Spain g42, To dream

My expectations weren’t big enough

I didn’t expect my life to change this week. I’m not the kind of person whose life changes instantaneously-not with a word or a moment.

I’ve struggled with things that don’t change over night.
I remember walking out of my therapist’s office the last time I saw him in December.
And I realized I had changed. I was new. It had taken a long time- over 4 years of counseling in a windowless room.
I grew up in a household where it was normal life to watch people struggle with sobriety. That too is a process that is not an overnight healing.

So this week when my life was changed I didn’t notice.

This week was meaty. From just four days of class and life I have accumulated over 30 pages in my journal of rambles and notes. I’ve sent many “oh girl” texts to friends in my life-lacking the words to articulate what was happening.

And on Thursday when all was said and done I realized I believe.

All of it.

What does that mean?

I have operated most of my life out of this weird version of humbleness and confidence. I do know who I am.

I’d just rather you not tell me.
Don’t put me up in front of a room and speak truth to me.

Please PLEASE put your attention on someone who NEEDS the strength.

I have plenty that I will freely give.
I don’t do or speak to get affirmation.
I just do.
I actually get physically uncomfortable and anxious when people speak truth about myself to me or when people compliment something I have done.
Clearly I don’t mind being the center of attention- I’d just rather be in control of the attention.

I’m really good at telling people that I’m learning to believe the words that are spoken to me.

But the thing is I don’t need to learn.
I need to choose.

I couldn’t run from affirmation this week. It shocked me and actually came from somewhere I didn’t expect.

After an intense afternoon in my head during class I went to talk to our teacher for the week (a coffee shop owning Irishman) and after a statement I didn’t think I needed to hear or had the capacity to recieve I uttered my normal “trying to believe” statement.

Then I thought- what if I chose to believe?
What if I actually believed those incredible, powerful though seemingly undeserving words he had spoken to me?
What would it change if I believed I speak truth, that I am wise, that I hear God’s voice?
What if I believe that I am indeed amazing?
Not in a cocky prideful way but being grounded in the fact that while yes, I do have the power to speak for others and spur them on that I am allowed to create something big as well?
That I no longer question my genuineness because no one else does. What if I walked in my own truth and power?

How much more could I do?
What would that change?

Everything.
It changes EVERYTHING.
I’m not saying I have it all figured out-not saying I’m no longer going to struggle with things or have moments of insecurity.

But it is saying that I can utilize all of those words, those truths that people have spoken over me for myself.

Piclab-1

(my identity map that I did with the class// #mindblown)

I’m amazingly good at speaking truth and creating hope for others

I recognize that I hear from God in many different ways

But I always thought none of that was for me. I thought I had to give it all away.

But that’s not true.
It’s for me to dream.

So when I made the decision to choose to believe in what others say I’m choosing to pick up what’s for me and run with it.

Choosing to love myself as I love others.
Choosing to believe I have something to give.
Choosing to believe means that I can change things.

I honestly believed before this week that I am not seen- not in a bad negative way- but in the way that my presence does not cause ripples on a group, just in individuals.
I believed that I didn’t need to be noticed.

I just didn’t realize that I am supposed to be noticed.
That my voice is recognized and heard.
Even in little things.

I know why I am here now.
I truly am here for more.
More than I ever actually knew existed.
The more I was searching for.
I’ll be updating my “journey with me” page because now I know why I need support.

I’m still flabbergasted.
I didn’t expect anwsers this week.
I didn’t expect to feel home amidst discomfort.
I didn’t expect that I would have even more to say then what I have already said.
I didn’t expect victory or surprise or love.
I didn’t expect much.
I didn’t expect my life to change this week.

To dream

29: Sorry Mr. Demaris, I need to relearn spanish.

26. (you were a wacky ride)

27.(you went whoosh)

28.(I’m gonna need a new passport)

Good heavens.

I started my 28th birthday in the midst of running across the Istanbul airport trying to get to the correct gate to catch our flight to Johannesburg, South Africa. South Africa in that moment was probably my most favorite country in the world. And I was going to get the chance to spend my first month of being 28 nestled in the outskirts of my favorite city getting to spend my days doing ministry, living on a guava farm and of course getting to look at Table Mountain every day.

IMG_8806((my 28th birthday on a plane))

And what a start it gave 28.

The first 5 months of my 28 was spent in foreign countries. South Africa, Mozambique, Swaziland THAILAND, Cambodia, Malaysia.

I slept in a stable, in my tent in the middle of a village, on a foam mattress in the middle of a team house, in a tent in a house surrounded by lizards, in a strip mall, in (a lot ) of hostels.

piclab-26((randy&betsy// two people who brought me more wisdom and love than I could ever fathom in my 28))

I did life with some utterly amazing people. I saw elephants and lions and so many giraffes. I hitchhiked down African roads. I laid hands on people and saw demons physically come out of them. I cooked for 100 widows and orphans on $30. I taught english, gave singing lessons, drank a lot of coffee, held babies, held some more babies, I filled up journals, wrote blogs, ate roti, cleaned   bathrooms everywhere, ran in the southeast asian humidity, baked cakes, and drank some more coffee.

IMG_8811((just a perfect day off with some amazing, truth speaking, lovely people))

I cooked for my family of 50 and got blisters cutting up butternut squash.

I found out that I was truly a BA

I fell in love with the city of Bangkok.

IMG_8809((my cooking crew in swaziland. cooking butternut squash mac n cheese for Nsquad))

And with street food in Mozambique.

I was reminded of my love for leading worship.

I learned so much about myself.

More than I can even begin to fathom.

And then that journey ended.

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((my BA women in Swazi))

I remember sitting in my counselor office on my first Thursday in the states.

Did that just happen?

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((the 112//no words needed))

Was it a dream?

And now almost 6 months later I can say it wasn’t.

These last 6 months I’ve reconnected with friends. I’ve had numerous skype dates and facetime calls holding onto the relationships I made last year. I’ve gone to Georgia and got to do life in the states if but for a moment with those I treasure.

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((i carry you in my heart))

I’ve got in and out of darkness over the last 6 months. In and out of ruts. I’ve curled up on the couches at my best friend’s house and laughed with her and her sweet girls. I’ve gone to orange county and laughed in an apartment that holds so many memories. I’ve sat in the same chair at a new coffee shop in my hometown and poured out so many of my feelings and heartaches.

((I still haven’t had the Choprah))

I’ve written A LOT.

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((the bestie and my goddaughters// my loves.))

I’ve realized I’m so much further from what I once was than I thought.

I’ve seen God in a new way.

I’ve made a decision to walk over fear and keep going.

28 was up, down, in and out. 28 makes me long for foreign breezes and watching the sun tuck behind an ocean that is not my own.

The beginning of 28 oddly enough felt like home and the end has felt murky.

I’m going to spend the beginning of 29 on a foreign lands.

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((our first family picture in 20 years. My older brothers and I))

I have so many hopes, dreams and passions and the beginning of 29 feels like the start.

I wish I could properly articulate why this next step is so important. It’s happening because of all I learned about myself in 28. There is still more to do and grow.

28 rocked me and changed me.

I literally and metaphorically conquered mountains.

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((members of Team V who conquered Table Mountain in South Africa))

It allowed me to be able to stand on the edge and yell that I am worth it.

29 is going to be apart of helping me believe it and 29 is going to be rough as I take an even bigger plunge.

28 was a turning point. Showing me that I never want to live in a world where God is only as big as we make him.

Because he is so much bigger. And I’m going to spend 29 and beyond pressing into that and showing those around me His truth.

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((hashtuck// ankgor wat, Cambodia))

((I still need some help to get there. If you want to join me in my 29 adventure and partner with me please check this out.))

Honest, To dream

It always comes back to my thesis statement

I have a BA in English, and while it is a mostly useless degree it did give me a chance to come to terms with this fact:

I love thesis statements. And I hate tangents.

Yes, there are some great reasons for tangents. I remember in my AP Lit and Language classes in High School I would get SO annoyed when tangents would happen. (So much so that Becky, Stephanie and I made “Hi Topic!” signs)

Going off subject, off-topic, on a tangent makes everything BLURRY.

You forget why you started the conversation, what you’re doing. Why you might even be there.

My life feels blurry right now.

Not necessarily like I’m on a tangent, or am on a part of the path I’m not meant to be: but I keep feeling like I’m forgetting my thesis statement.

I’m discouraged

It’s been a running theme of my life when I’m in a preparation season. Now, this isn’t saying prep seasons are bad for me. In fact, they are probably some of my favorite seasons (in retrospect of course). Preparation happens before launch.

The summer before my freshman year in college. The summer before I was W.C. President. The season before I worked at the preschool. The months leading up to the race. These months leading up to Spain.

Everything is a battle. People telling you to do something different. To not go the way you are. People literally becoming hurtles in your life to stop you from the next move.

In all of that though, you know when the prep ends and the launch begins.

But I’m discouraged because the line of prep and launch has gotten blurry. Emails aren’t getting replied too, phone calls aren’t getting replied too, my excitement wanes.

It makes it blurry.

But then, there is a moment, a conversation where the line between prep/launch is less blurry. Where I am able to say this is why I am doing this thing that makes no sense.

And someone understands.

They get it.

piclab-2

And I’m filled with joy, because that peace that filled me sitting on a couch back in Georgia with Tiffany while tears flowed down my face returns.

I’ve had 3 of those conversations. One with a friend over Skype, one with a dad of an old high school friend in the middle of a grocery story and one with a good friend over the phone.

The tears are coming now just thinking of those moments where someone was able to comprehend this dream I have for myself and for others.

The tears came when I woke up one morning and my dad had sent me THIS on Facebook:

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goodness.

I’m still taking it one day at a time. And every day as it gets closer to April and I realize that I might not be getting on a plane as soon as I want I get discouraged.

It’s rough when the line between prep and launch gets blurry.

It makes you forget the why. It makes you forget your thesis statement

It makes you forget the peace that you felt the moment you knew that this is what you were meant to do for the next step in your life.

The blurry causes you to want to move farther off track so you forget the pain you feel each moment your dream has to get differed a little more. The blurry causes you to squint your eyes so much to see the end that your head starts to hurt.

I need to REMEMBER to go back to my thesis statement daily.

Back to that moment where I KNEW.

I’m bringing myself back to Georgia. To crying on a couch with a friend, to writing a mission statement that would impact my thought process and to the knowledge that I have a God that has this plan for me and He will walk with me through it, the good, the bad and the blurry.

So, amidst the tears falling on my keyboard, amidst my heart hurting in the blurry, I want to leave you with my words. The words that empowered me and reminded me where I was meant to go in this life. The words that I am excited to take to Spain to define something, to create something. The words that will help heal me, and one day, with Jesus help me show others the way to life.

piclab

My friend, wherever you may be, whatever you may be working on, hoping for, planning to do, whatever has been stirred in your heart to move towards- if you are feeling discouraged, if you are feeling in the blurry–look back to your thesis statement. Be reminded why you are moving.

Be encouraged that life happens in seasons and whatever is going on now is bringing you to the next- and it’s important. Even if it feels blurry, or away from the topic.

Be blessed.

(to read more on how you can partner with me in going to Spain check out journey with me)

hope is a verb, To dream

epiphanies in a mozambique marketplace

One of my favorite things about being in dark, rainy Mozambique last July was days where my ministry was to cook.

I mean that makes sense right? I love to cook. But cooking in Mozambique was no joke. To cook in Mozi meant spending 2 hours at the market haggling, bartering, trying not to smell all the meat, then coming back and chopping vegetables for more hours then I would like to admit. Then cooking for 19 people on a coal fire.

To cook in Mozambique made me feel super accomplished.

mozicook

But that’s not why I loved it.

It was the trekking to the market normally in mud, sometimes in rain and buying from the same women I bought from every 3 or 4 days. It was just a moment to smile with them, talk in broken Portuguese/Spanish and try to find out how their day was going.

It was always a highlight to me. Something that always brought me joy.

And as I look back on my life in missions and of course just life in general it’s the talking to and encouraging of women that has been a streamline in my life. From women’s bible studies in Mexico when I was in high school, to talking to moms daily tn the preschool and church where I worked, to walking alongside my friends each day.

spainblog(four of the women I did life with this year and the ways God rocked and changed them)

There’s something in me that’s always had a heart, even as a high school student for story, for hearing dreams, for seeing what people wanted to do with their lives. When I look at my circle of friends I’m amazed by the strong women that with whom God has surrounded me. My best friend Jess is a nurse and a mom of three. My forever roommate Leah works daily with autistic kids to better their lives. Kaytie and Lisa sit and hear stories of people who are hurting and help them through life as therapists. The list could go on.

I’ve always wondered what my place was within those strong women. What I was meant to do. How I fit. I worked as a preschool teacher for five years so I thought maybe what I was meant to do was enrich the lives of kiddos in that way. But then I realized something:

I wanted more.

This past year I spent time in 11 different countries doing life and doing ministry. But some of my sweetest times were those moments sitting across tables from women on my squad and hearing their story, hearing their life, hearing what God would have for them. I remember sitting across the table from my friend Chelsey at a coffee shop in Brasov, Romania as she told me her dreams and her call to move.

sb2(Jo, Abby Tiff and I. 3 women who move and call me to move)

I want to be apart of that. I want to forever be apart of others call to move.

While in South Africa last year, discussing dreams and heart story my squad coach Betsy asked me a question. Did I want to be in the classroom or build the school and run it.

1003789_10151841959050479_2101645836_n(Fuji, Kacie and Jesse. 3 more women of movement that I team lead with in Swaziland)

There are so many answers to that question. One being YES I love being in the classroom. I love literally being apart of the story that God is writing.

But I want to help YOU be in there. On the ground floor. Realizing what you want to do, where your story is and how you want to move.

We all have things in our stories that need to be heard. We all have hurts and pains and joys and happiness. All of these things combined are what makes us who we are. What leads us to move.

Maybe you are a full time mom who wants to group together other moms and have bible study or do yoga together.

Maybe you are single working female who just needs a community and want to find a way to make it intentional.

Maybe you just need someone to talk too.

That’s what Hope is a Verb is about. Empowering women. Realizing truth in story. A call to movement.

sb3(Emily. A women I sat across many tables from all year)

And that is why I am going to Spain.

To be equipped. To help people to movement.

To help myself to movement.

I may have sat across tables from so many different types of women, with different stories, with different hurts and different dreams. (All of the women pictures have changed my life. And the all have their own call to move)

And I’m finally realizing mine.

75207_10201511441850082_1743706677_n(Cassie and I were together every day last year. She’s going to change Uganda and the world)

But I also know that I have parts of my story, parts of my heart I need to fully realize more. I need to place myself in an environment where that is possible.

And that is where G42 comes in.

A place to heal, to learn, to grow, to be surround by a community of people who are in their stories, with passions and hearts to move in the ways God is calling them.

I’d love for you to join me in this journey.

Here are a few ways:

  1. Subscribe to my blog and follow my heart. I try to post about once a week (hopefully more while I am in Spain). It’s a place where I lay down what I am learning, what I am going through. ( you can find my blog here: https://awindlikethis.wordpress.com )
  2. Join me in prayer. If I’ve learned ANYTHING from time on the mission field and just life in general it’s that we need to support one another in prayer. We need to rally behind one another and lift each other up.
  3. Last year in the midst of rainy Africa as I trailed around our host for the month, walking miles each day to visit widows, God spoke pretty clearly to me again about the fact that I truly needed to trust Him. That I wouldn’t be done raising support. I kind of hated that. But I tried to get out of it. But he didn’t relent. So I bow my head ask if you would consider joining me in the ground level of Hope is A Verb by contributing to my time in Spain. I have to raise 6300 for 6 months at G42 (covers all the things except a plane ticket which is already covered for me). If you have 10 dollars or 100 dollars every bit counts. Click here to donate to my support account.
  4. Ask me any question you want! Contact me below.

Thank you for reading and stopping into to my little space on the Internet. Thank you for blessing me and coming alongside in all of the things God has done, is doing and will continue to do in my life.  Thank you for helping me apart of God’s call on my life to live nothing normal and everything Christ.

To dream

the one in which my heart goes “whoosh”

I just said probably one of the most ridiculous things via text that I had ever said in my life.

I said I wish I had taken less risk.

Meaning:

Maybe I should have just stayed a preschool teacher.

Not gone on the race.

I’d have more of career, maybe more stability, less dreams, more foundations.

I could be right now sitting in my apartment in Orange County.

Maybe having just gone shopping or something, anything that was Saturday normal.

But instead, I’m sitting outside on my old trampoline at my parents house.

Reading and also staring at my journal because if I’m being honest?

I’m kind of afraid to pour my thoughts into at the moment.

Because I’m terrified.

I’m scared of what people will think when I tell them.

I’m not ready to settle down and get a job.

God’s plans aren’t that for me right now.

I’ve actually been sitting on my hands for about a week out of terror.

Because I know what’s next.

I know that God has put a plan, a vision in my heart and a way to get there.

And it’s terrifying.

Because it doesn’t involve getting a “real job” right now.

It doesn’t involve staying in the states.

It doesn’t involve anything emotionally easy.

It involves more learning, more growing, more being stretched and torn apart.

It involves raising money

It involves pouring my heart out to try to help people understand the why.

It involves going to Spain for 6 month and being apart of a leadership community called G42.

Whoosh.

I remember that sound.

It’s the sound I made when I finally came out about the World Race last year.

It’s the sound of a release of emotions bottled up inside for so long that I honestly didn’t know what to do with them.

It’s a sound that holds my dreams and visions for getting and grasping onto the tools that will empowering me to help remind others that hope is a verb.

It’s the sound of someone who is choosing to allow herself to be launched without much to grasp on herself.

It the sound of someone who is choosing to not be afraid anymore of what others say.

And the sound of someone who can’t believe she even for a second regretted the one thing that changed her life for the good.

I’ll be talking more about G42 soon.

If you have questions, comments or want to learn ways you can partner with me, please let me know.

I just had to get this out there. Not be held down by fear or confusion, but choose to walk in the peace of mind that God has given me.

And for my friends, for those I love and cherish that I haven’t told about this: Please forgive me for letting the few naysayers and pessimistic people I have told get in the way of telling you, the ones who have always supported me and stood by me.

(and HERE is a video a short video with a glimpse into the heart of G42)

To dream

Clean slate to dream

Whenever we came back for the second semester in college my friend Hosanna and I loved to go Target to get new school supplies. There was something gratifying in setting the scene for a new year. And it was better then the first semester because the target aisles weren’t filled with kids whining about going BACK to school. January was a bit more quiet and normally a Starbucks holiday drink could still be purchased for the shopping excursion.

And yes, we were kind of dorky. (we were also English Majors)

But I, without fail, always got the planner that our school bookstore sold because it had September to May (and in my head that made so much more sense). So when the new year came I didn’t need a new planner. Though, I must say, I love new planners. I really can’t get behind the whole technology planner thing. I need to actually pencil things in, cross them out, feel accomplished as I moved to a new week.

My planners in college were straight up crazy.

So even though I didn’t have a new planner when that semester started I had fresh notebooks, new books, new classes.

I had a clean slate.

And each year AFTER college seemed to be filled with more darkness then the one before and all I wanted was new. All I wanted was a fresh start. And when the year 2013 came around I got it.

I went on an adventure around the world. I held babies on 4 continents, heard stories of widows living in shacks in Mozambique, talked with women selling themselves on behalf of their family in the red light districts of Bangkok. I went on an adventure and found so much more of the joy in my life amidst the pain and hurt.

So now, once again, it’s a new year. And on new years day over a cup of coffee my friend Jolene’s roommate Sarah told me about “a clean slate to dream”. That the new year is a time to wipe the muck and grime off of the white board and start new. Start with a new dream. Believe in a new dream.

What a wonderful whimsical beginning to a year.

This year I have a new start in so many ways. I’m a new person with a new heart. New passion, new relationship with Christ. I have seen so many things, heard stories, felt stories and realized what actually is the heart of my story.

I’m writing the next part of my story. And I am going to write it here. A new page. A blank screen.

I have a clean slate to dream and a new desire to show up to my life.

Let’s see what happens.

To check out my adventures from 2013 click here

To find out more about me (or send me a message) click here

And to read more about a wind like this check this out