Honest, I choose champagne

2016.2017.2018. Let’s just be who we are.

I am sitting in my favorite bar, as it becomes increasingly more crowded than normal on a Sunday early evening. Most are in pairs, or groups. I’m the sole solitary human, sitting at my favorite table tucked in the corner. My back is against the window and I am directly next to an outlet and the exposed brick.

I am pretty comfortable sitting by myself in most places. I am fine shopping by myself, I’ve traveled across an ocean and been alone in the Istanbul airport more than any other airport in the world.

I almost always get slight amounts of anxiety right before going somewhere by myself or to an event with a large amount of people. But here, and a smattering of coffee shops, public transport and airplanes- I am always good.

This year, I believe, has been about being as home as I possible can be in my own skin, in my own identity. It’s been about being where my feet are.

I don’t always do well at this.

But, I am trying.

And now, it’s the end of the year. Now, for me personally, 2017 has been eons better than 2016. But, as my work wife has pointed out, 2017 hasn’t been all confetti, champagne and sunshine.

In reality, I said the F word more times this year than last. I lost more faith in people than I ever have. I have had more anxiety and more moments of being alone.

I haven’t been as constantly exhausted but I for sure have hit more walls of “all done friends”. My schedule has been more busy than I think it has been in a long time.

And that isn’t going change when the clock strikes midnight and turns the year to 2018. Last year, I remember sitting, shortly after midnight, in my sparkly gold dress, barefooted, on the porch of my friend’s house, watching the snow fall with a glass of champagne that slowly became mixed with the tears falling down my cheeks. All I wanted was for the world around me to feel different.

I tried to believe it did- but it didn’t.

So I became busy in 2017. I did a lot of things. I rarely had a week go by that didn’t involve at least 3/5ths of the weekdays being filled with something, be it working at my church, hanging out with someone or having an event or organized group situation.

I think part of my reasoning for becoming busy was that busy equaled full. That my life could be classified as full because it was busy.

I could say that my life was full because my laundry had piled up to overflowing in my closet and didn’t even care that there were dishes in the sink.

Busy meant not being able to stop to hear what I needed to hear.

Back in August, a part time job popped up at a different church. It would have been 10-20 extra hours a week being a children’s director of a local churches smaller downtown campus.

It would mean a lot of things: extra income, no free time, getting paid to do something I know I love (and am good at), having no social life and not getting to go to the church I adore.

But, I had done that exact same thing before so I knew I was capable of that schedule.

I had a random day off in August, the day after the ad had been discovered. I had coffee with a good friend, lunch with my roommate and obviously talked to both about it. I headed for home to work on my cover letter and resume.

Because of applying for this job, I ended up having a very honest conversation with one of the pastors at my church. Through the conversation we had, I realized that I was running from being known. She, of course, called me on all these things, as she should.

I didn’t end up interviewing for the job. In all reality, though I want a job like that, but working 60 hours a week and moving from the two places where I feel like myself in Bellingham was not the best idea.

In reality, most of this year I’ve been running. I’ve been running from stopping, from thinking and from pushing in.

I have in certain places and situations. There are friends in my life with whom I can never run from my problems around. But I have reached that place here in Bellingham where I am known and that’s terrifying.

So, why have I said all of this?

It’s simple actually.

I want to encourage you not to make resolutions.

(What?)

I just want to encourage you to step more into who you are everyday. No matter what.

I spent this year trying to busy everything so far away, in the name of my resolutions that I forgot parts of who I was. When those parts were awakened they felt like hope, when in reality they should have just felt like me.

December 31rst and January 1 are no different from today and tomorrow.

There is symbolism in the changing of the year. It is a new book in your life. But it’s not a separate book. It’s a continuation.

So, as the holidays kick in full force and as my kitchen get covered in flour and coconut sugar. As we celebrate the year, the now and the yet to come, I want to remind you that the changing of a calendar doesn’t change who you are.

I want to encourage you to hope for more, but not put the more on a new year.

Don’t run from who you’ve become in all the things. Grab who all the things have made you.

Right now. Today.

Here, in this bar, where I am the only solitary human, I am being where my feet are more than I have in a long time.

Right now. Today

washington whimsy

To those I love in Bellingham: a letter


Today, for the first time in I couldn’t tell you how long, I left my house on a Saturday. Not to go somewhere or do errands or meet someone, I left my house with my ipad and journal to go sit at a coffee shop.And I was walking in the crisp, bright, winter air I looked at the downtown skyline which has become one of my favorite views- the mountains created a back drop to the herald sign, the red museum creating a stark contrast to the blue skies. Beauty in unexpected things. It reminds me of the beauty I found in Beira, Mozambique when we had to live in the city, or the beauty of the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Finding beauty where your feet are.

But, as I was contemplating that I was hit with a thought that welled up some tears in my eyes and caused my heart to race. So here it is:

To my people in Bellingham:

Growing up,my mother’s kitchen table always had Diet Coke, at least two remotes, some form of baked good and a hodgepodge of people. The doorway of our house was crossed by humans from lots of different walks of life, ages, journeys, people in the highs and lows.

It’s part of the reason why I love inviting people over and meeting people where they are at. And I think it’s why I’ve always had and been comfortable in so many different groups of people. And why I am friends with a handful of people I’ve never actual met or have only known in person one or two weeks of my life.

But I believe I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that you people, those I interact with on AT LEAST a weekly basis (if not daily) here in Bellingham are the most eclectic group of humans I’ve ever encountered.

And man do I love you guys.

And what’s funny is that I only interact with people here that are somehow connected to one of two places: The Y or A Life. My job and my church.

But what a difference it’s made.

The realization I had, the thing that finally hit my heart even though the knowledge has always been there, even though it’s a truth I love to remind people of, is that knowing all of you guys, specifically in this time in my life has caused me to know more of who I am then I ever thought possible.

As I said, that tidbit was in my brain, the knowledge was there. Every conversation, interactions, the laughter, the tears, all those things stored together from people have been building blocks. It’s normally not something you truly realize until you are in a high emotions situation or a situation when you are around the same people day in and out where you begin to realize bits and pieces of yourself through them.

You guys have been the most wonderful piece of self discovery.

Because of everyone of you I’ve not only learned more of who I am, but more of who I want to be.

And I believe every time I said I wanted to run it was because all of the things I was learning and feeling and desiring were becoming far too big for the life I had been living. All the ugly surfacing were dreams and desires and hopes I had buried long ago for fear of getting hurt.

Before I moved here, I would, here and there, struggle with comparison and jealousy and loneliness and lack of identity, but the last year and a half all of those things have been stirred up, multiplied and fleshed out.

And that has made me want to run.

But not you guys.

Everyone of you has kept my feet planted.

Because I think, I believe, I know, that there are aspects in each and everyone of you that have caused me to want more, desire more, be more.

That all became too big for my heart.

You guys believed in me when I didn’t think I had anything to believe in.

You chose more for me when I thought I was done with more.

What a beautiful thing.

And it causes me to think of the people I had and still very much have before here, that encouraged me to get to this place, and the people before that and that.

My life journey is filled with people. Beautiful, lovely, whimsical human beings from all places and countries and backgrounds.

My desire in life is to be so wholly myself that it causes others to see more of who they are.

And Bellingham has been a shocking, surprising, not always welcome huge step towards this very thing.

Bellingfamily and Yfamily and all those connected to the two, I need you to know that I’ve never wanted to run from you. I’ve wanted to run from the life that was getting too beautifully big for the box I had. I wanted to run from the emotions that all of that was bringing up that I’d gotten supremely used to ignoring.

But you? Never you.

PS

Find people. Find multiple groups of people. Find people you agree with. Find people you disagree with. People who live life differently then you and those who walk the same road. Find people who worship the same and find those who believe differently. Sit across tables from them, break bread them, clink glasses with them. Laugh with them.

And learn, even if it’s just for a night.

Learn who they are, where they come from, how they make a sandwich.

And when you wake up, I guarantee you will have found more of yourself.

In the similarities, the differences and the universal truths.

Let’s choose, daily, to bring the people around us to more of who they are.

back to the barre, stateside

So please, WRITE

I always want my words to be profound.

I want them to hold something to have meaning.

I want to write things that incite conversation and promote action.

I also try too hard.

I sit in front of my computer every 4 days or so to post a new thought, a new revelation, a new truth that is rippling through my spirit.

And I erase a lot.

To the point where I am surprised my delete button still works on my computer.

There are a lot of words I haven’t said in my life and many of them come in the form of the backspaced words on word documents. If only there was a way to put all of them together.

On second hand let’s not.

Then I think of all of the words that go unsaid or unwritten.

Or all the words that go unread.

(And if they are unread are they really written? Just kidding…not going there)

There is something about profound insightful thoughts that cause us to move. I love reading words my friends have said and reading what they are going through and their insights. My email is crammed with blog subscriptions and the ability to see the world through others eyes. It’s crammed with group emails from friends about ramblings and stream of consciousness thought processes.

But now I think, I know what I HAVEN’T said. What haven’t THEY said? What moments of brilliance have been backspaced away or crumbled and thrown in a trashcan.

And it’s also kind of funny because we live in this crazy world where there are so many platforms to be heard; from 140 characters on twitter to creating your own website to podcasts and blogs and everything in between.

So with all of that ability to be heard; why are so many of us still silent? Why do we throw words in the trash and decide we don’t need to say them?

Some I’m sure think there are too many words out there so will their words be heard. Or maybe they are afraid of the comment section.

Or even just too afraid of what one singular person will say.

And so we delete or backspace or walk away from a thought because it is too honest or too real or too much of the person you actually ARE as opposed to the person who people see.

The last blog I posted entitled “Real” took everything in me to press publish. I really just wanted to delete it all and pretend it didn’t exist.

I think when I choose to delete something or send it to a friend rather than post it on my blog it’s mainly because I think it might be too much. Too vulnerable, too spiritual, too Jesus. Or sometimes it’s because it shows my flaws or my fears.

But when, in reality, it’s just my thought process, how my brain works.

It’s true sometimes I tie a spiritual lesson to an episode of Vampire Diaries and it’s inevitable I will talk about therapy, or the lessons from Spain or Cambodia small eye or getting hit by a car.

But it’s what’s in my heart.

It’s where I come from.

So I will write.

And I want you to as well.

So very badly I want to read the words you have written. I need them actually. They cause me to think and to write and they inspire me.

So push past the comment section, push past the vulnerability and the fear and put words to paper. Quit hitting delete, quit crumbling the paper and throwing it aside.

People need your words, they need you at your broken or your whole, they need you at your happiest, your angry and your giddy. They need you at your real, your teenage self who loves vampire shows and your adult self who has treasured things in your heart that need to come out.

So please, WRITE.

Here are some blogs of people who’s words I treasure, find humorous and lovely and adore reading. Some of them have been MIA for a moment but take a second to go back, read the archives and find some inspiration. None of them are “proffesional” they may have gotten paid once or twice for their writings, but mostly it’s a heart thing. It’s a pouring out onto paper of what’s inside.There are so so many more I could post or brag about. so many more words I read on a weekly basis. There is inspiration out there. You just have to choose to read it, see it, use it, and be it.  (and if you have a blog or a favorite space to read words comment and let me know!):

Patty~ Patty is one of my best friends and someone who has influenced my writing more than anyone. Her words are timely, poetic and beautiful.

Tiffany~ This woman called me to write and be truthful. She has been calling me into my story for over two years.

Abby~ Another member of my hometeam. She is currently on an adventure leading a World Race squad and she has beautiful words and truths.

Allan~ A crazy worshipper I met and got to do life with in Spain. Check out his Euro journey and all that entails.

Helena~ I followed her blog while she was on the race. She empowers women and has a hysterically lovely view on life

KellenWhitney ~ a couple whom I treasure. Their words inspire like none other.

Casey~ a longtime hometown friend who blogs about her adventures in dating.

Sarah~a truth speaker, bringer and a lie crusher. soon to be on another amazing adventure. 

Lauren~ from my orange county neck of the woods. her words are witty and intelligent and everything in between.

Glenalyn~ a fellow adventurer, wanderluster and tribe member.