Let me introduce you to Ms. Insecurity. She’s the one that…

From the Archives:  May 12, 2010

Oh that’s right – no need for descriptions here. I’m guessing you are already well acquainted with her. Some of us know her better than others, but shall I be bold enough to say, “She’s probably one of our oldest friends, more like a frenemy.  She’s no longer my constant companion but I must admit she shows up more often than I’d like. How close is she to you? What does she mean to you? Is she invited into your inner circle or is she only invited to the big events in your life? Let’s be honest with each other, “What kind of frenemy has she been to you all these years?”

I don’t need to tell you she’s been a bad friend. Some might even tag her “abusive”. I went to a women’s conference two weeks ago. The “hot” topic was insecurity. Guess how many women attended the “live via satellite” event? 300,000. That’s right – that many girlfriends were at least secure enough to gather and discuss their insecurities. Yay for us! It’s about time we brought Insecurity’s ugly self out into the open. Beth Moore was the conference speaker and is the author of the new book, “So Long Insecurity: You’ve been a Bad Friend to Us.” I’m reading it right now (research, of course).  😉 She started off the discussion with this question, “When was the last time you met up with Insecurity?” It was a “she had me at hello” moment for me. I had just encountered her. I had just surveyed the auditorium looking over the outfits of all the women within my view. My friend, Ms. Insecurity, needed to see if I was dressed JUST RIGHT. Then, I thought back to the evening before the conference and I had had a moment with Brad where I was questioning my security. Wow. Yikes and I consider myself to be a fairly secure, confident woman.  If I had had two run-ins with Ms. Insecurity (that I was aware of) in less than 12 hours, this insecurity thing must be rampant, especially amongst women.

The next point Beth brought that resonated and the reason why I’m writing today was this, “NOTHING GOOD COMES FROM INSECURITY.” I will say it again, “NOTHING GOOD COMES FROM INSECURITY.” Think on this. Ponder it. What comes to mind?

How often do you meet up with her? Is it time to say goodbye? Is it time to let this friendship go? If you’re like me, you are ready. Some of us have already started on the journey to letting go of our insecurities. Letting go of Ms. Insecurity won’t happen over night. It’s a cultural thing. We must tackle it together. Let’s meet. Let’s discuss. Let’s be honest with each other. We will need to be vulnerable. It will take work to truly say goodbye. But let’s do it. Let’s speak the truth. Let’s live in the truth.

Contemplating change,

Hello confidence

From the Archives: August 26, 2010

“…And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
~ Lee Ann Womack

She’s six years old and she’s got game.  I’m watching with bated breath from across the pool.  She’s climbing higher and higher – up she goes calculating each foot placement as if she’s rock-climbing Mt. Rainier. The lifeguard watches in amazement – she’s a tiny little thing – weighing all of 42 pounds soaking wet. He asks with a bit of trepidation, “Is she afraid of anything?”  I’m shaking my head, “I don’t think so.”  She reaches the top, smiles a proud smile and whoosh she lands in the pool.  She’s out of the pool lickety split and back in line.  She’s doing a happy dance with an invisible hula-hoop and singing “Aunt Cindy, did you see me?  I did it. I did it!  Look at me – I climbed to the top.  Woohoo.  I’m so great.  I did it!”

My heart sang for my niece, Cady.  I was all smiles.  I thought, “Wow! Now that is confidence in its purest form.”  How could I capture that confidence? There must be a way to protect that in her.  Cady’s happy dance was an inspiration.  She’s full of life.  She knows what she wants and goes for it undaunted.  She’s not afraid of looking silly or patting herself on the back in public.  She did a good job and she was happy about it.  She didn’t wait around to see what the rest of her world thought about her accomplishment.  She just celebrated out in the open for all to see.   How beautiful is that?

I think we all know when we’ve done a great job.  I’d be willing to guess we all know the happy dance…unfortunately somewhere along the road we learned we shouldn’t celebrate out loud in front of everyone.  What will people think?  We might look conceited or full of our selves.  Someone might not agree a celebration is in order.  I’m guessing the happy dance we do is not on the dance floor of life – it’s done in the privacy of our heart or within the confines of our walk-in closet…or just maybe we misplaced our confidence or worse yet had it stolen through life experiences and the happy dance is no longer in our repertoire.  This saddens me – all “grown up” and afraid to do the happy dance.  I dare us to be six again.  Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see our “fellow” girlfriends celebrating life and accomplishments out loud with a happy dance for all the world to see?   I can envision it now.  The happy dance becomes happenstance in the market, at the gym, and down the hallway at work.  The next time we have an accomplishment, big or small, I dare us to change our “grown up” perspective and have the freedom and the confidence of a six year old to exuberantly do the happy dance and sing out loud, “Did you see me?  I did it. I did it!  Look at me – I climbed to the top.  Woohoo.  I’m so great.  I did it!”  Let’s get the word out – if Cady can do it unabashedly, why can’t we? 

I hope you dance,

P.S.  I missed you all!  It was good to be with family and make some fun memories – like the one I just shared.  I’m now in the throes of the last semester of my RN program, trying real hard to keep Cady’s perspective.  

At the water’s edge

From the Archives: March 26, 2012

“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” ~ Maya Angelou, Poet

The waves crash. The sea churns. There’s no imitation sea foam here. The storm has rolled in. The rain patters against our windows. We sit and wait with bated breath for bigger breakers to send spray up into the air as they dash themselves against the rocks.  The bigger the better. The show is spectacular!

I love a good storm – literally speaking. I’m not a big fan of the figurative kind. I grew up in South Florida where thunder boomers were a daily occurrence every summer – you could count on one to rise up each afternoon at 3pm. I lived in the lightning capital of the world for 10 years – Tampa Bay. Talk about light shows – Wow!  San Francisco would throw quite the winter thunderstorm.  It’s howling winds would wake me up from a sound sleep. I admit storms like this bring pure joy instead of trepidation. Give me a storm that rages on the outside and I feel all warm and cozy on the inside. The same can’t be said for my step mom, Diane. Storms terrify her. I still remember the thunder and lightning storms in New Hampshire that would send her over the edge. My dad and I would open up all the curtains and doors in the house for a front row seat and poor Diane would tremble in fear – hoping and praying that we would close everything up tight as a turtle in her shell.  She’s probably shaking her head as she reads this and is thinking “Did she really need to share that with the world?”  Don’t worry, Diane – my audience isn’t world wide – yet!

Isn’t it funny (in the uncanny sense not the haha sense) how one thing can bring fear and trembling to one and security and safety to another? You should see the different things that invoke fear in Blitz and Giggles. Blitz and Giggles are our chocolate retrievers. Blitz gets anxious when we set out on a drive while Giggles snuggles in for the ride ahead. Giggles is afraid of heights or anything that makes her think she is way up high. Blitz is always trying to climb up on top of things to see the world. We first noticed Giggles’ fear in Yosemite one day as we were crossing a wooden slatted bridge – you could see the river below sloshing onward. She crouched down low under Brad’s wheelchair shaking in terror.  Giggles’ safe place has always been under Brad’s wheelchair.  Any time she’s afraid – she runs for the protection of her daddy and plants herself safely under his chair. You should have seen her this morning. I took her out for a walk and there was a storm drain in the middle of the parking lot – you could see way down through the grates. She put her brakes on. She was not going anywhere near that drain. Of course, it took me a little while to figure out what was spooking her. When we left the hotel room later in the morning with Brad – guess where she “weathered” her fear of the storm drain? Yep, she crouched under Brad’s chair until she was a safe distance from the drain. I love that even dogs have their safe place.

Do you have a safe place from the “storms” of life?  I do. It’s at the water’s edge.

It’s where I run for cover – my refuge. I find tranquility from the storms that rage within. It is my safe place. Whenever I get stressed out just thinking about the water’s edge brings peace. I imagine the water washing over me, taking my worry out to sea.  If I can get to the water’s edge – be it the ocean, a lake, river or stream – a sense of calm always comes rushing in. Clarity comes quicker. The vast ocean gives me perspective. It brings me back to my core, back to my center. It’s where I meet with God. My true sense of self is restored. The water’s edge seems to set my world back in order.   I think that’s why I haven’t totally settled into Springville in the four+ years we lived there. It just might be too far away from my safe place.

Many of my treasured memories of security and comfort are all found at the water’s
edge. The sound of halyards wooing me to sleep on the sailboat in the Bahamas; a 9-year old Cindy soaring from the bow of my granddad’s boat named the Helyon in the Florida Keys; endless tubing trips down the Pemigewasset river in college; praying at the water’s edge and seeing dolphins come out to play along the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Clearwater, Florida; Kerstin and I driving down to East Beach when we lived on St. Simon’s Island at night to hear the waves lapping the coast – a lullaby to our soul; “surprise” vistas of the San Francisco Bay as I traversed my beloved city; and getting married at the water’s edge in Carmel-by-the-Sea to my Ferd Lee.

Oh to be in my safe place (I’m in Monterey this week – yay!). Oh to envision my safe place. Contentment replaces worry. Peace silences fear. Comfort rushes in and takes over my unsettled heart. I’m at home and safe at the water’s edge. Lisa, my coach, and I have discussed this at length over the last year especially while I’ve encountered new struggles while trying to become a competent registered nurse. There have been days when I urgently needed my safe place. The coast may be 200 miles away from Adventist Medical Center but I can bring it close by taking a moment to imagine myself there. Oh, the power of our imagination.

Here’s one of the simple exercises Lisa and I came up with to help me reach my safe place in the midst of the storms of stress that come my way at work. When the storm comes upon me, I am supposed to take a moment and go get a cool cup of ice water. Then I’m supposed to drink it slowly taking deep breaths between each sip. It’s amazing how instantly the transformation begins to take place as the cool water “pours over me”.  Centering takes place. The challenge for me is recognizing that a storm is upon me and then trusting the process and taking that moment to get the cup o’ aqua. When I do, comfort finds me.

Thank you for letting me share my safe place with you. Take a moment or two this week and contemplate your safe place. Where is it? How does it make you feel? Practice “transporting” yourself there the next time a figurative storm shows up on your horizon.

Resting at the Water’s Edge,


Cup o’ tea

From the Archives: February 16, 2010

“Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage.” ~ Catherine Douzel

Phew.  Last week came to a welcomed end.  At 3pm on Friday, I laid down for a nap.  7.5 hours later, clinching the title of world champion napper, I woke up.  Oh my!  My mind knew I had had a stressful week, I guess my body did, too.

On my way to a 3-hour seminar and a full day of nursing clinicals at the hospital on Wednesday, I had a little “moment” talking to my sister.  In that moment, I realized just how much worry I had borrowed:

Tuesday morning.  Truck stuck in mud on way to clinicals.  Call AAA.
Two hours late.  Borrow a little worry – check.

Tuesday evening.  Husband.  News of another torn rotator cuff, argh – the same shoulder that had surgery 16 months ago.  Another surgery?  Job uncertainty?  Borrow lots of worry and some sadness for Brad – check.

94 year-old Granddad, 90% heart blockage, headed to Europe for his 3rd cruise in 2 years.  Go Granddad, go heart.  Granddaddy, please be safe.  Borrow adequate amount of worry with a little hope – check.

Sister.  Her husband deployed to Iraq for a year.
Borrow decent amount of worry – check.

Nursing Care Plan due this week.  Must write and implement – 20-hour project.  Must get enough data with minimal time allotted while caring for my patients.  Borrow just the right amount of worry – check.

First test of the semester.  Those who have gone before us encourage us to set our expectations at failure.  Studied beaucoup hours, 40 pages of handwritten notes.  Borrow way too much worry (more than my fair share) – check.  

Weight of all the worry.  Not enough downtime.  Rush, rush, rush all week.  Still rushing.  Can’t afford tears at the moment. Must hold it together.  I’ll take a minor meltdown for $400, Alex.  Cry a little, pray a little, love a little upon my sissy, who’s going through enough stress of her own.  Check.

I get to the seminar about 45 minutes early.  I really should study.  Too tired.  Too drained.  Must muster up my networking savvy.   I ask myself, “What would be the best use of my time?  In the hotel lobby, as I see those little packets of calm, I know instantly.  A cup of tea, a moment of silence and, “Voila!” – peace came.

The cup of tea was this lovely blend of mint and tarragon leaves.  Its name was rejuvenation.  It was made just for me and my borrowed worry.  I sat down in a big comfy chair.  The cup warming my hands.  The steam invading my soul.  Ahhh….

It only takes 5 minutes and the benefits are numerous.  Sipping tea slows you down.  The tea itself can have calming effects.  There are even health benefits – the research proves it.

So, I dare you.  The next time you are borrowing more than your share of worry, grab your favorite mug and sit down to a cup of tea.

Sipping my tea,