In Process

My thoughts on these last few weeks have most certainly followed a non-linear progression – an exasperated ‘not again,’ a quest for facts, misunderstanding and being misunderstood, anger surrounding division, submission to grief, hopes for reconciliation, questions about my role in this.

I am a police officer’s wife. But more than that, I am a Christian, and so the polarizing two-party system the media portrays doesn’t work here. There must be a third way, an additional response.

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Photo by Emily P. Freeman

Emily Freeman’s response gives me permission to process slowly. I don’t quite have the words yet, but I’m thankful for her reflection (and I’m happy to direct you to her thoughts once again). It’s about the tension, but it’s also about Tuscany, and cultivating the ground in front of you, and listening.

When tragedy strikes, things we know to be true don’t stop being true even if the                                     shock of it shakes the truth right out of our hands.

          Truth might be misplaced for a while.

          But truth is still true.

          God is still good.

If you have a few moments for some storytelling, read the full post: Before Helpless Turns to Hopeless.

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For The Love of Bodies

I had my second fitting for my wedding dress this week.

I love it. It fits me well, and even though I sometimes jokingly lament that I can’t “fill it out” enough, I feel great in it. Furthermore, I can’t wait for Thomas to see it.

It’s interesting, though, to think about what a bride (or any other woman, for that matter)  is “supposed” to look like. No one directly tells us that we must be a size two and have those nice lines on our abs, and we all know that the magazine models are airbrushed. WE KNOW IT. But it still hasn’t stopped me from occasionally comparing myself to this cultural ideal.

So looking at myself in the mirror, it’s easy to think silly thoughts like “If only my hips were just a tad narrower” or “Dang, I really need a push-up.” Really?

This is who I am. 

Not to say that making improvements is bad. Eating right and exercising muscles are awesome habits that make our bodies happier. But when the focus is on becoming like People Magazine’s “Most Beautiful Woman In The World” (by what power does People have, anyway?), we need a fresh perspective.

God made our bodies to carry us through 70+ years of living. We can and should nurture them, but because I know He made me, I’m free to look in the mirror without all the images of other women in the back of my mind.

For the love of bodies, let’s change some things.

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Life on the Rez

There’s so much to say. So much I learned from 4 days on a Navajo reservation and only so long to keep a reader’s attention. I know I need to keep this at a sane length, but I’m tempted to not. This trip to Arizona (read why I went here) certainly made me aware of another kind of poverty within the United States and how fortunate I am to live where I live, but it also gave me tons of insight about a rich culture I knew nothing about. Here are a few bits that I walked away with.

Pinon is dry. It’s brown. And dusty green. And faded red. Everything is spread out, distanced by long dirt roads that stretch for miles and miles.

Cows and sheep hang out on the side of the road. One grocery store named Basha’s, a Subway and Pizza Edge fill the only strip mall. A Conoco receives business right next door. Some houses are round hogans without electricity and running water, while others are a bit more modern (depending on how traditional the family is). Dogs meander down the road and lay in the sun in front of Basha’s. They are rez dogs, and they have no home.

The unemployment rate in Pinon is 80%. It’s like a deadly cycle because the Navajos want to preserve their heritage, so they don’t allow many businesses to come on the reservation. So people don’t have anywhere to work. Alcoholism is a problem on the rez, even though it’s considered dry. People get drunk outside the reservation and come back home (which leads to domestic violence), or they mix water and hairspray to get drunk. Toxic. We learned the Navajo word for “drunk man,” and surprisingly enough, used it many times in conversation throughout the trip. I remember writing on my notepad that “it’s a quiet poverty, not one of police sirens and urbanism. Every building, every animal and every person looks in need of a little love.”

Yet in the midst of the poverty, there are brilliant students at Pinon High School. Students who are confident they have something to offer and know that their life has options. These students are thoughtful, kind, so endearing and wise beyond their years. We had the chance to talk to the juniors and seniors at a question and answer panel, where they asked us about everything college-related. They’re curious. And they’re faced with this internal struggle because they want to honor their families and their Navajo culture, but strive to dream outside the scope of the reservation. They’re torn between tradition and limitless possibility.

Some highlights…

We learned how to make fry bread.


We stopped at the Chinle Flea Market and EVERY jewelry stand we could find alongside the road.

We painted a water tank.

Witnessed Monument Valley.

Stood atop Cedar Mesa.

Saw a BEAUTIFUL sunrise.

And were downright inspired.

This trip got me outside of my comfort zone, which I’m confident is a great thing for my control freak personality :)  Feel free to click here for more of my photos on Facebook, or visit the ISU gallery here.

And thanks for reading. I sure do appreciate it.

Meet the best sandals ever made. Ever.

A few months ago, I came across one of MOST RAD pair of sandals I’ve ever seen. And the best part? I own them now, thanks to my guy! I fell in love with them on StumbleUpon and now want to spread their goodness and mission to everyone else. Their name is Sseko.

You can check out their website here: http://www.ssekodesigns.com/

As the story on the website goes, a young woman named Liz graduated with a communication degree and traveled to Uganda to work for a nonprofit. She discovered this community of women who were totally smart, but struggled to make money to attend higher education. So Liz designed a versatile sandel, a simple leather base with five loops and two ribbon straps that allow you to tie in multiple ways. Here’s a picture if I’ve confused you.

After Liz designed this, she hired the women to hand-craft them so they could earn money for school! How incredibly neat and ambitious is that??

They’re beautiful shoes made by beautiful people. I have three different patterns/colors of straps, so I’m having fun interchanging them and experimenting with tie varieties.

Sseko is only two years old and has not received much media attention. And not like this blog is MSN or anything, but I want people to know about them. The website offers materials for a “Party in a Box,” where you can host a Sseko party and get a group discount on all sandals! If you’re interested in ordering a pair, hold off and talk to me first! Let’s try to make a party out of it, shall we? :)

I want to work for this company. Liz’s story inspires me, and she’s a prime example of the “Why not?” mentality. Sseko represents hope and opportunity. Who wouldn’t dig that?