Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cheers to 2015....

I'm thankful for 2015, what it brought me and what it is allowing me to leave behind.

In 2015 I learned a lot about myself, what I am willing to put up with as a person and what I am not willing to put up with.

I started the year in a really low place.  A place of doubt, insecurity, uncertainty about my future, and not a lot of hope.

I feel like my summer helped me to run back to God.

I found Him, I found community.  I found truth, light, love.  I find a place where I could be myself.

2015 will always be a year of healing for me.  The year that God brought me through a lot of self-doubt, fear, and destruction.  The year that He showed me just how far His grace and love go.

The year He answered so many prayers.

I am so thankful for this year.  I am thankful for the ups and downs.  I am thankful for the mistakes.  I am thankful for the successes.  I am thankful that through it all I am looking to 2016 with so much joy and happiness.

I am excited to see what is to come.

2015.... Thanks to a God who Heals.....Loves.....Forgives....and gives us Abundantly more than we deserve! 

Authentically Single....

2016....the year that I claim as the year to embrace my singleness. 

Last year at this time I would have been writing a completely different blog about singleness.  I had just gone through a pretty traumatic break-up when the Holiday Season rolled around.  It was hard, I was mourning a relationship that I had thought would end up in engagement and marriage in the next few years.  I was dealing with a lot of opinions about myself that this past relationship had allowed me to believe.  I was in the beginning stages of grief.  For I had lost someone very close to me.  Up until about a month ago I was still in the process of grieving the expectations that go along with a long-term relationship that turns into what you think is a friendship.  The truth is though that there are some people that we just can't stay friends with.  There are some people that we have to completely cut ties with. 

In cutting those ties, we realize that string, it was in fact holding us back from freedom. 

I cut the ties. 

I choose to embrace who I am.

Singleness I feel like has a really bad place in our world.  For a long time I agreed with those that thought it was not living out a real life to be single.  Those that think that singles cannot truly make an impact on this world.  Or that singles are just waiting till the day they meet their match and then they can truly be welcomed into the "bigger community" of moms, dads, husbands, and wives.

I used to think that way too.  Actually up until like a month ago...then I realized what I was doing.  In every move, in every chance encounter... inside my head I would he the one?  Or maybe him?  Should I go back to online dating, or maybe I should see if someone has a friend they can set me up with?  Why?  Why are those thoughts the first thoughts that come into my head?

I think it is because that is what we are programmed to think.  That somehow if I am single, childless 30 something year old there must be something wrong with me.  That I need to just look harder and then I will find someone.  I will be complete once I find someone.  I will fit in more to the social norms once I find someone.  That my life will begin once I find someone.

Sure maybe people won't say these things to my face, but they think them.

So....what do I do with all of this?

How do I face these expectations head-on?  I think by embracing a single life.  I think by showing society that the social norms, don't have to necessarily be norms...

How do I live authentically single?

#1  I don't focus on "finding someone."  Life isn't about that.  Yes, God created us to desire to have someone to share our life with, but the reality is that not everyone ends up with someone.  I don't need to analyze every single male I come in contact with and wonder if they have the qualities that I am looking for.  I don't focus on "finding someone."

#2  I focus on myself, and what God needs to do in me right now, during this season.  Obviously I am single for a reason.  There are things that God needs to teach me during this stage of my life that He couldn't teach me if I was married with 2.5 kids.  I need to learn things NOW, so that I am READY for whatever is to come.

#3  I don't compare myself to others.  We all do it, in life we all compare.  I find that living an authentically single life means I don't compare myself to anyone else, especially other single 30 something year olds.  My journey is mine, it is not theirs.  I am not in competition with anyone, but who I was yesterday. 

#4   I take time to heal.  There are some bruises and quite a bit of baggage from my previous friendships/relationships that impact how I deal with people today.  I need to heal from those.  I need to allow myself to feel them, and then let them go.  I need to acknowledge those things in my past that could possibly affect my future.  I need to break down those walls, so that when the time comes I am ready to freely love. 

#5  I don't put a time limit on when I am going to "find someone."  There isn't a time limit, that person is not going to just "pass me by."  I can't give it a time limit, because that isn't what it is about.  I am not counting down the days until I am considered an "Old Maid."  I am not going to explode if I don't get married by 35.  A time limit does nothing but set unrealistic expectations on everyone involved. 

#6  I give myself grace.  There are going to be days when I HATE being single.  On those days I am going to allow myself grace.  I am going to let myself grieve the relationship that I crave, and then I am going to pick myself up and keep going. 

#7  I will love.  I will love those around me in mighty ways.  I will fill my life with people that I can spend quality time with, and I will love them no matter what.  I will break down walls and love no matter what risks there might be. 

#8  I will be intentional.  I will take time to talk to those around me.  I will make authentic community a part of my everyday.  I will seek out those that might  be alone, or lonely.  I will intentionally connect on a deeper level with everyone I meet. 

#9  I will embrace this season.  No matter if this season lasts for 6 months, 1 year, 5 years, or a lifetime (hopefully not), I will embrace it.  I will not feel sorry for myself, think that there is something wrong with me, or allow myself to get caught up in the expectations that society places on me.  I will embrace this season for what it opportunity to grow, change, and love in a deeper way. 

#10  I will develop strong friendships.  The biggest mistakes I have made in the past were jumping into relationships without getting to know the guy first.  The best kind of marriages come from friendships (or so I'm told.)  So I will develop strong friendships, not to find a husband...but to learn how to be a friend that someone can depend on, care about, and is there through all the ups and downs.  

#11  I will pray.  Prayer is vital to remaining content in my authentically single stage.  Connecting with God, going to Him, and listening...I can't do it without that.  

This isn't a post that I thought I would be writing, but I couldn't get past these thoughts here it is.  These 11 ways are how I choose to live Authentically Single in 2016, and for as long as God wants me to. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

2016.... Intentional, Grateful, Authentic....

I am a few days early in making my 2016 resolution post, but I want to do it while my thoughts about 2016 are fresh in my mind.  I really love making New Year resolutions, it is the following through with them that I am not so great at.  So, this year my top resolution is to follow through with my resolutions!

I have three key words for this year:  Intentional....Grateful....Authentic

I think authentic is just actually going to be my life word, but I want it to be part of who I am in everything.  I haven't reached it yet, so I still have to make it part of my resolutions.


I want to be intentional in every single relationship I have.  That means that I want to make time to hear what people are really saying.  Spend quality time with them, and not just a hello here or there.  I want to foster those friendships that are one-of-a-kind.  I want to make deep and lasting friendships that are going to be around for awhile, and be able to make it through all the ups and downs life has to offer us. Mostly though this year I am going to be intentional with my family.  I feel like they kind of get the back burner sometimes because I know that they will always be there, but we don't know what tomorrow holds.  I want to make memories today.  I want to get to know who they are on a deeper level.  I want to intentionally spent time loving the people I am with.


Sometimes I get lost in wanting what others have.  I get lost in wanting a husband/family of my own and that sometimes forces me to lose sight of the things that I do have that others don't.  In 2016 I want to be grateful for what I have.  I want to be grateful for my singleness and live it out in a way that I never have before.  I want to be grateful for my friends, family, community.  I want to look at everyday in a positive way and open my eyes up to all that I am blessed with. I don't want to take God's mercy for granted.  I want to wake up every morning feeling blessed and living out that feeling. 


I continue to try to live an authentic life.  I continue to try to be the real me no matter who I am around, and no matter what the subject is.  I feel like it is a process, and will continue to be a process as long as I live.  But this year I am focusing once again on being authentic.  I don't want to hide behind anything.  I want to be real when I am feeling lousy.  I want to be real when I have something to celebrate.  I want to be authentic in conversations and not hide behind the mask or wall I so often put up.

I am excited about what God has brought me this year to focus on in 2016.

"Do not fear for I am with you:  Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (or cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but He has given us a spirit of power and of love and calm and well balanced mind and discipline and self-control."      2 Timothy 1:7

So I look to 2016, that it will be a year when I embrace where I am, who I am with, and the life that I am living as a single 34 year old female.  I will live my life with love, intention, gratefulness, and authenticity.  I will work to build His kingdom through His mercy and grace. 

Authentic Mercy

Mercy....not getting what we deserve.  God's mercy is all around us.  Sometimes I do take God's mercy for granted, if I'm really honest...most times I take God's mercy for granted. 

If it weren't for God's mercy I wouldn't be able to be here in this moment writing and living the way I am.  It is kind of tough to swallow sometimes, because I know that I have rebelled against Him in ways that are pretty unimaginable.  I have chosen the world and what is in the world more than God.  I have tried to live life in the world and for God both at the same time. 

Without God's mercy I would probably be dead, just to be honest.  His mercy has brought me through so much.  His mercy has kept me safe, when I was walking down the darkest path I could go.  His mercy has allowed me to thrive when I should have failed.  His mercy has given me a billion chances to get things right, when really I don't even deserve one.  Yet, His mercy is big enough for whatever I have.  His mercy has no limits, His mercy has no requirements.  His mercy is within my grasp if I just allow it to cover me. 

Why would I not just allow God's mercy to cover me?  Why do I continue to allow those past sins, (or even present sins) to plague my mind and create in me something that wants to harm me? Why do I allow those words that I have spoken or others have spoken about me to hold more value than God's mercy? 

That's not what God's mercy is about.  Authentic mercy means that it covers all of me.  I do not have to continue to look backwards, and try to make things different.  I do not have to continue to live in my guilt and pain.  I am free because Jesus absorbed all of that wrath and sin.  He took it. 


The longer I live in the past, and focus on how horrible my choices have been, then the more I am refusing to live in the joy that comes from accepting God's mercy.  The longer I live without gratefulness, humility and tenderness. 

I don't want to live a bitter, angry life.  I have seen what bitterness and anger can do to a person (what it sometimes does to me).  It isn't beautiful, it isn't a reflection of who Jesus is. 

I choose Mercy.  I choose to authentically live in the Mercy that God gives me.  To be grateful, humble and tender towards Him and His Creation. 

Authentic Mercy....


This year I kept seeing people post about how they didn't feel in the Christmas spirit.  I'm not sure if it was the 60 degree weather we were experiencing or if it was just because Christmas came so quickly  this year?  I'm not sure exactly what it was, but every time I heard it I felt myself get cringe.  I love Christmas and I am a person that doesn't need cold weather for it to feel like Christmas.  Mostly because I've lived in places where Christmas happens during 100 degree weather. 

This year though something felt different in myself.  I think it first occurred when I was talking to my friend and she mentioned that their focus with their 2 year old has been on Jesus and not presents.  I know...crazy, right?  Then in just talking with my family I realized how much focus we put on presents, not intentionally but just that is what Christmas has become.  Yet, I feel like along the way I even lost the reason behind why I give presents in the first place. 

Presents are a symbol of God's love for us, aren't they?  Isn't that what we are doing, going beyond ourselves and giving to show our love to those around us, just like He showed His love to us by sending His son?  Yet, is that really what it has become?  I got an email everyday from stores that I have given my email to...EVERYDAY with new deals.  It made it really hard for me to focus on Jesus and not on buying things. 

What if our focus authentically became Jesus.  What would that look like?  How would that change the way we give gifts, the order we celebrate Christmas in, and the joy we find in Christmas?  What if our Christmas celebration was less about consumerism and more about finding the joy that comes from God, instead of joy from having things?

Something to think about...

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


I have a really hard time with the word judgement.  Especially among Christians.  I just feel like as Christians we are so quick to use this word to point out the flaws in others, instead of focusing on what isn't Christ-like in ourselves. 

For instance I pretty much on a daily basis have to ask myself if I have authentically loved everyone I have come in contact with that day.  Most of the time the answer is no because I am too busy judging this or that.  I am too busy thinking about all the tasks I have to get done to have a genuine conversation with someone where I actually stop and really listen to them instead of just waiting for  my turn to speak. 

On a daily basis I have to keep my ego in check as well.  It is easy to see all the things that I have done in my life, and what I am currently doing and think that I am pretty amazing.  The truth though is that the amazing part is that God is choosing and has chosen to give me the gifts and talents to do everything that I have done in my short 34 years.  Instead of coming across humbly though, I oftentimes come across as the most amazing person in the world.  It is also super easy for me to see when others are being egocentric and point that out in them, instead of asking myself if I need to change first. 

I find myself at a loss when I hear stories of people that have left the church because someone has said something to them about the way they were choosing to live their life.  It hurts me to my core to think that followers of Jesus would be anything but loving and kind when approaching those around them.  I guess that it hurts me because I have walked in their shoes.  I know what it is like to choose things that aren't of God.  I know what it is like to have someone look me in the eyes and judge me when they didn't know the whole story. 

I will never claim perfection, because I will never be perfect except through Christ.  I want those around me to see Jesus' love when they look at me, when they speak with me, and when they interact with me.  I want them to know that He is there, we can come to Him with ANYTHING and he will not forsake us.  He doesn't leave me to fend for myself.  He keeps seeking me.  He keeps pursuing me, until I am completely His. 

I find myself hoping that I have moments in everyday to share His love and what He has brought me through.  Sometimes the sin in my life is pretty overwhelming, but I am thankful to have people that I know will stand by me, help pick me up, and be there to point me in a loving way to Him when I do. 

Our God isn't a God of condemnation, and judgment.  He is a God of mercy, grace, and love.  We need to first be like Jesus ourselves before we can ask anyone else to. 

Leaving the Dead Things Behind

Yesterday I went on a walk to clear my head, and ponder over some tough things that have happened in the past couple of weeks.  I did not intend to walk as far as I did, but it felt so good.  Sometimes the best thing we can do is turn everything off, and go somewhere outside and just breathe in some clean air and listen for God's voice. 

As I walked some things became pretty clear in my mind. 

We are in the middle of the season of dead things.  As I walked along the trail yesterday and looked out at the expanse of all that was before me I realized that just like the seasons, we have seasons in our lives, pretty much constantly.  God is constantly bringing us through death and regrowth.  Whether it is something that he needs us to do better (like loving those that aren't making right choices), or getting rid of people in our lives that are only causing us hurt, pain, and manipulation.  He wants us to get rid of those things in our life that aren't growing. 

Getting rid of dead things is kind of a painful process.  I feel like it is the end of letting something go.  When it finally dies, we have to decide whether we will pick it up and throw it away, or keep letting it rot inside of us, destroying everything good that is in us, too. 

We can keep the memories, the good things...but we have to completely get rid of the dead.

Growth can't happen if all the pain, hurt, sadness, and sorrow is constantly being held on to.

So, as I walked I gave up the things that I was holding on to.  The expectations of someone who clearly does not want to love or be loved.  The words that were said that have the possibility of tearing me down, and ruining everything that I have worked on becoming over the past year.  I gave up the relationship and the things about the relationship that were truly not of God. 

I left behind the control that person had over me.  He no longer gets to determine my worth.  It is not found in him.  His words have no value on who I am as a person or as a creation of the living God.

I leave behind those things....and I look forward to the growth of hope for the future.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Authentically living with Hope...

It always surprises me when conversations, things I read and sermons all revolve around the same theme.  I am not sure why it surprises me, because it shouldn't.  I shouldn't be surprised that the God of the universe cares enough about me to hit me over the head with the same message over and over again.

The past couple of weeks the word that keeps playing through my mind is the word HOPE.  Today as I was sitting listening to the sermon I realized that my hope has been wavering.  I find myself just lost in the fact that I know that God is good, and has good purposes...but I have lost the hope that he will answer certain prayers that I have.  I have seemed to have become Herod in some issues of my heart and thought life.  Allowing myself to crave the things of Herod instead of the things of Jesus.

We all have ugly things in our lives, past things, present things, and future things.  Sometimes I feel like I get lost in the ugliness of the things that I just can't seem to let go of.  I give in to them over and over again and I don't trust that God can help me get out.  You know the things...those things that we struggle with that we are too embarrassed to admit to, or those things that if we actually said them out loud then it would be admitting that we really don't have control over anything.

I have found myself over the past few weeks, months, and years getting caught in a trap.  The trap that I must focus on not being alone.  Whether that means trying the latest dating site, dating someone that I know has no desire to follow God, or filling my time with meaningless activities just so I will not feel alone.  My hope became complete in those people, things, and that time instead of being complete in Jesus.  My focus became hoping in the future, instead of loving and living in the present.  My hope became a hope for this world and the things of it, instead of a hope found in Him.

Today I had to ask myself "Who is King in my life, and what does my heart crave?"  Do my thoughts throughout the day revolve around Jesus, or do I get lost in the kingdom of self-interest that oftentimes drives Jesus and hope away?

Hope in Jesus isn't easy, and sometimes it is pretty painful, because it takes waiting.  In fact I think it takes a lot of waiting.  It is really easy to compare to what others have and are doing and lose sight of what authentic hope truly looks like. Yet, because of a baby I can have hope, true hope, authentic hope.  My doubt, fear, and uncertainty can be replaced with hope.

Do I choose to let it?

I think it is a daily, minute-by-minute choice.  Asking myself, "Who is King of my life, and what does my heart crave?"

"God wants to continually add to us, to develop and enlarge us- always building on what He has already taught and built in us."  
                                                                                                             -A.B. Simpson

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Authentically Letting Go...

My heart is pretty broken this morning.  Mostly because I absolutely hate losing people.  Sure I have moved away and lost touch with people, but it is not the same as having to completely just let go of someone out of my life, cut them off and know that there is probably not a chance that I will talk to them again.  It breaks my heart.  It hurts me in the deepest, rawest part of who I am, because it makes me feel like I failed.  

This person has a way of making me feel guilty and manipulating me into taking on responsibility that honestly I know is not my mess to take on.  I shouldn't let him speak lies to my heart, hidden as truths.  I shouldn't allow his words to impact the amazing things that are happening in my life, yet I have and in this current moment I am.  

Mostly I think it is because this person knows me.  Although he knows the bitter, angry, sometimes unloving version of me, because when I am around him I am the absolute worst version of myself.  I have known this for awhile, and I still allowed him to be a huge part of my life, even though we have absolutely nothing in common.  Even though we literally were never good for each other.  I allowed him to use and manipulate me because I wanted to be important to someone.  

The truth is that you can't really be important to someone who has no idea of purpose for themselves.  They can't see past their own needs and wants in order to actually connect with you on anything but a physical level.  They are always searching for acknowledgement/love from people when really they should be getting it from God. 

This letting go process started for me about a year ago, but I don't know that I truly understood how or why I had to completely let go until last night.  Sometimes when you care about someone you have to just let them go.  You have to say to your head and heart that the best thing for both of you is no contact at all.  It doesn't make me a horrible person, but I have to take care of me.  I have to be the best version of myself.  I have to allow him to do life in whatever way that means for him. 

The truth is that I can't change anyone but me.  As much as I would like to, I just can't. 

So today I let go, I give up all the expectations that I had for this person.  I pray that someday he finds what he is searching for.  I pray that someday he realizes the purposes for which he was created.  I pray and I grieve.  I grieve for a friendship/relationship that meant a lot to me.  I grieve for the moments that will never come, and I grieve for the loss that I feel in my brokenness.  

I am authentically letting go....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Authentic Contentment

Contentment has been coming to my mind a lot lately, especially this past week.  I found myself wanting to just pack up and move, not because I wasn't content...but because I was beginning to be truly content and it scares me.  It scares me to settle in this place, and not be looking for another job, and country to hop to.  It scares me to build roots and attachments, because the more I allow people in, the more vulnerable I am and the more opportunities I have of getting hurt. 

This week I wanted to run.  I wanted to run away because I didn't want to feel pain, rejection and sadness.  I didn't want to get too close, and risk losing what has been so generously given to me over the past few months.  I wanted to cut the ties, before they cut me. 

I heard it though....that still, quiet voice say... "No"

I knew that if I started  looking for somewhere else to be, and something else to do, I would be going against what I should be doing right now.  This is the first time in my life when I so clearly hear and know that I need to stay.  This is the first time in my life I have been able to be intentional with people.  God's love is truly overflowing out of me, and I want to be there for people.  I want to get to know them, I want to hear their stories.  I want to live authentic lives together.  For the first time I am able to say yes to community, and no to my fear of rejection. 

In these moments I realize that contentment isn't settling for less than what you want.  Contentment doesn't mean that you go around with a fake smile on your face and pretend that everything is okay.  Contentment means recognizing when prayer is being answered.  Recognizing that there are good things in your life, and living in the moment with those people, loving what is happening right now. 

Contentment sometimes means asking God why.  Contentment sometimes means that you cry, scream, and recognize that life isn't fair.  Contentment sometimes still questions, analyzes, and rejects what you don't necessarily want. 

I don't know that I believe in being content all the time.  I don't think that my God created me to just sit around and pretend to be happy when I am not.  He created me to be an individual, compassionate adventurer, that desires to have people, especially someone to share my life with.  Being content doesn't mean that I stop hoping, praying, and seeking out opportunities for that to happen. 

I think being authentically content means looking around and recognizing the good that is in my life.  Looking around and seeing that He has filled me up with people that love me, value me, and won't let me walk away without a fight.  That is what being content means.  Opening my eyes to see what He has given me, and living in the moment intentionally connecting with people on a real, authentic personal level. 

I will no longer settle for mediocre contentment, because there is more to my life then just living from day to day.  There are things that I need to see, to do, and to experience.  Mediocre contentment is happy just impacting only a few lives everyday.  Authentic contentment wants to change the world, because authentic contentment means admitting when you aren't content and doing something to change it. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015


I feel like I write about trust a lot, because it is one of my biggest areas of struggle.  Mostly because I have allowed people into my heart and my life that have hurt me a lot. I know this is a common theme in a lot of people's hearts and lives, I know I am not alone in my struggle.  I know that in the deepest part of my soul I trust God with my whole heart, my whole being...but there are moments in time when I just forget to trust Him with everything. 

I want to run ahead and scream I got it, I got it!  All the while God is standing back staring at me the way I do my students sometimes when they jump out of their seat raising their hands wanting to answer a question I haven't even asked yet. 

In those moments I don't trust God.  In those moments I am wanting the control for myself.  In those moments I forget what He has gotten me through before.  I forget that He is faithful, and He has all the answers.  I don't like to wait, I never have, because waiting means that I don't get what I want, when I want it.  That's not fun, and sometimes in my human weakness it doesn't really seem fair either.  I know that in those moments of waiting and trusting He is teaching me the most. 

Sometimes in those moments I have the hardest time finding who I am in Him.  I question everything that I have said or haven't said.  I put myself down, and make a list of 20 million things that I am just not good at, or 20 million things that others are better at or ways they are more beautiful than me.  In those moments I lose sight of Him, and I am focusing on me. 

In reality it is not about the control that I want to maintain in my life, it is not about whether or not I said or did the right thing at the time.  In reality it is about finding my beauty and strength in trusting that He is completely in control.  Trusting that I can't mess up His plans for my life. 

Isn't that what control and trust is truly about?  Not wanting to mess it all up.  Not wanting to make the biggest mistake of your life and lose the good things that He has planned. 

I can't possibly know what He has in store.  There is no way for me to know.  I can pray, I can trust, and I can try to stop running ahead just to get those answers, when the questions haven't even been revealed yet.  I find though that it is a moment-by-moment process.  I can't ignore my head and my heart, but I also have to know that God is a God of love, grace and mercy.  He knows my desires, He knows my heart, and He knows my struggles. 

My trust has to be at the center of who I am, because at the center of that trust is a Savior that allows His love to shine through.  Without that, I am lost. Without that I am fighting against something that I don't want to be fighting against.  Without that Savior, I have nothing to even be in control over. 

Today I put my trust in Him.  I say once again that my life is His.  That I believe that He has good plans for the future, and I have to trust that He is in control. I have to trust that I can't mess it up with my messy, selfishness.  I have to trust that in His eyes I am worthy, loved and valued.  I have to trust that in time what He wants will be revealed, but only in His time.    I have to believe that He is bigger than all my sins, because after all, isn't that what trust really is? 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

In the Stillness

We set our self up for so much hurt and pain when we are not able to sit still in the quiet.  When we are so busy moving from place to place that we don't have time to just be still and ponder the things that we feel deep inside our soul.

Today my heart is a little bit broken and a little bit sad, but in the stillness and quiet I am able to know that I will not always feel this way.  I know that this is just a little bit of time in the grand scheme of life.  I know that it is drawing me in to a deeper longing for Jesus.

I had to stop and ask myself this question today while listening to the sermon:

Do I want Jesus, or just what He can give me?

Is my life about Jesus, and getting to know Him in the depths of who I am?  Or is it just what I get from knowing Him?  Or is it just what I get period?

In my brokenness I know that my selfishness has allowed me to, at times want Him because of what He gives me.

Sometimes the choices I have made make me wonder how very differently my life might have been, but I can't live in the past and I can't allow the past to dictate my future.

I am only responsible for me.  As much as I would like others to be able to meet my expectations, they don't.  Sometimes that leads to my own hurt and pain.  Sometimes it leads to reliving some of my past brokenness, which creates new brokenness.  Sometimes though it is a way that God allows me to meet him in the stillness and quiet and just breathe in who He is as a Savior, as a Friend. 

I can't stop my heart from feeling, I can't stop my head from analyzing....but I can know the truth of who I am in the depths of my soul.  I can know that I am worthy.  I can know that it is enough to just know Jesus.  That is enough.  That is more than enough to focus my life on.  It has to be enough, because at the end of the day in the stillness and is the knowledge of His unfailing love, and sacrifice that move me to repentance and acceptance of who I am and meant to be. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Authentically Sovereign

The world is such a harsh place.  As I watched the new unfold yesterday my heart broke.  My heart broke for the people that this tragedy is going to affect for years to come.  To be gunned down in the middle of a Christmas Celebration, people who give their lives to help those with disabilities on a daily basis.  


It is times like these when I have the hardest time trusting that God is sovereign.  I know He is.  I know that there will be good things that come out of this tragedy, but I just can't stomach all the hurt and pain that it is going to cause in the meantime.  

My heart hurts for our country.  

My heart hurts for those that believe the only way to make a difference is by killing.  

My heart hurts for a world in which violence seems to be the only answer to problems, and differences.  

Hate is driving too many people in this world.  Hate for those that do not look like you.  Hate for those that do not believe the same things you do.  Hate for those that live in a different  area of the world.  Hate for those that resemble people that have done horrific crimes.  So much hate....

I can't handle it.  I can't physically watch another news report where hate is driving us farther and farther from love, each other and truth.  

Today I realized though that I am not supposed to be able to handle it.  I am not supposed to just ignore it.  I need it to affect me, I need it to reach down in my soul and make me want to change the world.  

For as a person who loves I not called to action.  If I sit around just browsing my newsfeed.....that's doing nothing to change this place.  

So...I pray, I ponder, and I love.  I don't hate, I don't judge, and I don't give up.  

For God's love is bigger than me...and He is Sovereign.  

Sunday, November 29, 2015

November Thankfulness....

I spent the month of November being Thankful for a lot of things.  I actually managed to stay on top of my thankful posts each day, which is a huge accomplishment for me.  I usually get behind and then have to do five at once to get caught up.  

Those posts allowed me to truly think about what I was thankful for each day.  It gave me a chance to focus on the good things that were going on.  So often I get so caught up in what is going wrong, or analyzing everything that is happening in my life that I forget to just stop and be thankful for the good.  

I am so thankful for the way God is working right now in my life.  Somethings are hard because I feel myself being chipped away.  I feel the things that aren't good in me being pulled out and thrown away.  That's hard.  It's a hard thing to realize those parts of yourself that need to be changed and shined up.  

Perfection isn't something that is within my grasp.  I can't be perfect, but I can be thankful for the things that I am learning and the ways that I am growing.  

In this month of thankfulness I have realized just how many people God has brought in my life.  I have realized just how much I have to be thankful for.  

I'm happy for the time to reflect, and am hopefully that I don't lose it! 

Believe without Seeing...

I have started writing this post 3 different times and can't seem to figure out what I want/need to say.  There is so much going on in my head and heart right now.  I feel filled up and empty all at the same time.  Is that even possible to feel both of those things?  

I feel filled up because I had an epic time this week hanging out with family.  It was just what my soul and heart needed.  Our family, they are the people that have seen us through everything.  Some extended families don't have moments together like we did growing up, but I feel like my childhood was shaped by my cousins, aunts, uncles, and our times together.  I learned how to play cards sitting around my grandparent's dining room table.  I learned how to joke around with people because my uncles, and cousins teased constantly. I learned how to have fun whether playing football, snowball fights, or just sitting around talking.  Those people, they impacted me.  Family should accept you for who you are.  That's what they should do.  Despite the imperfections and misunderstandings I feel like my family does.  They accept me for who I am.  We aren't a perfect family, but we love each other.  

So....filled up in love then why do I feel the opposite today?  Why am I questioning my worth and value?  What voice am I hearing.  Not God's.  I know that He loves and values me, I know that those around me love and value me, and yet I find myself unable to believe it.  

Today the challenge was to believe without seeing.  Believe and trust that God has everything in control and He will do what He says.  I want to believe.  I want to believe so much that He is faithful in answering something that I have been praying for awhile, but I just can't right now.  I don't know how to believe when I feel inadequate and like  I have made too many mistakes to deserve this prayer being answered.  

Sometimes being still and waiting is the hardest part.  Sometimes believing without seeing seems pretty much impossible.  

Perhaps it isn't trying so hard to believe without seeing on my own.  Perhaps the part that I need to get is I need to listen to the stories around me.  I need to seek what God is trying to say, and do...and I need to be quiet for awhile.  

Seeking Him in the silence.  

Monday, November 23, 2015

Authentically Letting Someone Go...

When I think about those that have left deep imprints in my life most of the time they are people that I am still in contact with on a regular basis.  FB has definitely allowed the world to become a little bit smaller in that way.  I can see what friends and family are doing on the other side of the globe, I can share pictures of our memories, and I can stay close to them even though I am thousands of miles away.  

There are those though that have left imprints on my life, in my heart that I have had to let go.  There are those that I am still in the process of letting go.  I think letting go is the hardest when it is the other person that you know is going to hurt more from the loss.  It is the hardest when you see the potential for that person, but you know that you can no longer play a part in unleashing that potential.  It is the hardest when you realize that your friendship with them is actually more toxic for the two of you then helpful.  

How do you let someone go, when you have been through so much together?  When you have helped each other, hurt each other, and dreamed together?  I don't know the right answer actually.  I don't know if there is one set formula to letting someone go, but I do know that it has to happen.  I know that in a lot of cases letting go means moving on.  Letting go means healing from the hurt, pain, and toxicity that controlled who you were and are as a person.   

Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone else is to let them go.  Even though it doesn't seem like the right thing to do necessarily but if you are always looking backwards, and reopening past wounds, then there will never be an opportunity to look forward.  Letting go stinks sometimes, it causes more pain for a little while, but in the end I think that part of being authentic to yourself is realizing that God is the only one that can truly touch hearts, and change them.  He is the only one that can help a human realize their need for Him.  

Today I am letting go of someone that has been in my life for awhile, not because I don't care...but because if I don't then I can't be who I am supposed to be.  I can't move forward and truly live authentically.  

Sunday, November 15, 2015

When my hometown became HOME again...

I haven't called Columbia home for awhile now.  The dwellings of my parents have really been what have kept me coming back.    Since I left Columbia for college, the longest I have lived in this city was 2 years.  Moving and change has been my thing.  I had this weirdness towards Columbia that I think came about because of circumstances that were beyond my control.  My life changed my senior year of high school.  This change whether it can really be called good or bad, I don't really care to define it.  Whatever it was though, it changed me.  It made me a person that didn't want to be confined to this city, to these streets, to this culture.  It made me a person that wanted adventure, to seek out those that were different from me, and to embrace the changes that needed to take place.  

I left, and didn't really look back.  I had moments of wanting to settle down in the United States, but never Columbia.  My heart was never there, as much as I willed it to be...I felt this urge within me to keep moving, having adventures, and embracing all that I could be.  I think some part of me thought that if I settled down in Columbia, that would be it.  Good-bye adventures, good-bye fun life.  It's a bit dramatic when you think about it, but that was my perspective.

Until this year.  I know that it has been coming for awhile.  I could feel myself easing in to a life in this crazy town.  I could feel myself letting down the walls that I had so carefully constructed around myself.  I could feel myself beginning to let down my defenses, beginning to be a part of this community.  Beginning to fall in love with the idea of settling down in Columbia.  

There's still a part of me that is fighting it.  There is still a part of me that is are halfway through your second year, isn't it time to start looking for a new place to move to.  But the part of me that wants to start looking for an apartment.  The part of me that wants to feel comfortable enough to be completely vulnerable with those around me.  That part of me is getting stronger.  

I have never had an apartment in Columbia.  I have always just lived at my parents till the next move occurred.  To me this next step is a big one.  It says I am willing to risk the hurt and pain to take a chance on this place.  I am willing to finally make Columbia my home again.  

I'm all in.  

Protests heard around the world...

Today I listened to a sermon that changed my life.  It wasn't because it was necessarily things that I hadn't heard or didn't already know, but it was because for once I saw a pastor standing up in front of a group of people being completely authentically real.  I saw a pastor saying let's truly look at this from Jesus' perspective and it warmed my heart.  

This past week has been SO incredibly hard in my city.  We have come into the spotlight of the entire world, and it has been eye-opening.  It has been hard to read the comments posted on social media this week, and not just completely break down sobbing because people are so cruel.  It has been hard to listen to "Christians" bad mouth each other, and make judgements based on race instead of on God's love.  

I wanted to write so many times this week, but I just found myself at a loss for words.  You see I have friends with all kinds of different opinions.  The thing is that I can listen to all of them.  I can listen to all of them because I have learned how to listen.  Am I perfect at listening?  No, ofcourse not!  But do I know that everyone has a story to tell...Yes!  

In my travels overseas I have oftentimes been a minority in a foreign country.  Sometimes it benefited me because people knew I was a white American, but other times it hurt me.  Other times it hurt me to my core.  A year of my life was spent with men making hissing noises, kissing noises, and yelling at me as I walked down the streets on a daily basis.  It wasn't fun, it wasn't fair, and it made me feel worthless.  That's part of my story.  I have been told that a man couldn't marry me because I was the wrong color.  That's my story.  Things have been said to me that I won't even write here because they are so horrible, things that men wanted to do to me because I am white.  That's also a part of my story.  Those things don't define me, but they affect me.  

When I see words that people write, words that are hateful and cruel, it makes me want to pick that person up and put them in a place where they know no one, where they are the minority, and where they have to rely on strangers to get around.  When everything is stripped away that is familiar I think that helps you understand a little more, have a little more compassion, and a desire to get to know the stories of others.  

We each walk in our own shoes.  We are each afraid of rejection, loneliness, and discrimination.  That looks different, to different people.  My willingness to listen and actually hear someone else's story without trying to figure out what I want to say next is the key to making this world a better place.  

This week there was a lot of hurt and pain.  There were a lot of things said that I think didn't need to be said.  There are still a lot of people that are hurt by the events, and probably will continue to be.  But like what was said this morning in our sermon.  There is no way that we will all agree.  It is impossible in the fallen world we live in, but there is a possibility of reconciliation with each other.  We have to be willing to be vulnerable and authentic.  To tear away the barriers that want to divide us, open our ears and listen to the stories of those around us.  That is when change, reconciliation, and new beginnings will appear.  

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Red Cup Dilemma...

I can't even really believe that we are having this dilemma right now.  The red cup dilemma...really people are getting so irate about the freaking color of a cup?  First of all, Starbucks doesn't have to do anything that involves Christmas, they don't claim to be a Christian organization.  If you don't like that they don't celebrate Christmas, then don't freaking buy STARBUCKS!  It's as simple as that.  There are SO MANY more important things going on in the world.  In fact take all the time and energy you spend getting mad over the color of a cup, and put that towards feeling upset that there are men, women, and children that won't have a home to live in during the Christmas season this year.  Get mad over the fact that elderly people can't afford to buy medicine because they don't have the income or insurance to cover it.  Or that people all over the world are DYING for believing in Jesus.  Put your energy into something that actually matters.  

This weekend I gave a homeless guy a bag of food.  I don't say that to brag on myself, but I say that because the look on his face when he got that bag of food, was pretty much the most amazing thing I have ever witnessed.  He was truly thankful.  

In the past I have been known to judge those standing on the street corners.  I have been known to overlook the fact that they have stories.  I have been known to say "why don't they just get a job."  That judgement on my part was part of this red cup- first world mentality.  Not everyone can just go out and get a job.  Not everyone knows where their next meal is coming from.  Not everyone has had the privilege that I have.  

It's a humbling experience to look in the face of someone who has nothing and hear their story.  Looking into their eyes and seeing the doubt and fear.  Understanding them in the depth of their soul.  That takes looking outside of myself.  That takes compassion and love.  That takes getting outside of the first-world mentality, and not putting myself on a pedestal.  

I don't belong on a pedestal.  There is nothing that makes me better then that man on the street I saw the other day.  Nothing.  He was created by God, the same as I was.  He is valued and loved just as much.  There is nothing that should make me feel superior to another human being, and yet I do.  I find myself standing in judgement a LOT.  

For this holiday season, I am going to challenge myself to know people's stories.  I am going to look up from my phone, look into people's eyes and listen to where they are coming from.  I am going to value people by helping when I can.  I am going to love them beyond myself, because after all isn't that what the holidays are truly all about?  Jesus didn't come to argue about a freaking red cup.  He came to show His love to a world that had lost hope.  He came to show us how to be His hands and Feet.  He came to give.....

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Doubt and Fear

Sometimes I think that I am in this continuous cycle of doubt and fear.  Doubt in myself, doubt in the way others view me, and fear that I am just making one mistake after another.  Do you ever analyze things so much that you lose track of yourself?  You continue to play every single second of every moment, thinking about your words and actions, hoping and praying that they came across right, and that you aren't in fact coming across as crazy as you somehow feel?  

There shouldn't be doubt in my heart or mind right now, because I know who I am.  I know what God has brought me through and I know what is expected of me.  But I just feel myself caught up in doubt.  I just feel myself afraid that I am not good enough, or strong enough, or wise enough to beat whatever it is that is trying to hold me back from being authentically me.  

Sometimes my fear and doubt comes from my expectations of others.  We are all traveling in our own little worlds, and sometimes we are unaware of how what we are doing or saying is affecting those around us.  My expectations for others are pretty high...I know that.  I know that I have this crazy way of reading into things, when they actually mean nothing.  I get my feelings hurt pretty easily, and I feel things pretty deeply when I really shouldn't.  

This is my reality, and I have to work on it.  I have to allow myself to feel fear and doubt without it affecting the way I view myself.  I have to accept the feelings for what they are, and find a way to overcome them.  To get past the analyzing, and just live in the moment.  So many times we say "give it to God" like it is super easy to just hand over all the self-doubt and fear that has had years and years to run wild in our minds and hearts.  Feelings can't just be handed over on a silver platter.  Feelings are real and true.  Feelings are what makes us uniquely ourselves.  

Today I accept that I have doubt and fear.  I accept that it is a part of me, but I also do not allow these feelings to define me.  I allow them to be a part of me for a little while and then work on replacing them with trust and hope.  Trust and hope that God has the power and love to overcome whatever feelings I am dealing with in spite of my unwillingness to let Him.  Trust and hope that in spite of my feelings I can be authentically and bravely me!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Drinking the Wrong Water...

Yesterday's sermon wasn't so encouraging for me, because honestly it made me face some of my past decisions.  It made me examine some truths in my life, that I would just rather push aside and forget that they exist.  You see I found myself sympathizing with the woman in the know the one that has had "five husbands."  Now don't get me wrong I am not claiming to have lived the lifestyle that Jesus so clearly called her out on, and yet maybe I have.  

It brought me to a place of self-examination, a place where I had to look at myself and realize that I had been "drinking the wrong water, only to be thirsty again."  What is it that makes us keep going back to those people or places that are clearly not good for us?  What makes me continue to spiral downward, when I know that all I have to do is look up and take the cup that He is offering me?  Why don't I do it?  

I want the easy road.  The other road, the one with the good, thirst-quenching water it is a hard road.  It is a road full of heart-ache and pain.  A road that I have traveled down and continually found myself with people, and in situations that seem so much more difficult then the other.  At least that is what it seems like from my flawed human perspective. 

Yet I wonder, maybe I need to go down the so-called "easy road" first.  Maybe I need to look my sin straight in the eye, and see that it truly doesn't quench my thirst.  Over and over again I seem to be blasted with the things that I do so completely wrong.  I seem to be blasted with the people I have let come into my heart that were not pushing me toward God, in fact they pushed me farther away.  

If I want to truly have my thirst quenched, don't I first have to realize what is making me so thirsty?  Don't I first have to see that the "water" I think I am drinking isn't in fact water, but vinegar.  It looks so good from the outside, and perhaps will even go down, but in the end it does nothing for my thirst, but leave a sour taste.  

I know that I often substitute the real living water for something more immediate and tangible.  I know that my heart has been hurt and torn because I have allowed my life to continue in a cycle of "soul thirst." 

The thirst quenching road it isn't easy, but it is worth it.  To be the "kind of worshiper the Father seeks."  To be real and authentic in admitting when I don't want the living water, but want a substitute.  

My soul doesn't want to be thirsty.  My soul longs for the Living Water, to experience love and beauty.  To worship in spirit and truth.  Sometimes I just have to be reminded that the cup is there, but I might have to have everything stripped away in order to truly taste the goodness that is in the cup.  Sometimes we can only taste, when there is nothing left but our deepest, fears and regrets.  

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Why I'm no longer in the Christian Box

Image result for box

I hate being boxed in.  I hate when the title of "Christian" allows others to put me in a category that I don't want to be in.  Not too long ago I volunteered for a festival, and when I said that I was a Christian and even worse worked at a Christian school I could tell by the look on the person's face I was talking to that they expected the next words for me to say to be words of judgment or condemnation.  Why?  

Have we come so far from the love of Jesus? 

 I think we have.  Instead of being true to who He was/is, we have created a box for ourselves, a box that doesn't lead to others asking questions, or even wanting to be a part of who we so claim to love ourselves.  

I see post after post on FB of people hating on those that are of different faiths, beliefs, and lifestyles.  Really?  Do you want to know something?  

If Jesus was alive and walking around today...where would he be?  

I guarantee you, He wouldn't be sitting inside a church building on Sunday mornings, or going to a nice cozy house for small group on Wednesday nights.  No, he would be with those that needed Him the most.  He would be with those that were questioning life, needing a place to belong, wanting to be valued and loved.  That's where He would be.  

If Jesus had a FB, He wouldn't be sharing all the hate messages about those that believe differently, or are choosing a different lifestyle.    He wouldn't be complaining about this or that. He wouldn't be participating in gossip.   He wouldn't be commenting on everyone's status who believes differently then Him, saying that they are judgmental.  No, He would be filling up His FB with messages of love and forgiveness. And probably a few Wine Memes too!   That's what He would be doing.  
Christianity can't go in a box, because people can't go in a box.  There is no exact right journey to take, we all have to go through the messy to get where He wants us to be.  The best I can be is to live authentically.  To be real and true to who I am.  Those around me don't have to like everything I do and say, but to judge me on my flaws, well that is where I have the problem.  My God is bigger than any box.  He didn't create me to be a lemming, He created me with a mind and heart of my own.  

I used to think if I did everything perfect that I would have the perfect life, that God would give me everything I wanted.  I used to look down on those that did anything outside the guidelines I had grown up to believe were the only guidelines to live by.  We can't be perfect, and those guidelines need to be looked at a little closer.  Our beliefs completely matter, but when we are putting our beliefs above loving others, I think we miss the point of believing.  Our belief should lead us to love and compassion.  Our belief should make others want to know us, in order to know Him. 

I don't think that God calls us to live inside a box, I think He created us to be outside of the box...growing, learning, and changing to be more like the One that He sent to show us what living outside truly means.  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A colorful glass that's half full....

Sometimes when I come out of a really tough time, God gives me a really good time with lots of people, lots of laughter, and lots of hugs.  That's what I feel like I had this past week.  I was able to go spend some time with some really great friends, and we had a glass half full kind of  time. 

 Sometimes though life doesn't meet our expectations.   I sometimes go in with different expectations, that doesn't make the time less exciting, but it means that I have some disappointment on my end.  I get my feelings hurt, and I have to work through that.  

How do you work through hurt feelings?  I know for me I have to constantly tell myself that the person/people are not trying to hurt me.  I have to see the situation from their point of view and I have to understand that we just have different perspectives.  

Today I am struggling once again with hurt feelings.  It isn't because of anything that someone is intentionally doing to me, it is actually in fact something that I prayed for, but it hurts.  It hurts because even though I prayed for it to go away....I miss it, and I think deep down I really, really wanted it.  

So, in my moment of weak, human feelings I want to run.  I want to run away and get lost in the feelings that I have and not come up for air, and not let anyone know that it hurts.  Not because I truly lost something, because you can't actually lose something that you never actually had, can you?  But because once again I feel like I have to let go of the idea of something.  

I hate that I get so lost in my feelings that I can't think sometimes.  That I get so wrapped up in putting the expectation out there of it being something else, that I put on blinders to what it truly is.  I really do hate that about myself.  It's a common theme in my life, and one that I really, really am trying to break, but it is SO hard.  I don't even know that I can break it completely, but I feel like it gets a little easier every time and maybe one day I won't have to break it.  Maybe one day it will be exactly how it should be. 

Until then I embrace my messy feelings, because after all they are a part of what makes me uniquely, and authentically me.  I embrace my mistakes, and my lack of courage.  I embrace the highs and lows in my day.  I embrace the fact that sometimes I don't do everything the way I should.  I embrace my imperfect expectations of myself and others, and I breathe, I live, and I rest in grace.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Give yourself some Grace

Aloneness....a raw emotion that grabs a hold of you when you least expect it and latches on draining you of every ounce of self-motivation that you have.  It grabbed a hold of me this week.  It choked me to my absolute core, and I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to fight my way out of it.  I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to come back from the depth of raw emotion that I felt.  

Being alone isn't something that I have thought about too much in the past because I usually keep myself so busy that I don't need to worry about feeling alone, but I have been reading a book by Elisabeth Elliot that has brought up in me the feelings that I think I have just been running from for many years.  

No one wants to admit that they feel alone, because then that makes you seem weak, at least that is what I think in today's society that we view it as.  Admiting any sort of fault or feeling that is less then perfect = weakness.  

Why is that?  Why do we constantly have to be perfect in order to feel that we are enough?  Why do we have to pretend that we have it all together, when in fact we are feeling so much less than all  together?  

Today our sermon was all about grace.  All about taking that grace that God gives us and really truly living it.  I realized that I do not allow myself to take a hold of that grace.  To live fully in what God has given me knowing I don't deserve it.  I am constantly finding the faults in myself, one of which this week was telling myself that I have no friends and that I will just have to be alone forever.  It isn't true and it isn't living in God's grace.  

Now I am not going to sit here and write about how Jesus is my friend and so that should be enough, because I am sorry but Jesus can't physcially go to the homecoming parade with me or sit next to me at the game, or give me a hug when I need it.  He just can't.  We need each other to be his hands and feet.  Part of living in that grace is being vulnerable enough to admit when I truly NEED someone to be there for me.  I believe that Jesus gives hope and truth to those that need it, but I also believe that there is need for someone to stand by your side.

In the depths of this raw emotion I find myself truly just wanting someone that I can call up and will be there for me no matter what.  But I also feel like we have made our lives so busy that sometimes even though we would drop everything to be that person to someone in our life, they don't know we are available for that reason.  We fill social media with our adventures, and perhaps it seems that people don't fit in to that busy lifestyle.  Can you really say that you would be able to drop everything if a friend needed you?  Are you in tune to those deep friendships you have that you would know if a friend was crying out for help?  I am not sure that I would, I am not sure that I would know if a friend was crying out for me to help them in their aloneness. 

Maybe we have made our lives so busy because we are afraid that if we stop and just be still we might have to face those emotions and feelings that we have buried so deep inside.  Maybe it is easier to ignore grace because we actually like comparing ourselves to those around us.  It makes us feel good when we pass up that friend or colleague.  

For me I need to give myself so much more grace.  I need to allow myself to feel alone sometimes, and not think that it makes me less of a person for feeling that way.  It is okay to live in those feelings, just as long as I don't let those feelings define who I am or where I am going.  

I need to stop being so busy that I can't deal with what is inside of me that needs to be raw and authentic.  Being real and open.  Observing those around me and realizing when they are need of my friendship.  Not diving into myself so much that I forget to look up and be there for the ups and downs.  For those that truly need a little grace.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

When thoughts get a hold of you....

Tonight I'm struggling with letting things go. Sometimes you do things or feel things that you really are trying hard not to feel or do....

Do you ever have those moments?

I want to be done with the things I keep thinking,
I want to be over this and move on
But I am not sure how to do that
When I get stuck going around and around

It's the same cycle I feel, bringing me down
The wave keeps crashing as I come out to the shore
What can I do to stop it, I am not sure what's in store

My life is on repeat, it's the same feelings I've had before
What do I make of it, do I let myself feel or push them out the door?

I look at the sea in wonder, as the wave breaks again and again
Will the cycle ever end?

My heart isn't quite yet ready, but I want to believe
The past has passed for a reason,
can I let it go in the breeze?  

I step into the wet sand, 
just trying to get a taste
My feet leave an imprint that is the beginning of the ghost

As I walk out into the ocean,
the wave meets me at the wake
I breathe in the fresh air and think about what it will take

I must keep walking, against the wave
The power it holds, can't truly overtake my pain
Pain isn't made to be pushed aside, it is made to be felt, lived through and overcome

I live through the pain, and recall exactly where it might take me
My heart, my life is what it makes me

It's my choice to live authentically,
My choice to be a part of something more

To give my heart and soul, without letting the wave crash
Opening  up to truth and compassion
Living with Hope of what has always been in store

Life Accomplishments...

I have been thinking about this for awhile and I want to write down (or at least try to) everything that I have seen in my 34 years.  :)  

*Lived in Mexico, Missouri
*Visited the Gulf of Mexico
*St. Louis Zoo
*KC Zoo
*Lived in California
*Lived on a Horse Ranch
*Worked at a Horse Camp
*Lived in Hannibal, Missouri
*Lived in Columbia, Missouri
*Worked at an alcohol and drug rehab center
*Worked in a group home
*Worked at Wal-Mart
*Started babysitting when I was 10
*Spent 3 summers nannying for various families
* Been tping
*Been floating
*Been kayaking
*Rode a camel up Mount Sinai
*Snorkeled in the Red Sea
*Been to the Taj Mahal
*Been inside the Great Pyramid
*Lived in Egypt
*Lived in Thailand
*Lived in Kuwait
*Lived in the Philippines
*Visited Vietnam
*Climbed through the tunnels
*Visited Singapore
*Visited Malaysia
*Stayed in a Bungalow on an island
*Saw water that was aqua blue
*Volunteered at a hospital
*Tried out for tennis in H.S. 
*Taught Kindergarten TWICE
*Taught 2nd grade
*Taught 4th grade
*Taught 1st grade
*Visited Holland
*Have friends on every continent, except Antartica
*Have gone hiking in 3 different countries
*Drove to Canada alone
*Have spent New Year's in Canada, Thailand, Philippines, and the U.S.
*Swam with jellyfish
*Stayed a week on two different islands in Asia
*Stayed the night in Taiwan
*Ate a worm
*Have moved every 2-3 years since I turned 19
*Taught kids how to milk a goat
*Spent 5 summers as a camp counselor
*Lived in California
*Prayed with homeless people at the beach
*Had a pass to Disneyland for a whole year
*Had a pass to Sea World for a few summers
*Took Arabic for a year
*Took Thai for a yer
*Taught kids how to milk a goat
*Taught kids parts of the ruminant stomach
*Watched a horse being born
*Watched a goat being born
*Prayed before a Horse Show
*Program Director at a camp
*Middle School Science Teacher

I'm sure there is more...but this is some of the list!  :)  

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Being Authentic- I LOVE FOOTBALL!

Yes, I said it!  I LOVE FOOTBALL!  I always have.  I think it began as this way of connecting with my Dad...but then I just grew to love it.  I love the crowds, I love cheering on my teams (Go Pack!) and I love the game.

There is just something about sitting down and watching a football game that makes me feel so proud to be an American.  I don't often feel proud to be an American, because I think we really allow ourselves to feel superior a lot of the times, when we shouldn't.  But I will say that while I am watching football....all the American in me really, truly comes out.

Yesterday I went to the watch the football game by myself.  I tailgated with my parents, but then sat on the hill surrounded by people, yet completely alone.  It was the first time in my life, when attending something that huge that I felt okay with being alone.  Now don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have had someone sitting next to me, cheering along with me...talking about how stupid they were playing.  But I didn't have anyone that could go, or that I knew would be there....yet I cheered my team on with the other 70,000 people that were watching the game.

I cheered just like I would have with a crowd of friends around me because that's what you do at a football game.

Last year I don't know that I would have gone alone, and enjoyed it.  I would have been thinking so much about what everyone else was thinking about me that I wouldn't have had fun.

So, what's the difference?  I don't even know that I can put it into words.  I just think that sometimes you have to go it alone.  Sometimes you have to be okay with doing things because you want to do them.  Cheering on your favorite team, in person and enjoying the sun beating down on you.  Sometimes that's what it means to be authentic.  Loving the game, and not caring about what people are thinking.

I hope that I don't have to watch every game alone.  I hope that I have people that want to join me...but if not I will continue to go and enjoy it because it's fun, and I love football!  Also, because sometimes you just have to go it alone.....and live in the beauty of being authentically free. 

Technology Break...

Last week at this time I found myself just really needing to take a technology break.  I had come to realize that I spent all my spare moments checking FB, Pintrest, IG....and left me no time to just think.  I was constantly just being bombarded with all these messages, mostly political and I realized that my voice is being drowned out by all the other voices I hear on a daily basis.  

Do you keep losing your voice?  

I used to know what my voice sounded like.  It used to be a lot stronger then it is right now.  For some reason I have stopped speaking my mind.  Oh sure I like posts, and I share information that I find important, but the things that I have found as offensive, well I just don't do anything with them.  

I am not sure if this lack of voice on my part is okay.  Is it okay to just sit back and not comment?  I have to think that in some ways it is.  I have to think that in some ways it is better just to remain silent because the people that I want to go up against, well I don't know that my voice is going to be heard by them anyways.  

I find that I waste a lot of time reading comments people leave about stuff that doesn't really matter.  Take for instance the comment thread on the grand opening of Chic-fil-a here in Columbia.  

There was literally this guy who commented 3 or 4 times just to say he didn't like Chic-fil-a and he didn't want to eat there, because they weren't open on Sundays and that was bad business.  Okay, that's fine I don't really care if he eats there or not.  Here's the thing though....why does he have to comment 3-4 times saying this each time?  No one was arguing with him, no one even said anything negative to him...yet he felt the need to just keep going.  Why?  Because in this day and age we need technology in order to feel validated.  We need that little click of the button to feel like our voice is being heard.  No one was responding...and so he kept going.  He didn't care whether they responded negatively or positively...he wanted a response.  

Isn't that how we look at our worth now?  Our voice has become clicks of a button, tweet replies, shares.....those are the things that validate us.  Those are the things that have become our focus...

What if we just stopped?  What if for 1-2 hours each day we just said NO TECHNOLOGY!  How different would our lives be?  

I think I might try it.  I said I would, and then I didn't. When I think about I so addicted to technology that I can't give that 1-2 hours a day to something better for me and the world?   I need it though.....I need 1-2 hours a day with only my voice, and God's voice playing in my head.