don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.

The last few years I have been writing and ruminating on editing my life, clearing off my proverbial plate. Narrowing down to only what is needed. Keeping only what is authentic and true. And through that process, I have let go of a lot of friendships/relationships/“situation-ships” in my life. I have learned boundaries and how to navigate a lot of situations and areas of my life that I would have otherwise tolerated. Some of these relationships lost have been so major and painful, they have required a mourning period, & some… well, just a giant relief.

One thing I did not anticipate, was something I realized in the last few months. I sometimes pre-maturely end some things that I probably shouldn’t have.

I mean, I do know that I tend to – (ha – ok, i DO) build walls that are high.
And that is indeed very intentional. Walls protect.
But walls also keep out fulfillment, promises, laughter & joy.
Letting someone behind those walls, or briefly letting them down?
Ooof… that takes mad trust, doesn’t it?

Because TRUST.

Trust is the most mysterious, painfully difficult, out-of-reach thing that I have yet to actually grasp… It’s like wanting something so badly, yet refusing to ever actually pick it up.

Which finally brings me to my point. You know the old adage, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water?” This fall I looked back on my year and realized how many times I had accidentally done just that.

Maybe it was in an effort to protect myself.
Or my peace.
I am quick to throw up shields, walls, and even sometimes draw my sword in a situation that it is uncalled for. I have become very, very good at quickly sweeping someone or something off of my proverbial life plate.
Deeming them or it unworthy.

It can be a glimmer of something that scares me. A tone of voice that leans towards anger.
Who knows what ~ we all have to learn our own triggers.

Especially if you come with a past riddled and bent from traumas, deep experiences, difficult childhoods, sickness, loss.

ALL those things you’d rather save in the deep corners of your heart.
The corner that you expose only to the precious few you have come to truly trust.

But what is the problem with quick draw of the sword and shield?

I was missing out.

We are missing out.

You may be missing out.

In our quickness to dismiss.
Or get rid of someone new – or even someone old…
We are perhaps missing out on what could grow into an invaluable relationship for that season, or perhaps even a lifetime.

I looked back this year and realized – stress can be the biggest trigger – sometimes in the middle of the stress – you can throw a red flag on something benign – just because you are overwhelmed with life, (or maybe even just tired or hangry, ha! *raises hand high!*)

So many life circumstances can trigger our fight or FLIGHT and we flee from something that maybe could have helped that problem and made it better…. you name it … ( losing a loved one, the dog died, kids moving to college, cancer, money issues, exes, jobs.) Like I said, you name it!!

Sometimes lack of communication or a misread of someone can make you choose a hard pass from what could have become one of your best friends…

You. just. never. know.

I talked to a lifetime friend about this last week. As I spoke my heart and concerns, he stopped me and reminded me of some huge things I had gone through in life.
He voiced where my fears were valid.

Then he said something life changing…
“Jules, We have to live in the tension.

We spoke further on this… “Living in the tension is living in the integrity of the truth. Just because A is true, doesn’t mean B isn’t true also. You can’t live in one and pretend the other is not true also.”

So… I said, “My fear of something, does not have to cancel it out.”

(***The catch 22 in all of this is… discernment and prayer.
Because there are absolutely times that those things you should blow off, SHOULD be blown off. Red flags shining so bright? Walk away. See alll other writings on this & domestic abuse***)

Discernment, communication, knowledge, stillness and prayer.
The cornerstone of our decision making.

But, do NOT hold onto grudges, hate, fears, or mourn a life of what you think you deserved for so long that you miss out on the life you have.

Do not keep walls so high that you one day turn around and realize, you missed out on your whole life.

Give people a chance to surprise you with their love, goodness & laughter.
Surprise them back.

This is the year to not waste another minute

& to “live in the tension.”

♡ ~ jul

standing at the confluence of life, loss and love.

There are moments in life that take your breath away.

We are all made differently, so those moments look differently to each of us. It can be in the rising and setting suns, watching the waves rhythmically crash onto the shore, the moment you say “I do” to the love of your life, the moment you finally learn you are pregnant and watch your sons or daughters being born… those first ~ well, “everythings” in life.

Your first kiss, your first sip of coffee in the morning, your baby’s first steps, first smile, the list is so long and beautiful. All of these things take your breath away in such beautiful, fantastic ways. Over and over and over.

But, then there are these other moments that take our breath away. It’s a “club” that (fortunately) not everyone is even aware of or can comprehend. it’s all the moments of loss. and they range from small to unspeakable.

that first time we lose a friend in elementary school. Divorce that ends that excited “I do.” Death of a loved one. Miscarriage. Car wrecks or cancer that take best friends too soon. War & casualties. Crime. The death of a child.

All of these moments take your breath away.

My heart will stop in it’s tracks every time. I do not have to know you. Near or far. I feel your heart next to mine.

I am a mother who has experienced all kinds of loss. And I feel you, so deeply. I know you.

Standing at the confluence of loss and life. Of deep sadness and love. Love that still somehow abides inside my heart and on my sleeve.

Sometimes the situational “fucked-uppery” that snakes itself around these terrible moments is so real, it makes it hard to focus on the love.

Divorces clouded in shards of deceit, or children being used against spouse.

The mourning the death of a parent, clouded by a sibling stealing pain meds that should have comforted a mom in her final hours, instead, it extended them.

Drugs, Alcohol, Disease – that continue to kill young & old person, left and right. I have no words. My heart is broken.

Then, there is the Uvalde tragedy. How do we possibly breathe again after this? How does a mother or father, or anyone go on after losing their child?

How do we move on from this pain? This unspeakable loss? Or any unspeakable loss in life?

We don’t.

But, we can continue to grow around it, the way a tree continues to grow around whatever obstacle is in it’s way. And that tragedy? That loss, becomes a part of us… somehow making that tree trunk, making us, even stronger and more beautiful.

Somehow the Lord takes and shapes us
and we become this beautiful unbroken miracle,
and we keep going.

Still breathing, still moving, loving, giving, pouring into each other.
Each day, ebbing and flowing, like the waves of the ocean,
eventually the pain spreading further apart,
maybe easier to float on the salt of our tears of sorrows and joys.

We can choose to keep going.
To honor the losses with
giving more love,
pouring more love,
and honoring the life around us by seeing it even more.

In every little thing –
I choose to see the life, the beauty, the love.
By not letting the evil win.
Not letting even the tiniest moments get wasted.

Today I grieve with every family that lost their child
I grieve with my friends that lost their son, their daughter, their mother.
And I war in love, prayer, and friendship with friends that are fighting fights of their life this year in all the way shapes and forms.
We are all in the middle of something.

So keep loving each other.
Love your tribe. Your people.
Don’t miss a minute.

Honor the losses with more.
More love, more kindness, more

♡ – jul

various images found from Google.

closing doors & burning proverbial safety nets

Being a single mother brings it’s own bag of uncertainties, what-ifs, what-to-dos – that all seem to be so much harder when you don’t have a significant other or an equally invested adult by your side making the big decisions with you. Weighing the options. Talking about the kids. The highs and the lows.

Over the years, living in the house that I am in, every year I say that I am going to move. That I hate this, that and the other thing. (If you know me, you can rattle off my top 2 grievances together in chorus! ha) And every year comes and goes, and I still live in this old house… Truth be told, it was never the right time to move, because of my children and the point they were in school, but as time moves on, I know I am closer to that point where I need to pull trigger.

Or not.

A week ago, I had this new great big plan of, perhaps I should keep the house and just rent it? Then I can test the waters by moving, and renting somewhere else? See if I like it? I can always come back, right? Keep the equity I have built, etc etc. Yawn…

Jump over to topic number two. Relationships.
Any kind, take your pick.
Romantic, platonic, maybe even familial.
There are relationships at times in all of our lives, that if we step back and look at them, we can realize that they are holding us back. Tethering us to a proverbial land.
Holding emotional space that is keeping us from something more. We can wait around for something to happen, something to change, for market value to rise in the relationship, or “situationship,’ thinking that this is what is best for us.

But is it?

Sometimes we can fall so in love with these old houses, these old familiar bones, old familiar faces, places, routines, that we don’t ever even consider change or what that may mean. We don’t even consider taking the leap, or to take that one tiny step of blind faith into the unknown and see that maybe, just maybe there is something MORE for us on the other side of comfortable. On the other side of the familiar and the known.

It really is just the equivalency of having the courage to actually SELL the house (& not just rent) and move on to bigger and better things, regardless of all of the years and equity we have in it. Despite what the market says about prices going up or down. Or sideways.

It still may not be the best thing.
Despite all the value in it, or what anyone says.

Just as in life, love, and every kind of relationship. I have seen this to be true in both love and friendships. Sometimes we have to cut ties with the old, so that we have both the space and clarity to really legitimately be able to say a heart-all-in “yes” and commit to the new in our lives and move forward to the biggest, brightest and best.

That step usually means being brave and making the decision, without knowing what is on the other side of the door you close and safety nets that you burn.

Faith is the unseen. “Faith is the confidence in what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see…” ~ Hebrews 11:1.

I do not write this under false pretenses or feigned confidence that what I am saying is simple. As Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

But I am confident of this, that when all is said and done, it will be worth it.
Run after all you have ever wanted.
You deserve it.

We all do.

~ jules

all i have to do… is be.

Alone With You. Available on Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, & everywhere.

Alone With You
– j Meridian
(full lyrics below)

to be alone with you
that’s all I have to do
to be alone with you
I adore you
all I have to do
is be…. alone with you.

I wrote this song my senior year of college, and recorded/released it 2011 on an album called “Even In The Clarity of Sunlight.”
Why am I sharing it today? Hmmm. It’s probably triple fold.

The way the Lord (or the universe, timing, coincidence call it what you want to, just stay with me a minute!!) 🙂 The way He works in bringing things to our attention is so beautiful! If we will only continue to pay attention. To watch and listen. To let ourselves be vulnerable to the best friends in our lives. (Or your therapist or life coach, hint hint!)

Today I was doing just that. I was sharing with one of my people in my circle about a particular thing that I was letting eat away at my heart and brain. Letting it bother me much more than I would care to admit. In a matter of minutes, and probably only 3 texts, my friend reminded me of who I am, what is true, and just plain “man-logic.” (Sorry girls, we usually think differently, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a gift!) Different perspectives can certainly can save the day.

Right after I read his texts and responded with my *let-me-wax on-poetically-errr-long-winded-jules-version* of “Ok, so you’re saying…” this song I wrote came on the Apple Music that I had shuffling in my earbuds.

When “Alone with You” started to play, I stopped what I was doing, and I listened for a moment (unlike me). I remembered back to when I wrote it. Instantly I was back to the exact place I was, over 20 years ago, & remembering the situation that stirred my heart to write it – I remembered all of it.

I had seen this incredible Harvest Moon in that small Central Texas town called Brownwood, Texas. I had sometimes dealt with bouts of anxiety or not feeling good enough. Who knows why. But in that moment, driving my little red Honda CRX with the sunroof open, I realized that when I paused, to get still, quiet and connected with who I was, I was able to remember what was important. I remembered that the Lord had my steps ordered, that He was in control and His timing is perfect. When I remembered that He makes all things work together for good… this song was born.
All I needed to do was be alone, draw my focus back, and BE.

This song coming on, just as my little (re)epiphany via text conversation with my buddy, felt like such a wonderful wash of gentleness and love over my heart, to remind myself to just continue to BE.

“To be alone with you, that’s alllll I have to do.” – maybe it’s your spirituality, maybe it’s your significant other, your best friend, nature. Whatever it is. Find it. Know it.

“All I have to do, is be… alone with you.”

We all have these things we KNOW to do to draw our focus back.
It’s a personal journey.

Mine are time alone in prayer, music, writing, the Word, and both stillness and movement in nature. (a walk or run outside. or if I am REALLY lucky, being next to the beach, river or a lake).

The next time you’re anxious or feeling out of sorts,
remember what your “all I have to do is…” and


– julie

Alone With You

the air quietly surrounds me
harvest moon shines like fire
this is the harvest of my loneliness

I want to see you, I want to be…

to be alone with you
that’s all I have to do
to be alone with you
I adore you
all I have to do
is be…. alone with you.

the array of tiny lights above me
whisper sweet one be still
I look up and shine in your eyes now
put your arms around me, all I have to do is

and after the days been had, I am standing at the end,
of the waters edge, I decide to dive in
and let you change me, oh

midnight showers pour over me
penetrate my soul
dampen my eyes to your love
come sing our song with me, i adore you

and other annoying cliches…

Everything happens for a reason.”

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard that phrase in the last 30 years, I am fairly certain I’d be a millionaire. To me, it has always felt shallow & almost dismissive. It is anything, BUT comforting.

It is not comforting when your mom gets cancer your senior year of college. It is not comforting when you go through almost 3 years of infertility and are told you have a less than 3% chance of ever conceiving a biological baby. (Spoiler alert, I have 3!) It’s not comforting when you lose a best friend suddenly in a car accident, your child is diagnosed with an incurable disease, you are going through a painful divorce, or when you lose a best friend in any circumstance. And, it is not comforting when “there’s a black fly in your chardonnay or rain on your wedding day” either.
Nor is it ironic.

It’s not comforting. But, it is usually is true.

It may take a decade or more later for you to see that silver lining. Or the “reason,” but it almost always breaks through and shows itself.

I was talking to a good friend of mine about this last week. All of the little things that people say that are meant to be helpful, but when you really dive into the meaning, they are backhandedly “wrong,” and sometimes even hurtful. But we did settle on one cliche as being true ~ “Everything happens for a reason.”

Men & Women leave their families to fight wars, and serve our country, see & do things we cannot comprehend, to protect our great United States. Families lose their loved ones, or in the very least, time.

Women, Children & Men quietly endure domestic violence and abuse within the walls of their home, things we cannot comprehend.

People fight illness, addictions, loss of every kind,

You name it… every single day.

All battles of every different size, shape and form.

All of these things in life, all of these invisible scars, shape us into who we are today.

As for me, IF the ONLY reason I endured some of these things, was so I could teach my children to be aware, or side-step that abusive relationship, boss, friend? Worth it.
When a friend asked “If you had to choose who went through this and learned that lesson? Who would you choose? Your kids or yourself?” Without hesitation and through tears I said, “Me! I. CHOOSE. ME. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. 110%.”

Hindsight is 20/20. Everything does happen for a reason. If only even to help someone else with your life story.

“Sometimes the bad things that happen, can put us directly on the path that can lead us to the best that will ever happen,” IF, we choose wisely…

My path so far has led me to raising some really, really amazing children, (ok, ok, so maybe I am a little bias!) My path has led me to some amazing friends and relationships. A pretty incredible, unexpected music career, the ability to give back to others and so much more. ♡

So, when you are feeling stuck in the middle of adversity. Or thrown one of those cliches that drive you mad. Just breathe and know, some day you will be able to look back and see the silver lining. Even if it takes a dozen years and is the tiniest of silver or gold peeking through.

It will come. ~ julie

“He works all things for the good of those who love Him.” Romans 8:28

How Verbal Abusers Exploit Conversational Norms

By Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D
Psychology Today| January 3, 2022 | Reviewed by Kaja Perina

Verbal abusers often vitiate cooperative principles to get their victims down.


• When we conversationally imply something without explicitly saying it, we rely on “violations” of conversational norms.
• Verbal abusers sometimes exploit violations of conversational norms for personal gain and power.
• Some verbal abusers master the “art” of subtly violating conversational norms and cooperative principles to retain or regain power.

You are no doubt familiar with instances of verbal abuse that wear their name on the sleeve, as it were. Say you’re at the store when you hear a woman ask her companion: “Do you think we need more milk?”
Her companion gets in her face and yells: “How the f**k would I know? Why didn’t you check before we left? You’re always wasting my time.”
To your dismay, the first woman quietly apologizes to her companion.
“OMG,” you think to yourself. “That’s one toxic relationship. Thank goodness none of my connections are that bad.”
But it’s possible that your own connections (romantic or otherwise) differ not in kind but only in degree from the one you encountered.
abuse. Another category exploits violations of conversational norms as a tool for the abuser to retain or regain power.

Verbal Abuse and Paul Grice’s Conversational Maxims

The linguist and philosopher Paul Grice argued that most people tend to follow a cooperative principle, which comprises four norms, or maxims:
1. Quality: Only say what you believe to be true and backed by evidence.
2. Quantity: Don’t say more or less than the conversation calls for.
3. Relevance: Don’t say anything that is irrelevant to the current topic of the exchange.
4. Manner: Be clear, for instance, avoid ambiguity and obscure or cryptic expressions.

Although they may look very similar, the maxims of quantity and relevance differ in subtle ways. The maxim of quantity suggests not leaving out essential information or adding information that isn’t called for. The maxim of relevance, by contrast, suggests not changing the topic.

Violation of Quantity:
To illustrate:
Receptionist: You said it’s your first time with us?
actually, we stopped for five days at my sister’s in Cleveland on our way here. They just had their first baby, and….
Receptionist: Just fill out this paperwork. You can sit down over there.

Violation of Relevance:
Brie: Do you want to watch a movie?
Andy: My dog is called Zeus.

The silent treatment and ghosting are extreme violations of the maxim of quantity.

Violating Grice’s maxims isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, we violate them all the time when we assume the listener can work out what we meant to imply.

If the weather is absolutely awful, and you say to a coworker “Wonderful weather today,” you violate the maxim of quality, as you don’t believe this to be true and backed by evidence. But you presumably take it for granted that your colleague can work out that you meant the opposite of what you actually said, but used irony to lighten the situation.

While implied meanings (or “Gricean implicatures”) are prevalent in ordinary language, verbal abusers sometimes exploit violations of Grice’s maxims as a tool of abuse.

As with other forms of psychological abuse, the verbal abuser’s ultimate purpose in abusing their victims is to chip away at the latter’s confidence and sense of self and thereby retain or regain power.

Verbal Abuse that Violates the Maxim of Quality
Several subtypes of verbal abuse exploit violations of the maxim of quality. What these subtypes share in common is that the abuser knows that their statements are false or lack evidence. Here are a few examples:

that violates the maxim of quality. Abusers who exploit sarcasm as verbal abuse attacks others by saying the opposite of what they mean. Examples:
1. “It was great to meet your new beau. Wish I had a boyfriend with as many blackheads.”
2. “That mustard stain goes really well with your new hair color.”
3. “Have another doughnut, so you can keep up that double-chin.”

fact that they know that their trivializing statements are false or lack evidence. Examples:
1. “You painted the living room. So what?”
2. “Did you really just refer to your college degree? I would hardly call that a college degree. They have an 80 percent acceptance rate.”
3. “You write poetry? I always found that to be a waste of time.”

Some verbal abusers purposely make condescending or patronizing statements about you, despite knowing that their statements are false or lack evidential backing. Examples:
1. “You have no sense of humor. Maybe that’s why no one likes you.”
2. “Do you really want to go for a walk by yourself? You’re never going to find your way back. Not with your sense of direction.”
3. “You know nothing about money. Just leave the money decisions to me.”

In undermining, the abuser violates the maxim of quality by making negative statements about your suggestions, opinions, or arguments, despite knowing their statements are false or lack evidence. Examples:
1. “I can’t believe you insist on voting when you don’t understand politics.”
2. “Are you really suggesting we go out for sushi? That’s really dumb. You know we always leave hungry.”
3. “That’s the stupidest argument I have heard so far.”

Gas Lighting
Gas Lighting is an attempt to make you question your perception, your memory, and even your sanity. Gas lighting need not be verbal in nature, but gas lighters often violate the maxim of quality.
Example 1:
Victim: You said you were with John last Saturday.
Abuser: I never said that. Your memory is terrible.
Example 2:
Victim: Did you hear that sound?
Abuser: No. You must be hallucinating.

Verbal Abuse That Violates the Maxim of Quantity

Grice himself offered an example that can be re-interpreted as an instance of verbal abuse: John is out of gas and asks a passerby where he can get gas. The passerby says “There is a gas station around the corner.” Here, it’s implied that the gas station is open and has gas.

If, however, the passerby knows that the gas station is closed or doesn’t have any gas, he is violating the maxim of quantity by leaving out essential information. While he isn’t lying, he is being deceitful.

Verbal abusers who withhold information or purposely fail to share their thoughts and feelings violate the maxim of quantity.

Example 1:
Victim: I made that your favorite dish.
Abuser: Ok.
Example 2:
Victim: Could I see your credit card statements? Perhaps I can figure out if we can make some cuts in our budget.
Abuser: No way, you ain’t gonna scrutinize my credit card statements.

Verbal Abuse That Violates the Maxim of Relevance

Blocking and Diverting
Blocking and diverting are forms of verbal abuse in which the abuser assumes they have the right to decide the conversational topic.
Example 1:
Victim: “Something really funny happened at work today.”
Abuser: “Do we always have to talk about your workday?”
Example 2:
Abuser: “Your argument is circular. I can’t discuss this issue with you.”

Verbal Abuse That Violates the Maxim of Manner
Verbal abusers who violate the maxim of manner may use pretentious language to make you feel unintelligent. Example:
Abuser: “I suppose you aren’t acquainted with Yeats’ oeuvres.”

Gas lighters may use non-sequiturs as a crazy-making tactic. Example:
Victim: Do you think this table is too big for our living room?
Abuser: Of course not, it’s made of wood.

Grice, P. 1975, ‘Logic and Conversation’, in The Logic of Grammar, D. Davidson and G. Harman (eds.), Encino, CA: Dickenson, 64–75

About the Author
Berit Brogaard, D.M.Sci., Ph.D.
, is a professor of philosophy

Slow & Steady, Baby.

You name it, whatever the goal is in life, I think this applies.

Diet & exercise regimens.
Weight loss, Muscle Gains.
That New business, your job, a promotion.
Your savings account.

As attractive as a crash diet, or fad diet or workout may be, typically, they are not sustainable or lasting. They can wreak havoc on your body and the percentage of people who gain the weight back is reportedly 95% (but this is also debatable). 80% of New Year’s Resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Disordered eating. Disordered workouts. —- not good.

Slow your roll, kids. Make a plan. A healthy, sustainable plan.

None of us are made the same. None of us are going to achieve the exact same “bodies” (or photoshopped celebrity bodies) no matter what supplements we take, or how many calories we burn or consume. (or don’t consume).

I am not a fan of CRASH anything…
While I love instant results, and it’s true, waiting is a real pain!
Crashing is inevitably – well… a wreck.

“They” say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. “According to Phillippa Lally; a health psychology researcher at University College London, a new habit usually takes a little more than 2 months — 66 days to be exact — and as much as 254 days until it’s fully formed.”

See? Slow and steady wins the race.

It is my belief that the lasting “resolutions” are the ones that you can turn into your daily life… instead of a “diet,” choose to eat healthy
(most of the time, but people – you still have to live! 😉🧁🌮).

Anytime we tell others or ourselves “No, you can’t HAVE or DO this or that.” What is our natural response?

No matter how gentle and easy going you are – human nature response is going to be “oh yes I can!” and then you are on overdrive of wanting to have that forbidden fruit. (or chocolate. or not exercising. or shopping.) 🍎🍫🏋🏻👠

This is the year you switch it up, change your perspective!

Our perspective and how we frame things has a lot of impact! You are in charge of your daily perspective, you choose.

So here we are on day two of “twenty -twenty-two ooo ooo!” 🎶🎶🎶

If you want me to help get you started on your first 22~~~ days of whatever YOUR goals may be, then send me a message!

I promise not to Taylor Swift “22 ooo ooo!” sing to you,
i mean, unless you want me too. 😉

~ j

Just Close the Damn Door, Already…

They say when God closes one door, another door opens…

Every new year, we makes lists. Resolutions. “I will do this, I will do that.”

I am a big proponent of the “Not To Do Lists” – the “Resolve Not To” – the “This Year I Will… remove the following from my proverbial plate.” And let me tell you, it has always proved itself to be positive.

Pare down, simplify, get rid of what isn’t serving a greater purpose or moving you forward, making you happy. Whether that means, cleaning out your closet, garage, refrigerator, or sock drawer. 😉

Or MOST importantly, the RELATIONSHIPS in your life and the way you spend your T I M E.

Earlier this year, I made yet another list. (I love lists!)

This one, almost every sentence began with “I will…”

I will always eat good food, because I love it.

I will start to this, I will continue to that. (run, exercise, start a business, etc etc.)

and there were just a couple of “ I hope to…”

Earlier this year, I also took a relationship off of my plate, and a couple of years ago some others. Each of these big deals. It was quietly painful, and it was uncharted territory to say the very least. (more on this another time, maybe.)

But when I found my “I will list” that I made June 13, 2021, and I read through – I realized that I had accomplished everything on that list, even the two, “I hope to always…”

I realized, if I had not removed a few of the relationships, if I had not been brave enough to stand up and even quietly (or not so quietly) walk away from things that were holding me back in life, I would not have found friendships and relationships that have caused me to flourish, smile, laugh and feel loved in ways I have not experienced in over a decade.

I would not have had the courage to grow, start a new business, feel more of myself, and relax into my complete self again.

So yes, it is true. When God closes one door, another door opens.

But sometimes,

you just need to get up,

close the damn door yourself,

and get on with it.

As for me? I prefer to do my moving on in a stellar pair of high heels.

xo – j

“5 Things Not to Say to Someone Over the Holidays—Or Ever…”

by Mallory Frayn Ph.D | article from Psychology Today

5 Things Not to Say to Someone Over the Holidays – or Ever…
from Psychology Today

I thought this was a great read by Mallory Frayn Ph.D, from Psychology Today.

Some are VERY obvious (lol, #2), some, not as much… feel free to repost, or even forward to that “favorite” co-worker or family member! 😉 Sometimes talk about diet and even exercise can lead you down a very slippery and dangerous slope…

5 Things Not to Say to Someone Over the Holidays—Or Ever…
by Mallory Frayn Ph.D | article from Psychology Today

“Ditch the chitchat about eating and weight and talk about what’s meaningful.

• Making commentary on people’s eating and weight is not helpful.

• You can’t determine someone’s health based on their shape or size.

• Weight-related commentary perpetuates diet culture and takes away from having more meaningful interactions with others.

Making commentary on someone’s weight, shape, size, or eating habits just isn’t helpful, period. If we comment on someone’s weight gain, we’re effectively shaming them for being larger than we think they “should” be. If we comment on someone’s weight loss, we’re reinforcing the notion that you have to live in a smaller body to have more worth or value as a human being. Neither of these messages is inherently true, nor helpful. So if you catch yourself about to say any of these things to a friend or family member over the holidays, take a step back and think about what you are actually trying to communicate. Chances are, there’s a way to say that without bringing weight or eating into the equation.

1. “Have you lost weight?”

Often with the undertone of, “What are you doing that I’m not doing? Teach me your ways!” Diet culture teaches us that we should value thinness, and thus weight loss, at all costs, but when you see someone looking smaller than you remember, you don’t actually know that their change in size is a good thing. First off, they may have been perfectly healthier at whatever size they were before. Thinness does not equal health, and not-thinness does not equal lack of health. Second, weight loss can occur for any number of reasons that are not good. Disordered eating and/or eating disorders can lead to extreme weight loss, and so can medical conditions and diseases like cancer. Take a pause before assuming that weight loss is inherently good or necessary.

Things to say instead: Try to be curious about how they are doing and what is happening for them—not to “get the dirt,” but to show that you’re there for support if they need it.

• How are you doing? It has been a long time since I’ve seen you, how have things been in your life?

• How are/have you been feeling?

2. “Have you gained weight?”

It may go without saying based on the above, but if smaller is not better, it follows that bigger is not worse. People gain weight for a whole host of reasons, all of which the person whose body it is would be most aware of, not you. Chances are, if you’re pointing it out, the person is already in the know, which makes your judgment less than helpful. Ask yourself, “What are you trying to get out of probing about this?” It may be a subtle way of boosting yourself up by putting another down; “At least I’m not in the same boat,” as it were. Or it may be your own fear of fatness or weight gain that you’re trying to protect yourself from. Either way, shaming someone else doesn’t have to be part of the interaction.

Things to say instead: Try for commentary that validates the person for who they are, and not what they look like.

• You’re so funny, I love your sense of humour and have missed spending time with you.

• You’re always so compassionate. It feels really easy to be myself around you.

3. “I’ve been trying out X diet. Let me tell you all about it.”

A holiday wouldn’t be complete without hearing about the fad diet du jour. While I don’t assume that anyone has malicious intent when they share about their experiences with keto, intermittent fasting, or any other “trendy” diet, it again speaks to the value that our society places on dieting and restriction, without taking into consideration situations under which this could actually be harmful. You might not know that others at the table struggle or have struggled with disordered eating, and in preaching the gospel of X diet, you’re perpetuating the myth that these are valuable things to spend our time fretting over.

Things to say instead: Try asking about what habits people have found to be helpful in maintaining their physical and mental health over the year, particularly during COVID times.

• What have people found to be helpful to their physical/mental health (during COVID)?

• I’ve been feeling kind of stuck lately. What helps you to maintain your sense of well-being?

4. “You really should do more of X (e.g., going to the gym, eating less carbs); it will make you feel better.”

Whenever a client uses the word “should” in one of our sessions, I usually reply with something along the lines of, “Should according to who?” The problem with “shoulds” is that they are external. They are rules to live by that come from what someone has told you, or what society tells you, but that doesn’t mean that they are meaningful or important to you. While you may have internalized these shoulds over time, they still may not “work” for you. Certainly, putting your shoulds onto other people is a recipe for disaster and likely to be met by a stern, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” No one likes an advice-giver, unless they’ve directly asked for it. Rather than preaching, try sharing what has been helpful to you. You can own your experience without assuming it will work for everyone.

Things to say instead:

• I’ve found it really helpful to focus on X this past year. It gives me something to look forward to in my day and helps to keep me on track.

• I find it pretty difficult to maintain Y habit. Does anyone have any suggestions based on what has worked for them?

5. “Why are you eating that?”

If you are telling a fellow, full-grown adult what or how much to eat, you may want to examine where that’s coming from. Do you not think they are capable of making their own decisions? How would you feel if roles were reversed? Healthy boundaries would suggest that you are responsible for you and what you say or do, which means that anyone else is responsible for themselves. Regardless of what you may think about someone’s eating choices, ultimately, they are not yours to make. Commenting on them doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Things to say instead: Try commenting on your own experience rather than putting it on others.

• This dish is so tasty! What’s the recipe?

• I’m having such a great evening. It’s so nice to be here sharing a meal with everyone.

#disorderedeating #disorderedexercise #eatingdisorder #dietculture #meaningfulconversations #psychologytoday #saythisnotthat #healthy #healthandwellness #healthandwellnesscoach #lifecoach


Some days are hard. Some days are incredible. Some days are just average or boring. But my best days are always when I’m allowed (or allow myself) to continually be my authentic self.

This picture was taken in a thoughtless hurry one evening when one of my good friends texted & asked what I was up to… “I just tried on a new shirt I got in the mail.” I said, “What does it look like?” they replied. So I snapped this pic with zero thought that I had not put any make up on that day (except a little bit under my allergy eyes 🙃)… 📸 I just took a pic & pressed send.

That’s what friendship is, feeling so comfortable that you are yourself ~ inside and out ~ on ALL of the days. The highs & the lows. Being able to share the good & the bad times, without fear of judgement. Knowing you are loved ~ unconditionally.

As a parent, I hope that I am modeling an authentic life, & a safe space for my kids to always do the same… freedom to share every part of their hearts & minds. Even when it may not always gel with mine – I want to know them, to understand them, and hey – change my mind! (Because even Mom is not always right!) This is something I have been telling them since they were in middle school & I believe this to be true of all my relationships.

Bringing truth & love to light, living an honest & authentic life with my whole heart is the only way I know how to do it…

Is it dangerous sometimes wearing my heart on my sleeve?


Is it worth it most of the time?


I have three incredible kids & some friendships more precious than gold to prove it.

Thank you to my circle. You know who you are. ♥️

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