That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles

There he was. The evidence of this morning’s #kitchenfail. The sesame seed. Just sitting there, between the “x” and the “c” keys, taunting me as I sat down to write.

He’d won out this morning. He’d gotten the best of me. But this afternoon, his presence only made me smile. The last lingering remnant of a cookie recipe gone awry, he reminded me that there was grace for my mistakes. That the whole day didn’t have to go in the garbage just because that seemed to be the destiny of my cookies. That my kitchen failure was an integral part of this sunny Saturday.

I’d woken early. The sun streaming through my windows at 6:30am. My blackout curtains no match for the bright beams.

Rather than reach for my eye mask and attempt to sleep a bit longer, I decided to rise early and get a head start on the day.

Inspired by the food magazine I’d been reading before bed the night before, I somehow got it in my head that tahini honey cookies were the exact right dessert to bring to the dinner party we’d be going to later that evening. That and a Napa Valley Zinfandel.

As I got to work on the cookies, I quickly realized that the coconut flour I had thought would be a fine substitute for almond flour was not working out as well as I’d hoped. The aroma was heavenly. Vanilla and cinnamon. A slightly savory touch from the tahini and sweetness from the honey. And who can say no to the creamy quality of coconut?

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Protect Your Margins

I’ve been staring out the window of this coffee shop for more time than I’d like to admit. Watching the train go by every 10 or 15 minutes, looking up to see a dad walk by with his curly-haired daughter in his arms, seeing people pop open their umbrellas as the rain starts coming down harder.

Woman in rain

I had every intention to write today – excited to finally have an afternoon with a few free hours. Between brunch at a new French restaurant in Hayes Valley and cooking dinner for a few of my girlfriends at my apartment in the Inner Sunset, I planned to hole up at my favorite coffee shop in the Haight and open my laptop to type out the words that had been floating in my head all week. To pull together the thoughts that I’ve jotted down in the notes app of my phone, waiting to come to life in a blog post or a new addition to Enough.

But once I actually got the white space I craved – the margins to write and process – I got stuck. I’d gotten so used to the running-around, back-to-back meetings lifestyle that it took me a while to settle down, calm my mind, and allow the words to come out.

The older I get, the more it feels like life is getting pushed up into the margins. Like there’s very little white space left.

Instead, my calendar is a mosaic of meetings and birthday parties and church events with a handful of dates with James and family gatherings thrown in to keep me sane.

But I don’t feel especially sane. I feel a little frenzied.

If my life were a book, the words would be bleeding across each page, no room for my eye to rest or to simply pause for a minute to make sense of what’s happening. If it weren’t for moments of connection with my dear friends and family, I’d lose it for sure.

Although, I have lost something. Something I long to get back. Something I cultivated over the last year – especially during my month-long sabbatical – that I know I need. And that’s the practice of silence and solitude. Continue reading

This Is The Joy

“This is the joy for me. I love bread.”

You may recognize those words as Oprah’s opening lines from a Weight Watchers commercial that’s getting a lot of play these days. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that Oprah is thrilled she can eat bread and still lose weight. While people are poking fun at the commercial a bit (I’ll admit, James and I chuckle every time it comes on Hulu), Oprah’s joy is inspiring.

I’ve been longing for this kind of joy lately. The kind of joy that makes you say: “I love life!”

But it hasn’t been coming.

Instead, I’ve been feeling an overwhelming sense of pointlessness – in my work, my writing, and just life in general. I’m trying hard to make things happen, but I’m left feeling ineffectual and unsatisfied, and that’s been leading me to despair.

Maybe you can relate.

My thoughts often go like this: Nothing I do helps this situation. This project isn’t going anywhere. If I can’t change the outcome, if I can’t make things happen, then why bother trying? Continue reading

What No One Tells You About Letting Go of Perfectionism

Do you ever feel like there’s something rotten inside you? Like something has “gone bad” in your mind or heart – as though it’s an avocado you let sit out too long or a half-eaten loaf of bread you forgot about? It’s an unsavory discovery.

Recently, this “rottenness” manifested in the form of a generally cranky disposition. I was bumping into things and frustrated and tired and not feeling quite like myself – something was off.

Sweet James was the gentle observer of my frustrations. Over the past few years I’ve learned to not blame others for my frustrations quite so much, but it’s still a temptation. The opportunity to blame-shift and deflect my overall crummy feeling onto someone else has its appeal. But I’ve done the blame thing enough – sorry, Mom and boyfriends of seasons past – to know that any sense of relief I’d experience would be momentary and fleeting. Instead, I usually feel worse than before – because now I’m still frustrated and I’m feeling guilty and embarrassed about my juvenile behavior.

So, rather than get angry with James, I got curious. Continue reading

The Cats at the Door: Trust and Discipline in the Creative Process

I’ve been avoiding writing. Mostly because I’m scared. Scared of writing the wrong thing, scared of what people might think, scared that all this work may be for nothing. It wasn’t always this way, but the farther along I get in the process of writing Enough, the more feedback I receive. And the more feedback I receive, the more I remember just how hard creating is.

So I come up with all sorts of things to do instead of sitting down at my computer and typing out these words. So many tasks beg for my attention. They call out to me and entice me to enjoy them now and put off the hard work of writing until later. I’d much rather sit down and read a book or whip something up in the kitchen – like the pumpkin spice granola I just had to make last night. The granola is delicious, and I’m greatly enjoying my books, but when they come between me and writing, there’s a problem. Continue reading

The End of the Sentence: Becoming Unstuck

I’ve hoped to write this post for a long time. Nearly six years, to be exact. Six years of hoping and waiting and praying and searching out answers. Answers for why: why my body wasn’t doing what it should do as a woman, why my cycle had gone missing, why I was stuck in this period of waiting. And how: how to get healthy, how to get my cycle back – as though it was off exploring the world somewhere, and it was my job to figure out how to bring that wanderer back home.

The name of this blog was born out of these years of waiting. “Waiting for the end of the sentence” referred both to waiting for my cycle to return and the more significant process of learning to wait on God during this period of time and recognize his work in my life. Everything I’ve written on this blog and my book Enough has passed through that filter of learning and observing. Instead of simply asking why and how, I’ve been asking what: What is God teaching me? What does he want me to share with others as a result of what I’ve learned?

In every experience – from dating to sleeping (or rather, not sleeping) – I’ve become keenly aware that God is speaking to me and moving in me. While there were times where I felt stuck, I wasn’t stagnant. And God was moving, working, bringing things back to life.

The lessons he’s taught me, the ways in which he’s been present with me, the love he’s revealed to me…that’s the point. That’s the period at the end of the sentence. That’s what I need to share.

While my cycle has returned – prodigal daughter that she was – I know this isn’t the end of the sentence for me. The waiting doesn’t stop here. No. This is simply a comma, a dash, and ellipse. An opportunity to pause, take a beat, breath, and thank God for the healing work he’s done over the last few years.

So, without further ado, here’s how – after six years of waiting – God has healed my body and is bringing things back into alignment.

It feels like a miracle. And it is. It’s a miracle that I didn’t stay stuck in a cycle of perfectionism. It’s a miracle of small steps and big changes that have led to life. It’s a miracle of grace. Continue reading

Moving from Fear to Faith

Today on the blog, we’re talking about Christmas and how to find hope in the midst of what can be a trying season. I’m sharing some truths that are changing my perspective, refocusing my heart, and bringing me more peace. Read on and join me in the process of moving from perfectionism to wholeness – from scarcity to abundance – by signing up here to stay posted on the launch of Enough.


Christmas can be a tough time for many people. The pressure to “be merry and bright” may have the reverse effect – heightening depression and loneliness, and leading to anxiety and burnout. We’re expecting joy at “the most wonderful time of the year,” and yet we often find a subtle sadness creeping into this season. We’re left trying to make sense of what we’re feeling and why. While there’s some comfort in knowing you’re not alone in this dichotomous tension, it’s still an uncomfortable place to be overall.

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The Answer to All The “What If’s?”

Today on the blog, I’m sharing a bit about my history with anxiety. Read on for more, and join me in the process of moving from perfectionism to wholeness – from anxiety to rest – by signing up here to get updates about Enough.


 

What if I pass out, and we crash?

What if I have to pull off the side of the road and have Chelsea drive?

What if she thinks I’m totally crazy for feeling so anxious right now?

These questions – among others – came barreling down on me this Tuesday as I drove with a colleague to a marketing conference in Silicon Valley.

I don’t drive often. I gave my car to my sister back in 2010 when she moved to Missouri to marry her now-husband, and I moved to San Francisco where a car is more of an inconvenience than anything else.

So, it was natural that I should feel a little uneasy driving this week. But my anxious thoughts weren’t really about the mechanics of driving. I’d rented a 2015 Volkswagen Golf – a top safety pick, since that’s the way I make decisions – for the day. The car was great, albeit a little zippy for my cautious taste, but mostly easy to maneuver.

In my mind, I knew this was a good car, and I knew I could drive it just fine. But then the “what if’s” began to take over my rational thoughts.

You might think it strange that I was so intensely worried about passing out while driving. That the fear of passing out started to send me in a panic attack on the 101 – face numb from my shallow breathing, hands white from gripping the steering wheel so tightly. I’ll explain why. Continue reading

Finding Rest in Seasons of Stress

Today on the blog, we’re talking about stress and how to deal with the pressure of competing priorities. Read on. And if you want more, then join me in the process of moving from perfectionism to wholeness – from stress to rest by signing up here to get updates on the launch of my book, Enough.


Halloween is nearly upon us, which means it’s going to be Christmas tomorrow. Not really, but that’s often how this season feels, isn’t it? November through January can feel like a blur of parties and presents and competing priorities. Blink, and two whole months have suddenly passed by in a flurry!

Somehow I’ve already managed to double-book myself – not once, but three times. As a result, I’ve reneged on RSVPs, declined party invitations, and missed a dear friend’s birthday celebration. And I’ve mistakenly committed to being at a church retreat in Santa Cruz and my company’s holiday party on the same weekend in December. Yeah, that’s not going to work out so well.

As my plate gets more and more full, I feel the tug between needing to prioritize and not wanting to let anything go. There’s too much to do and yet I also feel like I’m not doing enough.

Do you know that feeling? When it’s all too much and you’re either going to cry from the sense of overwhelm or freeze from decision paralysis? When you’re operating on autopilot because it’s all you can do to just get your work done – or maybe not even that – and go home and crash at the end of the day?

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Whitworth Calling: On Work, Worry, and Existential Breakthroughs

Friends, I’m writing a book on what I’ve learned while recovering from perfectionism. Subscribe here for sneak peeks and insider updates I only share over email. No spam. Just love.


Today I had the opportunity to celebrate the 125th anniversary of my alma mater, Whitworth University, at a gathering for Bay Area alumni. The group consisted of everyone from the class of 2014 to the class of 1964 and included a few of my ’08 classmates. While their faces were familiar, it was somewhat strange to realize how much time had passed and how little we knew of each other.

I’m not one for small talk, but not because I don’t like meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances. Quite the contrary. I love talking with people; I simply avoid the “small” part of it. I believe words matter, and I take that belief into every conversation. I enjoy making people feel at ease, letting them know through my questions and my listening that I’m not just talking with them for pleasantries’ sake; I truly care. I derive such joy from transitioning an awkward conversation or stilted small talk to something of more depth – something that makes people feel comfortable.

I think that’s part of my calling – to help people learn to live more comfortably in their own skin and to recognize just how loved they are. Continue reading