Just sew the pillow

We all have it.

That pillow that just. needs. sewn.

The hole you know is there, even if you cover it with a throw.

The hole that just keeps getting bigger, even if you flip the pillow upside down.

Today, just sew the pillow.

You’ll feel better when you do.

Simple. Symbolic. Sewn.


hello friends, hello strangers.

hello strangers who will be friends, hello friends who are now seemingly strangers.

here we are, again.

I am back to writing publicly. for now.

897 days have passed since my last published writing.

so much, too much, has happened in those 897 days.

anne lamott, seth godin, my dad, my niece, my friends, strangers, the holy spirit, my own conscience…  credit any combination. here we are. here I am.

i don’t know where to go from here.

but here I am.

here we are.


Then and Now

“Julie, you don’t even look like the picture on our wall anymore!” Kim would tell me every so often.

“Yeah, yeah. Sure, sure.”  I would think to myself.

I couldn’t see a difference between then and now.

She is a photographer (http://kimfreemanphotography.com/)  so I recently relented and let her update my photos.

There are 5 years between these photo shoots.

As I was prepping for this blog, I saw it for the first time.

My size has changed. But in many ways, I have not.

then and now 1

I was happy then. I am happy Now.then and now 2

I felt beautiful then. I feel beautiful Now.


Julie 2016-26

I was loved then. I am loved Now.

Julie 2016-27.jpg

These are the things I need to remember when my focus on this journey switches to anything other than health and healing.


Olly, olly, oxen free.

I was writing about this is my notebook. Two days later my fairy GodFather, Seth Godin, posted this piercing piece.


I like to hide, and… I’m pretty good at it.

I still remember my hiding spots on Delaware Drive, at Camp Ledgewood, at The Ranch and at almost every place I have worked.

I would hide close enough to hear what was going on, and stay away just far enough and long enough so that no one would find me.

Most times I had a book, or journal in hand. Reading and writing was is was is a great safe escape.

Sometimes it was just to get away and recharge. Sometimes it was for emotional and physical self-preservation.

Instead of going to recess in Elementary school, I volunteered in the Special Ed classes. I was hiding from the bullies, and helping someone else. Win-win, right?

Instead of going to lunch during my high school years, I had special permission to take extra classes during those time slots.

Instead of taking gym class during the regular school year, I took it during summer school.

Instead of playing the role I auditioned for, and got, in the musical. I dropped out and joined the crew instead.

Instead of taking opportunities in my career, I took the safer route.

I could go on and on.

Those moments have, for better and worse, made me who I am today.

So, still I try to disappear. I deactivate Facebook. I stop writing. (Well, I stop publishing my writing.)

The same childish behavior continues. I must say though, my reading has matured from Beverly Cleary to Brené Brown.

But, I have found a tribe, or you have found me, and hiding is no longer tolerated, even by my conscience.

For the first time I am realizing that the voices of my tribe are louder and more loving than the voices in my memories.

Over and over and over again the resounding message is now:

“Olly, olly, oxen free. Come out, Come out, where ever you are.”

I am close enough that I can hear it even when it is a gentle whisper. I am strong enough that I can handle it when it is said sternly and lovingly.

I’m peeking out from behind the walls I’ve built.

I’m scared. (No, I don’t know exactly what I am scared of.)

I need you. (No, I don’t know exactly what I need.)

But I do know that I am finally pressing in, and refusing to hide out.

With my tribe, I cry:

“Olly, olly, oxen free. Come out, Come out, where ever you are.”


“Your levels on all of your tests are great, you are strong and muscular…..I’m sure you don’t want to hear this from me.”

My nutritionist said, “Me, weighing all of 128 pounds.”

She continued.

“You are happy, you are healthy, and there are worse things in life than weighing 230 pounds. ”

The look on my face must have said it all.

“Your only stress right now is this number on a scale. Your body can’t differentiate stress be it financial, relational, or physical. Your adrenals can not heal when it is under stress, and you can not lose weight when your adrenals are blown. This is going to be a long and slow process, months if not years. You need to work on acceptance – you have done everything in your control to “fix this” – but you need to stop seeing it as broken. You are happy – you are healthy. That’s more than I can say about most of our patients.”

I curtly replied with an insincere smile – and an “Okay!”.

I didn’t want a pep talk  (and still don’t). It’s not that she wasn’t right, or that I disagree with what she was saying. I wanted to know what I was missing. What I was doing wrong so I could fix it. So I could be thinner and smaller and under 200 pounds for the first time since middle school.


No eggs, or wheat, or dairy, or grains, or beans, or coffee, or spin class, or boxing or or or…… and no normal jeans or lower numbers on the scale!?!?!


Danne was not amused. “So you had to pay someone to tell you what I have been saying for 10 years? I should get a copay!”

My dad was amused and, actually found it humorous {which infuriated me}.  He also has been speaking truth about Acceptance into my life. We have had many conversations about this, especially over the last 3 years.

“Page 417 {The AA Big Book} Honey! Acceptance!” he said laughing.

Acceptance is the answer to ALL of my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

I read this several times a day.

I still have temper tantrums and pity parties.

I am learning to love the journey – but then I am learning to acknowledge that the journey is not to a destination of a certain number on the labels or a scale.

I’m letting go of the idea that I am entitled to what I want because of everything I am doing to deserve it.

I have kept up with all of the diet recommendations and exercise not because it will make me smaller, but because it is the best thing for me.

Because I am happy, and healthy, and want to stay that way.


Emotional Whiplash

I know we are supposed to “Celebrate with those who celebrate, and mourn with those who mourn!”

But both on the same day, is more than a tad bit much. At least for a feeler like me.

The Saturday started at a delightful birthday party for twin one year olds. It was beautiful – it was as if the Pinterest Gods descended to earth and bestowed every adorable Dr. Seuss detail to this happy home. Friends and family gathered.  It was a full celebration of the life of these two precious babies.

As it should have been. It wasn’t always this way.

Their story began long before their birth.

My friendship grew with their mother over many months, and many tears. She was told by the professionals that infertility had won, that there was no hope for her to birth her own children. If she chose Invitro, and more than one child implanted, she would have to have a “selective reduction”. The thought of this tormented her. I remember her shaking as she was explaining it all to me. Her body was weak, pregnancy could kill her. Before she was faced with any of those decisions, she became pregnant, naturally – with twins. The pregnancy was long, and hard on her body. But she never lost hope, she never lost her joy.

A year later we gathered – and we celebrated.

My stay was short. The birthday party started at noon, the funeral started at one.

I drove from the gated community into the inner city.

The day had appropriately turned grey.

I arrived to the tiny church and was “greeted” by a group of armed policemen. I sat in the back pew. I listened and prayed as some wailed and screamed as they approached the open casket. Some mourned silently in their seats as tears rolled down from their eyes down past their chin.

A young man sat next to me, stoically, reeking of weed. I rubbed his back as his legs started to shake and he hid his head between them as he silently wept. He sat back up, as stoic as he started. No evidence of the tears.

The church was filled with friends and family.

As it should have been. It wasn’t always this way.

Johnny should not be dead. 

Everyone keeps saying Johnny was “in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Dammit, stop saying that!

That place was a street, in his neighborhood, where he called home.

And the time, was the middle of the day.

Reports said that he and his boys had just walked up to the corner store to get ice cups. As I’m sure they had done hundreds of times before. There was a shooting. Two injured, two dead.

I knew Johnny from when I worked at Urban Youth Impact. Johnny was not perfect, no one is claiming that he was, but God he was different. His smile lit up a room. When I saw him a few weeks before his murder, he was so excited to tell me he had graduated high school and was enlisting in the service. He was actively working to end the violence that made him a statistic in one of West Palm Beach’s bloodiest summers.

Four city commissioners silently stood in the back of the church – one was unexpectedly called out by the pastor to speak. He had met Johnny at a meeting held by Inner City Innovators. Because of that meeting, Johnny is no longer just a statistic. He is a face, and a name, and a contagious smiled that I pray stays engraved on the minds of the commissioners as they shape our city.

His story will continue long after his death.

This blog has been brewing for almost a month.

I am still feeling faint pangs from the emotional whiplash of that day.

“Celebrate with those who celebrate, and mourn with those who mourn!”

Sadness that turned to joy. And we celebrated.

Joy that turned to sadness. And we mourned.

Back and forth and back again.

And this is life.

Facebook. Not Normal. Code Red.

I am sure that there are normal people out there who can check Facebook once a day, and not have it emotionally affect them, but I am not once of those people.

As frustrating as it is, as much as I resent facades and overly convenient “connection”, I am always on Facebook. Always.

I refresh my newsfeed when I wake up.

I refresh my newsfeed when I am at work.

I refresh my newsfeed when I am at red lights.

I refresh my newsfeed before I go to bed.

I refresh my newsfeed when I get up to go potty in the middle of the night. (Only sometimes, gosh.)

I mentioned it above – I am not one of those normal people who can just see something and carry on.

I get bothered, really bothered, because of things I see on Facebook.

I get so bothered I cry, really cry, because of things I see on Facebook.

I got in a heated argument, with a stranger, back and forth for 3 days , because of things I saw on Facebook.

Not normal.

As the Not normal escalated within me, 3 weeks ago I hit code red.


pc: @melissa_hartwig

I think it was the moment that there was more reaction on my newsfeed to Cecil the Lion than to Sandra Bland, or the fact that I had recently found out about deaths, miscarriages, pregnancies…through Facebook.

All of this was flurried within posts that included: another selfie,  ItWorks Wraps sales pitches,  “Please pray for my cat!”, and quizzes that answer the most important-est questions like “What Disney Princess Would You Be?”.

Not normal.

All. Of. This. Information, all in a refresh of the newsfeed.

So I strove to control what came up on my newsfeed.

Hiding people from showing up was an option for awhile.

I mean, I can’t just go unfriending everyone. Who does that?

Finally… I didn’t have to be exposed to what I deemed as nonsense, racism, ignorance and narcissism.

But how many people did I have to hide before I starting asking myself “Who are these flipping people, and why am I surrounded by them?”

And then there is my own Facebook page that bothers me. Please feel free to just whisper with me when you see a period or a question mark:  Not normal,  Not normal,  Not normal.

I am constantly scripting so that I am honest, but not a Debbie Downer, encouraging, but not annoying.

Did I like that in an appropriate amount of time?

Who did I tag in this status and why, and why wasn’t I tagged in that status/picture that was just taken?

Was that too arrogant, was this too self deprecating?   

Should I post a selfie or another sunrise?  

Should I check-in?  

Who was in my last profile picture?

Should I cuss because I really want to let you know all the flips I don’t give? {No, don’t cuss, the kids may be reading over mom’s shoulder.}


Why did I just take another quiz?

Oh! this playbuzz quiz said that I am  Jayne Mansfield.

These descriptions are so right on . I love bubble baths….

I wonder what algorithm playbuzz used to determine this.

Should I share a screen shot?

OMG, who cares?

Not normal.

Julie, post something that someone will care about. Something that will make someone  think.

I post about my sparkly Sperry’s, 30 “likes” in as many minutes. I post about Social Injustice… Crickets.

 Not normal.

One day I posted about confederate flags and swastikas, preceded by a post about how I was buying another batch of glitter. Because all of those things were happening in my mind at those moments. And I felt the need to post them both.

Glitter was the engaged conversation.

Not normal Code Red was reached. Severe Sensory Overload. I Literally Can’t Even.

So I deactivated.

I lasted about a month until I realized that you wouldn’t even know that I wrote about this, until I share it on Facebook.

How can it be liked, and shared, and…….Not normal..

What happens when 1 + 1 ≠ 2

What happens when 1 + 1 ≠ 2?

Eating right + Exercise = thin and healthy

Right? Not so much.

Eating right + Exercise ≠  thin and healthy

Thin ≠ healthy.

Thin ≠ eating right.

Thin ≠ active or strong.

Fat ≠ unhealthy.

Fat ≠ eating wrong .

Fat ≠ lazy or weak.

In my mind, I know all of this is truth.

In my heart, 1 + 1 = 2. And if I eat “better”, and exercise “more” then I will be thinner.

By two different doctors I have been told that I have to eat more and exercise less.

Eat more?!? calories, eat more fats, eat more salt, and even eat more carbs.

Exercise less?!? do not incite the “fight or flight” response within your body.  HIIT Cardio only twice a week, no more than 20 minutes, no Spinning. Strength Training only twice a week, no Crossfit style, and absolutely no boxing. Yoga twice a week – or more.

The doctors are glad I am so healthy, and seemingly couldn’t care less that I have not lost a pound in 7 months, or that I am still hovering over the 200 mark.

The problem is not just in the structure of my equation – it is in the solution that I am trying to achieve.

Thin ≠ lovable.

Thin ≠ pretty.

Thin ≠ wanted.

Fat ≠ unlovable.

Fat ≠ ugly.

Fat ≠ unwanted.

In my mind, and truly in my heart I know all of this is truth.

And in all honesty, I still want healthy = thin.

I know why….

I know why.

I know why writers drink, and I know why writers write .

We drink because the glass says:
“..just. One. More. Sip. and you’ll fall asleep and you won’t feel a thing.”

Oh the lie of the glass”.. just. One. More. Sip.”

And thoughts that haven’t been thought in years flood the mind.
“..just. One. More. Sip.”

We write because the pen chimes in:
“Get it out.
Write it down.
Write it.
Someone else feels it. (You are not alone.)
Someone else thinks it. (You are not alone.)”

And the conversation becomes between the pen and the glass and the drunken vessel…just.

“..just. One. More. Sip.”

Adulting, or lack thereof.


You never know when or where inspiration will hit and by inspiration I mean maybe a mini meltdown.

I am currently sitting in a recliner chair… between stacks of boxes…. at Costco.


I’m not here looking for gallons of shampoo or pounds of kale, but to get four tires for my car. Yesterday’s $29.95 oil change somehow became me having a flat tire last night, and a several hundred dollar adventure today. The day that rent was paid. It is the 7th of March.

If I am indeed an adult,  why does my life feel like a constant playing of the most annoying childhood game ever? (Chutes and Ladders.)


I go from feeling like I have it all together and I am able to be generous towards other people or splurge on myself , to somehow having to pay my bank $35 because my cell phone bill hit my account the day before my paycheck. Thankfully, the fee was reversed. But then I did it again one month later. Whoopsies!

I go from feeling physially better, to a doctor telling me I need to have surgery.

I find a workout regime I love, and it’s blowing up my adrenal glands.

I return to a job that is made just for me, it’s rewarding, it’s fulfilling, I get to be creative and connect with people all day long, I only work 40 hours a week, never on weekends but I just don’t make “enough”.

The last three things I thought I was going to do to supplement my income, haven’t panned out.

I could go on, but I wont.

I don’t quite know what my expectations are for being 34, but I feel like I should have a little more together than this.

I try to keep things in perspective. Really, I try.
The script reads: “Julie, God is in control. My parents are still so emotionally (and financially) supportive. I have the greatest friends any girl could ever ask for! My life is full of love and laughter. I don’t think I’ve ever gone without a meal, I’ve never been homeless, I still have my car, I’m happier and healthier than many.”

But some days, I just feel like
I. Just. Can’t. Adult.
And today, is just one of those days.


Bikini Season, Macy’s and US.

Once you pass the age where you pick out the cutest, brightest, rainbow unicorniest swimsuit you can find, no one I have ever known actually enjoys swimsuit shopping.  As tweens and teens and even grown women, this is a dreaded task that many of us put off, for years at a time.

It is the one plight as women we do not go alone. It does not matter if you are tall or short, fat or skinny, flat or curvy, black or white, or any where in between, shopping for bathing suits just plain stinks.

Study: Trying on swimsuits makes women feel anxious, depressed.

The stress starts long before the fitting room.

It’s unavoidable, especially in my little slice of paradise where the weather seldom dips below 70.

It’s unavoidable anywhere, actually. In February, the middle of winter for the rest of the country, the ever anticipated Sports Illustrated that is dedicated to women starts being reported on…. The Swimsuit Issue. (I hope you rolled your eyes too.)

“Get into shape for bikini season” The articles in women’s magazines and endless advertisements cry-out.

“Eat this, tone that, shave here, wax there, get tan – but avoid cancer…… ”

Just head on over to Pinterest for some “Fitspiration” so you can shame yourself into fitting into the bikini you feel miserable in.


Women’s bodies are constantly in a state of flux.

Like most women, I am somewhere between fat and skinny. I am no longer “Plus Sized” but do not have a “hot Bikini Bod”.

My breasts that barely fill a B-cup are smaller than average, as is my waist. My hips and thighs and backside, however, more than make up for any “lack” elsewhere. And that is ok. I am ok.

So for the first time. I accepted a new label with pride: Curvy.

It’s that time. Join me on my journey to find my swimsuit.

Here we are. Together. Women (and the men who are still reading this), united as one.

Congratulations, we have demonstrated a level of acceptance of where our bodies are this bikini fun in the sun season and we avoided the minefield in our minds and mustered up enough gumption to shop for our swimsuits.

It’s 2015 friends. Thankfully this search starts not with piles of awkwardly cut Lycra and fitting rooms, it starts in the comfort of our own homes… with a Google search.

I Am. Curvy.

With confidence I type “Curvy Girl Swimsuits” into Google.


Oh those pictures are cute!


I can find something here, maybe they will have it in the store. I am saving time. Maybe I can find a coupon…..

I am feeling GREAT…..

I am feeling confident and excited and….. *click*

WHAT THE F…ornication?

Now I don’t like shaming any woman. I don’t like fat shaming, I don’t like skinny shaming…. Those women are beautiful, albeit photoshopped, and I am sure they have some issues. Just. Like. Me.

But by golly Macy’s…. I confidently and deliberately typed in “Curvy Girl Swimsuits”….. I did not type in “Flat Stomach in a Bikini” or “Thigh gap in a one piece” and I certainly did not type in “Holy Shit! Look at those collar bones in a sundress”

Being the first one down after the ads – I can only assume that Macy’s has spent some time and money on search engine optimization. Bathing Suits for Curvy Women – Macy’s I happily clicked.

I don’t know how to make Macy’s listen. But I want it fixed. This confident curvy girl demands proper representation of my label. Please?

Ladies, clearly the “attack” on our bodies, self-esteem, confidence, is endless. But it is avoidable. Confidence starts in the mind and can stay strong through any “attack”, perceived or premeditated.

I am still confident that I will find my curvy girl swimsuit for this fun in the sun season.

I will be frolicking without thoughts of thigh gap. Chafing from chub rub? Maybe, but not thigh gap.

I will play without thinking about my collarbones.

My cellulite already has its first sunburn.

As it should.

Happy Fun In The Sun Season Ladies.

You are loved and not alone. Regardless of your label, or lack of representation.

Why I Stopped Waiting “Until…..”

I was waiting until I had “my own” place to paint my bedroom, to plant a garden.

I was waiting until a special occasion to wear the last few spritzes of my favorite, and now discontinued, perfume.

I was waiting until I met “him” to date. To set the table, to cook the meal, to play the music. To get dolled up and go out on the town.

I was waiting until who knows when to use the special bath salts I got as a gift.


( photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/34517490@N00/)

I’m not sure when, and I’m not sure why, but one day I just decided to stop waiting.

I got tired of hearing myself saying “I want to.. but…”


I painted my bedroom yellow, myself.

I planted an herb garden, with the help of a friend.

I used the last of my perfume, and often take off the lid just to smell it again.

I started dating my friends. I buy them flowers, surprise them at work, cook dinners – set the table, play the music, make the mix tape-ish playlists. We get dolled up, we go out on the town. Love letters are written. Happiness is spread.

Most days now are not filled with “I want”, but “I will”…. No more waiting “Until”….

She calls me Hilda.

There have been many “compliments” that I have shrugged off as idle chatter: I’ve been told that I am sensual, and flirtatious and gregarious, that I ooze confidence even though I am quite clumsy…  I know there were more, but like I said, shrugged off.

But recently, as I have been struggling with my ever evolving body shape, I have come to realize: I’m not sure if I have ever seen myself clearly. Emotionally or physically.

Faced with this realization I did what every sane woman would do: I went on WebMd and diagnosed myself with both Depersonalization Disorder and Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I am sure I have other undiagnosed mental disorders, as well as an undiagnosed tumor on my pituitary glad, but I was strongly rebuked by Danne that I am spending just too much time on WebMd. She might be right. She usually is.

Last summer, as we were sunbathing and celebrating our weekly ritual known as “Sunday Funday”, my neighbor Lynette gets very excited.

“You are HILDA!”

“Lynette, what are you talking about?” ( I am unamused.)

She then shows me dozens of pictures of this “Hilda” and with increasing excitement points out in each picture “how this is so” Julie.

hilda5 hilda6 hilda7 hilda8 hilda9 hilda10 Hilda1 hilda2 hilda3 hilda4

I get very uncomfortable and my initial reaction was:”Lynette, I don’t even wear a bikini”… Clearly annoyed, she sighed, put her phone down reluctantly, and said “You are a spectacle, You are Hilda! I love it. I love you HILDA!”

Even though I shrugged off all of the delightful descriptions of “How I am Hilda”. I didn’t shrug off that this is how my neighbor sees me, but I didn’t fully accept it either.

Until last weekend.

A spectacle indeed – in my swimsuit, with my suntan oil and books and beach chair in tow, all while riding my pink bike to the beach. I laughed, and a grin comes over my face each time I remember it.

I almost took a picture for your enjoyment. Almost. Acceptance is “enough” for now.




Back in August writer Leslie Streeter posted this on Facebook.

So my sister Lynne Streeter Childress, who like me is trying to streamline her fitness and body and whatnot, decided that she is not giving into the insecurity that makes less than svelte women think they need to wear giant T-shirts to the gym, that make them look even blockier. So she challenged me ‪#‎nomorebigtshirts‬. Here is my less-than-svelte photo yesterday at CrossFit CityPlace. Ladies and gents – I wanna see your gym shots without the giant T-shirts. Please post them here or at the The Sweet Midlife with Lynne and Leslie page (which you should like). Be fit. But be you. ..

She posted it with a “less-than-svelt” picture of her wearing fitted workout clothes instead of frumpy clothes.

It completely resonated with me and the picture above is probably one of the only “selfies” I have ever taken for the sole purpose to be posted publically.

See, I’ve been working to slay the frump monster since about June.

I liked my frumpy clothes.
They were comfortable, and cozy, and free.

My whole life I have used clothes to hide or blend in. I never had “style”. I was ok if clothes just fit. And by fit I mean covered me completely.

But as I was losing weight, I developed a serious problem.

As I was shrinking, and my clothes weren’t, I couldn’t actually see that I was losing weight…..Yes, seriously.

My Danne is a godsend. Honest. If it wasn’t for her I don’t know how patterns or colors or clothes that actually flatter me would have ever ended up on my body.

We are the complete opposites. Though she has never been petite, she has never been unstylish! She’s one of those girls you see on Pinterest where they have the little outfits and the pictures and such. I mean it – she is literally on Pinterest with her outfits!

I don’t even wear a belt when my pants are falling down! And there she is with a belt to match the boots! Add a sweater and a scarf to a summer dress and all of a sudden she coined the term “wonderfallish”.

Complete opposites.

After some much needed tough love from her regarding my frumpy monster ways, I bagged up and gave away all of the clothes that did not fit me correctly. Except jammies.

I had been wearing scrubs at work for almost a year and I switched jobs and needed real clothes again!

So, I went shopping for clothes that did fit me properly. It was horrible! I went by myself (even though my nearest and dearest offered several times to go with me), I cried in the dressing rooms, I broke into hives, and all of a sudden I was in middle school again. I was actually having panic attacks….shopping for clothes.

I found pants that fit me and flattered me, so I bought one in navy blue, one in khaki, and one in black. Then I just bought bunches of shirts.

I wasn’t quite convinced about this whole “clothes not being frumpy thing” , so there were many mornings where Danne would get a selfie, and I would wait for her stamp of approval.



When it comes to getting ready for a special occasion, I now actually get excited to look my best. Mostly because of the process leading up to that point.

The process is this: We go to the store, Danne finds everything and anything that is in my size (or a size smaller). If she thinks (or I tell her) I would never wear it, she makes me try it on. I refuse to come out of the fitting room. We banter back and forth. I usually end up giving in and buying the dress that she recommends.

Then, when I get to the event I do what every self-respecting woman would do…. I send her “selfies”…. taken in a bathroom.



Thankfully for all involved, the process is getting smoother and shorter.

I am learning that I look better when I feel better and I feel better when I look better.

It’s hard to appreciate curves I spent my whole life hiding.

Don’t get too excited though, you probably won’t be seeing any more selfies anytime soon.

But.. There is an upcoming “updated” photo shoot with my dear friend, Kim Freeman. ;)

Take care of YOU.

image Yiruma is playing. The candles are lit. The epsom salts are disolving.

And…..I am hoping tonight is not the night I discover if my phone is indeed waterproof.

I’m certain I am not the only one who just feels a tad overwhelmed, sometimes.

Sometimes isn’t it all just too much?

The balancing act: Family and friends and finances and health and work and the state of politics/humanity and thoughts on religion. Our bodies. Our thoughts. Our emotions.

The more you think about, the more there is to think about.

How about some of that pressure, gets removed?

Be intentional.  Take care of you.

Read something without the glow of an electric touch screen.

Listen to music without words (the older the better).

Write a letter, or a journal entry.

Take a barefooted walk and engage your senses.

Draw a nice hot bath with epsom salts or essential oils or bubbles.

Light some candles.

I know it seems trite. Doesn’t it also seem necessary?

When is the last time you truly took care of YOU?

Starting somehow.  Starting now.

My sea grape soul


When my niece was a child she had to do a report on different leaves.

Having just moved to South Florida from Ohio, I was intrigued by the Sea Grape. So I sent her some, and she wrote a little report on the Sea Grapes.

Now, I can’t site my source, but I do remember something about how a Sea Grape simply can’t survive if it is not near the ocean. And that nugget of information, completely accurate or not, fits right into this over dramatic, over romantic statement:

I have a Sea Grape Soul. I simply can’t survive if I am not near the ocean.



“I want first of all… to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints–to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea




The short and sweet walk to sunrise.



Good Morning, Moon.



The walks, and talks that are just never quite long enough.

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“Don’t wish me happiness
I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
It’s gotton beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea



The Shell Line.

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True Treasures: Sea glass, Heart-shaped Rocks and Driftwood!

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“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea



Sand gets…. well… Everywhere. (Sandy is NOT the same as dirty!)

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The entire life cycle of the Sea Turtles: (Mama’s Tracks  The Nest  Baby Tracks)


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and a willing though exhausted friend who helps me fill in holes the tourists left. We don’t want the babies or mama’s to fall in!



The Storms that seem to stay offshore, or not.

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Artwork at the beach.

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Sharing my passion for sunrise (and dolphins) with sweet little girls.

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The perfectly timed Seagulls.

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Intentional Solitude

“How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

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Surrounded by colors a camera can’t capture – and photoshop can’t improve on.

“This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea


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Rushing to South Dock for Sunset

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I simply can’t survive if I am not near the ocean.



There they were: four of the five copies I had of Seth Godin’s new book, wrapped and ready to ship.

The book was not created to be read and kept. It was created to be used and passed along.

I sent them to people who inspired me this past year. To people who were creating.

Then chimed in the the lizard brain, the resistance, the gremlins, the whatever you want to call that (horrid, mean)voice in your head.

“You hypocrite, why are you sending these books out, writing impassioned letters of encouragement? You haven’t hit Publish in months.You haven’t created anything, you leech.”


I don’t know if that voice is helpful, up until it is mean.

I have ideas (and criticism) about how others should write this, or do that to help their sphere of influence, marketing ideas that I know would be successful. 

If only they would listen to me.

If only I would listen to me.

I know why I don’t write.

Thankfully, I also know why I do write.

I’m taking my turn this year.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. It’s MY Turn!

Truth be told, I know I am not in a good place when I stop writing.

I know I am really not in a good place when I don’t even remember my password for my blog.

But I don’t want you to know that I am not in a good place.

So, I detach. I stop writing. And….. I go a little crazy.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

My  “New Year’s Resolutions” weren’t typical this year since I have spent the last few years focusing on physical health.

This year it’s my mind and emotions.

Ugh, Really? I have to unpack thoughts and memories I have so neatly compartmentalized and stuffed into the back of my mind?

That’s not true though, is it? Those thoughts and memories are not neatly compartmentalized.

Many of them are good, and stay in place. I can pull them out when I want to get all warm and fuzzy.

But, many of them are like a toxic ooze that uncontrollably seep into my thoughts and cause fear and inaction.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

For the past 2 years or so I have been devouring the work of AJ LeonSeth Godin, and most recently Brené Brown.

When I read their writings, it is like they are reading me. They “get” me. They “get” me better than some people who actually know me.

I get excited. My heart beats faster. I apply their inspiration to whatever project I am working on for work.

And that’s just not working anymore.

I know I am hiding. I know I am playing it small.

And then I wonder if they know.

And then I wonder if they know that I know.

And then I wonder if you know, but….. I actually know that you know.

Then my fast beating heart turns into pit in my stomach, that “I’ve just been called to the principal’s office” pit in my stomach.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

Just days after I received his new book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)Seth (Yes, we are on a first name basis) sent me (and maybe a few thousand other people) an e-mail: Getting unstuck (a one week challenge).

“Here’s how it works: Participants commit to posting 1 blog post every day for 7 days. The goal is to practice shipping with a like-minded community and to push yourself to simply start.”

Pfft. I am not going to do this. What would I even write? Why would I publish something every day? Who even cares? Why do I care if someone cares? How am I even going to find the time and energy to produce and publish? Once the questions started they wouldn’t stop. Even as I am writing, they haven’t stopped.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

I’ll be here tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that.

It’s MY Turn!


OMG! What are you doing?

Sorry I didn’t have the time (or the energy) to answer you when you saw me at the grocery store/church picnic/birthday party/wedding………

I suppose instead of telling you “a bit” when you asked me how much weight I lost, I could have told you that I have lost about 60 pounds since July of 2013.

But I think it’s weird that you asked me, or at least it makes me feel weird. I don’t know how to socially talk about something so personal.

So – here is the reply to the increasingly common question:

“OMG! What are you doing?”

I get professional help – medically. 

Everybody is different – and every body is different! What works for me may not work for you – save time, money, and energy and get professional help!

Several years ago, after watching several compelling documentaries (Food Matters, Food Inc., Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, The Future of Food, Forks Over Knives, The Truth About Food, Hungry for Change – and a few more) I became a plant-based, “beans and greens”, vegan.

Meaning: I was doing it “right”. I didn’t rely heavily on processed veganized versions of my favorite foods (though I did make a great vegan pizza).

I thought I was making the right decisions for my body. It made sense. I felt better for a little while. And then… nothing.

After visiting his practice for pain I had from plantar fasciitis, and debilitating lower back/hip pain because of something with my piriformis, I started seeing Dr. Tom at Natural Medicine Clinic for Nutritional Counseling.

Dr. Tom is patiently leading me down a very windy road.  What he reminds me of often, is what I want to share with you:  This is a process. There is not one simple answer. There is no quick fix.

He has led me in my diet, suggested exercise, prescribed supplements, and prevented surgery.

And for the most part – I obey him. I trust him. I know that he knows more than me, and more than what I read on WebMd. He is worth every penny spent in his office.

On a personal note: You will never find a more hope filled, honest, sincere, patient and caring man to be your doctor. He is the only doctor who has never made me feel shame for being fat. He believed me when I told him I ate healthy and exercised. He has been with me through tears of joy, and as the pendulum swings, yelling in frustration.

On a professional note: He is a fantastic Dr..  Aside from the personal note above:  He knows his stuff! He almost immediately (correctly) diagnosed me with a thyroid disorder that every other doctor, my entire life, had missed. Dr. Tom then recommended that I go to an Endocrinologist for a second opinion. I did, only to be told “You look like you are doing great, I wouldn’t change or add to anything your Natural Dr. is doing!”  Dr. Tom has been correct on each diagnosis that he has given me, and has provided me with the labs results to “prove it”.

You need to find someone who knows what they are doing, and someone you trust. Trusting means being compliant. Obey.

I exercise!

Do something that makes you happy.

We all know I don’t like the gym!

But, I found something I really love – Boxing.

I’m HOOKED (pun intended)! I love the structure of the class. The cost is totally reasonable, and the trainers are encouraging and attentive. I am not quite ready for a cross fit intensity, and am over just being at a gym, so this was a perfect fit. It’s 15 minutes of “warm up”, 8 rounds of boxing/kick boxing with a minute of Active rest (lunges swats sit-ups etc) in between and then 15 minutes of stretching. And it is a great work-out. The energy is fantastic!

And, I still go to a gym to do Dr. Tom’s recommendation: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

I get professional help – spiritually/emotionally.

Don’t believe everything you think.

I don’t have the koyach to get into it all right now, but it’s really important to have a personal (and professional) network of spiritual/emotional support. It is impossible to seek physical healing without dealing with the spiritual/emotional aspect of the process. The body is intricately entwined with the soul and the spirit.

This whole process has opened old wounds and created new ones. There are about 50 unwritten blogs as evidence.

I have to resist the temptation to isolate.

I could not have made it through any of this without my friends. Their love, patience, encouragement and faithfulness has been used by God to sustain me in my weariness.

I could not have made it through any of this without professional counseling/inner healing. I am grateful to have Pastor Steve Pennell and his wife Sarah.

I have changed my relationship with food. 

Every bite either fights disease or fuels it – choose wisely.

These changes have required alot of learning, alot of cooking, and alot of saying “No, Thank You.” But, I can assure you, it is all worth it.

After our first Nutritional Counseling appointment Dr. Tom suggested that I radically change my diet. No more vegan.

I remember him saying something along the lines of” “You may be saving the animals but you are killing yourself.”

Yikes! I now eat meat.

It’s Paleo-ish. I hesitate to say that, because it is not just bacon and meat.

The gist of it is : Meats, Fruits, Veggies. Healthy Oils.

Some people can tolerate nuts and seeds.  Me? Not so much.

After a few months on my new eating plan, things still weren’t progressing as expected so Dr. Tom ordered more specialized testing to see what foods my body was reacting to.  I am not allergic to these foods in an “eat them and break out in hives” way, but they cause issues for me internally, one of which being inability to lose weight.

I know you are curious – so here are all 32 foods I had stopped eating: http://nmcwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/ImmunoBloodprint.pdf

Those beans I loved as a vegan? My body was still reactive to them, even 6 months after eating any! (That’s not good!)

I still avoid several things on this list, mainly: wheat, eggs, dairy, yeast, beans.

Some things I have reintroduced successfully, other things (coffee) didn’t come up, but are problematic for me.

Again – every body is different.

Here are some of my favorite food resources:

I could write a whole blog about how whole30 (and whole9) has changed my life. In a nutshell, it’s a 30 days reset for your relationship with food. And they are nice, and snarky, and smart. And they offer a daily email for each day of the whole30. Check it out. Their book “It Starts with Food” breaks down the science of it all in really easy to read, and understand terms.

Her blog and book are amazing. And she introduced me to my favorite gadget ever – The Spirilizer to make Zoodles (zuchinni ribbons to replace noodles)

Dawn (Dr. Tom’s wife) “healthifies” our favorite goodies! She has created me “Julie-compliant” recipes. I love being her taste tester, and everything I have tasted has been great!

Recipes and knowledge galore!

So, there it is: a condensed version of “What I have been doing!”

The best is yet to come! 

#slaythefrumpmonster (part one)

My body shape is changing. Or so they tell me.

I’m a bit disappointed that my clothing doesn’t automatically follow suit.

I recently purchased two of the exact same dress for a baby shower. One that was “my size” and one that was smaller. They were only 3 bucks each, so it totally made sense.

I tried on the first dress, the one that was “my size”. It looked strange. It was big, it didn’t quite fit me, but I was comfortable.

So…. I tried on the second dress, the one that was smaller. It felt strange. It was smaller, it fit me, but I was uncomfortable.

I decided to wear the smaller dress that fit me.

Mostly because I knew my best friend would be pissed if I showed up in a new dress that was frumpy. She was already quite vocal about the fact that she was not pleased with me for wearing jeans that were too big on me. They may have been too big, but see: I creatively took them in by connecting belt-loop to belt-loop with key-rings. Apparently (to her), this made the jeans lopsided and made things up front look awkward. Hindsight is 20/20 and that was clearly a bad idea. Sometimes your bestie is your best mirror.

Anywhozelles, I arrive at the baby shower, feeling insecure in the dress that fit me. I was convinced that my neighbors boyfriend, my best friend, and everyone else I saw, were lying to me when they told me how good I looked.

And then I saw her.

Before I go on, I must say this: I know I sound like a shaming, petty, judgmental, ugly hypocrite . I know it. I know I may be projecting my own insecurities about how I felt onto this woman. I know I hate how people have, and continue to, judge me. Blah blah blah over explaining, over disclaiming, blah blah blah.

Here it is: I saw this woman who looked horrible in her dress. Really. It was too small and parts of her were too large. It just looked horrible. It was so so short, and so so tight, and…..

I felt like that was how I looked in my dress, or anytime I have ever worn a dress. Ever.

I instantly went from 0 to nutso and became uncomfortable. My bestie’s bestie radar was on. She knew something was wrong. I told her I felt like that is how I looked. She told me my feelings were stupid and lying to me.

I wished I had chosen the other dress. The bigger one. The one that fit my feelings, and hid my body.

Over the next few days I realized …………….. (Sorry folks, inconsistent enforcement of self imposed 500 word count limit.)


And there it was, another conversation (with a man) about how men are predominantly, initially, and primarily attracted to a woman for her physical beauty, and how my qualities, though “superior”, are secondary and therefore I am overlooked, and never given a chance.

Just shovel that right on top of the heap of emotional garbage that has been increasing as my waistline decreases.

In the days after to say that I was pissed would have been an understatement.

I was pissed at everyone. Seriously.

Even men I haven’t even met yet. Yep, I was pissed at them, too.




(WAIT. Please…..Don’t stop reading, I promise this is blog is not a bitter rant!)

Then. scrolling through Facebook one night, I come across this:



Salve to a weary,angry, achy heart.

As my heavenly Father speaks, all I can do is listen.


………And there you are. In your unassuming shell. Feeling overlooked as shiny shells get chosen,claimed,collected.

That is of no concern to you. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell.

You my dear are growing slowly. Delicate. Fragile. Sensitive. Layers and layers have developed around an irritant. The greater the layers, the greater the lustre.

You reflect light, and you have an inner glow. You shine brightly. You reflect those near you clearly.

You are authentic and very rare. Often imitated, never replicated. You are a treasure.

Those who know what they are looking for will know how to find you and appreciate you when they do.

Until then you remain tucked away, hidden, protected from predators.

I love you, for you are my Pearl.


(insert “Pearl in contrasting shell that portrays everything that I have been trying to say but refuse to look for any longer”  Creative Commons Photo here)

A Little Bikeride

It was lovely Sunday afternoon.  A perfect day for the message in a bottle to take a ride on a cute pink bike with a delightful wicker basket.

Several, yes several, hours were spent the day before writing that message in the bottle. Everything that ever wanted to be said but couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t. Everything.

Songs played on repeat and years of moments replayed. Stop your judgement. A girl isn’t responsible for the emotional gluttony that happens while Aunt Flow is in town. Ok, she is a little responsible, but the blame falls heavily on the hormones and the ninjas that attack her uterus.

The message gets set on fire, and a wind blows and there were ashes every where. Inside the itsy bitsy beach apartment, and outside. Ashes. Everywhere. Clumsy girl.

Most of the message gets burned, with the exception of a page of song lyrics. Damn you, Aunt Flow!

Catsup remained around the rim of the bottle as the letters’ ashes and little seashells got carelessly shoved in the bottle. 

The message in a bottle was placed carefully in the delightful wicker basket on the cute pink bike and pedaled to the favorite little beach.

The sky was grey – which seemed appropriate. This is the day. The day it all got Let Go. 

The message in the bottle in the delightful wicker basket on the cute pink bike was met by wedding on the favorite little beach.Overly ironic. Even for an overly dramatic clumsy girl.

You’ve. Got. To. Be. Flipping. Kidding. Me. 

A quick loop around the parking lot. This is not the place for the Let Go. 

Clumsy girl pedals to next little beach – the water is crystal clear and still.

You’ve. Got. To. Be. Flipping. Kidding. Me.  Crystal clear and still water?

When the moment of Let Go happens in the overly dramatic clumsy girl mind… there is a storm, and thunder, and lightening, and rain, and waves, and everything that was happening internally is manifested in the surrounding environment.

So clumsy girl does what any dignified grown woman does. She lays in the sand and has a temper tantrum. Full on legs kicking, arms flailing, sand going everywhere-ing temper tantrum. She is now completely covered in sand and makes her way into the still water to get the sand out of everywhere.

The message in the bottle is placed back in the delightful wicker basket on the cute pink bike.

Clumsy girl is on a mission to have a (now conjured) cathartic moment.

She pedals to a crowded beach, parks her cute pink bike on a hidden pathway. Takes her catsup encrusted message in a bottle to the beach, where it, and it’s contents, and what they represent, will float into eternity.

Not wanting to leave her phone in the delightful wicker basket, she hands it to two strangers “to hold onto for a moment”. Because some how, that made more sense.

Throwing the message in the bottle into the water? Oh, No! That won’t do. Clumsy girl must swim. Swim farther than she has ever swam before. Out past the buoys. So she swam. And stopped. And swam. And stopped. And swam and swam and Good Lord Jesus those buoys are out far!

Clumsy girl and the message in the bottle reached the buoy.

After a moment of breathing it got thrown far far into eternity. A whole three feet past the buoy. 

Oh, No! This will not do! What if the message reaches the shore before clumsy girl and this haunts her the rest of her days? She feverishly swam. And stopped. And swam. And stopped. And swam and swam and Good Lord Jesus those buoys are out far! Clumsy girl reached a boy wearing the snorkeling mask.

“Are you the white girl who gave her phone to two black girls.” 

“Yes, that’s me”

“They leaving”

“Ok, I’m on my way”

Other voices chimed in, making clumsy girl slightly realize that she may have been a spectacle.

“Miss, did you drown?”

“No, I just had to do something I never did before”

“You looked like you drown.”


Clumsy girl swims past the other voices and questions to reach the shore, the two girls, and her phone.

“We were gonna call your daddy!”

“Really, and what would you have said?” 

They all laugh.

“Thanks for holding my phone.”

Looking down she realizes that she has no idea how long she had been swimming.

She walks the hidden path to find her cute pink bike and goes to place her phone in the delightful wicker basket.

It rings.

“Honey –  are you trying to reach me, is everything ok?”

“No, Daddy – everything’s good, just taking a little bike ride.”

I don’t like the gym.

It’s no secret that I don’t like the gym.
But here’s some honesty friends.

I don’t like that I went undiagnosed with a thyroid disorder my whole life and every diet and workout plan was therefore ineffective. That no matter what I did, I would gain. That doctor after doctor missed it, and acted surprised when my labs came back that I was really healthy.

I don’t like that.

I don’t like that I can’t go into the same store as you and pick out an outfit because I like it, not just because it fits.

I don’t like that I still have panic attacks when flying because the belt didn’t fit once, when I was 50 pounds heavier than I am now.

I don’t like the the cruelty of others wasn’t limited to the endless childhood bullying. I don’t like other peoples thoughts and actual verbalizations on my excess weight. That I am lazy, a glutton,  asexual, and even “God will send you your husband once you get that weight situation figured out.”

Judgements on my physical, spiritual, relational, and even sexual health.


I may not like the gym, but I am trading in a whole crap load of things that I don’t like and that are far more uncomfortable than feeling insecure at the weights or doing cardio for an hour.

Make Coffee, Not War

No, it’s not a political statement. It’s a statement that my manager reminds me of.

When I want to make war.  Barista War: Operation Entitled Imbecile Annihilation.

Customer on their cell phone, and grunts an order to me, then changes it at the bar because they ordered it wrong, because of being on the above mentioned cell phone.

Make Coffee, Not War

Customer: Can I borrow the store phone? Me: Sure.  Customer: (putting the store cordless phone between her exposed breasts) What? You don’t mind if I put that there, Do you? ANSWER ME.

Make Coffee, Not War

Calling in an order because you are “running late and can’t wait in line” for your one latte and a bagel.

Make Coffee, Not War

I have a printed out label with how I want you to make my drink. And you should not charge me for the two shots of espresso, or extra syrups, or extra milk.

Make Coffee, Not War

Me: Goodmorning *smile*… Customer: Grande Mocha.

Make Coffee, Not War

Ohh I wanted that (ridiculously customized drink) iced…

Make Coffee, Not War

Is that my Mocha Frappichino? (as they pick up an obviously hot drink)

Make Coffee, Not War

That tastes different if you shake it in the other cup.

Make Coffee, Not War

This is not 195 degrees.

Make Coffee, Not War

But I just put money on my card (showing me a month old receipt, with an old balance on it.)

Make Coffee, Not War

Oh I want that  iced grande mocha, in an iced venti cup, with extra milk, with light ice. Why are you charging me for the extra milk?

Make Coffee, Not War

But you shouldn’t charge me for the extra shot or the soy or the syrups or the caramel drizzle or or or, they don’t charge me at “my” store.

Make Coffee, Not War

But Barnes and Noble sells Starbucks, why isn’t that considered a refill?

Make Coffee, Not War

I have the whole Starbucks set up at home. It doesn’t look right how she made it.

Make Coffee, Not War

It’s Complicated.

Not a week goes by where someone doesn’t ask me why I haven’t written on my blog.

I usually blame busyness.

Blame is lame.

If I were in a relationship with julieunscripted, in Facebook terms we would be defined as “It’s Complicated.” (I couldn’t even remember my password to write this post for goodness sake!)

For me, blogging meets a need that writing in a journal just doesn’t. I like to write, and I like when it is read.

This has never been a space for recipes or photos or crafts or celebrity stories or movie reviews or any other such things blogs can be. I imagine it would be easier for me if it were.

I am my own shtick, I am the content of this space.

julieunscripted is an invitation to eavesdrop on the conversations in my clusterfluff of a heart.

But If there is an invitation is it eavesdropping? And why am I inviting others into a heart I try so desperately to guard? And why do I try so desperately to guard it if my true desire is to be known, accepted, and loved for who I am?

Anywho, back to the thought already in progress….Like eavesdropping, context is missing but instead of a whisper -blogging is standing on my platform with a megaphone.

As it gains traction and my writing is shared with friends as well as strangers, I find myself strangely fueled until I freak out and retreat for months at a time.

When I write I question why I write as much as I question what I write as much as I question when I write. (That was fun!)

This process can be as exhausting as reading that last sentence. I eventually get over it and write in my cozy little space here, and it has proved worth it every single time.

The good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly, the glitter and the grit – I have put myself out there.

But recently I haven’t, I can’t. It’s complicated.

I find myself in a position where I can’t be fake, and I can’t be real.

There are so many things I want to write about: working in and leaving the corporate setting (speaking up, shutting up, standing up and then laying it all down), leaving the traditional church setting (and then kind-of going back), Christmas, Christians, Jews, definitions of holiness, weddings and being a bridesmaid this summer(… again..and then again), reactions to certain songs, my health or illness in all the aspects of “me”, self care (and/or lack there of), self love, self loathing, boundaries, the apathy/stagnation/fervor/celebration in relationships and how I am haunted by some and healed by others, hanging on and letting go, deferred longings and the resuscitation of dreams ….and… and…. and….

I haven’t, I can’t. It’s complicated.


Apparently, I have an auto immune disease that is making my body attack itself, specifically my thyroid, which now has nodules on it.

There was really no building up to it, and I’m a blurter, so there it is.

Whathadhappenedwas…. (Yes, this is going to be long, because it is all connected.)

A few months ago my foot started hurting. Plantar Fasciitis. So I do what I always do, I turn to Google, ask my friends (and even asked a doctor) and learned some stretches and rolled things under my foot, and was on the road to recovery. Woooo Whooo!

Or so I thought.

My foot pain soon turned into hip pain. And when I say pain, I mean it felt like someone was stabbing me in my lower back if I moved a certain way. But it never was a predictable certain way. Any which way would cause pan at any moment. It caused pain to sit down. It caused pain to stand up. It caused pain to sleep. It was difficult to dress, or shower, or get in and out of my car.

I went to get massages. I tried different stretches. I was taking about 6 pills a day of any combination of Aleve/Advil/Tylenol I could stomach. I would have taken more if I wasn’t afraid of frying my liver.
It just got worse and worse. I couldn’t even walk the 3 minute walk to the beach to watch the sunrise. I couldn’t bend over to pick up my friends baby. It was starting to affect my emotions, combine that with lack of sleep: Fan.Tas.Tic.

I tried to hide it, but it was obvious to anyone who had spent any amount of time with me that I was in excruciating pain.

I didn’t want to go to a doctor who was only going to prescribe muscle relaxers or pain killers so I visited Natural Medicine Clinic.   I met with Dr. Bob for my back. Things didn’t get better right away. He was honest enough to tell me they wouldn’t. I actually think I was more sore after a few visits.

As the days and weeks went by I went from being pain-free for a few hours, to taking Aleve only at night,  to a  pain-free day,  to my back and hip being now almost all better!

So then I asked Dr. Tom about their Nutrition Services.

I filled out a boatload of paperwork and questionnaires. I took blood tests. And then we had a conversation to explain results.

I eat relatively “healthy”. I adopted a (mostly) vegetarian/vegan diet awhile back.

I work out. I walk. I do yoga. I can even survive spin class.

My vitals are consistently good and not even “just for a fat girl”. My blood pressure is excellent, so is my cholesterol, and according to traditional tests, so is my thyroid.

I couldn’t figure out why I was still not losing weight. And why I had this skin rash. And why I have this one nasty toenail that Lamisil wouldn’t even kill.

Is it because I was stressed? More lazy than I wanted to admit? Eating more unhealthy than I thought?

Nope. Antibodies. And yeast. And fungus. And all sorts of things I don’t quite understand fully yet.

Because he did a nontraditional blood test he found that even though certain levels looked normal on my physical last year, there is alot more going on that is causing a chain reaction throughout my body. Then since those levels are off he ordered an ultrasound of my thyroid. They found nodules that are thankfully smaller than would  need a biopsy.

I’ve changed my diet from being a (mostly) vegetarian/vegan-ish to following a strict Paleo diet (meat, veggies, greens, and limited fruits, nuts, and seeds. No grains, no sugar, no processed foods, no vinegar, no flour, no dairy, no alcohol,no anything other than what I just listed above.)

I’m drinking more water, and taking some recommended supplements.

On the 4th of July I said goodbye to almost all of my favorite foods/drinks. And when I say I said goodbye what I mean is I ate. Alot. It started with a bagel in the morning, and the eating went downhill from there.

I cleaned out my cabinets and cleaned the fridge. Replacing beans, rice, and quinoa with Salmon, chicken and lots of lemons and onions.

It’s been a whole two days of obedience.

I thought I wanted to punch the sample lady at Costco in the face when she was making Ghirardelli brownies. I thought I was going to have a breakdown driving past Chick-fil-A. I can’t think about it all too much because it becomes overwhelming.

Even with the daunting truth of massive change, I find myself thankful.

I am thankful for the pain in my back.  If it would not have been so severe I would have never gone into that office, or asked for help in other areas.

I am thankful for the ability to do things pain-free, which has helped me be more active even when I “don’t feel like it”.

I am thankful for supportive friends and family.

I am thankful I can walk the beach again.

I am thankful for the hope I have that this road will lead to healing.

awe-inspiring and lackluster


There are days when the sunrise is  awe-inspiring. All seems right with the world as you stand in enjoyment of a masterpiece seemingly painted just for you.


Well, and then there are days, where the sky is gray and lackluster and you can’t hear yourself think over the sound of the waves crashing over and over and over again.

Remind yourself, consciously, deliberately remind yourself of this truth: There are gifts, there are things to be grateful for in this day. Awe-inspiring or lackluster give thanks for today.

It’s only a “bad day” when we focus on our feelings rather than that truth.

Just has it has for thousands of years before, the sun is going to set in the west tonight, and rise again in the east tomorrow.

Give thanks for today – and have hope for tomorrow.

NBA Arena full of children died today.

Children died in CT today. Gunfire – Over 20. Children died in China today. Stabbed -Over 20. It’s horrid, my heart hurts, and I honestly don’t much know more than that. Deliberately I have avoided the news. I’ve avoided Facebook – for the most part, and then this happened.



Over 45 children have died of preventable causes since I have started writing this blog.

Yes, Preventable. By my choices, by your choices, preventable.

Today in a flurry of opinions about gun control and legislation and seemingly everyone running their mouth about this and that and the other, I offer you a true opportunity to save the lives of children.

Give Clean Water

Feed The Children

Now, what will we do?

Somewhere between Wrecked and Reality

I’ve been guilty of Depraved Indifference.

If you haven’t read it – I’ll sum it up.

I don’t know how or when but I have started to care more about my “I’m a victim” pity parties or how the chickens that lay my free-range cage-free eggs are treated than I have cared about children I know are starving, sold into slavery, orphaned and other heinous things.

Now now, I know that I am helping children “here” and that I am not doing any of those terrible things to those children “over there”.

I also know that not doing anything wrong is not the same as doing something right.

Here are some of the thoughts that have been coming to mind.

What if we had a caste system in America and I was an untouchable?

What if that was my daughter searching the slums for food?

What if my basic needs could be met by someone who wasted a little bit less and gave a little bit more?

Right now I am somewhere between wrecked and reality. Somewhere between selling all I have to move across the world to love on the “least of these” and the fallacy of the “American Dream”.

Ok, that was a tad bit over dramatic and not at all accurate, but it sounded good in my head.

I don’t think that I am supposed to move across the world – at least not any time soon! I know very clearly what my assignment is right now. It’s right here, boldly advocating for my residents living with Alzheimer’s, and loving the friends I have been entrusted with.

So, dramatic statements aside…What does mean for me, right here right now?

Let’s rewind about 2 years: I was more generous when I was a “broke” barista relying on tips for gas money.  Now making more than double in salary,  I have become the most important thing to spend waste my money on. If I wasn’t so ashamed I would actually tell you how much I have spent on coffee alone.. or at Chick-fil-A… or, or, or….

Does this mean that I can never enjoy another Grande, 2 pump, Soy,  Extra Foam, No Whip, No Pumpkin Powder, Add Cinnamon Dolce Powder, Pumpkin Spice Latte?*

Nope. I can. And I will. It is fall(-ish) for goodness sake!

It simply means being more mindful of how I spend my time, money, mental and emotional energy.

Not depriving myself of everything I enjoy but sacrificing somethings, more things, to bring joy and life to others both “here” and “over there”.

Less going out, more cooking at home. Less Pinterest, more prayer. Less pity-party more perspective inspiring  passion. Being more thankful and hopefully alot less whining during my current “assignment” – no matter how unhappy I think I am.  Less mindlessness, more meditation. Less consuming, more giving.

One decision at a time – balancing. Or at least trying to.

*(Yes, that is “my” drink – don’t judge me. I am a princess and will have my latte exactly how I like it if I am paying $4 for it.)

Guilty: Depraved Indifference

Trust me, it’s a good thing  I haven’t blogged in over a year. I unknowingly spared you from the self-focused, woe is me, screwed over, victim of corporate, too much month-not enough money, navel gazing “I want, I need, I earned, I deserve” train of thought that thankfully came to a screeching halt yesterday.

A representative from Gospel for Asia came to speak at my church. He passionately pleaded the cause of the orphan and widow, he showed a video, quoted Matthew 9 citing how Jesus had compassion and took action, and how the workers are few.

And…. My heart was broken and I am selling everything I have and moving to India or Africa and giving my life to missions!!  I totally zoned out.

Please understand, none of this was new. I worked for Gospelink. I’ve seen the videos of pastors going through flood waters on their bikes, orphans being served their  daily “meals”,  mud huts people make into homes. Having friends that are missionaries, I’ve heard stories. I’ve cried tears. I used to care. I made it a prayerful and financial priority in my life to right the wrongs. I was focused on telling anyone who asked how they could help too.

I zoned out only because I just couldn’t (and can’t) shake a phrase said by my pastor.

He said it flippantly, only once, having to ask a friend sitting in the front row for the correct phrasing: “Depraved Indifference”.


“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”

Used to.

“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”


“Depraved Indifference”

All past tense.

Over and over and over again it shouts : “Depraved Indifference”.

Depraved Indifference: conduct that is so wanton, so deficient in a moral sense of concern, so lacking in regard for the life or lives of others, and so blameworthy as to warrant the same criminal liability as that which the law imposes upon a person who intentionally causes a crime.

Here I sit: Me. “Mother Teresa Incarnate”. (As a prosecuting attorney cross-examining me once said.) Julie Stein.

Here sit: Comfortable. Complacent.

Here I sit: Julie Stein, GUILTY of Depraved Indifference.

Knowing of the wrong doing that is happening, having excess funds to help stop it and doing nothing.

Found as guilty, as liable, as those intentionally committing heinous crimes.

Here I sit: humbled, wrecked, and hopefully changed.