Thursday, August 13, 2015

Doula Adventures: It's Getting Real Up In Here

This summer has been C-R-A-Z-Y productive for my doula business. I have only 12 {update: 10!!} assignments left to complete {plus 5 births to doula}, and here are just a few of the other projects I'm working on:
  • created a website {as soon as it's live, I'll let you know!}
  • created a Facebook page {again, I'll tell you}
  • drafted business cards {waiting on color matching}
  • purchased 6 books for my Lending Library
  • signed up for my very first doula workshop {it's in Feb. 2016}
  • created a business email address
But wait, you wisely protest, don't you need a business name and logo in order to do 4 of those things? Right you are, dear reader! And so it is with great pleasure I share with you my business name and logo. Introducing...

Isn't it beautiful!?!? I'm freaking out right now. My dear friend Morgan nailed it when I haphazardly described my vision "something with hands," and the color was her inspiration as well. If anyone needs some mad graphic skills, let me hook you up. 

There you have it. It's getting real. I'm going to be a doula. I'm opening a doula business. This. Is. Happening. Huzzah!!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Thoughts on Church

You know how some parts of your life are easy to blog about? Like weekends with friends and reading goals and whatever topic the NAS community chooses.

And then there are the parts of life that are not necessarily more private but are harder to articulate. I think I mentioned once or twice that my church has been going through some changes, but that's it. To anyone who only knows me via la interwebs, that could mean anything. New carpet or new pastor. Because there are people reading this blog who know me and my church, people that I still love and adore, people I do not want to hurt, I've been intentionally vague, smoothing over the ripples on the surface.

But inside my head, under the surface, I feel like a river that's about to break down a dam. I've been swirling around in my thoughts, going back and forth and around and around, wondering if I can stay in the Evangelical/Non-denominational church I've known my whole life, and also wondering if I can leave it.

Before we get too far along, let me give some background. Up until the end of 2013, about 400 people attended my church. This is the church my parents started attending when they first got married. This is the church I was dedicated in as an infant, the church where my chubby baby legs were pinched by the moms of skinny baby boys who grew up to be my friends and classmates. This is the church where I met and played with my best friend when we were in 6th grade.

This is the church into which I was baptized as a 13-year-old. This is the church that had the school that I graduated from at age 18. This is the church with a Master's Commission program that solidified my relationship with Jesus. This is the church I cried for my first several Sundays in Kentucky. This is the church that I happily returned to after the cold winter in Omaha. This is the church that I've always called my home church, with "home" referring to the sense of home I felt at the church.

For the past several months, I've considered myself a part of this church. I've gone to congregation meetings and voted and continued to serve in childcare. I've received emails and replied to them; I've hugged friends when we meet in the foyer, and when other friends asked where I'm going to church, I've quietly and determinedly stated the name of this church.

However, I haven't actually attended a church service at this church for probably four months. Some of the time I was in childcare, hanging out with the tiny people who do not judge {or speak, for that matter}. Some of the time I was at brunch with a friend, reveling in my new-found freedom to not be in church on Sunday morning. And some of the time I was at an Anglican church, weeping through the beauty of a generations-old liturgy.

During these four months, I thought that I hadn't been to a service because of timing or commitments or freedom. I thought that even though things were hard, they would get better and I was a part of making it better. I thought that when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.

I did not think I would attend my first service in four months and have a panic attack.

My lungs seem to be allergic to Christianese. I was at a training for Care Net when I had my first panic attack. The lady was a lovely woman sharing about her work in adoption ministry, and one of my fellow volunteers asked about "affecting the generational line" and the lady's response was, "we place the children in Christian homes," as if that solved all the problems. My lungs shrunk to about 50% capacity as the words left her mouth.

If I had been able to breathe, I would have asked how her ministry addressed the savior complexes of her adoptive families.

In hindsight, my panic attach at the Care Net training may have been related to the overwhelming, stifling heat in the room. It may have been that I was not prepared for the relatively neutral topic of adoption to contain such a strong sense of righteousness/rightness. It may have been that it was a Monday, and an emotionally exhausting Monday at that. Any of these factors may have made my first panic attack a fluke.

But sitting in the sanctuary of my home church? Not a fluke.

Rachel Held Evans described her relationship with the Evangelical Church as "an ex-boyfriend that she still checks up on via Facebook," and I think I may get to that point someday. Right now, though, my relationship with the Evangelical Church is like learning the older sister I trusted to give me good make-up advice has actually painted my face like a clown, and I've only just seen how I've been walking around my whole life.

I'm sure that somewhere underneath all the abrasive colors, there is some quality make-up, like a great primer or some awesome eyeliner. But in order to find it, I have to remove the face paint. And the wig. And the red nose in the middle of my face. There is much more to this get-up than I ever realized; it affects and covers so much of me.

And my older sister lied to me.

She led me to believe that life was a certain way, that everyone was wearing make-up like this, that if they weren't wearing the make-up, they weren't following God's will.

Writing that now, I think my god, that sounds like a cult.

Personally, yes, there were aspects of my specific church body that were cult-ish. The sources of that influence have been removed, and fresh air is moving through us now.

And on a larger scale, yes, sometimes I think there are aspects of the Evangelical Church that are cult-like. Not everything, and not every little-c-church, but I think there are a few shared characteristics that make the Church....not Christ-like, to be honest.
  • the way the Church wants everyone to fit into "traditional" gender roles
  • how the Church asks people to change before they come to Jesus, instead of letting people be changed by Him
  • the "us versus them" mentality, and the language used to be "in the world but not of it"
And I'm over it. I'm breaking down the dam. I'm ripping off the wig and scraping off the face paint.

This does not mean that I'm burning my bridges. To the contrary, I still feel at home driving into my church parking lot. I love walking into the building, seeing the transformed foyer and welcoming center, and I really love how the Children's Ministry has been completely revamped. I love the people that go to my church. Hell, I still refer to it as "my" church!

But I don't think I can go back into the sanctuary, because it has ceased to be a sanctuary - a place of refuge - for me. And I think that's true of the Evangelical Church at large.

This is a hard realization to grasp, and it's an even harder one to stay grasped.

The optimistic part of me wants so badly to go to my church on Sunday and believe that things will change, that more and more healing will take place and that all my concerns and fears will work out and be resolved.
The part of me that still remembers how hard it was to breathe through the fifteen minutes I was in the service, the part that reads articles about the foundations of Evangelical Church Culture, the part of me that wishes when the going gets tough, the tough could leave.... that part of me realizes that the Evangelical Church has some fundamental {I use this word ironically} flaws and that my continued participation is hurting me more than it is healing the church {or the Church}.

It hurts to be hurt by my church/Church.

I guess this is where Rachel Held Evans got her ex-boyfriend analogy, because while I want to move on, a huge part of me is still intertwined with the Evangelical Church. Its hand and mine are still connected, and most of the time I don't even realize  that I haven't let go. And worse: at times I've let my hand go limp, but the Evangelical Church hasn't let go of me.

I've started going to therapy, because as much as I love and adore my friends and family, I realized that we are all too close, both to each other and to the transition in my church, to be of much help. My therapist is absolutely wonderful, and she's helping me wipe off the make-up, determine my new relationship with my church and the Church, and sort through everything else in the periphery.

I've also started attending an Anglican church, and I wasn't kidding earlier when I said that I cried through a third of the first service I attended. You guys, I felt so refreshed. This church is awesome, and I'm excited to see what God does, both in me and in this body. And I'm also excited for my home church, because I know that God is working there, too. God is big enough to handle transitions and changes and make-up remover and broken dams, and with His help, I can handle them, too.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

What I'm Into: July 2015

Linking up with the {newly-discovered on my end} fabulous Leigh Kramer for What I'm Into: July!

Reading and Read ~ Books:

Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick - {in progress} Really, really enjoying this memoir/history lesson. The author comes from such a different place than me in many ways {East Coast, solitary, journalist} that it's fascinating for me to read and imagine what my own internal journey would be if our external circumstances were the same. P.S. It was this Long Reads article that piqued my interest on the book.

Villete by Charlotte Bronte - {in progress} I feel like I'm just getting to the good stuff at about 200 pages in. Lucy Snowe amazes me with her observations of people's character, and I'm in awe of how cool she can be to people.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell - {almost done!} I put off reading this book for a while because fantastical realism isn't really my jam. But that's almost not the point with this book, and Rowell has presented a great study on enduring love.

One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak - {completed} I laughed out loud many, many times. I listened to the audiobook {which you should do! Read by the author plus guests!!} and it made my commutes delightful. The discussion questions were, um, thought-provoking!

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen - {completed} Apparently there are two camps about Mansfield Park: either it's a satire and it's the most brilliant work ever from Austen, or it's a regular novel, in which case it is completely boring. For Austen's sake, I hope that it's satire, because this book was boring. But it led to some great conversations with friends about the characters' lives after the book ends, so that was fun.


This article about colorblindness by Rachel Held Evans has been on my mind for some time.

I started writing a post about my experience with both my church and the Church... about 1,000 words in and I think I'm finally saying what I want to say. Stay tuned.


All the sunshine this week has been awesome! And apparently Seattle just broke a record: Thursday was the 10th day in 2015 that the official temperature reached the 90s, which is the first time that's happened in the history of recording temperatures. Whew!

The past two weeks I was cat-sitting for a friend, and this week I have SO enjoyed being home in my own bed, and I'm especially grateful to be cat-free. My dad teased me that this was a practice run of being a crazy cat lady, but I told him that these weeks were more like a vaccine against it - I've learned that my previously-neutral feelings towards cats are now decidedly negative.

My dear friend J and I went candle shopping a couple weeks ago, and while she purchased The Boyfriend Candle, I was unimpressed {I guess I like my mountain men less sweet?}. I thought I was going to leave the store sans boyfriend, but then...then I smelled Midsummer's Night, and I knew that he it had to be mine. And it made sense, because J and I have different tastes in men, so of course we would prefer different smells. Anyway, the candle has been in use almost every day, and while I've never had a boyfriend, I think that smelling this candle is pretty much what it's like.

I'd like to introduce you to someone....

There you have it! Be sure to check out the other links on Leigh's post, and happy August!