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7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why, every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

Okay, so I lied a little bit. I didn’t come back with my regular 7 for seven last week, and I’m not coming back with a 7 for seven this week, either. We still don’t have Internet, but Google Fiber has plans to run a line to us this week (fingers crossed emoji), so it looks like next week will be it. After the move, Patrick and I have been busy getting the place ready, pretending we still have lives by photographing the shit out of the one night we went out in the past couple weeks. I enjoyed one of my favorite The Dan Ryan shows to date at Stay Gold in Austin. The crowd was amazing, and Patrick played like the true brass slayer he is. We’re also getting ready for an upcoming art show this month, and we are excited to be chosen as a featured artist at an opening party for the show. Check us out at if you haven’t already.

We’re loving our new neighborhood (“our tribe,” according to Buzz and company). The neighbors invited us to a BBQ the day after we moved in, and we had a great time playing with the fifteen neighborhood dogs (might be an understatement), and eating our neighbors’ delicious southern feast, including ribs that fell off the bone. Our home is super quaint and cute, and we’re loving living closer to Patrick’s cousin so she can hang out with us on the whim. We also now live in walking distance to one of our favorite coffee/bars with our favorite Austin taco truck (and there’s a ton of taco trucks {yay for alliteration!} in ATX — it’s kind of our thing). Patrick plays at that bar often, so we are excited to go there more than my scale would like…

I’m now on the count-down for this school year to end (worst year ever), but I’m hanging in there, and hopeful that next year will be much better. I have soooo much to be grateful for, and I feel like such a lucky dog. I’ve got a nice new home with my favorite beau, and a lovely garden to boot (all the good smells for days).

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!



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Poems are always about more than just cicadas.

I thought about bringing back my 7 for seven this week, but I spent my Sunday violently ill and rested in bed (or prayed to a porcelain god) all day/night. TMI? Sorry. Even had I not been sick, I’m still feeling the vulnerability hangover from my last round of 7 for seven and having had my heart-broken for, what, the umpteenth time? I’m reluctant to share my life again since then, but I know that someday it’ll come naturally and I’ll be open to it when the time is right. For now, I’m going to share a poem with you that a friend asked me to write. We have been partnering and sharing our arts by responding to them respectively. I write a poem, and he writes a song in response. This time, he asked that I write a poem expressing my thoughts about cicadas (which I often hear late at night or in the early morning at this house out in the country). Enjoy! And Happy Monday! xo, Lauren


These old walls
may feel divisive

but I was here
before them

Let’s knock them
with our drum,

we are meant
for greater space

Let’s make
so loud
no one
can deny
we exist

In unison
we are loudest

No insulation or
No one
to hear

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We deserve more.

In the past, I’ve edited my voice if politics were involved, but this goes beyond politics. Even if it didn’t, I don’t want to remain silent about anything anymore. I believe whole-heartedly in setting a good example for other women and girls that we should not bite our tongues. I will speak up, and I won’t fear being called a “bitch” for having a strong mind and convictions. This is the best way I know how to be a good human being — to share myself with others and to be authentic. I don’t want to add much to this dialogue — I just want to leave an interaction I had on Instagram here without adding much to it — I’ll leave you to make up your mind (I’m sure you already have). I’m not posting this because what this person said angered me. Instead, it left me saddened. We should all have higher standards for ourselves. I posted the following picture on my Instagram, and it received this response (other person’s name is changed to “anonymous” as it is not about a person; it is about humanity):


Anonymous: I just can’t help but wonder how you would feel if an entire country held something you said in a private conversation from 11 years ago against you. And I don’t consider the things he said rape talk in the least. That’s where his comments are getting blown out of proportion. Modern day feminism has twisted what feminism actually is, and that’s what they love to do.

Again please don’t get me wrong. I think some of the things he said were awful. But as someone who sees the effects of rape often, I would never throw that word around for a few comments made years ago. It’s a truly serious thing, and to accuse someone is just as bad as the person making the comments. Especially when that persons competition for president is doing much worse.

Me: It’s a truly serious thing, and to accuse someone is just as bad as the person making the comments.” THIS is what is wrong with rape culture. This is why countless women are afraid to come forward when sexually assaulted. The first time for me, I was in middle school, and a boy — a popular boy everyone liked, grabbed my ass all the way up the stairs, every single day. I went home crying each day, afraid to tell someone for fear that I would be accused of getting him in trouble. Trying different stairs didn’t stop him from finding me — this tortured me. I kept thinking, “Well, maybe it’s no big deal. Maybe he’s just teasing, and I should be okay with it. I mean everyone likes him; he seems to have a big following.” When I was twenty-one, I was raped by a man when I broke up with him, and I kept it to myself for over a decade for fear that I would be the reason for him being deported. Trump said he would start kissing on a woman without even waiting, “grab them by the pussy,” and that women will let you do what ever you want to them if you are famous. Dismissing this as “locker-room banter” perpetuates a fear in women of speaking out against it.

I most certainly would want the world to hold me accountable if I ever so much as thought half the things Trump has said aloud, and whether I said something to one human being or to millions (check his Twitter feed). The purpose of my post is to speak out against this type of language and the impulse many people have to excuse it as “locker room banter.” What this is NOT is a Trump vs Clinton post. It’s about the words and his too dismissive apology/non-apologies for this particular moment and other disgusting things he has said about women. When said, the dialogue needs to lean in a direction that says it is NOT okay. It perpetuates a rape culture where men (not all) can dismiss horrible conversations (that women do hear) and women who are afraid to speak out. This is a topic I am passionate about, and I have spoke about it countless times before this one and those times had nothing to do with a presidential election. I will continue to do so whenever it is highlighted in a national dialogue – this dialogue is so important.
Anonymous: We are going to have to agree to disagree with you on this. Because we aren’t going to agree. I’m truly sorry for what happened to you. That is horrible.
Me: I didn’t think I would change your mind. Yes, it is horrible, and I will do everything in my power to shut down people, discourse, and ideology that fuel sexual assault (physically or verbally).
Anonymous: Here’s my last thought. Just the words “rape culture” turn this into a political agenda and not into something to be taken seriously. I work in a crisis pregnancy center once a week. It’s sad how much rape I see. But I don’t want my daughter thinking it’s ok to get drunk at a party, sleep with a guy, and then cry rape. I’ve seen too much of that too.
Me: Oops, “physically or verbally” should read “physical or verbal” – wish I could edit on here. That is in reference to types of abuse, not how I will shut down discourse. Eek. Non-violent here! 😉

I’m sure you’ve seen too much of that, and it makes me sick to my stomach. It is NOT okay for anyone to take advantage of someone who can’t make a rational decision when drunk (making a choice to get drunk does not justify rape, which I don’t think is what you are saying, at least I hope not). Yes, there are cases where women lie about rape, but statistically there are far more women who don’t speak out about it. Political or not, it IS to be taken seriously. If we don’t take it seriously, then how will change happen? We should all be taking this personally.
Anonymous: No that’s not what I am saying.
Me: what are you saying?

And that’s where the conversation ended — She didn’t tell me what she meant by that, and I’m not sure I would have understood any explanation, to be honest.

Since that interaction, I’ve been through a wave of emotions. I’m devastated by what I’m seeing and hearing. Political agenda or not, I want so much more for this country and for the world.

Someone I love and respect added to the conversation:

By the way, Billy Bush and all the others like him who fuel the perverts by encouraging and laughing with them (i.e. sucking up) instead of having the guts to react like an intelligent human being who respects others, is no better and why these situations go so far sometimes. They need to recognize their part in perpetuating this “locker room mentality” that needs to stop. But he’s not running for President – huge difference!
Me: YES! Don’t we teach children to be “upstanders” and not to be bystanders? We need to (especially) hold grown adults to those same standards. It’s also frustrating to me that people are arguing that this was a private conversation — Integrity is doing the right thing even when you think no one is watching or listening. Trump is the epitome, as far as I can tell, of the opposite of integrity.

Why give that a platform?


7 for seven

7forseven_key-and-arrowLet’s face it // Mondays stink. Or at least we typically expect them to stink. That is why,  every Monday, I post seven positives from the previous seven days of the week as a reminder of what I have so that the week starts out on an upswing. There is much truth in the belief that happy people attract good things, so it is important to start the week out right. Sometimes it’s the more grand, but other times, it’s the simple things.

I had the full intention of bringing back my 7 this week, but I have this upper respiratory thing that is putting me out of sorts and keeping me from getting my act together, so I’ll just stick with a weekend edition to get back into the swing of things — plus three is my lucky number. 😉

Actual person at Poodies. Yes, it’s 2016.

1. Poodies. Albeit seedy, run-down, and infested with flying crickets (my worst nightmare!), I have an affinity for this hole-in-the-wall where Willie Nelson performed many of his gigs back in the day. The company made it all the more worth-while, as it’s difficult to find companionship with someone who has an appreciation for the finer things but also doesn’t mind people-watching at an old blues bar and rocking out to wailing musicians and two-stepping bar flies.

2. Band of Horses. A mother of a student at my school works for Austin City Limits, a downtown venue that conducts live-filmed concerts with well-known musicians and bands. She often gives away tickets to the shows, and they are first-come first-serve to the teachers at my school. I barely missed snatching the two tickets for Band of Horses and was bummed, so when my sister and her husband decided to give away their free pair – I jumped at the chance of taking them. This band reminds me so much of my early twenties where I wrongfully thought I knew everything and had everything figured out, but ignorance (at the time) was such sweet bliss. They were so much fun to watch live — full of energy and a passion for making music that is infectious to the crowd listening to them. And it brought me right back to a scene in my twenties, where I carried an iPod blaring their music over my head while my friends dodged trees, floating in a wild river, crashing into the trees, but saving only the music and the beer. Toes and unscathed backs were unimportant.

3. Epiphany. Okay, maybe “epiphany” is a bit of an exaggeration, as I’ve known this all along, but sometimes I need to see things (like the above meme), to remind me that I’m on a path of weeding out all the people who are not meant to stick around. Normally, I might say that it’s sad but true that not many people stick around after seeing the unfiltered versions of ourselves, but these days, I just say, “It’s true.” I’ll take quality over quantity any day. I’m not in the business of forcing anyone to stay (as a friend, as a lover, whatever role that may be) — if you want me in your life, you’ll make it known. Nothing isolated has sparked this realization, but it seems to have been a theme surrounding 2016, and it doesn’t feel entirely all that bad.

I hope to inspire you to reflect on all you have to be grateful & that your week brings you even more positivity + balance + bliss!  Feel free to share your seven with me as well / or even just a couple!

Have a wonderful week!



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Creativity Come Back, Part II.



A continuation of what I wrote last Monday:

  1. Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you? My mother and twin sister inspire me every day. They both took all the talents in the area being crafty. I lack the patience to produce something the same caliber, to manifest what’s inside my head, and they both do such a great job of working on something (regardless of the time it takes) until it’s a product they are proud of.
  2. Who is your muse? The authentic, naked (metaphorically) version of myself and anyone I come across that embodies this
  3. Define muse. Someone who inspires me to explore my thoughts, someone who lights a fire under my creative butt
  4. When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond? I cling to it (the intelligence or talent) — I’m drawn and connected to him or her who possesses it, and I try my best to collaborate with him or her, as it’s such a rare thing to find someone who is like-minded and challenging alike
  5. When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond? It upsets me, but being a teacher, I’m probably likely to try to draw something less indifferent from them and more inspiring
  6. When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond? It probably discourages me at first, but then I quickly flip a switch to allow it to propel me forward. Failure is only a learning experience and an opportunity to thrive instead of simply succeed
  7. When you work, do you love the process or the result? PROCESS and sometimes result, but I’m more likely to criticize it — I’m a perpetual revisor
  8. At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp? Too many to mention, but when I’m confident about a craft, I put those negative thoughts aside — nothing is out of our grasp if the mind is present and willing to preserver challenges
  9. What is your ideal creative activity? Collaborative with like-minded people who challenge me
  10. What is your greatest fear? Dying alone – without having found my greatest love and built a family around that love
  11. What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening? This answer is my second greatest fear!!
  12. Which of your answers would you most like to change? My fear — but then again, my fear can sometimes stifle me, yes, but it can also inspire me
  13. What is your idea of mastery? Enjoying the process in a way that is unique to my message, without all the weight on the end product and without all the weight of societal expectations — I can step away and feel I’ve done something worthwhile
  14. What is your greatest dream? To connect to as many people as possible — to make people feel warm and happy in my presence – the presence of my mind/body and my words alike

Answer some of the questions below or copy this post and share! I’d love to see how others respond.

I hope your week is a good one.




Creativity Come Back.


A new friend recently told me to borrow his copy of Twyla Thwarp’s The Creative Habit — if not from the desperation I wear in the bags underneath my eyes, but for the lack of balance I more than once mentioned I now carry around in my life as though it were my keys and wallet.

I was once highly creative. Not only did I tap into this side of myself frequently, I wore it like a badge of honor. Now — not so much. Stress happened. The daily grind happened. And shamefully, I have to admit, I let some of it go because I started to deem those that leaned into their creative sides as childish and dabblers in the unimportant. But that’s because I lost sight of how just the opposite of unimportant creativity is. It decreases stress, yes, but it unlocks this part of my imagination that when untapped, closes too many windows that once brightened an already superficially lit room. It amazes me how much more of the world I can see when I’m creative — how much more empathetic I am, more intuitive, more enlightened, and how much more beauty I find in what was once mundane and boring. I want it back.

So I’m taking my friend’s advice; I’m bringing back balance by making creativity a part of my daily habit and not just as a bonus feature I add in when I have the spare time. It’s a necessity.

In reading this book, I found some good exercises I thought I would share here and put into practice, as balance is something I chase after in this blog.

The first one is a “Creative Autobiography” designed to “force us to go back to our origins, our earliest memories, our first causes. We change through life, but we cannot deny our sources, and this test is one way to recall those roots.”

  1. What is the first creative moment you remember? My twin sister and I wrote, directed, and starred in our own plays.
  2. Was anyone there to witness or appreciate it? We performed them for our family. I think they appreciated it — at least there’s plenty o’ video as proof!
  3. What is the best idea you’ve ever had? In general — leaning into authenticity and vulnerability in writing or in all creative efforts alike.
  4. What made it great in your mind? This released my inner critic (somewhat), allowed me to more deeply connect with an audience, to find myself and what’s true to me at my core, and for me to lean into love, empathy, and connection for other human beings.
  5. What is the dumbest idea? To lean, instead, into clichés and/or avoiding saying certain things in my writing that may shock others
  6. What made it stupid? I allowed self-consciousness to get in the way of authenticity and true connection with others through art, which to me, is what good art does.
  7. Can you connect the dots that led you to this idea? Yes, through a series of personal events, I started becoming more self-aware and confident, and this allowed me to remove some of the mental blocks I had placed in my own way.
  8. What is your creative ambition? To connect to others in a profound and real way
  9. What are the obstacles to this ambition? My self-criticism and fear of judgement that creeps back in from time to time, which is growing less frequent (and it feels so good). To be completely open, it’s more of a superficial answer, but it feels true — time. Lack of time.
  10. What are the vital steps to achieving this ambition? Carving out time — where there’s a will, there’s a way (right? I’ll tell myself this for now — and monitor the truth!).
  11. How do you begin your day? Stretching, coffee, bathe/dress/face/hair/organize things for the day/check e-mail
  12. What are your habits? Bad- checking e-mail before setting aside and going to bed Good- Stretching in the morning, coffee first!, making lists and setting them aside
  13. Describe your first successful creative act. Come back to this.
  14. Describe your second successful creative act. Come back to this.
  15. Compare them. Come back to this.
  16. What are your attitudes toward: money, power, praise, rivals, work, play? MONEY- ruins some people, don’t need a lot of it, would like a lot more of it; POWER- people who don’t know how great love is, crave power; people who crave power make me sad; PRAISE- expecting it is not a good idea, it should focus on process rather than end-product, feels so dang good at the right times (what are the right times – probably all the time if it’s genuine; RIVALS- why?; WORK- how people make money, lucky to do something I love, though sometimes, when it’s tough, it’s just a thing I do for money; PLAY- NECESSARY!
  17. Which artists do you admire the most? Federico Garcia Lorca, Martha Graham, Pedro Almodovar, Lena Dunham (This kind of question is hard – I want to go on forever, but I’ll stop here).
  18. Why are they your role models? FGL – look up duende; MG – appreciates the beauty in what’s ugly; PA – takes risks, little fear seems present in his work, celebrates individuality, LD – humorous, authentic, embraces her weird, lack of apology
  19. What do you and your role models have in common? I aim for these things — a sense of humor about what’s real, authentic, risk-taking, passionate, compassionate, empathetic, seeks to connect to a wide audience (reaching for the far corners left with tucked away dust).
  20. Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you? I’m going to stop here and pick up on the rest at a later date. It’s time for this creative being to get some creative rest!
  21. Who is your muse?
  22. Define muse.
  23. When confronted with superior intelligence or talent, how do you respond?
  24. When faced with stupidity, hostility, intransigence, laziness, or indifference in others, how do you respond?
  25. When faced with impending success or the threat of failure, how do you respond?
  26. When you work, do you love the process or the result?
  27. At what moments do you feel your reach exceeds your grasp?
  28. What is your ideal creative activity?
  29. What is your greatest fear?
  30. What is the likelihood of either of the answers to the previous two questions happening?
  31. Which of your answers would you most like to change?
  32. What is your idea of mastery?
  33. What is your greatest dream?

Answer some of the questions below or copy this post and share! I’d love to see how others respond.

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My Week in Letters.

If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, you’ve known even if I don’t post consistently throughout the week, you can always count on my Monday post, 7 for seven. Every now and then I digress, make light of things, and lean away from Internet-vulnerability in transitional times when I need to hold my cards a little closer to my chest and I post #TheStruggleisReal. I’ve decided after a challenging week to forgive myself more and to allow myself to live more flexibly, so I’ll post whatever I damn well feel like posting every Monday — this is my blog, after-all; I just don’t want any of my readers leaving me — don’t leave me!!! I miss diverging without apologies. This week was one of those weeks that reminded me how important balance is, and if I don’t seek it, the lack thereof will come pouring out of my eye sockets on a Friday evening when I’ve set down my bags, collapsed on the patio, and the dust around me settles. Oops.

This week I spent too many late nights working, stressing over new projects, trying to balance the people I want in my life that I don’t seem to have time for anymore, feeling a sense of loss for the people who left my life for reasons unbeknownst to me, understanding why more than a few people from my past have come out of the woodwork in one week making me feel like I’m living an episode of The Twilight Zone, and unrelenting fellows not willing to take no for an answer — I’ll never understand that, but my sensitive heart has a more difficult time handling it than most people. I’m ridiculous; I’m fully aware. Saying “no” to people and things I don’t want should be easier. I’m working on this.

Nevertheless, I am grateful for not one, not two, but three {my favorite number} serendipitous new people in my life this week that came in the form of letters. Life is sweet like that — just when we need them, and they’ll never know just how meaningful their timing and words have been.

  1. The first letter was validating for both me and her. I’ll be vague, more for her, but I will say that sometimes shitty experiences that happen because of the same flawed human (yes, aren’t we all in some way), bring good, like-minded people together for a reason. I’ve said this countless times on this blog, but I’ll continue to say it again — if you have an urge to reach out to someone, do it. It’s the universe speaking to you about how interconnected we are, and how everyone wants to be understood. It’s the greatest feeling. I’m sorry unfortunate things happen to good people, but when we dig deep enough, there’s something better on the other end waiting for us.
  2. The second was a woman responding to this linked post about an incident in my college years:

“‘When we share our stories, we free others of shame and of the fear of coming forward. We create important shifts in thinking for present and future generations — Please keep the dialogue going and remain open to allowing it to make actual change in you and others — even if you can’t immediately relate, we are interconnected in unfathomable ways.’ This statement is amazing. I was raped nearly a decade ago and I just last night finally had the courage to share. I thought I was fine, I thought I had “dealt with it” until I heard about the Stanford rape case. I read her letter and was struck to my core and didn’t have the courage to address what actually happened to me until last night when I decided to write about it and share it with all who cared to read. There I found freedom. I am not alone in this. I am not to blame and it is encouraging to read how other people cope and grow as a result of something so horrific. Thank you for being brave. Thank you for sharing. Thank you for encouraging me.”

NO, THANK YOU, BRAVE, BEAUTIFUL SOUL. It’s so important to tell our stories and reach out more (see, I already said it again), as you just never know who it affects and how we can learn from one another’s experiences. Sometimes, they are silent, and sometimes, they come forward, but they’re always there.

Only the like-minded share photographs of their same pink sky and same tiny moon when miles apart.

Only the like-minded share photographs of their same pink sky and their same tiny moon when miles apart.

3. And finally, the third — not so much a stranger from the Internet, and not someone I met just this week, but a new friend none-the-less, and a musician away on tour. I’m not sure how he would feel about me posting our correspondence on my blog, but I’m just going to post my last letter to him because it makes me smile knowing I can lean into and feel understood by another human being on a level that’s authentic to a side of myself I’ve forgotten about far too frequently:

Good Morning [INSERT LASTNAME THAT WILL REMAIN A SECRET] (your last name sounds like a term-of-endearment),

I like that I’m your travel companion from afar — hopefully I kept you warm last night. I was in the calm, blue flames and woven into the threads of your blanket.

I woke up at seven because a bitter cicada stuck in the wall told me it was time, but mostly, I wake up with the sun and ignore bossy insects. All houses should face the east, as long as there is still an evening view of the pink sky on the west. The deer are greeting me again this morning — I think it’s mating season, and a stray cat just pranced up on the deck like she owned the place. Standing up tall was enough to intimidate her off the deck (I’m not a cat person — have I told you this?).

My migraine is still lingering, but not so much so that a little coffee, fresh air, and new sun on my back can’t fix it. Are you a coffee drinker? Sometimes I feel like if heaven exists, it would surely present itself on the inside of my coffee cup. I get migraines only from time to time, and regardless of the instigator, I take it as a reminder that balance is the key to good health and happiness. I lost sight of that just enough this week, but reminders come quickly when you are aware that your body and the universe lend important feedback.

Thank you for sharing your time in Salt Lake City. You described it so well that it felt like a memory I displaced. I’m glad you got to spend some quality time with your friend in-between your long miles on the road.

I also enjoyed your Mojave sketch — you bring out my creative side that I too often bury as an adult who allows the burden of 9 to 5 (7-9 if I’m honest instead of borrowing clichés) to bury it. I might be wrong, but you seem to share the same romantic view of the world that I do. It’s not that I’m unrealistic, but I choose to focus my lens on what’s beautiful because life is so much better like this. I feel sorry for the people who don’t tap into their capacity to see it that way.

I’ll write a quick sketch for you now. While love, death and solitude, and the solace found in each are common themes in your writings, finding solace in vulnerability is often mine — I don’t think the manifestation of those themes look much different from each other — they are often one in the same.

I’m thankful for the sun
that baked the earth into my hair
where chemical perfumes
worked tirelessly alone, next to the miners of gold. These roots should
rest gently on my head as though they want to be no other place but
bound by the natural hold of their mother.
Instead they penetrated further — unlike a tree giving into the soil,
letting go of its want to only reach upward and away,
forgetting to ground itself in what birthed it to thrive
in the first place.

Safe travels on the second-to-last leg of your journey!


And safe travels to you, reader, as you navigate this week. Until next Monday.