To the 43-Year-Old Woman in the Hello Kitty Pj’s,

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

To the 43-year-old woman in the Hello Kitty Pj’s,

You were a marketing genius in how you branded the word “skinny” and leveraged it to make a million dollar brand with skinny margaritas and skinny girl books. You capitalized on our American culture. A culture that sinks billions of dollars in a diet industry and another billion in anything to make us look younger. I am not saying any of this is right. What I am saying is you are smart.

You’re marketing skills and ability to tap into the culture, whether it be right or wrong can be considered savvy.

But this photo,  I am not sure what your point in publicizing this was?


*Image from Twitter

The axiom, “There is no such thing as bad publicity” holds true here.

On the heels of an obnoxious announcement by JCrew to offer 000 sizes to society, you post this photo on Twitter.

And now, there is your name. In all the media stories, talk shows, and blogs. Even I am compelled to write about it. Girl, you are clever. (Click here, here, and here to read.)

Cunning you may be, but this too will pass. Lady Gaga did it, the ol shock and awe. It works for a while. And then it doesn’t. You are using your fame status to perpetuate society and the already distorted ideal of body image and youth idolization.

And it makes me so sad.

Why? Because while you are working towards keeping up your fame and your publicity there are women out there, who will see a photo like that and use it in much more than you intended. Or maybe that is what you intend?

I work every day with grown women who haven’t had their periods in years. Many who will never actually grow taller or have children because starvation stunted their growth. This idea that it is “funny” for a 43-year-old to fit in a 4-year-olds Pj’s is not funny at all. There are millions of women and young girls who are obsessed in this “thinspiration” and “thigh gap” culture you are helping perpetuate. They will pant after your “achievement” like a dehydrated deer looking for water.  They will pick up your books and drink your syrupy tasting drinks hoping to be like you. And that is so wrong.

But, the more I see this obnoxiousness that continues in the media and our society, the more it fuels my work.

To encourage the exact opposite of what you are doing.


To inspire and motivate women to celebrate the bodies God gave them. For all of us to live fully in our curves, bumps and idiosyncrasies. That is art. Art that was beautifully created. Not one that is to be molded and shaped and poked and lathered into a prepubescent child. Peter Pan never grew up, he stayed in Never Never land. You can take your Hello Kitty P’J’s and your skinny girl margarita and go there too.

I choose to live in my 42-year-old imperfect body and celebrate it.

I hope others will join me in doing the same.



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Why I Am Irate Over JCrew’s 000 Sizing #notbuyingit

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

JCrew has unveiled a new clothing size, 000. Are you irate? I am.

“A spokeswoman for J.Crew said the 000 tag has nothing to do with vanity sizing, a practice used by some retailers where they manipulate sizes to make shoppers feel like they wear a smaller number.” – Yahoo


They say it is for their Asian market, because Asian women are smaller. And I wonder, what message does this send to Asian Americans?  Because size 000 is sold in the United States too.

Ming Nagasawa was the only Asian American girl in her suburban Ohio junior high school. Looking around, she saw her physical differences — eyes that were small and dark brown, hair that was black — as social death. The boys stayed away. She began to imagine that if her frame was thinner, her eyes would appear larger, she would be more popular. She would look more American.

“For girls trying to navigate their way in a social world where the homecoming queen is always thin, beautiful and white, figuring out what it means to be beautiful as an Asian woman is difficult and confusing,”  - read more here.

As I was fuming over the JCrew announcement, Kim Kardashian comes out with this lovely statement:

When asked by Elle reporter Sally Holmes how Kim defines her pregnancy style and what she recommends for others style-wise, she responded: “I recommend hiding for a good year and having no pregnancy style. That’s what I recommend. If you can do it, hide. Never leave the house.” – Full Article 

I want to write something quote worthy, something loud and profound, something that would scream in a very intelligent way how obnoxious this is.

But all I can come up with is how deeply wrong this feels.

Not only do I work every day with people deep in the thick torture of an eating disorder, I myself once lived in that horrible place. A place where all of my focus went to making myself smaller so I didn’t have to take up space. So I didn’t have to have feelings and so I didn’t have a voice.

Size 000 only reinforces this idea of women needing to measure into nothing. This measuring stick seems to get smaller and smaller. And while most of society might say, “big deal. Don’t shop there,” for someone who is caught in the cage of an eating disorder this only feeds the beast of what we call ED (eating disorder). ED will berate and measure until the victim succumbs to this magical number.

A number that doesn’t exist, 000.


A number that is made for disappearing. Maybe Kim Kardashian is only saying what everyone feels anyway…that we should hide when we feel less than or when we don’t measure up to societial standards of what a woman should look like.

No way!  I call bullshit! I call bullshit on JCrew and its stupid new sizing and on Kim and her idiotic body shaming words. Furthermore, I am baffled as to why Kim is continued to be quoted and discussed as newsworthy.

I wasted years of my life, jeopardized my health, and ruined many relationships because of my eating disorder as I strived to disappear into a land of zero. I am lucky to be alive and wouldn’t trade life on the other side of an eating disorder for anything. JCrew and Kim Kardashian are only two voices. Don’t allow them to suck you in.

I was grateful to see that the National Eating Disorders Association also spoke out against this,

“The company’s new, 000 sizing will only triple the practice of unhealthy dieting in a society obsessed with skinny,” she continues. “Sadly, some of those vulnerable to eating disorders will compete to fit in this new ‘size.’ And, others will be subjected to even worse self-image challenges, because they can never achieve such an unrealistic goal naturally.” Further, Grefe noted her orgnaization would be happy to meet with J.Crew’s powers that be to educate them on how this can damage consumers, “particularly our youth.” - president and CEO Lynn Grefe announced in an official statement.

Don’t buy into what JCrew is selling. This is so wrong. Body shaming and unrealistic standards yet again sent out into our culture. Write a letter to JCrew. Stop shopping there until they act differenly. Plus, it will help your budget since their clothes are so expensive.

There are other voices out there who are telling us the truth. Other voices out there saying BE WHO YOU ARE. Be the size you are and celebrate your body for what it is.

YOU ARE MORE THAN A NUMBER! (you can purchase these necklaces here.)


See below for some inspiring voices that ARE making a positive difference:

Colbie Caillat and her awesome new video.

Constance Rhodes and her beautiful video More Than A Number.

You can purchase my book Table In the Darkness – A Healing Journey Through an Eating Disorder here.

Go out and live your life in the size you are. Life is too short not to! 



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Are You Afraid To Hope?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.


Are you afraid of hope? Because if you hope, then you are committing to getting up and trying again. You are magnetically pulled in the direction of something more. A place where there might, just might be the thing you are looking for. And then what? When you move into the direction of your dream and your longing and your deepest desire, then you have to believe. You have to risk. You have to trust.


It is easier just to stay where you are and complain that the world is so unfair. That people have been so cruel to you and that you didn’t get a fair break. It is easier to stay comfortable where you are. Because hoping, believing in something more, something bigger than your understanding…well that just might make you disappointed!

And who wants that. Right?

So you stay in your dysfunctional relationship, or your horrible job, or your addiction. Because at least it is what you know. At least it is something you are familiar with. Maybe it isn’t fun and exhilarating anymore, but at least it is familiar.

I am sitting here writing this to myself really. Because sometimes hoping and believing that God has me in mind is so scary. To believe God actually cares about me and my future can be frightening.

But when the world has sucked the juice out of you and you just cannot get up and do it again you pine for a hope that is buried by living. Over and over you try and fall down and you are sure there is no answer. There is no solution that you can think in your head. So you stay stuck. Stuck in the pain of what is.

But if you hope, if you believe that maybe tomorrow will be different and maybe there will be a sliver of something that might turn the boat around or offer a different perspective. Then what? Well then you are risking. And people will say you are being unrealistic. You are being naive.

I was told all of these things many many times in my life and I sometimes find myself returning to their confining words.

Because who do I think I am to write a book, the voices and sometimes people said. Because who did I think I was with no writing degree and no experience. You can’t just become a writer!  Another person said once, “You can’t just become a speaker! With no training and experience, you can’t do that!” And then there was recovery. “You will always struggle. It will be something you battle the rest of your life.” They would tell me. Or when I was in college, “you can’t major in theatre. Who does that? What kind of life will you have with a degree in theatre?” Or when my husband I got engaged not even a year after my suicide attempt, there were many who were extremely skeptical.

The voices in my own head were skeptical enough about all of these things. The last thing I needed was the input of more negative Nelly’s telling me I couldn’t do something.

Why? Why do we think because we are human we have the corner market on what will or will not happen? Why do people assume that because they live their lives in a box and don’t take risks that I have to too?

Just because you choose to live life in a straight line doesn’t mean I have to.

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child. Listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me… Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”  -Shel Silverstein

Straight lines erase hope because hope comes in squiggles and detours and surprising twists and turns.  Without hope I am left with the idea that there is no more to this world than my thoughts, my actions, and my human understanding. Ewww.

I look at the world and the news and I feel empty of color. Because that is what hope stealers do. They tell you the facts. They tell you the statistics. They give you the step-by-step directions on how to do life. And I turn them off.

I wrote the book. I became a speaker. My theatre degree has been useful in every job I have had. I live life on the other side of recovery and I have been married almost eighteen years.

None of it happened without God and without hope.

Hoping is risking. Hoping for me has been and will always be the belief that the God who created me has my back. That He wants me to dream and create and risk. He is hope.

So I grab his hand and I get up and try again.

You can say that I am Pollyannaish or that I dream too much. That is fine. Many have said that to me before. But this is how I choose to live. With hope. With hope that God wants me to follow the desires of my heart. That God wants me to take risks and hold his hand and jump. God wants me and YOU to turn towards the direction of hope and dreaming and believing.

Without hope the world becomes a place devoid of color, love and risk it is absent of recovery and miracles.

I believe deeply God wants this for you too, to turn your head in the direction of hope.

Won’t you try that today?

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12





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5 Words To Help You With The 4th of July

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

There are things that keep me awake at night. Things that make me worry and stress and fret. Bills that scream to be paid, a house the needs more space, and parenting and relationships mistakes.

I work with patients every day who are tormented daily by fears, traumas, and even more stressful lives than I can fathom.

But, this morning as I awoke early startled by my own anxious thoughts, I took my spinning head down to the lake by our house.


And as I walked around the shimmering lake and felt the warm sun on my face I remembered yet again, that life is so much more than what I see. And if I could get out of my head and put my worries and thoughts in God’s hands, that is where I find true freedom.

Today is the 4th of July. And I am choosing freedom. Won’t you? Freedom from the stress and worry of everyday life. Freedom that we are so blessed to have in the U.S. to put our trust in God.

You have a choice today. I do too. 
I can go on Facebook and lament the fun things I am not doing and be jealous of the big house with the pool or the people with cabins. Or I can CHOOSE something different. Here are five words I plan on choosing and acting on today and I hope you will too!

1. Joy – Today, may you find Joy in knowing you are in God’s hands.

Listen here to this beautiful song by JJ Heller

When my world is shaking

Heaven stands

When my heart is breaking

I never leave Your hands

2. Gratitude – There are people right in front of me. There are people right in front of you. Won’t you look them in the eye, put down your phone, get off your device and spend time with them. Talk with them, listen to them, and laugh with them. Stop wishing you were somewhere else and love the people right in front of you. And then say thank you. Thank you for the people, and the eyes, and the relationships. Today, choose five things you are grateful for. A book I love that helped me do this is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts

3. Freedom – Freedom from eating and body image issues. Put on that bathing suit. Allow your body to be what it is and spend time enjoying it. I wrote a post about it here and I love what this woman had to say about putting on that swimsuit.

And…Check out this girl’s amazing video on loving your body!

“Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top!”

4. Peace – Let go of the striving. Let go of the comparing. Choose instead today, to allow your mind to rest. Find something that soothes and comforts you.


5. Love - Bob Goff. The more I reflect on his book Love Does. The more I am convicted that he hits the nail exactly on the head. Isn’t that what is beneath all of our pain and anxiety? A deep need to feel loved. To feel cherished Yes.

Go love someone today. Maybe it is yourself you need to shower a little love on. Then go do that!

Happy Happy 4th of July!



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7 Reasons Every Woman Should Love Her Body #AtlasGirl ( plus a giveaway)

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

I am thrilled to have the beautiful, talented, and amazing Emily guest posting today.

Enjoy :)


7 Reasons Every Woman Should Love Her Body By Emily T. Wierenga

Kasher was looking at my elbows.

“What these?” my two year old said.

“They’re elbows,” I told him.

“Oh.” He touched them gently. “I love your elbows.”

I just stood there, staring down at these places called elbows with the wrinkly skin, which I’d never really seen before.

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I’m a former anorexic. I starved myself for seven years of my life because I thought I wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t skinny enough, wasn’t—enough. And having kids who squeal when I enter a room and a husband who begs me to walk in the garden with him when the kids are in bed—this has taught me something about what it is to be loved.

But it’s still hard to look in the mirror.

Isn’t this most of us, mothers? We don’t look at ourselves, do we? And when we do, we cringe—our daughters seeing it all.

We lament our post-baby physique, the loss of firm muscles and slim curves and we forget, the miracle of pregnancy, lost in the folds and the blue veins lacing up our legs like Crayola marker.

But what if our stretch marks were in fact, scars we bore proudly? Because friends? You produced life, glory-be. The Creator wove life within your very womb and you nourished it and held it tenderly for nine months and then broke apart so a human being could be born. That’s something to be proud of.

And yet we hide behind sweat pants and sweaters.

Rachel Jankovic, author of Loving the Little Years, writes,

“You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body… Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work. One of the greatest testimonies Christian women can have in our world today is the testimony of giving your body to another.”

So sisters, here are seven reasons we should love our bodies—reasons to wrap around our mirrors and any piece of glass in our home, reasons to stop and smile at our reflection:

  1. You’ve got a new name now. It’s Mother, and it comes with a new body. You don’t need to go back to who you were because you aren’t her anymore. You’ve been through a warzone, friend, and you wear new armor now. And it looks like a soft stomach and a flatter chest and varicose veins.
  2. Your children thank you. You gave up your life so others could have one. You surrendered your skin, your nights, your waistline so that God could weave history within you. When your loved ones look at you, they look with gratitude, they rise up and call you blessed, because you are the most beautiful kind of woman: a selfless one.
  3. The measure of a mother is not in her dress size, but in the number of her heart rings. Like an oak, your heart rings increase with every smile, every laugh, every tickle fight with your preschooler, every coffee date with your adolescent daughter. Every tearful prayer for the runaway, every kiss you give your husband, every cuddle, every snuggle—these are the true measurements of a life. These heart-rings.
  4. Beauty is not found in the sharp edges, but in the soft corners—those places your family can find refuge. No husband ever wished his wife had more angles—that’s a lie the fashion magazines feed us. It’s all about soft, honey. Soft and inviting.
  5. Your body bears witness to all the giving it’s done. Your skin is an epitaph to compassion, your legs and arms, branches of a family tree. The lines around your eyes are maps to your soul, to your life-bearing, prayerful, caring heart.
  6. Your limbs perform the function they serve. If you’re looking to erase some of those weary lines, some of those dark smudges, gratitude is the best concealer. Look at yourself in the mirror and say “Thank you, arms, for carrying my babies; thank you legs, for carrying my body; thank you stomach for holding my family,” and soon, your skin will be glowing. Your body longs to be remembered, and honored.
  7. And finally, we should love our bodies because we live in them; they host us and hold us, they are home. Let’s be good to our homes.

Anne Lamott writes about how she lovingly spreads lotion into her skin each night, treating herself like a friend.

Let’s do that too, sisters.

Let’s treat these well-worn vessels like beloved friends. For they’ve served us well.

This post originally appeared at Lisa-Jo Baker’s blog.

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My memoir, Atlas Girl, releases TODAY!

When you order it HERE, you’ll receive A House That God Built: 7 Essentials to Writing Inspirational Memoir an absolutely FREE e-book co-authored by Emily and editor/memoir teacher Mick Silva. Just go HERE to enter your book receipt info and it will appear immediately in your inbox.

271654_Wierenga_emailsig (2)All proceeds from Atlas Girl beneift Emily’s non-profit, The Lulu Tree – Preventing tomorrow’s orphans by equipping today’s mothers.


Emily T. Wierenga is an award-winning journalist, blogger, commisioned artist and columnist, as well as the author of five books including the memoir, Atlas Girl: Finding Home in the Last Place I Thought to Look (Baker Books). She lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and two sons. For more info, please visit Find her on Twitter or Facebook.


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The Masquerade of Being The Woman the World Expects

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

You hold it all together. Because that is what you do. This gripping of your mask. You try to make everyone see, that you can hold it all in the palm of your hands. Or maybe it isn’t in your hands, maybe it is in your gut or your heart. But it is there. And you strive and perform some more so they see that you can. It is all about what they think, about the impression they will have and what they might think of you.

So you smile and ask the right questions and cover up the earthquake inside of you. Sometimes it appears in the fingers with a little quivering and other times you might hear it in the crack of the voice.


Years of practice, helps you keep it all hidden. All under wraps.

Because to reveal the truth, the pain, the insecurities, the fear…to reveal the anger and the opinions and the thoughts that; you don’t want to do those things you never wanted to do those things, to reveal it all would be too much.

So there it hides, all hidden behind the smile.

Everyone else can be happy or have what they want, but not you. You are different.

You are here to endure.   

You are the mom, the friend, the sister, the wife who is doing it all. In the enduring and in the suppressing you don’t realize that the you, the you that used to spin, twirl and cartwheel. The you that loved to dance and sing. That you has disappeared into the straight lines of what the world expects of you. How dare you try and do something different. Be something different.

But eventually the shaking, the fear and the emotions, eventually they pour out of the places they had been stored so long. Lucky you, there are things to help you hide. Things like substances or activity to keep the charade up. Or even food. These things become your assistant in your masking of what is underneath.

Do you feel it? Do you feel the you inside trying so desperately to get out?

The you that is now a broken winged bird limping to be set free?



She is there with dreams and passions and she is longing to be the person that she is meant to be. She is aching to let go of the enduring, the punishing, and the posturing of the person everyone else wants her to be. She is longing to come out and scream about the pain, to cry about the loneliness, and to tremble about the fear. She is longing to stop the enduring and start the living. To have the smile match a renewed joyful fluttering in the stomach and to have the tears be fresh, not ten or twenty years of repressed pain.

But she only can be free if you allow her to take off the mask that so craftily hides the pain.

When you take the mask off, there is deep freedom. But there are also people. People who expect and like you to be the endurer. These people aren’t bendable. So find people who aren’t mask wearers. Find them and slowly remove the layers, share the pain, let go of the trembling so you can be free, and finally be the person that you are meant to be.



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What Happened to the Ten-Speed-Bike-Riding-Days of Summer?

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

Why does it feel like summer is different now? I long for my children to experience the relaxing lazy summer days like I did. Do you?

“What are we doing today?” My 12-year old says with anxious expectation. Because WE are the summer camp counselors. WE are the drivers, the entertainers, the creative come-up-with-something-these-kids-can-do parents. Is it like this for you too?

What happened to the lazy and relaxing  days of summer? They don’t exist. At least not in the world I am living in. If they do for you, then please…throw me a bone and tell me how you do it.


Top five differences between the summer of my youth and my children’s’ summer:

  1. No alarm clock. I remember sleeping in to whenever I wanted, eating breakfast around noon and then riding my pink bike to the pool. Now, the children have a schedule so complicated you need an excel spreadsheet to keep track. Because my children are in their teens, their days are filled with sports sports and more sports. Yes, we signed them up. But since when did the sport schedules take up every moment of every day?
  2. Bicycle. My ten-speed was my mode of transportation. I rode it to Quick Trip for tootsie rolls and to the pool for the day. My friends and I would ride our bikes everywhere we went and on days when the weather wasn’t sunny we would congregate at someone’s house and play Atari, watch MTV or play board games. Now, we drive an SUV and Mommy is the taxi driver and for the love of summer it is next to impossible to get my kids to look up from their devices!
  3. Money money money. We bleed money. Money for camps money for the pool and money for every other thing they need and want to do during the day. And that darn Yogurt lab…you will be lucky if you can purchase one yogurt cup for less than $5. Then there are the camps. This summer we paid $299 for Cardboard Camp. Really? Couldn’t my children scrounge up cardboard and have at it without paying someone to help them build with cardboard? Geesh.
  4. I am the entertainer. Who knew parenting would require camp counselor skills as well. I don’t remember my Mom being around during the summer. She was…but she wasn’t the one coming up with my agenda. If I said I was bored, I would be booted outside. For the entire day to FIND something creative to do. We did. WE built forts, we played tag, we rode bikes and we went to the pool. That was summer.
  5. Chores. I had chores…lots of chores. And, there was no doing anything until those chores were finished. My children wither at the idea of labor around the house as they have an expectation that summer is all about what they want to do. I told them I am going to send them to a farm for a week so they can experience real labor.


I understand this is partly my fault. My fault because I don’t have to sign them up for things, I could send them outside and tell them to figure it out, but the reality is…they can’t. Because their friends aren’t around either. They are in some minivan being driven by their taxi-cab-mother to their sports and events like the rest of us. Maybe this all just proves my age, but I sure do wish my kids could have the summer of the 80′s just like we did.





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The Soul Dance of Recovery

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

Have you ever watched a baby laugh? The joy rolls through the belly, into the face and out the mouth. The excitement pours through the eyes, the arms and the legs. The thrill is everywhere. Contagious rolling laughter. Free and unrestrained.


Somewhere along the way in life this laughter is stifled by searing pain.

It is tattered and torn into so many pieces that it not longer comes together as a complete undulating giggle. The years and the disappointment, the reality that people are fallible and can be mean and terrible rips into it piece by piece until it can no longer unreservedly tumble out of the body.

Laughter is replaced with rigidity. Replaced with bars on a cage that keep you safe. Safe minus the spontaneous sometimes loud and gleeful mirth. Work and numbers and straight lines keep you protected from the pain of the horrific memories, the mean and terrible people, and the possibility that life can be so tragic and terrible. Laughter, if it happens, is a small quiet flutter. No longer a full bellied rolling.

An eating disorder steals so many things. It steals your life, your personality and your health. But what it also steals is laughter.

I never knew this while struggling. I never knew when I was buried by the thoughts and the big thick black bars that kept me safe and caged in. I just knew I was numb and wasn’t feeling the darkness.

Yes, the darkness isn’t as dark when you are numb. But the light is muted as well. The light, the beautiful and magnificent lightness that comes from the simple act of laughter and deep indescribable joy is also no longer within your grasp.

“I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t laugh.”
― Maya Angelou

When I was working towards recovery and choosing life, I thought it was so I could face life and no longer hide. So I could throw off the chains that were holding me down, keeping me from wholly being who I was supposed to be. I had no idea that there was a gift better than freedom from the grip of addiction. No idea that recovery offered something monumentally more that numbness could never offer.

It does, it offers an ability to laugh fully and freely. To laugh until you can laugh no more. Uninhibited and free.

“Laughter is the sound of the soul dancing. My soul probably looks like Fred Astaire.”
― Jarod Kintz

It isn’t something many will even notice. But I notice. I know now. Yes, recovery offers you freedom from the obsessive thoughts, freedom from loving something that can potentially kill you, but the bonus is recovery offers you laughter. A natural uninhibited eye glowing body releasing feeling of fun and joy and simple amusement.

When your soul is dancing.

Don’t you want that?



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Why I Chose Suffering at the Airport

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

Once upon a time there was a little girl who would carry a pretty pink suitcase. She would hold her Mommy’s hand as she stepped on that enormous plane. The stewardess all tidy in her blue outfit would bend down with a gentle smile on her face and say, “welcome!” And she would hand the little girl a shiny pair of wings for the courage of flying on this big bird in the sky. The little girl would sit in the oversized chair and eat and sleep and gaze out into the sky of fluffy clouds and crisp blue skies.


That little girl grew up. And so did the world.

She entered a similar airport, this time with rolling luggage and a jaw set in determination. Because entering an airport now is not an exercise in awe in wonder, but one of skill. And grit.

It begins in a hot loud line with one person pointing where and when you should be gifted enough to step up to the counter. And everyone is hurrying. There are no smiles and chitchat but rush rush rush. Do what your told, pay attention, move along people.

We are cattle at the mercy of the person behind the desk telling us where to go.

The reality with airports now is this… pain is inevitable. Suffering is a choice.

This past weekend I chose suffering.

After pure and utter exhaustion from speaking at a conference and rushing around for four days, I just wanted to go home. I had no patience; I was tired and overdone like my Minnesota skin after a day in the sun. Fried. Long lines, crabby people, and lots of noise. Babies and speakers and TVs. and one stupid electronic walkway that buzzed for hours. I say for hours, because the chair I sat it was stuck next to that incessant buzzing.

Due to errors on the airlines part, six of us strangers were lucky enough to spend the day together in the Chicago airport. Waiting anxiously to somehow be blessed enough to get on a flight. Because that is how it is, to walk in, to simply get on an airplane can be sometimes close to a miracle if you don’t have superstar airline status.

After the second flight was delayed over and over again and then waiting and watching as people boarded without me, tears began to flow down my face. Ironically I was reading a book called The In-Between by Jeff Goins, which is all about all about how God works in the in-between moments. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t radically accept. I couldn’t be patient. I couldn’t sit on that hard chair with the noise and the buzzing and the babies crying and the overhead announcements any more.

I wanted my pink suitcase. I wanted my wings.

I could have chilled out. I could have surrendered to the waiting.

I didn’t. I marched my behind up to the counter begging for answers. With tears spilling out, I pleaded for some explanation, some understanding of why one purchases a flight and yet can’t get on a flight?

The lady behind the counter immediately assumed I was yelling. I wasn’t yelling. I was talking firmly through sobs.

“Maam!” She said, as if I was eighty, “You need to calm down.”

Uh oh. She pressed a big ol button deep in the crevices of my pain by telling me to calm down. I did just the opposite. (And I am NOT proud of how I behaved.)

“Do not tell me to calm down.” I said more firmly (I WAS NOT yelling at this point). “I want to know what YOUR airline is going to do about this situation.” She stared at me with her overly blue eye shadowed eyes and then I did yell. “THIS IS BULLSHIT”

I just took the situation and made it much worse. She was furious and quietly looked hard at me to let me know she was in charge, “You need to calm down. And you may not stand here and cuss at me! There are children around.”

I looked at her and said…”shit shit shit!” just to anger her some more.

After being treated like a child, I behaved like a child. A child with a foul mouth.

It was a showdown and I was clearly losing.

But here is the reality… you don’t yell or cuss at an airport. I am pretty sure she was ready to call security on me. Until I finally got a hold of myself and walked away. I walked away to the wall, next to a trashcan and slid down the wall into a ball of tears sobbing. I know… suffering.

The pain was inevitable. I turned it into suffering.

Don’t we do that with life sometimes? Make a situation worse than it has to be? Lack the ability to just accept what is sometimes and lean into it instead of trying to change it?

Yes. And I realized, airports will never be like they were when I was a child. They are places of intense emotions and rushing frantic people. And to try and imagine it to be something different is not reality.

Once I got a hold of myself and chilled out. I actually met some amazing and interesting people that I might not have met, had I continued in my suffering.

I am embarrassed by my behavior and yet, I still mourn those days of pink suitcases and shiny wings.




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Do You Live With Regret? I do.

Lee Wolfe Blum - Helping Women Develop a Hunger for Life.

I am always surprised when people say, “I have no regrets in life.” Come on. I have regrets! Every. Single. Day. Aren’t we all just stumbling through this life?

There is one regret that I am reminded of every June.

My husband and I were blessed in our early twenties to know an amazing and passionate man named Matt Gaumer. Matt had a contagious zest for life unlike anyone you would ever meet. He lived in the moment. He also loved loved teenagers and was so passionate about being with them. Sitting with them, talking with them, and hanging out. Matt lived in a house on the lake with my husband and another buddy. I always remember one night sitting by the bonfire discussing life as we usually did. Matt, sat with us for a while and then disappeared. When I went inside, I saw him sitting on the stairs. His head hung low and his hand holding a phone. He sat like that for over an hour. There was a teenager who needed to talk. Matt was there. He was present. Even though he wanted to be out by the fire with us, he gave this hurting kid his time. I was so struck by his selfless ways when it came to a hurting kid. He had this ability to live in the moment and to sense the needs around him at that particular time. It was quite a gift.


I, on the other hand, did just the opposite when a little moment presented itself. And one I will regret forever.

I was working and in my own to-do list. Wanting to check off the next thing and not to be bothered. Wanting to do what I wanted to do. Don’t interrupt me world, I have a plan and an agenda.

Matt called me at work one day and I didn’t take the call. He never called me at work and so it was strange.  (This was before I owned a cell phone.) My co-worker set the sheet of paper on the desk that said, “Matt called. Call back.” I was too busy. I couldn’t stop what I was doing to call him. I had my list. I had my agenda. I will do it tomorrow… I thought.

These moments in life will be missed if you aren’t paying attention. If you aren’t awake. If you are too busy looking forward or too caught up in reliving what already was. Or maybe you are too caught up in how you look or what you weigh? If so, you will miss the red sunset, the smell of the puppy, the pain in someone’s eyes. If you are so caught up in your own stuff.

It happens. It happens to me all the time. I don’t want to talk to anyone, I want to read or look at my phone. I don’t want to chit-chat at the hockey rink or sit on the sidelines of the soccer game next to her, what will we talk about? I want to sit, be alone.

Matt died that week in a car crash. 

And when I went back into work after news of his death, that piece of paper was still sitting on my desk.

I will always always regret not stopping what I was doing to call him.

Life is busy. You can’t always answer the phone. You can’t always respond to the email. But you can, open your eyes. Talk to the person sitting next to you, be open to the people who are in need around you. Look people in the eye and see them.

Stop the rushing and the doing in order to be. That one precious moment will pass like the wind. Yes, the phrase is true. Life is oh so short. I was, and I will never ever have that opportunity to talk to Matt again. I will regret that forever.

There are sunsets and sunrises to see. There are beautiful birds flying next to you and sounds that are so quiet you have to strain to hear them. But all of it is happening right now, right before your eyes. Won’t you open them? Won’t you let go of your agenda, your worries, and your doing. And be present. I am trying. I don’t always do well with this, but fifteen years later I am reminded yet again…DON’T MISS THIS!

Matt left a letter on his computer that was found after he passed. I love this line that he wrote:

 ”When I was alive I wanted and loved and hoped. When I am dead the wants and loves and hopes of my life–I want and hope will live.”  - Matt Gaumer


Matt and My husband at our wedding.

You taught me so much Matt and we all miss you so much. I will remember yet again, to try and be OPEN and be PRESENT to what God is putting before me. So that I don’t miss out on these precious fleeting moments. Won’t you?



* This website was created in memory of Matt by his fraternity brothers.




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