You Should…

You should

You should be excited

You should want this

You should have responded how I expected you to

You should act like anyone else would in this situation

You shouldn’t have said that

You shouldn’t have done that

You shouldn’t be authentic to who you are.

It took me a while to realize the impact should-ing was having on me.  It took me time to process the words I was hearing, the feelings I was having, the reactions I was receiving.

It took me a while to grasp what was actually happening on the inside for me.

“Someone else would have never responded that way…”

“Someone else would have been happy…”

“Someone else….”

It’s a strange feeling that comes up when you’re told what kind of person you should be and how “someone else” would be.  It’s intrinsically confusing.  It’s heartbreaking.  It’s cruel.  And what came up for me, was shame.

Shame showed its ugly face when I started to hear who I should be, instead of being accepted as I am.

I started to shame myself for not responding how I should have.  For not responding how a normal person would respond.  For not feeling how I was supposed to feel.  I felt shame because the person I authentically showed up as was different than what was expected of me, wasn’t good enough, and therefore, the person I was, was wrong.

So the internal debate began. Do I stand true to myself and honor my feelings, needs, wants?  Do I conform to make others happy?  Do I put on a front to avoid an awkward situation?  Or the really shaming feelings of… are they right? Am I wrong for feeling this way?  Am I a bad/wrong/evil person because that’s what came up for me?  And the spiral of internalize the shame begins, and, it’s devastating.

Under no circumstances does this behavior exemplify love.

Friends, there’s nothing more joyful than being accepted for who you are. Don’t get me wrong, I am 100% in support of personal growth and surrounding yourself with people who want to encourage you to be the best you can be.  But the key word here is encourage. I recently heard the saying “people who really care about you don’t let you keep f*cking up” and I LOVE this.  And considering I know the source of this saying – I know the intention of this saying is about encouraging accountability, not inflicting shame.

So, a note to the shoulders: Stop it.  Stop telling people who they should be, how they should respond, how they should feel.   But instead, lovingly stand beside them and try to understand them.  Ask questions.  Be curious.  Show your invested interest in them.  Approach with love, empathy, curiosity and love, always love.  Did I mention show up with love?  I can almost guarantee you’ll be met with an attitude of gratefulness, openness, vulnerability, trust, honesty, humility….

And to my friends who have experiences the should-ing: Be you.  Be authentically you.  Honor what comes up for you.  Honor your feelings.  Be curious about yourself.  Ask yourself questions.  There is absolutely no room for shame in love – and that includes the love you have for yourself!  You are beautiful.  You are great.  You are wonderful.  God created YOU just as you are, and you are perfect. 

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A Fall Day in Wine Country

Being a Californian, I’ve always heard “you haven’t seen a real fall”, and while I know it’s true, I do savor the glimpses I do get.  I am very blessed to live a hop, skip and a jump away from wine country, so I try to make it up as much as possible, especially when I know the leaves will be radiant with color.

For my latest trip I got spoiled.  Normally I do a decent amount of research into where I want to go to breakfast, wineries with the prettiest grounds, yada yada.  But for this trip my friend had everything planned out!  What a treat 🙂

Here’s what we did:

Stop 1, Breakfast at the Sunflower Café in Sonoma Square 


This place is just heavenly!  You order your food at the counter and find a seat.  It started pouring rain when we arrived, but we snatched an amazing covered table on the back patio where we were toasted by the heaters and serenaded by the sound of rain.  I’ve never dined outside while it was raining, and this experience alone was therapeutic.  All their food is sustainably sourced from local businesses – and is quite delicious!  We arrived around 10:30 on Saturday morning and had no trouble finding a spot.  After your meal, make sure to swing by the shop next door – Global Heart – where you can find fair trade goodies for all ages!  If you have extra time, stroll around the square, there are tons of cute spots to see.

Stop 2, Domaine Carneros, Napa 

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Driving up to this winery makes you feel like you’re approaching an English Country Château- it’s enchantingly elegant.  Stroll up the beautiful staircase and take in the colorful vineyards and roses on either side.  If it’s a nice day out, the patio will be loaded with champagne connoisseurs enjoying the view.  If it’s a rainy day, like ours was, get a reservation so they save you a seat in their lovely dining room.  You will spend a bit more on tastings here (starting at $30), but it’s worth every penny (*they offer a military discount for my fellow service members).  We sat here for literally hours, sipping our champagne and taking it all in.

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Stop 3, Oxbow Public Market, Napa


This place is ah-mazing.  The market is loaded with unique restaurants, goodies, gifts, you name it!  If we hadn’t still been stuffed on breakfast, we would have indulged in one of the tempting restaurants.  Since we were stuffed, we sauntered around the little “shops”, tasting olive oils and chocolate sauces, getting googly-eyed over cupcakes and assortments of cheeses and meats, smelled the extensive collection of every spice you could think of, and sniffed more flavors of bitters one knew existed.  We grabbed a couple of rainy day weather brews from Fieldwork Brewery and sat out on the patio and took it all in. We ended our day walking along the river, watching the locals fish.

While only hitting 3 spots doesn’t sound like much, we took our time at each spot, and before we knew it, it was evening.  This truly was a beautiful, delicious, and leisurely day.  Now, go, explore, indulge, have fun!  Surround yourself with good company, have good conversations, and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you.

God id good friends.  God is good.

Mammoth, CA

With camping season around the corner, I decided to post about an amazing trip I took a few years ago.

3 friends and I loaded down my Subaru and hit the road to Mammoth.  I planned this trip around the annual Bluesapalooza Music, Beer & Food festival.  I had never been, but what’s better than camping, good music, beer and food?  The answer is nothing, nothing is better.

Mammoth:  This place is GORGEOUS.  There’s so many lakes, hikes, fishing opportunities… a nature lover’s dream!  We went in early August and it was beautiful out.  Not too hot during the day, not too cold in the evenings.  The awesome sunset shot below is the result of a fire that was raging about 20 miles west of our spot.

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Campsite:  Coldwater Campground, Inyo National Forest.  We stayed Friday – Sunday in site #55.  The campsite was walking distance to the lakes, and provided a shuttle to downtown.

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Festival:  Mammoth Bluesapalooza. Unfortunately we didn’t book far enough in advance to get the Blues/Brews 2 day – Friday night & Saturday pass (sells out fast!) so we got the Saturday evening concert.  I was mostly there for the beer, so missing out on the free tasting on SaturDAY was a bummer, but with the evening pass you could buy some brew.  Buy in advance!

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Drive:  Having never been to Mammoth, I didn’t realize how far it was.  In the future, if you’re coming from the Bay Area, or anywhere over 3 hours, I would stay at least 3 nights.  2 nights wasn’t enough – considering it was about 6 hours each way!  Woof.

Can’t wait for camping season!  This year I have camping trips planned to Mt. Diablo SP, Yosemite’s Upper Pines, Pinecrest and Fallen Leaf Lake.

Happy Camping friends.

God is good friends.  God is good.