Monday, October 20, 2014


If your relationship is lacking in intimacy lately, here's a great example of how to get out of your rut. My friend Jon Bradbury wrote this post *on his own, of his own accord* to his lovely new wife today.

I bought the ring one year after our first date. An October wedding was plan C. The country club was plan B and plan A was marrying her a long time ago. Pretty much from the first moments of our first date!
—  with Allison Uhl

This guy gets it in a way that, sadly, I think too many people don't. "It" is the act of creating romance. Sunsets are nice, but the sun ain't setting to make your special someone feel love and connection. That part is up to you.

This isn't about flirting or trying to get "business time" started. It's about keeping the butterflies, that spark when you touch hands unexpectedly, it's about tending that relationship garden.

Don't give me some lame "but I don't know how" - there's a lot you didn't know how to do until you learned it. And forget "I don't do stuff like that" - that crap ain't gonna fly. Fact is, you want this kind of heartwarming affection from your special someone too!

But I know this won't be the last time my friend makes this kind of romantic gesture because he understands that she's worth it and their relationship is worth it. Can't start a fire without a spark, y'all.

It doesn't have to be a facebook post, though we do live in modern times and use modern methods of communication, so it's definitely not a bad option.

One idea I suggest is that you watch The Notebook and write down all of the words that come bursting from your heart. Then later, when you feel like expressing some genuine feelings, grab your notes and pick one to share. Write it on plain old lined paper, fold it up like you used to in school and discretely pass it under the dinner table. Send flowers to the office but make sure the note was hand written by you. Send a postcard to your own house if they get the mail. Pick some random date of the year and make it your "Just because I love you" day and organize a day of doing their favorite things and make sure you keep doing it annually.

Thank you Jon for helping me with a point I've been trying to make. And anyone who takes this guidance and applies it, you're sincerely welcome :)

I mean, let's stop allowing the long held fantasy that marriage should be basically wonderful if you're with the right person. The truth is that those marriages that look so perfect and easy probably actually fall into one of these categories:
The couple can put on a really good show.
The couple happens to fall into the micro-fraction sized group of people whose marriage actually is somehow, magically easy.
They have worked their butts off to keep the love alive, often more than once throughout the course of their relationship.

Look at how hard it is for you (any "you") just to have a healthy and positive relationship WITH YOURSELF. Or with your coworkers. Or parents. Etc, etc.

Then add another equally complex human being to the mix, with whom you now have to navigate all of the same wonderful, crazy-making, crappy, awesome stuff that is life.

Isn't the whole point of being in a committed relationship so neither of you have to go through all that alone?

The ol' standard marriage vows are too easily set aside as cliche. Old words that sound biblical but don't really apply anymore.

But take another look (yes, take the gender specific aspects out) and who doesn't deeply desire to be honored and cherished? To be held and know kept safe within another person's heart?

Those things don't happen all on their own from nothing. If you want to feel loved, you can't just sit there and sulk. You can take some initiative and change the way you see your special someone, change how you perceive their actions, change your own actions and how you perceive yourself.

"Love" as a feeling is fleeting. But to choose to love as an action, as something you DO, that is when the real magic happens.

That love feeling is wonderful but it's purely chemical. It has little value in the long run. You nor your special someone did anything to make that love feeling happen. You didn't earn it, create it. And neither of you made or let it die. That love feeling is just the matchstick getting lit but you've (each of you) got to chop the wood, fan the flames and sit downwind of smoke sometimes if you want the fire to keep going.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A gentle nudge

My response to a woman who was very anxious about possibly sending her previously homeschooled son with SPD to a charter Waldorf.

I completely understand your apprehension. I mean, who wants to see their child feel rejected by an entire school? It would be heartbreaking to say the least!
However, if i may be a bit forward with you, I'd like to gently point to the equally possible outcome of your son finding a wonderful home away from home where he might just grow and develop and adapt in ways that astonish you. (Btw, I'm not anti-homeschooling in the slightest and while I wholeheartedly love the Waldorf way, my child isn't in one nor am I saying the school or his experience will definitely be perfect.?
In fact, the transition might be very bumpy for him (and you!), but I bet he's a resilient kid and also, life is bumpy, and there's no time like the present to learn that. You can take comfort in knowing that he will learn that you (and hopefully the school) support, cheer and soothe him. When we are able to let them learn to trust themselves, they also learn to trust us more deeply.
It's hard for me to do it, but I have to remind myself that we all learn best by trial and error. 
Not to mention the potential for a great community for you to find likeminded individuals who can support you!

I hope my comment comes across as kind as that is how it's meant.

Deep breath, onwards and upwards!


An important reminder to myself and my friends:
Reality is a million times easier to handle and even enjoy when you choose to live with a spirit of acceptance of what *is.*

Even if a situation itself isn't okay, you can choose to be okay with it. But just wishing your life were different or getting stuck on blaming the who or why it sucks changes nothing; it only creates useless feelings of discontent and suffering.

Dreams are nice and the cam be useful as a point to work towards, but real life can be so much more than something to escape if we instead choose live into the here and now instead of working so hard to avoid, reject or wish it away.

In order to move towards the life you of your dreams (and feel content and grateful with what you have now), it's important to understand how and why you got to here and now (not to blame but to learn from history and forgive).
None of this are possible without  dedicated time and action to take a gentle, honest look at your life. This is not to find fault or judge anyone or anything (including/especially yourself!). The goal is to assess and acknowledge your complete current state, inwards and outwards, mentally, physically, emotionally, situationally, financially and relationally.

You can't get anywhere if you don't know where you're starting from. You can't get what you want/need if you don't know what you have.

Life is hard, unfair and sometimes heartbreaking, but that doesn't have to ruin everything. When you spend your time and energy avoiding, rejecting and assigning blame and judgement for the bad, you're probably also missing all of the wonderful gifts and miracles.

Don't rob yourself of joy, wonder and delight! Instead, do what you can when you can to spread those gifts! And when you're suffering, you don't have to sulk all alone, go ask for what you need. Trust that you're not alone and that your humble openness is the best way to see and receive the abundant love and support you seek.

"Vita Abundantior!" School motto of my alma mater, Randolph Macon Woman's College

Monday, October 06, 2014

Good stuff

Jon and I recently had one of those awesome conversations that was full of deep wonder, big questions and open hearts. (It's hard to find the space for those moments as an adult, isn't it?)

Anyway, our final conclusion, which we reached independently but at the same time, was that the biggest challenge and highest goal to have in life is strike that balance between being content but not complacent.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Letter to Kiffy

Bon Jour,
I live in USA and I am very interested in your tricycle products. Do you plan on selling them here? If yes, when and how?

I also have a question that I hope may inspire a third product option: is it possible to add battery powered electric pedal assist to either of your tricycles?

I am only 37 years old and am relatively fit but I have a health problem that causes fatigue and pain in my joints (it's not arthritis but a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility). I don't need a wheelchair (hopefully never!) but my search for an urban transportation alternative has been frustrating.  I've found my options fall in only two categories: products for sport (electric bicycles or toy electric scooters) or products for very old people (electric wheelchairs or traditional adult tricyles).  It also means I have to choose between something I can only ride outside or something that can only be used indoors (like a shopping mall).

That's why I'm so excited about your tricycles - they have many of the features I desire:
Three wheels, comfortable ride, compact, lightweight, modern styling and a useful rack. Adding a little electric power would make it perfect!

I look forward to your answers!

Sincerely, Kate

Letter to URB-E

Hello Super Awesome Inventor People!

I am in total love with your products and if my lifestyle was like the one in the video, I'd love to be the first person in Atlanta (well, it's shoulder rubbing neighbor, Decatur) to have one. But there's one small (?) problem: while the URB-E has 99% of what I need -electric power, three wheels, comfortable ride, compact, lightweight, modern styling and a useful rack- it's missing a certain je ne sais quoi, a bit more susbstance or stability, or at least that's the case for me anyway.

Here's why:
I am only 37 years old and am relatively fit but I have a health problem that causes fatigue and pain in my joints (it's not arthritis but a genetic disorder called Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility). I don't need a wheelchair (hopefully never!) but my search for a transportation alternative has been frustrating.

So far I've found my options fall in only two categories: products for sport (electric bicycles or toy electric scooters) or products for the senior citizen set (electric wheelchairs or traditional adult tricyles). Essentially I'm left with having to choose either an unwieldy electric bicycle, which lacks versatility and the stability of a trike, or a geriatric Hooveround type thing, not to mention those also force me to choose between indoor or outdoor use.

What I want/need is something that I can use to zip through my neighborhood to pick my 5 year old son up from school, go along on walks with my husband and son, take to a mall, airport or theme park and maybe even be able to attach a larger basket or a small cargo trailer (like a proportionately sized version of the Burley flatbed trailer).

That's why I want everything the URB-E products already have, just MORE:  larger, more rugged tires, an even longer, wider base and a handle bar that offers greater control.

Please know I do understand why y'all made the choices you did to make the current URB-Es the way you did based on where you saw a need, and like I said, it's perfect in that application; and this is exactly why I'm telling you all about my need for a pre-mobility/eco/urban neighborhood walking/kid-towing/grocery/mall/flea market shopping/state fair/university campus/themepark/trail hike/airport/museum transportation alternative. And I know I'm not the only one.

Thanks for letting me ramble on and I genuinely hope to hear back about your plans for URB-E.3!

Sincerely, Kate

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

"What does authenticity mean to you?"

Question posed by friend Krista Dickan on FB. Here's my response:

Feeling genuinely content, confident and comfortable with yourself. You are being authentic and living authentically when your positive feelings about yourself don't waver (or not much) even when you or your life aren't "perfect."

I've been working on loving myself even when I have done something or found myself in a position I don't like, such as failing to meet some standard as well as the feeling of failure that comes when I realize I'm criticizing myself for the initial "failure."

I start wherever I find myself in that spiral of negativity and go backwards from there, offering gentle, loving and self soothing words/actions to undo the painful knots I frequently (though lately less and less) twist myself into.

I even chuckle to myself sometimes because it's just one of those silly (NOT bad) things we humans do. It's like a Greek comedy!

I think being authentic allows (requires?) for this kind of "both/and" mindset. I personally don't think it's possible or reasonable to expect that I'll never disappoint myself or be disappointed with a situation, but I can definitely be kind to myself and others about it :)

(Note: I say this in direct contrast to manufactured feelings of pride, happiness or anything that comes from a need to compensate for one's deeper rooted fear, emptiness or unworthiness.)

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Response to "Anyone try Rescue Remedy?"

I love it to take the edge off if I'm stressed or anxious. It's more helpful if you also take a moment to first gently check in with yourself to discover and acknowledge what is causing your distress.  I often realize that there's some emotion, personal truth or difficulty I've been trying to avoid. A therapist once told me: the source of dis-ease comes from rejecting reality. In other words, when we stay stuck in wishing things were different or that we were different, we are actually not only trying to block out the unwanted things (which is futile) and actually create a real block that keeps us from what we *do* want.
By taking an honest (not harshly but with love towards self) look at where and who we actually currently are, and accepting that, we are then free to move on. (Note: there's a big difference between saying, "It's Okay" and "I'm okay with it." The situation you face may not be okay. Life sucks sometimes. But you can choose to find a way to be okay anyway.)

I also love to do some intentional grounding and/or centering. If I'm totally overwhelmed, I'll even start by listing the factual things around me: My feet are cold, the walls are blue, the chair is hard, etc.
Which, if I may get on my soapbox, is a most excellent way to find peace even if it's not peaceful around you.
Take care!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fat Girls

This. This is one of the most real, honest and therefore beautiful things I've ever seen.
Watch it.
And then read the interview with Sarah Baker, below the transcript of the scene. Sarah clearly put her whole self into playing Vanessa opposite of Louie, who deserves major huge kudos as well. But you'll have to watch and read see why.

I have more commentary posted below, but first:

So is your heart opened up? Did you identify with her? With him? Did you learn something? Or did you feel overwhelmed by hearing your heart spilling out of her mouth?
Because this honesty, this truth actually applies to each of us. We all have that something that makes us fell "less than."
This scene speaks for every single person - because we are, essentially, all the same with the same needs, dreams and desires.
But wait. Before you react to what I just said. Read the rest of my little soapbox commentary.
I don't want to take away even a single bit of the importance of this for those who identify themselves as a "fat girl."

My reason for posting this link is fully informed by my love of humans. Like, I'm in love with humans. I may not *like* everyone, but I've always had a deep and abiding love for all people. I was born this way and I'm grateful for this gift from God. It's one of the things about myself that I love the most.
Ok now I sound like I'm tooting my own horn. But my point here is that this love means my empathy for others is genuine. This post is my love song for the "fat girls." I hope people reading this understand.

If this scene were about me, my version would be about my scars, health issues/physical limitations and depression. I am so grateful for my husband who loves me, not despite and also not because of, but just all of me, as I am. I am still often in awe that he wants to hold my hand, especially since my hospitalization and the subsequent effects on how I look and function. (Watch the video before you comment on here. And please PLEASE don't offer platitudes. I don't look the same as I did. It's not horrible but it's also not great. It sucks but I'm okay with it most of the time. I usually prefer honesty versus kind but not totally true consolation. At the same time I also realize that people are just wanting to show me love and support, which is lovely. I just also want those close to me to know I can handle gentle truth - it's actually pretty affirming to have my [relatively minor, but still real] struggle acknowledged.)
But even with all that said, I realize that the fact that I'm thin still gives me a totally unfair advantage and, because my thinness is largely due to my genetic makeup and NOT because I work hard to be fit, that advantage is completely undeserved.

I'm sorry it's like this. No, not for everyone, not for every "fat girl," but for way too many. I'm sorry that as humans we haven't risen above this kind of pitiful, closed-minded, closed-hearted, unthinking and superficial method of assessing other people's value or worthiness.

I'm ashamed of when I've been guilty of doing it. I know it sucks because it's been used against me.

I'm sorry. I love you.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

I love Jimmy

I believe this is a "both/and" situation.
While I do agree that the bible itself is already skewed to make it easy to control and keep females down, it's still possible to interpret it with a loving heart.
I'd like to point out, maybe even brag, that my mom goes to places like Uganda to teach how the bible actually promotes equality between men and women. And in doing so, she (and others in their organization called Life Together) hopes to lift women out from under the crushing rock of oppression as well as end the practice of female genital mutilation.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014


If you have any interest in, regard for or even a mild sense of duty as a citizen of the U.S. to know and understand how our government operates, I strongly recommend you read this article. We are on a path towards total collapse; indeed, I could argue that in many ways the government is already a shambles (and has been for a very long time), and the destructive effects on the greater population are already obvious to anyone who cares to LOOK.
This is *not* a Red vs Blue, Left vs Right, Democrat vs Republican thing. In fact, the parties have largely been boiled down to side show acts, which the media circus happily uses to distract, divide and divert the population's attention away from the  real power players.
Read the article. Its not about opinion or gut feelings, this is a breakdown of long term, well organized research which clearly shows the ever-growing divide between our perception of the government and the reality of who actually rules our country and why. And I know this isn't happening only a federal level, it also affects state and even local politics.
Like I said, this country's political system is on the verge of total collapse, BUT! But we might still have a chance to steer the collapse. The way I see it, it's going to either be like the French Revolution or the Fall of Rome/Egypt/Greece (your pick) OR a world of total submission to our corporate overlords by allowing them to continue to further sedate us by pandering to our lowest human desires, food, sex, vanity, comfort and materialistic groveling.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Good Question

I have been asked many times about this because I went to German schools (in Stuttgart, Germany) from the ages 12-17. I would say her account is pretty standard for most German kids.
I was actually living in Germany when the movie Schindler's List came out and we went on a class trip to see it. I had known about the war (though mostly in the nostalgic way that I'd seen in old B&W musical movies that were made to be uplifting to the war torn people of the time) and I'd read The Diary of Anne Frank but Schindler's List, and especially the girl in the red coat, really opened my eyes.

It made visiting with my German Opa and Oma (grandpa and grandma) feel awkward for a while. I was curious but also afraid to find out their own histories. Had they been Nazis? And what about when we visited my Uropa (great grandpa) that one time? I vaguely recall the story he told about when he was a new soldier; something about not taking his spoon out of his metal coffee cup and therefore not getting any refills in the mess hall. Did he fight? Or was that WWI?
And what about my friends and their parents and grandparents? Were they all Nazis? Were they ashamed or proud? The discussion we must've had after movie couldn't have been very revealing because I don't remember it at all (and despite my youth, I'm the kind of person who would've been paying attention for this kind of thing. Should've been an anthropologist)

I wouldn't say the topic was glossed over or sugar coated but the teacher did tread lightly. Maybe because these are just 7th graders and maybe because it really wasn't so long ago.

I moved back to America in 1994. I was 17 and one year behind in the 11th grade  (bc my 1st school yr in Stuttgart was in a class for just learning German and didn't count as a grade yr).

And I discovered something that has shaped much of my sense of America and my american-ness (as well as the fact that I also consider myself to have a good dose of german-ness). Much like the author of this article, certain topics I'd learned about in elementary school were taught again in high school.

I discovered that the Thanksgiving story* is a crock of beans. I learned about America's own "internment" camps for Japanese Americans. I found out that we had let inflammatory ideologues persecute and murder "witches." I read about pre-union child and generally unsafe (at best) labor practices. And then there's that inconvenient slavery thing...oopsies!
Are you picking up what I'm laying down?

So if you really want to know what Germans think and how they feel about the holocaust, take a trip down our very own memory lane of atrocities. Or just read a current newspaper. We're still pretty damn busy treating "others" like dirt.

Also, just to say for the record: yes, many of the German people were Nazis by choice and they knew not all but a good bit about what was happening to the Jews. But many more (probably most, at first) succumbed to the propaganda about "returning Germany to it's former glory"** but didn't truly comprehend or know about the holocaust. And then there were plenty of "Nazis" who were very much against the whole thing but had no choice but join or watch their families starve.

That concludes today's lecture. Please see me in the comments section of you have any questions.

*that's a gross oversimplification of how our ancestors nearly decimated an entire people

**sound familiar? Like kinda very much exactly like Teapublican "take our country back!" Just saying...