5 Questions for Kristin Ritzau

Kristin Ritzau is a spiritual director, writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. When she's not working in Student Life at Azusa Pacific University, Kristin tends to her urban homestead outside Los Angeles, where she raises vegetables and chickens with her husband.

In her debut book, A Beautiful Mess, Kristin shares her very personal journey to overcome crippling perfectionism. As she navigated a new marriage, endured a quarter-life health crisis, and was forced to redefine the God of her childhood, Kristin discovered freedom in accepting she was a beautiful mess. She didn't need to clean up her "perfect" life any longer.

Kristin answered 5 Questions posed to her by the editors of ConversantLife.com.

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The Song of My Friend Addie

My friend Addie is four and lives in her own little world.  In Addie’s world there is no hurry.  In her world you can wear your clothes backwards and change them every hour.  In Addie’s world there is lots of singing.  There is much dancing.  There is no need to brush your hair.  Addie’s world is a collage of projects and music and make-believe games.  She occasionally emerges from her world and greets my world with a word of affection or a hug or a randomly placed, “buenos dias”.  She may remind you she is four and then revert back to her world of daydreams and songs.

I find myself being jealous of Addie and her sweet oblivion.  Even when her mom gets frustrated with her, it doesn’t seem to shake her out of her own rhythm.  This is something I pray she holds onto.  It seems other people can constantly shake me out of my rhythm; a misinterpreted comment here, a judgmental response there, my own off perceptions of what others think, all cause me to fall in line with the expectations of others instead of living merrily in the space God intended for me.  Right when I think I’ve given up any concern for what others think, it comes back, sneaking into my thoughts and perceptions.

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Looking "Up"

 

Have you seen “Up” yet?  I just came back from my second viewing and just in case you are wondering if all the glowing reviews you’ve been hearing are true, well, the answer is an unequivocal yes.  This film works is enjoyable on so many levels, it is sure to become a Disney/Pixar classic.  

 

What struck be watching this movie the second time around are the many layers present in this movie.  It’s an adventure movie that (mini spoiler alert ahead) touches on themes of life, death, loneliness, companionship, abandonment, greed, friendship, perspective, and priorities.  Not bad for a film that features talking dogs!

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Expecting the Unexpected

Expect only the unexpected. Now there’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. When asked as a teenager what my life would look like at age 30, I didn’t hesitate to rattle off my list of expectations. Here is a short list of them at age 17 (It’s okay. You can laugh):

 

I’d be married to a man who drove a Chevy Z71 (lift preferred) with an excellent career 

and washboard abs.

I’d be a healthy, fit, cool mom of at least 3 kids and 1 pending adoption.

We’d own a modest suburban home with a yard for the kids to play.

Obviously I’d be a homemaker full-time and volunteer part-time.

 

I turn the big 30 this year and the only above expectation I can check off the list is that I am married and it’s only been 3 months. (Well ok, we can check off the washboard abs too). The point is that my life has taken a very different path than once expected. Whose hasn’t?  

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Great Expectations

After a long discussion of what we were in the mood to watch last night, my husband and I decided on the Duchess with Kiera Knightly.  It was a good movie and even my husband, who doesn’t like period pieces, appreciated it.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, the film is based on the true story of the Duchess of Devonshire in the late 1700s. It follows the plight of the bourgeoisie women of the time. I will refrain from saying a whole lot more because I hate it when people ruin movies.  The reason that this movie stood out to me was a quote from Knightly’s character right after she gets married.  Her new husband grabs a pair of scissors to cut her out the elaborate dress she is wearing that she designed.  He gripes as he snips away at the different layers that he doesn’t understand the lengths women go to with their clothing.  She responds by saying that maybe that is because clothing is the only way women can express themselves because they can’t in any other way.
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