Browsing posts in: Personal
Oct 27, 2015 0

How are you?

Day 26 of #31Days

How are you? What a cultural norm. I got into a conversation today with a guy about it.

“How’s it going?” He asked.

I said something to the effect of “Slow. Need coffee. But good.”

Then I followed up with, “How are you?”

“I’m wonderful.”

“Wonderful.” I smiled. “I wish more people would give answers like that instead of just, ‘Good.’ It’s nice to hear.” He shrugged and said, “Better than when people go… eh. Or something downer like that.”

“Oh… I do that all the time actually.” He looked surprised.

So then I drove off. Cause I was at a coffee pop-up shop and there was another customer behind me haha.
But our quick exchange got me thinking. Why is this specific back-and-forth of “How are you?” “I’m good” such a fixture in our everyday conversations?


For almost two years now, I’ve pretty much outright disliked this question. I probably won’t ever like it again and yet… it’s so ingrained in me that I’ll still be asking that dang question when I’m 90. Most of the time these days, my response is something like, “Oh, that’s a loaded question…” and then move on! People always look surprised, but what do you want me to do, lie?! While difficult, I firmly believe it’s better to always strive for the truth even though a white lie is an easy way out. I understand, though, that sometimes this question just gets a little too personal, and that’s the only way to handle it.


On the flip side, this society normality can give a springing board to help others. More than two years ago now (but I’ll never forget it) a friend from college came to town and we grabbed lunch at the local Panera Bread, looking for a good time to catch up on each other’s life. The week before, a previous professor of ours had lost his teenage son to suicide. We both couldn’t believe it. After exclaiming our sadness, he mentioned that one day earlier that year he was going through some really dark stuff. This friend of mine told me about stomping down the street and walking past one of his guy buddies going the other way.

“Hey man, how are you?” The buddy said.

“Ok. I’m FINE.” My friend said, blowing him off as he kept going.

The buddy stopped, did a double-take, and quickly caught up to him, getting right up in my friend’s face. A second later he could tell that things were not ok. So this guy made my friend go with him to lunch, to run errands, all sorts of things to keep him busy and chatting with him. I can’t say for certain exactly what my friend would have done had he just gone home like he’d planned. But from the twists and turns our conversation had taken over the course of two hours I was left with a deep sense of gratitude to the man who took the time to stop and care.

I’m not sure how to end my writing tonight. Maybe there isn’t a clear conclusion to the rhyme or reason of why we use “How are you?” in greeting each other. Seriously, this is pretty much only an American way of starting small chat. But I hope I got you thinking about why we say this phrase, but more importantly, paying attention to how you or your friends answer.


Oct 25, 2015 0

October 25th

Day 25 of #31Days

Six days. Only six more days until this challenge is over. It’s been both awful and awesome at the same time. I’ve received the most positive encouragements and I appreciate each one so much. The dedication is tough, especially when I’ve got full days.

I wish I had the routine down to keep this up every day.


I’m pretty beat. Tomorrow’s a fun day filled with work! Hope you have a beautiful Monday tomorrow :)

Oct 25, 2015 0

Little unexpected message

Day 24 of #31Days

This evening mom treated my older sister and me to a small shopping spree. It was a surprise to the both of us and I totally walked out with awesome winter slippers and a new sweater. Thanks mom!

While trying on a dress, I happened to notice that someone took the time to carve this note into the dressing room mirror. I can’t really condone the defacing of property, I totally felt the love through their cute little message.

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Have a great Sunday!

Oct 24, 2015 0


Day 23 of #31Days

Last night I had a weird dream. And today not much has stayed with me, except for that I was on a journey and I had to get my dog to the vet. Now, the vet here in town is amazing and does her best every time I bring Angel in. So I really, really have no clue where this dream came from. BUT, in my dream, Angel was just supposed to get her nails trimmed and instead they decided that she was too old and needed to be put down instead.They gave her the injection and handed me a rottweiler instead like I’m supposed to have this automatic connection with a new dog and the old one didn’t matter. Ugh. I love my little pup!

Not much else to say today, didn’t have the time to put in! :/


Oct 23, 2015 2

Melancholy Beth

Day 22 of #31Days

Friendship isn’t easy. We all suffer the loss of losing what you hoped would have been a lifelong friendship. There’s been a few of mine that faded naturally into acquaintances, and a few others that to this day cause me grief. There are some friendships that I nearly walked away from without a backwards glance and yet still made the choice to stay… but even more often I think it was vice versa. The gratefulness that I feel to those who decided I was worth staying for is indescribable. I love them so much.

As we age, we have to respect the ebb and flow of our connections. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. Sooner or later, you have to figure out who’s going to cycle in and out of your life. For example, there’s a woman who currently lives right down the street from me. And when I moved back home from college we saw each other quite often. It was great! I totally got used to it. But then… her relationship got serious, she got a new job, and I never saw her anymore. For at least 8 months if not a full year, I’d text, call to check in, request a time to hang out. Nothing. It was like I barely existed. I eventually sat down and wrote a letter to her wondering if I had done anything wrong, ended with saying that I missed her. I decided to wait two weeks before I’d leave it in her mailbox. Not even a week later (!), she sent me a text saying how sorry she was from going MIA and would I like to get Sushi next Wednesday? And so it went.

Now, two years later, I’ve gained an understanding that our mutual affection for each other is 100% is real! But our affection is not always friendly with balancing our full schedules. :/ So these days it’s every once in awhile we plan a time to meet up for sushi, get to hang out at a party, and say hi at church. I acknowledge what she can give and understand that we are both very different people with very different lives and cannot always arrange the two to mesh as well as we’d like. I love that she didn’t give up on our friendship though. That she has been an honest and encouraging voice in my life over the years since kindergarten and will continue to weave in and out of my life in a positive way for decades to come.

There’s another woman who lives about 5 minutes away from my house. We were best friends as kids and remained fairly close all through college. When she moved away for a few years, I was expecting it’d be just like it was when I went away to school. But, I’d send her a text and she’d reply, giving me a runaround answer. I’d send her a package, and would never hear if she got it. When she came home to visit her family, she’d post a fun picture online but already be gone when I asked her if she wanted to swing by before she headed out. It got hard. I didn’t understand. I still don’t understand. I have been left out of so many gatherings because… why? Did I say something, do something, not reach out enough when we were still calling each other and hosting movie nights?

I’ve consulted my mom. She wasn’t sure but said it could be only child syndrome*. I’ve asked my best friend here what she thought and she had no clue. I’ve asked another mutual best friend what she thought and you wanna know what she said? “I don’t know, but she has done this to me since leaving high school. I don’t think she thinks about it.” I grieved heavily over the turn our friendship had taken.

Melancholy Beth, not my favorite.

Melancholy Beth, not my favorite. sooc.

The last time I reached out to her was March of 2014. It did not go well and by the end of our text conversation I felt like I didn’t matter at all. I saw her this year at a funeral in January. I was stressed knowing she would be there and not knowing how I’d react, but it was fine, she smiled and waved. At the reception, we had a simple pleasant chat. I felt a wave of acknowledgement roll over me that our close time of friendship was over, and we were now mere acquaintances. And it still feels like that is only on her terms.

I wouldn’t have chosen to walk away, but the choice to stay wasn’t an option. It wasn’t healthy for me and seemed to be of no consequence to her. I think it will always suck that it was a slow, painful loss for me and I will never know why it happened.

So again, friendship isn’t easy. Letting wanted friendships go isn’t easy either. It takes two to make a relationship. It takes openness and honesty and the desire to want to work with the other person to be better. Each time you give someone a piece of your heart it’s an active decision. The decision to walk away can waver between not giving a second thought and agony. Agony is obviously the least fun of the two, but I’ve learned that it’s not a bad thing to care. The bad is when you decide to wallow in the hurt. You’ve got to acknowledge when it’s time to put up new boundaries and invest anew in the community that still surrounds you.

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*I have no idea if she’ll ever read this or not, I have no idea what would go through her head if she did. I’m being ridiculously transparent right now. O.O Also, I don’t know enough about one child syndrome to know if this is a viable reason or not.

P.s., My friends, feel free to reach out. I may not be able to give a perfect response, but I’m always open to figuring out the “why” of why things didn’t work well if you think we need to have a difficult conversation. Human life sure is messy, isn’t it?

P.p.s., I couldn’t get to all I wanted to cover for this subject, so I hope to continue this train of thought again soon!

Oct 22, 2015 0

Go take a walk

Day 21 of #31 Days

Today I spent about 4 hours photographing jewelry for a great gallery in St. Michael’s and then went in to volunteer with my church’s youth group. I wish I could spend more time with those kids instead of just an hour or two a week. The questions they bring keep me thinking, and I love caring about them. Sometimes I yell… but wouldn’t you too if a 14-year-old boy is throwing things around the fellowship hall? Gah. How do I bottle that kind of energy?

Yesterday I talked about boundaries and friendship. I ended with saying I’d probably write about why some friendships fall apart tomorrow. But tomorrow is today and my brain is saying that it’s more important to go to bed than to spend the next hour perfecting a tough blog post. I’m trying to drop the level of my mental and physical clutter… and going to bed before 2am helps me move towards that goal. So hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to lay out my thoughts and bare my grief over the loss of friends. If I do, it’ll be worth reading. Or just make you sad, that’s possible too.

For now, enjoy this adorable video about why girls are better than boys and I don’t know, go take a walk? It’s the best time of year for that sort of thing. 😉


Taken at Smith Mountain Lake, one of Virginia's top state parks! Fall 2015

Taken at Smith Mountain Lake, one of Virginia’s top state parks! Fall 2015

Oct 21, 2015 0

Boundaries and Friendships

Day 20 of #31Days

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With Kayla at a surprise (for us) worship concert in Georgia, where Passion City Church actively fights Human Trafficking.

One thing that makes my heart sing is spending time with people, supporting each other and doing life together. That unintentionally became my day today, with a lot of driving around in-between. I caught up on my podcasts!

Relationships with people require time and quite often, sacrifice. To some, it’s not always worth it to put in that necessary time. To some, they give so much of themselves that they lose boundaries and the relationship becomes unhealthy. I’m not perfect and have definitely made missteps in my past with friends, but I love learning about how to be a positive influence and grow in this area.

One of the best books I have read this year is Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I wish I had read it years ago. I’ve recommended it ever since. To. So. MANY. People. Everyone, practically. -.- I’ve also just heard about Lundy Bancroft and his book Why Does He Do That? While I’ve never been in an abusive relationship, the insight from this book probably would have been more specifically helpful when dealing with the situation I mentioned yesterday.

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Spending time with generous people who put out a Bible for the cat every meeting. Loved the community poured out in every moment.

I’ve considered going to graduate school for counseling (though now I’m leaning towards reading as much as possible + taking a class or two so I’m not taking out more student loans). Now I’m getting off track. I started this post about friendship, let me wrap up on my thoughts.

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The Beard Booth app is my fav. And hanging out with Danny in NYC is so fun you guys. <3

To me, authentic friendship requires being silly. And open. And honest. Iron sharpens Iron, right? Experience shows that is true.

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Fresh off the plane in LA with Cortney, Tess, and Amy for a week-long adventure in Cali!

Friendship is sharing dinner on a random Tuesday night (thanks Faith and Ritchie!). It’s bringing a dozen cupcakes to someone’s doorstep to give them a hug when they say they’re ok but in reality their world just stopped turning. Sometimes it’s as simple as leaving a little message saying sorry I can’t be there, I’m running on empty.

Human connection is like the tide, people will always be ebbing in and out of your life. Recognize this and respect the cycle so you can invest in your community without burning out or getting your heart-broken (learned my lesson here). Speak honestly and humbly when addressing issues and make the decision that the person you are having the issue with is worth more than your ego.

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Goodwill + college friends. No more needs to be said.

Being friends with someone requires a decision. You will continue to make that decision every time you interact. There are very few people where I have had to make a negative decision. Maybe tomorrow I’ll go over the few friendships that I have had to grieve and leave…



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Oct 20, 2015 2

Something serious.

Day 19 of #31Days

It’s almost Halloween, so maybe it’s time to share a bit of scare.

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This past July, I went to the West Coast to visit family and to attend the World Domination Summit in Portland, Oregon. (It was awesome, if you ever get a chance to go, GO!!!). It was out there when I was learning so much and having so much fun (seriously, it was SO GOOD!) when I got a simple text.

“Hey, is this beth ewing?”


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Chris Guillibeau, awesome guy.

Since I was busy bowling with some new friends, I forgot to reply. Yet I got the same exact text again a little while later. I was interacting with cool people, taking in all the business lessons, exploring Portland… But when I got home, a back and forth dialogue got started.

He said he wanted to hire me for a photography gig (he said he found my business number through a legit source), had a budget, and just wanted something simple. Fairly soon into the exchange, I started flagging manipulation tactics. So I told him, “If you want me to take portraits for you, meet me at this address and we can sign a contract.” He agreed, never checking that the address I was sending him to was to the local police station (ha.). So the day to meet up comes, and guess what? My phone is silent. But I sure wasn’t. I started talking to the police hours before our time to meet.

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Thanks, Jon Acuff… you nailed it. Applicable to both business and personal life.

By the next week, I was back at the police station. This went on for quite awhile, resulting in a report that was over 45 pages long and I was pulled into a potential sting operation.

Then again, in late August, my phone goes silent. For almost a week, there was nothing. No awful messages, no demands on my time and person, the anxiety levels that had been through the roof started to die down.

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Derek Sivers, genius. Everyone should take your advice!

Labor Day Weekend hits, and I get a text from a new number.

“Hi. is this beth ewing?”

Ugh. He was back. And through an odd fluke… I found out who he was.

This guy who had been harassing me for over a month and being the most FRUSTRATING AND SCARY person wasn’t a stranger like I thought. Turns out, this criminal is a teenage boy who I had met 3 years ago and thought highly of. If you put this kid in a line-up I would have never pointed him out. He had all the potential, respectful manners, is part of an outstanding family whom I love (really, I still love them and grieve so much for them), that I was completely blindsided.

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Seriously, Jon, your talk was so good. I’m thankful I got to hear it.

I wasn’t going to talk about this on the blog, at least not this year, but I think this week I cycled back to this and really processed what he put me through. How could he decide that because I was a woman, I was a vulnerable object he could take advantage of?

We ended up meeting face to face in September. Before we separated I asked him how long he had been addicted to porn.

“A long time. A very long time.” I also asked him why he chose my life to mess with. His answer was a fear realized and a shock at the same time. Not even close to being ready to share publicly.

There’s more I could write. There’s a lot more I could tell. But this is where I need to end for now. I want you to know that I don’t hate this kid, I actually wish that he gets clean and still reaches that potential I first saw in him at 14. I want a positive future for him. I don’t judge him for his addiction, but I know that his path was one of destruction.

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Awesome people get to dance at awesome parties, right?!

I hope that he saw that his actions hurt more than he ever intended and that they didn’t just hurt me. I hope that he realizes if he ever wants to have a healthy relationship with a living, honest, real woman… that he can’t ever go back into that kind of thinking. This subject will be coming up on my platform again, but for now I’ll end with the two links that contributed to my decision to write about this today.

Haunted by Hackers

The phone rang, it was my college rapist

Read them, acknowledge them, pay attention to what’s going on in the lives around you. Be there for your friends who are facing intense pressure from sources they may not understand. To the friends that were there for me during all this, I thank you. You made sure I was staying safe and let me vent to you whenever I needed. You are my community.

He had no idea how strong I really am.

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Oct 18, 2015 0

Oh hey, a photo essay

Day 18 of #31Days

Man. How do daily bloggers do this every day?

There isn’t really anything I feel up to writing about for a full blog post. Time for a photo essay then! Shout out to the time I got up at 5 am and waded into a chilly lake for silly pictures in New Hampshire. Major thanks to my cousin Karen, who assisted and didn’t let my camera go for an unwanted swim.


I would highly recommend anyone go out and do this. Any time of year. I don’t always do sunrise shoots but they always give me some of my favorite images. And maybe I should dedicate a blog post about this, but it’s my firm opinion that going out into nature and taking self-portraits is one of the best things you can do for your self-esteem. Try it one day and let me know if that holds true for you as well!


Outtake, not even realizing the ducks are swimming in behind me.



One of my favorites from the images captured that morning. This is the only one posted today that’s not straight out of camera.


*Apologizes for the lame writing. Getting back into the daily practice of publishing something every day is harder than I thought. Looking forward to improving step by step as I continue to practice.

Oct 18, 2015 2

When did we get so far into October? So fast?

Day 17 of #31Days

How is October this far over already? I don’t understand. Ok, so maybe I’ve driven 13 hours in three days last week and dealt with family being in and out of medical offices too many times… I’ve been in quite the mental fog.

Today a text woke me up (which is rare because most of the time my phone is not near me at night). It was my friend Margot asking, “Are you coming to tea?” Since she was so excited about it (and hey, free food!) I hopped up and within the hour was sitting down to a beautifully set table with some lovely women about to receive a lesson in tea etiquette and tear into a fresh blueberry scone.

I guess my decision for the 17th was to allow myself to be open in discussion with the women surrounding me and to enjoy a fancy brunch with some amazing people. The reason for the tea was for simply for fellowship, but the woman from my church who put it together just laid out her heart at the beginning.

She said (near quote, forgive my brain), “I’d love to see us as a church meeting monthly to throw baby showers; and giving everything brought to the shelter for battered women. It’s fun to meet for tea and all, but when we meet, we can really do simple, yet outstanding things for women in our town.”

And ya’ll, I could take or leave organized tea, as fancy as it is. But serving people through positive events is my JAM! Oh, I LOVE it so much! I 100 % believe we are called to serve through joy. Generosity is such a beautiful thing and if this woman’s dreams come to fruition then an expectant mom who expected to have nothing could all of a sudden have everything for her baby. God moves big time through community in action, and ideas like this is a huge part of why I’m plugged into ministry.

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P.s., and if you pray, please lift up a prayer for me.  As I was sharing about my career coaching call, one of the ladies I was sitting next to at tea told me a name popped into her head while I was talking about what I’m looking for in work. She said, “Don’t go anywhere until I hear back from this guy. I think he could be a real connection for you.” So encouraging! Forward movement people, it feels good.