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Over my past seventeen years as a psychotherapist, I’ve helped individuals navigate a myriad of physical and mental health struggles and delivered a variety of research-supported interventions. I’ve also maintained a long-standing passion for health education, both as a tool for recovery and a preventative measure.

In this next chapter that I’ve named The SAVOR Project, I’m bringing what I’ve learned as a psychologist to the (literal and figurative) table to promote a more positive, connected  relationship with food. And the journey begins with food literacy, which can be broadly defined as the ability to access, choose, process, and enjoy food.   Continue Reading »

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This month, I’m officially entering phase one of The SAVOR Project! I’ve secured a plot at Ridgewood Park, a SW Portland community garden, and over the next few seasons, I’ll use this space as a demo garden to highlight the benefits of interacting with and cultivating an urban edible garden. It will also serve as the meeting place for a number of low-cost public offerings through The SAVOR Project’s “outdoor school” workshop series. Most of what I harvest from this plot will be given away to workshop participants and the Produce for People Program. Continue Reading »

shutterstock_1598655364Monday afternoon, we said goodbye to one of our beloved pets, a long-haired feline named Turtle. Turtle loved her dogs, my husband, water play, movietime, and Friday night’s roast chicken. She joined our family fourteen years ago, her arrival wedged in between the last few days before my grandfather’s death, and the weekend I walked to receive my doctoral degree.

We’ve lived a great deal, since then. Our daughter has known Turtle her whole life.

The vulnerability researcher Brene Brown once said something to the effect of, our ability to experience joy is directly proportional to our willingness to be broken-hearted.

Oh my goodness, it hurts to say goodbye.  Continue Reading »

IMG_20191219_115324_031It’s that time again. I’m clearing out the vegetable beds closest to our house. I’m rinsing out my  germination flats with bleach, and filling them with seedling mix. I’m fondling seed packets, and paging through piles of seed catalogs.

What will I grow? How will it go? How can I work with nature, and what is beyond my control?

So much. So much is beyond my control. It’s dizzying, it’s terrifying, what’s beyond my control.

And on some levels, it’s simplifying. Continue Reading »

20200121_144504When I retired from my clinical role in 2019, I’d spent over fifteen years counseling clients on a variety of concerns, with a long-standing specialty in mindfulness-based eating disorder treatment. Training in self-compassionate awareness led individuals to develop a more positive relationship with food and their bodies.

Also, I adore food. I love growing, cooking, eating, reading, and talking about it.  Food is my love language. I’m at my happiest when I’m helping others reclaim their birthright of pleasure and connection with food.

So, in the face of the typical New Year’s resolutions that often focus upon what we shouldn’t be eating, and all of the associated “dangers” of food, I’ve put together this short list. Continue Reading »

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From Embracing the Good, a chapter in the Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook (Neff & Germer, 2018):

“Savoring involves noticing and appreciating the positive aspects of life – taking them in, letting them linger, and then letting them go. It is more than pleasure – savoring involves mindful awareness of the experience of pleasure…” (p.161)

Let’s be honest. How often do we miss opportunities to savor because our minds are nowhere to be found? To be distracted, to wake up breathing this morning (hooray!) and yet to find ourselves pulled in a hundred directions before our feet hit the floor – welcome to the experience of being human. So it’s for good reason that we call this the practice of mindfulness, the practice of mindful eating, the practice of savoring. Guess what? We get our whole lives to strengthen these skills.  Continue Reading »

Return home

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It’s been a week, hasn’t it? Sometime last night in the midst of intense neck pain and overall muscle tension, as I was throwing back chocolate and contemplating getting another glass of wine, I woke up.

I wasn’t happy to return, honestly. My body hurt and I felt about a hundred things at once, as the fictional boy hero Ron Weasley expressed incredulity about (although you don’t need to be a Hermione to know that yes, humans are complex and capable of feeling conflicting emotions). I’ve been bouncing around for a few days now, kind of like a ping pong ball (or really, a bowling ball), crashing into anything and everything in its wake. A recipe for shame, of course, because then I must be a bad fill-in-the-blank. Round and round we go.  More chocolate, please. Continue Reading »