Krista Law

Krista Law

Krista Law lived in the same zip code for nearly 31 years and didn’t think her own life had or was a great story. In her quest to understand her own narrative, she sought meaning and purpose and began her own journey with therapy.

Sep22

Tag Team Back Again…

…check its records let’s begin. Party on party people let me hear some noise!  DC’s in the house jump jump rejoice!!! There’s a party over here, a party over there…

Friends,

I am excited to tell you about an event coming up in Seattle that Shauna is administrating as Alumni Outreach Coordinator at The Seattle School and where I will be speaking.  It’s called Symposium: An Intersection of Conversation and Innovation.

Symposium were forums in ancient Greece for conversations between philosophers, poets, musicians, and leaders that would fuel innovation and imagination.

At the inaugural Symposia last year, Shauna spoke about “How Coding Trauma Into Language Impacts the Healing Process.” You can watch the video of her message here. And this year, I will be addressing “Metaphor in Psychotherapy: A Bridge Between Thinking & Feeling.”

To learn more about this event, including a list of the presenters and their topics, and how you can buy tickets to attend, please visit: http://theseattleschool.edu/event/symposia2016/?instance_id=29185

This event will also be webcast. So, stay tuned to our Facebook page for how you can participate from afar.

I am excited to be a part of this event hosted by my beloved graduate school, as well as tickled that Shauna and I get to participate in an event together. It’s been a long time since our shared youth group endeavors. Tag Team, it’s so good to be back again!

newsletter-symposia

Jan14

A Year of Abundance

I have always loved the ritual of creating New Year’s resolutions. As my childhood friend Sarah can attest, I’ve jumped at the chance to recreate myself every January since we were in junior high together. I would always commit to something extraordinary like: “This year I will change my personality!”  “I will practice perfect posture!”  “I will memorize at least one poem every week!”  I put so much emphasis on the magic of starting a brand new year, like a do-over, I thought the slate was wiped clean and I could remake myself. Back then, I wanted to be the shy, quiet type that the boys seemed to like. For those of you who know me, you immediately recognize the grand feat necessary for me to “change my personality” and the unlikelihood of which not even a miracle could supply.

Twenty-five years later, I still relish the notion of starting something new and fresh; re-examining old goals, naming new ones. But my “resolutions” are no longer plural. I followed the lead of a friend who challenged us a few years ago to bear in mind a single word or phrase to guide us throughout the year. I’ve adopted that habit and found it to be freeing and focusing at the same time. Not to mention, it’s easier to keep instead of abandoning by the end of the first month.

F7B1519681DC46838C5E425E77D142A9

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21 Is printed on the number “4” to remind me of my resolution all year long.

I was very intentional last year in declaring my word as “Abundance.” Tired of settling for the norm and what had become mediocre, I wanted to know the abundant life promised in Scripture (John 10, Ephesians 3). I spent a long time in January crafting a large art piece that would consistently remind me of what I had prayerfully set out in the beginning of the year to find.

I clung to that word “abundance” looking for evidence of it anywhere and everywhere. But by the end of October, I was beginning to think that God misunderstood my message.

2015 began with a colonoscopy in January and ended with a double ear infection and thrush in November. Peppered in between those health concerns the year held injuries and nutrient deficiencies. Job, asset and relational losses were also among the wreckage. I literally thought to myself that the signals of prayer to the heavens were crossed and the message was heard that I wanted 2015 to be a year of abundant…burdens!

I am still trying to make meaning out of the past 12 months. But there was a moment in August after I had endured a vocational crisis where I was able to experientially grasp the concept of Matthew 5:4, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” During that month of mourning, Karl was there at every turn to comfort me and literally hold me together. I would wake from terrifying nightmares at 2 or 3 in the morning and beg him to just put his arms around me tightly so I could feel safe again.  On the weekends when I still couldn’t break the chains of anxiety, I would weep and ask him to rub my back.  I called him or texted him numerous times each day asking for reassurance or the chance to process my feelings.  In 15 years of marriage, I never needed him like I did then. And when I needed that desperately, I was finally comforted in an abundant way.

Never before have I ever been the touchy-feely type. I didn’t understand what was so special about giving and receiving hugs, or snuggling or hand-holding.  But after a painful year of desperate need, I found comfort in the human touch.  Now, Karl says with a wink that I’ve gotten a bit greedy in my need for his comfort. “Hold me? Snuggle with me?, Scratch my back?,” I say daily.  I know where to find the soothing I need. And he offers it to me in spades. But it took an abundance of need for me to find the source of abundant comfort.

And as I look at other instances from throughout the year, what becomes clear, in hindsight, is that there was an abundance of trials, to be sure, but for the first time in my life, there was also an abundance of comfort.  So, maybe the wires to heaven weren’t crossed all along and God understood my message perfectly.

Oct08

Therefore, I repeat, I am brave and strong.

Featurette: A piece written by one of our readers.  A small narrative vignette inviting us all to see the world from behind their eyes and hearts for just a moment.  You can submit your short story for consideration here.

I have been binging on Anne Lamott. I read Operating Instructions when a friend mailed it to me while I was going through the new baby stuff in the very foreign country of Cambodia. I would get up in the middle of the night to nurse my daughter and not mind so much because I had a few minutes to read the hilariously crass words of another new mother. She wrote things most wouldn’t admit to, and honestly, she had worse thoughts than I ever had, but I could relate to so much of it, that I gobbled it up. I had no friends in Cambodia, no other mothers I could ask for advice. Just a great many dark hands touching my baby and holding her every chance they got, but not able to utter even one word to me in English. Operating Instructions, mixed with this very difficult start of our little family in a hot, corrupt country was a funny induction into motherhood.

This weekend I got time away from my now family of five, and I brought along Anne’s book on becoming a grandmother. Not that I am at all close to that stage, but I like her voice and I wasn’t in the mood for her fiction stuff. So, I feasted on Some Assembly Required with some voracity, and found having reached the end, two sentences that stand out. I think Anne is remarkable because she is terribly honest, and hilariously funny, so her anxiety seems survivable.

At one point in the book, she writes,

“We as parents have the illusion that we make our kids stronger, but they make us stronger.” – Anne Lamott

I try so very hard to make my kids strong and confident. I feel like that will help them escape a lot of the crap the world hurls at them; they will be able to stand up under it and smile even when things are tough. But as I lie on this hotel bed in the middle of the afternoon and enjoy my space, I can’t help but understand deeply what she means by this. I have been so exhausted with my parenting duties that I thought I could not possibly take another step, or cook another meal, or clean another butt, and then, the need arises and I just do it. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and love the people entrusted to me the absolute best I can. I am really stinking strong.

I am quite brave also. I know this because I have moments where I fear the worst happening to one of my kids, or an illness befalling them, or perhaps even losing one, and I can’t even manage to hold the thought in my brain anymore, but I have to. I have to think through it, and rationalize my way back to sanity and realize that although we haven’t had any terrible loss or hardship, they may come, and I have to be able to face it. I will be able to face it. I know that. I have literally cried over things that have not happened. That sounds crazy now, but fear is like that, it takes hold and you have to push it back out to where it belongs. And because I am able to do this I know I am brave, and I know I can stand when something does happen. Don’t test me, but trust that I know it with great confidence. Just don’t test me, please.

The second line that caught my attention has a natural connection to the first.

“You love your kids way too much to ever feel safe again.” – Anne Lamott

I remember when I finally gave birth to my first daughter, as I already mentioned, living overseas, I realized once my water broke and we had to take a Tsongtau to the hospital that I may have been naïve about this whole thing. I really wanted to splurge for an American-style taxi, but none were around, so I managed to hulk my large belly onto the back of the converted truck.

In a tuk-tuk on a rainy afternoon — in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.

In a tuk-tuk on a rainy afternoon — in Phnom Pehn, Cambodia.

But 28 hours later my daughter appeared blue and cone-headed. That scared the shit out of me because I had never seen a baby that new before, and didn’t realize it was perfectly normal after the hours she spent hanging out in my birth canal. It was almost instantly that I knew I was screwed. I mean really in trouble.  Because I now had my husband, who I could not stand the thought of losing, and my daughter, who literally took me captive. I now had two people in the world that were living lives I could not control or protect indefinitely. They were at risk all the time. I was too but who cared about me now. I only had half a heart for him and another half for her, so they were all that mattered. Imagine how messy my heart and mind were when we added another beautiful little lady into our family and our handsome son. Five halves of a heart gets exhausting to carry around in one’s chest all day.

Therefore, I repeat, I am brave and strong.

My second born loves to say that same thing while flexing her little twig-like arms in an exaggerated strongman pose. “I am brave and strong.” She was right all along. Because I have a family, which I work tirelessly for, and I am able to hold them in the proper space that recognizes how much I love and adore them, while also knowing they are not mine to control or protect. I can only ever do so much; I have to let them go a little, which makes me crazy. That risk, though, is what makes the reward so much richer. The reward of seeing their smiling faces when I return, or holding them when they are sad, or celebrating with them when they are happy. It all goes together in one big messy life.

Andrea Peters does life in Denver,CO alongside a student/writer brilliant husband, two fierce daughters, and a gentle son. She coordinates her MOPS group and likes to tackle tough projects, i.e. Parenting.  Her favorite drink is currently a Moscow Mule.

Andrea Peters does life in Denver,CO alongside a student/writer brilliant husband, two fierce daughters, and a gentle son. She coordinates her MOPS group and likes to tackle tough projects, i.e. Parenting. Her favorite drink is currently a Moscow Mule.

 

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

Some Assembly Required by Anne Lamott

Apr10

A Hole

Featurette: A piece written by one of our readers.  A small narrative vignette inviting us all to see the world from behind their eyes and hearts for just a moment.  You can submit your short story for consideration here.

There I was, going about my morning routine, when WHAM. Out of nowhere, I found myself grieving over A Thing I Cannot Change. See, it was National Siblings Day. And my social media feeds are all about random “national” holidays. I mean, who doesn’t love National Donut Day? Or Talk Like A Pirate Day?

So on this day celebrating brothers and sisters, smiling sibling pictures popped up all over my feed. But to paraphrase Monty Python, grief is like the Spanish Inquisition; one never expects it. Perhaps I should have; sibling relationship is a touchy subject for me right now. If you invited my extended family over, there are people that would not or could not attend. And out of all of the ridiculous things to set grief off, it was a social media blitz of togetherness.

You see, there is a hole. If I were to put up an old picture of my siblings right now, it’s almost like some people would be grayed out. It feels as though someone has raged through the picture album of my heart, crudely cutting out faces. Their bodies remain; they exist. But their faces are stolen. If I were to put up a current picture, people would simply be missing.

I know that others’ families have also been torn by tragedy and brokenness. For me, there is hope that someday things can somehow be mended, and we will be whole again. For others, death has stolen that hope. Illness, disease, suicide, fatal accident–whatever happened, the hole created cannot be mended this side of the veil. And that is a grief I cannot imagine. I hope that our hole can be mended before there is a physical finality to that possibility.

The hope I feel is like a spark of light; the hole I feel is like a vacuum. Brokenness tends to feel like that; it oozes through time and space in the deep places, tainting what it touches. It is hard to see a picture of a loved one lost to drugs, or alcohol, or crime, or abuse, or disagreement, or whatever other brokenness and unfinished business remain. It is hard to miss a sure friend, one whose presence should be lifelong but whose absence exists instead. It is hard to know that the next family picture taken will not include them, not because they are lost to this mortal world, but because they are lost to the possibility of presence. That they have disincluded themselves, or they have disincluded you, or both. There is a hole.

Growing up, I desperately wanted to belong to my family. There were ways in which I did not feel a sense of belonging, especially among my extended family. But a principle was held sacred nonetheless, that family comes first. Friends come and go, but family–siblings especially–is forever. And in that, up through my teens, I felt secure. I might have been closer to some siblings than others, but I never doubted that we all were friends, and that our relationship transcended whatever life would throw our way. That we were there for each other, forever and always. I belonged; they belonged.

I never imagined that over the tumultuous years of growing up, the lines that held our life rafts together would be purposefully cut. FullSizeRender-18That we would become lost to each other. That relationships would grow cold and stale, and that instead of seeking to know each other, shallow judgement would be upheld instead. That people’s poor decisions would launch them far away from the safety of reach. That small slights would cut deep, and that true offenses would crack open gulfs only crossable through reparation, humility and forgiveness.

What does one do when you’ve lost your earliest playmate? When terrible, tragic decisions were made that caused boundary lines of safety to be drawn? When one whom you love cuts themselves off of the family branch to pursue their brokenness? It is a wound that will not close; it is a hole.

Most days, I find comfort in my relationship with my maker. At one point, I went to therapy and gained some tools. I invest in the healthy relationships I do have. I am not without hope, and most days I am not so raw; the hole all but disappears. But some days, I find that grief is like the ocean. Never turn your back to the ocean, they say, because a powerful wave can sneak in when you least expect it. I didn’t expect a silly holiday to bring a frothing surge of grief. But, today at least, there is a hole.

Melissa Taft is a stay-at-home mom in Seattle who enjoys reading, puttering in the garden and the smell of autumn.  Her favorite drink is Thai Iced Tea.

Mar11

“Why is there a half-eaten apple in the bathroom?”

Karl and I had just sat down to take a brief reprieve from rigorous yard work. Lucy and Peter were across the street riding their bikes and we had just a few moments to ourselves before returning to the demands of landscaping and parenting. For our snack I had brought out full water bottles, ripe apples, and decadent dark chocolate for each of us. I started by savoring the chocolate first. Then, moved on to eating the apple. Mid-bite, with my feet reclining on the patio furniture, we heard Lucy scream that Peter had fallen. Naturally, Karl and I hopped to our feet and ran across the street to find him limping, crying and bloodied from a tough tumble he had just taken. Karl swept him up to carry him home and begin the doctoring and Lucy and I grabbed their bikes and helmets and trailed them not far behind. After leaning the bikes against the wall of the house, I rushed in to find Peter and Karl in the bathroom inspecting the damage. Peter’s lip was already cut and swollen and through his tears it was difficult to see what the damage was. Karl sat on the ledge of the bathtub and put Peter on his lap to calm and soothe him while I dipped a Q-tip in Vaseline to see if I could lift up his lip and see if his braces had cut all the way through. Surprisingly, they had not. However, he did have two splits in his top gums and would have a bee sting-like swollen lip for a few days.

Once my nursing was complete, I carried Peter out to the couch and got him tucked in with a blanket, a cartoon and an otter pop to numb the pain. That’s when I found Lucy curled up on the chair in the corner hugging her knees to her chest. Her tender heart can hardly tolerate anyone’s suffering, much less her baby brother’s. I worry about her as she will inevitably be exposed to the realities of this world where suffering is the norm. I asked her what was wrong and picking her up to sit on my lap, she explained how helpless she felt and that she just wished there was something she could have done, or could do next time. She explored the idea of always having an emergency kit with her wherever she went, including a wet rag. Those moments after she called for us and when we arrived were wrought with a powerlessness she wasn’t ready to encounter again soon. After she had been heard and understood, with a little extra squeeze and snuggle, I also tucked her in to her chair with a snack and her .mp3 player.

Karl had left the kids in my hands and rushed out to the backyard to finish cleaning up before the sun went down. I started dinner and was heading out to help him when I thought I’d save myself a trip and use the restroom before I headed out back. When I walked into the bathroom where the madness had been a half hour earlier, I saw it. There amongst the bloodied rag and Q-tips and toothbrush and toothpaste and other paraphernalia found in most bathrooms was an apple that had been half eaten. I looked and cocked my head to the right at the same time and wondered where it came from. Then, it dawned on me. I never set the apple down when I ran from the backyard to check on Peter. I carried it with me in one hand while I pushed the bike back to the house with the other. I didn’t set it down until I picked up the Q-tip and dipped it in the Vaseline.

The sight of a half-eaten apple on the counter in the bathroom struck me as so odd. Many thoughts and questions flooded through my mind. Why didn’t I set the apple down when I ran? Why did I hold on to the apple as long as I did? Was I being absent minded, or simply flooded with survival hormones that made my actions nearly uncontrollable? Or was there a fierce commitment to finishing the apple that I had started?

I imagine the apple is representative of many things in my life. I work hard as a wife, a mother, a woman, a therapist, an amateur landscaper. Then, when I attempt to settle for just a moment, to give myself what it is that I need, I’m often interrupted by ______________________ (fill in the blank). Yet, it is at that moment of interruption that I still must declare that I have a choice: to let go of what I need, carry it with me, or perhaps chuck it over the fence and grab another oneIMG_5415 later.

Finding that apple in the bathroom was representative of the choice I made in a moment.  Something deep inside me chose to hold on to that apple. I chose to be as unwaveringly committed to my own pleasure, delight, rest, and sustenance, as I did the care, treatment and provision for another.

I choose me.  I choose you.  I choose both.