Sunday, April 21, 2013


About two months ago, someone left a yellow, helium, smiley-face balloon on my porch tied to my front-door handle.

No note accompanied the balloon.  And despite my initial desire to know exactly who had left it, I decided to simply accept that Jesus had.  Jesus had left a yellow, smiley-face balloon on my porch to cheer me up.  To bring me joy.  Simplistic, corny, and perfect. 

And so I brought it in my house and left it in the living room, as a reminder for joy.

It's still in my living room, and it's still being held up strong by the helium that fills it.

Because joy persists.

And despite the balloon not being completely full of helium anymore, it still aims to reach the ceiling. 

Because joy persists.

The last few months have had their share of trying situations and heartache: loss, grieving, elation, and achievement.  Joy didn't exist in all of those times-- but it could have.  Because Joy and Rest are intermixed; and so are Rest and Peace.

When I surrender my life, my circumstances, and my will at the feet of the Creator, he covers me with a rest/peace that is unexplainable (if you allow Him).  And when I experience this peace, I also can experience His joy.  Because God's kind of joy looks a little different than the joy I imagined.  But it's just as sweet.

And joy persists.  Despite tough circumstances.  Despite harsh words.  Despite pain. 

Because how could temporary pain limit eternal joy?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Do you ever get asked your biggest fear?

For the longest time I believed my biggest fear was ending up alone. 

But you would have never heard me admit that out loud.  This was partly out of sheer embarrassment, but also partly to avoid the inevitable conversations that would follow, given my current “single, late-twenties” status.

Last weekend though, I had a conversation with a friend; a friend who sees “dating” a little differently than I do.  Her recent breakup has her back on the prowl.  And, when a different friend mentioned a nice Mormon man she could date, she jumped on it.  I was floored.  I asked her if she was serious; she flippantly mentioned she could always “convert” (she’s a Christian, as best I know).  Her answer, and subsequent comments, signaled a desperation for finding a relationship—any relationship.  My expressed desire to wait for a quality guy was met with a “You tell me how that works out for you” and a huff.  End of conversation.

I think that might have perhaps been the moment that my previous “biggest fear” broke wide open. 

It’s definitely not "ending up alone". 

Sure, I’d like to meet someone, but ending up alone doesn’t drive my actions/decisions.  Failing to live up to my potential in any way (including binding myself to the wrong guy) does.

So then, what does drive my actions/decisions?

And then it hit me.  My biggest fear is mediocrity. 

Suddenly, pieces of the puzzle started to fall into place.  The reason why I act certain ways, why I say certain things, and even why I daydream of what I daydream about.

And while Mediocrity, at first, seems like a noble fear to have, the more I wrap my mind around it, the more selfish it becomes.  Fear of mediocrity is believing the lie that I need to do more to be valued.  To be important.  To be seen as worthy. To be desired.

That’s the opposite of contentment.  Like, 180° different. 

And since I’ve been remiss in posting, that’s what I’ve been trying to work on this year.  My word for the year is Joy.  And through the last few months, I’ve realized that contentment is where joy begins.  Perhaps contentment dissolves all the anxiety and worry, allowing a place for joy to exist.  Sort like a clean garden where plants can thrive without being strangled by weeds.  Honestly, I haven’t found it yet, so I’m really not sure.  It’s a place I’m searching for though.

Because believing that I must be “more” than I already am is to believe a lie.  To work towards great things to delight and obey God is honorable.  Desiring to do great things based on the fear of never reaching potentiality is a lie disguised as a good concept.  Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing. 

Content in my circumstances. 
Content with my life, even if nothing ever changes. 
Content as I am right now (as God made me).
Content to be mediocre (by my standards) if that’s what God has for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Not today

Some days are just writing days.

Some days words are just easy, and themes fall together like puzzle pieces.

I love those days.  Life feels idyllic.  Progress/growth seems imminent.  And I'm brave enough to share a tiny piece of me with the world.

Unfortunately today was an odd day.  Today I had a heart full of emotions.  A heart full of themes.  Of passions, dreams, frustrations.  I had a writing plan.  And I was going to blog it all.  Process through it all in writing, hammer out what I really wanted to say, and then then click "post".

So I wrote.  And wrote and wrote.  And three pages later I had lots of jumbled thoughts on a page, but absolutely nothing cohesive.  Nothing finished.  Nothing even close to finished.  And also no energy to figure out how to make sense of it all.

And that's just odd for me.

But, I'll get there.  Eventually.  Perhaps those thoughts just aren't ready.  Perhaps I need to give them more time to percolate, to let God speak into what they mean for me specifically.  To let them settle into the cracks and holes they're meant to patch.

There's always more healing to be had.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012: Wholeness

Instead of New Year’s resolutions in 2012 that I knew (from experience) that I wouldn’t keep, I chose a word for the year.

Or, more accurately, God chose a word for me.


It was a word that I didn’t hear often; in speech or in writing.  Perhaps that is why when I heard the word on January 1st, I was sure it was meant for me.  And I felt a little like Mary, pondering and treasuring my word and all that it meant for me.  It was a word with such promise and life.  Who wouldn’t want Wholeness?!

The largeness of the word was completely against my character.  I like specific, attainable goals.  Or, I set specific, attainable steps towards my goal.  But I wasn’t given a crystal clear word to chase after (likely on purpose).  Sure, wholeness has a lot of meaning you can go after, but the enormity of it kept me from chasing after it purely on my own accord.  It was too big to master alone.  It could go in so many directions and mean so many things.

And it’s true—Wholeness didn’t turn out exactly like I dreamily envisioned it would last January.

For most of the year it felt like misaligned bones being broken and re-set.  And healing.  Lots and lots of healing. 

I listened and watched for the word.  It popped up surprisingly more often than I thought.  Perhaps I was just more aware of it?  Or perhaps it was on purpose.  And even more surprising, it frequently got paired with other great words that soothed my ragged soul, like Holiness, and Rest, and Peace. 

Those were direction words.  Call-to-action words.  I love those.

So, one year later I sit here, up on a mountain I just scaled (or at least a good ways up), looking down on all the steps, the missteps, and the treacherous parts I went through to get here.  I asked for those painful experiences—counter culture, I know—because I knew that growth comes through “challenge” and not through “easy”.  And today, I’m different than I was last December—for this I am glad, grateful, and encouraged. 

My word allowed focus, where pointless New Year’s resolutions would only bring grief and guilt.  My word allowed growth; it moved me forward and challenged me.  It allowed for all these things because it wasn’t the journey I picked for myself.  It wasn’t the word that I would have chosen.  I didn’t choose it.  It was the journey I was meant to take this year, and I willingly submitted my ideas to the roll of the tide of God’s plan.  Always a wise choice.

So today is December 27th.  And with such a successful word for 2012, I’m already anxious to have a zinger for 2013.  But it’s not mine to choose.  So I wait; expectantly and submissively.  The journey is so much better and richer when I’m not trying to play the tour guide for a trip I’ve never taken.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the dark

It’s a good thing that God can do some of His best work in the dark, because that’s exactly where I am today.  I’m groping in the dark for the light switch.  Perhaps I should be content to just sit in the middle of the dark room to contemplate and trust.  But that’s not my natural reaction.  My natural reaction is for control.  I know I have to experience whatever is in the room, but honestly I would prefer to do it in the light, with my back against the wall, fully aware of what’s coming at me.  I don’t want to tackle it in the dark.

But I’m finding that it’s in the moments when we can’t find the light switch that we find God instead.  And instead of continuing to search the wall, I’m choosing instead to cling to Him.  He brought me here.  He will lead me through even though I cannot see.  Because He can.  He knows the way.  This I believe.  This I trust in.

I will continue to seek the Kingdom of God FIRST.  And while I know that I will face troubles along the way, I rest in the assurance of God’s favor, God’s presence, and God’s will.  Because earthly accolades are nothing in comparison to completing the task I have been chosen for; even if it’s uphill the whole way.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

27 things I've learned by my 27th birthday.

Here is a random, and possibly useless selection of knowledge I've acquired in my life so far.

1. If you wear white, you will always spill something on yourself.  Or someone will spill on you.  It's some kind of law

2. The book is always better than the movie.

3. Spend as much time as you can doing what makes you feel most alive. It's totally possible that it will be uncomfortable in the beginning.

4. Epoxy glue works like magic.

5. You will probably fail at something.  It's how you react when that happens that matters.

6.  Don't have the equivalent of three shots of coffee the first time you drink coffee.  Especially not on a work night.  You will be up until 2am, and you'll just need more coffee in the morning to stay awake.  The vicious coffee addiction cycle starts right there.

7.  Staying awake (or trying to) for 48 straight hours is what I imagine Hell to be like.  I do not recommended it.

8.  Moderation is key-- in everything.  Except Jesus.

9.  Every once in a while you should do something completely unexpected.

10.  It's okay to admit that you're broken-- and healing.  No one is perfect, so why do we all pretend we are?

11.  Do/prepare/train for something that you think is too difficult.  It'll completely change your framework of "impossible".

12.  If you can't pronounce the ingredients in your food, you probably shouldn't eat it.

13.  Learn how to grieve well (however that looks like for you).  Losses are not limited to just death.  Losses look like lost opportunities, dreams, hopes, relationships, or just life changes.  It's healthy to take the time to grieve these things, even if that's not what society says.  It's also exhausting.

14.  You don't need cable TV.  Especially not with the internet.

15.  The gift of community is priceless.  Find one.  Invest in one.

16.  There is a huge difference between being "Introverted" and "Extroverted".  Learn which one you are, and then embrace it.  But also take the time to learn about both types and you'll be slower to make judgments.

17.  Family is precious.  Cherish every single minute.  You'll wish you did later.

18.  Research before you do something.  Learn from other people's mistakes. 

19.  Mentor and be mentored.  This is life changing.

20.  Laugh.  A lot.  Mostly at yourself.

21.  People hurt people.  But quality people do exist.

22.  Some things just plain don't make sense.  Sometimes you just have to accept that and let it go.

23. Learning how to tell a good story will always be useful.

24.  Don't lose hope.

25.  Do things well.  Complete jobs and obligations.  Your reputation will follow you, and your willingness to follow through and finish well is what will set you apart from the rest.

26.  If you own (or even rent) a home, know how things work before they break.  It makes fixing them easier and less "crisis" worthy.

27.  Busyness is (a lot of the time) an avoidance technique.  What are you (purposefully) too busy to deal with?

Monday, July 30, 2012

My Depth of Field

I haven't posted in a really long time.  A testament to the season of life I find myself in right now.

I'm still on my journey of "wholeness", which sometimes if I let it, can seem like a completely unattainable goal.  I don't think it's a surprise that Balance is the theme I keep coming back to-- it's a recurring theme, one I never really seem to master. 

Balance is really hard.  And I think the reason it's so hard rests in my mindset.

I'm a Destination person.  I thrive on goals, accomplishments, deadlines, and breakneck paces.  I tend to go full throttle and race to the end, see the completed project, enjoy the completion for exactly one second, and then fall straight to the floor in a state of sheer exhaustion.  The kind of exhaustion that requires more than twelve hours of sleep to recover from.  I'm a DO-er.  

And part of me (not so secretly) loves that fact.

I finish things. 

But a lot of times that also means that I miss 99.9% of the journey because I'm wholly focused on the finish line.  And I think that's where the root of my balance problem begins.

One of my favorite photography effects is Depth of Field.  A photograph with a clear focus, and blurry edges.  I love the artistry.  But perhaps I really just love the focus.  The control.  The ability to pick my subject and blur everything else.  I go to great lengths to craft pictures like this.  So it's no surprise that my life looks a lot the same.

I seek validation from completing projects.  Finishing things on time.  Being "responsible."  Isn't that the ideal after all?  And I've met people who marvel over my ability to finish things-- they ask me what my secrets are. 

I smile (inwardly), but how do you tell people that that (the validation of completion) is the motivation that propels me forward.  The ability to impress. 

And since that's the fuel that keeps me going, a "sprinting" pace of project completion is almost necessary.  Because validation is a tricky thing; it comes in spurts and then dries out.  And then you must run to the next thing-- certain you'll find more validation there.  So you continue the silly cycle until you can't move.  Or life doles out pain in other unexpected places.

And then you crumble.  Because the glue that kept everything together was the praise of others.  And you're too weary to even keep going. 

And if you're like me, that's where you land.  Thirsty and lost.  Battered and slightly broken.

Unable to balance.  Unable to shift your focus and correct the blur.  Unable to see any speed but "sprint."

You stare at the canyon in front of you.  Paralyzed by fear.   Because how to do you move forward when you know your motivation needs to change and your old habits won't get you there?

One tiny step at a time.  Or a giant leap.

One practical application.  One detail at a time.

That's the only place to start.

So today I'm working on embracing the journey.  The messy parts of the picture that I generally try to artistically blur out completely.  Because I'm learning that "wholeness" isn't about the finish line, it's more about the character-building journey along the way.