november 18 . 2018

As promised…(or, threatened?) 🙂

I am a whole person. Complete. Right now – unmarried.

I used to believe that I was incomplete that way – that I was spending my life on the magical and romantic search for my other half.

I wrote about my realization that my “life” wouldn’t start at the altar here, and I’ve been doing my darndest to live that out since.

I’ve chosen joy instead of wallowing in misery – at least most of the time, if I’m honest. 

I’ve chosen to travel by myself when I could have easily stayed home.

I’ve chosen to stay open to new relationships when I could have let my heart grow hard and bitter.

I’ve chosen to work hard on myself, to grow, sacrifice, stay curious and inspired, to extend grace to myself and learn to love myself.

I’ve chosen to stay connected to community.

I’ve chosen to stay at my home church, filled with young and old married couples with children, instead of attending other churches where there is a better chance of meeting someone single.

Because that’s what a whole person does. They live their life, their one wild, beautiful, dream-of-a-life, and they keep showing up.

Even when that life holds debt that would be easier to pay off with a shared income.

Even when that life continues to be invited to weddings that are attended alone.

Even when that life is constantly reminded of the growing distance between themselves and their age-mates, those who are experiencing trials and joys from marriage and kids that simply can’t be related to.

Even when that life is sick in the middle of the night and wishing that there was someone present to hold her and pray with her.

I am a whole person. Right now.

I’m realizing that actually walking that out is less about a huge epiphany in one season of life, and more about a daily – even hourly – decision to look for the delight in this one wild, beautiful, dream-of-a-life that I’ve been given.

I can’t resent this season when I’m seeing the glory in it.

I can’t resent God for what He’s not bringing me when I’m focusing on what He has brought me.

I can’t resent other people for getting the answers to prayers that I’ve longed for when I’m choosing to celebrate with them.

I am a whole person – blessed, gifted, cherished, championed, set apart, and destined for wonder.

 

Written with a commitment to post within a few minutes of expression, very little spellchecking, and willingness to embrace the inevitable vulnerability hangover.

november 15 . 2018

On Millennial Dating in Your Late Twenties: A Rant

Prelude: If you know me, you know that I love men – I think they’re wonderful and amazing, and I have great godly men in my life who I trust and respect deeply – this is not in reaction to any men in particular beyond the few yahoos with whom I have “horror” stories, bless their hearts. 

I’ll start by saying, I find it unnerving that men who date online are annoyed by the fact that women find their height to be important.

First – in my experience – men lie about their height. By at least 2 inches. And a girl of solid character like me is rightfully concerned about someone who lies about something as insignificant (in terms of things you would lie about) as their height, because what ELSE are you lying about??

Second – I’ll just state what anyone over 5’9″ is thinking – it’s super unfair that the short girls care about height. They’re ruining it for us Amazons out here.

That said, after and inside of the years I’ve spent trying to find a kind, secure, Jesus-loving man who is over five feet and ten inches tall – both on the inter-web, and in “Real Life” – permit me the opportunity to let the well-meaning, “older”, married folk who are concerned about us twenty-something millennials-who-just-can’t-seem-to-figure-it-out in on a mildly-important, true-to-my-life-experience fact:

Dating these days is exhausting, and – I would argue – way harder than it was for you.

For Christians who didn’t meet their soulmates at their private Christian universities, or in YWAM, or at BSSM, or in the Bible study on campus when they were 19 years old, our options for good godly people really slim down in our twenties – especially if you’re choosing a church for the Spirit, and not because of the of-marrying-aged-parishioners options. Just that spiritual and emotional gymnastics routine in itself (as in, trying to decide whether you will or won’t choose where you worship based on how many single people there are there) won’t bring much energy to a soul.

Especially for a woman who is wired to respond to pursuit – having to “put oneself out there” over and over again is wearing. I really only have the stamina to do it for a few weeks at a time until I need to take a break.

“Being too picky” isn’t the problem here. And on that note, if I had a dollar for every day two people arbitrarily gave me either end of the advice spectrum: “stop being so picky” or “don’t settle for anything less than God’s best!”, I’d be out of student loan debt by now. Of course they mean well, but clearly there’s more going on here that can’t be solved by following either of those directions.

As I was saying, if you think “being picky” means I won’t seriously date someone who smokes pot, or is a kinda-sorta-if-my-lady-wants-to-drag-me-I’ll-go-to-church attender, or someone who breaks off our relationship because I won’t sleep with them before marriage, or someone who wants me to be subservient and “submissive (read: defer to him every time we disagree) wife” then okay, YES, you’re right! I am being picky!

Because that’s what we’re dealing with today, folks.

The culture has convinced most people – especially in my city – that they can choose their own truth. There is no moral code. “Love” wins the day every time – and you can define Love however you want to.

As a person who doesn’t align with those values, maybe you can see a little clearer how dangerous it would be to partner myself with a person who does. We would be ill-matched. We would, worst case, end up adding to the horrific divorce rate.

It’s hard. It’s complicated.

And I know tomorrow I’ll be writing about how I’m a whole human being right now, and I don’t need a husband to complete me, so please choose a different first question during meet-and-greet at church than, “So, are you married?”.

And then the next day, obviously, I’ll be writing about how I’m trying to be in it for the long haul because I refuse to give up hope that there isssss my Charlton Heston out there sommmmewheeerrrrre (childhood crushes never fade, amirite).

to be continued.

Written with a commitment to post within a few minutes of expression, very little spellchecking, and willingness to embrace the inevitable vulnerability hangover.

november 13 . 2018

BrenĂ© Brown is kicking my butt again – as she does.

She’s got me thinking about belonging.

It’s so important to humans, this, being known and accepted, confident that you have a place here – wherever and with whomever here may be for you.

You’re supposed to belong in your family.

You’re supposed to belong in your childhood home.

You’re supposed to belong in your church.

You’re supposed to belong with the people you count on, the ones you lean on, the ones you text in desperation when you need prayer the most.

You’re supposed to belong to your own life, right?

What if you find yourself smack-dab-in-the-middle-of, stuck, irreversibly in motion in a life that you never wanted for yourself? Never pictured for yourself? Observed in others many years ago and thought, God, I hope that life never happens to me.

What then?

How do you belong in a community filled with soul-connections who will perpetually be in seasons just “beyond” you, seasons that you seem to constantly find just out of reach of your own fingertips?

There seems to be a limit to what you can say to each other – a limit to the advice given and received. A limit to the things you are able to participate in – because of timing, because of obligations, because of restraints that are all-too-familiar to you, but are foreign to them. A limit to the invitations you get because you just…

don’t…

quite…

fit.

Belong?

Written with a commitment to post within a few minutes of expression, very little spellchecking, and willingness to embrace the inevitable vulnerability hangover.

november 12 . 2018

I’m taking the next step in my separation from Perfectionism:

I’m writing.

I’ve learned that Perfectionism is a lousy lover…controlling, manic, arrogant.

You need the perfect environment to write well; wait until you can enjoy it.

Your thoughts aren’t formed enough yet; wait until you have something conclusive to say.

You have no photos to accompany your words. Wait until you can afford a camera to take your own pictures and impress people with them.

You’re not in a healthy state of mind/soul/body/being to write; wait until you are more stable. You don’t want people thinking you’re needy.

Someone else is already saying what you want to say. You’ll just look like you’re imitating them if you say it too. Wait until you have something creative and innovative to say.

Wait.

What a jerk. 

As it turns out, Perfectionism used Waiting to get me to befriend Silence and Scarcity. But I don’t like them either.

So, here I am. Writing. Practicing the art of ignoring my inner critic and laying fingers to keys, because – first, honestly, I enjoy the sound typing makes. And – I also have things to say. In a season where I have been telling myself I need to be careful and quiet and cautious – because have you seen how people’s words are being used against them day in and out? – I need to obey the stillest, smallest, most solid voice inside of me that is pressing against my throat: God in me, speaking, and wanting to use MY VOICE to say it.

Even if I’m only preaching to myself – I’m going to say it.

Written with a commitment to post within a few minutes of expression, very little spellchecking, and willingness to embrace the inevitable vulnerability hangover.

may 19 . 2017

momma’s birthday

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My momma turned 60 last month. I know – what a shock. She could pass for 42, at least.

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White dishes, navy and cobalt blue vases, linens, and pillows, and lots of fresh, pure white flowers adorned the gorgeous dinner table made by my brother’s hands.

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• Momma’s 60th Birthday Dinner Party Menu •

hors d’oeuvres
parmesan thyme crackers with goat cheese spread and grapes

salad
roasted butternut squash salad with warm cider vinaigrette

entree
Coq a vin with focaccia bread

dessert
chocolate birthday cake

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sibs

As a child, you never think for a moment about how important your momma’s presence is to your entire existence. There is nothing cognitive that goes into crying her name when you’re lost in the grocery store, falling into her arms sobbing after a heartbreak or hard day at school, or even opening the refrigerator and always seeing something to eat to calm a rumbly tummy. It takes growth, maturity, and awareness to sense deep gratitude for all of the ways mommas are there – providing, supporting, praying, loving, holding, caring, and listening.

I love you, Momma, deeper and with more appreciation every day. Happy 60th year of amazing life!

may 12 . 2017

My friend Carrie created, developed, and published a gorgeous daily planner called the Codex Planner for women who want to intentionally integrate spirituality into their weekly agendas. Being a lover of physical planners myself (I’m all-about yet another reason to stop looking at my phone so often) and appreciating it’s simple beauty, I wanted to share it with you today. 

I was delighted to write a blog post for her website last month on the theme of Surrender. Check out the introduction below and follow the link to read it all. 



 

“I hate this. If this is the love story You’re writing for me – I hate it. This is not better than I could have possibly hoped or imagined; this is the most unnatural thing You could have asked me to do and I am so mad at You for it.”

Who in their right mind looks at the God of the Universe and says those words to Him?

Um, me. I did that.

That moment of angst, pain, frustration – and yes, anger – is forever captured in my journal pages. Reflections of a season when the Lord had gently ushered me into taking steps that felt miles beyond my comfort zone.

Everyone has their stretching experiences, right? It’s different for all of us. For me – it looked like starting an eHarmony profile and putting my 26-year-old-single-white-girl-self out on the internet for all to see.

keep reading here. 



 

may 5 . 2017



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// VOX Podcast – Mike Erre

If you’re comfortable with your life, theology, and thoughts about faith and the evangelical church – and you’re happy that way – do not listen to this podcast. Fair warning.

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I’ve been listening to Mike for about a year now, at the encouragement of my buddy Jace who attends Mike’s church in southern California. It took me awhile to warm up to him, but now I’m hooked.

A few things I appreciate are the candor, the forthrightness, and the commitment to scriptural authority. I am grateful for the insights which have pushed me to ponder why I believe what I believe and challenged me to consider Jesus’ perspectives on a range of important areas of life and culture, specifically how His seem to differ from mine.

If you were raised in evangelical church as I was, you may need to prepare to be offended – and then keep listening. 🙂

// Garden City – John Mark Comer

In the spirit of challenging a lot of things I used to think I believed about my faith and church, why not overhaul my theology of work too?

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I picked up this book after finally facing the reality that I am supposed to stay in my current job; two failed attempts to get out of it in a six month period of time proved to be convincing enough. A JMC fan already, I was drawn to this book like a magnet, approaching it with a heart full of hope that he would enlighten me to truths that I wasn’t aware of and/or unwilling to grasp.

Expectations fulfilled, and I’m only halfway through it.

Surprisingly (maybe to no one else, but me), I didn’t have a theology of work. I fell into the group that JMC describes as those believing that work is just something we have to put up with until our life/God brings about a change that allows us to do what we actually love.

As it turns out, that’s a lie.

In fact – we (humans) were designed to work (see Genesis 1). Work was not the Curse after the Fall, as I formerly thought; work is actually good and beautiful and to co-create and co-labor with our Father is actually a privilege, if we accept it as such.

This concept was pretty life-altering for me, in that after processing and praying through what I was reading, I realized I was excited to get up and go to the office everyday for the first time in two and a half years.

Read this book!

// liquid Vitamin D

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Image by Dylan Erickson

Talk about an instant attitude shift! Living in the PNW basically guarantees that I’m deficient in Vitamin D, but I didn’t make the connection between the deficiency and my slight decrease in “happy” during the winter months – until now!

You know it’s effective when your high school students comment about how peppy you are at 6:30am Bible study.

This is the one I take – 5 drops a day!

// Darling blog

Even as an avid blog reader, I don’t typically read any one blog every single day. Except for this one.

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First of all, what is not to love about the first printed (and online) magazine to feature un-retouched photos?

Second of all, they are consistently writing really good articles about things that I (and my people) care deeply about and things that matter. So it’s applicable, inspiring, interesting, and informative.

Here are links to a couple of my favorite posts that I shared multiple times with girlfriends (yes, I’m that girl) to whet your appetite.

Why Embracing Sorrow Paves Our Way to Joy

How to Wait (For Anything) Well

Should You Detox Your Armpits? A DIY

The Most Important Time of Day to Digitally Disconnect

// high schoolers

This year, I did something crazy and launched/wrote/taught/led 24 high school students in my church through a Leadership/Discipleship program. We just wrapped up the program last weekend and I am feeling all the love for them and the other amazing students in our youth ministry.

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Student Leadership Retreat

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Supporting our boy, Cory, at his roller hockey game
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Photo scavenger hunt – photo with a Fireman
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Girl’s retreat
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Redding trip
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Me and my girl, Paige

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Professional photograph in title image taken by Madison Kay Photography © 2017