Gimme Gimme: Reflecting on TAKE

Y’all, I’m sorry I’m late posting on #VOWtake. The thing is, today is my birthday. And last weekend, Josh and I went to the beach. And it was glorious. Humid and sweaty and cloudy and relaxing and wonderful. For hours we watched dolphins swim past us. The water was bathtub warm. The sand looked like it was synthetically manufactured and shipped in… it was that perfect.

I TOOK it all in. Soaked in the moment by being present for all of it. I didn’t fret at the idea of strangers seeing my body in a swimsuit. I didn’t marinate on the smattering of rain which threatened to cancel our parasailing plans. Hell, I didn’t allow myself to panic when we were 400 feet above open water (quite an accomplishment given my fear of whales and deep water).

I didn’t wallow at the idea of having to leave far sooner than I wanted to. I tried not to live in the past or the future or inside my head (or fears).

And I remembered to TAKE lots of pictures. Of the seaside view from our balcony. Of the sunrise stroll we took before departing. Of the two of us together… even though I thought my body looked bulbous and my hair was gigantic from moisture.

I didn’t want to distance myself in any way from this birthday. it’s been the best one I’ve ever had. I didn’t want to lose it. I didn’t want to lose any of it. Even the pieces I wish were different. Which means TAKING the good with the bad, the glorious perfect parts with the (equally glorious) imperfect ones.

Lin’s VOW mantra: Appreciate what you have before it turns into what you had.

Lin’s SOW (Song Of the Week): Top of the World by Me First & The Gimme Gimmes

#VOWtake It In; #VOWbuild On It

For no other reason than a bone-deep feeling, I believe that my 28th year will be the last one that I am here—

Not alive (that’s morbid).
But fully present in this city, maybe.
More than that, by myself here.

I think, in a year, there will always be two, more times than there are one.
And that I will be completely ready for that commitment.

I believe I will owe that readiness, in large part, to this project.
To this year of Build-ing.

Because each week, these VOWs take me somewhere new.
They’ve become cities I’ve traveled to and explored without a map.
Alleys and cafes I fell in love with, not because they were wholly unseen,
but because they were ordinary things that made me feel feelings that,
in that moment, I hadn’t felt yet.

I think #VOWtake was an earthquake. An aftershock. And the rubble.
And ruin, as Elizabeth said, is the road to transformation.

This past week, I took:

In more calories in bread and cheese and wine than I should have.
More nights for what they were.
More chances than were smart.

And I regret nothing.

So this week, I’m primed to


Steph’s TAKE mantra: Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the word is full of uneducated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. (Calvin Coolidge)

Steph’s Song of the Week: TESTIFY by NEEDTOBREATHE

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWtake post (coming soon…after she returns from the beach…not that I am jealous or anything).


Trusting Myself to the Water & #VOWholding

It’s been one of those weeks.
And I mean that in the best way.
It was one for the books.

Composed of a hundred moments that are insignificant in the grand scheme of our lives yet exactly the thing that makes the days they are made of great—

A handful or two of belly laughs.
Another of nights without enough sleep.
But more than that, it was dinner made and dishes done.
Beds and space easily shared.
Kisses and moments that never had to be stolen, because they were freely given.

And that’s both the bitch and beauty of living;
Nothing is forever.

So I’ve made up my mind to trust myself to the water (Alan Watts),
Because that’s what this whole thing is (David Foster Wallace).

And if I need to hold my heart outside my body for days (Nayyirah Waheed) in the aftermath I will.

But I’ll


My chances, because

keep putting your hands
on my mind.
It is the same thing as my body.’

—heal, Nayyirah Waheed

Steph’s HOLD mantra:
Help me to accept what it is that you need to give me.
Help me to release what it is that I need to let go of.

-a Quaker prayer

Steph’s Song of the Week: Unsteady by X Ambassadors

& Don’t Miss Lin’s #VOWhold post.