#1-Learn to hang frames

As I said in my original post-this one I’m a little embarrassed about. There has been a small pile of picture frames, thread portraits and even a random piece of wood that fell off our wall left for Zach for far longer than I care to admit. It’s summer which means Zach works extra long hours, often not getting home for good until I’m deep into my REM cycle. It has always just felt wrong (though I admit it’s been done) to leave a list for him on the fridge of things that need fixed and hung for when he gets home at night.

Let me just say had I known I’d be able to accomplish this first small task of mine barefoot, in a swimsuit cover up and while drinking beer I maybe wouldn’t have waited so long to give it a go. Full disclosure, it was all the measuring and the math that got me nervous. And Zach’s OCD. He tells me everyone wants their stuff perfectly hung so that each room the items are hung at the same height and feature the same width between them. (He’s lying, right?!?!? That can’t be true.) Either way, I totally nailed it.

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I’ve gotten some really great ideas so far from you all. Stuff you are doing in your life or stuff you want to do. I’m going to definitely take on some of them! Keep me posted if you have any more ideas.

I sent my friend this picture with the caption, “Well into my year of Tesi.”

Her response, “Only you would start the year of Tesi in July.”

And it’s true. But the reality is I’m not promised January. I might only have a few days or weeks to teach all of my kids (with special thought of Dailah) that you’re never too young or old to learn new tricks. And to quit running from things that scare you. Of course the kids were all curious to see their mom with a hammer when dad was standing right there so I explained my year or learning new things.

Yesterday Dailah was invited to her friend’s house across the lake. Normally she would ask one of her brothers to row her over but yesterday she said good bye and I looked out to see her rowing herself.

Let Us Be Women Who Love

I have so many posts to write about the move and so many feelings but this post has been on my mind since Zach walked down to the house from his office at Abe Lincoln and said, “So you ready to move to Michigan?”

Before moving to the Quad Cities I was a self described friend of boys. I didn’t have a whole lot of really close girlfriends because I felt like I just didn’t get along with women at the time. In hindsight I know it’s because I had been too scared to let women in. Nothing gets by women, you see, they ask questions and tend to genuinely care about where you’re at in life-at least the ones I’ve since come to know and love. And it can be really scary letting people in. Really, really scary. It’s also beautiful too but at the time I was young and let the fear win.

It’s hard not to reflect on my decade in the Quad Cities without devoting so much thought to the women who have forever changed who I am because of who they are. The women who have inspired and encouraged, loved and challenged me. The ones I called in the dark days and the ones I called to celebrate a large (or small) victory.

In my reflections it’s become quite clear to me that I have both large and small players. Obviously I have my soul sisters, the ones with whom I tell everything but I also have the smaller players. The women I see in my classes every week or the ones who text me the most perfect texts at just the right times.

I regret waiting so long to open my heart to the sisterhoods I now appreciate so very much. I do not exaggerate when I say that in so many ways these women (and many more who are not pictured) have saved me on more than one occasion. These women understand that when we help each other up, we help ourselves too. What a tremendous blessing.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women willing to lay down our sword words, our sharp looks, our ignorant silence and towering stance and fill the earth now with extravagant Love.

Let us be women who Love.

Let us be women who make room.

Let us be women who open our arms and invite others into an honest, spacious, glorious embrace.

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Let us be women who carry each other. 

Let us be women who give from what we have.

Let us be women who leap to do the difficult things, the unexpected things and the necessary things.

Let us be women who live for Peace.

Let us be women who breathe Hope.

Let us be women who create beauty.

Let us be women who Love.

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Let us be a sanctuary where God may dwell.

Let us be a garden for tender souls.

Let us be a table where others may feast on the goodness of God.

Let us be a womb for Life to grow.

Let us be women who Love.

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Let us rise to the questions of our time.

Let us speak to the injustices in our world.

Let us move the mountains of fear and intimidation.

Let us shout down the walls that separate and divide.

Let us fill the earth with the fragrance of Love.

Let us be women who Love.

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Let us listen for those who have been silenced.

Let us honor those who have been devalued.

Let us say, Enough! with abuse, abandonment, diminishing and hiding.

Let us not rest until every person is free and equal.

Let us be women who Love.

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Let us be women who are savvy, smart, and wise. 

Let us be women who shine with the light of God in us.

Let us be women who take courage and sing the song in our hearts.

Let us be women who say, Yes to the beautiful, unique purpose seeded in our souls.

Let us be women who call out the song in another’s heart.

Let us be women who teach our children to do the same.

Let us be women who Love.

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Let us be women who Love, in spite of fear.

Let us be women who Love, in spite of our stories.

Let us be women who Love loudly, beautifully, Divinely.

Let us be women who Love.

-Idelette McVicker

On Hair

A little over a year ago I decided to cut my hair. Before that I had always (except for one time long ago when I tried to have a $10 pixie cut-bad. news.) rocked long hair. My hair was always getting compliments because it was “the good kind of hair”-thick, course, just a little bit of wave, etc. It did basically exactly what I wanted it to on any given day and didn’t take up too much of my time.

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When I first went to the hair stylist to tell her I wanted a pixie, she was horrified. So even though I went in with an exact example of what I wanted, she successfully talked me into something a bit less drastic. She was sure I’d regret it if I went for the full chop like I was hoping for. We She settled on this. (Far right, holding my adorable niece Adley).

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It wasn’t a bad hair cut, in fact I’ve seen it on many women and loved it, it’s just not what I wanted. After a month of trying to get it to look as sassy as I felt, my wonderful husband finally said, “Just do it. Go get your hair cut how you wanted it in the first place. You’ll never know if it’s what you really want until you do it.” And so I did.

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Since that day I haven’t really looked back. I’ve worn it spiked, down, mohawk-ed. I’ve had it blonde mostly but I also went purple and maroon.

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Currently I’m wearing it shaved on one side and a little longer in the front/on the top. I asked Zach a few weeks ago, “Hey, you wanna shave part of my head?” His response, “Never thought you’d ask me that but sure.”

Let me start by saying I understand that I’m super lucky to have a husband who puts 0 stalk in how I look. I get that I’m one of the lucky ones who has married a man who finds me (almost) equally charming and beautiful in my sweats as he does in my bridesmaid dresses. I get that.

But having my hair short has been one lesson after another in the hurtful ways we women think about ourselves. Almost every day I get a woman coming up to me saying something along these 4 lines:

“Oh man, I love your hair, I wish I could pull that off!”

“Oh man, I have always wanted short hair but I don’t have the face/look/hair for it.”

“I LOVE your hair! I would love to try short hair but my husband would kill me!”

“Love the hair, would love to try it but it would make my butt/face/belly/arms look HUGE.”

Every time I hear it I say something like, “Please don’t say that about yourself, it’s absolutely not true. I used to do that to myself as well, it doesn’t feel good. So stop it! And if you want your hair cut do it! Let’s go right now!”

Look, we are ingrained from a young age to believe our femininity is tied to many things-our hair is just one of them. In Brene Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, (side note: you have to read this. Go reserve it at your library, I’ll wait. Ok then) she talks about how feminine norms are the foundation of shame triggers. “If women want to play by the rules, they need to be sweet, thin and pretty, (editor’s note: I would add, ‘with long hair’) stay quiet, be perfect moms and wives, and not own their power

She goes on to talk about how any move outside of these norms brings a hailstorm of shame on the woman making such risky moves.

And boy do I believe it. Because we women have a constant stream of unhealthy self talk going on at any given time in our heads, right? I don’t want to boil it all down to physical appearances because it is not just that, but since this blog is about hair that will be the focus.

I think, for me at least, it took me so long to go for this hair cut I had been coveting for so long because it takes so much work to own your own power as a woman. So many of our bosses make it impossible, some husbands or significant others clearly make it really hard to do so, our kids might be testing our resolve at owning our own power. Certainly I think the biggest culprit is our society’s emphasis on masculine power structure being the end all be all, whether it be in really obvious ways (marketing, culture of war) or fairly subliminal ways (the ways in which we were raised and familial hierarchy structures).

None of this is to say that if you’re rockin’ long locks you are giving in to “the man”. I merely want us, as women, to start evaluating who we are letting take our agency. As a mother to a daughter I am constantly aware of the way she sees me look at myself. I am constantly aware that the way I talk about me is the way she will one day talk about herself. Whew. What a scary and brutifal honor.

What I want her to see when she looks at me is someone who owns everything she is-the beautiful and terrible. It’s taken me a long time to get to where I want to own all of that, there’s a lot of scary stuff in there, but if I don’t own it someone else will and that is far more terrifying to me.

Maybe one day our daughters won’t have to consciously think about owning their own power, maybe our culture will have let go of the (dated) masculine ideal, we can hope. But until then I’m going to show Dailah my struggle with it so that she knows it’s a choice every day.

So when Dailah sees her dad shaving half my head she’ll see a small shift in the world and know she’s on the right side of things.

Do you guys struggle with this? Is it just me? Beuller? Beuller?