembering which one is better. “I listened you” is our cutesy response when the other person thinks you’re not paying close attention to what they’re saying. It’s a demonstration that despite being two-and-a-half years in, we still care and actively invest in thoughts and ramblings of the other. Even on nights when you’re cranky, or meals when your mind is somewhere else.

I’m grateful for the privilege to reflect inward and be able and willing to listen to myself. To the still quiet voice of revelation that says maybe you should consider that PhD offer and wouldn’t it be fascinating to study the relationship  between pornography use and celibacy? To actively engage with something that could be nothing but might also possibly be everything. And other nuggets I haven’t made room to hear yet.

In 2019…

Our Venture is as ever-evolving as our lives are. 

In 2017 we VOWed weekly.
In 2018, it was monthly.
In 2019, we will continue to post, but with the focus on our singular word for the year (once one of us figures out her verb *ahem*).

Join us?
Happy holidays to you and yours. 

My conundrum: Reflecting on REJECT

Immersing oneself in the study of society and culture has an interesting way of illuminating realities you haven’t really noticed before. Or kinda noticed but failed to acknowledge its weight.

Looking back through all my posts from this Venture, I notice how often I bemoan social media.
How much it exhausts me.
Detracts from my life.

But I live in the world.
During this era.
Social media is a part of the postmodern age.
Like single-use plastics and smog and centuries-old discourse that espouse hate.

People live social media-less lives.
I desperately want to be one of them.


Pretty much none of my Tribe lives in my current city. We’re scattered around the country (and globe) nowadays. So if the alternative is feeling less connected to them, then I haven’t really an interest in severing the few ties that continue to bind us. I’m not the best at keeping up with people, especially when time is sparse, and sometimes keeping an eye on snippets can suffice.

Plus, my job necessitates I participate in a variety of social networks. I have presence on most everything in some capacity so I can peek at someone’s digital footprint when necessary.


This month I’ve taken steps to REJECT Facebook.
To remove it from my life.
To consult Instagram less.
To select my news from the New York Times rather than some automated feed.

Lately, more than ever, I’ve tried to be active about the standards I keep. In my personal life. In my professional role. In the clothing I purchase. In the words I share. Because selecting something means REJECTING another. So I damn sure better be aware of what that choice (or lack thereof) means. Beyond myself and the immediate repercussions of that choice.

REJECTING has been a lot more about curating. About selecting. Which is funny because that was last month’s blog which in turn felt like taking ownership.

Sometimes our VOWS are similes. Sometimes they’re exactly what we need.
Occasionally they show up in ways we expected. Meanwhile others it’s a sort of filter you see through.

Next month we round out our last dichotomous pair with INFORM…

Check out Steph’s #VOWreject post here

We’re all culpable: Reflecting on CHOOSE

Sister’s post inspired me to write a small paragraph on September’s VOW — CHOOSE — which turned into a long ramble. At first I wasn’t particularly sure what to write. Or rather, at the start of October I knew exactly what I wanted to write but was afraid I couldn’t express it well. So tonight, in light of Sister making the time to post, I decided something said was better that something left unsaid. So I CHOOSE to possibly come across incoherent… to likely anger and alienate people with my opinions.

School begins the around the beginning of September but my office onlyonly st to get busy around the time I post this (mid-October). To keep us occupied, we make the rounds presenting to clubs, organizations, departments, and freshman First Year Experience classes. I discuss what Title IX is, why we exist on campuses. I try not to lecture but let’s face it – when a 33-year-old woman discusses sexual violence in a room of teenagers, it is hard to come across anything but. Especially when your boss placed a moratorium on your use of curse words (I still maintain swearing creates an air of approachability).

I talk about policy. About what type of behaviors lead to what type of charges. About why the University cares what happens behind closed doors in the private lives of our community.

The most important slide in my presentation is near the end. After I’m done making their skin crawly by listing examples of non-verbal positive and negative consent or by physically demonstrating themarkers of incapacitation, I tell my students that I know when something traumatic happens to someone — one of those incidents I’ve been talking about for the past 45 minutes — the person impacted isn’t going to immediately seek help from my office. They are going to turn to a friend, roommate, sibling, or partner and say something bad happened to me.

And that’s when I bring up the choice points. I explain to students that they can CHOOSE to support and believe that person, free from judgement. I emphasize what a luxury this is because there is literally less than a handful of people on our campus who have to remain neutral, who have to ask the hard questions, who have to look for holes in the story. When I’m at work, I am one of those chosen few. So I appeal to students to skip taking on such an unnecessary (and very heavy) burden. Instead, they can say I believe you. Thank you for trusting me. It’s not your fault. I’m sorry this happened.

That’s it. Just one little choice to forego but what were you… or but why were you… can be instrumental in the long-term healing of the person who trusted them enough to lean in. The opposite can be catastrophic with the potential to quite literally change the course of a whole life. I’ve heard stories about women who were assaulted when they were 15, 16-years-old, and when they disclosed what happened to their mothers, they response they got was I don’t know what else you could have expected when you run around with someone like that. And *poof*. Those women sat in isolated pain for another 50 years. Five-zero, folks. Fifty years of carrying that trauma. Can you even imagine? Indeed, probably some of you can…

And then came Kavanaugh’s nomination. And that too-painful-to-endure interrogation of Dr. Ford.

It was all too much.

Though not so much in listening to Dr. Ford’s experience, since that is literally what my job entails. I hear about nearly that exact experience every. single. day. And please know that I’m not seeking sympathy for doing my job. No, what killed my heart was the social media and national discourse that accompanied it.

People CHOSE to believe one side or the other based solely on political affiliation.

People CHOSE to dehumanize both the parties involved. Because I’m gonna throw out something controversial — Kavanaugh’s emotional explosion during the hearing? I don’t heavily fault him for it. If it were you having your actions from over 30 years ago being brought up preventing you from attaining the highest honor your field can bestoe, you’d probably be emotional too. Especially if you perhaps couldn’t admit the truth of the matter. Or maybe you were expressing your truth and the whole world had decided you were a monster anyway. I would, at least. And as HRH Brene Brown says, it’s hard to hate people up close. Empathy changes things… for both sides.

So I CHOSE to hold my tongue. To process through the entire ordeal with my Person, who bless his charitable soul, was patient with me every step of the way. Even when I would explode in frustration at the end of long work days for both of us.

This is what I hope we as a country CHOOSE to learn from this. I hope we all CHOOSE to become better. That we can set aside our allegiances and just simply believe the person who tells us something terrible happens. Sexual violence, racial discrimination, ageism, fatphobia, any of it. A victim is a victim is a victim.

And perhaps CHOOSE to simultaneously believe the person who did that horrendous action is still a person. Fallible, imperfect, yet human.

That we espouse our anger at the broken system instead of raging at specific actors caught up in its forces. That we recognize how we each individually CHOOSE to reinforce this broken system.

All of us failed Dr. Ford.

I have failed her and my entire career is a mea culpa for contributing to a society that enabled such harm.

And with that sense of failure, I also CHOOSE something different every day. I CHOOSE to look at myself and my failings as realistically as possible. To identify when I have a racist thought. To self-criticize when I’ve injured another person. And hopefully, to make small steps forward every day knowing that I have the ability and goddamn option to militantly stand up for what is right while conceding that my way isn’t the only way.

Steph had a crazy summer, so you can catch up with her #VOWtreasure, #VOWchoose, and #VOWreject post here

Not So Special: Reflecting on TREASURE

August came and went. Quickly. Too quickly given how little I accomplished.

Though my birth month wasn’t as full as the rest of the year. In higher ed, it’s typically a time in which we prep for the arrival of students and brace ourselves for the insanity of the first few weeks of classes. In my area, we are responsive to the shit storm that usually follows six weeks of newfound independence that lends itself to chaos and trouble.

August at work is a waiting game through the end of October.

At home, I wrapped up a (very easy) summer semester and refreshed on all the necessary supplies and books necessary for my next (and final) year in my program. Josh and I lay low most weekends, trying to restrict our monetary and caloric budgets.

Simplicity is sometimes unnerving. Especially when it comes during what we perceive should be Big Moments. I’ve struggled to write something eloquent about the past month because nothing feels noteworthy. As a Leo I love celebrating (especially myself TBH) so having no updates feels like somehow the whole month was a dud.

Everything was smooth. Everything was uneventful. Everything was so freaking easy.

In the same way many artists believe they thrive off angst and anxiety to produce worthy work (recommended reading about this: Big Magic), I feel like I need to have something monumental in order to write an interesting or inspirational blog post. And there is probably something to that – I doubt this will be a read that pulls at your heartstrings or inspiration.

A few short years ago, I was the girl who had plans every night of the week. I literally had to deliberately practice Hermit Nights to spend in solitude. They were a beautiful respite among a packed calendar, but if I’m fully honest, I have historically felt better about myself when things are busy. I feel productive, interesting, important.

During this time I created a list of things I wanted in a relationship. It was an aspirational list which I never expected to fully manifest. But manifest it did, in the form of Josh. The first thing on that list that I think of, that I absolutely TREASURE, is achieving the desire to feel cherished. Josh cherishes the shit out of me. And likewise, I cherish the hell out of him.

It is in these quieter moments — this quieter life — that I find myself naturally expressing magnificent  gratitude for simplicity. For the ease. For what I once classified as boring. Understanding that all that is  Instagramable may not necessarily be the most valuable things. That afternoons spent in our underwear, lounging on the pullout sofa in front of the tv, sipping too strong of cocktails too early in the day, cuddling but not necessarily talking… this glitters more vibrantly than what pops and flashes.

Not so special has become pretty fucking amazing.

In September we make some decisions — find out what we CHOOSE.

Check out Steph’s #VOWtreasure post

Breaking the Spell of Scarcity: Reflecting on SPEND

Growing up, I was an incredibly frugal child. While both of my parents have always been financially responsible and stable, I’m unsure exactly where my mentaily came from. Perhaps I was just fascinated with the independence that money could bring to a highly dependent being? After doing my requisite chores and household responsibilities, I received a modest allowance; what I did with it was up to me.

I remember being fascinated by the concept of borrowed money earning interest. I often “charged” my mom an extra quarter whenever she needed cash for the weekend. She thought it was adorable, I thought I was business savvy.

If memory serves, I probably counted my savings on a weekly basis. I was also a highly organized child (at one point literally everything in my room had its own labeled place) and found an insane amount of comfort in stacking my coins and sorting my bills.

I maintained a healthy relationship with money throughout most of my life, save for two largely disruptive cycles heralding massive life changes. The first was a shopping addiction I struggled with during my ill-fated marriage. I was that girl who would clothes shop every weekend, and occasionally during my lunch hour. I love a good deal and my tastes have never been particularly expensive, but the outlet of stockpiling clothing helped mask the crushing anxiety, depression, and fear I struggled with inside.

The second was as I made the transition towards my current career. I took at 30% pay cut, paid for expensive out-of-state trainings out of pocket, and spent my remaining time in Fort Collins at my favorite locations with my favorite people. I amassed an incredible amount of debt in that year and worked diligently during my first year-and-a-half in Birmingham to pay off my nearly maxed credit card. It was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life.

But more than just my relationship with money, I’ve been a stockpiler of nice things. Books I’ll never read, candles I’ll never burn, lotion I’ll sparingly lather on, journals I fret about “ruining” by using, favorite outfits I avoid wearing (and thus washing) to keep them as near-new as possible. Hell, I’m even stingy with the booklets of planner stickers I use to organize my time keeper.

The problem with this of course is that I outgrow my pristine clothes and because I never used them enough, they sit in my great-grandmother’s hope chest waiting until the (unforeseeable) day that I fit into them again. I buy cheap notebooks to record my daily thoughts because those aren’t beautiful enough words worthy to fill the expensive leather journal I bought in my 20s. The fancy facial serum my former mother-in-law bought me literally eight years ago sits practically full on a cabinet in the house I now share with my partner.

I know how stupid this is. How ridiculous it is to be so afraid of scarcity that I prevent myself from enjoying the beautiful things I’ve curated. And believe me, I’m millions of lightyears better than I once was. In the five moves I’ve made over the past six years, I’ve probably purged a solid 60 percent of my belongings, including an insane amount of self-care products, candles, make up, exotic spices.

I don’t consider myself a cheap person. But there is something about the feeling that these possessions are precious and irreplaceable that gets me. I’ve had my fair share of items that I got rid of and was never able to duplicate or replicate — the black lace peplum top that looked stellar with both pants and skirts, the sexy boots with the perfect shape and heel height that laced up the back, the apple-pear candle I found in middle school that is still to this day one of the best smells I’ve ever experienced. The sachet of saffron from an outdoor market in a foreign city. I find myself so attached to these things that SPENDING them in whatever capacity they offer almost hurts. And because they have become so precious, that panicked maintenance spills over to more arbitrary things too.

Knowing this month was coming up, I prepared myself to really go gung ho on this spending thing. I reminded myself of the times I’ve successfully broken the spell of scarcity. When I relocated to Birmingham, I decided the only plates I would pack was the dogwood-patterned fine china my dad gifted me (us) after my 2009 wedding. My ex and I ate with them once, maybe twice. I spent weeks purging closets and drawers and memories, and that china was literally in the back of my car headed to Goodwill. Then I realized I was more than happy to just dump this beautiful set of dishes which my father had held onto since I was 15-years-old because I was too afraid to use it.

What a sad waste.

Josh and I use that china every day now. We can’t put it through the microwave because of the gold plating but we do run it through the dishwasher. And when Josh accidentally shattered one of the dinner plates, it wasn’t a big deal. I managed to normalize what was once fancy so its loss no longer felt impactful.

What a wonderful thing to gain.

This month I started a journaling project with a set of beloved out-of-print oracle cards that I had previously been putting off until I got my hands on a backup set. Every night I’ve greedily slathered my whole damn body in the delicious-smelling Hemp lotion from my mom. I’ve used my good pens in my favorite colors any time I’ve had to put pen to paper. I took a week of vacation days to read books and drink dark-and-stormies on the beach with my beloved.

But our biggest splurge was the 500-square-foot deck added to the back of our house. Josh and I haven’t had a decent outdoor space during the entirety that we’ve been together, something we both deeply cherish and desire. We had planned to save up money and get it built in October before family comes for Thanksgiving. But when Josh was tapped for a side-hustle project that would pay for most of the deck, we decided to go all in. So the most phenomenal crew of guys (seriously, one of them worked on crutches with a broken foot) built our deck in three weeks. And I dropped a tidy sum on patio furniture during Wayfair’s Christmas in July sale.

It was a lot of money out of our pockets. And a fair share of nerves putting over grand on the credit card I worked so hard to pay off.

But it feels so damn good. So right. Our backyard is now the highlight of our already gorgeous home. And what’s a few months of pinching pennies when we can spend our Friday nights sipping cocktails surrounded by fireflies instead of at a crowded bar surrounded by TVs? It’s almost backward — the mundane has now become sacred.

August is my birthmonth and with all this spending, our next verb — TREASURE — is perfectly timed.

See Steph’s #VOWspend post here

Hold It: Reflecting on WAIT

I’m not so good at waiting.

I tend to be a girl who, when she makes up her mind, jumps into action. This is a quality I’m proud of, you see. And something that a former sufferer of Generalized Anxiety Disorder didn’t naturally come to. I had to fight my way towards my “yes and…” sensibilities. I had to relearn that to freeze the wasn’t the best and exclusive option.

So this month’s verb had me stammering a bit. In a bit way that I would start then pause, but momentum would drag me forward a bit. It took some relearning and leaning into the discomfort that had previously been sanctuary.

It’s hard to deprogram, I guess is what I’m saying.

But anytime I resisted the first waiting game, I recall one of my Rules of Adulthood. Anything that I feel must be said or done RIGHT NOW absolutely should NOT be said or done.

The immediacy is the key here. Anything that I’m so wrapped around that it cannot wait another second has yet to go exactly the way I wanted/planned it to. Rather, my rush ends up morphing my intentions so that things are missed, incorrectly articulated, or haphazardly done.

So even if/when it is against my revised baser instinct, sometimes it is best to not proceed forward. To give things time to marinate.

The TEDFellowship application.

Asking for a raise right after discovering disconcerting news.

Severing ties with my tarot group.

These are all things that I hesitated on. Deliberately. Effortfully. Intentionally.

Not only because of this month’s verb but because, dare I say, maturation. Evolution. And perhaps a bit realization that the in-between space I’ve avoided for so long isn’t as much of a compromise as it is a place to strive for.

Check out Steph’s post on #VOWwait here

A Big Shift: Reflecting on CROSS

Smack dab in the middle of May was when Uranus made a major transit, CROSSing the part of the sky where the constellation Aries is to the part ruled by Taurus. I’ve become increasingly interested in astrology over the past several years; similar to the tarot cards I read, I don’t know how these things apply but they certainly appear accurate.

Uranus mixes things up. It’s a Big Picture planet that shakes things up so it can rebuild them. It’s about evolution and innovation, destruction and replanting. The Sign it crosses is a certain phase or energy and the House is how it manifests in your personal life. (I’m by no means an expert, so you best head to AstroCodex if you want to know more).

Case and point, from 2011 through May 15, 2018, Uranus crossed Aries in my 4th House, the one that rules your family and home. During that time I got divorced and moved five times in six years; one of which was across the country and the most recent into a house that I love and can see myself in for a very long time. Josh and I moved the last weekend of April and were all settled by mid-May.

Y’all, I felt Uranus in my 4th House. It was really fucking hard a lot of the time but it brought me where I was meant to be. In fact, throughout that transition I discussed that feeling a lot. That things weren’t perfect by a long shot, but I felt settled in ways I’d never experienced before.

And this month, I really let those lessons marinate. I took stock and expressed thanks for all the good in my life — the man I love, the home we’re building, the city I now call home, all the opportunity and growth that have come as a result.

So now that Uranus is entering Taurus, my 5th House of romantic relationships, creativity, and… kids (given mine and Josh’s medical backgrounds I doubt an unexpected pregnancy will be an be an issue).

While this can be a little daunting, I have a hunch it’ll be an enlightening seven years. We’ll be able to grow into and with one another. I’ll feel more settled in my creative outlet. And in all my reflection, I spent a substantial amount of energy thinking about what I want to manifest this cycle. How can I express my creativity both at work and personally? What can I do to expand and grow my relationship with Josh? How do I prepare myself for the upheavals that are bound to happen?

This month will surely prove to be a challenging one, as it will force both Steph and I to go against our baser natures… this June we WAIT.

Check out Steph’s #VOWcross post here