Happy Friday, everyone! I'm trying something new this week--skipping the weekly workout log on Wednesday and instead swapping in a new kind of post that I'm going to try out the next few Fridays. The idea behind Fueled Up Fridays is taking a look at the things that kept me energized and excited throughout the week--this is a good reflection tool for me, and will hopefully give you some ideas for new things to try, too. This week, I'm talking about three things (and it was hard to narrow the field, because this was a really good week!): Glennon Doyle Melton, The Women's Strength Summit, and finally unpacking my clothes at the new house.
I. Glennon Doyle Melton (and specifically her book, Carry On, Warrior)
I first became familiar with Glennon because friends of mine on Facebook were liking her posts and every one I read was so profoundly true, and stripped down, and loving, and right (and funny, on top of all of that) that I finally started following her myself. I am completely in love with this woman's soul. For context, Glennon is a recovering alcoholic and drug user whose life changed drastically and quickly when she found herself pregnant at 26 (which was also the moment that she stopped drinking and using drugs). She married her husband, the father of her children, whom she had been dating for a while but had known for "ten sober nights" when they tied the knot. She is now a mother of three, still married to that man, and the best kind of Christian (who, you know, is most interested in forgiveness and loving others....like Jesus.) Her writing cuts to the heart of being human in a way that is frankly difficult to describe. But please, take my word for how magical it is.
Because this world is a wonderful and magical place, Glennon is friends with Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love and Committed, two of my all-time favorite books, and another human who I would like to take squarely by the shoulders and say "You get it, this life thing. Thank you for writing about how much you get it.") Glennon has a new book coming out this summer, and Elizabeth has been talking about how great it is, and I'm DYING to read it, and then this week I learned that Glennon is also coming to the Twin Cities to speak this summer and I immediately scooped up two tickets to see her. Part of the promotion for that event mentioned the book she has already published, Carry On, Warrior, and I immediately bought that book on my Kindle app and started reading it that night. And you guys. This book. It's changing my heart. It's making my life better. It's doing all the best things that art can do for you.
I love Glennon's writing because she is funny and lighthearted and self-deprecating, and in the midst of all of that she says things that are so right on that it actually takes my breath away. There are so many passages in her book that I've highlighted (and I don't ever do that, unless it's by accident because I meant to turn the page but my iPad misunderstood). I knew I wanted to share a passage from the book on my blog, and I had a hard time choosing because there are so many that I love so much. I want to turn this entire book into a poster I can hang on my wall. I want to wallpaper my house in these words. Because I couldn't choose, this is the most recent passage I highlighted, in a chapter about marital struggles:
"I read somewhere that God sends us partners who are most likely to help us heal. This rings true to me. It's just that sometimes the healing is so hard that one or both partners can't take it, so somebody bails, or makes it impossible for the other partner to keep on loving. I understand this completely. Healing is so painful. Thankfully, when we turn away someone who would have helped us heal, God sends another. I don't think he punishes us. He gives us lots and lots of tries. God is Forever Tries. I think He sends our healing partners in all different forms, not just spouses. He sends sisters, girlfriends, strangers, authors, artists, teachers, therapists, musicians, and puppies until one or several partners stick. But if we want redemption, we have to let one stick, eventually. We have to sit through the pain long enough to rise again."
II. The Women's Strength Summit
Another great example of women being their awesome selves this week is a virtual event being put on by Steph Gaudreau (also known for her brand, Stupid Easy Paleo) called the Women's Strength Summit. The Summit started on Tuesday, and there are a handful of amazing and inspirational speakers streaming every day, talking about strength and fitness and confidence and body image. The amazing part is that the summit is free, and the talks are available for three days after they go live. I've been streaming them at home while I do my evening workouts or cook dinner. Each of the talks I've listened to have been thought-provoking and each of the speakers has had a distinct personality and viewpoint that shines through to the listener. What I have really loved is that all of the speakers I've listened to have come across loud and clear as happy, well-adjusted, settled (and yes, strong) women. They are each all of these things in their own way--from the women whose focus is on body image and promoting self-love to the women whose focus is on building muscle and promoting strength training in the female athlete community, they're living different lives and are passionate about different things but they have each clearly found peace and joy in their own health journeys and helping others on their path toward wellness.
I particularly loved Erin Brown's discussion of self-love from the perspective that women feel the need to comment on each other's appearance as an indirect way of focusing on, or avoiding focus on, their own insecurities. Her point was that society approaches women primarily about how we look rather than any other aspect of our selves, but also that women often comment on other women's appearances either in negative ways (often to make yourself feel better--maybe I don't measure up to the standards of perfection, but neither does she) or to make yourself feel worse (if only I could look like she looks, I'm sure everything would be better). The takeaway from that is that focusing on changing how you talk to yourself, or think about yourself, is often really hard, but you can start making meaningful changes by focusing on how you talk about/think about other women. She gave the example of a friend of hers who made a point of picking out something that she liked or could compliment for every single woman she saw--this friend would sit in a public place and think to herself "I really like her shoes. Her walk is so confident. She has really pretty hair." This internal dialogue about other people eventually had an impact on her own negative self-talk, and helped her to be more gentle with herself. More loving. Such a hard thing. I appreciated her take on a different way to approach that shift.
That's just one of many examples of a great and thought-provoking exchange from the Summit--if you're interested in learning more, you can check it out here.
III. Finally Unpacking My Clothes!
We've lived in our house for a month and a half now, but it's really only the last week or two that I've gotten my clothes organized enough to start wearing real outfits (or maybe it's just that I finally have the energy to find the pieces I'm looking for, now that we have a fully functional bathroom and kitchen and I don't have contractors in my house at 7am every day.) In any case, I'm getting back into my normal routine and having fun with getting dressed again. Here are a few pieces I've been wearing on repeat:
1. The Picnic Table Pants
I have a real shortage of non-jean pants that fit me well, so I recently went in search of more and found these at TJ Maxx (they're Cynthia Rowley and they're awesome). When I tried them on I texted a picture to my friend Jenny to ask if they looked too much like a picnic tablecloth, and because she is a great friend she said, "No, I like them!" And the picnic table pants and I lived happily ever after.
2. The Best Blazer There Ever Was
I don't have to wear suits every day anymore (or ever, actually) but I used to wear them, and I've purchased a lot of blazers because of it. This is the best one I've ever owned, and it's from TARGET. Target, you evil genius, you. Are there no limits to what wonderful products you can offer me?!
3. Ankle Boots
We've been enjoying some early spring weather in Minneapolis, which means I've braved showing about two inches of skin between my pants and my ankle boots several times. Ankle boots qualify as perfect shoes in my mind because you can wear socks, they're easy to dress up or down, and they go with jeans, skirts, work pants and dresses equally well. Evil genius shoes, those ankle boots.
That's it for the inaugural edition of Fueled Up Fridays--I hope you all have a great weekend. I'm throwing a bridal shower for one of my best friends on Saturday and going for a run and having post-run brunch with another of my best friends on Sunday, so if you don't grab some fun for yourself I'm going to use it all up. Chewy also wants me to say hello on his behalf. He loves you.